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The Covenant of Works and the Stability of Divine Law in Seventeenth-Century Reformed Orthodoxy: A Study in the Theology of Herman Witsius and Wilhelmus à Brakel

Richard A. Muller

in After Calvin

Published in print March 2003 | ISBN: 9780195157017
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199849581 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195157017.003.0011

Series: Oxford Studies in Historical Theology

The Covenant of Works and the Stability of Divine Law in Seventeenth-Century Reformed Orthodoxy: A Study in the Theology of Herman Witsius and Wilhelmus à Brakel

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This chapter addresses the divine law, an issue that is both hermeneutical and doctrinal. It has been one of the most consistently identified issues in the discussion of continuity and discontinuity between the Reformation and the era of orthodoxy. The analysis of Witsius and Brakel on the covenant of works demonstrates that the doctrine was not a matter of excessive legalism, or a matter of setting an absolute priority of law over grace. Rather, the doctrine was the result of the examination of a series of issues raised by biblical texts and resolved through a method of juxtaposition and collation for the sake of drawing conclusions. In the writings of Witsius and Brakel, the exposition of doctrine stood in the line of a century-long discussion of covenant, human nature, law and grace, and human responsibility.

Keywords: Herman Witsius; Wilhelmus a Brakel; Reformed Orthodoxy; divine law; covenant of works; predestinarianism; legalism

Chapter.  8684 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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