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had given them a Being, and that fo very lately too, the Impreffes of which could not be worn out of their Memory; that had beftowed fo much Happiness upon them, more than on all the Creation befides; that had made them Lords over it all, and reftrained nothing from them, but only the Fruit of this one Tree. Confider farther, that they committed this Sin against the clearest Conviction of Confcience, when they had Minds fully illuminated with the divine Spirit, and had all poffible Affiftances of Grace to keep them from Sin, and had no untoward Bent of Nature, and unruly Paffions to provoke them to it. Now to take all this together, it was a mighty Aggravation of their Sin, and fets it at fo high a Rate, that it is hardly poffible, for a Man, now a-days, to commit a Crime of fo great an Enormity. So that, Philologus, this was fo far from being one of your Peccadillo's, that it affaulted Heaven with the higheft Provocation.

Phil. But I know not how to reconcile with the Ju-/ ftice of God this Curfe of his; to punish all Adam's Pofterity, for his and his Wife's Sin. Why should fo many poor innocent Wretches, that are born from their Loins, fuffer for the Sins of their great great Grand-father? We should think it very hard, for the King to hang up a Number of his Subjects, only because their Predeceffors were engaged in the Baron's Wars: And can we think that God Almighty will be fo unmerciful, as to call us to an Account for the Crime of an old Forefather, committed above five thousand Years ago? Your Divines may fay what they please of original Sin; but I can no more be perfuaded, that Sin can go in a Blood, than that a Man's Notions and Learning can: For I believe a Man may be born a Philofopher, or a Divine, as well as he can be born a Sinner. But fuppofe there was fuch a traductive Guilt, a Man would no more deserve Punishment for it, than he would do for inheriting his Father's Diftempers; which, methinks, does deferve Pity, and not Punishment. Indeed you would fain falve all this Hardship, by the Benefits of your Chriftian Bap

The Difficulties of original Sin removed.

tifm; but then you leave all the poor Children which die unbaptifed to make Faggots for the Devil. This fevere Curfe, efpecially as your Chriftian Theologers explain it, does by no Means agree with the divine Juftice and Clemency; nay, it feems inconfiftent with his Holinefs too, because this Guilt must be infused into the Soul by God when he makes it; which does argue a double Pravity in the Deity, firft to implant Sin in Man, and then to punish him for it..

Cred. The Propagation of original Sin, and the Punishment which attends it, is not fo inconfiftent with the Juftice of God, as Pelagians and Infidels do pretend: For,

Ift, This original Sin is not any vitious Habit infufed into our Souls by God; for that was to make God the Author of it. It is only an Obliquity of our Nature, and a Tendency to Evil, as being defcended from a corrupt Stock, which cannot produce a pure Off-fpring; fo that God is not to be blamed any more, for fuffering fuch an impure Progeny to be born from our firft Parents, than he is for letting four Fruit arife from a Tree degenerated by our ill Husbandry, or diseased Children from vitious Parents. Indeed in all Ages, Divines have troubled themselves, to explain how this Obliquity fhould be conveyed to all Mankind, and the Generality of them agree, that it comes from the defect of original Righteousness, or the withdrawing of that fupernatural Grace, which was fo plentifully bestowed upon the primeval Parents, and they have forfeited for us; fo that that Bar, which was to hinder us from Sin, is now taken away, and fo we rush with Precipitancy upon it; that Franum as they call it, that Bridle, which was to restrain our animal Faculties is loft by their Sin, and fo now, like an unruly Horfe, they over-power, and run away with our Reafon. The Cartefians explain its Traduction, by the Imagination of the Mother, who as the by her Frights, Defires, Averfions, &c. imprints the fame Paffions upon the Child fhe is pregnant with, and makes it liable to them afterwards; fo by her Averfions to Good, and Proneness to Evil, fhe tranf

us.

mits the fame Tendencies to her Fatus; and by this means they will have original Sin traduced from Eve down to Neither of which Explications are inconfiftent with the divine Juftice; for God was neither obliged to continue this fupernatural Grace to all Adam's Pofterity; nor bound to frame the Nature of Mankind anew, or to raise up a purer Breed from the firft corrupted Stock.

2dly, The Off-fpring of Adam had no Title to that Immortality, and other Bleffings, which he forfeited for them. God Almighty might, if he pleafed, have made Mankind at firft mortal, and fubject to all the Difeafes and Diforders, which are the Preliminaries of Death, and the Punishments of Sin; for we had no Right to demand from him to be created more happy than the Brutes. Therefore, we have no Reafon to repine at God's Goodnefs, for not giving us that Happiness after Adam's Sin; which we never had a Right to before, but only a Poffibility of having. It is our Duty to thank God, for what we do enjoy, and not to murmur at his Goodness, and tax his Juftice for what we do not.

3dly, Our firft Parents might forfeit thefe Bleffings for us; and God might juftly deny them to us, by Reafon of their Sin. I do not fee any great Force in that Notion of Divines, which makes the first Parents our Representatives, and fo makes us to fin in them interpretative, as the Schools fpeak, and therefore to deferve their Punishment: For I cannot apprehend, how any one should be my Reprefentative, without being delegated to perfonate me by my own proper and voluntary A&t; and I can lefs apprehend, why God fhould punish me, for what they did in my Name, which I never agreed to. But it is very agreeable to the divine Juftice, for God to promise several Bleffings to Adam, and his Pofterity, upon his Obedience, which neither he nor his Pofterity fhould enjoy upon his Difobedience. And this feems very just to us, by our often doing the like in our human Affairs, without being taxed with the leaft Injustice; as if I leave a thousand Pounds a Year to fuch a Man and his Heirs for ever, conditionally, that he performs fuch

Things as my Will directs; but neither he, nor his Pofterity, has a Right to the Eftate, if that Perfon neglects to perform them. And this vindicates fufficiently the divine Justice in not contributing the fupernatural Grace to keep Men from Sinning, and in inflicting Death, (i. e.) not conferring Immortality; both which were to be conferred upon Adam, and his Pofterity, only upon Condition of his Obedience.

4thly, Men justly deferve all the Punishments of Sin by their own proper Tranfgreffion. If Men were to undergo Sickness, Afflictions in this World, and eternal Damnation in the next, purely upon Account of Adam's Sin, there would be fomething in your Argument; but when all Men commit Sin by their own proper Act, they can have no Reafon to complain for fuffering that which by their actual Difobedience they have merited.

5thly, But then, laftly, as for Children, who die before they commit actual Sin, and are not baptifed; It is no Part of our Chriftian Faith to believe that they are damned. For tho' the Scripture fays exprefsly, Except one be born again of Water, and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God, Joh. iii. 5. yet charitable Christians, in all Ages, have understood this Neceffity to be, where the Sacrament might conveniently be had, and where there was no Contempt of it. And therefore, many of the Fathers have affigned a middle Place for fuch unbaptifed Infants, which was a Place neither of Joy nor Pleasure. And to this Opinion St.Austin himself was inclined, Lib. 3. de Lib. Arbit. Cap. 23. who was the feverest of the Ancients to unbaptifed Children, before his Difputes with Pelagius, who afferted that all Children were undoubtedly faved. But however uncharitable the Papifts may be to unbaptifed Infants; it is the charitable Opinion of moft Proteftants, that fuch Children are left to the Goodness of a merciful God, who is not tied up to his own Ordinances, who it is hoped will fave them; tho' not by an ordinary, yet he may do it by an uncovenanted Grace.

Phil. There is another Thing, Credentius, in this Curse, which does not go down glibly with us, and that is the Curfe of the Ground. For this feems to be an Action unbecoming the Deity; it looks like the frantick Paffion of an angry Man, who, when he is difpleafed, revenges himself upon every Thing that is nigh him. So here Mofes, who had not the Philofophy to diveft the Deity of Paffion, brings him in raving upon the Lofs of his two Apples, and curfing them all round; and that nothing might efcape his Fury, the poor Earth too is made barren, in the midft of the angry Fit. Such an Action as this, Credentius, looks unbecoming a wife Man, who takes Care not only to avoid Paffion, but to distribute the Punishments to the Parties offending; and therefore this History must be very injurious to the fupreme Wisdom of the Deity, to make the Earth fuffer for the Sin of Man; or because God was angry with Adam, to reprefent him wrecking his Fury upon the innocent Earth.

the Ground

Cred. I fuppofe, Philologus, you do not lay much Stress The Curfing upon the Innocency of the Earth, or the Injustice of the no ReflectiCurfe being laid upon it. For Innocency and Injuftice on upon the have Place only among rational, or at leaft, fenfible Crea- Deity. tures; the Ground can neither be innocent nor guilty, it is neither capable of receiving a Kindness, nor an Injury; because it wants Senfe to perceive them. Neither does it imply any Abfurdity, that the Earth should be curfed, for the Sin of Man; for this is confonant to the general Opinion of Mankind in Things of the like Nature. For the ancient Heathen had not only their Piacula, Things accurfed by Way of Tranfmutation of Punishment, and their Dies nefandi, accurfed Times; but even their Campi fcelerari, accurfed Fields. But your principal Mistake is, that you fancy this Curfe of the Earth by God Almighty, to be an Effect of his Anger, or a weak human-like Paffion, when it is only the Refult of a wife and equitable Juftice. For we can never fuppofe fo wife a Man as Mo-fes, to have fuch a filly Notion of a Deity as this comes to, to make him curfe the Earth in an angry Mood, because Man had vexed him. For his Curfing the Ground

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