- Memoir of Rev. John Robinson.
- Section I.: Mr. Robinson, a Puritan In Norfolk. (1575—1604.)
- Section II.: Mr. Robinson a Separatist At Scrooby. (1604—1608.)
- Section III.: Mr. Robinson an Exile At Amsterdam. (1608, 1609.)
- Section IV.: Mr. Robinson a Pastor At Leyden. (1609—1625.)
- Section V.: Mr. Robinson, His Character and Writings.
- The Preface.
- Prefatory Notice By the Editor.
- Chapter I.: Of Man's Knowledge of God .
- Chapter II.: Of God's Love.
- Chapter III.: Of God's Promises.
- Chapter IV: Of the Works of God, and His Power, Wisdom, Will, Goodness, Etc., Shining In Them.
- Chapter V.: Of Created Goodness.
- Chapter VI.: Of Equability, and Perseverance In Well-doing.
- Chapter VII.: Of Religion, and the Differences and Disputations Thereabout.
- Chapter VIII.: Of the Holy Scriptures.
- Chapter IX.: Of Authority and Reason.
- Chapter X.: Op Faith, Hope, and Love: Reason, and Sense.
- Chapter XI.: Of Atheism and Idolatry.
- Chapter XII.: Of Heresy and Schism.
- Chapter XIII.: Of Truth and Falsehood.
- Chapter XIV.: Of Knowledge and Ignorance.
- Chapter XV.: Of Simplicity and Craftiness.
- Chapter XVI.: Of Wisdom and Folly.
- Chapter XVII.: Of Discretion.
- Chapter XVIII.: Of Experience.
- Chapter XIX.: Of Examples.
- Chapter XX.: Of Counsel.
- Chapter XXI.: Of Thoughts.
- Chapter XXII.: Of Speech and Silence.
- Chapter XXIII.: Of Books and Writings.
- Chapter XXIV.: Of Good Intentions.
- Chapter XXV.: Of Means.
- Chapter XXVI.: Of Labour, and Idleness.
- Chapter XXVII.: Of Callings.
- Chapter XXVIII.: Of the Use and Abuse of Things.
- Chapter XXIX.: Of Riches and Poverty.
- Chapter XXX.: Of Sobriety.
- Chapter XXXI.: Of Liberality and Its Contraries.
- Chapter XXXII.: Of Health and Physic.
- Chapter XXXIII.: Of Afflictions.
- Chapter XXXIV.: Of Injuries.
- Chapter XXXV.: Of Patience.
- Chapter XXXVI.: Of Peace.
- Chapter XXXVII.: Of Society and Friendship.
- Chapter XXXVIII.: Of Credit and Good Name.
- Chapter XXXIX.: Of Contempt and Contumely.
- Chapter Xl.: of Envy.
- Chapter Xli.: of Slander.
- Chapter Xlii.: of Flattery.
- Chapter Xliii.: of Suspicion.
- Chapter Xliv.: of Appearances.
- Chapter Xlv.: of Offences.
- Chapter Xlvi.: of Temptations.
- Chapter Xlvii.: of Conscience.
- Chapter Xlviii.: of Prayer.
- Chapter Xlix.: of Oaths and Lots.
- Chapter L.: of Zeal.
- Chapter Li.: of Hypocrisy.
- Chapter Lii.: of Sin, and Punishment From God.
- Chapter Liii.: of Rewards, and Punishments By Men.
- Chapter Liv.: of the Affections of the Mind.
- Chapter Lv.: of Fear.
- Chapter Lvi.: of Anger.
- Chapter Lvii.: of Humility and Meekness.
- Chapter Lviii.: of Modesty.
- Chapter Lix.: of Marriage.
- Chapter Lx.: of Children and Their Education.
- Chapter Lxi.: of Youth and Old Age.
- Chapter Lxii.: of Death.
- Introductory Notice By the Editor.
- Chapter I.: Of Predestination.
- Chapter II.: Of Election.
- Chapter III.: Of Falling Away. Adversaries. (page 78.)
- Chapter IV.: Of Free-will.
- Chapter V.: Of the Original State of Mankind.
- Chapter VI.: Of Baptism. (pages 129—176.)
of the original state of mankind.
The main question here to be discussed is, whether all infants sinned in Adam, and so be guilty of death, and condemnation naturally, and without mercy in Christ or not ? This I will prove, God willing, against them; answering and disproving what they bring to the contrary, and that in their own order, as followeth.
did infants sin in adam ?
“Infants had no life, nor being,” as Adam had, “at that time,” when God gave the law to Adam; and therefore no law was given unto them; and therefore sinned not, nor were guilty of condemnation.
I grant, that infants had then no life and being, as Adam had; to wit, actual, and distinct: but affirm, that they had both, after a sort, and as the branches in the root. Odegos, the guide of the blind, as Rom. ii. 19, affirms, that mankind was in Adam “in bodily substance;” they had therefore being in Adam after a sort, namely, so far as they were in him. If they had being in Adam any way, they had life also in him: for nothing in Adam was dead, but all living: their being therefore, so far as it was in him, was a living being.
We read, Heb. vii. 9, that Levi paid tithes to Melchisedec in Abraham. But how could this be, might one say, seeing Levi had then no life and being? The apostle answers, that he was in the loins of his father Abraham, when Melchisedec met him. And reason teacheth, that none can do any act, but he must first be, nor do it otherwise, than as he is. Levi therefore, then, had a kind of being, and that living, and reasonable also, as he performed that act of paying tithes. He in Abraham as a particular root: Mankind in Adam, as in a general root.
2. That infants had a law given them, I thus prove. First, the Word of God, Gen. ii. 17, “In the day that thou eatest of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt die the death,” shows, that whom God threateneth with death, to them he gave the law. The punishment, Gen. iii. 17, 18, 19, reacheth to all Adam's posterity, and so the threatening, and by consequence the law. Secondly, the apostle teacheth, Rom. ii. 15, that the law is written in the hearts of the Gentiles, according to which law of nature written in their hearts, (though they had it not written in tables of stone, as the Jews,) they shall be judged at the day of the Lord, ver. 15, 16, 17. These Gentiles cannot be imagined to have this law thus written any other way, than as God in the beginning created Adam, and all mankind in him, after His image, in righteousness and holiness, in which respect also they are said, to do by nature the things contained in the law, having also a natural conscience in them, which without a law were vain: under which general law, binding the reasonable creature to faith and obedience in all things (in disposition before use of-discretion, and in act afterwards): the particular law, Gen. ii., is contained, and to be referred unto it. Thirdly, if infants have reasonable souls, then have they the faculties of understanding and will, though not the actual use of them, as men have. This understanding cannot be conceived by any to be without all disposition and proneness, either to the knowledge of God, or to ignorance, error, and doubting of him; nor this will to be without all disposition, and inclination to will according to, or against God's will. As the young whelps and cubs of lions, bears, and foxes, have in their natural and sensitive faculties, a proneness and inclination to raven; and every beast proneness to the things of its kind, after, actually performed, and practised by them: so have infants necessarily in their reasonable faculties, a disposition, one or other, to understand and will things, specially such as concern God, by reason of the most natural, necessary, and indissoluble relation, between the reasonable creature, and the Creator, and that specially in those most noble faculties.
The objection from Rom. vii. 1, hath in it no colour of truth; for neither are there any such words, that the law is given (especially only, which must be added) to them that know it: neither doth the apostle there intend at all to show to whom the law was given, or not: but only, that the Christian church at Rome, specially many of them being Jews, as appears, chap. xvi. to which he wrote, was not ignorant of the law, whether general or particular, to which he had reference in that place.
To Deut. xi. 2, besides things answered by Mr. Ainsworth, I add, that Moses there excludes not only infants, but many grown men, as appears, ver. iii. 4. The other two places, Matt. xiii. 9, and 1 Cor. x. 15, exclude, too, many men of years also, considering how few have ears to hear, or understanding to judge aright of spiritual things.
For the third head, “and that all sinned in Adam,” it is so plain from Rom. v. 12, as they have nothing at all to answer, though they object the place: only they bring certain other scriptures, in such a manner, as if they would disprove one scripture by another. And indeed what exposition can be given, or evasion found, considering the expressness of the words ? “As by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, so death passed upon all men, for that,” or as the original hath it, in whom, “all men have sinned.” So ver. 19, “As by one man's disobedience many were made sinners,” &c. If they say, as some do, that all are made sinners by imitation only, they are clearly confuted; first, by daily experience, in which it is plain, that children coming to some discerning, will lie, filch, and revenge themselves, though they never heard a lie told, &c. It is, alas! too evident, that they bring this corruption into the world with them. Secondly, by the apostle's words, ver. 19, “For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners; so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” If we be made unrighteous only by imitation of Adam's sin, and not by his performing it, as our root naturally, then we are made righteous only by imitation of Christ's righteousness, and not by his performing righteousness, and fulfilling the law for us, as our spiritual root, in which we are grafted by faith.
Lastly, these adversaries grant, that “by Adam's sin all his posterity have weak natures, by which when the commandment comes, they cannot obey, and live, but sin, and so die. Rom. viii. 3. Can they which are accustomed to do evil, do well ? Or will these men never leave their godless custom of corrupting the words of the text, for advantaging of an evil cause? For flesh, which the text hath, they put nature: whereas it is without all question, that by flesh, the apostle there understands properly, sin and sinful flesh, as he expressly calleth it, and as is plain in the whole context. In all which he opposeth the flesh to the spirit, and the sinful life of the one, to the righteous life of the other.
And I would know of these deep divines, what but sin could possibly make Adam's posterity unable to keep the law ? This flesh, or nature, as they will have it, must be Contrary to this good and holy law, and resist it. Rom. vii. 12, 17—24; Gal. v. 22. And is not that properly sinful and unholy, which resists, and is contrary to that which is good and holy? Lastly, this enemy to the law of God in a man, must be in his soul. And what else can it be, than, a disposition in the understanding, to ignorance and error, touching God and heavenly things; and an inclination in the will and affections, to evil? which is as properly sin, as their acts and effects are properly sinful. Infants therefore bring sin properly into the world with them.
Two things they here object: First, that Christ often accounts children innocents, as Matt. xviii. 3, 4, and xix. 14. I answer, first, not as they mean; that is, such as have in. them nothing virtuous or vicious; good, or evil; but as being humble, and without pride; and such, as unto whom the kingdom of God, and his blessing did appertain. Secondly, He speaks not of all children, but of those of, and in the church. Mark x. 14, 15, 16.
Their second objection is, that our souls being the subjects of sin, are created of God immediately. But to this objection, they that refer the soul's original, immediately to God's supernatural, and indeed miraculous work, do give divers answers, which these adversaries should have refuted. Amongst others, Mr. Ainsworth's answer is worthy the consideration. But let us consider their proofs for the soul's immediate creation. The first is, Acts xvii. 26, “Of one blood God made all mankind,” &c. But this place makes rather against them; seeing the body alone makes not mankind, but the soul with it, by which specially the man is. The next place is Heb. xii. 9, whence they gather that Adam is the father of our bodies, and God the Father of our spirits. But first, the text neither mentions Adam, nor can agree to him in the state of creation: seeing in that estate there was no use of correction. Secondly, it saith not, the fathers of our bodies, but of our flesh: nor the Father of our spirits, but of spirits. And the meaning seems unto me, with due respect had to other men's different judgment, only to be this: that if we give honour to men, our carnal or fleshly fathers, chastening us, as they think good: how much more owe honour to our spiritual Father, chastening us for our eternal good? And surely God, in his kind, is the Father of the whole man, not of the soul only: so is man, in his kind, the father of the whole man, and not of the body only. Lastly, seeing the drift of the place, is to show, that God, as a father, “chasteneth his sons which he loveth,” and on the contrary, that “they that are not chastened, are not sons,” ver. 6; and so have not God for their father, I see not how the apostle can speak of the creation of souls, seeing in that respect, wicked and godly, children and bastards, have God alike their father. The Preacher, Eccles. xii. 7, speaks of the manner of the creation of the first man Adam only; but no more proves that our souls or spirits are created by God immediately, than that our bodies are made of dust immediately. That (Eccles, iii. 8) hath no colour of proof in it.
Against our fourth and last assertion, that all by Adam's sin are guilty of death, Rom. v. 12, they cavil, that we were not in Adam to bring any soul to hell for the breach of that commandment, Thou shalt not eat.
Where, first, to pass by their incongruity of speech, they free Adam himself from the guilt of condemnation, of which our question is, as well as his posterity, by that his sin; seeing it brought not him himself to hell; but, secondly, and for the thing itself, they grant, according to the Scriptures, that death, as a part of the curse, came over all Adam's posterity for his sin. And will they then deny, that eternal death was also due by the same law of justice? Is not the justice of God infinite, and so requiring infinite satisfaction? To what reasonable creature soever, the smallest punishment is due from God; the greatest is due also in rigour of justice. And so the curse (as they grant) extending to Adam's generation by his sin; eternal condemnation, as the principal part of it, extendeth unto them necessarily, except mercy be showed to them.
Neither will it help our adversaries, that other creatures die also; seeing their absolutely mortal condition limits their punishment to this present life. But such is not the estate of infants; but their immortal souls unto which their bodies at that day are to be reunited, makes the whole capable of a more full declaration of God's justice, if he deal in severity thereof without mercy, as he may. Besides, the apostle saith, that “death passed upon all, for that all have sinned,” Rom. v. 12; viz., in that one man Adam. Doth death come over brute beasts because they have sinned in Adam ? They are brutish that see not the difference, which these men will not acknowledge. It is said elsewhere, that “in Adam all die,” 1 Cor. xv. 22. Do beasts die in Adam, as his posterity doth ? As all that are Christ's are in Christ, and made alive by him; so all Adam's posterity were in him, and die in him: which death also the apostle makes no less, than judgment to condemnation; to wit, if redemption be not obtained: to which he opposeth justification and eternal life. Rom. v. 16, 21. Join herewith, these men's confession, that all mankind by “Adam's fall are made unable to keep God's precepts, when he gives them, and so all fall under the wrath of God, and are therefore said to be children of wrath,” Eph. ii. 3, and there is sufficient for their conviction, as hath been showed. But I add, that the apostle means plainly a further matter, and that all are born children of wrath; for to be so by nature, and to be born so, are the same. We are children of wrath by sin only; if therefore all be children of wrath by nature, it is by the sin of nature, which we call original sin, and not by actual sin only, as they surmise.
Lastly, I demand whether, if Adam had not sinned, he should not have transferred to his posterity the image of God after which he was created, and a proneness to keep it, as, notwithstanding sin, he doth some feeble remainders thereof and, therewith, right to eternal life ? Rom. ii. 14, 15. If yea, why not then sin, and guilt thereof, by proportion, having sinned?
To Ezek. xviii. I have formerly answered. He speaks of the sins of immediate parents, not of the first sin of our first father, which was natural: whereas the other but personal; yea, not only other men's, but his after sins also. Secondly, it is plain, he speaks of such children, as seeing all their father's sins, consider, and do not the like, but do that which is lawful and right, keeping and doing all God's statutes. To such God imputes no sin. Ezek. xviii. 14, 15.
Their affirmation following is strange, that “infants shall receive no judgment,” because they have done neither good nor evil, according to which all judgment passeth. By this, they should neither be saved, nor damned; for what else is it to receive judgment of salvation, but to be saved? and so for the contrary. They do ignorantly exclude infants from a state one, or other, for wanting that condition, which is required of men of years only. They might as probably say, that infants shall be damned; seeing Christ saith, “He that believes not shall be damned,” Mark xvi. 16.: or should not eat, because it is said, “He that will not work, shall not eat.” 2 Thess. iii. 10.
To the place, Psa. li. 5, “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me;” they answer not directly, but by many ifs and ands; choosing many uncertain vanities, rather than one certain truth; which is that David in this whole context confesseth his transgression and sin. And as men ascend by the stream to the fountain; so doth he in those words to the fountain of all evil. As if he should have said: Lord, I am not only stained with, and guilty of these particular evils; but I am even wholly corrupt by nature from the very womb, and have brought a fountain of sin into the world with me, from whence these particular mischiefs have issued.
on being born in sin.
Their answers follow. The first is, that David confesseth that he is made, as Psa. ciii. 14, of weak flesh, and unable to resist the tempter, being dust, &c.
Doth man's being made of dust make him unable to resist the tempter? Then God making Adam of the dust, made him unable to resist the tempter also; which both crosseth the truth, and their own assertion. The Psalmist (Psa. ciii. 14,)speaks of bodily weakness and frailty only, which is nothing at all to the matter in hand; and which, if it had been greater in David, would have been more advantageable against that sin into which he fell.
Next, for their advantage, they corrupt the text, Rom. viii. 3, in saying, “Christ came in sinful flesh;” where the text saith, he came in the similitude of sinful flesh; he came in nothing sinful, but all holy, and pure from sin. So do they that, 2 Cor. v. 21,leaving out “for us:” which shows, how Christ became sin for us; that is, as our surety, and liable to the curse due to our sins; but not in sinful flesh, as they erroneously say. Thirdly, they absurdly affirm, that the sin of his mother, whether Eve, or that bare him, is that sin or punishment laid upon her, which he here confesseth, in saying, “I was conceived in sin.” David confesseth a sin as evil, whereas all punishments are God's good work; yea, his own sin only, of which he desires forgiveness. Neither do the words here at all agree with those, Gen. iii. 16, as they say. The reader that will, may see them opened at large by Mr. Ainsworth.
They add, that it is “frequent with the Holy Ghost to call punishments for sins, by the name of sins.” But first, not so frequent by a thousand times, as to call the transgression of the law, sin; secondly, the phrase “in sin;” is never taken but properly, as to be “in sin,” to “live in sin,” “to continue in sin,” to “die in sin,” and specially to be “bom in sin;” as John ix. 34, the Pharisees in so judging, followed the error of the Pythagorean philosophers: thirdly, where Christ is said to bear our sins, it is primarily in regard of the guilt, as he was our surety. Of what sin of his mother was David guilty?
They unjustly accuse us, as saying, “that David sinned in being born and conceived;” or that “the very matter and substance whereof David was made, was sin.” Vain are they in imagining such vain things of us. David was merely a patient in being born, and sinned not therein; neither yet did his mother sin, either in conceiving or bearing him. though she conceived and brought him forth in sin. But he having sinned in Adam, as in a general root, was so conceived and brought forth, by his mother, in sin.
Secondly, it is one thing to be conceived and born in sin, another thing to be made of sin. The former, David affirms of himself; the latter, they vainly impute to us, and refute in us, with many words.
That infants are under condemnation; that is, naturally guilty of, hath been formerly proved: that actual faith in Christ is required for their reconciliation to God, doth not follow hereupon. Actual, I say, for the seed of faith they have, and of all graces: (for but by God's Holy Spirit in them, which carries all graces with it, they cannot be holy; and so not be glorified, if they be not holy first;) but that hereupon they need actual faith, is their saying, without proof. Actual sins indeed require actual faith; but for sin in disposition (called original) why may not faith in disposition suffice, through the mercy of God, for the applying of it ?
About the infants of Sodom and Gomorrah they discourse marvellously; as first, in ranking them in their deaths with unreasonable creatures in theirs: secondly, in making them not only innocent, but godly also. The Scriptures teach, that besides the temporary death, those “cities suffer the vengeance of eternal fire,” Jude 7. Let them prove children not to have been of those cities. If God exempted them, or any of them, from that vengeance, it was not for any condition common to them with brute beasts, as they insinuate, but with respect to Christ; besides whom, the Scriptures acknowledge no other Saviour, nor no other salvation, but by him.
have infants any need of christ?
To a question moved by themselves, What need infants have of Christ, if they be not under condemnation ? they answer, “that through his redemption they live, and move, and have their being, and enjoy all other earthly blessings,” with resurrection from the dead, and glorification. 1 Cor. xv. 22.
Thus they make Christ and infants amends. But how prove they, that by Christ's redemption they live, move, &c. ? The scripture, Acts xvii. 26, to which they have reference is meant of the natural life of all, by God's work of creation and providence, which is nothing but continuation of creation, and nothing at all to Christ as Redeemer. The redemption for which Christ came is from sin, and so from the curse due for sin, as the Scriptures everywhere testify. “The first Adam was made a living soul, the last Adam a quickening spirit.” Matt. x. 28; Heb. ix. 26, ad fin,; Eph. i. 6; 1 Tina. ii. 6; Tit. ii. 14; Gal. iii. 13; 1 Cor. xv. 45. We have therefore our natural life, motion, and being, (common to Heathens with Christians) by the first Adam; our spiritual and glorious life, by the second.
Lastly, the apostle saying, 1 Cor. xv. 22, “In Christ shall all be made alive,” speaks only of all believers, as is evident, ver. 14, 17, 18, 19, who have Christ for the first-fruits, and are Christ's, ver. 20, 23. Are any Christ's, but Christians ? Is not the lump and the first-fruits one ? Men should have risen again, though Christ had never come, or been promised; but to condemnation; our resurrection, only in regard to the glory of it, is from Christ's glorious resurrection. And if infants have glorification from Christ, then they have the pardon of sin from Christ also, 1 Cor. xv. 17, 23, and therewith his Spirit dwelling in them for sanctifying and quickening them. Rom. viii. 9, 10, 11. These men divide Christ, 1 Cor. i. 13, making him a king to some for glorification, to whom he is not a priest for redemption by his blood.
Next, to a question by themselves moved, How we must have the Son? they answer, By keeping his commandments; forgetting faith, by which alone we receive Christ, John i. 12; from which followeth love, purity of heart, and obedience, 1 Tim. i. 5; Acts xv. 9; which faith hath more properly the consideration of a condition, as a hand to receive a promise; than of an act of obedience to a commandment.
It is true, being rightly understood, which they add, that repentance is of all sin: to wit, particularly of all sins known; and generally of sins unknown. For, “who can understand his errors ? cleanse thou me from secret faults,” Psa. xix. 12, said he, that observed, and knew his ways better than either these men, or I. Do they think nothing amiss slips from them, in thought, word, or deed, or ever hath done, whereof they do not, or have not repented particularly ? Is their knowledge so perfect as they need not pray for further enlightening ? as Eph. i. 17, 18. Are they certain they are ignorant of, and err in nothing in the Scriptures, written for their learning? Rom. xv. 4. This their book sufficiently reproves their Pharisaical dream of perfection.
Where speaking of idolatry, they affirm, that God cannot be worshipped after a false manner, they expressly contradict the Scripture, saying, “The people did sacrifice still in the high places, yet unto the Lord their God only.” 2 Chron. xxxiii. 17. Here was worshipping the true God; and him only, and yet after a false manner in a respect. The same apostle teacheth the Athenians, “The God whom you ignorantly worship, declare I unto you.” Acts xvii. 33. When Papists direct their prayers to God, the Maker of the world and Father of Jesus Christ, hoping the rather to be heard by means of the Virgin Mary's intercession, who doubts but they worship the true God, but in a false manner ? Neither doth Deut. xviii. 20, prove the sin one, of speaking in the name of a false God, and speaking falsehood in the name of a true God, but divers; though both deserving death.
Next, they in their wild order, come to treat of faith: where they affirm, that no man can have faith to justification, before he have repented. If they had said, that no man hath the grace or habit of faith before the grace of repentance, it had been true: God, by the Spirit of regeneration, infusing the habits of all graces at once: but that the act and exercise of faith in believing, is before our repenting, appears both by Scripture and common sense. We live the life of Christ, whereof our repenting is a part, by the faith of the Son of God. God purifieth the heart by faith: and justifies the ungodly by his faith. Gal. ii. 20; Acts xv. 9; Rom. iv. 5. In all which it is plain, that faith hath the pre-eminence and first work. So, 2 Cor. vii. 10,” Godly sorrow works repentance,” repentance then pre-supposeth godly sorrow. Godly sorrow, or whatsoever is truly godly, must needs please God, which without faith no man can do, Heb. xi. 6; but even everything is sin, Rom. xiv. 23. Faith working that which worketh repentance, must go before it. Secondly, godly sorrow is not only for the fear of punishment, for so the devils are sorry, but for the offence of God specially. Now none can be sorry for his offending God, except he love God; nor love him, except he know first that he be loved of him in Christ, in which faith consisteth. We believe therefore, before we repent, in the truth of the thing, and order of causes; though we can hardly discern this order in our own sense.