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WORKS OF ARMINIUS - ON PARTICULAR ACTS OF OBEDIENCE
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ON PARTICULAR ACTS OF OBEDIENCE, OR THOSE WHICH ARE PRESCRIBED IN EACH PRECEPT, OR CONCERNING THE DECALOGUE IN GENERAL
I. The special acts of obedience are prescribed in the decalogue, and in each of the commandments. The decalogue, therefore, itself, must be considered by us in order.
II. A convenient distribution of the decalogue is that into a preface and precepts. The preface is contained in these words: "I am the Lord thy God, who have brought thee up from the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage." For we are of opinion that this preface belongs to the entire decalogue, rather than to the first commandment; though we do not consider it advisable to contend about a matter so small and unimportant.
III. The preface contains a general argument of suasion, why the children of Israel ought to yield obedience to Jehovah -- and this two-fold -- the first drawn from the right of confederation or covenant -- the second, from a particular and signal benefit recently conferred on him. The former of these is contained in the words, "the Lord thy God;" the latter, in the expression, "who have brought thee out of the land of Egypt," of which benefit a high commendation is given in the description which is added -- that Egypt was to the Israelites "the house of bondage" that by amplifying the misery of that servitude, they might be able to call to mind those things which had happened to them.
IV. Though this argument, "thy God," may likewise have respect to creation, and may comprise that benefit, yet it is more probable that it has a special reference to the concluding of a covenant with this people.
V. From this preface, may conveniently be deduced those general acts about which we have treated in the preceding disputation -- the love, fear, trust, and honour of God; for, as Jehovah is their God, who delivered them out of Egypt, therefore, most justly, as well as profitably, must he be loved, feared and honoured, and trust must be reposed in him.
VI. But some things generally must be observed for the correct performance of all the precepts together. Such are,
VII. The law of God requires the entire obedience of the mouth, heart and work, that is, inward and outward obedience -- for God is the God of the whole man, of the soul and body, and looks principally upon the heart.
VIII. The explanation of the precepts of the decalogue must be sought from Moses and the prophets, from Christ and his apostles; and it may be procured in sufficient abundance, so that nothing necessary can be imagined, which may not be drawn from the writings of the Old and the New Testament.
IX. The meaning of each precept must be taken from the end on account of which it was given; and all those things must be considered as included in it, without which the precept cannot be performed. Therefore, one and the same work may be referred to different precepts, so far as it has respect to different ends.
X. In affirmation, its opposite negative seems to be comprised; and, in a negative, the affirmation which is opposed to it; because God not only requires a refraining from evil, but likewise a performance of good, though a reason may be given why God declared some things negatively, and others affirmatively.
XI. Homogeneous and cognate acts are commanded or are forbidden in the same precept; and a genus comprehends its species; and a species comprises, in the same command, other species allied to it, unless a just law exists why it must be otherwise determined.
XII. An effect in its cause, or a cause in its effect, (if the conversion be necessary and according to nature,) is not commanded and prohibited through accident.
XIII. When of those things which have a relation to each other, one is prescribed or forbidden, the other is also commanded or forbidden, because they mutually lay themselves down and remove themselves.
XIV. If it happen that the observance of two precepts cannot be paid at the same time to both of them, regard must be had to that which is of the greater moment, and for the performance of which more and juster causes exist.