In order to utilize all of the features of this web site, JavaScript must be enabled in your browser. Herman Witsius, Dutch theologian, pastor, and professor of the seventeenth century, was a major proponent of covenant theology, and in this volume collection, his greatest works on grace, law, sin, and holiness are collected. Witsius was most famous for The Economy of the Covenants Between God and Man , a systematic exploration of Old Testament law, New Testament grace, the grace of God in both covenants, and how Christ fulfills each covenant. The final title, Conciliatory or Irenical Animadversions on the Controversies Agitated in Britain , explores godliness, law, grace, and the role of the believer. During his lifetime, Witsius was a major influence on his contemporaries, such as John Gill and John Owen , and he continues to inspire Christians today, including J. For anyone interested in basic Christian theology or exploring different doctrines of the Christian faith, the writings of Witsius are essential.

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There is no new theology. There are new books published every month. Check out these books on Covenant Theology. After the Bible, this work is the FIRST that you should read, or one that you should introduce to a friend if they are struggling with covenant concepts. When dealing with Covenant Theology, making doctrine easy to under is important. Those that have a hard time reading page treatises on theology may enjoy this short overview.

Matthew McMahon, Ph. Chapter 4: Of the Promises of the Covenant of Works. Chapter 7: Of the First Sabbath. Chapter 4: Of the Person of the Surety. Chapter 5: Of the Suretyship and Satisfaction of Christ.

Chapter 6: What Sufferings of Christ are Satisfactory. Chapter After what manner Christ used the Sacraments.

Chapter 4: Of Election. Chapter 5: Of Effectual Calling. Chapter 6: Of Regeneration. Chapter 7: Of Faith. Chapter Of Sanctification. Chapter Of Conservation. Chapter Of Glorification. Chapter 4: Of the Decalogue. Chapter 5: Of the Doctrine of the Prophets. Chapter 6: Of the Types. Chapter 7: Of the Sacraments of Grace down to Abraham. Chapter 8: Of Circumcision.

Chapter 9: Of the Passover. Chapter Of the extraordinary Sacraments in the Wilderness. Chapter Of the Blessings of the Old Testament. Chapter Of the Imperfections falsely ascribed to the Old Testament.

Chapter Of the real defects of the Old Testament. Chapter Of the Abrogation of the Old Testament. Chapter Of the Benefits of the New Testament. Chapter Of Baptism. This is a matter of Eternal Salvation. It answers the question: How may a sinful man approach God? Exodus It is an agreement between God and man, a pact or agreement about the way of obtaining consummate happiness; including a threatening of eternal destruction, with which the contemner of the happiness, offered in that way, is to be punished.

Which is the manner in which Witsius defines this. There are three elements of the covenant — 1 A promise of eternal life. God requires the complete sanctification of the parties involved in the covenant or threatens punishment. Nor was the Covenant an option for man. In Scripture, there are two covenants of God with man: Covenant of Works.

There are poignant similarities between the two covenants. In the Covenant of Works: God manifests himself as supreme law-giver and chief good desiring to make man a partaker of his eternal happiness. In the Covenant of Grace He is infinitely merciful to the elect sinner. There is a mediator in the covenant of grace, where there is no mediator in the Covenant of Works.

The contracting parties of the covenant of works are God and man. In this covenant Adam sustained a two-fold relation, both as man and as representative of all men. He was created with a reasonable soul that has the capacity for interaction and power to act perfectly with knowledge, righteousness and holiness. The whole extent of the image of God created in Adam consists of three parts: 1 Antecedently, in that it consists in the spiritual and immortal nature of the soul and in the faculties of understanding and will, 2 Formally and principally in these endowments or qualities of the soul, viz.

As head and root, or representative of mankind the whole of history proves this fact as he was the first man to whom was spoken the creation ordinances and mandate. God is righteous in governing the world in this fashion by the covenant with Adam in the garden. No one would have complained if Adam had obeyed. People often complain it is not fair since they were not there, and that they could have succeeded if they were.

However, no one can say they could have done better. Since they are fallen now, they are thinking in a fallen state, and they think now that they could have done better than a perfect man who had no sin. But in Adam everyone has sinned personally. In Adam everyone sinned, as if they had been there. The Law of the Covenant is twofold: the law of nature implanted in Adam which was done at his creation, and the symbolic law concerning the tree of the knowledge of Good and evil.

This has not disappeared since the fall. It is compatible with love and not an enforcement or coercion but the obligation of a just act based upon the holiness of God. The law of nature is the same in substance with the Decalogue. If God did not uphold the law He would deny Himself. God is the sovereign Creator, not man.

It governs not only our actions but our nature. The universal precepts of the law are founded upon the nature of God, that is, an expression of His character. The symbolic law was the tree of knowledge of good and evil. A perfect three-fold keeping of the law was required. First, of its parts with respect to subject and object: The whole man, body and soul, had to keep the whole law. Also of the degree to which it is to be kept: man had to keep the law with all diligence and heart.

Also, man had to persevere: Man had to persevere in keeping the law without fault. The Covenant of Works did include promises contrary to the Socinians. Rather, true faith is rooted in the word and promise of God. The tree of life represented the promise of eternal life. It would have a been a nonsensical statement for God to prohibited Adam from eating of the tree if something good were not to come from not eating. It was a seal of the promise of God to Adam if He obeyed. If no promise had been made, man would have lived without hope and lack of hope is characteristic of the fall, for the very threatening infers a promise.

The promise made to man was eternal life. Jesus came to do what the law could not do because man sinned. Jesus came to procure eternal life therefore it was promised to man from the beginning. If Adam persevered, he would have received what we received by faith in Jesus Christ. The law itself was ordained to life Gal. Christ, the second Adam, earned eternal life for us through the law. He did what Adam did not do. If there was no reward, what kind of covenant would it have been?

God would act unjustly against His character of rewarding those who diligently seek Him and all of Theology Proper would come crashing to the ground. God would then violate His character. The nature of the promise of God to Adam for eternal life has a number of foundational truths.

God owes nothing to man. Man cannot merit anything from God. God cannot punish a holy creature for it would be wrong for God to send a creature to hell that is just and Holy. This would be a denial of Himself. God cannot refuse to grant a holy creature the communion of Himself.

If He did that would throw, again His character in confusion. He would be saying that he does not delight in holiness and true piety. And God does not love something in vain. There are various observations concerning the penal sanction to note Gen. Death is the consequence of sin and therefore not natural. The rebellious and disobedient and them alone are those set with the consequences of punishment.


The Economy of the Covenants Between God and Man

He was born at Enkhuizen. He studied at the University of Groningen , Leiden , and Utrecht. He was ordained in the ministry, becoming the pastor of Westwoud in and afterwards at Wormer, Goes , and Leeuwarden. He became professor of divinity successively at the University of Franeker in and at the University of Utrecht in Witsius became Chancellor of Utrecht University in In he was appointed to the University of Leiden as the successor of the younger Friedrich Spanheim. He died in Leiden.


Hermann Witsius

This, his magnum opus, is a reflection of some of the most fruitful and mature thinking on federal theology during the seventeenth century, and still holds a preeminent place in our own day. Reformed theology has always understood the biblical doctrine of the covenant to be the theological framework which best unifies Scripture, making it a consistent hermeneutic. In this two volume work, Witsius, presents the reader with a fully biblical and experiential doctrine of the divine covenants; opening up their nature, stipulations, curses, and blessings. Has this product helped you? Share a Testimony.

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