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state of nature, and subject to disease and death, and the miseries of this world, and liable to future condemnation ; for, “ there is no man liveth that sinneth not,” doth not commit actual sins.
AND THIS INFECTION OF NATURE DOTH REMAIN, YEA IN THEM THAT ARE REGENERATED, WHEREBY THE LUST OF THE FLESH, CALLED IN GREEK OPONHMA EAPKOE, WHICH SOME DO EXPOUND THE WISDOM (k), SOME SENSUALITY, SOME THE AFFECTION, SOME THE DESIRE OF THE FLESH, IS NOT SUBJECT TO THE LAW OF GOD. That the corruption of nature does always continue, every one must know from his own experience; and that it is not subject to the law of God, is expressly asserted by St. Paul: “ The carnal mind is enmity against God, for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be (1).” The members of the church of Rome maintained that original sin is entirely taken away by baptism; but there is no authority for this opinion in Scripture; on the contrary, St. Paul says to the Galatian converts, “ The flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary the one to the other, so that ye cannot do the things that ye would (m):”
and (k) The Vulgate renders it Sapientia Carnis. . (1) Rom. c. 8. v.7. (m) Gal. c. 5. v. 17.
and St. Peter admonishes the Christians to whom he writes, “ to abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul (n);” and St. James says, “ every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed (0).” These Epistles were all written to persons who had been baptized, and the apostles evidently consider them as still liable to the “ infection of nature,” contracted by the fall of man. “ There is no reason,” says bishop Burnet, “ to think that baptism takes away all the branches and effects of original sin; it is enough if we are by it delivered from the wrath of God, and brought into a state of favour and acceptation : we are freed from the curse of death by our being an-titled to a blessed resurrection; and if we are so far freed from the corruption of our nature, as to have a federal right to such assistance as will enable us to resist and repress it, though it is not quite extinct in us so long as we live in these frail and mortal bodies, here are very great effects of our admission to Christianity by baptism, though this should not go so far as to root all inclinations to evil out of our nature.”
THAT THERE IS NO CONDEMNATION FOR THEM THAT BELIEVE AND ARE BAPTIZED, we learn from St. Paul: “ There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ
Jesus (n) 1 Pet. c. 2. v. 11. (0) James, c. 1. v, 14.
Jesus (p).” Faith in Christ joined with repentance and a sincere endeavour to obey his commands, will through the merits of his death, avert the punishment due to our sins, and procure us admission into the kingdom of heaven.
YET THE APOSTLE DOTH CONFESS THAT CONCUPISCENCE AND LUST HATH OF ITSELF THE NATURE OF SIN. The passage here alluded to is generally understood to be the following: “ What shall we say then ? is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin but by the law; for I had not known lust except the law had said, thou shalt not covet (9).”." It is observable here,” says Dr. Nicholls, “ that the compilers of our Articles do not say, that concupiscence had only then the nature of sin when it is ripened into outward act, or has the will consenting to it, but that it has the nature of sin of itself, antecedently to the compliance of the will, and before it is reduced into act. And moreover it is observable, that they do not say that concupiscence is a sin properly so called, as when men voluntarily comply with a temptation, or do any unlawful action ; but only that it hath the nature of sin.—Now a thing may have the nature of sin, or be deemed a sin in a large and figurative sense, to which no act of the will
is (p) Rom. c. 8. v. 1. (9) Rom. c. 7. v. 7.
is consenting. Now the nature of sin doth partly consist in a deflexion from the rectitude of the divine rule, which must make it for that reason disagreeable to the divine wisdom and goodness, and consequently render the persons who are the subject of this deflexion or depravation, out of favour with God. For no one can say that the lust and passions of our animal nature, and those tendencies to vice which we all of us feel within ourselves, are as pleasing to God as if all our appetites were perfectly calm and quiet, and were continually in that exact obedience, and conformity to our reason, and the rules which God has prescribed, as they would have been, if man had continued in his unlapsed state. And this doctrine was maintained by Augustine himself in the midst of his most vigorous opposition to the Pelagian tenets; for he does not look upon it as a sin, properly so called, unless the consent of the will go along with it; for explaining those words of St. James,' every one is tempted when he is drawn aside by his own lusts,' he speaks thus ; ' The mother is concupiscence, the child sin; but concupiscence does not bring forth, unless it conceive; and it does not conceive, unless it draw aside, that is, has gained the consent of the will to an evil action' (r).” (r) Cont. Jul. lib. 6. cap. 3.
III. · ARTICLE THE TENTH.
Of Free-will. THE CONDITION OF MAN AFTER THE FALL OF ADAM IS SUCH, THAT HE CANNOT TURN AND PREPARE HIMSELF BY HIS OWN NATURAL STRENGTH AND GOOD WORKS TO FAITH AND CALLING UPON GOD. WHEREFORE WE HAVE NO POWER TO DO GOOD WORKS PLEASANT AND ACCEPTABLE TO GOD, WITHOUT THE GRACE OF GOD BY CHRIST PREVENTING US, THAT WE MAY HAVE A GOOD WILL, AND WORKING WITH US WHEN WE HAVE THAT GOOD WILL.
Every one must be conscious that he possesses Free-will, and that he is a free-agent, that is, that he is capable of considering and reflecting upon the objects which are presented to his mind, and of acting, in such cases as are possible, according to the determination of his will. And indeed, without this free-agency, actions cannot be morally good or bad ; nor can the agents be responsible for their conduct. But. the corruption introduced into our nature by the fall of Adam has so weakened our mental powers, has given such force to our passions, and such perverseness to our wills, that a man CANNOT TURN AND PREPARE HIMSELF BY HIS