Concupiscence Has the Nature of Sin

Davenant on concupiscence:

The regenerate hate this rebellious concupiscence within themselves, and that from a good will conformed to the Divine. But there is nothing hateful to God and good men, except sin. That the regenerate hate their own rebellious concupiscence the Apostle testifies, Rom. vii. 15, What I hate, that I do; which words refer to the rebellious act of concupiscence, which is resisted. For so says Augustine: ‘That love is to be hated, wherewith an object is beloved which ought not to be so loved. For we hate our concupiscence, wherewith the fiesh lusteth against the spirit; for what is that concupiscence but an evil love?’ Now it is an opinion perfectly true, and most commonly received among all Theologians, that nothing must be hated except sin. Bellarmine replies, That concupiscence is hated by God and good men, not as Sin Properly So Called, but as a Disease. In this, however, he expressly contradicts the Council of Trent, which declares that God hates nothing in the regenerate; nor does what he adds help him out of the difficulty, that the Council means hatred redounding upon the person. For the Fathers of Trent, and almost all the Papists, contend, that if anything remains in the regenerate deserving the hatred of God, that hatred cannot but redound upon the persons of the regenerate. Bellarmine therefore, has now plainly become a deserter to our side, and acknowledges that the hatred of God does not fall upon the regenerate, although they have in them disorder most worthy of hatred. Moreover, as to what he further says, that concupiscence is hated by God, not as sin but as a disease, is a foolish evasion; for God does not hate diseases, seeing they are not sins, but mere penalties. But the disorders of the mind deserve the hatred of God, require remission, and fasten guilt upon the person unless they are remitted; and by consequence they are most strictly sins.

Hence Augustine, speaking of such diseases, says ‘Those disorders require no bodily physician, but are cured by the medicine of Christ’s grace; first, so as not to bind under guilt; next, so as not to overcome in the conflict; lastly, so as to be entirely healed, and disappear altogether.’ But the notion which Bellarmine puts forward, That concupiscence is hated, not because it is sin, but because it incites to sin, and because we sustain a constant strife with it, altogether favours our view. For that which, in the form of an innate and corrupt disposition incites to actual sin, is thereby shewn to be Original Sin. But the evil against which the regenerate are constantly striving, is not merely a disease bearing the character of a penal infliction; but a rebellious principle which, in its very nature, leads to condemnation; for to penal inflictions we are to submit; but innate sin is to be resisted. Our demonstration, therefore, is invincible; – that concupiscence is an evil deserving the hatred both of God and man, therefore it is sin.


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