The Covenant of Grace

“Yet He hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure: for this is all my salvation, and all my desire…”

2 Sam. 23:5

“For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.”

Rom. 11:27

“The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him; and He will show them his covenant.”

Ps. 25:14

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Subsections

The Mosiac Covenant

The Works of the Westminster Divines on Covenant Theology

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Order of Contents

Articles  12+
Books  36+
The History of  20+
The Visible Church is Outwardly in the Covenant of Grace
Lutheran  1
Baptist  8+

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Articles 

1500’s

Zwingli, Ulrich – ‘On the New Covenant’  an excerpt from Exposition and Basis of the Conclusions or Articles Published by Huldrych Zwingli  (PA: Pickwick Publications, 1984), 2:224

Zwingli (1484–1531)

Bullinger, Henry

‘On the Covenant of Grace’  excerpt from ‘Of the Ceremonial Laws of God’ in Decades, 2:169-175

Bullinger (1504-1575)

‘On God’s Covenant’  5 excerpts from various works at Calvin and Calvinism.  Note that the webmaster is a hypothetical-universalist, though it is not necessary to read Bullinger in this way in these quotes.

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1600’s

Wolleb, Johannes – Ch. 21, ‘Of the Covenant of Grace’  in The Abridgment of Christian Divinity  (1626), pp. 169-174

This work is available in print in Reformed Dogmatics: Seventeenth-Century Reformed Theology, ed. John Beardslee.

Sibbes, Richard – ‘The Faithful Covenanter, in Two Sermons upon Gen. 17:7’  in Works, vol. 6, pp. 2-25

Brinsley, Jr., John – The Saints’ Solemn Covenant with their God, as it was opened in a sermon…  at the taking of the National Covenant there…    (London, 1644)  on Ps. 50:5

Brinsley, Jr. (1600-1665) was an English reformed puritan who was ejected from the Church of England in 1662.  While the sermon has some reference to taking the Solemn League and Covenant (1643), there is much in it about the Covenant of Grace.

Cotton, John – ‘The Covenant of God’s Free Grace: a Sermon’  (London, 1645) on 2 Sam. 23:5

Rutherford, Samuel

Sermon 7 & 8  of The Trial and Triumph of Faith  (Edinburgh, 1845)

pp. 471-478 of  Christ Dying and Drawing Sinners to Himself, or, A Survey of our Saviour in his Soul-suffering, his lovelinesse in his death, and the efficacy thereof…  (London, 1647)  This especially on how faith is a condition of the Covenant of Grace.

Dickson, David – Therapeutica Sacra: Showing briefly the method of healing the diseases of the Conscience, concerning Regeneration  (Edinburgh, 1664)

Ch. 6 – Of the Covenant of Grace

Ch. 7 – For a further clearing and confirmation of the doctrine about the
three covenants from Jer. 31 and Heb. 8.

Ch. 8 – Of the prudent application of divine covenants in general.

Ch. 9 – Of the more special application of divine covenants for removing
the impediments of regeneration.

See an introduction to this volume: Fentiman, ‘An Introduction and Table of Contents to David Dickson’s Sacred Therapeutics’.

Turretin, Francis – ‘Twelfth Topic: The Covenant of Grace and Its Twofold Economy in the Old and New Testaments’  as summarized by Rev. Nathan Lewis  from Turretin’s Institutes.

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1800’s

Morgan, James – A Sermon on the Covenant of Works and the Covenant of Grace  Ref  (Abingdon, VA, 1818)

Heppe, Heinrich – Ch. 16, ‘The Covenant of Grace’  in Reformed Dogmatics  (Wipf & Stock, 2007), pp. 371-409

Hodge, Charles – ‘The Covenant of Grace’  25 pp.  from his Systematic Theology

Hodge, while having some good things to say, is not recommended on this subject.  He expressly makes the Covenant of Grace to be between God and mankind, in some respect, as a basis for the free offer of the Gospel:

“The gospel, however, is the offer of salvation upon the conditions of the covenant of grace.  In this sense, the covenant of grace is formed with all mankind…  If this, therefore, were all that is meant by those who make the parties to the covenant of grace, God and mankind in general and all mankind equally, there would be no objection to the doctrine.” – p. 13

Such was the view of the Arminians, Amyrauldians and Hypothetical Universalists.

Martin, Hugh – ‘Atonement and the Covenant of Grace’  no source info

Bavinck, Herman

Our Reasonable Faith (Grand Rapids, Baker, 1956)

Ch. 14, ‘The Covenant of Grace’

‘Three Characteristics of the Covenant of Grace’   being pp. 274-278

‘The Covenant of Grace’  from Reformed Dogmatics (Baker Academic, 2006), Vol. 3: Sin and Salvation in Christ, pp. 193–196

Vos, Geerhardus – ‘What are the Most Important Characteristics of the Covenant of Grace?’  from Reformed Dogmatics (Lexham Press, 2012-2014), vol. 2, pp. 71–73

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1900’s

Berkhof, Louis 

The Covenant of Grace, 1950, 27 paragraphs, from his Systematic Theology

The Dual Aspect of the Covenant, 1950, 16 paragraphs, from his Systematic Theology

The Different Dispensations of the Covenant, 1950, 35 paragraphs, from his Systematic Theology

Murray, John – ‘The Covenant of Grace’  1954

Murray, the famed Westminster Seminary professor, appears to conflate the Covenant of Redemption (which he does not mention) with the Covenant of Grace.   

Murray’s thesis in the article is that: “From the beginning of God’s disclosures to men in terms of covenant we find a unity of conception which is to the effect that a divine covenant is a sovereign administration of grace and of promise.”  This is in contrast to a covenant as being in part a “mutual pact or agreement,” which was a significant part of the puritan development of this doctrine (which we highly recommend).  So most of modern reformed covenant theology has followed in Murray in this respect, especially as O. Palmer Robertson takes a similar definition of the Covenant as a bond in blood sovereignly applied.

Murray also did not believe in the Covenant of Works, but that it was only an ‘administration’ of God with Adam.  For a further critique of Murray, see C. Matthew McMahon, ‘John Murray’s Reformulation of the Covenant of Grace’.  For a fuller, more nuanced, historical and insightful examination of Murray’s paradigm, see the abstract at the link for the Masters thesis of Psyche Joy Ives, Recasting John Murray’s Covenant Theology: a Contextual Re-Examination  Ref  (Westminster Seminary, California, 2016).

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Books

1500’s

Rollock, Robert – ‘Catechism on God’s Covenants’  1596  in Mid-American Journal of Theology (2009), pp. 105−129  See specifically #31-102 on the Covenant of Grace.

Rollock was the first professor of theology at Edinburgh University and was a fountain-head for the covenant theology that ensued through Scottish history.

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1600’s

Drake, T. – The Lambs Spouse of the Heavenlie Bride.  A theologicall discourse wherein the contract between Christ and the Church…  is plainly and profitably…  set forth  (London, 1608)  As referenced in Woolsey, Unity & Continuity.

Fotherby, John – The Covenant Between God and Man. Plainly Declared in Laying Open the Chiefest Points of Christian Religion  (London, 1616)

Fotherby (d. 1619) was a reformed Anglican.

Cameron, John – Certain Theses or Positions…   Concerning the Three-fold Covenant of God with Man  (London, 1656)  bound with Samuel Bolton’s The True Bounds of Christian Freedom.

Cameron (c. 1579 – 1625) was a Scottish divine who was a professor of theology in France.  His theology was a forerunner of Amyraldianism.  His paradigm on the covenants is not recommended, though is here for reference.  For background to it, and a summary and analysis of it, see Richard Muller’s historical article below.

For a critique of Cameron’s view, see the end of Turretin’s article above.

Preston, John

The New Covenant, or the Saint’s Portion, A Treatise unfolding the All-Sufficiency of God, and man’s uprightness, and the Covenant of Grace, Delivered in fourteen sermons upon Gen. 17:1-2, whereunto are adjoined four sermons upon Eccl. 9:1-2, 11-12  (London, 1629)

Preston (1587-1628) was a reformed, Anglican minister and master of Emmanuel College, Cambridge.

The Golden Scepter, with the Church’s Marriage, and the Church’s Carriage, in 3 Treatises  (London, 1638)  Search for ‘covenant’.

Ambrose, Isaac – Looking unto Jesus: a View of the Everlasting Gospel; or, The Soul’s Eyeing of Jesus as carrying on the great work of man’s salvation, from first to last  (A. M’Lean, 1856)  Table of contents

Ambrose (1604-1664) was an English puritan divine.

Downame, George – The Covenant of Grace, or An Exposition upon Luke 1:73-75  (Dublin, 1631/1647)

Hooker, Thomas

The Soul’s Exaltation, a Treatise Containing: the Soul’s Union with Christ on 1 Cor. 6:17, the Soul’s Benefit from Union with Christ, on 1 Cor. 1:30, the Soul’s Justification on 2 Cor. 5:21  (London, 1638)

The Covenant of Grace Opened: wherein these particulars are handled, viz. 1. what the Covenant of Grace is, 2. what the Seals of the Covenant are, 3. who are the parties and subjects fit to receive these seals: from all which particulars infants’ Baptism is fully proved and vindicated: being several sermons preached at Hartford in New-England  Ref  (London, 1649)

Walker, George – The Manifold Wisdom of God. In the divers dispensation of grace by Jesus Christ, in the Old New Testament, in the Covenant of faith, works. Their agreement and difference  (London, 1641)

Walker (bap.1582-1651) was an English clergyman, known for his strong Puritan views.

Leigh, Edward – A Treatise of the Divine Promises in Five Books: in the first, a general description of their nature, kinds, excellency, right use, properties, and the persons to whom they belong: in the Four last, a declaration of the Covenant itself  (London, 1641)

Leigh (1602-1671) was a Westminster divine.

Ball, John – A Treatise of the Covenant of Grace  1645  380 pp.

Ball’s treatise was very influential upon the Westminster Assembly.

Calamy, Edmund – Two Solemn Covenants made between God and man : viz. the covenant of Works, and the covenant of Grace. Clearly laid open, distinguished, and vindicated from many dangerous opinions; the right knowledge of which will be very profitable to all those that have escaped the first, and are confirmed in the second…  (London, 1647)

Calamy the Elder (1600-1666) was a Westminster divine.

Burgess, Anthony – Vindiciae Legis, or, A Vindication of the Moral Law and the Covenants, from the errors of Papists, Arminians, Socinians, and more especially, Antinomians, in 30 Lectures  (London, 1647)

Cobbet, Thomas – A Just Vindication of the Covenant and Church-Estate of Children of Church-Members as also of their right unto bastism: wherein such things as have been brought by divers to the contrary, especially by John Spilsbury, A.R. Ch. Blackwood, and H. Den are revised and answered: hereunto is annexed a refutation of a certain pamphlet styled, The Plain and well-grounded treatise touching baptism  ToC  (London, 1648)  296 pp.

Cobbet (1608-1686) was a New England puritan, now remembered for his reprinted treatise, The Civil Magistrate’s Power in Matters of Religion.

Rutherford, Samuel

A Survey of the Spiritual Antichrist: Opening the Secrets of Familism and Antinomianism…  and diverse considerable points of the law and the Gospel, of the spirit and letter, of the two Covenants, of the nature of free grace, exercise under temptations, mortification, justification, sanctification, are discovered: In two parts  (London, 1648)

See especially Part 2, chs. 8, 65 & 66.

The Covenant of Life Opened, or a Treatise of the Covenant of Grace, containing something of The Nature of the Covenant of Works, The Sovereignty of God, the extent of the death of Christ, the Nature & Properties of the Covenant of Grace: and especially of the Covenant of Suretyship or Redemption between the Lord and the Son Jesus Christ, Infants right to Jesus Christ, and the Seal of Baptism, with some Practical Questions and Observations  (Edinburgh, 1655)

Cotton, John

A Treatise of the Covenant of Grace, as it is Dispensed to the Elect Seed Effectually unto Salvation  (1652; Quinta Press, 2006)  200 pp.

Cotton’s congregationalism, founded on presumptive regeneration as to being in the Covenant and the Church, plays large into his Covenant theology as being focused solely upon the Elect.

The Covenant of Grace: Discovering the Great Work of a Sinner’s Reconciliation to God  Buy  Ref  (London, 1655)

Bulkeley, Peter – The Gospel-Covenant, or, The Covenant of Grace Opened: wherein are explained, 1. The differences betwixt the Covenant of Grace and Covenant of Works. 2. The different administration of the Covenant before and since Christ. 3. The benefits and blessings of it. 4. The condition. 5. The properties of it; preached in Concord in New-England  (London, 1653)

Bulkeley (1583-1659) was an influential early, non-conformist Puritan minister who left England for greater religious freedom in the American colony of Massachusetts.

Harris, Robert – A Treatise of the New Covenant, Delivered Sermon-Wise upon Eze. 11:19-20, the Second Part  (London, 1653)  The first part is apparently A Brief Discourse of Man’s Estate in the First & Second Adam, which immediately precedes it

Harris (1581-1658) was a reformed puritan and a Westminster divine.

Eyre, William – Vindiciæ Justificationis Gratuitæ = Justification without Conditions, or, The Free Justification of a Sinner: Explained, Confirmed, and Vindicated, from the Exceptions, Objections, and seeming Absurdities, which are cast upon it by the assertors of Conditional Justification: more especially from the attempts of Mr. B. Woodbridge in his sermon, entitled (Justification by Faith), of Mr. Cranford in his Epistle to the Reader, and of Mr. Baxter in some passages, which relate to the same matter: wherein also, the Absoluteness of the New Covenant is proved, and the arguments against it, are disproved  (London, 1654)

Eyre (c.1612-1670) was reformed, however, according to Benjamin Woodbridge, Eyre argues the doctrine that Justification is before faith (which is wrong).  Eyre, despite the title of his book, affirms the instrumental nature of faith in Justification, as passive only, not active (pp. 30-31).

The sermon by Benjamin Woodbridge that Eyre critiques is:  Justification by Faith, or, A Confutation of that Antinomian Error, that Justification is before Faith: being the Sum & Substance of a Sermon preached at Sarum  (London, 1653)

John Flavel commended the work of Graile (below) against this work of Eyre (in Works, vol. 3, Appendix, Vindicarum Vindex, p. 530-1).  Flavel also commended the following work of Benjamin Woodbridge responding to the above work of Eyre: 

The Method of Grace in the Justification of Sinners: Being a reply to a book written by Mr. William Eyre of Salisbury: entitled, Vindiciæ Justificationis Gratuitæ, or the Free Justification of a Sinner Justified. Wherein the doctrine contained in the said book, is proved to be subversive both of law and Gospel, contrary to the consent of Protestants, and inconsistent with itself. And the ancient apostolic Protestant Doctrine of Justification by Faith is Asserted.  ToC  (London, 1656)

Graile, John – A Modest Vindication of the Doctrine of Conditions in the Covenant of Grace, and the Defenders thereof, from the Aspersions of Arminianism & Popery  (London, 1654)

John Flavel said of Graile:

“And as for those ancient and modern divines whom the Antinomians have corrupted and misrepresented, the reader may see them all vindicated, and their concurrence with those I have named evidenced by that learned and pious Mr. John Graile, in his Modest Vindication of the doctrine of conditions in the covenant of grace, from p. 58 onward;

a man whose name and memory is precious with me, not only upon the account of that excellent sermon he preached, and those fervent prayers he poured out many years since at my ordination; but for that learned and judicious treatise of his against Mr. Eyre [above], wherein he hath cast great light upon this controversy, as excellent Mr. Baxter and Mr. Woodbridge have also done.  But alas!  what evidence is sufficient to satisfy ignorant and obstinate men!” – Works, vol. 3, Appendix, Vindicarum Vindex, p. 530-1

Fisher, Edward – The Marrow of Modern Divinity… with notes by the Rev. Thomas Boston  (d. 1655; Philadelphia: Presbyterian Board, 1850)

Roberts, Francis – Mysterium & Medulla Bibliorum:  The Mystery and Marrow of the Bible, viz. God’s Covenant with Man in the First Adam before the fall, and in the last Adam, Jesus Christ, after the Fall, from the beginning to the end of the world: unfolded & illustrated in positive aphorisms & their explanation…  (London, 1657)

This was the 1,700 page puritan magnum opus on covenant theology.  For a summary of it, see Won Taek Lim, The Covenant Theology of Francis Roberts (2000, Ph.D. diss., Calvin Theological Seminary).  For the life of Roberts, see Lim, pp. 29-38.

Blake, Thomas – Vindiciæ Foederis, or, A Treatise of the Covenant of God entered with mankind in the several kinds and degrees of it, in which the agreement and respective differences of the Covenant of Works and the Covenant of Grace, of the Old and New Covenant are Discussed  (London, 1658)  Table of Contents

Blake (c.1596-1657) was an English Puritan clergyman and controversialist of moderate Presbyterian sympathies.

Younge, Richard – A Short and Sure Way to Grace and Salvation, being a necessary and profitable tract upon three fundamental principles of Christian religion: how man was at first created, how he is now corrupted, how he may be again restored: together with the conditions of the covenant of grace, and to whom the promises of the Gospel belong…  (London, 1658)

This work of Younge’s appears to be orthodox.  For his treatment of conditions of the Covenant, see Section 20.  As he speaks of faith as ‘the condition’ of the covenant, and repentance being a fruit thereof, it appears that when he speaks of conditions of keeping God’s commandments, he is speaking of them as consequent conditions of being in God’s Covenant.

Gillespie, Patrick – The Ark of the Testament Opened, a Treatise of the Covenant of Grace  1661, only Ch. 8 is online.  The work is on EEBO Phase 2.

P. Gillespie (1617-1675) was a Scottish covenanter and the younger brother of George Gillespie.  This work, coming later in the 1600’s, was perhaps the fullest puritan discussion of the Covenant of Grace, analyzing all the significant works that came before it.

Sedgwick, Obadiah – The Bowels of Tender Mercy Sealed in the Everlasting Convenant (London, 1661)

Sedgwick was a Westminster divine.

Bridge, William – Christ and the Covenant; the Work and Way of Meditation: Gods Return to the Soul, Or Nation; Together with His Preventing Mercy. Delivered in Ten Sermons  (London, 1667)

Nevay, John – The Nature, Properties, Blessings and Saving Graces of the Covenant of Grace: Opened and Applied, in 52 Sermons on 2 Sam. 23:5  (Glasgow, 1748)

Nevay was a Scottish covenanter.

Flavel, John

The Fountain of Life Opened, or, A Display of Christ in his Essential and Mediatorial Glory wherein the Impetration of our Redemption by Jesus Christ is orderly unfolded as it was begun, carried on, and finished…  (London, 1673)

Vindiciæ Legis & Fœderis: or, A Reply to Mr. Philip Cary’s Solemn Call, wherein he pretends to answer all the arguments of Mr. Allen, Mr. Baxter, Mr. Sydenham, Mr. Sedgwick, Mr. Roberts, and Dr. Burthogge for the right of believers’ infants to baptism, by proving the Law at Sinai, and the Covenant of Circumcision with Abraham, were the very same with Adam’s Covenant of Works, and that because the Gospel-Covenant is Absolute  (London, 1690)  Part 2 of the Reply is entitled, ‘Of the Conditionality of the New Covenant’

The Balm of the Covenant Applied to the Bleeding Wounds of Afflicted Saints, First composed for the relief of a pious and worthy family, mourning over the deaths of their hopeful children; and now made public for the support of all Christians, sorrowing on the same or any other account…  (London, 1688)  on 2 Sam. 23:5

Strong, William – A Discourse of the Two Covenants: wherein the Nature, Differences and Effects of the Covenant of Works and of Grace are Distinctly, Rationally, Spiritually and Practically Discussed; together with a Considerable Quantity of Practical Cases Dependent Thereon  (London, 1678)

Strong (d. 1654) was an English, Independent divine.

Alleine, Richard – Heaven Opened; or, a Brief and Plain discovery of the riches of God’s Covenant of Grace (d. 1681; New York : American Tract Society, 1852)  385 pp.

Alleine (c.1610-1681) was an English, puritan divine.

Saller, William – The Two Covenants of Works and of Grace, described and opened for the enlightening and comfort of the present generation  (London, 1682)  46 pp.

Saller (d. c. 1680) was reformed, and was amidst the puritans, though he held to and published defenses of 7th Day Sabbatarianism.

Willard, Samuel – Covenant-Keeping the Way to Blessedness, or, A Brief Discourse wherein is shown the connexion which there is between the promise on God’s part and duty on our part in the Covenant of Grace: as it was delivered in several sermons, preached in order to solemn renewing of covenant  (Boston, 1682)

Willard was a New England puritan.

Hopkins, Ezekiel – The Doctrine of the Two Covenants, wherein the Nature of Original Sin is at large explained… with a discourse of glorifying God in his attributes  (London, 1712)  Table of Contents  This is also in vol. 2 of his Works.

Hopkins (1634-1690) was a reformed, Anglican divine in the Church of Ireland.

Wedderburn, Alexander – David’s Testament Opened up in Forty Sermons upon 2 Samuel 23:5, Wherein the nature, properties, and effects of the Covenant of Grace are clearly held forth  (Edinburgh, 1691)

Wedderburn (c.1620-1678) was reformed.

Watson, Thomas – Q. 20, ‘Of the Covenant of Grace’ & ‘Christ the Mediator of the Covenant’  in A Body of Practical Divinity in a Series of Sermons on the Shorter Catechism (Glasgow & Edinburgh: Blackie & Son, 1859) pp. 91-102

Cross, Walter – Kelaʻ le-dor: a Compend of the Covenant of Grace as the most solid support under the most terrible conflicts of death, though armed with desertion, decay of grace, and sense of guilt  Ref  (London, 1693)

Cross (fl.1692-1698) was reformed.

Heywood, Oliver – The Best Entail, or Dying Parents’ Living Hopes for their Surviving children, grounded upon the covenant of God’s grace, with believers and their seed  1693  in Works, vol. 4, pp. 419-504

Mence, Francis – Vindiciae Foederis, or, A Vindication of the Interest that the Children of Believers, as such, have in the Covenant of Grace, with their parents, under the gospel-dispensation: being the substance of two sermons, with addition, preached to a congregation in Wapping: also some seasonable reflections upon various unsound, and cruel passages taken forth of two furious books of Mr. Hercules Collins, printed against infants’-baptism (London, 1694)  on Acts 2:39

Mence (c.1639-1696) was a reformed, English pastor near London.

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1700’s

Witsius, Herman – The Economy of the Covenants Between God and Man: Comprehending a Complete Body of Divinity, vols. 123  Buy  d. 1708

Witsius took a mediating position between that of Voetius and Cocceius.

Hog, James – Some Select Notes Towards Detecting a Covered Mixture of the Covenant of Works, and of Grace: With the Danger of that Evil; and a Few Advices for Remedying Thereof. Contained in a Letter to a Friend Upon the Head  Ref  1718  20 pp.

Hog (c.1658-1734) was a Scottish minister at Carnock, known for his role in the Marrow Controversy within the Church of Scotland.

Taylor, Richard – Discourses on the Fall and Misery of Man: and on the Covenant of Grace  Ref  1725  379 pp.

Herman Witsius footnotes this work under the statement:  “The formularies of the Protestant Churches in general, and the writings of the most eminent Reformed Divines…” – On the Apostles’ Creed, Note XII, p. 386

Wells, Edward – An Help for the Right Understanding of the Several Divine Laws and Covenants, whereby man has been obliged through the several ages of the world to guide himself in order to eternal salvation  (1729)

Wells (1667-1727) was an Anglican.

Willison, John – A Sacramental Catechism; or a Familiar Instructor for young communicants.  Plainly unfolding the Nature of the Covenant of Grace, with the Two Seals Thereof…  (Pittsburgh, 1794/1830)  d. 1750

Willison was an evangelical Church of Scotland minister, known for his works on the Lord’s Supper.

Wilson, David – Palæmon’s Creed Reviewed and Examined: wherein several gross and dangerous errors, advanced by the author of the Letters on Theron and Aspasio, are detected and refuted; and the Protestant doctrine concerning the Covenant of Works and the Covenant of Grace, Conviction of Sin, Regeneration, Faith, Justification, Inherent Grace, etc., vindicated from the cavils and exceptions of that Author, and shown to be entirely conformable to the Apostolic Doctrine concerning the several points afore-mentioned, vol. 1, 2  (London, 1762)

Wikipedia:  “Theron and Aspasio, or a series of Letters upon the most important and interesting Subjects [by James Hervey, 1724-58, an Anglican clergyman], which appeared in 1755, and was equally well received, called forth some adverse criticism even from Calvinists, on account of tendencies which were considered to lead to antinomianism, and was strongly objected to by Wesley in his Preservative against unsettled Notions in Religion.

Besides carrying into England the theological disputes to which the Marrow of Modern Divinity had given rise in Scotland (the Marrow Controversy), it also led to what is known as the Sandemanian controversy as to the nature of saving faith.”

Bellamy, Joseph – That There is but One Covenant, whereof baptism and the Lord’s-Supper are seals, viz. the Covenant of Grace (proved from the Word of God) and the doctrine of an external graceless covenant, lately advanced, by the Rev. Mr. Moses Mather in a pamphlet, entitled, The Visible Church in Covenant with God, etc. shown to be an Unscriptural doctrine. To which is prefixed, an answer, to a dialogue concerning the Half-way covenant; lately printed at New-London.  (New Haven, 1769)

Bellamy was a New England divine and was responding to this work:

Mather, Moses, The Visible Church in Covenant with God, or, An Inquiry into the Constitution of the Visible Church of Christ. Wherein the divine right of infant baptism is defended  Buy  1769

Mather responded to Bellamy’s work with this one:  

The Visible Church, in Covenant with God; Further Illustrated, Containing Also, a Brief Representation of Some Other Gospel-Doctrines, Which Affect the Controversy: Interspersed With Remarks Upon Some Things Advanced by Dr. Bellamy, and Mr. Hopkins, in Those Important Points  (New Haven, 1770)

Bellamy responded with:

A Careful and Strict Examination of the External Covenant, and of the principles by which it is supported. A reply to the Rev. Mr. Moses Mather’s piece, entitled, The Visible Church in Covenant with God, further illustrated, etc.  A vindication of the plan on which the churches in New-England were originally formed. Interspersed with remarks upon some things, advanced by Mr. Sandeman, on some of the important points in debate  (New Haven, 1770)

On this interchange of responses between Mather, Bellamy and others, see Mark Valeri, Law and Providence in Joseph Bellamy’s New England, p. 147 ff.

Brown of Haddington, John – Book 3, ch. 2 through Book 7  of A Compendious View of Natural & Revealed Religion in Seven Books  (Glasgow, 1782)

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1800’s

Bell, Thomas – A View of the Covenants of Works and Grace; and a Treatise on the Nature and Effects of Saving Faith, to which are added Several Discourses on the Supreme Deity of Jesus Christ  (Glasgow, 1814)

Bell (1733–1802) was a Scottish Relief minister, known as a theologian and translator.  He translated from the Latin of Herman Witsius, The Controversies stated in Great Britain under the Unhappy Names of Antinomians and Neonomians.

Colquhoun, John – A Treatise on the Covenant of Grace  (Edinburgh, 1818)

Colquhoun (1748-1827) was an evangelical Church of Scotland minister.

Stewart, Alexander – The Tree of Promise; or, the Mosaic Economy a Dispensation of the Covenant of Grace  (Edinburgh, 1864)

Stewart (1764-1821) was an evangelical Church of Scotland minister.

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2000’s

Duncan, J. Ligon – Covenant Theology A Biblical, Theological, and Historical Study
of God’s Covenants  no date  475 pp.

This is written at a popular level.  Duncan did his dissertation on the concept of Covenant in the Early Church (below).

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The History of the Development of the Doctrine of the Covenant of Grace

In the Early Church

Duncan, J. Ligon – The Covenant Idea in Ante-Nicene Theology  PhD diss., Edinburgh, 1995

Abstract: “This thesis argues that the covenant idea was more significant in the writings of particular ante-Nicene theologians than has generally been admitted in patristic research or general surveys of the history of the covenant idea in the Christian tradition…

This investigation reveals that the covenant idea functions in several arenas of early Christian thought. It is employed (1) to stress moral obligations incumbent upon Christians; (2) to show God’s grace in including the Gentiles in the Abrahamic blessings; (3) to deny the reception of these promises to the Israel of the flesh, that is, Israel considered merely as an ethnic entity; (4) to demonstrate continuity in the divine economy; and (5) to explain discontinuity in the divine economy.

In reviewing the role of early Christian covenant thought in these areas, this thesis argues that (1) the pre-Nicene theologians usually take OT covenant passages (not NT passages) as the starting point in their applications of the covenant concept to Christian living; (2) the early Christian use of the covenant idea evidences that they understood the covenant to be both unilateral and bilateral, promissory and obligatory, to bring divine blessings and entail human obedience; (3) these writings also show that, from the very earliest times, Christian authors (following OT and NT examples) have employed the covenant concept as a key structural idea in their presentations of redemptive history; (4) contrary to the suggestions of previous studies, there is no evidence of a gap in the usage of the covenant idea after the era of the NT writings; (5) the covenant idea was closely linked to the early Christian self-understanding as the people of God; (6) the covenant idea is not monolithic in the thought of the authors surveyed. It is employed with differing emphases and takes on varying shades of meaning in their respective writings…

This study is significant for at least these following reasons: (1) It confirms current research on the Jewish matrix of early Christianity, from a vantage-point not yet exploited. (2) It reviews in greater detail the early Christian covenant thought which is now being acknowledged to have been influential on the sixteenth-century Reformers (such as Bullinger and Calvin). (3) As the first extensive patristic survey of the covenant idea, it fills a significant lacuna in the history of ideas…”

Woolsey, Andrew A. – ‘The Covenant in the Church Fathers’ being Part 2, ch. 5 of Unity & Continuity in Covenantal Thought: a Study in the Reformed Tradition to the Westminster Assembly  Buy  (RHB, 2012)  also a PhD diss., Univ. of Glasgow, 1988

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In the Medieval Church

Article

Woolsey, Andrew A. – ‘The Covenant in Medieval Thought’ being Part 2, ch. 6 of Unity & Continuity in Covenantal Thought: a Study in the Reformed Tradition to the Westminster Assembly  Buy  (RHB, 2012)  also a PhD diss., Univ. of Glasgow, 1988

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Quote:  More References

J. Ligon Duncan, The Covenant Idea in Ante-Nicene Theology  PhD diss. (Edinburgh, 1995), pp. 11-12, fn. 33

“Only within the last thirty years has the covenant concept gained considerable scholarly notice in medieval studies, for instance, H. Oberman, “The Shape of Late Medieval Thought: The Birthpangs of the
Modern Era,” in The Pursuit of Holiness in the Late Medieval and Renaissance Religion, ed. C.E. Trinkaus (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1974), 3-25; id., The Harvest of Medieval Theology: Gabriel Biel and Late Medieval Nominalism (Durham, NC: Labyrinth, 1983), 148-174, 186, 190-193, 246-247, 350; id., “Wir sind pettler: Hoc est verum: Bund und Gnade in der Theologie des Mittelalters und der Reformation,” ZKG 78 (1967): 232-252; and S. Strehle, Calvinism, Federalism, and Scholasticism: A Study of the Reformed Doctrine of the Covenant (Bern: Peter Lang, 1988), 1-82; Oberman and Strehle concentrate on the nominalist (via moderna) tradition; see also P.A. Lillback, “The Binding of God,” 67-96; J. Preus, From Shadow to Promise: Old Testament Interpretation from Augustine to the Young Luther (Cambridge, MA: Belknap/Harvard, 1969), 125-132; C.S. McCoy and J.W. Baker, Fountainhead of Federalism: Heinrich Bullinger and the Covenantal Tradition (Louisville: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1991) 14-17; and A.A. Woolsey, “Unity and Continuity in Covenantal Thought,” 230-254.”

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On the 1500’s

Lillback, Peter A. – The Binding of God: Calvin’s Role in the Development of Covenant Theology  (Texts and Studies in Reformation and Post-Reformation Thought)  Buy  (2001)

McCoy, C.S. & J.W. Baker – Fountainhead of Federalism: Heinrich Bullinger and the Covenantal Tradition (Louisville: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1991)

Greaves, Richard L. – ‘The Origins and Early Development of English Covenant Thought’  The Historian, Vol. 31, No. 1 (NOVEMBER, 1968), pp. 21-35

McGiffert, Michael – ‘Grace and Works: The Rise and Division of Covenant Divinity in Elizabethan Puritanism’  The Harvard Theological Review
Vol. 75, No. 4 (Oct., 1982), pp. 463-502

Weir, David – The Origins of the Federal Theology in Sixteenth-Century Reformation Thought  Buy  (Oxford, 1990)

On Calvin

Hoekema, Anthony – Calvin’s Doctrine of the Covenant of Grace  Calvin’s doctrine of the covenant of grace, Reformed Review (1962), 15 (4), 1-12

Helm, Paul – ‘Calvin & the Covenant: Unity & Continuity’  in The Evangelical Quarterly, no. 2, pp. 65-71

“This paper is an attempt to argue that Calvin’s theology and the
developed Covenant Theology of the Westminster Confession of Faith
are in essential doctrinal agreement in respect of one doctrine or cluster
of doctrines, that are concerned with the covenant.”

Zaret, David – ‘Calvin, Covenant Theology, and the Weber Thesis’  The British Journal of Sociology, Vol. 43, No. 3 (Sep., 1992), pp. 369-391

Emerson, Everett H. – ‘Calvin & Covenant Theology’  Church History
Vol. 25, No. 2 (Jun., 1956), pp. 136-144

Raath, Andries – ‘Covenant and the Christian Community: Bullinger and the Relationship between Church and Magistracy in Early Cape Settlement (1652-1708)’  The Sixteenth Century Journal, Vol. 33, No. 4 (Winter, 2002), pp. 999-1019

Bierma, Lyle D. – ‘The Role of Covenant Theology in Early Reformed Orthodoxy’  The Sixteenth Century Journal, Vol. 21, No. 3 (Autumn, 1990), pp. 453-462

Visser, Derk – ‘The Covenant in Zacharias Ursinus’  The Sixteenth Century Journal,
Vol. 18, No. 4 (Winter, 1987), pp. 531-544

Macedo, Breno Lucena – The Covenant Theology of Robert Rollock  Ref  (Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, 2012)  490 pp.

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On the 1500’s-1600’s

Wilcox, William  George – New England Covenant Theology: its English Precursors and Early American Exponents  Ref  (Duke Univ., 1959)

Vos, Geerhardus – ‘The Doctrine of the Covenant in Reformed Theology’  45 pp.

Strehle, S. – Calvinism, Federalism, and Scholasticism: A Study of the Reformed Doctrine of the Covenant (Bern: Peter Lang, 1988)

Veninga, James Frank – Covenant Theology and Ethics in the Thought of John Calvin and John Preston  PhD thesis, Rice University, 1974

Selement, George – ‘The Covenant Theology of English Separatism and the Separation of Church and State’  Journal of the American Academy of Religion
Vol. 41, No. 1 (Mar., 1973), pp. 66-74

Won Taek Lim, Introduction, A. ‘The History and Historiography of Puritan Covenant Theology: a Survey’  in The Covenant Theology of Francis Roberts (2000, Ph.D. diss., Calvin Theological Seminary), pp. 3-29

Muller, Richard – Divine Covenants, Absolute and Conditional:  John Cameron and the Early Orthodox Development of Reformed Covenant Theology  2006  46 pp.

van Rohr, John

The Covenant of Grace in Puritan Thought  Buy  236 pp.

‘Covenant and Assurance in Early English Puritanism’  Church History
Vol. 34, No. 2 (Jun., 1965), pp. 195-203

Woolsey, Andrew A. – Unity & Continuity in Covenantal Thought: a Study in the Reformed Tradition to the Westminster Assembly  Buy  (RHB, 2012)  also a PhD diss., Univ. of Glasgow, 1988

Sommerville, C.J. – ‘Conversion versus the Early Puritan Covenant of Grace’  Journal of Presbyterian History (1962-1985), Vol. 44, No. 3 (Sept. 1966), pp. 178-197

Blacketer, Raymond A. – ‘Arminius’ Concept of Covenant in its Historical Context’  Nederlands archief voor kerkgeschiedenis / Dutch Review of Church History, Vol. 80, No. 2 (2000), pp. 193-220

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On the 1600’s

Brown, Paul Edward – The Principle of the Covenant in the Theology of Thomas Goodwin  Ref  PhD thesis (Drew University, 1950)

Asselt, W.J. van – Covenant Theology: an Invitation to Friendship  (2010) Nederlands theologisch tijdschrift, vol. 64, pp. 1 – 15  on Johannes Cocceius

On John Owen

Wong, David Wai-Sing – The Covenant Theology of John Owen  Ref  PhD thesis  (Westminster Theological Seminary, 1998)

Jones, Mark – Covenant and justification in the thought of John Owen, 1616-1683  Master of Arts thesis,  Northwest University, 2006

Abstract:  “This study demonstrates the thesis that John Owen’s covenant theology profoundly influences his doctrine of justification by faith. Owen’s belief that all true theology is based on a covenant…

Associated to this thesis were three further objectives. First, in researching Owen, it was important to better understand the sixteenth and seventeenth-century theological contexts; in particular, the place of covenant and justification.  Moreover, there was a need to look in detail at his doctrine of justification by faith, since at present there is no detailed exposition of this doctrine in his thought.  Last, it is hoped that studying a figure of the stature of Owen will help us to better understand his theological influence not only in the seventeenth-century, but up to and including the twenty-first century theological context…

Historically, Reformed theologians have noted three, sometimes four, covenants in Scripture. They are 1) the covenant of grace; 2) the covenant of works; 3) the covenant of redemption; and 4) the Sinaitic covenant. Owen held to the view that there were four basic covenants in Scripture.”

Tweeddale, John W. – Sure Foundation: Christology, covenant theology and hermeneutics in John Owen’s discourses on Hebrews  PhD diss., Edinburgh Univ., 2017

“John Owen’s (1616–1683) four-volume commentary on the epistle to the Hebrews represents the apex of his literary career and exemplifies many of the exegetical methods of the post-Reformation.  This thesis is the first detailed analysis of his introductory discourses, or “exercitations,” on Hebrews…  this study is a descriptive analysis of the text and context of Owen’s discourses on the Messiah…

Chapter 5 considers the nature of faith in the Old Testament, noting especially the importance of the Abrahamic covenant for what Owen calls “the oneness of the church.” In contrast, chapter 6 provides an extended analysis of the role of the law in the Mosaic covenant, considering in particular the highly problematic question of the recapitulation of the covenant of works and the nature of the old and new covenants.”

Davelaar, Nicholas – Life Together in the Light of the Covenant of Grace: the relationship of James Durham’s Concerning Scandal to his Covenant Theology  Ref  a Masters thesis  (Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, 2013)

Caughey, Christopher Earl – Puritan Responses to Antinomianism in the context of reformed covenant theology: 1630-1696  PhD diss., Trinity College Dublin, 2013

Abstract:  “This thesis analyzes the way in which six seventeenth-century puritans from both sides of the Atlantic responded to antinomians…  and the methods these six puritans used in their responses.  In his book Blown by the Spirit (2004), David Como has divided seventeenth-century antinomians into two camps: “inherentists/perfectionists” and “imputationists.”  The former were mystical and held esoteric beliefs, while the latter were more theological—even citing Martin Luther in their support…  the six puritans whose micro-histories are studied tended to focus their response on the imputationists…  This thesis will employ the microhistories of John Cotton, Edward Fisher, John Owen, John Bunyan, Samuel Petto and Herman Witsius in an analysis of the controversy surrounding the antinomian backlash…”

Martin, Andrew Joseph – Moses, Leviathan, and the Kingdom of God: Covenant Theologies and Political Legitimation in Early Modern England  PhD diss., Vanderbilt Univ., 2016

Abstract:  “It is well known that the early Stuart and Interregnum periods witnessed an explosion of interest in the organizing potential of covenantal ideas…  theological developments led to new resources for political legitimation, while at the same time the rapidly changing political landscape reciprocally influenced the maturation of covenant theology.

This study focuses on the development and deployment of the biblical covenant between God and Moses in early Stuart and Interregnum theological, ecclesiological, and political thought, primarily focusing on the period between the early 1620s and the 1650s…  The central thesis is that a proper understanding of the politics of the period requires understanding the development of covenant theology and how that development was interrelated with the development of political and ecclesiastical covenants.”

Zepp, Renfred Errol – Covenant Theology from the Perspective of Two Puritans [Anthony Burgess & Peter Bulkeley]  a Masters of Arts thesis (Reformed Theological Seminary, 2009)

Gordis, Lisa – ‘The Experience of Covenant Theology in George Herbert’s “The Temple”‘  The Journal of Religion, Vol. 76, No. 3 (Jul., 1996), pp. 383-401

McGiffert, Michael

‘Herbert Thorndike and the Covenant of Grace’  The Journal of Ecclesiastical History, 58.3 (July 2007): 440 (21)

Abstract: “Herbert Thorndike’s Of the covenant of grace (1659) [in Theological Works, vol. 3] was the largest and last substantial word on its subject from a priest of the seventeenth-century English Church.  Recasting elements of practical divinity that are commonly associated with evangelical Puritanism, attacking the error of absolute and immediate predestination by decree and shifting stress from baptism to regeneration, Thorndike defended God’s honour and majesty by affirming human freedom of choice in the ordo salutis and the moral life. His argument centered in a program of reciprocal ‘helps’ that unites Arminian synergism with the early modern scholastic concept of scientia media, God’s ‘middle knowledge’.”

‘The Problem of the Covenant in Puritan thought: Peter Bulkeley’s Gospel Covenant’  New England Historical Genealogical Register 130 (1976): 107-
129

On Henry Hammond

McGiffert, Michael – ‘Henry Hammond & Covenant Theology’  Church History, Vol. 74, No. 2 (Jun., 2005), pp. 255-285

Lettinga, Neil – ‘Covenant Theology Turned Upside Down: Henry Hammond and Caroline Anglican Moralism: 1643-1660’  The Sixteenth Century Journal
Vol. 24, No. 3 (Autumn, 1993), pp. 653-669

Parnham, David – ‘The Covenantal Quietism of Tobias Crisp’  Church History
Vol. 75, No. 3 (Sep., 2006), pp. 511-543

Beach, Mark – On Turretin

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On the 1600’s-1800’s

De Jong, Peter Y. – The Covenant Idea in New England Theology, 1620-1847  (Eerdmans, 1945)  197 pp.

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On the 1700’s

Leiva, Israel Jose Guerrero – John Brown of Haddington (1722-1787): Minister of the New Covenant  a Masters of Theology thesis  (Edinburgh Theological Seminary, 2018)

On Jonathan Edwards

Hoehner, Paul James – The Covenantal Theology of Jonathan Edwards  Download  PhD diss., Univ. of Virginia, 2018

Bogue, Carl

‘Jonathan Edwards on the Covenant of Grace’   being a chapter from his book below

Jonathan Edwards and the Covenant of Grace  Buy  (Cherry Hill, NJ: Mack Publishing Co., 1975)

Cherry, C. Conrad – ‘The Puritan Notion of the Covenant in Jonathan Edwards’ Doctrine of Faith’  Church History, Vol. 34, No. 3 (Sep., 1965), pp. 328-341

Rodes, Stanley J. – From Faith to Faith: John Wesley’s Covenant Theology and the Way of Salvation  Buy  2013

Meyers, Stephen G. – Scottish Federalism and Covenantalism in Transition: The Theology of Ebenezer Erskine  Buy  (2015)

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On the 1800’s

Ferguson, John C.A. – The atonement in its relations: the doctrine of salvation in the federal theology of Hugh Martin (1822-1885)  (Univ. of Aberdeen, 2011)

Hoekema, Anthony – Herman Bavinck’s Doctrine of the Covenant  Buy  1953

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On the 1900’s

Ives, Psyche Joy – Recasting John Murray’s Covenant Theology: a Contextual Re-examination  Ref  Masters theis (Westminster Seminary, California, 2016)  See the very helpful abstract at the link.

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The Visible Church is Outwardly in the Covenant of Grace

The Visible Church is Outwardly in the Covenant of Grace

The relevant sections of the Westminster Standards are quoted as well as a handful of the Westminster Divines and other puritans.

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Lutheran Works

Pufendorf, Samuel – The Divine Feudal Law: or, Covenants with Mankind, Represented. Together with means for the uniting of Protestants. In which also the principles of the Lutheran churches are stated and defended  trans. Theophilus Dorrington (London, 1703)  Table of Contents

Pufendorf (1632-1694) was a German jurist, political philosopher, economist and historian.

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Baptist Works

1600’s

Ritor, Andrew – A Treatise of the Vanity of Childish-Baptisme, wherein the Deficiency of the Baptism of the Church of England is Considered in Five Particulars Thereof, and wherein also is proved that Baptizing is Dipping, and Dipping Baptizing  (London, 1642)

Patient, Thomas – The Doctrine of Baptism and the Distinction of the Covenants  (London, 1654)

Cox, Nehemiah – A Discourse of the Covenants That God made with Men before the Law  (1681)

Cary, Philip

A Disputation Between a Doctor and an Apothecary; or, a Reply to the new argument of Dr. R. Burthogge for Infants’ Baptism  (London, 1684)

A Just Reply to Mr John Flavel’s Arguments [in his Vindiciae Legis], by way of answer to a Discourse [by P. Cary] … entitled A Solemn Call…  Together with a reply to Mr. Joseph Whiston’s Reflections on the forementioned discourse in a … tract … entitled, The Right Method for the Proving of Infants Baptism, etc.  (London, 1690)

Bunyan, John – The Doctrine of the Law and Grace Unfolded, or, A Discourse touching the Law and Grace, the Nature of the one and the Nature of the other, showing what they are as they are the Two Covenants…  (London, 1685)

Keach, Benjamin

The Ax Laid to the Root, or, One Blow more at the Foundation of Infant Baptism, and Church-membership.  Part I containing an exposition of that metaphorical text of Holy Scripture, Mt. 3:10, being the substance of two sermons lately preached, with some additions, wherein is shewed that God made a two-fold covenant with Abraham, and that circumcision appertained not to the Covenant of Grace, but to the legal and external covenant God made with Abraham’s natural seed, as such: together with an answer to Mr. John Flavel’s last grand arguments in his Vindiciarum Vindex, in his last reply to Mr. Philip Cary, also to Mr. Rothwell’s Pædo-baptisms Vindicatur, as to what seems most material  (London, 1693)

The Everlasting Covenant, a sweet cordial for a drooping soul, or, The excellent nature of the Covenant of Grace opened in a sermon…  (London, 1693)

The Display of Glorious Grace, or, The Covenant of Peace opened in fourteen sermons lately preached, in which the errors of the present day about reconciliation and justification are detected  (London, 1698)

‘The Covenant of Peace’ normally refers to the eternal Covenant of Redemption Between the Father and the Son, in contradistinction to the Covenant of Grace.  However, Keach argues that the Covenant of Redemption and the Covenant of Grace are one covenant in Sermon 10.

Keach’s paradigm is an interesting prior precedent to the same view being propounded and popularized by Thomas Boston (d. 1732, his View of the Covenant of Grace was published posthumously in 1734) amongst presbyterians.  The particular baptist John Gill (d. 1771) went on to popularize the same view amongst baptists.

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1700’s

Gill, John – ‘On the Everlasting Covenant’  from A Body of Doctrinal Divinity

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1800’s

Spurgeon, Charles

‘God in the Covenant’  a sermon on Jer. 31:33  1856

‘The Covenant of Grace’  on Heb. 13:20

‘The Wondrous Covenant’  a sermon, #3326, on Heb. 8:10  1912

‘The Treasure of Grace’  a Sermon, #295  1860

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History of Baptist Covenant Theology

Renihan, S.D. – From Shadow to Substance: The Federal Theology of the English Particular Baptists (1642-1704)  PhD diss., Free University of Amsterdam, 2017

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“We are not the world’s, not Satan’s, not our own; we are the Lord’s.”

John ‘Rabbi’ Duncan

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“That we should be saved from our enemies…  to perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant.”

Lk. 1:71-72

“Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

Heb. 13:20-21

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Related Pages

The Covenant of Redemption

The Covenant of Works

The Church