Classic Reformed Covenant Theology And Its Opponents

I have found it absolutely necessary to oppose different opinions; both those of the public adversaries of the reformed churches, amongst whom I reckon, first, the Socinians and the Remonstrants, who, by their daring comments have defiled the doctrine of God’s covenants; and those of some of our brethren, who have enterprised the formation of new hypotheses, and have thereby almost rooted out all true divinity. I persuade myself it is not in the power of malice to deny that I have acted with candour and modesty: I have stated the controversy justly, not attributing to any one any opinion which he would not allow to be his own, and have made use of such arguments as had before satisfied my own conscience, as if these were not of themselves convincing, I could not think that any force would be added to them by the warmth of the disputant; especially, I considered that the opinions of our brethren were to be treated with candour, and I have never sought after any inaccurate word, harsh phrase, or crude expression, in order to criticise them; esteeming it much better to point out how far all the orthodox agree, and how the more improper ways of expression may be softened, remarking only on those sentiments which are really different; and these, I dare affirm, will be found to be fewer and of less moment than they are generally thought to be, provided we examine them without prejudice. Yet, I cannot pass over in silence some uncouth expressions, foreign interpretations, or contradictory theses, and occasionally I note the danger attending them, but without any malevolence to their authors; for I confess, I am of their opinion who believe that the doctrine of the covenant has long since been delivered to the churches on too good a foundation to stand in need of new hypotheses, in which I cannot find that solidity or usefulness which is necessary to establish their divinity.

—Herman Witsius, The Economy of the Covenants Between God and Man: Comprehending a Complete Body of Divinity, trans. William Crookshank, vol. 1 (London: T. Tegg & Son, 1837), vii–viii.

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