Ames On Substantial Identity Of The Moral Law With The Decalogue

9. From this speciall and proper way of governing reasonable Creatures, there ariseth that covenant, which is between God and them. For this covenant is as it were a certaine transaction of God with the Creature, whereby God commandeth, promiseth, threatneth, fulfilleth, and the Creature doth tie it selfe in obedience to God thus covenanting. Deut. 26. 16, 17, 18, 19. This day Jehova thy God commandeth thee. &c. Thou hast avouched this day the Lord to be thy God, &c. Jehova hath avouched thee this day, &c. To make thee high, &c. And that thou mayest be an holy people, &c.

10. Now because this way of entring into covenant is not between those that are equall, but between Lord and servant. Therefore it pertaines to government, whence also it is most properly called not the covenant of man, but of God, who is the author, and chiefe Executor of it. Deut. 8. 17. 18. That he may performe his covenant.

11. By vertue of this covenant the morall workes of the intelligent Creature, whilst he is in the way, have alwayes a respect, either to happinesse as a reward, of to unhappinesse as a punishment: but in the last there is meriting, but in the other not.

12. Hence the proper and highest difference of a good work and sinne doth flow, namely in that a good worke is an operation expecting happinesse of another by way of reward: as by the opposite privation of it, evill workes are made in their kind extreamly evill.

13. Hence ariseth the force & reason of conscience, which is the judgement of an intelligent Creature of it selfe, as he is subjected to God.

14. Speciall government of the reasonable Creature is of Angels and men.

15. Speciall government of Angels, is either a speciall prescription, or ordering the event that followes upon it.

16. This was the same Law as touching the substance, with the morall Law which is contained in the Decalogue.

William Ames, The Marrow of Sacred Divinity (1642 edn), 51–52.


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