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DEFECTIBILITY of the
ANSWER to THREE OB-
THEY who have known my education may remember, that I was bred up seven years in the University under men of the Calvinistical persuasion, and so could hear no other Doctrine, or receive no other instructions from the men of those times, and therefore had once firmly entertained all their doctrines. Now that which first moved me to search into the foundation of these doctrines, viz. The Imputation of Adam's Sin to all its Pofterity, was the strange consequences of it; this made me search the more exactly into that matter, and by reading Foshua Plac&us, with the answer to him, and others on that subject, I soon found cause to judge that there was truth in it.
Section 1.–After some years study I met with one who seemed to be a Deit, and telling him that there were arguments sufficient to prove the truth of Christian Faith, and of the holy Scriptures, he foornfully replied, Yes: And you will prove your Doctrine of ibe Imputation of Original Sin from the same Scripture ; intimating that he thought that doctrine, it contained in it, sufficient to invalidate the truth and the authority of the Scriprure. And by a little reflection I found the Atrength of his argument ran thus: That the truth of holy Scripture could no otherwise be proved to any man that doubted of it, but by reducing him to fome absurdity, or the denial of some avowed principle of reason. Now this imputation of Adam's fin to his pofterity, fo as to render them obnoxious to God's wrath, and to eternal damnation, only because they were born of the race of Adam, seemed to him as contradictory to the common reason of mankind, as any thing could be, and so contained as strong an argument against the truth of Scripture, if that doctrine was contained in it, as any could be offered for it. And upon this account I again searched into the places usually alledged to confirm that doctrine, and found them fairly capable of other interpretations. One doubt remained fill, whether Antiquity did not give suffrage for this doctrine ; and here I found the words of Voffus very positive, that Ecclefia Carbol.
fic femper judicavit, the Carbolic Church always go judged ; which he endeavors to prove by testimonies from Ignarius to St. Austin, This set me on the laborious task of perusiirg the writings of antiquity till that time, and upon an impartial search, I found that all the pallages he had collected were impertinent, or at least insufficient to prove the point; yea, I found evidence fufficient of the truth of that which Peter du Moulin plainly owns, that from the time of the Apostles to St. Austin's time, all the Ecclefiaftical Writers seem to write incautiously of this Matter, and to incline to .wbar he calls Pelagianism. And of this having made a collection, I finished a treatise of Original fin, in Latin, which hath been composed about twenty years, though I have not thought it advisable to publish it.
Another time I discoursed with a Physician, who said, there was some cause to doubt the truth of Scriprure; fur, saith be, it seenus plainly va
hold forth the doctrine of absolute election and reprobation, in the ninth
Section II.-2dly. I also found that the Heretics of old, used many of
3dly. That the Valentinians, Marcionites, Basilidians, Manichees, Priscillianists and other Heretics were condemned by the ancient champions of the Church upon the same accounts, and from the fame Scriptures and reasons, which we now use againīt
these Decretaliss; and the principles on which they founded all their confutations of them, were thele.
ift. That it is not our nature, but our will, and choice of that from which we might abstain, which was the root and fountain of all our wickedness; for otherwise, say they, tí mohoavtos ha fyndighean that God, who is the author of our nálure, muft be the author of our sin; this doctrine they unanimously teach from Juftin Martyr and Irenæus, to St. Auftin, who declares, (b) natura alas animas nullo mode elle_posre, that it is imposible, according 10 the Definitions be had given of kn, obat Souls pould be evil by Nature.
2dly. That we do not become finners by our birth, and that they who fay we are by nature Children of Wrath in the most dreadful fenfe) make God the author of our in, it being God who hath establimed the order, in the generation of mankind, which neither he that begets, nor he that is begotten can correct, and by whose benediction mankind encrease and multiply. An infant therefore cannot, say they, be à finner by his father's fault, (c) nis yap und Tð natpos 8 dewos dixer; for a Child doub not suffer punishment for his Father's Fault, says Chrysostom; and (d)
(a) Pcoleg ad J. Stcarn de oblin.' 41. p. 147. (b) Lib. de duab. Anim. c.
(0) Iu Johan, ix. 2.- (d) In Johan, ix. 2. Tad, L. 2. Epift. 272,