Exposition of the Thirty-nine Articles – Article IX

Article IX.

Of Original, Or Birth-Sin.

ORIGINAL Sin standeth not in the following of Adam (as the Pelagians do vainly talk), but it is the fault and corruption of the nature of every man, that naturally is engendered of the offspring of Adam, whereby man is very far gone from original righteousness, and is of his own nature inclined to evil, so that the flesh lusteth always contrary to the spirit, and therefore, in every person born into this world, it deserveth God’s wrath and damnation. And this infection of nature doth remain, yea, in them that are regenerated; whereby the lust of the flesh, called in Greek ϕρόνημα σαρκὸς, which some do expound the wisdom, some sensuality, some the affection, some the desire of the flesh, is not subject to the law of God. And although there is no condemnation for them that believe and are baptized, yet the Apostle doth confess that concupiscence and lust hath of itself the nature of sin.

De Peccato Originali.

PECCATUM originale non est (ut fabulantur Pelagiani) in imitatione Adami situm, sed est vitium, et depravatio naturæ, cujuslibet hominis, ex Adamo naturaliter propagati: qua fit, ut ab originali justitia quam longissime distet, ad malum sua natura propendeat, et caro semper adversus spiritum concupiscat, unde in unoquoque nascentium, iram Dei, atque damnationem meretur. Manet etiam in renatis hæc naturæ depravatio. Qua fit, ut affectus carnis, Græce ϕρόνημα σαρκὸς (quod alii sapientiam, alii sensum, alii affectum, alii studium carnis interpretantur) legi Dei non subjiciatur et quanquam renatis et credentibus, nulla propter Christum est condemnatio, peccati tamen in sese rationem habere concupiscentiam, fatetur Apostolus.

Section I. — History.

THE origin of evil in the world has, from very early times, been a subject of speculation among philosophers and divines. What the Jewish opinions on the question may have been, is not easy to decide. The rite of circumcision, as administered to infants, may have been understood as showing that infants were born in sin, and had need of the circumcision of the Spirit, to make them partakers of the promises of God. The custom among the Jews to baptize (as well as to circumcise) all proselytes, whether men, women, or children, may seem to indicate that they looked on all, even from their birth, as naturally unclean, and needing a laver or cleansing, before admission to the privileges of their Church.[1]

That the early fathers of the Christian Church held the universality of human corruption, there can be but little question. A history of infant baptism is also a history of the doctrine of original sin, baptism being for the remission of sin.[2] If there were no original sin, infants could have no need to be baptized. Hence Wall, in his History of Baptism, has brought together, with great labour and fidelity, passages from the earliest writers, showing their belief in the original infection of our nature from Adam. It is not to be expected that the fathers would speak as clearly on this point before, as after the rise of Pelagianism. But a fair inspection of the passages thus cited will convince us that the doctrine was held, almost as clearly as is expressed in our own Article, from the very earliest times of the Church.[3]

For examples of the language of the fathers we may take the following passages: “Besides the evil,” says Tertullian,[4] “which the soul contracts from the intervention of the wicked spirit, there is an antecedent, and, in a certain sense, natural evil arising from its corrupt origin. For, as we have already observed, the corruption of our nature is another nature, having its proper god and father, namely, the author of that corruption.”

Cyprian, and the council of sixty-six bishops with him (A. D. 253), in their Epistle to Fidus, use the following words: “If then the greatest offenders, and they that have grievously sinned against God before, have, when they afterwards come to believe, forgiveness of sins, and no person is kept off from baptism and this grace, how much less reason is there to refuse an infant, who, being newly born, has no sin save that, being descended from Adam according to the flesh, he has from his very birth contracted the contagion of the death anciently threatened; who comes for this reason more easily to receive forgiveness of sins, because they are not his own but other’s sins that are forgiven him?”[5]

On this, however, as on other articles of faith, there arose heresies from very early times. In the second century, about A. D. 180, Florinus, a presbyter of the Church of Rome, taught that God was the author of evil. This man had been a friend of Irenæus, and a disciple of Polycarp’s. A fragment of a letter from Irenæus addressed to him, in which Irenæus combats his peculiar error, is preserved by Eusebius.[6] The Marcionites had, before this, taught the doctrine of two principles, the one of good and the other of evil; and it has been thought probable that it was in opposition to this that Florinus fell into the opposite heresy, and that, in maintaining the sole sovereignty of God, he was led to make Him the author of sin.[7]

The Gnostic heretics in general attributed the origin of sin to matter, which they considered as essentially evil. Colorbasus, we are told,[8] and Priscillian held, that men’s actions were influenced by the stars.[9] The Manichees, like the Marcionites before them, but more systematically, taught the eternal existence of two opposite and antagonistic principles, to the one of which they attributed the origin of evil.[10]

The great Origen, though using freely those passages of Scripture, which speak of man’s natural corruption, and of his being born in sin,[11] yet, from his peculiar theory of the preexistence of human souls, could scarcely hold that man’s sinfulness was derived from the first sin of Adam. His theory was, that all souls of men have existed in a former state and are confined in bodies, and placed in circumstances according to their conduct in that former state; and that the bodies, which they now have, are more or less gross according to the qualities of their former crimes.[12]

In the beginning of the fifth century, a very important heresy sprang up, which called forth more decidedly the sentiments of the Church on this doctrine. Pelagius was a monk residing at Rome, but of British extraction, his name, in his own country, being probably Morgan. Cœlestius, another monk, a native of Ireland, and Julianas, a bishop, were his chief allies. His heresy was spread abroad about A. D. 410, the year that Rome was taken by the Goths. Cœlestius, having endeavored to take priest’s orders at Carthage, was accused by Paulinus, a deacon of that Church, of holding several false opinions. About the same time, St. Augustine wrote his first treatise against the same errors. Pelagius had retired into Palestine, whither Augustine sent Orosius, a Spanish presbyter, to accuse him before a synod of bishops at Jerusalem. Here, and at Diospolis, he was acquitted without censure. But in the year 416, two Councils, one at Carthage and another at Milevis, condemned the Pelagian opinions. Innocent, bishop of Rome, was written to by the Councils, and agreed in their decision. But in the year 417 he was succeeded by Zosimus, who, gained over by the ambiguous confession of the Pelagians, and being himself a great admirer of Origen, pronounced in their favour. Augustine, however, with the African bishops, persevered in their opposition; and Zosimus, yielding to their representations, changed his mind and condemned with great severity Pelagius and Cœlestius. They were again finally condemned at the third general council at Ephesus, which met to consider the tenets of Nestorius.[13]

The doctrines charged against Cœlestius at the Council of Carthage (A. D. 412) were —

“That Adam was created mortal, and would have died, whether he had sinned or not. That the sin of Adam hurt only himself, and not all mankind. That infants new born are in the same state that Adam was before his fall. That a man may be without sin, and keep God’s commandments, if he will.”[14]

Pelagius himself sent a creed to Innocent, in which he avoids a clear statement concerning original sin, but distinctly asserts, that, though we all need the help of God, we can all keep God’s laws, if we will. The principal apponents of Pelagius were Augustine, Jerome, and Fulgentius.[15]

The controversies thus called forth were not soon allayed. A new sect soon arose from the former one, called Semi-Pelagians, whose opinions concerning original sin were not so objectionable as those of Pelagius, but who ascribed far too much to the unassisted strength of the human will.[16]

The sentiments of Pelagius found considerable favour in his native island of Britain, and caused many and grievous troubles to the Church there. Germanus, bishop of Auxerre, and Lupus, bishop of Troyes, were sent over to Britain by the Gallican Church, to confute the growing heresy, and had great success, if we may credit ancient accounts, in opposing both the temporal and spiritual enemies of the Church.[17] The famous Dewi, or St. David, was afterwards greatly distinguished for the zeal and ability with which he opposed the prevailing error and aided in its overthrow. Especially at the Council of Llanddewi Brefi in Cardiganshire, his eloquence and arguments are said to have availed to the silencing of his adversaries, and the establishing of his own celebrity. He was hereupon unanimously erected primate, the aged Dyvrig (Dubritius) resigning in his favour; and he afterwards called another synod at Caerleon, where his exertions were rewarded by the extermination of the heresy.[18]

The schoolmen, in the Middle Ages, as might have been expected, debated much concerning the subject of original sin. Original Righteousness they seem to have considered something superadded to the original nature of man, not a part of that nature. According to Luther’s statement of their opinions, it was “an ornament added to man, as a wreath upon a maiden’s hair is an ornament bestowed on her, and not a part of herself.”[19] Original sin, therefore, was the loss or privation of original righteousness, and man was an object of God’s displeasure, not as possessing what was offensive to God, but as wanting in that which was pleasing to Him. The body was infected by the fall, whether from the poison of the forbidden fruit, or from whatever cause; but the soul suffered only as deprived of that which Adam possessed, the presence of God and supernatural righteousness, and as having the imputation of sin derived from Adam.[20] The infection of the body was indeed fomes peccati, a fuel which might be kindled into sin; but the soul contracted guilt from imputation of Adam’s guilt, not sin from the inheritance of Adam’s sin, though deprived of primitive righteousness, a quality dependent on the presence and indwelling of God. St. Augustine had doubted whether the soul as well as the body was derived from the parents, and so contracted sin from them. But the schoolmen, deciding that the soul came direct from God, of necessity were led to deny a direct derivation of sin to the soul, confining its pollution to the body, which then infects the soul; and so they made the defect of the soul to consist in an absence of good, rather than in presence and dominion of evil.[21]

In the Council of Trent there was much discussion of the doctrine of the fathers and schoolmen on this article; after which the following decrees were finally determined on: (1) That Adam by transgressing lost holiness and justice, incurred the wrath of God, death, thraldom to the devil, and was infected both in soul and body. (2) That Adam derived to his posterity death of body, and sin of soul. (3) That sin, transmitted by generation, not by imitation, can be abolished by no remedy but the death of Christ, and that the merit of Christ is applied to children in baptism, as well as to adults. (4) That newly-born children ought to be baptized, as having contracted sin from Adam. (5) That by the grace of baptism the guilt of original sin is remitted, and that all is removed which hath the true and proper nature of sin. And though the concupiscence remaining is called by the Apostle sin, the Synod declared that it was not true and proper sin, but was so termed because it ariseth from sin and inclineth to it.[22]

The point on which these decrees differed from the Ninth Article of our Church, is in the entire cancelling of original sin in baptism. According to the Scholastic definition, that original sin consisted in the deprivation of original righteousness, the Council of Trent determined, that in baptism the soul was restored pure into the state of innocency, though the punishments which follow sin be not removed. This all the fathers expounded by saying that the perfection of Adam consisted in an infused quality, which adorned the soul, made it perfect and acceptable to God, and exempted the body from mortality. And God, for the merit of Christ, giveth unto those that are regenerated by baptism another quality called justifying grace, which, wiping out every blemish in the soul, maketh it pure, as was that of Adam; yea, in some it worketh greater effects than original righteousness, but only it worketh no effect on the body, whereby mortality and other natural defects are not removed.[23]

The Lutherans in this respect differed materially from the fathers of the Council; especially in maintaining that concupiscence had the nature of sin, and that the infection, though not the imputation of sin, remained in the baptized and regenerate.[24]

The second article of the Augsburg Confession, which is the principal confession of faith of the Lutheran divines, is evidently the source from which our own ninth Article was derived. Without defining the nature of original righteousness,[25] or the mode in which Adam lost it, it declares the doctrine, that every man born naturally from Adam is born in sin, without the faith and fear of God, and with concupiscence, which disease is truly sin and deserving of damnation, in all who are not born again by baptism and the Spirit.[26]

Calvin, speaking of original sin, says that “As the spiritual life of Adam consisted in union with his Maker, so alienation from Him was the death of his soul. When the heavenly image was obliterated in him, he did not alone sustain the punishment, but involved all his posterity in it. The impurity of the parents is so transmitted to the children that none are excepted; and that, not by imitation, but by propagation.” . . . “Original sin appears to be an hereditary depravity and corruption of our nature, diffused through all parts of the soul, which first makes men subject to God’s wrath, and then brings forth works in us which Scripture calls the works of the flesh.” . . . “His destruction is to be ascribed only to man, as he obtained uprightness from God’s mercy, and by his own folly fell into vanity.” . . . “His sin did not spring from nature, but was an adventitious quality which happened to man, rather than a substantial propriety which from the first was created in him.”[27]

Among Calvinistic divines in general there has been a difference concerning the first introduction of sin, chiefly as to whether Adam fell freely or by predestination of God: the sublapsarian Calvinists holding that Adam sinned of his own free will; the supralapsarians holding that God decreed that he should fall.

The chief point of difference between the two great parties which so long divided the Protestant Churches, the Calvinists and Arminians, was on the extent of the vitiation of our nature by the fall. The Calvinists taught that the corruption of man was so great that no spark of moral goodness was left in him; that he was utterly and totally bad and depraved; that, however amiable he might be in regard to his fellow-men, yet as regards God and godliness there was no relic of what he once was, any more than in lost spirits and damned souls. The Arminians rejected this strong view of the subject, and, admitting the great corruption of man’s heart and intellect, still maintained that some remains of his original condition might be traced in him; that his mind and will were indeed depraved and incapable of making any independent effort towards true godliness; but that he still differed materially from evil spirits or the spirits of the damned, having a natural conscience, and an appreciation of what is good and of good report.

The Calvinists have generally insisted much on the imputation of Adam’s sin to all his posterity, as the true meaning of original sin; though admitting that such imputation was accompanied with actual depravity in the heart of each individual.[28] Calvin himself seems rather to have held that all men were liable to condemnation, because of their own sinfulness derived from Adam, not because of the imputation of Adam’s sin.[29]

At the time of the Reformation, the Anabaptists appear to have adopted Pelagian opinions. The article on Original Sin, in the first draught of it as set forth in 1552, begins thus: “Original sin standeth not in the following of Adam, as the Pelagians do vainly talk, which also the Anabaptists do now-a-days renew.” Their rejection of infant baptism was of a piece, and naturally connected, with their denial of original sin.

In later times, the Socinians held on this subject thoroughly Pelagian language, and generally denied the corruption of human nature and the need of grace to turn men to godliness.

As regards the Church of England, there have been many attempts, on the one hand, to show that she used the language of the later Calvinists, on the other, to prove that she symbolized with the Arminians. The Articles were drawn up before the great Calvinistic controversy had arisen, and therefore do not use the terms of that controversy. It is pretty certain that, in this, and some of the following Articles, the English reformers symbolized with Melancthon and the Lutheran divines, whose very words in the Confession of Augsburg, or the Wirtemberg Confession, are frequently adopted in the wording of the Articles.[30]

There is nothing said in the Ninth Article on the imputation of Adam’s guilt, though that was a favourite subject of scholastic discussion, nor of the question, whether original righteousness meant merely primitive innocence, or consisted moreover in a preternatural gift, and in the indwelling and presence of God. The statements are quite general; yet sufficiently guarding the truth that every man naturally engendered of Adam brings into the world a nature inclined to evil, and very far removed from the original righteousness of our first parents; that this sinfulness of his nature deserves the wrath of God; and that, although the condemnation due to it is remitted to all who believe and are baptized, still even in the regenerate the infection, showing itself in the way of concupiscence, remains, and has of itself the nature of sin.

The homily “On the Misery of Man,” composed, or at least approved by Cranmer, breathes the same spirit. The homily on the Nativity, in the second book of homilies, drawn up some time later, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, may be referred to as expressing the doctrine of original sin in somewhat stronger language; the divines of Elizabeth’s reign having been brought into more intimate connection with the Calvinistic reformers, and sympathizing more with them, than was the case with the divines of the reign of Edward VI.

Section II. — Scriptural Proof.

IN considering the Scriptural proof of the doctrine of original sin here, it will be better to confine ourselves strictly to the statements of the Article, avoiding as much as possible those discussions which the Article itself avoids; neither entering into the distinctions of the schoolmen, nor the disputes of the Calvinists, but resting satisfied with the plain practical ground, which our own reformers thought broad and deep enough.

The Article then may be said to embrace the five following propositions: —

I. Original sin is the fault and corruption of our nature, which infects all men.

II. It is not derived by imitation, but inherited by birth.

III. Its extent is such that by it man is very far (quam longissime) gone from original righteousness.

IV. It deserves God’s wrath and condemnation.

V. Its infection is not entirely removed by baptism, but that infection remains even in the renati; and though there is no condemnation to them that believe and are baptized, yet still lust or concupiscence has the nature of sin.

I. That “original sin is the fault and corruption of our nature, which infects all men,” might be inferred from our general knowledge of mankind, and of the evil tempers even of childhood, if we had no express revelation of it.

In the earliest part of the Scripture history the Almighty declared, that “the imagination of man’s heart was evil from his youth” (Gen. viii. 21). Job attributed man’s weakness and sorrows to the fact that what was clean could not be brought from what was unclean (Job xiv. 4). David, acknowledging his own sin from his youth, confessed that he was “shapen in iniquity, and that in sin did his mother conceive him” (Ps. li. 5). Solomon declared that “there was not a just man on earth, that did good and sinned not” (Eccles. vii. 20). And Isaiah, in foretelling the sacrifice of Christ, gives as the reason for it, that “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way” (liii. 6. See also Gen. vi. 5‒12. Job xv. 16. Psalm xiv. 2, 3; lviii. 8; cvi. 6, &c. Prov. xxii. 15. Jer. xvii. 5, 9.)

These and similar passages, even before the coming of the Gospel, sufficiently showed that there was an evil coextensive with our race and coeval with our birth, from which none were exempt, and which went with us from the cradle to the grave.

There are many passages in the Gospels which show that the same doctrine pervades them; as our Lord’s declaration that “there is none good but One, that is God” (Matt. xix. 17); His committing Himself to no man, “for He knew what was in man” (John ii. 24, 25); His declaration that no one could enter into the Kingdom of God, “except he were born again of water and of the Spirit” (John iii. 3, 5, 6); nay, His institution of baptism, which all who would be saved must receive, showing that there was an uncleanness of nature, which needed to be washed away by grace.

But, of course, the writings of the Apostles, as being the more doctrinal portions of Scripture, treat most systematically on the subject. The whole of the earlier part of the Epistle to the Romans more especially treats of the sinfulness of man, which needs the sacrifice of Christ. The Apostle shows in the first chapter, that the Gentiles, notwithstanding the light of nature — the natural conscience which God had given them; and in the second chapter, that the Jews, although to them had been committed the oracles of God, had yet all been condemned by their own acts and by their own Law. In the third chapter, he concludes that all are under sin (Rom. iii. 9), that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. iii. 23). In the fifth chapter, he shows that, from the time of Adam, “death had passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (ver. 12). In the seventh chapter throughout, he describes the natural man moved by the dictates of conscience to approve what is good, and yet constrained by a law in his members — the law of sin and death working in him — to follow what is evil. He then considers the same natural man instructed by the revealed Law of God, consenting to the Law that it was good, and yet unable to fulfil it, because of the sin that dwelleth in him, and that binds him down to do what is base: so that he even represents the Law as bringing death rather than life, as showing the good and the beautiful, as kindling some feelings of desire for better things, but still as giving no power to reach after them. And all this, which he so strikingly describes to us, he tells us results from this cause, namely, that in man, that is in his natural condition, there dwelleth no good. “I know that in me, that is in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing.”[31] In the eighth chapter, he shows how this defect of our nature is remedied; that, whereas man by himself could not please God, whereas the Law was too weak, owing to the infirmity of man’s sinful nature, yet God sent His Son to save, and His Spirit to sanctify; and so those who are in the Spirit and no longer in the flesh, can fulfil the righteousness of the Law. But “the carnal mind is not subject to the law of God,” and “they who are in the flesh” (i. e. in a state of nature, and not under grace) “cannot please God,” Rom. viii. 8.[32] Just similar is St Paul’s language in his other Epistles; see, for example, Eph. iv. 22, where he speaks of “the old man, which is corrupt according to deceitful lusts;” Eph. ii. 1, and Col. ii. 13, where he speaks of men, before their conversion and baptism, as having been “dead in trespasses and sin;” Eph. ii. 3, where he speaks of both Jews and Gentiles as “by nature children of wrath;” Gal. iii. 22, where he says that “the Scripture hath concluded all under sin.”

We can scarcely need fuller proof that the Scriptures describe all men naturally born into the world as subject to the disease of sin.

II. We have next to prove, that “Original sin is not derived from imitation, but inherited by birth.”

In the third chapter of Genesis we have an account of the fall of Adam, and the consequent curse upon him, and the ground which he was to till.

Now the old Testament speaks of the impossibility of “bringing a clean thing out of an unclean” (Job xiv. 4), and asks, “What is man, that he should be clean? Or he which is born of a woman, that he should be righteous?” (Job xv. 14). The Psalmist, as we have seen, traces his own corruption to the fact that he was “shapen in iniquity, and conceived in sin” (Ps. li. 5). Such expressions imply that the sinfulness of parents passed to their children; and the universal taint which we have already seen to be existing, is traced to an inheritance derived from father to son.

Such, we cannot doubt, is the meaning of our Lord, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh” (John iii. 6). He was teaching Nicodemus the need which every one had to be born again, before he could see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus marvelled that a man should be born again. Our Lord explains that a spiritual birth was needed. And why? Because “that which was born of the flesh is flesh.” The flesh signifies the natural, carnal, unholy state of man, as contrasted with the holy, spiritual state of the redeemed and regenerate. Now our Lord declared that every man had need of a new birth, because “that which was born of the flesh was flesh.” Man inherited by birth the flesh, — a fleshly, an unspiritual, an unholy nature; therefore he needed a new birth, a birth of the Spirit, which should make him spiritual, even as his former birth of the flesh had made him carnal. This surely sufficiently demonstrates that every man by nature was in a state of defect, and that, because he inherited defect by birth. He was born of parents who were carnal, and therefore he was carnal himself.

Accordingly, St. Paul treats it as a well-known truth, that “in Adam all die” (1 Cor. xv. 22). And in the Epistle to the Romans (v. 12) he tells us, that “by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned;” that “through the offence of one many are dead” (ver. 15); that “by one man’s offence death reigned” (ver. 17); that “by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation” (ver. 18); that “by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners” (ver. 19).

It is true that the words thus cited might, if they stood alone, bear the Pelagian interpretation, that Adam brought in sin by bringing in the first example of sin, and that his children sinned after him by imitation of him, not because they derived a sinful nature from him; and so judgment passed upon all men, “because all had sinned,” their own personal sins having caused their condemnation. But St. Paul expressly guards against such an interpretation, by saying (ver. 14) that “death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression.” Death was the penalty, which all had paid, even before the Law of Moses came to give more fully the knowledge of sin; and it had reigned not only in those whose presumptuous wickedness resembled the sin of Adam, but even in those who had not sinned after that similitude, in infants and idiots, and such as only inherited the nature, without following the example of Adam. This doctrine corresponds with the doctrine of our Lord, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh.”

Accordingly, the Apostle, when speaking of human nature in general, calls it “sinful flesh” (Rom. viii. 3). Our Lord took our nature, such as it was derived from Adam, only He was “without sin;” but because He took that nature, which was then universally corrupted, therefore St. Paul says, “He was sent in the likeness of sinful flesh.” And with this doctrine entirely corresponds all that the Apostles write of the corruption of men by nature, and of the change or new birth necessary for every man who is in Christ; e. g. “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God” (1 Cor. ii. 15). “I know that in me, that is in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing” (Rom. vii. 18). “They that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh” (Rom. viii. 5). “The carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God” (Rom. viii. 7, 8). “The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh” (Gal. v. 17). Again, “If any man be in Christ he is a new creature” (2 Cor. v. 17). And the sinfulness of our natural state is called “the old man;” and Christians are said to have “put off the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and to have put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Eph. iv. 22‒24).

Now all this language appears to prove that sin is a corruption and disease, affecting not only individuals, but the whole of human nature, so that whosoever inherits human nature inherits it so diseased. It is “the flesh,” a nature debased and defiled; and whatever is born of the flesh is flesh also. Adam, we find from the second chapter of Genesis, received from God a nature free from sin, and so not subject to shame. But he defiled it with sin, and it became at once subject to shame, and then subject to death. Accordingly, when he handed down that nature to his posterity, he could not hand it down pure as he had received it; he of necessity gave it to them as he had himself made it, stained with sin, liable to shame, having the seeds of mortality, and subject to condemnation. This view of the subject explains and satisfies the language of Scripture; and no other view will. There have been popular illustrations of it, such as the comparison of the hereditary taints of disease and insanity, and other ways in which, in God’s providence, the sins of the fathers are visited on the children. There have been philosophical discussions concerning the oneness of human nature, interesting in themselves, but unsuited to our limits here.[33] We have already seen that there have been discussions as to whether the body only, or soul and body both, are derived from the parent, and so corrupted by his sins. Even this I have not fully entered into; though it is plain that Scripture speaks of man, not man’s body only, as corrupted and condemned. “In Adam all die.” From Adam “all have sinned” (Rom. v. 12). Sin is a fault of the soul, and therefore plainly both body and soul are tainted with corruption.

III. We have next to consider the degree or extent of corruption, thus naturally inherited by all men. Does original sin totally corrupt all men, so that there is no spark of natural goodness left? Or are there still relics of what man once was? still, though in wreck and ruin, some faint outline of his original state of purity?

It has been contended that the words of our Article mean both of these sides of the alternative. Calvinists appeal to the words “quam longissime,” in the Latin Article, as proving that man’s defection from original righteousness was to the greatest extent possible, that is to say, total and entire.[34] Their opponents argued that the convocation had translated these words by “very far,” showing that it was intended only to express a great and serious defection of our race from godliness, not a total destruction of moral sense and feeling.

The Scriptures evidently represent natural sinfulness as very great. The Almighty, speaking of the race before the flood, said that “every imagination of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen. vi. 5). Yet this might apply only to that generation, which had become so wicked as to call for signal judgment and destruction. But then, after the flood, once more God declares that “He will not again curse the ground for man’s sake; though[35] the imagination of his heart be only evil from his youth” (Gen. viii. 21). This seems to be a more general proposition, indicating at least that man’s heart might prove as evil after the flood as it had done before.

In the book of Job, Eliphaz the Temanite says that God “putteth no trust in His saints, and the heavens are not clean in His sight. How much more abominable and filthy is man which drinketh iniquity like water” (Job xv. 16). We must not always consider the words of Job’s friends as of authority in matters of faith, since their judgment is afterwards condemned by God; and we must make allowance for the strong antithesis between God and man; yet still the passage shows that to a pious man like Job it was an argument likely to be admitted, that man was so filthy as to “drink iniquity like water.”

In Jer. xvii. 9, we read, that “the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; who can know it?” It is truly argued that “desperately wicked” is an epithet stronger than the original warrants. The Hebrew word אָנֻשׁ signifies rather dangerously sick, and therefore feeble, and in a moral sense, corrupted and depraved. Yet still the passage shows that the heart of man, taken in the general, is so corrupted and depraved as to be eminently deceitful and hard to know.

To these passages from the old Testament are added the words of St. Paul, “I know that in me, that is in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing,” Rom. vii. 18; and then again, “The carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be,” Rom. viii. 7.

Such language undoubtedly proves the very great corruption of the human heart, so that we cannot hesitate to say with our Church, that by nature “man is very far gone from original righteousness.” He is described as “dead in trespasses and sins,” and therefore we ought undoubtedly to maintain that his corruption is such as to prevent him from making any efforts to recover himself and turn by his own strength to calling upon God. This is the practical part of the doctrine, and our Church goes no farther.

Those who would push the matter to its greatest length, contend that the passages above quoted show that the image of God, in which man was created, was utterly taken from him at the fall; that he thenceforth had no trace of resemblance to what he once was; and, though they may not use language so strong, the natural conclusion from that which they do use is, that in a moral point of view there is no distinction between fallen humanity and evil spirits.

Those who differ with them argue that God’s image was indeed defaced by sin, and so the effect and blessing of it lost. But that that image was quite gone they consider disproved by the declaration that “whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God made He man” (Gen. ix. 6), — by St. Paul’s statement, that the man “is the image and glory of God” (1 Cor. xi. 7), — by St. James’s reasoning, that it is inconsistent with the same mouth to bless God, and to “curse men, which are made after the similitude of God” (James iii. 9). All these passages, they say, refer to men since the fall, and therefore prove that, whatever effect the fall may have had, it cannot have wholly obliterated the image of the Almighty.

They say farther, that when St. Paul says that “in him, that is in his flesh, dwelleth no good thing,” he yet adds, “that to will is present with him, but how to perform that which is good he finds not” (Rom. vii. 18); and that he all along represents man as approving of what is right, but unable to accomplish it, — as honoring the law, but not fulfilling it, — as even “delighting in the law of God after the inward man,” but finding another law ruling in his members, “which brings him into captivity to the law of sin” (Rom. vii. 22, 23). Hence, though man is captivated and subdued by sin, there must be some relic of his former state to make him see and admire what is good, though unable to follow it; and so the Apostle speaks of all men as subject to the dictates of natural conscience (Rom. ii. 14, 15), and does not hesitate to reason with unregenerate heathens, of “righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come” (Acts xxiv. 25).

These and like expressions in Scripture, it is thought, are inconsistent with the stronger language which some have used concerning human depravity; although there is fully enough to show the universal and fearful corruption of our nature, and our utter inability of ourselves to become righteous, or to move upwards towards God and goodness.

IV. We come next to consider the statement which is made in the Article, that original sin “in every person born into the world deserveth God’s wrath and damnation.” Dr. Hey thinks that the word “damnation” is not necessarily to be understood of condemnation to eternal death, but may be construed, according to the proper signification of the term, to mean merely condemnation of some kind or other. The language of the Article is undoubtedly guarded, and studiously avoids expressing anything which cannot be clearly proved from Scripture. It is possible, therefore, that this may have been its meaning. But in either sense of the word, we shall probably find fully sufficient support for the doctrine expressed.

The language of St. Paul already quoted, “in Adam all die” (1 Cor. xv. 22), “By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men; for that all have sinned” (Rom. v. 12), shows that the woe denounced upon Adam, as the effect of his own sin, passed from him to his posterity, as the effect of that sinfulness which they inherited from him. Accordingly, the same Apostle calls all men “children of wrath” (Ephes. ii. 3); and that we may be sure that this is true, not only of adults who have sinned wilfully, but even of infants, who have only inherited a sinful nature, we find our Lord, when speaking of the importance of the souls of little children, and of the guardianship of angels over them, attributing the blessings of their condition to His having delivered them from their original state, which was that of those that are lost. “For,” said He, “the Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost” (Matt. xviii. 11). With this corresponds the before-cited passage of St. Paul: “Death reigned from Adam unto Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression.”

We find therefore all men, even children, represented as “lost,” as “children of wrath,” as subject to, and under the reign of “death.” And this is said to have been brought in by the sin of one man, even Adam, and to have “passed upon all men; for that all have sinned.”

We cannot fail to infer, that, as Adam by sin became subject to wrath and death, so all men are subject to the same wrath and death, because, by having a nature in itself sinful, they are, even without the commission of actual sin, yet sinners before God, and esteemed as “having sinned.”

The death which Adam brought in is clearly (in Rom. v. and 1 Cor. xv.) opposed to the life which Christ bestows. That life is spiritual; and we therefore reason that the death, which is antithetic to it, is spiritual too. The conclusion is, that every person born into the world has a sinful nature and a sinful heart, which, though it have not broken out in acts of sin, yet constitutes him a sinner, so that he may be said to “have sinned;” and that, on this account, he is liable to death, whether by death be meant death of the body, or death of the soul.

It appears to me that our Church takes this view of the subject, and so follows closely on the teaching of St. Paul. She has said nothing concerning that hypothesis which was current among the schoolmen, and in general has prevailed amongst the followers of St. Augustine, that Adam’s sin was imputed to his posterity, and that, as Levi was esteemed to have paid tithes in Abraham, being “yet in the loins of his father” (Heb. vii. 9, 10), so all men are esteemed to have sinned in Adam, and thus have his act of disobedience imputed to them.[36] The hypothesis is ingenious as explaining the language of the Apostle, but seems scarcely to correspond with his assertion that “death passed upon all men for that all have sinned.”[37] It may be said indeed that they are esteemed to have sinned. But the statement is simply that they “have sinned.” And it is much easier to understand that a being of sinful disposition should be considered as having done that to which his disposition inevitably leads him, and which he has only left undone for lack of opportunity, than it is to suppose that he should be esteemed to have committed an act which was really committed by another, five thousand years before his birth. At all events, where our Church leaves it, let it rest.

V. It remains only to show that the infection of original sin is not (as the Council of Trent ruled it) wholly removed by baptism, but that it remains even in the renati; and, though there is no condemnation to them that believe and are baptized, yet the lust or concupiscence, which remains in all men, has the nature of sin.

1. Let us first remark, that “There is no condemnation to them that believe and are baptized.” This is plain from our Lord’s words in His commission to His Apostles: “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved” (Mark xvi. 16). It is not less plain from the language of St. Peter, who, when asked by his hearers what they should do for salvation, replied, “Repent, and be baptized”[38] (Acts ii. 38).

The questions which may arise concerning the baptism of young children, may properly be reserved for the Article which treats expressly of baptism. Here it is sufficient to observe that our Church, though not admitting that all taint of original sin is done away in baptism, yet holds that its condemnation is remitted. “It is certain,” she says, “by God’s word, that children which are baptized, dying before they commit actual sin, are undoubtedly saved.”[39]

2. But, though we thus believe that the condemnation which original sin deserves, is, for Christ’s sake, remitted to all that believe and are baptized, and, in the case of infants dying before the commission of actual sin, is remitted on baptism alone; still we hold that the infection of that sin remains even in the renati. The word renati occurs twice in the Latin Article, and in the English Article it is translated first “regenerated,” and secondly “baptized.” It will be seen hereafter on what principles the Church identifies “baptized” and “regenerated;” it is sufficient for our purpose now to observe that both ideas are embraced in the word used here.

Now that the baptized and regenerate Christian is not free from the infection of original corruption, but has to fight against it, as an enemy still striving to keep him down, and, if possible, to destroy him, appears from the following considerations.

St. James urges Christians not to be in a hurry to be teachers, and gives as a reason that in many things all Christians offend: “In many things we offend all” (James iii. 2). St. Paul, speaking of his own exertions in the service of the Church, says that it will not do for him, when working for others, to neglect himself, but on the contrary, says he, “I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection, lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway” (1 Cor. ix. 27). He bids the Galatians, “If a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted” (Gal. vi. 1). To those who “are risen with Christ,” and whom he bids to “seek those things which are above,” he yet adds the warning to mortify their earthly members (that is, the members or characteristics of their old man), which he describes as “fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness;” and further bids them put off “anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication, lying,” as being suitable only to the old man which they had put off, and unfitted for the new man which they had put on (Col. i. 1, 5, 8, 9). St. Peter, addressing the Church as “newborn babes” in Christ (1 Pet. ii. 2), yet exhorts them (ver. 11), “as pilgrims and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.”

Now all these passages, which clearly concern baptized and regenerate Christians, prove this: that there is still left in them a liability to sin; that without much care and anxiety all will fall into sin; and that even under all circumstances, all do “offend in many things.” Accordingly, St. John says of those whose “fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ,” that “if they say that they have no sin, they deceive themselves, and the truth is not in them” (1 John i. 8). Can anything account for this universally applicable language, except the fact, as stated by our Church, that the infection of original sin remains even in the regenerate or baptized?

3. Lastly, the Article asserts that “concupiscence and lust hath the nature of sin.”

The Council of Trent admitted the existence of lust and concupiscence in the regenerate, and admitted that such concupiscence arose from original sin, and tended to actual sin, but denied that it was sin in itself. The English Church is here at issue with the fathers of the Council.

Her opinion on this point is defended by such passages as these: “Let not sin reign in your mortal bodies, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof” (Rom. vi. 12), where the lusts of sin seem clearly to be spoken of as sinful. Again, Rom. vii. 7: “I had not known sin but by the Law; for I had not known lust, except the Law had said, Thou shalt not covet.” Here lust and sin seem to be identified. Again, in Matt. v. (especially vv. 28, 29) our Lord speaks of the desire of sin as being itself sin. And in the passage quoted in the Article (Gal. v. 17), St. Paul says that “the flesh lusteth against the Spirit.” Now we can hardly understand how the lusts of the natural man should be opposed to the Spirit of God, and yet be sinless. We conclude, therefore, that “lust and concupiscence hath of itself the nature of sin.”[40]


  1. See the account of this custom at length in Wall’s History of Infant Baptism, Introd.
  2. Mark i. 4. Acts xxii. 16.
  3. See especially the quotations from Clem. Rom. I. pp. 47, 48; Justin Martyr, pp. 64, 68; Tertullian, p. 95; Origen, p. 121; Cyprian, p. 182. Compare Bishop Kaye’s Justin Martyr, p. 75; Tertullian, p. 325.
  4. Malum igitur animæ, præter quod ex obventu spiritus nequam superstruitur, ex originis vitio antecedit, naturale quodammodo. Nam, ut diximus, naturæ corruptio alia natura est, habens suum Deum et patrem, ipsum scilicet corruptionis auctorem. — De Anima, c. 41; Bp. Kaye, p. 326. See also cap. 40; Ita omnis anima eousque in Adam censetur, donec in Christo recenseatur; tamdiu immunda, quamdiu recenseatur.
  5. Porro autem si etiam gravissimis delictoribus, et in Deum multum ante peccantibus, cum postea crediderint, remissa peccatorum datur, et a baptismo atque a gratia nemo prohibetur; quanto magis prohiberi non debet infans, qui recens natus nihil peccavit, nisi quod, secundum Adam carnaliter natus, contagium mortis antiquæ prima nativitate contraxit? qui ad remissam peccatorum accipiendam hoc ipso facilius accedit, quod illi remittuntur non propria, sed aliena peccata. — Cyprian. Epist. 64 ad Fidum. Wall, I. p. 128.
  6. Eusebius, H. E. v. 20. See Heylyn, Historia Quinquarticularis, ch. I.; Beaven’s Irenæus, p. 24; also Augustin. Hæres. 66, Tom. VIII. p. 21.
  7. Lardner’s Hist. of Heretics, ch. x. § x. Bp. Kaye’s Tertullian, ch. VII.
  8. Augustin. De Hæres. 15.
  9. Augustin. De Hæres. 70; Adstruunt etiam fatalibus stellis homines colligatos.
  10. See Mosheim, Cent. III. Pt. II. ch. v. The Manichees are said to have taught that “sin was a substance.” And Saturninus and the Manichees are said to have taught that sin was in man “a natura, non a culpa,” which accounts for the language of the fathers against them, e. g. Theodoret, Dial. I.: ἡ ἁμαρτία οὐκ ἔστι τῆς ϕύσεως ἀλλὰ τῆς κακῆς προαιρέσεως. See Suicer, I. p. 208. The Manichees did not consider sin to lie in a depravation of the whole natural actions and thoughts of a man, but in an evil constitution of a portion of his nature, which they traced to that principle whom they considered as the creator of all the evil in the universe.
  11. See, for example, the passage quoted by Wall, I. p. 121.
  12. See Dupin, Eccles. Hist. Cent. III. Art. Origen. See also a good, though popular, account of Origen’s opinions in the Biography of the Early Church, by the Rev. R. W. Evans. Origen has very generally been charged with semi-Pelagianism, and with being the forerunner of the Pelagian heretics. It is very difficult to judge clearly and impartially about his opinions. A variety of causes tend to obscure them. It is, however, certain that at times he speaks most clearly of all men being born in sin, and needing purification. For example, Augustine could not speak more plainly than the following: — Quod si placet audire quid etiam alii sancti de ista nativitate senserint, audi David dicentem: In iniquitatibus, inquit, conceptus sum et in peccatis peperit me mater mea: ostendens quod quæcumque anima in carne nascitur, iniquitatis et peccati sorde polluitur: et propterea dictum esse illud quod jam superius memoravimus, quia nemo mundus a sorde, nec si unius diei sit vita ejus. Addi his etiam potest, ut requiratur quid causæ sit, cum baptisma Ecclesiæ pro remissione peccatorum detur, secundum Ecclesiæ observantiam etiam parvulis baptismum dari; cum utique si nihil esset in parvulis quod ad remissionem deberet et indulgentiam pertinere, gratia baptismi superflua videretur. — Origen. Homil. in Levitic. VIII. num 3.
  13. See the history of Pelagius and Pelagianism given by Wall, Hist. of Infant Baptism, I. ch. XIX.; Mosheim, Cent. v. Pt. II. ch. v.; Neander, IV. pp. 299‒362. Also the History of Pelagianism given in the Preface to the tenth volume of the Benedictine edition of St. Augustine’s works.
  14. Wall, I. p. 357.
  15. The Pelagians endeavoured to prove that some of the ancient fathers, especially of the Greek Church, used their language, and denied the existence of sin in infants. Augustine, in his treatise contra Julianum, shows, in opposition to that heretic, that St. Chrysostom (whom Julian had cited in favour of Pelagianism) had in reality plainly expressed the doctrine of original sin. — Aug. Contra Julianum, Lib. I. cap. VI. Vol. x. p. 509. Wall, I. p. 416.
  16. See below, under Article X.
  17. Bede, Hist. Lib. I. cap. XVII.‒XXII. Stillingfleet’s Orig. Britan. ch. IV. Collier’s Eccl. Hist. Book I.
  18. Gildas Cambrensis. Rees’s Welsh Saints, p. 193. Usher, Brit. Eccl. Antiq. c. v. xiii. Williams’s Antiq. of the Cymry, pp. 134, 287.
  19. Luther, Op. vi. p. 38, ap. Laurence Bampton Lectures, p. 56.
  20. See Laurence, Serm. III. pp. 56‒59, and note 2, p. 252. The fathers appear, almost with one consent, to have held that original righteousness consisted both of natural innocence and of the grace of God vouchsafed to Adam. The one was lost simultaneously with the other. Indeed, the one could not exist without the other. Original righteousness, therefore, according to the primitive teaching, was not only defect of sin, but also the presence of God’s Spirit. At the fall, God’s Spirit was forfeited, and primeval innocence lost at the same time. See this proved, with his usual learning and clearness of reasoning, by Bp. Bull, Works, II. Disc. v. Oxf. 1827. Bp. Bull gives strong reasons for believing this to be both the universal belief of the primitive Church and the doctrine of the sacred Scriptures themselves.
  21. Sarpi, Council of Trent, p. 163. Neander, VIII. pp. 184‒198, gives a very interesting account of the scholastic discussions on Original Sin.
  22. Concupiscentiam Ecclesiam nunquam intellexisse peccatum appellari, quod vere et proprie in renatis peccatum sit, sed quia ex peccato est, et ad peccatum inclinat. — Concil. Trident. Sess. v. Sec. 5. See Anathemas in the fifth Session, Sarpi, p. 173. A great dispute arose between the Dominicans and Franciscans, the latter insisting that the Virgin Mary should be declared free from the taint of original sin, — the Dominicans maintaining the contrary opinion. (Sarpi, p. 168). The Council in the end declared, that it did not mean to comprehend the B. Virgin in the decree (p. 173). Augustine had before professed himself unwilling to discuss the question of the Virgin’s sinfulness, or how far grace might have overcome sin in her, out of reverence to our Lord. (See Wall, Infant Baptism, I. p. 404.)
  23. Sarpi, p. 166.
  24. Ideo sic respondemus; in baptismo tolli peccatum quod ad reatum seu imputationem attinet, sed manere morbum ipsum, &c. — Melancthon, Loc. Theolog. p. 122, ap. Laurence, p. 258.
  25. The Saxon confession, however, clearly speaks of original righteousness as something beyond mere innocency, calling it — in ipsa natura hominum lux, conversio voluntatis ad deum. . . . . ac fuisset homo templum Dei, &c. — Sylloge Confessionum, p. 246.
  26. II. De Peccato Originis. Item docent, quod post lapsum Adæ omnes homines, secundum naturam propagati, nascantur cum peccato, hoc est sine metu Dei, sine fiducia erga Deum, et cum concupiscentia, quodque hic morbus, seu vitium originis vere sit peccatum, damnans et afferens nunc quoque æternam mortem his qui non renascuntur per baptismum et Spiritum Sanctum. Damnant Pelagianos, et alios, qui vitium originis negant esse peccatum, et ut extenuent gloriam meriti et beneficiorum Christi, disputant hominem propriis viribus rationis coram Deo justificari posse. — Confession of Augsburg. Compare the Saxon Confession, Art. De Peccato Originis.
  27. Calvin, Inst. Lib. II. cap. 1, 5, 6, 8, — II.
  28. See, for example, Edwards, On Original Sin, Part IV. ch. III. — an able and judicious exposition of the Calvinistic view of this doctrine.
  29. Atque ideo infantes quoque ipsi, dum suam secum damnationem afferunt, non alieno, sed suo ipsorum vitio sunt obstricti — Calv. Inst. Lib. II. cap. 1, Sect. 8; Laurence, B. L. Serm. III. note 8, p. 261.
  30. See Laurence, B. L. notes to Serm II., especially notes 8 and 11.
  31. Rom. vii. 18: “In my flesh,” of course means in my natural and carnal state, according to the common Pauline antithesis of the flesh and the spirit. No doubt, many persons have thought that the Apostle in this chapter is speaking of his own struggles against sin still dwelling in him, when under the dominion of grace. But it has always appeared to me that the whole thread of the apostle’s argument is broken, and the whole force of his reasoning destroyed by this hypothesis. The fact that he uses the first person singular need not puzzle us for a moment. It is his common habit to speak in the first person, when he means to represent himself as the type of others, of the world at large, or of others situated like himself. One sentence in the chapter, if it stood alone, would be enough to prove that the Apostle is not describing the state and conflict of a regenerate Christian. It is in v. 14: “I am carnal, sold under sin.” The redeemed Christian, “bought with a price,” and delivered “from the bondage of corruption, into the glorious liberty of the children of god,” can never truly be represented as still “sold under sin.” Christ has made him free, “and he is free indeed.”
  32. We must take care that by the expression, “the flesh,” in Rom. vii. viii. we do not suppose the Apostle to mean the body, the material part of our being. This would be the Manichean error. It is not the body only, but the whole man, that the Scriptures speak of as infected with sin. Compare John iii. 6. Gal. v. 19, 20. 1 Cor. iii. 3, 4.
  33. See, for example, Hooker, Bk. v.; Wilberforce, On the Incarnation, ch. III. This was the view of St. Augustine, more fully expanded by the realists among the schoolmen.
  34. “The Assembly of Divines,” in the year 1643, revised the first fifteen Articles with the view of making them speak more clearly the language of Calvinism. The Ninth, according to their revision, was to have stood thus: — “Original sin standeth not in the following of Adam, as the Pelagians do vainly talk, but, together with his first sin imputed, it is the fault and corruption of the nature of every man that naturally is propagated from Adam; whereby man is wholly deprived of original righteousness,” &c. And ending with “the Apostle doth confess that concupiscence and lust is truly and properly sin.” — Neale’s Hist. of Puritans, v. Appendix, No. VII. London, Baynes, 1822. See also Laurence, B. L. p. 196.
  35. Though,” the translation of the margin of the English version, probably expresses the כִּי of this passage better than “for.” The conjunction assigns the reason why God had cursed the earth, not why He would not curse it again.
  36. See Edwards, On Original Sin, Part IV. ch. III. Bp. Burnet, in stating the objections to this doctrine, gives this among the rest: “It is no small prejudice against this opinion that it was so long before it first appeared in the Latin Church; that it was never received in the Greek; and that even the Western Church, though perhaps for some ignorant ages it received it, as it did everything else very implicitly, yet has been very much divided both about this, and many other opinions related to it, or arising out of it.” — Burnet on Art. IX.
  37. The marginal translation of ἐϕ’ ᾧ “in whom,” would much favour this hypothesis. But it needs proof that ἐϕ’ ᾧ will bear such a rendering. Although Augustine, taking the Latin mistranslation in quo, built on it something of the imputation theory, he explains it very moderately, namely, that infants sinned in Adam, because the whole human race was then contained in Adam, and would inherit his sinful nature. Quoting Rom. v. 12, he continues: — Unde nec illud liquidè dici potest, quod peccatum Adæ etiam non peccantibus nocuit, cum Scriptura dicat, in quo omnes peccaverunt. Nec sic dicuntur ista aliena peccata, tamquam omnino ad parvulos non pertineant: si quidem in Adam tunc peccaverunt, quando, in ejus naturâ illâ insitâ vi quâ eos gignere poterat, adhuc omnes illi unus fuerunt; sed dicuntur aliena, quia nondum ipsi agebant vitas proprias, sed quicquid erat in futura propagine, vita unius hominis continebat. — De Peccatorum Meritis et Remissione. Lib. III. c. 7, Tom. x. p. 78.
  38. The same appears in express terms from Rom. viii. 1: “There is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus.” Compare Gal. iii. 27.
  39. Rubric at the end of the Baptismal Service.
  40. The connection between lust and sin is very apparent in the Hebrew language, which derives many of its usages from its theology. Thus הַוָּה signifies both desire and wickedness. In Arabic [could not transcribe] is Vasta cupiditas, Amor intensissimus, from [could not transcribe] to desire. So in Hebrew, הַוָּה is (1) desire, as in Prov. x. 3, יֶהְדֹּף הַוַּת רְשָּׁעִים “He withholdeth the desire of the wicked.” (2) wickedness, as Ps. v. 10, קִרְבָּם הַוּוֹת, “Their inward part is very wickedness.” Where the plural form gives intensity.


E. Harold Browne

(Edward) Harold Browne was an English bishop, born at Aylesbury and educated at Eton and Cambridge. He was ordained in 1836, and two years later was elected senior tutor of Emmanuel College, Cambridge. From 1843 to 1849 he was vice-principal of St David’s College, Lampeter, and in 1854 was appointed Norrisian professor of divinity at Cambridge. His best-known book is the Exposition of the Thirty-nine Articles (vol. i., Cambridge, 1850; vol. ii., London, 1853), which remained for many years a standard work on the subject and is still beloved today. In 1864 he was consecrated bishop of Ely.

'Exposition of the Thirty-nine Articles – Article IX' has no comments

Be the first to comment this post!

Would you like to share your thoughts?

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

(c) 2024 North American Anglican