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whether it be more agreeable to the piety and prudence of the Virgin mother to desire immunity from original sin, that is deadly, or from a venial actual sin that is not deadly. This indeed is voluntary, and the other is not; but the other des prives us of grace, and this does not. God was more offended by that, but we offend him more by this. The dispute can never be ended upon their accounts; but this Gordian knot I have now untied as Alexander did, by destroying it, and cutting it all in pieces. But to return to the question.
79. St. Austin was indeed a fierce patron of this device, and one of the chief inventors and finishers of it; and his sense of it is declared in his book 'de Peccatorum Medicinâq,' where he endeavours largely to prove, that all our life-time we are bound to mourn for the inconveniences and evil consequents derived from original sin. I dare say, every man is sufficiently displeased that he is liable to sickness, weariness, displeasure, melancholy, sorrow, folly, imperfection, and death, dying with groans, and horrid spasms and convulsions. In what sense these are the effects of Adam's sin, and though of themselves natural, yet also upon his account made penal, I have already declared, and need no more to dispute ; my purpose being only to establish such truths as are in order to practice and a holy life, to the duties of repentance and amendment. But our share of Adam's sin, either being in us no sin at all, or else not to be avoided or amended, it cannot be the matter of repentance. “Neminem autem rectè ita loqui pænitere sese quod natus sit, aut pænitere quòd mortalis sit, aut quod ex offenso fortè vulneratoque corpore dolorem sentiat,” said A. Gellius": "A man is not properly said to repent that he was born, or that he shall die, or that he feels pain when his leg is hurt;" he gives this reason, "Quando istiusmodi rerum nec consilium sit nostrum, nec arbitrium :" “As these are besides our choice, so they cannot fall into our deliberation;" and therefore, as they cannot be chosen, so neither refused, and therefore not repented of; for that supposes both; that they were chosen once, and now refused. As Adam was not bound to repent of the sins of all his posterity, so neither are we tied to repent of his sins. Neither did I ever see, in any ancient office or forms of prayer, public or private, any prayer of humiliation prescribed for original sin. . Cap. 3. bomil. 50.
r Lib. 17. c. 1.
They might deprecate the evil consequents, but never confess themselves guilty of the formal sin.
80. Add to this : Original sin is remitted in baptism by the consent of those schools of learning, who teach this article; and therefore is not reserved for any other repentance: and that which came without our own consent, is also to be taken off without it. That which came by the imputation of a sin, may also be taken off without the imputation of righteousness; that is, as it came without sin, so it must also go away without trouble.
But yet because the question may not render the practice insecure, I add these rules by way of advice and caution.
Advices relating to the Matter of Original Sin. 81. I. It is very requisite that we should understand the state of our own infirmity, the weakness of the flesh, the temptations and diversions of the spirit, that by understanding our present state, we may prevent the evils of carelessness and security. Our evils are the imperfections and sorrows in. herent in, or appendant to, our bodies, our souls, our spirits.
82. In our bodies we find weakness and imperfection, sometimes crookedness, sometimes monstrosity; filthiness, and weariness, infinite numbers of diseases, and an uncertain cure, great pain, and restless nights, hunger and thirst, daily necessities, ridiculous gestures, madness from passions, distempers, and disorders, great labour to provide meat and drink, and oftentimes a loathing when we have them; if we use them they breed sicknesses; if we use them not, we die; and there is such a certain healthiness in many things to all, and in all things to some men and at some times, that to supply a need, is to bring a danger: and if we eat like beasts only of one thing, our souls are quickly weary; if we eat variety, we are sick, and intemperate; and our bodies are inlets to sin, and a stage of temptation. If we cherish them, they undo us; if we do not cherish them, they die: we suffer illusion in our dreams, and absurd fancies when we are waking; our life is soon done, and yet very tedious; it is too long and too short;
darkness and light are both troublesome; and those things which are pleasant, are often unwholesome. Sweet smells make the head ache, and those smells which are medicinal in some diseases, are intolerable to the sense. The pleasures of our body are bigger in expectation, than in the possession; and yet, while they are expected, they torment us with the delay, and when they are enjoyed, they are as if they were not; they abuse us with their vanity, and vex us with their volatile and fugitive nature. Our pains are very frequent alone, and very often mingled with pleasures to spoil them; and he that feels one sharp pain, feels not all the pleasures of the world, if they were in his power to have them. We live a precarious life, begging help of every thing, and needing the repairs of every day, and being beholden to beasts and birds, to plants and trees, to dirt and stones, to the very excrements of beasts, and that which dogs and horses throw forth. Our motion is slow and dull, heavy and uneasy; we cannot move but we are quickly tired, and for every day's labour, we need a whole night to recruit our lost strengths; we live like a lamp,-unless new materials be perpetually poured in, we live no longer than a fly; and our motion is not otherwise than a clock; we must be pulled up once or twice in twenty-four hours; and unless we be in the shadow of death for six or eight hours every night, we shall be scarce in the shadows of life the other sixteen. Heat and cold are both our enemies; and yet the one always dwells within, and the other dwells round about us. The chances and contingences that trouble us, are no more to be numbered than the minutes of eternity. The devil often hurts us, and men hurt each other oftener, and we are perpetually doing mischief to ourselves. The stars do in their courses fight against some men, and all the elements against every man; the heavens send evil influences, the very beasts are dangerous, and the air we suck in, does corrupt our lungs: many are deformed, and blind, and ill coloured; and yet upon the most beauteous face is placed one of the worst sinks of the body; and we are forced to pass that through our mouths oftentimes, which our eye and our stomach hate. Plinys did wittily and elegantly represent this state of evil things: “Itaque feliciter homo natus jacet manibus pedibusque devinctis, flens, ani
Lib. 6. Proæm.
mal cæteris imperaturum, et à suppliciis vitam auspicatur, unam tantum ob culpam, quia natum est:” “A man is born happily, but at first he lies bound hand and foot by impotency, and cannot stir; the creature weeps that is born to rule over all other creatures, and begins his life with punishments, for no fault, but that he was born.”—In short; the body is a region of diseases, of sorrow, and nastiness, and weakness, and temptation. Here is cause enough of being humbled.
Neither is it better in the soul of man, where ignorance dwells and passion rules. Μετά γαρ τον θάνατον και πολύς παJūv eloña Jevtouós: "After death came in, there entered also a swarm of passions."-And the will obeys every thing but God! Our judgment is often abused in matters of sense, and one faculty guesses at truth by confuting another; and the error of the eye is corrected by something of reason or a former experience. Our fancy is often abused, and yet creates things of itself, by tying desperate things together, that can cohere no more than music and a cable, than meat and syllogisms: and yet this alone does many times make credibilities in the understandings. Our memories are so frail, that they need instruments of recollection, and laborious artifices to belp them; and in the use of these artifices sometimes we forget the meaning of those instruments: and of those millions of sins which we have committed, we scarce remember so many as to make us sorrowful, or ashamed. Our judgments are baffled with every sophism, and we change our opinion with a wind, and are confident against truth, but in love with error. We use to reprove one error by another, and lose truth while we contend too earnestly for it. Infinite opinions there are in matters of religion, and most men are confident, and most are deceived in many things, and all in some; and those few that are not confident, have only reason enough to suspect their own reason. We do not know our own bodies, not what is within us, nor what ails us when we are sick, nor whereof we are made; nay, we oftentimes cannot tell what we think, or believe, or love. We desire and hate the same thing, speak against and run after it. We resolve, and then consider; we bind ourselves, and then find causes why we ought not to be bound, and want not some pretences to make ourselves believe we are not bound. Pre
· Fertur equis auriga, neque audit currus babenas. Georg. 1. 514.
judice and interest are our two great motives of believing; we weigh deeper what is extrinsical to a question, than what is in its nature; and oftener regard who speaks, than what is -said. The diseases of our soul are infinite; TÌv av0pwnclav φύσιν, αρχήθεν από των θείων αγαθών ανοήτως εξολισθήσασαν, ή πολυπαθεστάτη ζωή διαδέχεται, και του φθοροποιού θανάτου πέpas, said Dionysius" of Athens : “Mankind of old fell from those good things which God gave him, and now is fallen into a life of passion, and a state of death.”-In sum; it follows the temper or distemper of the body, and sailing by such a compass, and being carried in so rotten a vessel, especially being empty, or filled with lightness, and ignorance, and mistakes, it must needs be exposed to the dangers and miseries of every storm; which I choose to represent in the words of Cicero: “Ex humanæ vitæ erroribus et ærumnis fit, ut verum sit illud quod est apud Aristotelem,--sic nostros animos cum corporibus copulatos, ut vivos cum mortuis esse conjunctos:” “The soul joined with the body, is like the conjunction of the living and the dead; the dead are not quickened by it, but the living are afflicted and diet."
But then if we consider what our spirit is, we have reason to lie down flat upon our faces, and confess God's glory and our own shame. When it is at the best, it is but willing, but can do nothing without the miracle of grace. Our spirit is hindered by the body, and cannot rise up whither it properly tends, with those great weights upon it. It is foolish and improvident; large in desires, and narrow in abilities; naturally curious in trifles, and inquisitive after vanities; but neither understands deeply, nor affectionately relishes the things of God; pleased with forms, cozened with pretences, satisfied with shadows, incurious of substances and realities. It is quick enough to find doubts, and when the doubts are satisfied, it raises scruples, that is, it is restless after it is put to sleep, and will be troubled in despite of all arguments of peace. It is incredibly negligent of matters of religion, and most solicitous and troubled in the things of the world. We love ourselves, and despise others; judging most unjust sentences, and by peevish and cross measures; covetousness and ambition, gain and empire, are the proportions by which we takeaccount of things. We hate to be governed by others, v Eccles. Hier. c. 3. part 3
* In Hortens.