Dr. William Perkins (1558-1602)
The Order of Salvation and Damnation
by Dr. William Perkins
Chapter 11 – Of Man’s Fall and Disobedience
Adam’s fall, was his willing revolting to disobedience by eating the forbidden fruit. In Adam’s fall, we may note the manner, greatness, and fruit of it.
I. The manner of Adam’s fall, was on this sort. First, the devil, heaving immediately before fallen himself, insinuateth unto our first parents, that both the punishment for eating the forbidden fruit was uncertain, and that God was not true to His word unto them. Secondly, by this legerdemain, he blinded the eyes of understanding. Thirdly, being thus blinded, they began to distrust God, and to doubt God’s favor. Fourthly, they thus doubting, are moved to behold the forbidden fruit. Fifthly, they no sooner see the beauty thereof, but they desire it. Sixthly, that they may satisfy their desire, they eat of the fruit, which by the hands of the woman, was taken from the tree: by which act they become utterly disloyal to God. (Gen. 1:1-8.)
Thus, without constraint, they willingly fall from their integrity; God upon just causes leaving them to themselves, and freely suffering them to fall. For we must not think, that man’s fall was either by chance, or God now knowing of it; or barely winking at it, or by His bare permission, or against His will: but rather miraculously, not without the will of God, and yet without approbation of it.
II. The greatness of this transgression must be esteemed, not by the external object, or the baseness of an apple, but by the offense it constraineth against God’s majesty. This offense appeareth by many trespasses committed in that action. 1) The doubting of God’s word. 2) Want of faith; for they believe not God’s threatening (“In that day ye eat thereof, you shall die the death.”) But being bewitched with the devil’s promise, (ye shall be like gods) they cease to fear God’s punishment and enflamed with a desire of greater dignity. 3) Their curiosity, in forsaking God’s word, and seeking other wisdom. 4) Their pride, in seeking to magnify themselves, and to become like God. 5) Contempt of God, in transgressing His commandments against their own conscience. 60 In that they preferred the devil before God. 7) Ingratitude, that in as much as in them lieth, they expel God’s Spirit dwelling in them, and despise that everlasting blessed union. 8) They murder both themselves and their progeny.
III. The fruit or effects. Out of this corrupt estate of our first parents, arose the estate of infidelity or unbelief, whereby God hath included all men under sin, that He might manifest His mercy in the salvation of some, and His justice in the condemnation of others. Rom. 11:31, “Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.” Gal. 3:22, “But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.”
In this estate, we must consider sin, and the punishment of sin. Sin is three fold. The first is the participation of Adam’s both transgression and guiltiness: whereby in his sin, all his posterity sinned, Rom. 5:12, “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.” The reason of this is ready. Adam was not then a private man, but represented all mankind, and therefore look what good he received from God, or evil elsewhere, both were common to others with him. 1 Cor. 15:22, “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”
Again, when Adam offended, his posterity was in his loins, from whom they should by the course of nature, issue: and therefore take part of the guiltiness with him. Heb. 7:9-10, “And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, paid tithes in Abraham. For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchizedek met him.”