Part 4
Chapter 3—Of Original Sin

Section 23—Hilarius Diaconus. A.D. 380.

Hilary the Deacon, or the author of the Commentaries on the Epistles of the apostle Paul; formerly thought to be Ambrose's, very plainly asserts the doctrine of original sin, the impotency of man to fulfill the law, or do that which is spiritually good, and the necessity of divine grace. “It is manifest,” says he,[1] “that in Adam all sinned; quasi in massa, ‘as in the lump;' for he being corrupted by sin, all whom he begat are born under sin; wherefore from him we are all sinners, because we are all of him.” Again:[2] “It is right and plain, that we ought not to obey the invention of Adam, who acted carnally, and who first sinning hath left death unto us, haereditatis titulo, by way of inheritance.” Likewise speaking of sin, being condemned by the cross of Christ; hence, says he,[3] “The authority as it were of sin was taken away, by which it held men in hell propter delictum Adae, for the sin of Adam.” And elsewhere,[4] to the same effect: “Being delivered from a state of darkness, that is, pulled out of hell, in which we were held by ‘the devil, tam ex proprio quam ex delicto Adae, ‘both for our own and the sin of Adam,' who is the father of all sinners, we are translated by faith into the heavenly kingdom of the Son of God.' Once more, “Adam,” Says he,[5] “sold himself first, and hereby his seed are subject to sin, wherefore man is weak to keep the commands of the law, nisi divines auxilius muniatur, ‘unless he is fortified by divine aids;' hence it is,” he says, “the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin; that is, the law is firm and just, and without fault, but man is frail, and subjected by his father's sin; so that he cannot use his power in obeying the law, and therefore must fly to the mercy of God to escape the severity of the law. And a little after[6] “What is commanded by the law is pleasing, and there is will to do, but power and strength are wanting to fulfill; because man is so pressed with the power of sin that he cannot go where he would, nor can he gainsay, because another is master of his power.” And a little farther:[7] “It was impossible for us to fulfill the law, because we were subject to sin.”


[1] Comment. in Epist. Romans p. 269.

[2] Ibid. p. 289.

[3] Ibid. p. 287.

[4] In Colossians p. 535.

[5] In Romans p. 283.

[6] In Romans p. 283.

[7] Ibid. p. 286.