Ursinus Against The Antinomians, Libertines, And Similar Fanatics Who Deny That The Decalogue Is For Teaching in the Christian Church (Objection 9)

Obj. 9. That is not to be taught in the church which increases sin. The law increases sin. (Rom. 7:8.) Therefore, it is not to be taught. Ans. There is here a fallacy of accident in the minor proposition. The law increases sin by an accident, or on account of the corruption of man, and that in two ways. First, because the nature of man is so depraved and alienated from God, that men do not perform what they know to be pleasing to God; and, on the other hand, what they know to be prohibited by God, that they desire, and do with the greatest willingness. Secondly, because it works wrath, when men fret and murmur against God, hate and turn away from him, and rush into despair according as the law reveals to them a knowledge of their sins, and the punishment which they deserve in consequence thereof. The law in itself produces righteousness, conformity with God, love to God, etc. The law also in itself increases sin, if we understand the word increase in a different sense, viz., that it shows unto us, and brings it to pass that we acknowledge the greatness and magnitude of our sins; but not that it so increases sin as that that which in itself is small is made greater and more aggravated. There are, therefore, four terms in this syllogism, in consequence of the ambiguity of the word increase in the minor proposition.

Zacharias Ursinus | Commentary of Dr Zacharias Ursinus on the Heidelberg Catechism, trans. George W. Williard (Cincinnati: Elm Street Printing Company, 1888), 616–18.


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