I. OF SIN.
Here we must confess, as Paul says, Rom. 5, 12, that sin entered by one man, Adam, by whose disobedience all persons became sinners, subject to death and the devil. This is called hereditary, or original sin.
The fruits of this sin are the following evil deeds, forbidden in the Decalogue; as, unbelief, false faith, idolatry, want of fear to God, arrogance, desperation, blindness; in short, ignorance and disesteem of God; finally, falsehood, abusing the name of God, impiety, irreverence, disrespect for the Word of God, disobedience to parents, murder, incontinence, theft, fraud, &c.
This hereditary sin is a corruption of nature so deep and evil, that it cannot be understood by the reason of any man, but it must be believed from the revelations of Scripture, Psalm 51, 7; Rom. 5, 12; Exod. 33, 3; Gen. 3, 7. Therefore, these dogmas of the schoolmen are mere errors and blindness contrary to this article, in which they teach:
"That after the fall of Adam, the natural powers of man remained whole and uncorrupted, and that man by nature has right reason and a good will, as philosophy teaches.
"And that man has freedom of will to do good, and omit evil, and on the contrary, to omit good, and do evil.
"Again, that man by his own natural powers, is able to observe and do all the commandments of God.
"And, that he is able by his own natural powers, to love God above all things, and his neighbor as himself.
"Again, if a person does as much as lies in his power, God will certainly grant him His grace.
"And if he wishes to approach the Eucharist, it is not necessary for him to have a good intention to do good, but it is sufficient for him not to have a bad intention to commit sin; so entirely good is nature, and so efficacious is the Sacrament.
"Again, it is not founded in the Scripture, that the Holy Ghost with his grace, is necessarily required to a good work."
These and many other similar points, have originated from a misapprehension and an ignorance both of sin and of Christ, our Savior, and they are truly heathen doctrines, which we cannot tolerate. For if this doctrine should be right, Christ died in vain, since there would be no injury or sin in man, for which he should have died; or he would have died for the body only, and not for the soul, since the soul would be sound, and death pernicious only to the body.