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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. V:
A Treatise on the Merits and Forgiveness...: Chapter 14

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 14.—The Opinions of All Controversialists Whatever are Not, However, Canonical Authority; Original Sin, How Another’s; We Were All One Man in Adam.

I have not quoted these words as if we might rely upon the opinions of every disputant as on canonical authority; but I have done it, that it may be seen how, from the beginning down to the present age, which has given birth to this novel opinion, the doctrine of original sin has been guarded with the utmost constancy as a part of the Church’s faith, so that it is usually adduced as most certain ground whereon to refute other opinions when false, instead of being itself exposed to refutation by any one as false. Moreover, in the sacred books of the canon, the authority of this doctrine is vigorously asserted in the clearest and fullest way. The apostle exclaims: “By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so it passed upon all men, in which all have sinned. 688 Now from these words it cannot certainly be said, that Adam’s sin has injured even those who commit no sin, for the Scripture says, “In which all have sinned.” Nor, indeed, are those sins of infancy so said to be another’s, as if they did not belong to the infants at all, inasmuch as all then sinned in Adam, when in his nature, by virtue of that innate power whereby he was able to produce them, they were all as yet the one Adam; but they are called another’s689 because as yet they were not living their own lives, but the life of the one man contained whatsoever was in his future posterity.



Rom. v. 12.



Next: Chapter 15

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