Witsius Sharply Distinguished Between The Covenants of Works and Grace

For here I observe, that men of learning in other respects have stumbled, who, when explaining the nature of those Sacraments, too incautiously blend things belonging to a quite different covenant. Nothing is here to be brought in which does not belong to the covenant of works, the promises of that covenant, and the duties of man under the same; all which are most distinct from the covenant of grace. Here we are to say nothing of Christ, nothing of justifying faith in him, nothing of our ceasing from our own works as impure, nor any thing of that rest after the miseries of this life. All these belong to another covenant. I do not, however, deny, that the unsearchable wisdom of God did appoint and order these symbols in such a manner that the remembrance of them, after the fall, might be able to instruct man in many things relating to the covenant of grace and its mediator. As that, according to Paul, the first Adam himself was a type of the second; Eve, curiously formed out of Adam’s rib while asleep, was a type of the church, as it were, taken from Christ in virtue of his death; and that the first marriage represented that great mystery which regards Christ and the church. These things, however, were neither known nor thought of in a state of nature; nor to be mentioned in a discourse on the Sacraments of the covenant of works. Having premised these things, let us now inquire into each particular with all the care possible, beginning with Paradise.

Herman Witsius | The Economy of the Covenants, trans. William Crookshank 2 vol (Edinburgh: T. Tegg & Son, 1837), 1.81


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