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§ 8. The Effects of Adam’s Sin upon his Posterity.

That the sin of Adam injured not himself only but also all descending from him by ordinary generation, is part of the faith of the whole Christian world. The nature and extent of the evil thus entailed upon his race, and the ground or reason of the descendants of Adam being involved in the evil consequences of his transgression, have ever been matter of diversity and discussion. As to both of these points the common Augustinian doctrine is briefly stated in the Symbols of our Church. According to our standards, “the sinfulness of that estate whereinto man fell consists in the guilt of Adam’s first sin, the want of original righteousness, and the corruption of his whole nature, which is commonly called original sin, together within all actual transgressions which proceed from it.” This corruption of nature is in the Confession of Faith declared to be “both in itself and in all motions thereof, truly and properly sin.” And in virtue of this original corruption men are “utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good, and wholly inclined to all evil.” As to the ground of these evils, we are taught that “the covenant being made with Adam not only for himself, but for his posterity, all mankind descending from him by ordinary generation, sinned in him, and fell with him in his first transgression.” Or, as it is expressed in the Confession, “Our first parents, being the root of all mankind, the guilt of their sin was imputed, and the same death in sin and corrupted nature were conveyed to all their posterity, descending from them by ordinary generation.”

In this view of the relation of mankind to Adam, and of the consequences of his apostasy, the three leading subjects included, are the imputation of Adam’s first sin; the corruption of nature derived from him; and the inability of fallen man to any spiritual good.

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