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rable passages might be selected from Gregory, Eusebius, Athanasius, Chrysostom, Basil, Epiphanius, Cyril and John of Jerusalem, and others, in proof that they ascribe to our nature since the fall-great corruption indeed, but great distinctions also, and particularly that of moral freedom. Nay, it is notorious that this was the view of Augustin bimself, before the arguments of bis opponent forced him to be consistent, and true to bis system, and he became beated by controversy. If those writers sometimes seem to refer to the imputation of Adam's guilt to his descendants, they probably meant no more than to describe the sad consequences which ihat event bad produced, particularly in the introduction of death into the world: and even that consequence was denied by Titus, bishop of Bostra ; who, a little before the public appearance of Pelagius, had taught that death was not ibe effect of sin, but a natural event. We have said thus much on the topic of free will, as beld by the early christian writers, because of its extreme importance in the question before us. The doctrine of original sin, if followed out in its true and inevitable bearings, is fatalism. The alternative Augustin was obliged to see, and ventured to brave : but some doubts of his infallibility must have crossed his mind, when he read himself in a former controversy speaking thus : “no man is wise, valiant, or temperate, with the wisdom, valour, or temperance of another, or righteous with the righteousness of another :" nor, by parity of reasoning, the reverse.*
We have now reached a great epoch in the history, which we have undertaken to sketch. In tbe beginning of the fifth century arose Pelagius, an ingenious, learned and upright monk of Britain. He, with his friend Caelestius, taught in the boldest and most explicit manner, that mankind are still in the same state, in which Adam was originally placed by his creator;--that Adam's transgression injured nobody but himself ;-ibat no change has taken place in our nature in consequence of the fall ;—that death is po punishment of sin, but like all the other evils of life, entered into the primeval appointment of Providence ;--that in no sense can Adam's offence have been imputed to his posterity ; that there is no such tbing as original sin ;-that by our nature we are made capable of knowing, desiring, and executing good or evil ;-and finally, that the opposite opinions contradict the freedom of man, and the righteousness of his Maker. He was assailed by Jerom, and especially hy Augustin ; and the following positions were set up against himn :-the nature of mari, originally good, is through the fall totally depraved, and so descends through all generations : no man cau by nature do good, but evil only : this total depravation is a positive judgment of God for Adam's guilt, and visited alike on him and on all his posterity : beside this infliction, there is consequent that of death, and of all our woe: original sin is transmitted by natural descent, and consists in evil desire: children are subjected to it and to its doom, and will be damned if they die before baptism :-this whole doctrine must be received, in order to jugtify against all objections the work of Christ's redemption. It is certain that on both sides was taught what had never been precisely and systematically taught before ; but we cannot stop to inquire what the steps of the process were. The result of the controversy is declared, when we are told it was between Saint Augustin and Pelagius. The latter was no bishop, and had nothing to redeem him but his reasoning, which went for nothing, from the opprobrious name of heresiarch. But ecclesiastical history teaches us to value at very little the honours of canonization. They who are acquainted with the lives of Julian and of bis opponent Cyril, will find less difference than they might have expected between the apostate and the saint; and that difference on the wrong side.* The theses of Augustin were triumphant in the African and Western churches; and those of Pelagius were denounced as heretical in several synods, especially at Roine and Carthage, A. D. 418. Still the last had their defenders, and the victory cost a hard struggle. In the eastera churches, the ideas of the earlier fathers were yet embraced, indefinite and contradictory as they were; and Pelagianism could boast of more adherents than the opposite theory, notwithstanding its condemnation at the council of Ephesus. The truth was, that in the east less attention was given to these controverted points; and they were not thought of consequence enough to be very nicely defined or stoully contested. “As a proof of this it may be mentioned, that John of Damascus, who in the eighth century described the orthodox belief of the Greek churches before and during his own time, in order to vindicate
* Priestley's History of the Corruptions of Christianity, Part 3d $ 1.
against heretics, † scarcely alludes to the doctrine of original sin ; and seems to speculate widely from the hypothesis of of the “divine” bishop of Hippo.
In the midst of his success, Augustin was disturbed by mortifying intelligence from France. Some monks of Marseilles had begun to teach, that God bestows on all men the gifts of understanding and freedom of will; by which they are able to distinguish between good and evil, to choose and commence within themselves the good part, and thus to obtain the aids of grace : and they boldly declared the Augustinian tenets to be immoral and profane. The first distinguished champion of this party was Cassian, who was followed by Faustus, Vincentius, and Gennadius : and these may be considered as the leaders of the Semipelagian sect. According to them, temporal death is the only consequence of Adam's transgression which is visited on his race; we are saved by grace alone, through the death of Christ and the ordinance of baptism; but still there is first demanded on our part, faith and a good disposition, through which the Almighty will be moved to exalt our faiib still higher, and to give it the power to go forth into good works: the loss of faith is dependent as absolutely on our free-will as its commencement is. These midway opinions soon became very popular, though strenuous exertions were made against their progress. They triumphed even in synods; spread themselves not only in France, but over the whole west; and even insinuated themselves under the name of Augustin himself. This last fact is very remarkable, though by no means singular. It is one of many examples to show, how easily any form of words may be bent to what we wish it; bow a niaster may be nominally followed, while bis doctrines are forsaken ; and how good sense will gradually get the better of a systein, though professed and reverenced still. A pbilosopher of the Hindoos has lately assured us, that the Vedas, their sacred books, do not inculcate idolatry, but rather teach the unity of God: and there are many Mohammedan doctors, who maintain that there is nothing of falalism in the Koran.
* See Jortin's Remarks, vol. 3d. pp. 10–15., and 106 and 7.
† De fide orthodoxa, 2, 30. 3, 1.
The Schoolmen almost universally leaned more toward the side of Pelagius than of Augustin ; and though they appealed to the latter, and professed and wished to defend his dogmas, it was no longer the true orthodox faith that they recommended. Original sin they made to consist, now in the want of any preternatural quality, by which our nature might remain wholly uncontaminated ; now in a carnality, not in itself wicked, but containing the germ of wickedness; now in the imputation, not of Adam's sin, but only of his punishment;--and tbis punishment, loo, the dissolution of the body, not the condemnation of the soul :-and now again they described it as bereditary guilt, but by no means so strongly as Augustin represented it. Some of them even declared, that man was capable of deserving the aids of divine grace, and with their help of performing anerilorious actions.
The era of the Reformation now claims our police. Luther took so great offence at the catholic notion of meritorious good works, that he again set up the old doctrines of faith alone and the merits of Christ, as the grounds of acceptance ; New Series-vol. I.
and came back to the old opinion, in all its darkness, of the total incapacity of man to do good. This miserable fantasy he plainly avowed in his book " de servo arbitrio;" which he wrote in opposition to a work of Erasmus, entitled “ de libero arbitrio." Melancthon also was at first an advocate for predestination; but be afterwards retracted his opinion. In the Augs. burgh confession, * wbich was composed by this mildest and best of the reformers, it is decided, that man's will is free, but not in spiritual things ; that he is born full of bad inclinations, and has in himself no true faith, no true fear of God.
Ip a Bubsequent edition, however, he added something of qualification, which produced no small outcry. In the articles drawn up at Smalcald, the expressions concerning original sin were, as may easily be accounted for, still stronger : more errors were exploded, and their melancholy consequences more terrifically portrayed. In the very first of them we read: Tbis hereditary guilt is so deep and leprous a corruption of nature, as to be inconceivable by human reason, and understood only by reve. lation, &c. &c. Luther always remained firm to be theory of Angustin. Melancthon in some respects dissented from it: and there arose a violent contest between their respective partizans. The doctrine of Luther naturally became more and more extravagant in the bands of those, who were determined to uphold it all; till at last Flacius declared that original sin was the very substance of man.
Jobn Calvin of Geneva claims the next place in our review; who was as conspicuous for bis adherence to tbe sternest form of Augustinism, as his own followers have since been, for their zeal in behalf of his more systematical tenets. His doctrine was, that ibe will necessarily willed evil; but was still a will, aye, and that a free-will: with tbis he connected the belief of an absolute predestination. His doctrine of imputation, was strenuously coinbated long afterward, by Dr. Whitby ; I wbo acknowledged no other effect from the fall than mortality, and the attendant dread of death. In Switzerland, Zuinglius, the celebrated reformer, inculcated much milder opinions on these subjects than those of Calvin : and in the Catholic churches, the ideas of the effects of the fall were continually softening, and the diversity of sentiments respecting it created but little attention. Albert Pighi, a Catholic, attempted to revive the opinion, that original sin consisted in no moral defect or corruption ; but only in blame and punishment, transmitted through all generations, from Adam, the representative and head of mankind. It found many advocates, protestants as well as papists ; but was condemned at the council of Trent. That Synod, however, purposely avoided defining very accurately their doctrine, in order to leave room enough for the meritoriousness of good works.
* See Article 18.
Discourse concerning the five points. London 1710." " A Discourse concerning the imputation of Christ's perfect righteousness, or obedience to the law, to us, for righteousness or justification," appears as an appendix to the quarto edition of his Commentary.
The Socinians, it is evident from what has been said, were not the first who totally denied every thing under the name of original sin : but they were the first, who attacked the whole bitherto received doctrine with every variety of arguments from reason and the scriptures. The Arminians, or Remonstrants, only assailed the theory of imputation; and reduced somewhat lower, that of man's native moral corruption. Having mentioned these, we need go no further. The opinions of the two succeeding centuries, so far as they are systematic, or claim to be founded on the sacred scriptures, belong to some of the classes just described. None have been able to surpass the Genevan father in extravagance ; and none could ouțdo on the other side-we will not say the other extreme-the Polish fraternity. Let every man judge for himself.
We have thus laid before our readers what we intended, on à subject, the decision of which is very important-not to our faith, nor our virtue, nor our happiness—but to our speculative scheme of divinity ; which is of infinitely less consequence. We have been led, perhaps, to swerve from our original purpose of remaining neutral; but trusting that we have been candid and honest, we will not regret this deviation; and for two obvious reasons: we were conscious of no motive to forbid, and we did not well know how to avoid it.
To the Editor of the Christian Disciple.
Sır,—It is greatly to be regretted, that Expository Preaching has almost ceased among us. The number is very great of those, who are indebted for almost the whole of their know. ledge of revealed religion, to the exercises of the pulpit; and it is an inquiry which demands the solemn attention of christian ministers; whether they have adopted the best method of dispensing religious instruction. The number is indeed great also of those who study their bibles, and other books which are designed to illustrate and to enforce the doctrines and duties of