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or of the mind and practice in conjunction, by which a person chuses to do what in reason and justice he ought not, or chuses to avoid what in reason and justice he ought to do ; consequently, no one can be guilty of sin, till they do actually chufe to do, or avoid doing as aforesaid; and therefore whatever weakness or disorder Adam brought upon himself, and his pofterity, by his transgression, which makes them less able to withstand temptations, and strongly inclines them to comply with those temptations, when under them, such a disorder is indeed mankind's misfortune, but it cannot, in the nature of the thing, be their crime; because it is not the transgression of a law, but only a great disadvantage to those who are obliged to be governed by a law, and are liable to suffer for the breach of it. Thus, for example, suppose a man to be of a very cholerick disposition in his nature, which very strongly disposes him to funful onger, when provoked, this cholerick disposition is lodged in his constitution, and is what he cannot prevent or remove, and therefore in itself can be no crime, but if when he is provoked, he doth not bridle and restrain this difposition, but suffers himself to be hurried into sinful anger by it, then indeed he becomes criminal. It is not his cholerick disposition, but his tranfgrefsing of a law, which that disposition contributed to, which is sinful, and therefore tho that disposition is his great misfortune, yet it is not his crime. The case is the same in all those dispositions and inclinations which mankind may be supposed to receive from Adam, and to be labouring under ; they are so many impediments in the way of our duty, but they are so far from being criminal in themselves, that on the contrary, they do rather, in reason and equity, lessen and extenuate that crime, which they are the
occafion of betraying us into ; such fins being called fins of informity; and God is so far from taking an advantage against us for it, or imputo ing it to us as a crime, that on the contrary he in pity to us, on this account, gave us such an highpriest as was touch'd with the feeling of our infirmi, ties, who was in all points tempted as we are, and yet without. fin, as in Heb. iv. 15. He appointed that his Son, or our high-priest, should take upon him our flesh, and become man, that in experiencing in himself the weakness and frailty of human nature, and how much bodily appetites and suffering do tempt and dispose to fin, he might be the better disposed to commiserate, pity, and help all in those circumstances, and so might be, as well a merciful as a faithful high-priest, in things pertaining to God, as in chap. ii. 17. Besides, when men talk of receiving from Adam an inclination to sin, it looks as if they did not ar all consider what they talk about; because if we receive such an inclination, this must be an inclination at all times; for otherwise, as it would not be natural, if it was only upon some occasions in us, so if there were some times when we are free from this inclination, we should certainly be free in the time of infancy, and consequently no one: would be a sinner, till this inclination did actually, take place in him.
Again, As this inclination must be at all times, fo it must be to only one particular fin, or else it must be to all kind of fin in general. If to only one particular sin, then it must be to that particular fin which Adam was guilty of, viz. the grasi tifying his appetite against law; but that all mankind have a perpetual inclination to gratify their appetices against law, is false in fact; for a disorder in our bodies oftentimes takes away all appetite to cating and drinking, and we are so far
from having in us an inclination to gratify ouo appetite against law, that on the contrary our inclination is against the gratifying our appetite at all. If this inclination is to all fin in general, this is impossible ; because fome sins are so contrary to others in their nature, that we cannot have an inclination to one, but we must have an averfion to the other. Thus the man who is inclined to the fan of coveteousness, is averse to the fin of profufeness. The case is the same with respect to many other fins. That there is in men an inclination to gratify their appetites and affections, and that this inclination is natural, I readily grant ; but that this inclination is sinful, this I deny '; because as it is natural, so it is the work of God in us; for as God planted in our nature those appetites and affections, so it was he that planted in us the inclination to gratify them; and this took place in Adam, antecedent to his tranfgreffion, or else he had never transgreffed ; for if he had not had in himself an inclination to eat that which did appear to be good for food, he had never eaten of the forbidden fruit; nay, he had not eaten at all.
Here it may not be amiss to observe the weakness human nature was under when in its original hate, as appears from Adan, who was drawn into sin upon so fight a temptation. Men are apt to make a wide difference between Adam's state before he had eaten the forbidden fruit, and after he had eaten it, with respect to his inclination to fin; but if this matter was carefully considered, it would appear that the difference was not so great as it is usually reprefented to be ; because he could scarce be drawn into fin with a weaker temptation after it, than he was before it. And even now, men must be grown old in wicked-, ness, before they commit lin without a tempta
tion. Upon the whole, I think it abundantly evident, that no person is a sinner, till he actually and perfonally transgresses, either with the mind fingly, or with the mind and practice in conjunction. And as to those places of scripture, which the objection refers to, when they are examined, it will appear, that they are far from proving what they are produced for.
As to Job xiv. 4. Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one. To this 1 answer, that this text is quite beside the objectors purpose. The words considered barely by themselves ( without any relation to the subject Job was treating of) are a general affertion, viz. that à clean thing cannot be brought out of an unclean; which is the fame as to say, the stream cannot be more pure than its fountain. Now this, as a general affèrtion, is true; but when this is used metaphorically, and is applied to other subjects, then it must be brought under such limitations as the subject it is applied to, doth require. Thus our Lord faith, Every tree is known by its fruit, a good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a currupt tree bring forth good fruit ; this our Lord applies to the falje prophets, and tells his disciples, by their fruits they should know them, as in Matt. vii. 15---20. Here the tree is as the fountain, and the fruit is as the stream ; but if the metaphor be strictly applied, this is not true ; for a good tree does fometimes bring forth evil fruit, tho' not generally so. The case is the same with men and their actions, which are as the fountain to the stream. David was a good man, and yet he brought forth some bad fruit or actions, and Ahab was a bad man, and yet he brought forth some good actions. viz. he humbly himself at the divine threat, and God spared him from the destruction threatened for its fake, as in 1 Kings xxi. 29. Thus we see that N2
when the aforesaid affertion, is metaphorically applied to other subjects, then it must not be taken strictly, but under such limitations as the subject requires. But if we should apply this to a man and his seed, it is not at all true; for a very bad man may have very good children, and a very good man may have very bad ones. Thus, Jeroboa ham, whose character is that he made Israel to fin, had a good son, even Abijab ; for in his youth there was found in him some good thing towards the Lord God of Israel, in the house of Jeroboham, as in i Kings xiv. 13. Here we see the stream was more pure than its fountain, a clean thing came out of an unclean (if it were just to apply the me-taphor in this case ) and therefore it is to no purpose to urge the general affertion of Job, in a case which, when applied, is not true. Sin is not propagated by generation, and therefore if Adam was never so great a sinner, it does not follow that all his pofterity must be such. Sin is a moral and not a natural evil; and therefore, though natural evils may be propagated by generation, yet moral evils cannot, because they have a dependance upon the will of him to whom they cleave. Upon the whole, I say, though we cannot discern to what end yob urged this assertion, nor how he applied it to the subject he was treating of, which was the Mhortness and frailty of man’s lifes yet we are sure he could not apply it to a man and his issue, except it was to prove that an immortal fon could not be produced by a murtel Father; in this case the metaphor was just and true, and the reason he urges in the next verse is wholly applicable to it. Verse 5. Seeing his days dre determined, the number of bis months are with thee, thou hast appointed bis bounds that he cannot pass. But for yob to apply this to the propagation of lin, as it was wholly for