The GOSPEL TRUTH
AN HISTORICAL PRESENTATION OF
AUGUSTINISM AND PELAGIANISM
G. F. WIGGERS, D. D.
CHAPTER V: Pelagian view of original sin. Opposite theory of Augustine on the same.
According to the Pelagian doctrine, there is absolutely no original sin, i.e., no sin which passes, by generation, from the first man to his posterity, and for which they have to bear the punishment. This is a main point in which Pelagianism differs from Augustinism, as is shown by all the memorials of those contests now extant. In these, it is worthy of remark, that the Pelagians, when they speak of Augustine's original sin, instead of the term original sin, used by Augustine, employ rather the expression natural sin, (peccatum naturale), or the expression natural evil (malum naturale, Op. Imp. I. 101), probably in order to render the more striking the contradiction that is involved in a natural sin. And on this account, Augustine protested against this expression, and when it was used by the Pelagians, commonly substituted his own peccatum originale. There may be, says he, indeed, a sin of nature (peccatum nuturae), but not a natural sin (peccatum naturale). In a certain sense, however, he defended this term (Op. Imp. V. 9, 40), only he regarded the expression, original sin, as more definite, because by it, the idea of God being the author of any sin, is removed. Augustine employed the expression original sin, besides, as synonymous with hereditary evil (hereaitarium vitium, Ep. 194. c. 6), and also originale vitium. Ep. 157. c. 3.
We have already seen, that it was brought as an objection to Caelestius at Carthage, that he denied original sin; and that he did not directly deny the objection, though he would not condemn the doctrine. But in his confession of faith already mentioned, he denied it flatly. "A sin propagated by generation (peccatum ex traduce), is totally contrary to the catholic faith. Sin is not born with man, but is committed afterwards by man. It is not the fault of nature but of free will. The mystery of baptism must not be so interpreted as to imply, to the prejudice of the Creator, that evil is transferred by nature to man, before it is committed by him." De Pec. Orig. 6. That Pelagius also admitted of no original sin, in the sense declared, is proved by his explanation of Paul's epistles, before composed at Rome, in which he expressly refers that passage in Romans to the imitation of Adam's sin, in which, according to Augustine's acceptation, it is said, that in Adam all his posterity sinned. Afterwards, however, (as he would not own as his those propositions which were charged upon Caelestius, at the synod of Diospolis, but condemned such as taught anything in that way, viz., that "Adam would have died, whether he had sinned or not: His sin injured himself only, not his posterity: And newborn infants are in the same condition as Adam was before the fall," De Pec. Orig. II), he might indeed consider Adam's death as a punishment for himself, though only as a natural necessity for his posterity. Respecting both the other propositions, he explained himself against his scholar, after that synod (De Pec. Orig. 15), and condemned the propositions, because Adam did injure his posterity, in as much as he gave them the first example of sin; and because new born infants are so far in a different condition from that of Adam before transgression, that they cannot yet perform what is commanded, but he could: and they cannot yet use that free intelligent will, without which no command could have been given to Adam. A transfer of Adam's sin, and an imputation of it, and consequently original sin, Pelagius did not admit, and did not explain himself in favor of it at Diospolis. But Julian was most zealous, as appears from the passages already quoted respecting the object of baptism, against the assumption that man comes into the world corrupted through Adam's sin, and loaded with its guilt and punishment. "We believe that God has made men, and without any fault at all, full of natural innocence, and capable of voluntary virtues." Op. Imp. III. 82.
The Pelagian idea of original sin may be reduced still more definitely to the following propositions.
1. A propagation of sin by generation, is by no means to be admitted. This physical propagation of sin, can be admitted only when we grant the propagation of the soul by generation. But this is a heretical error. Consequently there is no original sin; and nothing in the moral nature of man has been corrupted by Adam's sin.
Besides the passages already adduced, the following may suffice as proof, that this was a Pelagian tenet.
In his commentary on Romans 7:8, Pelagius remarks: "They are insane who teach, that the sin of Adam comes on us by propagation (per traducem)." In another passage, (which indeed is not now to be found in that very interpolated work, but which Augustine quotes from it verbatim, De Pec. Mer. III. 3), Pelagius says: "The soul does not come by propagation, but only the flesh, and so this only has the propagated sin (traducem peccati), and this only deserves punishment. But it is unjust, that the soul born today, that has not come from the substance of Adam, should bear so old and extrinsic a sin." And the Pelagians discarded the propagation of souls by generation, which seemed to lead to materialism, and assumed, that every soul is created immediately by God. In Pelagius's confession of faith, it is said: "We believe that souls are given by God, and say, that they are made by himself." From the first book of Pelagius on free will, Augustine quotes the following declaration of his opponent (De Pec. Orig. 13): "All good and evil, by which we are praise or blameworthy, do not originate together with us, but are done by us. We are born capable of each, but not filled with either. And as we are produced without virtue, so are we also without vice; and before the action of his own free will, there is in man only what God made." But the transmission of sin (peccatum ex traduce), was most vehemently and keenly assailed by Julian who, on account of this assumption, gave Augustine the nickname of Traducianus. Augustine's second book against Julian, and also the first book of his Imperfect Work, are filled with acute arguments of that Pelagian against the propagation of sin by physical generation, to which Augustine could make no very pertinent reply.
2. Adam's transgression was imputed to himself, but not to his posterity. A reckoning of Adam's sin as that of his posterity, would conflict with the divine rectitude. Hence bodily death is no punishment of Adam's imputed sin, but a necessity of nature.
From the commentary of Pelagius on Romans, Augustine quotes his words thus (De Pec. Mer. III. 3): "It can in no way be conceded that God, who pardons a man's own sins, may impute to him the sins of another." In his book "on nature," Pelagius says: "How can the sin be imputed by God to the man, which he has not known as his own?" De Nat. et Gr. 30. If God is just, (this is amply shown by Julian, according to the first book of the Imperfect Work), he can attribute no foreign blame to infants. "Children (filii), so long as they are children, that is, before they do anything by their own will, cannot be punishable (rei)." Op. Imp. II. 42. "According to the Apostle, by one man, sin came into the world, and death by sin: because the world has regarded him as a criminal and as one condemned to perpetual death. But death has come upon all men, because the same sentence reaches all transgressors of the succeeding period; yet neither holy men nor the innocent have had to endure this death, but only such as have imitated him by transgression." II. 66. The Pelagians, therefore, could regard the bodily death of Adam's descendants no otherwise than as a natural necessity. And if Pelagius himself admitted that it may have been a punishment in the case of Adam, (as we should rather believe by his explanation at Diospolis, though a passage quoted by Augustine from the writings of Pelagius, is against this view, De Nat. et Gr. 21); yet his adherents were of a different opinion, and believed that Adam was created mortal. But all must have agreed in this, that the bodily death which comes on Adam's posterity, is not a punishment of his sin, but a necessity of nature. "The words--till thou return to the earth from which thou wast taken, for earth thou art and to earth shalt again return--belong not to the curse, but are rather words of consolation to the man. The sufferings, toils, and griefs shall not endure forever, but shall one day end. If the dissolution of the body was a part of the punishment of sin, it would not have been said--thou shalt return to the earth, for earth thou art; but, thou shalt return to the earth, because thou hast sinned and broken my command." Op. Imp. VI. 27. "If therefore fruitfulness, according to the testimony of Christ (Matt. 22:30) who instituted it, was produced in order to replace what death takes away, and this was ordained as the design of marriage before the fall, it is manifest that mortality has no respect to the transgression, but to nature, to which marriage also has respect." VI. 30. "Adam himself, say the Pelagians, would have died, as to the body, though he had not sinned; and hence he did not die in consequence of his guilt, but by the necessity of nature." Aug. de Haer. c. 88, and in innumerable other places.
3. Now, as sin itself has no more passed over to Adam's posterity, than has the punishment of sin, so every man, in respect to his moral nature, is born in just the same state in which Adam was first created.
Augustine quotes (De Nat. et Gr. 21) from Pelagius's book, a passage in which it is said: "What do you seek? They [infants] are well, for whom you seek a physician. Not only are Adam's descendants no weaker than he, but they have even fulfilled more commands, since he neglected to fulfil so much as one." In the letter to Demetrias, Pelagius depicts the prerogatives of human nature, without making any distinction between Adam's state before the fall and after it. Take only the description of conscience, in the fourth chapter. "A good conscience itself decides respecting the goodness of nature. Is it not a testimony which nature herself gives of her goodness, when she shows her displeasure at evil? There is in our heart, so to express myself, a certain natural holiness, which keeps watch, as it were, in the castle of the soul, and judges of good and evil." "Human nature," says Julian (C. Jul. III. 4) "is adorned in infants with the dowry of innocence." "Free will is as yet in its original uncorrupted state, and nature is to be regarded as innocent in every one, before his own will can show itself." Op. Imp. II. 20. According to Julian, the sinner becomes, by baptism, from a bad person a perfectly good one; but the innocent, who has no evil of his own will, becomes from a good a still better person. "That has corrupted the innocence which he received at his origin, by bad action; but this, without praise or blame of his will, has only what he has received from God his creator. He is more fortunate as, in his early and uncorrupted age, he cannot have corrupted the goodness of his simplicity. He has no merit of acts, but only retains what he has possessed by the good pleasure of so great an architect." I. 54.
But with this Pelagian view of the uncorrupted state of man's nature, the admission of a moral corruption of men in their present condition, by the continued habit of sinning, stood in no contradiction. This Pelagius taught expressly. According to the eighth chapter of his letter to Demetrias, he explicitly admits, that, by the protracted habit of sinning, sin appears in a measure to have gained a dominion over human nature, and consequently renders the practice of virtue difficult. "While nature was yet new, and a long continued habit of sinning had not spread as it were a mist over human reason, nature was left without a [written] law, to which the Lord, when it was oppressed by too many vices and stained with the mist of ignorance, applied to the file of the law, in order that, by its frequent admonitions, nature might be cleansed again and return to its lustre. And there is no other difficulty of doing well, but the long continued habit of vice, which has contaminated us from youth up, and corrupted us for many years, and holds us afterwards so bound and subjugated to herself, that she seems, in a measure, to have the force of nature." Here Pelagius also mentions the bad education by which we are led to evil. But this habit of sinning, however, affects only adults, and that by their own fault. According to the Pelagian theory, man is born in the same state, in respect to his moral nature, in which Adam was created by God.
This was the Pelagian doctrine on original sin. On the contrary, Augustine's theory was as follows.
1. Adam's sin has been propagated among all men, and will always be propagated, and that by sensual lust in procreation (concupiscentia), by which man in his natural state, is subjected to the devil.
2. The propagation of Adam's sin among his posterity, is a punishment of the same sin. The sin was the punishment of the sin. The corruption of human nature, in the whole race, was the righteous punishment of the transgression of the first man, in whom all men already existed.
3. The other penalties of Adam's sin, bodily death, the toil of labor, the shame of nakedness, sensual lust, pains of parturition, etc., also came upon his posterity; and, moreover, the physical punishment of Adam's sin, just as much as the moral, was a positive penalty.
4. And as not only Adam's sin as a punishment, but also the other penalties came upon his posterity, there hence follows from it the entire moral and physical corruption of human nature. From that source, every man brings into the world a nature already so corrupt, that he is not only more inclined to evil than to good, but he can do nothing but sin and is, on this account, subject to the righteous sentence of condemnation.
5. This original sin, however, is nothing substantial, but is a quality of the affections (affectionalis qualitas), and a vice indeed (vitium), a weakness (languor).
This is Augustine's theory of original sin, which is seldom understood in its whole bearing. It is contained in his first work against the Pelagians, at least in the greater part of its grand principles, though we must not deny, that it reached so perfect a form only in the progress of the conflict.
That Adam's sin has passed over to his descendants by propagation, and not by imitation, as the Pelagians would have it, Augustine maintains in that piece (e. g. De Pec. Mer. I. 9), against the Pelagians; and endeavors to prove this by the notable passage in Rom. 5:12. Comp. Op. Imp. II. 57, where he says; "The race are propagated by generation, bringing original sin with them, since the vice propagates the vice, though God creates nature (vitio propagante vitium, Deo creante naturam); quam naturam conjuges, etiam bene utentes vitio, non possunt tamen ita generare ut possit esse sine vitio; which vice in the children He, who was born without the vice, removes, Julian to the contrary notwithstanding." And, as consonant with this, Augustine says, "ut crederemus etiam semen hominis posse vitium de gignentibus trahere." C. Jul. VI. 7. That this propagation is effected by "the lust of the flesh," is also set forth in De Pec. Mer. I. 29. "He in whom all die, has, with the secret, consuming poison of his fleshly lust, infected in himself all who come from his stock." I. 9. This doctrine is fully and plainly presented in his two books De Nuptiis et Concupiscentia. Among other things, he says: "Sensual lust, which is expiated only by the sacrament of regeneration, propagates by generation the bond of sin to posterity, if they are not freed from that bond by regeneration." 1. 23. By this fleshly lust--a daughter of sin, as it were, and, if complied with in base things, the mother of many sins--the progeny is subjected to original sin, if not regenerated in him whom the virgin conceived without that sensual passion; on which account, he alone was born without sin, when he condescended to be born in the flesh." I. 24. He therefore makes Christ an exception from original sin, because he was conceived by a virgin without this concupiscence. And for this reason, Christ himself was also free from it. It. 5. Original sin propagates itself by concupiscence. Op. Imp. VI. 22. Hence Augustine could say of carnal generation, that it produces children of death, of wrath; that it holds man in bondage under the condemned origin, etc. De Pec. Mer. III. 2. De Pec. Orig. 38.
This carnal lust, Augustine derives from the devil, and hence allows all men to be under the power of the devil, while in their natural state. A multitude of proof passages could be produced. "Whatever arises by means of this wound (lust) inflicted on the human race by the devil, is under the power of the devil. He plucks justly as it were, the fruit of his own tree; not because human nature is from him, (which comes only from God), but vice, which is not from God." De Nupt. et Conc. I. 23. "Sensual lust springs not from the Father, but from the world, whose prince is the devil." II. 5. "Before spiritual regeneration, they, who are born of carnal intercourse, are under the dominion of the devil, because they spring from the concupiscence by which the flesh lusteth against the spirit," etc. C. Jul. IV. 4. "That discord produced by concupiscence between the flesh and spirit, is attributed, by the orthodox to the evil counsellor and transgressing man." Op. Imp. IV. 27. Hence Augustine could say: "When passion conquers, the devil conquers; when passion is conquered, the devil is conquered." C. Jul. V. 7. Therefore Augustine also speaks of wounds inflicted on human nature by the devil, and calls him directly a maimer. Ep. 194. c. 6. See also De Nupt. et Conc. 1. 23, as just quoted. And, in fine, the whole unhappy condition in which man is found since the fall, according to Augustine's theory, must have appeared to him as the work of the devil, because he regarded him as the seducer of the first man. Hence he said, e.g., that the devil plunged men into (physical) death. De Trin. IV. 13. "Corruption is propagated by the persuasion of the devil, by which corruption all are born under sin." De Nupt. et Conc. II. 33.
The transfer of Adam's sin to his descendants, was, according to Augustine, a part of the punishment which God laid on Adam and his race for his transgression. Many passages may be adduced in proof, that this was Augustine's opinion. But in none could it be more plainly declared, than where it is said (Op. Imp. I. 47): "We must distinguish three things, sin, the punishment of sin, and that which in such a manner is sin, that it is at the same time also the punishment of sin. Of the third kind is original sin, which is so sin that it is also itself the punishment of sin; which is indeed in children just born, but begins to appear in them as they grow up and have the needful wisdom. Yet the source of this sin descends from the will of him that sinned. For it was Adam; and in him we all were. Adam perished; and in him we have all perished." With this compare De Perfect. Justit. 4. "It is not merely a voluntary and possible sin from which one has the freedom to abstain, but even a necessary sin, from which he has not the freedom to abstain; which is not only sin, but also the punishment of sin." Op. Imp. V. 59. "By the first pair, so great a sin was committed, that by it human nature was changed for the worse, an obligation (obligatione) of sin and a necessity of death being transmitted to posterity." De Civ. Dei, XIV. 1. In this sense, Augustine said, that God punished sins by sins. De Nat. et Gr. 22. C. Jul. V. 3, in which he appeals to several passages of Scripture.
The most signal moral punishment of Adam's transgression, was therefore the sin itself, or the moral corruption, that passed over to his posterity, by which Adam was also punished in his descendants.
Besides this, Augustine admitted several other punishments, moral as well as physical, which pertained to Adam's offence, and passed over to his posterity. It is worth remarking here, that Augustine did not regard the physical punishment of sin as a natural consequence of Adam's transgression in eating the forbidden fruit, by which man's body has lost its original and excellent state. For he considered the fruit as not pernicious in itself--in a place of such great felicity, God could have planted nothing bad--but it was noxious only as being forbidden. De Civ. Dei, XIV. 12. The physical punishment, Augustine regarded as a positive punishment, by which God would show man his authority. By that small command not to eat of the forbidden tree, God designed to show his sovereignty.
And by it, also, obedience was made a duty, which is the mother of all other virtues. By the transgression of the command, therefore, the principle of all virtue was abandoned. "In this command, obedience was commended; and this virtue is, in a measure, the mother and protector of all virtues in an intelligent creature." Augustine knew no other way of explaining how such great consequences, even to the physical state of man, could arise from the single sin of Adam. "As by that sin, so by the curse, has the whole nature been changed for the worse." C. Jul. III. 26. Still he could always say, even in respect to the physical state of man, that man is corrupted by his own vice," or "by the vice by which he voluntarily fell" (vitio quo voluntate prolapsus est, De Pec. Mer. II. 4), in as much as Adam sinned from free will, and the physical corruption of man was connected with Adam's transgression, as a positive punishment.
But the moral punishment of Adam's sin, was also a positive punishment of it. An entire moral ruin of man, did not follow from the nature of Adam's transgression but God had annexed this--to it as a punishment, and it was made a condition by the prohibition. God punished sin with sin. The sinfulness (vitiositas) of the whole human race, is penal (poenalis). "If Christ therefore is the one in whom all are justified, because not the mere imitation of him makes them just, but grace regenerating by the Spirit; so is Adam therefore the one in whom all have sinned, because not the mere imitation of him makes them sinners, but the punishment generating by the flesh (poena per carnem generans)." De Pec. Mer. I. 15.
Among the punishments which Augustine believed to come on Adam's race, besides sin itself, are the following.
1. Temporal death. If Adam had not sinned, he would not have been despoiled of his body, but would have been clothed with immortality and incorruptibility, that what is mortal should be swallowed up of life, i.e., pass from the animal to the spiritual state. But besides what an avenging God says, Earth thou art, and to earth shalt thou return, (which I know not how to understand except of the death of the body), there are also other testimonies by which it most evidently appears, that the human race had to fear, on account of sin, not only the death of the spirit, but also that of the body." De Pec. Mer. I. 2, 4. "The body still bears the deserts of sin, because it is subject to the condition of death." I. 7. "By the punishment of transgression, Adam lost immortality." Op. Imp. VI. 30. "The first man sinned so grievously, that by this sin, the nature, not only of one single man but of the whole human race, was changed, and fell from the possibility of immortality to the certainty of death." VI. 12. "God had so made the first pair, that if they were obedient, the immortality of angels and a happy eternity would have resulted to them, without the intervention of death; but if disobedient, death was to be their punishment by the most righteous condemnation." De Civ. Dei, XIII. 1. "The first pair were so constituted, that if they had not sinned, they would have suffered no kind of death; but these first sinners were so punished with death, that whatever sprang from their stock, was subject to the same punishment. For nothing could originate from them different from what they were themselves. Because according to the greatness of the guilt, the condemnation changed nature for the worse; so that what was before inflicted penally on the first sinners, followed naturally to those born afterwards." XIII. 3. "The death of the body is a punishment, since the spirit, because it voluntarily left God, leaves the body against its will; so that, as the spirit left God because it chose to, it leaves the body although it chooses not to." De Trin. IV. 13. Comp. De Gen. ad Lit. IX. 10.
2. Concupiscence and the insubordination of the members. Sometimes Augustine uses concupiscence in the wider sense for sinful passions in general; for example, De Perf. Just. Hom. 6, where he explains it as the love of sin; and, Op. Imp. IV. 28, where he says, that the concupiscence of the flesh does not in solam voluptatem genitalium aestuare, but is found in every corporeal sense; and sometimes in the more restricted sense, in which the word is frequently used by him for sexual desire. In both senses, however, he regarded it as an evil which has come to our nature as a punishment of the fall. "The lust of the flesh, against which the good spirit lusts, is both sin, because it has in it disobedience to the dominion of the spirit, and also the punishment of sin, because it is in consequence of the transgressions of him that was disobedient; and is likewise a cause of sin, by the defection of him that consents, or the infection of him that is born." C. Jul. V. 3. "We are ashamed of that of which the first pair were ashamed when they covered their nakedness. This (of which they were ashamed, concupiscence) "is the punishment of sin, the guilt and the sign of sin, the inclination and the tinder to sin, the law in the members warring against the law of the mind, the disobedience of ourselves against ourselves, which is given as a most righteous retribution to the disobedient." De Nupt. et Conc. II. 9. In the regenerated, however, concupiscence is not a sin, if they do not consent to unlawful acts, and do not surrender their members to the accomplishment of them. But according to the use of language, it is called sin, because it arises from sin, and when victorious it brings forth sin. I. 23. "Fleshly concupiscence is not to be imputed to marriage, but to be suffered (toleranda). For it is not a good coming from natural marriage, but an evil accruing from the ancient sin." De Nupt. et Conc. I. 17. "After the first transgression of God's law, man began to have another law in his members warring against his spirit, and experienced the justly retributed disobedience of his flesh." I. 6. "If Julian will not allow, that sensual concupiscence is a vice, yet let him at least admit that, by the disobedience of the first pair, this concupiscence was vitiated, so that, instead of acting moderately and obediently, it acts extravagantly and disobediently; ita ut ipsis quoque pudicis ad nutum non obtemperet conjugatis, sed et quando non est necessaria moveatur, et quando necessaria est, aliquando citius, aliquando tardius, non eorum sequatur nutus, sed suos exserat motus. Hanc ergo ejus inobedientiam inobedientes illi tunc homines receperunt, et in nos propagine transfuderunt. Neque enim ad eorum nutum, sed utique inordinate movebatur, quando membra prius glorianda, tunc jam pudenda texerunt." II. 35. "Thou art not willing, Julian, to be wise with Ambrose, and to grant, that the evil by which the flesh lusteth against the spirit, has entered into nature by the transgression of the first man." Op. Imp. II. 15. "Sensual lust belongs to the nature of brutes; but is a punishment in man." IV. 41. "The devil recommended disobedience to the human mind, from which a penal and shameful disobedience of the flesh would ensue; whence original sin would be contracted, by which every one that should be born, would be subject to the devil, and perish with the same devil, unless regenerated." IV. 68. "The disobedience of the members was given to the first disobedient pair, as a righteous punishment," etc. C. Duas Epp. Pel. I. 15.
On this concupiscence which Augustine sometimes denominates lust (libido), he expatiates with great particularity, as the Pelagians made many objections to it. In contrast to the Pelagian conclusions, he calls it "a disease--a wound inflicted on nature through the treacherous counsel given by the devil--a vice of nature--a deformity--an evil that comes from the depravity of our nature which is vitiated by sin." C. Jul. III. 15,26; V. 7. Op. Imp. IV. 33; V. 20. "No man is now born without concupiscence." I. 72. He says concerning it, that Julian must grant it to be either a vice or something vitiated (Op. Imp. II. 218); or, as he elsewhere expresses himself, it either springs from sin or is corrupted by sin. IV. 41. According to Augustine, it is a quality (qualitas). C. Jul. VI. 18. The guilt of concupiscence made man guilty from his origin (originaliter hominem reum faciebat). VI. 5. Hence unbaptized children are punishable on account of concupiscence. It brings them into condemnation, though they die in childhood. Its criminality (reatus) indeed is forgiven in baptism; but itself remains, even after baptism, for conflict (ad agonem); though it does not injure those who withstand it, just as it does not injure children who die after baptism, in whom this conflict does not take place; and it ceases after this life. But it carries those who comply with it, to eternal perdition, if they are not healed by repentance, deeds of charity, and the heavenly priest that intercedes for us, etc. De Pec. Mer. II. 4, 33; De Nupt. et Conc. I. 31; C. Duas Epp. Pel. 1. 13; C. Jul. II. 3; Op. Imp. I. 101. It is always an evil, even in the continent who keep it in subjection, and in the married who apply it to good, i.e., to the procreation of children. C. Jul. IV. 2, and in many other passages. Augustine also found a connection between mortality and concupiscence. `Before the fall, and before there was any necessity of dying, concupiscence had no existence; but after the body had acquired a sickly and dying nature, (which likewise belongs to the flesh of animals), it received also, on this account, the movement by which the carnal desire originates in animals, whereby those that are born, succeed the dying.' De Gen. ad Lit. XI. 32.
Finally, Augustine explains himself to this effect, that carnal concupiscence has its seat in the body as well as in the soul. "The cause of fleshly lust is not in the soul alone, and still much less in the body alone. For it arises from both; from the soul, because without it no delight is felt; and from the flesh, because without this, no fleshly delight is felt," etc. X. 12. "And there are other desires of the soul which are called fleshly, because the soul lusts according to the flesh when it so lusts that the spirit, that is, its better and superior part, ought to resist it." C. Jul. V. 7.
3. The shame of nakedness. "Nam quare illud opus conjugatorum subtrabitur et absconditur etiam oculis filiorum, nisi quia non possunt esse in laudenda commixtione, sine pudenda libidine? De hac erubuerunt etiam qui primi pudenda texerunt, quae prius pudenda non fuerunt, sed tanquam Dei opera praedicanda et glorianda. Tunc ergo texerunt, quando erubuerunt: tunc autem erubuerunt, quando post inobedientiam suam inobedientia membra senscrunt." De Nupt. et Conc. II. 5. "Nec mirum si pudet laudentes, quod videmus ipsos pudere generantes. In Paradiso autem si peccatum non praecessisset, non esset quidem sine utriusque sexus commixtione generatio, sed esset sine confusione commixtio. Esset quippe in coeundo tranquilla membrorum obedientia, non pudenda carnis concupiscentia." II. 22. Comp. II. 9. The shame of nakedness is also depicted in Op. Imp. VI. 25. Comp. De Gen. ad Lit. XI. 32.
4. The pains of parturition. "We say, that the pain of childbirth, is a punishment of sin. For we know that God has said it without any ambiguity; and said it only to her that transgressed his command; and said it only because he was offended at the transgression of his command." These pains came on Eve as a punishment of her crime, and not from the condition of nature; and we do not know that brutes suffer in this way. Op. Imp. VI. 26, and in other passages.
5. The toil of laborers, as well as the thorns and thistles which the earth brought forth after the fall. Augustine, in his work against Julian (VI. 27), endeavors to prove at large, that the toil of men engaged in labor, is a punishment of Adam's sin on his posterity; and appeals to the well known words in Genesis, In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat thy bread. "Do you so insult and despise the severity of God, as to maintain, that what was ordained as a punishment, is a gift of nature?" Among the toils of labor, he also reckons the "studies of learners," or, as he also says, "the torments of learners," and "the anxious cares;" so that no one is free from this sweat. VI. 9, 13, 29. Comp. De Pec. Mer. II. 34. "You maintain [Julian], that likewise thorns and thistles were produced before man sinned, although God does not name these among the first productions, but threatens them as the punishment of sin." Op. Imp. VI. 27. In an earlier work, however, (De Gen. ad Lit. III. 18), Augustine is doubtful whether thorns and thistles, which have their use, were not in existence before the fall of man. But he adds, that it was only after this time, that they grew as a nuisance to man in cultivating the field. "We may believe it as belonging to the completion of the punishment, that these sprung up on fields in which man was now penally laboring, though they might grow elsewhere as food for the fowls and the flocks, or for the use of man himself."
6. According to Augustine, all other moral and physical evils of man, were also a punishment of Adam's sin. The loss of personal beauty, is such a punishment. De Pec. Mer. I. 16. The corruptible body would not clog the soul, if there had been no sin. Op. Imp. VI. 14. Our bodies would not have been born with defects, and there would have been no human monsters, if Adam had not corrupted our nature by his sin, and that had not been punished in his posterity. Op. Imp. I. 116; II. 123; III. 95,104; V. 8. The sickly and dying nature of the human body, proceeds from the lapse of the first man. De Gen. ad Lit. XI. 32. The faults of the mind with which many are born, as weakness, waywardness, stupidity of mind, are a consequence of original sin, a punishment of Adam's sin. C. Jul. III. 4; Op. Imp. III. 161; IV. 134, 136; V. II. Discernment and courage are so seldom found, because nature is corrupted by sin. IV. 1, 3. Ignorance, as soon as it is involuntary, is a punishment of Adam's sin. Ep. 194. c. 6. Blindness of the heart, is a punishment of that sin. The blindness of the heart, which only God the illuminator removes, is at once sin, in as much as there is not faith in God, and also the punishment of sin, in as much as the proud heart is punished in a fit way, and likewise the cause of sin, since something of evil is committed by the error of a blind heart. C. Jul. V. 3; De Nat. et Gr. 22; Op. Imp. I. 17. The baptized, too, are not without the evil of ignorance. Although this may perhaps wholly cease in this life, yet concupiscence though weakened, will never be wholly removed. C. Jul. VI. 16. The violence of habit, is a violence that comes as a punishment of that highest and greatest sin of the first man. Op. Imp. V. 59. The dominion of the man over the woman, is a punishment incurred by the same sin. De Gen. ad Lit. XI. 37. Fear and pain are punishments of original sin, which also remain in those whose sins are forgiven, that their faith in a future world, where these will not come, may be proved. Op. Imp. VI. 17. "Human nature would have been propagated in paradise, according to the prolific blessing of God, although no one had sinned, until the number of the saints foreknown by God should be completed. But those infants would not have wept in paradise, nor have been dumb, nor would they at any time have been unable to use their reason, nor would they have lain feeble and inert without the use of their limbs, nor have been afflicted with diseases, nor have been injured by wild beasts, nor killed by poison, nor wounded by any accident, or deprived of any sense or any part of the body, nor vexed by demons, nor ruled by blows as they rose to childhood; nor would they have gained instruction by labor; nor would any have been born with so vain and obtuse a mind that they could be improved neither by any labor nor suffering; but, except in the size of their bodies, propter incapaces uteros matrum, they would have been born in all respects as Adam was created." Op. Imp. III. 198. "But, in my opinion, so great weakness of the flesh, shows almost any punishment." De Pec. Mer. I. 37. "There comes not, however, upon individuals, what the whole apostate creature has deserved; and no individual endures so much as the whole mass deserve to suffer, but God has arranged all in measure, weight, and number, and suffers no one to endure any evil which he does not deserve." Op. Imp. II. 87.
According to Augustine's theory, therefore, the nature of man, both in a physical and a moral view, is totally corrupted by Adam's sin. In the last respect, it is so deeply corrupted that he can do no otherwise than sin. This inherited corruption, or original sin, as a moral punishment, is such a quality of the nature of man, that in his natural state, he can will and do evil only. From this, it certainly follows, then, that man has no freewill. And it was, indeed, the Augustinian doctrine, that man has lost freewill by the fall; or rather, according to Augustine original sin, as a moral punishment, consisted especially in this, that man by nature is utterly incapable of good. The want of moral freedom, was with him the essential part of original sin. The loss of freedom, however, will hereafter be considered, especially in regard to the weight and influence of this doctrine on the whole of Augustine's system.
The aid, which the first man had from God, and which was necessary to his perseverance in good, was lost by the fall; and its loss is a punishment of sin. De Cor. et Gr. II.
That Augustine now should consider man as already under condemnation on account of original sin, will excite no wonder. And this he indeed maintained, in many places, very earnestly. According to De Pec. Mer. I. 12, Adam's sin is enough to exclude men from the kingdom of God, from salvation, and eternal life, although the guilt, and consequently the condemnation, may be increased by their own sins. Comp. C. Jul. VI. 18. "On account of the damnable vice by which human nature is vitiated, it is condemned." De Nupt. et Conc. 1. 23. "They that are carnally born from Adam, contract from their first birth the infection of the old death, and will not be freed from the punishment of eternal death, unless born again in Christ by grace." Ep. 217. c. 5. "God created the nature of man mid way, as it were, between angels and wild beasts, so that if he, subject to his creator and true Lord, should keep his commands in devout obedience, he should pass to the society of angels, and, without the intervention of death, should attain a blessed immortality without end; but if he should offend the Lord his God, by a proud and disobedient use of freewill, he should live like the brutes, subject to death, a slave to List, and destined to eternal punishment after death." De Civ. Dei, XII. 21. "Because Adam forsook God by freewill, he experienced the righteous sentence of God, to be condemned, together with his whole race, which, existing as yet in him, had all sinned with him. For as many of this race as are freed by the grace of God, are freed from the condemnation by which they are bound." De Corr. et Gr. 10. Hence Augustine pronounced the whole human race, in their natural state, one mass of perdition (massa perditionis), and even a condemned batch (conspersio damnata). De Pec. Orig. 31; De Corr. et Gr. 7. Finally, he allowed also, that deliverance from condemnation was granted to Adam, as the church believed him to have been saved. De Nat. et Gr. 21. Christ, by his descent into hell, delivered Adam from it, as we may believe. In this, says Augustine, nearly the whole church are agreed. Ep. 164. c. 3.
In order to avoid the Pelagian inference, that Augustine, by maintaining original sin, favored Manichaeism, (according to which an evil substance was believed to be in man, and by which God must consequently be the author of evil, provided we hold him to be the author of man, and yet would not, with Manes, allow an evil principle at the same time to have had a part in man's creation,) Augustine maintained, that original sin is not a substance, but a quality of the affections (affectionalis qualitas), a vice, a languor. "Julian speaks as if we had said, that some substance (aliquid substantiae) was created in men by the devil. The devil tempts to evil as sin, but does not create as it were nature. But evidently he has persuaded nature, as man is nature; and by persuading, has corrupted it. For he who inflicts wounds, does not create limbs, but injures them. But wounds inflicted on bodies, make the limbs fatter or move feebly, but not that power by which man is just; but the wound which is called sin, wounds that life by which there was holy living. Therefore by that great sin of the first man, our nature, then changed for the worse, not only has become a sinner (peccatrix), but produces sinners. And yet that weakness (languor), by which the power of holy living perished, is not nature at all, but a corruption; just as bodily infirmity is certainly not any substance or nature, but a vitiation." De Nupt. et Conc. If. 34. Comp. De Nat. et Gr. 54; Op. Imp. VI. 7. "Evil is not a substance; for if it were a substance, it would be something good." Conf. VII. 12. "But you [Julian] without knowing what you say, object to me, that I say, God created sin. Withstand the Manichaean, who says, that in the discord of the flesh and the spirit, two contrary natures of good and evil are apparent. For there is but one answer we can give, so that this pest can be conquered, viz., that this discord came into our nature by the transgression of the first man; by denying which, you help them to conquer, and sufficiently prove yourself a false assailant and a true auxiliary of the Manichaeans." VI. 6. Hence Augustine also said (De Civ. Dei, XIV. 11), that the evil is contrary to nature, although it pertains to the nature of him whose vice it is, because it can be only in nature; and that the evil is not removed by the removal of any superadded nature or of any part of it, but that what had been corrupt and depraved, was healed and improved. Sensual lust does not remain in a substantial way (substantialiter) after baptism, as a kind of body or spirit, but is a certain affection of an evil quality (affectio quaedam malae qualitatis), as languor." De Nupt. et Conc. I. 25. Comp. C. Jul. VI. 18, where Augustine calls original sin, an inborn vice, and compares it to a hereditary disease. Here also he explains himself respecting the difference between affection (affectio) and a quality of affection (affectionalis qualitas), and in such a way, that the former indicates a transitory state, and the latter an attribute. Thus, to fear, he calls an affection; and to be timid, a quality of affection. He adds, "an evil quality (qualitas mali) does not pass out of one substance into another, as from place to place, as though it left the place where it was and went somewhere else; but another of the same kind is produced, by a kind of contagion, which is also wont to happen from the diseased bodies of parents to the children." Hence, while he would not maintain that original sin is a substance, but, as it has since also been scholastically termed, an accident, he was fond of saying, that concupiscence happens to nature (accidit naturae), as we find this expression, c. g. in De Nupt. et Conc. 1. 24. And he called original sin an accident of nature (accidens naturae), Op. Imp. III. 189, and, as we have already seen, an evil accruing from the ancient sin (ex antiquo peccato accidens malum).
Remark. According to Augustine, there is nothing at all bad by nature, for all was originally created good. De Gen. ad Lit. VIII. 13. "There is no nature of evil; but the loss of good has received the name of evil." De Civ. Dei, XI. 9. Here Augustine means only to say, that there is no substantial evil, but evil consists in the lack of good. This he distinguishes from the other, in c. 22. There is nothing evil by nature; but this name applies to the privation of good (privatio boni). De Fide, Spe, et Caritate, c. 11, 12. Augustine endeavors to show, that evil, universally, is not an existence in itself, but only a privation of good, as bodily disease is the absence of health. Good is properly the foundation of all things, although not without variableness and diverse degrees of change. Hence Augustine allowed, that the demons were not bad by nature, but had become so only by their defection from God. In this way, he endeavored to avoid the dualism of Manes. From this cause, we see why, on the one hand, Pelagius, without prejudice to his view of the faultless state of human nature, in its natural condition, attributed a deterioration to adult humanity, through the power of bad custom; and on the other hand, Augustine, notwithstanding his theory of man's total corruption by the sin of Adam, could grant, that a trace of the divine image is still left, after the fall of Adam, in the rational soul of man. For nature itself, which God made, is indeed something good, according to Augustine. It is by no means ruined, as respects its substance, but only infected with corruption. "The good, by which nature exists, cannot be destroyed, unless herself is destroyed. Corruption cannot consume the good, unless nature be destroyed. If this is destroyed by corruption, then corruption itself will no longer remain; for there is then no nature in which it can exist." Enchir. 4. Even to the most corrupt men, there still remains reason, by which they have a preeminence above the brutes. De Gen. ad Lit. IX. 9. Hence Augustine called the rational soul of man, the index of his noble origin. XI. 32. "If man had lost the whole of the divine image, there would be nothing remaining of which it could be said (Ps. 39:6): Though man walketh in the image, he is vainly disquieted." Retract. I. 26. He also allows, that something good still remains in human nature, because pain can be felt for the lost good; for if there were nothing of good remaining in nature, there would be no pain for the lost good, as a punishment. "That is good which deplores the lost good; for if there were nothing of good remaining in nature, there would be no pain for the lost good, as a punishment." De Gen. ad Lit VIII. 14. And hence was he also induced to say of the heathen, that we know of many transactions of theirs, which deserved, not only no blame, but even praise, although, as he adds, if the design be considered, they could hardly deserve the praise of righteousness. Many of those heathen might, with the exception of their worship, be esteemed as examples of frugality, chastity, temperance, and contempt of death for their country. Not referring to the object of true and real piety, but to a vain pride of human praise and fame, they in a manner vanish and become unfruitful; and yet they afforded delight by a certain disposition of the mind. Ep. 164. c. 2. The declarations of the apostle whom he so highly revered, might easily afford the occasion of his acknowledging the legal works of the heathen. We find a remarkable passage, in this respect, in one of the earlier controversial pieces of Augustine against the Pelagians; De Spir. et Lit. c. 27, 28. After there suggesting, that the declaration in Rom. 2:14, 15, is rather to be referred to the converted heathen, he thus continues: "But if they, who do by nature the things of the law, are not to be considered in the number of those whom Christ's grace justifies, but rather among those of whom, (although unholy and not really and rightly worshipping the true God), we have nevertheless read or known or hear of some acts which, according to the rule of righteousness, we not only cannot blame, but even properly and justly praise, (though, if considered in respect to their object, they will hardly be found to deserve the requisite praise or defence of righteousness), still, since the image of God in the human soul, is not so effaced, by the stain of earthly passions, that none of the extreme lineaments, as it were, remain in it, by which it may justly be said, that they, even amid the ungodliness of their lives, do or understand something of the law; if this is what is meant by the declaration (Rom. 2:14), that, the heathen, who have not the law, that is, the law of God, do by nature the things of the law, and that such men are a law unto themselves, and have the work of the law written in their hearts, i.e., that, which was impressed on their hearts by the image of God when they were created is not totally effaced; even thus [construing the apostle], the distinction is not confounded, by which the New Testament differs from the Old, because, by the New, the law of God is written on the heart of believers, which, by the Old, was written on tables. For, as this image of God is renewed in the mind of believers, by the New Testament, which image iniquity had not totally obliterated, (for that remained, since the soul of man cannot but be rational), so the law of God, being not there entirely effaced by iniquity, is indeed written anew by grace. And as some venial sins, without which this life is not led, do not bar the righteous from eternal life; so some good works, without which the life of the worst man will hardly be found, do not profit the ungodly at all in respect to eternal salvation." On Ps. 57, he says: "This truth is written on our hearts, by the hand of our Maker, What thou willest not to be done to thee, do not to another. This every one knew, before the law was given; by which those also could be judged to whom the law was not given." Jerome, in the epistle to Algesia (qu. 8), expresses himself in a like manner, with the addition, that the law written on the heart comprehends the whole. Now, although Augustine could not deny the praise of external rectitude to many actions of the heathen, yet he declared even these to be sins, as viewed in the motive or the source from which they spring, as they come not from faith. All that is not of faith, is sin. Rom. XIV. 23. Is it sin, then--this is an objection which Julian made to him--when a heathen clothes the naked, binds up the wounds of the infirm, or cannot be brought by torture to false testimony? etc. The act in itself (the matter of the act) of clothing the naked is no sin, replied Augustine; but as it comes not from faith, in this view (in respect to its form) it is sin. The heathen performs good works in a bad way, and a bad tree can bring forth no good fruit, etc. And virtues which do not profit a man in gaining salvation, can be no true virtues. C. Jul. IV. 3. "What good could we do, if we did not love? or how do we not do good, if we love? Where there is no love, no good work is reckoned, and it is never properly called a good work, because all which does not come from faith, is sin. But faith works by love." De Grat. Chr. 26. Nay, Augustine allowed the severe, but not illogical conclusion, that the unbeliever, who keeps the moral law ever so strictly (as to its matter), is condemned; but that the believer who obeys it less, is saved. Still, however, of two believers, he gave the preference to the one who should best fulfil the rules of the moral law. C. Duas Epp. Pel. III. 5.
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