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under the head of punishment, rather than in the present, which relates to sin.
The second thing in sin, after evil concupiscence, is the crime itself, or the act of sinning, which is commonly called Actual Sin. This may be incurred, not only by actions commonly so called, but also by words and thoughts, and even by the omission of good actions.
It is called Actual Sin, not that sin is properly an action, for in reality it implies defect; but because it commonly consists in some act. For every act is in itself good; it is only its irregularity, or deviation from the line of right, which properly speaking is evil. Wherefore the act itself is not the matter of which sin consists, but only the iToXEÍjevor or subject in which it is committed.
By words. Matt. xii. 36. "every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof.” xv. 11. that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.”
By thoughts. Exod. xx. 17. “ thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house." Psa. vii. 14. “behold, he travaileth with iniquity, and hath conceived mischief, and brought forth falsehood.” Prov. xxiv. 8. “ he that deviseth to do evil-" Jer. xvii. 9. “ the heart is deceitful above all things,” &c. Matt. v. 28. “ he hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” xv. 19. “out of the heart proceed evil thoughts. 1 John iii. 15. “ whoso hateth his brother is a murderer."
By omission. Matt. xii. 30. “he that is not with me is against me, and he that gathereth not with me, scattereth abroad.” See also Luke xi. 23. and vi. 9. where to omit saving the life of a man is accounted the same as to destroy it. Matt. xxv. 42. “ I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat." James iv. 17. "to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”
All sins however are not, as the Stoics maintained, of equal magnitude.? Ezek. v. 6. "she hath changed my judgements
? • Sins are not equal, but greater or less in their principle, as well as in their event. It was one of the errors of Jovinian, which he learned from the school of the Stoics, that all sins are alike grievous :
Cum dicas esse pares res
Taylor's Works, VIII. 337.
into wickedness more than the nations." viii. 15. shalt see greater abominations than these." John xix. '1. “ he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.” This inequality arises from the various circumstances of person, place, time, and the like. Isai. xxvi. 10. “ in the land of uprightness will he deal unjustly."
The distinction between mortal and venial sino will come more properly under consideration in another place. In the mean time it is certain, that even the least sin renders the sinner obnoxious to condemnation. Luke xvi. 10. “ he that is unjust in the least, is unjust also in much.
CHAP. XII.-OF THE PUNISHMENT OF SIN. Thus far of Sin. After sin came death, as the calamity or punishment consequent upon it. Gen. ii. !7. “in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." Rom. v. 12. “ death entered by sin.” vi. 23. “the wages of sin is death." vii. 5. “ the motions of sins did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death."
Under the head of death, in Scripture, all evils whatever," together with every thing which in its consequences tends to death, must be understood as comprehended ; for mere bodily death, as it is called, did not follow the sin of Adam on the self-same day, as God had threatened. See also Cicero's third paradox, örı ioa cá đuapríuara kai tà karopoúpara; and his oration pro L. Murena: • omnia peccata esse paria ; omne delictum scelus esse nefarium ; nec minus delinquere eum, qui gallum gallinaceum, cum opus non fuerit, quam eum qui patrem suffocaverit. 3 See 1 John iv. 17. έστιν αμαρτία ου προς θάνατον.
• Paradise Lost, I. 1. 5 The divine denunciation is interpreted in the same sense in Paradise Lost:
my sole command
Herxe divines, not inappropriately, reckon up four several degrees of death. The first, as before said, comprehends ALL THOSE EVILS WHICH LEAD TO DEATH, AND WHICH IT IS AGREED CAME INTO THE WORLD IMMEDIATELY UPON THE FALL OF MAN, the most important of which I proceed to enumerate. In the first place, guiltiness; which though in its primary sense it is an imputation made by God to us, yet is it also, as it were, a commencement or prelude of death dwelling in us, by which we are held as by a bond, and rendered subject to condemnation and punishment. Gen. ü. 7.
of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked.” Lev. v. 2, &c. “ if it shall be hidden from him, he also shall be unclean and guilty.” Rom. iii. 19. “that all the world may become guilty before God.” Guiltiness, accordingly, is accompanied or followed by terrors of conscience. Gen. ii. 8. "they heard the voice of God.... and Adam and his wife hid themselves .... and he said, I was afraid.” Rom. viii. 15. "ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear.” Heb. ü. 15. “who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage." X. 27.“ a certain fearful looking for of judgement." It is attended likewise with the sensible forfeiture of the divine protection and favour ; whence results a diminution of the majesty of the human countenance, and a conscious degradation of mind. Gen. iii. 7. “they knew that they were naked.” Hence the whole man becomes polluted : Tit. i. 15. their mind and conscience is defiled :" whence arises shame:? Gen. iii. 7. “ they sewed fig-leaves together and made themselves aprons.”
Rom. vi. 21. “ what fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death."
The second degree of death is called SPIRITUAL DEATH ; by which is meant the loss of divine grace, and that.of innate
6 Wollebius, who was one of the theologians from whose works Milton compiled a system of divinity for the use of his pupils, enumerates the same four degrees of death, Book I. Chap. 12. 7
innocence, that as a veil
Paradise Lost, IX. 154.
righteousness, wherein man in the beginning lived unto God. Eph. i. 1. "who were dead in trespasses and sims.” iv. 18. « alienated from the life of God." Col. ü. 13. “dead in your sins.” Rev. iii. 1. “thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.” And this death took place not only on the very day, but at the very moment of the fall. They who are delivered from it are said to be regenerated, to be born again, and to be created afresh; which is the work of God aloną, as will be shown in the chapter on Regeneration.
This death consists, first, in the loss, or at least in the obscuration to a great extent of that right reason which enabled man to discern the chief good, and in which consisted as it were the life of the understanding. Eph. iv. 18. “having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them.” v. 8.“
ye were sometimes darkness.” John i. v.“ the darkness comprehended it not.” Jer. vi. 10. “they cannot hearken.” John viii. 43. “ye cannot hear my word.” 1 Cor. ü. 14. “ the natural man receiveth not the things of the spirit of God.” 2 Cor. iii
. 5. “not that we are sufficient of ourselves, to think anything as of ourselves.” iv. 4."the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them that believe not.” Col. i. 13. “ who hath delivered us from the power of darkness.” It consists, secondly, in that deprivation of righteousness and liberty to do good, and in that slavish subjection to sin and the devil, which constitutes, as it were, the death of the will. John viii. 34. « whosoever committeth sin, is the servant of sin.” All have committed sin in Adam ; therefore all are born servants of sin. Rom. vii. 14. “sold under sin.” vüi. 3. “ what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh.” v. 7. “it is not subject unto the law of God, neither indeed can be.” vi. 16, 17. " his servants ye are to whom ye obey, whether of sin unto death,” &c. Philipp. iii. 19.“whose god is their belly.” Acts xxvi. 18. “from the power of Satan.” 2 Tim. ü. 26. “out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” Eph. ii. 2. “ the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.” Lastly, sin is its own punishment, and produces, in its natural consequences, the death of the spiritual life : more especially gross and habitual sin. Rom. i. 26. “ for this God vile affections." The reason of this is evident ; for in pro.
portion to the increasing amount of his sins, the sinner becomes more liable to death, more miserable, more vile, more destitute of the divine assistance and grace, and farther removed from his primitive glory. It ought not to be doubted that sin in itself alone is the heaviest of all evils, as being contrary to the chief good, that is, to God; whereas punishment seems to be at variance only with the good of the creature, and not always with that.8
It cannot be denied, however, that some remnants of the divine image still exist in us, not wholly extinguished by this spiritual death. This is evident, not only from the wisdom and holiness of
of the heathen, manifested both in words. and deeds, but also from what is said Gen. ix. 2. “ the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth.” v. 6. whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God made he man.' These vestiges of original excellence are visible, first, in the understanding. Psal. xix. 1. “the heavens declare the glory of God;" which could not be if man were incapable of hearing their voice, Rom. i. 19, 20. “that which may be known of God is manifest in them
.. for the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen.” v. 32. "who knowing the judgment of God.” ii. 15. “ which show the work of the law written in their hearts." vii. 23, 24. “I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind.... wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" Nor, again, is the liberty of the will entirely destroyed. First, with regard to things indifferent, whether, natural or civil. 1 Cor. vii. 36, 37, 39. “ let him do what he will.... he hath power over his own will.... she is at liberty to be married to whom she will.” Secondly, the will is clearly not altogether inefficient in respect of good works, or at any rate of good endeavours ; at least after the grace of God has called us : but its power is so small and insignificant, as merely to deprive us of all excuse for inaction, without afford
8. Whatever men call punishment or censure, is not properly an evil, so it be not an illegal violence, but a saving medicine, ordained of God both for the public and private good of man.' Reason of Church Govern ment urged against Prelaty. Prose Works, II. 490.
9 See p. 59, note 5. And again ;-'For there are left some remains of God's image in man, as he is merely man'— Tetrachordon. III. 327.