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Bible Dictionaries

Charles Buck Theological Dictionary


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Applied to the mind, denotes frailty, weakness. It has been a question what may properly be denominated sins of infirmity.

1. Nothing, it is said, can be excused under that name which at the time of its commission is known to be a sin.

2. Nothing can be called a sin of infirmity which is contrary to the express letter of any of the commandments.

3. Nothing will admit of a just and sufficient excuse upon the account of infirmity which a man beforehand considers and deliberates with himself, whether it be a sin or no. A sin of infirmity is,

1. Such a failing as proceeds from excusable ignorance.

2. Or unavoidable surprise.

3. Or want of courage and strength, Romans 15:1 . By infirmity also we understand the corruptions that are still left in the heart (notwithstanding a person may be sanctified in part, ) and which sometimes break out. These may be permitted to humble us; to animate our vigilance; perhaps that newly convinced sinners might not be discouraged by a sight of such perfection they might despair of ever attaining to; to keep us prayerful and dependent; to prevent those honours which some would be ready to give to human nature rather than to God; and, lastly, to excite in us a continual desire for heaven. Let us be cautious and watchful, however, against sin in all its forms: for it argues a deplorable state of mind when men love to practise sin, and then lay it upon constitution, the infirmity of nature, the decree of God, the influence of Satan, and thus attempt to excuse themselves by saying they could not avoid it. Clarke's Serm. ser. 12, vol. 9: Massilon's Serm. vol. 2: p. 213, Eng. trans.

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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Buck, Charles. Entry for 'Infirmity'. Charles Buck Theological Dictionary. 1802.

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