111. II. That the induction of the good of one person into another, is impossible. The proof hereof may also appear from the following observations in their order: l. That every man is born in evil. 2. That man is led into good through regeneration by the Lord. 3. That this is effected by faith in the Lord, and by a life according to His commandments. 4. Wherefore the good of one cannot by application be transferred to another, and so imputed.
1. That every man is born in evil, is known in the church. This evil is said to be hereditary from Adam; but it is from parents, from whom everyone derives his disposition or inclination. That it is so experience and reason proves; for the likenesses of parents may be traced in the faces, characters, and manners of their children, and their posterity. Hence families are distinguished by many, and their propensities are also judged of: wherefore, the evils which parents have contracted, are transmitted by propagation to their posterity, under a species of inclination towards them; hence are derived the evils into which men are born.
2. That man is led into good through regeneration by the Lord. That there is regeneration, and that unless one is regenerated, he cannot enter into heaven, is very evident from the Lord's words in John 3:3, 5. That regeneration is purification from evils, and thus renovation of life, cannot lie hidden in the Christian world, for reason also sees this, whilst it acknowledges that everyone is born in evil, and that evil cannot be washed and wiped away, like filth by soap and water, but by repentance.
3. That this is effected by faith in the Lord, and by a life according to His commandments. The precepts of regeneration are five, as may be seen above (n. 43, 44); among which are these. That evils ought to be shunned, because they are of the devil and from the devil; that goods ought to be done, because they are of God and from God; and that the Lord is to be approached, that He may lead us so to do. Let everyone consider and weigh with himself, whether good can be derived to man from any other source; and if he has not good he cannot be saved.
4. Wherefore the good of one cannot by application be transferred to another, and so imputed. From what has been said above, it follows, that man by regeneration is renewed as to his spirit, and that this is effected by faith in the Lord, and at the same time by a life according to His commandments. Who does not see, that this renewal can only be effected from time to time, nearly in like manner as a tree takes root, and grows successively from a seed, and is perfected? They who have a different notion of regeneration and renovation, know nothing of the state of man, nor anything about evil and good, as that they are diametrically opposite to each other, and that good cannot be implanted but in proportion as evil is removed; neither do they know, that so long as anyone is in evil, he is averse to good which in itself is really good; wherefore if the good of one were to be applied and so induced into another who is in evil, it would be like casting a lamb to a wolf, or fastening a pearl to a hog's snout. From what has been said it is evident, that the induction of the good of one into another is impossible.