Being impatient for answer I looked up the works of Arminias and found right away in Volume 1 - ARTICLES XIII AND XIV, P228 that he argues against the imputation of guilt on infants.
For example, among many other statements against the imputation of guilt on infants, he says (in the words of his friend)
"When Adam sinned in his own person and with his free will, God pardoned that transgression. There is no reason then why it was the will of God to impute this sin to infants, who are said to have sinned in Adam, before they had any personal existence, and therefore, before they could possibly sin at their own will and pleasure." (Arminias, Volume 1 - ARTICLES XIII AND XIV)
He also makes his sentiments known in a very indirect way, attributing these ideas ONLY to his friend Borrius whom his intention is merely 'to defend.' Borrius 'denies having ever publicly taught' them but only 'thinks them' and 'discusses them' and 'he considers that it was not unlawful for him so to do' and 'still beleives them unless proved wrong', etc. If Arminias admits that these are bad ideas, or that shame is associated with them so as to 'deny that they are taught', why does he argue their merits in such detail as one who 'loves them', without ever opposing the folishness of them (if he actually opposed them) -- and thus -- famously teaches them?!
As Arminias seems to be very hard to pin down on this question, I will add two more quotes on the subject to further prove: ‘Arminias opposed the idea of actual guilt being imputed on all humanity, making every human creature no longer innocent but guilty.’
Arminias does not seem like to mention the ‘imputation of guilt’ so common among Calvinists, even as he argues against them, because he opposes it. But the declaration of ‘innocence’ which is just the same thing in reverse, he does do on a couple of occasions. In fact it is central to his thinking that those born innocent can’t be predestined to hell as this would be unjust. The idea that a man is born innocent is what my question is trying to determine. ‘Did Arminias believe babies were born guilty of sin, or born innocent?
For example in arguing against the doctrine of predestination he says:
- If creation be the way and means through which God willed the execution of the decree of his reprobation, he was more inclined to will the act of reprobation than that of creation; and he consequently derived greater satisfaction from the act of condemning certain of his innocent creatures, than in the act of their creation. (THE WORKS OF
JAMES ARMINIUS VOL. 1, P195)
Or again, he repeats his sentiments:
It is far worse to predestinate a just man to sin than to predestinate an innocent man to death. Of this we have also, previously, spoken. (THE WORKS OF
JAMES ARMINIUS VOL. 3, P369)
Please note, I was not asking if Arminias believed in original sin, in some other sense than that which is attributed by the ‘imputation of guilt’. I was only wondering about this one question. My determination that he did not believe it is not meant to be a criticism against Arminians, or great men like Wesley who did believe it.