Original Sin and the Misery of Man

The Holy Scripture saith God created man to his own similitude and likeness, making him as concerning the body impassible, and as touching the soul, righteous, true, godly, merciful, and holy:

. ..but after that he, being overcome with desire of knowledge of good and evil, did eat of the apple that God had forbidden him, he lost that image and likeness of God, and became like unto beasts and the devil that had deceived him; and therefore, as concerning the soul he became unrighteous, a liar, and cruel, ungodly, and the enemy of God; and as concerning the body he became passible, and subject unto a thousand evils and infirmities, being not only like but also inferior to the most brute beasts. And, as if our first parents had obeyed God, they had left us, as of inheritance, their righteousness and holiness, so now, in that they were disobedient unto him, they have left us of inheritance their unrighteousness, ungodliness, and hatred towards God, in such sort that it is impossible that by our own strength we can love God and conform ourselves unto his will. We are so become very enemies unto him, as to him that (insomuch as he is a righteous Judge) will punish our faults, neither can we any more trust unto his mercy. And to be short, this our nature by the sin of Adam is wholly corrupt, which nature, being before superior to all creatures, is now become subject to all, yea the bondservant of the devil, sin, and death, and is condemned to the pains of hell, having lost the right judgment or discerning of all things, and beginneth to call good evil and evil good, counting false things true and true things false. Whereupon the prophet considering this, saith that every man is a liar, and that there is not one that doth good, insomuch that the devil reigneth peaceably as one strongly armed in his own palace, which is this world, whereof he is become prince and governor.

There is no tongue that can express the thousandth part of our miseries, forsomuch that after we were made of God as with his own hands, we have lost that image of God, and are become like unto the devil, and are made also naturally one self [same] thing with him, both willing all that he willeth and also refusing all that displeaseth him. And forsomuch as we be thus given to [a] prey to so wicked a spirit, there is no sin so great that every one of us is not ready to do, when we are not let by the grace of God. This privation or want of righteousness, and this inclination and readiness to all unrighteousness and ungodliness, is called original sin; the which we bring with us from our mother’s womb, being born the children of wrath, and yet took beginning of our first parents, and is the occasion and well-head of all the sins and iniquity that we commit, from the which if we will be delivered, and return to this first innocency, recovering the likeness of God, it is necessary that we know first our miseries. And for this cause, even as no man at any time seeketh after a physician if he know not himself to be sick, neither knoweth the excellency of the physician, nor the bounden goodwill that he ought to bear towards him in that behalf, nor if he know not his sickness to be very dangerous, and threatening death, even so no man knoweth Christ the only healer of our souls if he know not his soul to be sick, nor can know the excellency of Christ, nor the bounden goodwill that he ought to bear to him, if he do not go down into the knowledge of his most grievous sins, and of the most dangerous sickness that we have caught by the infection of our first parents.¹

Note

  1. Don Benedetto & Jonson, R. W. (1855). The Benefits of Christ: Original Sin and the Misery of Man, trans. by Edward Courtenay. Mantova, Sicilily: Montova de Benedetto, 1544.

Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them (Matt 7:20).

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