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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 aétually chuse to do, or avoid doing as aforesaid; and therefore whatever weakness or disorder Adam brought upon himself, and his posterity, 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 thofe 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 sinful anger, 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 dis position, but suffers himself to be hurried into sinful anger by it, then indeed he becomes criminal. It is not his cholerick disposition, but his transgressing 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, lelsen and extenuate that crime, which they are the
om being crime rather, in
which they are
occasion of betraying us into ; such fins being
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 sin in general, this is impossible ; because some fins 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 fin of covéteousness, is averse to the fin of profusenefs. 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 finful, 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 transgressed; 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: state, as appears from Adam, who was drawn into sin upon so Night a temptation. Men are apt to make a wide difference between Adan'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 represented 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 finner, till he actually and perfonally tranfgresses, either with the mind fingly, or with the mind and practice in conjunction. And as to thofe 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 xiy. 4. Who can bring a clean thing oict of an unclean? not one. To this I 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 assertion, viz. chat á 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 affertion, 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 ap
plied, this is not true ; for a good tree does sometimes bring forth evil fruit, tho' not generally fo. The case is the fame 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 : King's xxi. 29. Thus we fee that N2
forth good fruit fruit, neither into a good tre
when the aforesaid; affertion, is metaphorically applied, to other subjects, then it must not be ta ken strictly, but under such limitations as the subject requires. But if we should apply this to a man and his feed, 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 bani, whose character is that he made Ifrael to sin, had a good son, even Abijah; 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 mem. taphor in this case ) and therefore it is to no purpose to urge the general assertion of Job, in a case which, when applied, is not true. Sin is not propagated by generation, and therefore if Adam was never fo 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 Job urged this assertion, nor how he applied it to the subject he was treating of, which was the Mortness and frailty of man's life; 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 are 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 fin, as it was wholly for