Calamy On The Range Of Opinion On The Covenant Of Works

THere be severall opinions about the Covenant of Works, and the Covenant of grace, to the great disturbance of many Christians; some hold that there be foure Covenants, two of Works, and two of Grace; the two first, one with Adam before the fall, and the other with Israel at their returne out of AEgypt, and the Covenants of Grace the first to Abraham, and the other at the Incarnation of Jesus Christ; this M. Sympson affirmed before a Committee of the Assem- bly of Divines in my hearing. 2. Others hold that there is but three Covenants; the first with Adam, the second with Israel at their going out of AEgypt, and a third with Jesus Christ, the two first of Workes, and the last of Grace, and this M. Burroughes delivered in his Expo- sition Sermon in Cornhill in my hearing. 3. Others hold that there is but two Covenants, the one of Works, and the other of Grace; yet the first they hold was made with Israel at Mount Sinai, and no Covenant of workes before that, and now it is vanished away, and the other a Covenant of grace yet not made till the death of Christ the testator, and this is affirmed by James Pope, in a Book entituled, the unveiling of Antichrist. 4. Others hold that the Law at Mount Sinai was a Covenant of grace, implying that there is more then one Covenant of grace, and this is affirmed by Mr. Anthony Burgesse in his Vindication of the Morall Law the 24. Lecture, text the 4. of Deuteronomy. 5. Others with my selfe hold that there is but two Covenants, the one a Covenant of Workes, and the tree of life, was a Sacrament or signe and token of it, this was made with Adam before his fall and to all his posterity who come under it as soon as
they take upon them his nature, for he did bear an Image for himselfe and all his posterity, so that if he had stood in his integrity he had conveyed his righreousnesse and holinesse to all his posterity, and when he by sin defiled his nature, the whole race of mankind was polluted by him, and also he received a Covenant both for him- selfe and all his posterity, and in case he had been faithfull to it, all his posterity had stood with him, but he breaking that Covenant brought not only guilt upon himself but upon all his posterity with him, so that now there is none clean, no not one; how can he be clean that is born of a woman? Job 25:4. thus mans nature is polluted. And in regard of the Covenant, let every mouth be stopped, for all the world is become guilty before God, Rom. 3:29. for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, Rom. 3:23. by one man sinne entred into the world, and death by sinne, and so death passed upon all men for that all have sinned, Rom. 5:12. so then all men by nature lye under the pollution and guilt of Adams sinne, and lyable to all the curses and penalties due unto them for breach of that Covenant.

But then there was a Covenant of grace which God the Father made with Jesus Christ from all eternity to save some of the posterity of Adam, and had not this Covenant been prepared ready against the fall of Adam to take place at the very moment of his fall, the Justice of God had immediatly seized upon the whole Creation under Heaven, and consum’d them to their first nothing, but then came Jesus Christ with the covenant in his hand saying, be gracious unto him, and deliver him from going down to the pit, I have found a ransome, Job 33:24. now I shall prove that the covenant of grace was made with Jesus Christ from all eternity, being a contract or plot of God the Father with God the Sonne from all eternity as mediator for the salvation of the Elect.

—Edmund Calamy, Two solemne covenants made between God and man: viz. the covenant of workes, and the covenant of grace. Clearly laid open, distinguished, and vindicated from many dangerous opinions; the right knowledge of which [sic] will be very profitable to all those that have escaped the first, and are confirmed in the second at the Sacrament (London, 1647), 1–2. Transcribed by Caleb Cangelosi. (HT: RJT).

    Post authored by:

  • R. Scott Clark
    Author Image

    R.Scott Clark is the President of the Heidelberg Reformation Association, the author and editor of, and contributor to several books and the author of many articles. He has taught church history and historical theology since 1997 at Westminster Seminary California. He has also taught at Wheaton College, Reformed Theological Seminary, and Concordia University. He has hosted the Heidelblog since 2007.

    More by R. Scott Clark ›

Subscribe to the Heidelblog today!

One comment

Comments are closed.