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And view at once how death by sin is brought;

And how from death a better life doth rise! How this God's justice, and his mercy taught!

We this decree would praise, as right and wise.

But we that measure times by first and last,

The sight of things successively do take, When God on all at once his view doth cast,

And of all times doth but one instant make.

All in himself, as in a glass, he sees;

For from him, by him, through him, all things be;. His sight is not discoursive, by degrees;

But seeing th' whole, each single part doth see.

He looks on Adam as a root or well ;

And on his heirs as branches, and as streams : He sees all men as one man, though they dwell

In sundry cities, and in sundry realms.

And as the root and branch are but one tree,

And well and stream do but one river make; So, if the root and well corrupted be,

The stream and branch the same corruption take.

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So, when the root and fountain of mankind

Did draw corruption, and God's curse, by sin This was a charge, that all his heirs did bind,

And all his offspring grew corrupt therein.

And as when th' hand doth strike, the man offends,

(For part from whole, law severs not in this) So Adam's sin to the whole kind extends;

For all their natures are but part of his.
Vol. IV.


Therefore this sin of kind, not personal,

But real and hereditary was ;
The guilt thereof, and punishment to all,

By course of nature and of law doth pass.

For as that easy law was giv'n to all,

To ancestor and heir, to first and last > So was the first transgression general;

And all did pluck the fruit, and all did taste.

Of this we find some footsteps in our law,

Which doth her root from God and Nature take; Ten thousand men she doth together draw,

And of them all one corporation make :

Yet these, and their successors, are but one ;

And if they gain or lose their liberties, They harm or profit not themselves alone,

But such as in succeeding times shall rise.

And so the ancestor, and all his heirs,

Though they in number pass the stars of Heav'n, Are still but one ; his forfeitures are theirs,

And unto them are his advancements giv'n:

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His civil acts do bind and bar them all ;

And as from Adam all corruption take, So, if the father's crime be capital,

In all the blood law doth corruption make.

Is it then just with us, to disinherit

Th’unborn nephews, for the father's fault ; And to advance again, for one man's merit,

A thousand heirs that have deserved nought?

And is not God's decree as just as ours,

If he, for Adam's sin, his sons deprive
Of all those native virtues, and those pow'rs,

Which he to him and to his race did give ?

For what is this contagious sin of kind,

But a privation of that grace within, And of that great rich dowry of the mind,

Which all had had, but for the first man's sin?

If then a man on light conditions gain

A great estate, to him and his, for ever ; If wilfully he forfeit it again,

Who doth bemoan his heir, or blame the giver?

So, though God make the soul good, rich, and fair,

Yet when her form is to the body knit, Which makes the man, which man is Adam's heir,

Justly forthwith he takes his grace from it:


And then the soul, being first from nothing brought,

When God's grace fails her, doth to nothing fall; And this declining proneness unto nought,

Is e'en that sin that we are born withal.

Yet not alone the first good qualities,

Which in the first soul were, deprived are ; But in their place the contrary do rise,

And real spots of sin her beauty mar.

Nor is it strange that Adam's ill desert

Should be transferr'd unto his guilty race, When Christ his grace and justice doth impart

To men unjust, and such as have no grace.

Lastly, the soul were better so to be

Born slave to sin, than not to be at all; Since (if she do believe) one sets her free,

That makes her mount the higher for her fall.

Yet this the curious wits will not content;

They yet will know (since God foresaw this ill) Why his high providence did not prevent

The declination of the first man's will.

If by his word he had the current stay'd

Of Adam's will, which was by nature free, It had been one, as if his word had said,

I will henceforth that man no man shall be.

For what is man without a moving mind,

Which hath a judging wit, and choosing will ? Now, if God's power should her election bind,

Her motions then would cease and stand all still.

And why did God in man this soul infuse,

But that he should his maker know and love? Now, if love be compell’d, and cannot choose,

How can it grateful or thank-worthy prove?

Love must free-hearted be, and voluntary ;

And not enchanted, or by fate constrain’d: Nor like that love, which did Ulysses carry

To Circe’s isle, with mighty charms enchain'd.


Besides, were we unchangeable in will,

And of a wit that nothing could misdeem; Equal to God, whose wisdom shineth still,

And never errs, we might ourselves esteem.

So that if man would be unvariable,

He must be God, or like a rock or tree; For e'en the perfect angels were not stable,

But had a fall more desperate than we.


Then let us praise that pow'r, which makes us be

Men as we are, and rest contented so; And, knowing man's fall was curiosity,

Admire God's counsels, which we cannot know.

And let us know that God the maker is

Of all the souls, in all the men that be; Yet their corruption is no fault of his,

But the first man's that broke God's first decree.



This substance, and this spirit of God's own making,

Is in the body plac'd, and planted here, “ That both of God, and of the world partaking,

Of all that is, man might the image bear."

God first made angels bodiless, pure minds;

Then other things, which mindless bodies be; Last he made man, th’horizon 'twixt both kinds,

In whom we do the world's abridgment see.

Besides, this world below did need one wight,

Which might thereof distinguish ev'ry parts Make use thereof, and take therein delight; And order things with industry and art:

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