Calvin, Institutes, Vol.2, Part 2 
(... continued from part 1)  
Institutes of the Christian Religion.  
Book Second.  
Of the knowledge of God the Redeemer, in Christ, as first manifested  
to the fathers, under the law, and thereafter to us under the  
Chapter 1.  
1. Through the fall and revolt of Adam, the whole human race made  
accursed and degenerate. Of original sin.  
    I. How necessary the knowledge of ourselves is, its nature, the  
danger of mistake, its leading parts, sect. 1, 2, 3. II. The causes  
of Adam's fearful fall, sect. 4. III. The effects of the fall  
extending to Adam's posterity, and all the creatures, sect. 5, to  
the end of the Chapter, where the nature, propagation, and effect of  
original sin are considered.  
1. The knowledge of ourselves most necessary. To use it properly we  
    must be divested of pride, and clothed with true humility,  
    which will dispose us to consider our fall, and embrace the  
    mercy of God in Christ.  
2. Though there is plausibility in the sentiment which stimulates us  
    to self-admiration, the only sound sentiment is that which  
    inclines us to true humbleness of mind. Pretexts for pride. The  
    miserable vanity of sinful man.  
3. Different views taken by carnal wisdom and by conscience, which  
    appeals to divine justice as its standard. The knowledge of  
    ourselves, consisting of two parts, the former of which having  
    already been discussed, the latter is here considered.  
4. In considering this latter part, two points to be considered; 1.  
    How it happened that Adam involved himself and the whole human  
    race in this dreadful calamity. This the result not of sensual  
    intemperance, but of infidelity, (the source of other heinous  
    sins,) which led to revolt from God, from whom all true  
    happiness must be derived. An enumeration of the other sins  
    produced by the infidelity of the first man.  
5. The second point to be considered is, the extent to which the  
    contagious influence of the fall extends. It extends, 1. To all  
    the creatures, though unoffending; and, 2. To the whole  
    posterity of Adam. Hence hereditary corruption, or original  
    sin, and the depravation of a nature which was previously pure  
    and good. This depravation communicated to the whole posterity  
    of Adam, but not in the way supposed by the Pelagians and  
6. Depravation communicated not merely by imitation, but by  
    propagation. This proved, 1. From the contrast drawn between  
    Adam and Christ. Confirmation from passages of Scripture; 2  
    From the general declaration that we are the children of wrath.  
7. Objection, that if Adam's sin is propagated to his posterity, the  
    soul must be derived by transmission. Answer. Another  
    objection, viz., that children cannot derive corruption from  
    pious parents. Answer.  
8. Definition of original sin. Two parts in the definition.  
    Exposition of the latter part. Original sin exposes us to the  
    wrath of God. It also produces in us the works of the flesh.  
    Other definitions considered.  
9. Exposition of the former part of the definition, viz., that  
    hereditary depravity extends to all the faculties of the soul.  
10. From the exposition of both parts of the definition it follows  
    that God is not the author of sin, the whole human race being  
    corrupted by an inherent viciousness.  
11. This, however, is not from nature, but is an adventitious  
    quality. Accordingly, the dream of the Manichees as to two  
    principles vanishes.  
    1. It was not without reason that the ancient proverb so  
strongly recommended to man the knowledge of himself. For if it is  
deemed disgraceful to be ignorant of things pertaining to the  
business of life, much more disgraceful is selfignorance, in  
consequence of which we miserably deceive ourselves in matters of  
the highest moment, and so walk blindfold. But the more useful the  
precept is, the more careful we must be not to use it  
preposterously, as we see certain philosophers have done. For they,  
when exhorting man to know himself, state the motive to be, that he  
may not be ignorant of his own excellence and dignity. They wish him  
to see nothing in himself but what will fill him with vain  
confidence, and inflate him with pride. But self-knowledge consists  
in this, First, When reflecting on what God gave us at our creation,  
and still continues graciously to give, we perceive how great the  
excellence of our nature would have been had its integrity remained,  
and, at the same time, remember that we have nothing of our own, but  
depend entirely on God, from whom we hold at pleasure whatever he  
has seen it meet to bestow; secondly When viewing our miserable  
condition since Adam's fall, all confidence and boasting are  
overthrown, we blush for shame, and feel truly humble. For as God at  
first formed us in his own image, that he might elevate our minds to  
the pursuit of virtue, and the contemplation of eternal life, so to  
prevent us from heartlessly burying those noble qualities which  
distinguish us from the lower animals, it is of importance to know  
that we were endued with reason and intelligence, in order that we  
might cultivate a holy and honourable life, and regard a blessed  
immortality as our destined aim. At the same time, it is impossible  
to think of our primeval dignity without being immediately reminded  
of the sad spectacle of our ignominy and corruption, ever since we  
fell from our original in the person of our first parent. In this  
way, we feel dissatisfied with ourselves, and become truly humble,  
while we are inflamed with new desires to seek after God, in whom  
each may regain those good qualities of which all are found to be  
utterly destitute.  
    2. In examining ourselves, the search which divine truth  
enjoins, and the knowledge which it demands, are such as may  
indispose us to every thing like confidence in our own powers, leave  
us devoid of all means of boasting, and so incline us to submission.  
This is the course which we must follow, if we would attain to the  
true goal, both in speculation and practice. I am not unaware how  
much more plausible the view is, which invites us rather to ponder  
on our good qualities, than to contemplate what must overwhelm us  
with shame - our miserable destitution and ignominy. There is  
nothing more acceptable to the human mind than flattery, and,  
accordingly, when told that its endowments are of a high order, it  
is apt to be excessively credulous. Hence it is not strange that the  
greater part of mankind have erred so egregiously in this matter.  
Owing to the innate self-love by which all are blinded, we most  
willingly persuade ourselves that we do not possess a single quality  
which is deserving of hatred; and hence, independent of any  
countenance from without, general credit is given to the very  
foolish idea, that man is perfectly sufficient of himself for all  
the purposes of a good and happy life. If any are disposed to think  
more modestly, and concede somewhat to God, that they may not seem  
to arrogate every thing as their own, still, in making the division,  
they apportion matters so, that the chief ground of confidence and  
boasting always remains with themselves. Then, if a discourse is  
pronounced which flatters the pride spontaneously springing up in  
man's inmost heart, nothing seems more delightful. Accordingly, in  
every age, he who is most forward in extolling the excellence of  
human nature, is received with the loudest applause. But be this  
heralding of human excellence what it may, by teaching man to rest  
in himself, it does nothing more than fascinate by its sweetness,  
and, at the same time, so delude as to drown in perdition all who  
assent to it. For what avails it to proceed in vain confidence, to  
deliberate, resolve, plan, and attempt what we deem pertinent to the  
purpose, and, at the very outset, prove deficient and destitute both  
of sound intelligence and true virtue, though we still confidently  
persist till we rush headlong on destruction? But this is the best  
that can happen to those who put confidence in their own powers.  
Whosoever, therefore, gives heed to those teachers, who merely  
employ us in contemplating our good qualities, so far from making  
progress in self knowledge, will be plunged into the most pernicious  
    3. While revealed truth concurs with the general consent of  
mankind in teaching that the second part of wisdom consists in  
self-knowledge, they differ greatly as to the method by which this  
knowledge is to be acquired. In the judgement of the flesh man deems  
his self-knowledge complete, when, with overweening confidence in  
his own intelligence and integrity, he takes courage, and spurs  
himself on to virtuous deeds, and when, declaring war upon vice, he  
uses his utmost endeavour to attain to the honourable and the fair.  
But he who tries himself by the standard of divine justice, finds  
nothing to inspire him with confidence; and hence, the more thorough  
his self-examination, the greater his despondency. Abandoning all  
dependence on himself, he feels that he is utterly incapable of duly  
regulating his conduct. It is not the will of God, however, that we  
should forget the primeval dignity which he bestowed on our first  
parents - a dignity which may well stimulate us to the pursuit of  
goodness and justice. It is impossible for us to think of our first  
original, or the end for which we were created, without being urged  
to meditate on immortality, and to seek the kingdom of God. But such  
meditation, so far from raising our spirits, rather casts them down,  
and makes us humble. For what is our original? One from which we  
have fallen. What the end of our creation? One from which we have  
altogether strayed, so that, weary of our miserable lot, we groan,  
and groaning sigh for a dignity now lost. When we say that man  
should see nothing in himself which can raise his spirits, our  
meaning is, that he possesses nothing on which he can proudly plume  
himself. Hence, in considering the knowledge which man ought to have  
of himself, it seems proper to divide it thus, First, to consider  
the end for which he was created, and the qualities - by no means  
contemptible qualities - with which he was endued, thus urging him  
to meditate on divine worship and the future life; and, secondly, to  
consider his faculties, or rather want of faculties - a want which,  
when perceived, will annihilate all his confidence, and cover him  
with confusion. The tendency of the former view is to teach him what  
his duty is, of the latter, to make him aware how far he is able to  
perform it. We shall treat of both in their proper order.  
    4. As the act which God punished so severely must have been not  
a trivial fault, but a heinous crime, it will be necessary to attend  
to the peculiar nature of the sin which produced Adam's fall, and  
provoked God to inflict such fearful vengeance on the whole human  
race. The common idea of sensual intemperance is childish. The sum  
and substance of all virtues could not consist in abstinence from a  
single fruit amid a general abundance of every delicacy that could  
be desired, the earth, with happy fertility, yielding not only  
abundance, but also endless variety. We must, therefore, look deeper  
than sensual intemperance. The prohibition to touch the tree of the  
knowledge of good and evil was a trial of obedience, that Adam, by  
observing it, might prove his willing submission to the command of  
God. For the very term shows the end of the precept to have been to  
keep him contented with his lot, and not allow him arrogantly to  
aspire beyond it. The promise, which gave him hope of eternal life  
as long as he should eat of the tree of life, and, on the other  
hand, the fearful denunciation of death the moment he should taste  
of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, were meant to prove  
and exercise his faith. Hence it is not difficult to infer in what  
way Adam provoked the wrath of God. Augustine, indeed, is not far  
from the mark, when he says, (in Psal. 19,) that pride was the  
beginning of all evil, because, had not man's ambition carried him  
higher than he was permitted, he might have continued in his first  
estate. A further definition, however, must be derived from the kind  
of temptation which Moses describes. When, by the subtlety of the  
devil, the woman faithlessly abandoned the command of God, her fall  
obviously had its origin in disobedience. This Paul confirms, when  
he says, that, by the disobedience of one man, all were destroyed.  
At the same time, it is to be observed, that the first man revolted  
against the authority of God, not only in allowing himself to be  
ensnared by the wiles of the devil, but also by despising the truth,  
and turning aside to lies. Assuredly, when the word of God is  
despised, all reverence for Him is gone. His majesty cannot be duly  
honoured among us, nor his worship maintained in its integrity,  
unless we hang as it were upon his lips. Hence infidelity was at the  
root of the revolt. From infidelity, again, sprang ambition and  
pride, together with ingratitude; because Adam, by longing for more  
than was allotted him, manifested contempt for the great liberality  
with which God had enriched him. It was surely monstrous impiety  
that a son of earth should deem it little to have been made in the  
likeness, unless he were also made the equal of God. If the apostasy  
by which man withdraws from the authority of his Maker, nay,  
petulantly shakes off his allegiance to him, is a foul and execrable  
crime, it is in vain to extenuate the sin of Adam. Nor was it simple  
apostasy. It was accompanied with foul insult to God, the guilty  
pair assenting to Satan's calumnies when he charged God with malice,  
envy, and falsehood. In fine, infidelity opened the door to  
ambition, and ambition was the parent of rebellion, man casting off  
the fear of God, and giving free vent to his lust. Hence, Bernard  
truly says, that, in the present day, a door of salvation is opened  
to us when we receive the gospel with our ears, just as by the same  
entrance, when thrown open to Satan, death was admitted. Never would  
Adam have dared to show any repugnance to the command of God if he  
had not been incredulous as to his word. The strongest curb to keep  
all his affections under due restraint, would have been the belief  
that nothing was better than to cultivate righteousness by obeying  
the commands of God, and that the highest possible felicity was to  
be loved by him. Man, therefore, when carried away by the  
blasphemies of Satan, did his very utmost to annihilate the whole  
glory of God.  
    5. As Adam's spiritual life would have consisted in remaining  
united and bound to his Maker, so estrangement from him was the  
death of his soul. Nor is it strange that he who perverted the whole  
order of nature in heaven and earth deteriorated his race by his  
revolt. "The whole creation groaneth," saith St Paul, "being made  
subject to vanity, not willingly," (Rom. 8: 20, 22.) If the reason  
is asked, there cannot be a doubt that creation bears part of the  
punishment deserved by man, for whose use all other creatures were  
made. Therefore, since through man's fault a curse has extended  
above and below, over all the regions of the world, there is nothing  
unreasonable in its extending to all his offspring. After the  
heavenly image in man was effaced, he not only was himself punished  
by a withdrawal of the ornaments in which he had been arrayed, viz.,  
wisdom, virtue, justice, truth, and holiness, and by the  
substitution in their place of those dire pests, blindness,  
impotence, vanity, impurity, and unrighteousness, but he involved  
his posterity also, and plunged them in the same wretchedness. This  
is the hereditary corruption to which early Christian writers gave  
the name of Original Sin, meaning by the term the depravation of a  
nature formerly good and pure. The subject gave rise to much  
discussion, there being nothing more remote from common  
apprehension, than that the fault of one should render all guilty,  
and so become a common sin. This seems to be the reason why the  
oldest doctors of the church only glance obscurely at the point, or,  
at least, do not explain it so clearly as it required. This  
timidity, however, could not prevent the rise of a Pelagius with his  
profane fiction - that Adam sinned only to his own hurt, but did no  
hurt to his posterity. Satan, by thus craftily hiding the disease,  
tried to render it incurable. But when it was clearly proved from  
Scripture that the sin of the first man passed to all his posterity,  
recourse was had to the cavil, that it passed by imitation, and not  
by propagation. The orthodoxy, therefore, and more especially  
Augustine, laboured to show, that we are not corrupted by acquired  
wickedness, but bring an innate corruption from the very womb. It  
was the greatest impudence to deny this. But no man will wonder at  
the presumption of the Pelagians and Celestians, who has learned  
from the writings of that holy man how extreme the effrontery of  
these heretics was. Surely there is no ambiguity in David's  
confession, "I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother  
conceive me," (Ps. 51: 5.) His object in the passage is not to throw  
blame on his parents; but the better to commend the goodness of God  
towards him, he properly reiterates the confession of impurity from  
his very birth. As it is clear, that there was no peculiarity in  
David's case, it follows that it is only an instance of the common  
lot of the whole human race. All of us, therefore, descending from  
an impure seed, come into the world tainted with the contagion of  
sin. Nay, before we behold the light of the sun we are in God's  
sight defiled and polluted. "Who can bring a clean thing out of an  
unclean? Not one," says the Book of Job, (Job 14: 4.)  
    6. We thus see that the impurity of parents is transmitted to  
their children, so that all, without exception, are originally  
depraved. The commencement of this depravity will not be found until  
we ascend to the first parent of all as the fountain head. We must,  
therefore, hold it for certain, that, in regard to human nature,  
Adam was not merely a progenitor, but, as it were, a root, and that,  
accordingly, by his corruption, the whole human race was deservedly  
vitiated. This is plain from the contrast which the Apostle draws  
between Adam and Christ, "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into  
the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for  
that all have sinned; even so might grace reign through  
righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord," (Rom. 5:  
19-21.) To what quibble will the Pelagians here recur? That the sin  
of Adam was propagated by imitation! Is the righteousness of Christ  
then available to us only in so far as it is an example held forth  
for our imitation? Can any man tolerate such blasphemy? But if, out  
of all controversy, the righteousness of Christ, and thereby life,  
is ours by communication, it follows that both of these were lost in  
Adam that they might be recovered in Christ, whereas sin and death  
were brought in by Adam, that they might be abolished in Christ.  
There is no obscurity in the words, "As by one man's disobedience  
many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be  
made righteous." Accordingly, the relation subsisting between the  
two is this, As Adam, by his ruin, involved and ruined us, so  
Christ, by his grace, restored us to salvation. In this clear light  
of truth I cannot see any need of a longer or more laborious proof.  
Thus, too, in the First Epistle to the Corinthians, when Paul would  
confirm believers in the confident hope of the resurrection, he  
shows that the life is recovered in Christ which was lost in Adam,  
(1 Cor. 15: 22.) Having already declared that all died in Adam, he  
now also openly testifies, that all are imbued with the taint of  
sin. Condemnation, indeed, could not reach those who are altogether  
free from blame. But his meaning cannot be made clearer than from  
the other member of the sentence, in which he shows that the hope of  
life is restored in Christ. Every one knows that the only mode in  
which this is done is, when by a wondrous communication Christ  
transfuses into us the power of his own righteousness, as it is  
elsewhere said, "The Spirit is life because of righteousness," (1  
Cor. 15: 22.) Therefore, the only explanation which can be given of  
the expression, "in Adam all died," is, that he by sinning not only  
brought disaster and ruin upon himself, but also plunged our nature  
into like destruction; and that not only in one fault, in a matter  
not pertaining to us, but by the corruption into which he himself  
fell, he infected his whole seed. Paul never could have said that  
all are "by nature the children of wrath," (Eph. 2: 3,) if they had  
not been cursed from the womb. And it is obvious that the nature  
there referred to is not nature such as God created, but as vitiated  
in Adam; for it would have been most incongruous to make God the  
author of death. Adam, therefore, when he corrupted himself,  
transmitted the contagion to all his posterity. For a heavenly  
Judge, even our Saviour himself, declares that all are by birth  
vicious and depraved, when he says that "that which is born of the  
flesh is fleshy" (John 3: 6,) and that therefore the gate of life is  
closed against all until they have been regenerated.  
    7. To the understanding of this subject, there is no necessity  
for an anxious discussion, (which in no small degree perplexed the  
ancient doctors,) as to whether the soul of the child comes by  
transmission from the soul of the parent. It should be enough for us  
to know that Adam was made the depository of the endowments which  
God was pleased to bestow on human nature, and that, therefore, when  
he lost what he had received, he lost not only for himself but for  
us all. Why feel any anxiety about the transmission of the soul,  
when we know that the qualities which Adam lost he received for us  
not less than for himself, that they were not gifts to a single man,  
but attributes of the whole human race? There is nothing absurd,  
therefore, in the view, that when he was divested, his nature was  
left naked and destitute that he having been defiled by sin, the  
pollution extends to all his seed. Thus, from a corrupt root corrupt  
branches proceeding, transmit their corruption to the saplings which  
spring from them. The children being vitiated in their parent,  
conveyed the taint to the grandchildren; in other words, corruption  
commencing in Adam, is, by perpetual descent, conveyed from those  
preceding to those coming after them. The cause of the contagion is  
neither in the substance of the flesh nor the soul, but God was  
pleased to ordain that those gifts which he had bestowed on the  
first man, that man should lose as well for his descendants as for  
himself. The Pelagian cavil, as to the improbability of children  
deriving corruption from pious parents, whereas, they ought rather  
to be sanctified by their purity, is easily refuted. Children come  
not by spiritual regeneration but carnal descent. Accordingly, as  
Augustine says, "Both the condemned unbeliever and the acquitted  
believer beget offspring not acquitted but condemned, because the  
nature which begets is corrupt." Moreover, though godly parents do  
in some measure contribute to the holiness of their offspring, this  
is by the blessing of God; a blessing, however, which does not  
prevent the primary and universal curse of the whole race from  
previously taking effect. Guilt is from nature, whereas  
sanctification is from supernatural grace.  
    8. But lest the thing itself of which we speak be unknown or  
doubtful, it will be proper to define original sin. (Calvin, in  
Conc. Trident. 1, Dec. Sess. 5.) I have no intention, however, to  
discuss all the definitions which different writers have adopted,  
but only to adduce the one which seems to me most accordant with  
truth. Original sin, then, may be defined a hereditary corruption  
and depravity of our nature, extending to all the parts of the soul,  
which first makes us obnoxious to the wrath of God, and then  
produces in us works which in Scripture are termed works of the  
flesh. This corruption is repeatedly designated by Paul by the term  
sin, (Gal. 5: 19;) while the works which proceed from it, such as  
adultery, fornication, theft, hatred, murder, revellings, he terms,  
in the same way, the fruits of sin, though in various passages of  
Scripture, and even by Paul himself, they are also termed sins. The  
two things, therefore, are to be distinctly observed, viz., that  
being thus perverted and corrupted in all the parts of our nature,  
we are, merely on account of such corruption, deservedly condemned  
by God, to whom nothing is acceptable but righteousness, innocence,  
and purity. This is not liability for another's fault. For when it  
is said, that the sin of Adam has made us obnoxious to the justice  
of God, the meaning is not, that we, who are in ourselves innocent  
and blameless, are bearing his guilt, but that since by his  
transgression we are all placed under the curse, he is said to have  
brought us under obligation. Through him, however, not only has  
punishment been derived, but pollution instilled, for which  
punishment is justly due. Hence Augustine, though he often terms it  
another's sin, (that he may more clearly show how it comes to us by  
descent,) at the same time asserts that it is each individual's own  
sin. And the Apostle most distinctly testifies, that "death passed  
upon all men, for that all have sinned," (Rom. 5: 12;) that is, are  
involved in original sin, and polluted by its stain. Hence, even  
infants bringing their condemnation with them from their mother's  
womb, suffer not for another's, but for their own defect. For  
although they have not yet produced the fruits of their own  
unrighteousness, they have the seed implanted in them. Nay, their  
whole nature is, as it were, a seed-bed of sin, and therefore cannot  
but be odious and abominable to God. Hence it follows, that it is  
properly deemed sinful in the sight of God; for there could be no  
condemnation without guilt. Next comes the other point, viz., that  
this perversity in us never ceases, but constantly produces new  
fruits, in other words, those works of the flesh which we formerly  
described; just as a lighted furnace sends forth sparks and flames,  
or a fountain without ceasing pours out water. Hence, those who have  
defined original sin as the want of the original righteousness which  
we ought to have had, though they substantially comprehend the whole  
case, do not significantly enough express its power and energy. For  
our nature is not only utterly devoid of goodness, but so prolific  
in all kinds of evil, that it can never be idle. Those who term it  
concupiscence use a word not very inappropriate, provided it were  
added, (this, however, many will by no means concede,) that  
everything which is in man, from the intellect to the will, from the  
soul even to the flesh, is defiled and pervaded with this  
concupiscence; or, to express it more briefly, that the whole man is  
in himself nothing else than concupiscence.  
    9. I have said, therefore, that all the parts of the soul were  
possessed by sin, ever since Adam revolted from the fountain of  
righteousness. For not only did the inferior appetites entice him,  
but abominable impiety seized upon the very citadel of the mind, and  
pride penetrated to his inmost heart, (Rom. 7: 12; Book 4, chap. 15,  
sec. 10-12,) so that it is foolish and unmeaning to confine the  
corruption thence proceeding to what are called sensual motions, or  
to call it an excitement, which allures, excites, and drags the  
single part which they call sensuality into sin. Here Peter Lombard  
has displayed gross ignorance, (Lomb., lib. 2 Dist. 31.) When  
investigating the seat of corruption, he says it is in the flesh,  
(as Paul declares,) not properly, indeed, but as being more apparent  
in the flesh. As if Paul had meant that only a part of the soul, and  
not the whole nature, was opposed to supernatural grace. Paul  
himself leaves no room for doubt, when he says, that corruption does  
not dwell in one part only, but that no part is free from its deadly  
taint. For, speaking of corrupt nature, he not only condemns the  
inordinate nature of the appetites, but, in particular, declares  
that the understanding is subjected to blindness, and the heart to  
depravity, (Eph. 4: 17, 18.) The third chapter of the Epistle to the  
Romans is nothing but a description of original sin; The same thing  
appears more clearly from the mode of renovation. For the spirit,  
which is contrasted with the old man, and the flesh, denotes not  
only the grace by which the sensual or inferior part of the soul is  
corrected, but includes a complete reformation of all its parts,  
(Eph. 4: 23.) And, accordingly, Paul enjoins not only that gross  
appetites be suppressed, but that we be renewed in the spirit of our  
mind, (Eph. 4: 23,) as he elsewhere tells us to be transformed by  
the renewing of our mind, (Rom. 12: 2.) Hence it follows, that that  
part in which the dignity and excellence of the soul are most  
conspicuous, has not only been wounded, but so corrupted, that mere  
cure is not sufficient. There must be a new nature. How far sin has  
seized both on the mind and heart, we shall shortly see. Here I only  
wished briefly to observe, that the whole man, from the crown of the  
head to the sole of the foot, is so deluged, as it were, that no  
part remains exempt from sin, and, therefore, everything which  
proceeds from him is imputed as sin. Thus Paul says, that all carnal  
thoughts and affections are enmity against God, and consequently  
death, (Rom. 8: 7.)  
    10. Let us have done, then, with those who dare to inscribe the  
name of God on their vices, because we say that men are born  
vicious. The divine workmanship, which they ought to look for in the  
nature of Adam, when still entire and uncorrupted, they absurdly  
expect to find in their depravity. The blame of our ruin rests with  
our own carnality, not with God, its only cause being our degeneracy  
from our original condition. And let no one here glamour that God  
might have provided better for our safety by preventing Adam's fall.  
This objection, which, from the daring presumption implied in it, is  
odious to every pious mind, relates to the mystery of  
predestination, which will afterwards be considered in its own  
place, (Tertull. de Prescript., Calvin, Lib. de Predest.) Meanwhile  
let us remember that our ruin is attributable to our own depravity,  
that we may not insinuate a charge against God himself, the Author  
of nature. It is true that nature has received a mortal wound, but  
there is a great difference between a wound inflicted from without,  
and one inherent in our first condition. It is plain that this wound  
was inflicted by sin; and, therefore, we have no ground of complaint  
except against ourselves. This is carefully taught in Scripture. For  
the Preacher says, "Lo, this only have I found, that God made man  
upright; but they have sought out many inventions," (Eccl. 7: 29.)  
Since man, by the kindness of God, was made upright, but by his oven  
infatuation fell away unto vanity, his destruction is obviously  
attributable only to himself, (Athanas. in Orat. Cont. Idola.)  
    11. We says then that man is corrupted by a natural  
viciousness, but not by one which proceeded from nature. In saying  
that it proceeded not from nature, we mean that it was rather an  
adventitious event which befell man, than a substantial property  
assigned to him from the beginning. We, however call it natural to  
prevent any one from supposing that each individual contracts it by  
depraved habit, whereas all receive it by a hereditary law. And we  
have authority for so calling it. For, on the same grounds the  
apostle says, that we are "by nature the children of wrath," (Eph.  
2: 3.) How could God, who takes pleasure in the meanest of his works  
be offended with the noblest of them all? The offence is not with  
the work itself, but the corruption of the work. Wherefore, if it is  
not improper to say, that, in consequence of the corruption of human  
nature, man is naturally hateful to God, it is not improper to say,  
that he is naturally vicious and depraved. Hence, in the view of our  
corrupt nature, Augustine hesitates not to call those sins natural  
which necessarily reign in the flesh wherever the grace of God is  
wanting. This disposes of the absurd notion of the Manichees, who,  
imagining that man was essentially wicked, went the length of  
assigning him a different Creator, that they might thus avoid the  
appearance of attributing the cause and origin of evil to a  
righteous God.  
Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, Vol. 2, Pt.2
(continued in part 3...) 
file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-04: cvin2-02.txt