Federal Theology (Lat.faedus, a compact; adj. federalis), a method of stating divine truth, according to which all the doctrines of religion are arranged under the heads of certain covenants God has made with men. We set forth (I.) the doctrine, as stated by its advocates; (II.) its history.
I. Doctrine. — The fundamental idea of the system is that man has always stood towards God in the relation of a covenant, though a covenant of a peculiar character. The ordinary idea of a covenant, which is that of a mutual compact between one or more parties, each bound to render some benefit to the other, is obviously excluded by the nature of the case. Where God and man are the parties, the benefits must be all on one side and the obligations on the other. The relationship. must be determined and be imposed upon man by God in his right of a sovereign ruler. And yet it is something more than a mere law or promise. It involves, indeed, a law which man has no right to disobey; but superadded to this is a promise of benefits vastly disproportioned to the merit of obedience, a limitation of the time and circumstances of the probation on which all is made to depend, and the representation of many by some one as their natural head. There is even a virtual implication of mutual consent and obligations, for on the one hand God graciously binds himself to the performance of certain engagements with the view of securing results that shall manifest his glory; and man freely consents when, with this understanding, he enters upon a course of obedience., Such a promise on God's part, suspended upon the performance of a condition on man's, is a covenant; The advocates of this system have usually made but two such covenants: viz. 1, that of nature or of works and, 2, that of grace. These have been successive in their revelation to man, since the former was an arrangement before the Fall, and the latter was not made known until after that event; and yet the latter must have been agreed upon before all worlds, whereas the former could not have been formed until the creation of man; and some contend that those who refuse their consent to the covenant of grace must necessarily remain, even now, under the obligations and penalties of the covenant of works. In both we have the same contracting parties, God and man; the same blessing to be attained, eternal life; and the same requirement of perfect obedience; but they differ, inasmuch as the covenant of grace is a dispensation of' mercy to sinners, is through a divine Mediator, and secures the blessings of eternal life without the possibility of-a failure.
1. The covenant of nature, or of corks, is nowhere spoken of under that name, but is supposed' to, be. more than once alluded to in the Scriptures: Some have thought they had discovered an express mention of it in Ho 6:7: "They, like Adam, have transgressed the covenant" (compare Job 31:33; Ps 82:7). The apostle often speaks of. the law of works in contrast with the law of faith, of the two covenants (Ga 4:24), and not unfrequently of an old and a new covenant. It is not denied that by these expressions he usually meant the Mosaic or Sinaitic dispensation, in distinction from the evangelical, but, it is thought that such a dispensation could be designated a covenant of works only because it was a republication of a moral law to be a rule of conduct, but not a covenant of life, for a particular nation. The contrast and resemblance which Paul also draws between the first and the second Adam (Ro 5:12-21; 1Co 15:45) would seem to have no meaning without the understanding of a covenant with our great progenitor. All the essentials of a covenant, too, are discoverable in the constitution under which Adam was placed by his Maker. Not only was he, as a moral being, under obligation to conform to the law written upon his heart, and to obey the positive precept given to test his confidence in God, but eternal life was promised him on condition of his obedience. He was constituted the representative of his race, and a limited period was assigned him in which the destiny of all was to be decided. That this is a true statement of the case was inferred from that which actually followed the transgression of our first parents, and must have been more or less clearly known to them. To such an arrangement those who had been created in the image of God could do no otherwise than yield a cheerful assent, inasmuch as far higher blessings were proposed by it than by any merely legal relation. We have reason to suppose, also, that their powers were quite ample for the performance of the condition. Many have thought that before the Fall they were endowed wit-b such supernatural gifts as secured to them the possession of their original righteousness; but, as nothing is said of these in the sacred history, and as they appeared to many inconsistent with the possibility of man's fall, most writers contend that the divine image consisted wholly in the knowledge and moral excellence which Adam had within himself. That hue would have secured eternal life for himself and his descendants had he continued faithful for a prescribed period is inferred from the fact that he fell for himself and them; and we have no reason to think that a benevolent God would have made the penalty more extensive in its influence than the promise. The penalty for disobedience was death, corporeal, spiritual, and eternal, for each of these necessarily followed a forfeiture of a divine life. The seal by which this covenant was ratified and signified was at least the tree of life, lent a sacramental character has been attributed to almost everything mentioned is the scriptural account of Paradise.
After an indefinite period this covenant was violated on man's part. This result was not the effect of any action on God's part either positive or privative, but in the exercise of man's-own freedom. No intellectual knowledge, or upright purposes, or pure affections could give the creature absolute immutability; and hence, with the highest and best gifts, man "being left to the freedom of his own will, fell from the estate in which he was created." The friends of the federal system allege that this as the only proper period of man's probation, since only then as his destiny dependent upon a contingency. Ever since that event, if any are saved it must be by an unconditional grant through Jesus Christ. The whole race sinned in Adam and fell with his-a not because of any confusion of personal or moral identity, not because of any transference of character from one man to another but simply because all were represented in him. As a representative, he was in no sense numerically one and the same with those he represents, for no one can represent himself. He simply acted in behalf of them, as a parent, or guardian, or agent often does. There was a reason on account of which he was thus chosen to act in their stead. This was the unity of their nature with his, and his peculiar, position as the natural head of the race; but their representation was something additional to all: that. A natural head of a family might be so situated that many consequences might flow to them from his action, and yet he might not stand as their covenant or legal representative. Adam stood in our place, not directly, because he was our natural head, but because God chose him to stand thus. Thee natural relation might have been, and doubtless was, the reason for his being chosen to such an office, but the legal or covenant unity was constituted by the divine designation and choice. The consequence was that all mankind descending from him by ordinary generation, were henceforth to be treated as guilty and fallen creatures. Only his first sin was thus imputed to them because the original covenant was broken by that alone, and Adam must afterwards have stood as a single person, and not as a public representative. Personally he lost the moral image of God, communion with God, corporeal life, a place in Paradise, and the hope of a blessed immortality. His posterity fell under the imputation of his guilt, were destitute of original righteousness, and became corrupt in their whole nature. As a method sanctioned by God for attaining eternal life, the covenant of works was henceforth abolished and forbidden and yet all men are under obligation to obey the law, and on their own disobedience they must endure its penalty, unless they are redeemed by Jesus Christ. God has encouraged no expectation of salvation by an obedience to the law, for, even if such an obedience were possible, no one has ever realized it, and God has provided no promises for a merely hypothetical case. If, therefore, no other scheme bad been proposed to man, each individual of our race had lain under the penalty of a broken covenant, which subjected him to a hopeless abandonment by his Maker, to all the evils of a dying state in this world, to final death itself, and to an everlasting banishment from God in the world to come. Not that each person s-as judicially condemned to all these evils exclusively on account of the first sin, but such were the consequences which would certainly follow that act. It is conceded that in the last day none will be condemned for any but their own personal sin, and yet it is contended that in the first sin all are rendered liable to both the sinfulness and the misery of the present state.
2. The covenant of grace is that glorious scheme of wisdom and goodness bye which eternal life and salvation have been provided for men in a way of free grace and mercy. It is sometimes distinguished from the covenant of redemption, in as much as the latter phrase may be confined to the arrangement in eternity between the persons of the Trinity, and the former to the engagement into which God enters in time with believers. On the other hand, some have contended that the covenant of redemption is that stricter arrangement according to which believers are delivered from all sin, while that of grace is that wider one according to which a sufficient atonement was provided for all men. It has, however, been most common to speak of all God's arrangements for the salvation of men as under a single covenant, which, however, may have various modes of dispensation. One s-may conceive of the whole race as fallen, and then of a scheme of mercy which provides first a door of mercy sufficiently open for all mankind to enter, and finally a a system of means which should secure the actual salvation of a limited number; or he may conceive of the eye of God being fixed first -upon a limited number of our fallen race, and for their sake alone providing an atonement sufficient indeed for all men, but designed and efficient for the salvation of only a definite number. The latter was the aspect in which the covenant of grace has usually been presented icy its advocates. They have supposed that God originally anticipated the temporary character of the covenant of works, and deter-mined upon another arrangement, by which a portion of mankind might be saved from the ruins of the apostasy. Why he did not include the whole or a larger portion of mankind within the scope of his saving mercy, they prefer to leave out of discussion as an unapproachable mystery. That he had sufficient reasons without implying a want of benevolence they assert without hesitation. but they think it best never to attempt a, definition of them. Negatively they contend that the favored ones could have had no pre-eminence in natural goodness, since many of them confess themselves to be the chief of sinners. The effort to find a sufficient reason in the anticipated circumstances of men has usually proved so confusing to the finite intellect, that most thinkers have concluded to leave the origin of discriminating grace where the Scriptures have left it, in the mere good pleasure (beneplacitum) of God. As we read of some who were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world, it has been inferred that there must have been in eternity an agreement or covenant between the persons of the sacred Trinity, according to which a seed was given to the Son to serve him, and that he became their surety to satisfy the claims of justice upon them, to give them a title to eternal life, and to bring them to everlasting glory. The Father (who in this transaction is usually regarded as personating the Deity as such) engaged to spare his beloved Son, to furnish him with all suitable endowments and preparations for his work, to support him in it, to deliver into his hands all power in heaven and on earth, to pardon and accept all who should come unto God by him, and to confer upon him a glorious reward forever and ever. The Holy Spirit, who must also be looked upon as having a part in this covenant, also engaged to become the efficient agent in the regeneration, sanctification, and glorification of the holy seed. Without ascribing to this transaction the technicalities of a human compact, and conceding that the whole mode of viewing it is anthropomorphic, it is contended that something equivalent to this, and amounting to such a mutual understanding, must have existed in the sacred Trinity. An equal love towards men is supposed to have existed in each of the divine persons. But as man was under condemnation, and could not therefore act for himself, the Son of God acted in behalf of all of whom he was to be the spiritual head. To constitute a natural ground for this headship, he was to become a man, uniting divinity in one person with humanity. He thus became a new federal head for his spiritual seed, similar to that which Adam had sustained to his natural descendants. In this relation he was to act in all he did as their representative. He was to share with them in the actual curse which the first sin had brought on the human race, not shrinking even from death in its most terrific form. Though this endurance was not the same with that which they would have endured in its spiritual results or in eternal duration, it was supposed to be infinite in value on account of the infinite dignity of his person. It was indeed sufficient in objective worth to expiate for any amount of sin in any number of worlds. It has actually conferred innumerable benefits upon all men. Pardon and salvation is offered to every one who hears the Gospel; time, opportunity, and some means of grace are afforded to all, and sufficient is done to leave those inexcusable who deny the Lord that bought them. But confessedly all are not made partakers of salvation, and only a portion of men were eternally given to Christ by the Father. Obviously it was not left to an uncertainty whether his work would be in vain or not. A seed was secured to him by covenant and it was with an ultimate reference to these that he entered upon his work. Adapted to all, and sufficient for all as his work may be, it must have been specially designed to effect the salvation only of the covenant people. Of these alone can he be regarded as the proper head and representative, since they alone are ingrafted into him by a living and active faith. To them alone is his perfect righteousness imputed, as if he had suffered and obeyed in their stead. By his sufferings he has satisfied for their guilt, and by his perfect obedience to the law he has obtained for them a title to eternal life. He thus becomes their surety, not merely to make them inherently holy, but to perform what is required of them. He satisfies in this way both the penalty and the precept of the broken covenant. That covenant required obedience only for a limited period, and he has fulfilled the law during the time allotted him by the Father. The whole person of the Redeemer in both natures was subject to the law, and as such an obedience (at least in this special form of it) was not obligatory, but voluntary on his part, it became available for an infinite righteousness.
Such was the covenant of grace as formed in eternity. To this must be added its actual administration in time. Of course the only administrator of it was the Son of God himself, the mediator between God and man. He has power over all flesh, in order to give eternal life to as many as had been given him. He it was who represented the divine Ruler in all those dispensations of mercy of which the sacred history informs us. Although at different periods of human history the outward forms of religion have been changed, the covenant of grace, which lay at the basis of them all, was always the same. Salvation has in all cases been by Christ, even where the subjects of it knew little or nothing respecting him. None have ever been saved by the law of works, and none have had their hopes bounded by promises of an earthly home. The antediluvians, the patriarchs, Job and his friends, the Israelites in Egypt and under the Mosaic dispensation, looked for forgiveness under certain prescribed conditions, and for a city beyond the present world whose builder and maker is God. " The only difference between them was that salvation was presented with greater obscurity, under more symbolical forms, with narrower restrictions to families and nations, and with less enlarged measures of the divine Spirit at some periods than at others. Ordinarily there have been reckoned but two principal economies or dispensations, viz. that under the Old and that under the New Testament. Although the same word in the original languages of the Bible is applied to all covenants between God and man, the advocates of the federal system have translated them differently when applied on the one hand to the great covenants of nature and of grace, and on the other to the different economies under the covenant of grace. Availing themselves of the double meaning, especially of the Greek word (διαθήκη), they lave usually designated these latter economies by the name of testaments, to indicate that they were that peculiar kind of arrangements which acquire validity only after the decease of him who makes them. Though the Redeemer had not, in fact, died before the earlier dispensation, he was looked upon as slain from the foundation of the world, and the dispensations of mercy were even then constituted in anticipation of his death. Hence, when speaking of the communication of benefits to men, no mutual conditions are implied, but Jesus Christ is said to bequeath them by testament. The death of the testator is indispensable to render the grant valid, and to make the promises sure (Heb 9:16-17). Conditions, in the proper sense of the word, on the part of God's people, are not required, but benefits are supposed to be bestowed absolutely, by free donation, and by an irrevocable will. Men are indeed to believe, to be holy, and to persevere faithfully unto the end, but all this is supposed to be secured by the free grace of God in Christ.'
The Christian dispensation is the ultimate form in which the covenant of grace will be administered; for, since all national restrictions have been removed, and the Holy Spirit is given in his plenitude, no other is conceivable. Jesus Christ will continue to administer it until the whole world shall be subdued unto him. Finally, the present economy of things shall cease, the dead shall be raised, the living shall be changed, every human being shall be judged at Christ's bar for sins, not only against God as a moral ruler, but against himself as the mediatorial king, and sentence shall be passed upon each according to his works. Christ will claim the right to do this even with respect to such as are not under his spiritual headship, inasmuch as they too are in one sense purchased by him (2Pe 2:1), and hence power over all flesh has been given him by the Father (Joh 17:2). Then, having obtained full possession of his kingdom, he will present it to the Father as the economical representative of the Godhead, either in token of the completeness of his work, or as indicating the close of his mediatorship. But, whether he demits his peculiar office (1Co 15:28), or only brings his mediatorial kingdom into some new relation, he will then complete the scheme of the covenant of grace, and receive his eternally betrothed Church into an everlasting union with himself.
II. History. — The words rendered covenant are frequently used in the original Scriptures in application to God's dealings with his creatures. The Hebrew בּרַית signifies undoubtedly in its primary meaning a mutual compact (Robinson's Gesenius's Lexicon), and yet it is not unfrequently applied to transactions in which such an idea in its strictness is impossible (Ge 9:9-18; Jer 33:20-21). With a true sense of its usage and idea, if not strictly according to its etymological signification, the LXX have translated this word by the Greek διαθήκη, the generic meaning of which is a disposition or arrangement, and lapses into the idea of a mutual compact or testament only when the author or authors of it happened to be mutual stipulators or testators. But neither in the Septuagint nor in the New Testament is the word ever applied to the relation in which man stood before the Fall, but always to some transaction or dispensation under the covenant of grace (Ho 6:7, with this signification, is doubtful). Nor has any clear instance of such an application of the word to man's primeval state been found in any theological writer before the commencement of the 17th century. (See, however, Bede on Ge 17:14.) Certainly no one had attempted to arrange all the materials of a systematic theology under the general heads of divine covenants. And yet there was an obvious tendency in that direction among the Reformed churches of the Calvinistic school. These had become familiar with the word in relation to Christ and his people, and with all the principles involved in a covenant with Adam. They had seen that Adam's original position was not that of a mere subject of law, but that promises had been made to him with a condition, and that the whole race were represented on a limited probation in him. It is generally conceded that the federal system had its origin with Kloppenburg, a professor of theology at Franeker (died in 1652). The first, however, who bad the genius and boldness to give definiteness and completeness to the system was John Koch (Cocceius), a pupil of his, and a successor in the same chair. In his Summa doctrinae de faedere et testamento Dei (1648), and still further in his more enlarged Summa Theologiae (2d edit. 1665), he comprises all the doctrines of the Christian religion under the two great categories of the covenants of nature and of grace. The method he pursued has gained-for him the appellation of the Father of Biblical Theology and, laying aside the practice usual with his predecessors, of viewing divine truth in its subjective form, either as logically constructed by a human mind, or as it was supposed to lie in the divine mind around the great central doctrine of predestination, he professed to come to the Scriptures, reverently to read them, and derive his system from the inspired historical arrangement. The events of human history were regarded in their anthropological aspect as well as related to the divine efficiency. The final cause of salvation he can indeed find nowhere else than in the divine mind, and he has no occasion to impinge against the highest style of contemporary orthodoxy, and yet he succeeded in giving to theology a more practical character. Although under all dispensations he conceived of man as receptive and God alone as communicative, he still represented man as coming under an obligation to perform certain duties which were looked upon as a virtual condition of the divine promises. This fidelity to the scriptural representation compelled him to develop his system according to the successive periods of the sacred history (Ebrard, Dogmen. § 40; D. Schenkel, Christ.-Dogmen. § 129, note).
As often occurs when great changes are introduced in formal statements of truth, this system was as bitterly opposed as if it had been an essential error. Other principles, on which the author was more vulnerable, were introduced into the controversy; but the main features of his system soon obtained a remarkable degree of acceptance in all the Reformed churches of France, Switzerland, Holland, Scotland, and among the English Puritans. The orthodox Roman Catholics have always regarded it with aversion, and the Jansenists oppose the whole conception of a covenant with Adam as an innovation upon Augustinism, and needless to explain the natural effects of the first-sin (Father Paul's Hist. of the Council of Trent, p. 177-201; Jansenius, August. ii, 208-11). The Lutheran divines have in general rejected it on account of the prominence it still gave to the doctrine of predestination, and because, when the word covenant was divested of t- he idea of a mutual compact, it offered no advantages over the words which had long been in use (Thomasius, Christi Person und Werk, § 28). The Arminians of Holland were partially conciliated by those juridical considerations by which the advocates of the system defended it, and many of them accepted of it with some important modifications. The object of these was to limit the direct consequences of Adam's sin to a privation of original righteousness, or the loss of those aids of the divine spirit on which they made the original moral image to depend, to temporal evils, and to bodily death, together with such a depravation of our mental and moral state as renders us incapable of obedience, and so to extend the benefits of Christ's death, that he should not only be regarded as dying for all men alike, but as actually restoring to them such supernatural aids as, if properly used, would enable them to lay hold upon the great salvation (Nichol's Calvinism and Arminianism in Watson's Theol. Instit. ii, 45). Notwithstanding the objections raised against the federal system, its principles were carried still further forward with fearless and logical consistency by Francis Burmann, a pupil of Koch, and a professor in the University of Utrecht. In his Synopsis of Theology, and especially of the Economy of the Covenants (1671), he, endeavored to show that all the details of the covenant of nature were fairly to be inferred from the idea of the divine image in man in connection with what- we know of the divine goodness, since that goodness would of course desire to bring man into the highest communion with itself; and Would not he satisfied with the prescriptions of a mere natural justice. The difficulties, however, with which the system was pressed by its opponents were sought to be removed by Hermann Witsius, a successor and former pupil of Burmann in the theological chair of the University of Utrecht. In his Economy of the Covenants, the first edition of which appeared in .1685, some important distinctions maintained by his predecessors were given up (as, e.g. that between the πάρεσις of the Old and the ἄφεσις of the New Testament, as shown in Ro 3:25-26, and the three dispensations or economies of the covenant of grace); a minute parallel is drawn between the two covenants by the introduction of four sacraments into Paradise (the tree of life, the tree of knowledge, the Sabbath, and Paradise itself);: and a sacramental character is given to a multitude of things under the economy before the law (the coats of skins, the ark, the rainbow, etc. bk. ii, chap. 8:§ 10; bk. 4:chap. vii). In 1688 a further attempt was made to complete the federal system by Melchior Leydecker, another professor in Utrecht, who, though not in the strictest sense a Federalist, professedly wrote under its spirit and tendency. In his Seven Books upon the Truth of the Christian Religion, he endeavors to trace the economy of the covenant of grace to the several Persons of the sacred Trinity, by showing that the Father reveals himself, especially in the Old Testament, as the universal Ruler maintaining the cause of justice; the Son, especially during his life 'on earth, as the: Mediator dispensing mercy; and the Holy Ghost, especially since the day of Pentecost, as the Comforter exercising divine and saving power. This arbitrary assignment of the divine attributes, however, has never been acceptable. Though the Heidelberg Catechism was composed before the federal theory was distinctly broached, most of the great commentaries which have been written upon it were written by Federalists. The maturest fruit of that system may be seen in the writings of Solomon van Til (Tilenus), a professor in Dort and Leyden, whose Compends (Compend of Nat. and Rev. Theol. Leyden, 1704, and Compend of Theology, Berne, 1703) were the organic union of the three great tendencies of Scholasticism, Federalism, and Cartesianism, and have obtained general acceptance in the schools of Holland; and in those of F. A. Lampe, the pastor of several influential congregations and a professor in Utrecht (1720-27), whose doctrinal and practical works in the German vernacular have had the honor of reconciling Pietism to the orthodox Church, and have sometimes had a popularity scarcely inferior to the authorized Catechism of the national Church. It does not appear that the Federal system has at any time found universal acceptance in the Reformed churches. It has never been either condemned or sanctioned by the public synod, and such has been the balance of parties that, by right of long- established custom, one Federalist must be appointed in each of the universities of Holland (Ebrard, Christ. Dogm. § 41).
A modification both of the Scholastic and Federal theology made its appearance among the Protestants of France. The rival theological schools of Saumur and Montauban zealously adopted the federal system. But John Cameron, a Scotchman, who at different times was a professor in both institutions SEE CAMERON, and his pupils, Moise Amyraut (Amyraldus) and Joshua de la Place (Placaeus), who were associated as professors at Saumur (1633-64), proposed, and for many years maintained, a peculiar system, which attempted to reconcile it with the doctrine of a universal redemption. SEE AMYRAUT AND LA PLACE. The result was a crude syncretism of an ideal or hypothetical Universalism with' a rigid and real Particularism. Amyraut maintained that there were three instead of two general covenants with man-the natural, with a positive prohibition and a promise of a blessed life in Paradise; a legal, promising the land of Canaan on condition of a life of faith; and the gracious, promising eternal life on the condition of faith in Christ. La Place also drew a distinction between a mediate and an immediate imputation, according to which Adam's sin might be imputed to his posterity, either mediately, on account of a previously recognised inherent depravity in them; or it might be imputed to them immediately, simply on account of their federal representation in Adam. This whole system was strenuously opposed by the elder Spanheim, of Geneva and Leyden; J. H. Heidegger, of Zurich; and Francis Turretin, of Geneva. At the two last national synods ever held in France (Charenton, in 1645, and Loudun, in 1659) the authors successfully defended themselves from the charge of heresy, and maintained that their views were only a more distinct statement of doctrines which had been universally held 'by the orthodox Church since primitive times, and especially by Augustine and Calvin; but a statement of opinions imputed to them (incorrectly, as they maintained) was condemned :at a synod at Charenton(1642), and the
Formula Consensus Helvetica was composed principally by Heidegger (1675), and was adopted and sent forth to guard the churches against such views. Although this is one of the most scientific and highly esteemed of the Calvinistic confessions, and is the only one among the Continental confessions which is constructed expressly upon the basis of the federal system, its authority has never been acknowledged in France, and it was received by only five of the Swiss cantons (and there mainly through the support of the civil magistrates), and finally lost all public sanction within fifty years from its promulgation (Ebrard's Christ. Dogm. § 43; L. Noack's Christ. Dogmengesch. § 74; Shedd's Hist. of Chr. Doct. ii, 412).
In the British Islands, and especially in those churches which adhere to the confession of faith put forth by the Synod of Westminster (1643-8), we have the stronghold of the federal system. The representatives of the English Church at the Synod of Dort (1618-19), and especially bishop Davenant, had maintained a system similar to that of Amyraut, and a large party in that Church have always held views based upon the federal theology. Even Jeremy Taylor maintained it (1654), with some Arminian, and even Pelagian modifications, in one of his treatises (On Repentance, ch. i, § 1). The celebrated Richard Baxter, though he "subscribed to the Synod of Dort without any exception, limitations or exposition of any word," was an ardent admirer of the federal theology, as qualified by Amyraut (Preface to The Saints' Rest, 1650; Cath. Theol. 1675; Univ. Redemp. 1657; Orme's Life of Baxter, vol. ii, ch. ii). The assembly of divines at Westminster was, in fact, contemporary with the first publication of Koch's principal work on the covenants (1648), and deserves a credit, perhaps, equal to his for the origination and precise statement of the doctrine. The national Scotch Church, with its affiliated branches in Scotland and Ireland, has always upheld the system in its utmost consistency and extremest form. The United Presbyterian Church alone is said to maintain it, with some modifications connected with the theory of a general atonement (Wardlaw, On the Extent of the Atonement, § 13-15). Among the orthodox dissenters of England it has also been accepted, and found some of, its most able defenders. The Wesleyans of England and America claim that they are enabled, by their peculiar modifications of it, to "carry through the system with greater consistency than the Calvinists themselves, inasmuch as they more easily account for certain good dispositions and occasional religious inclinations in those who never give evidence of actual conversion." By their doctrine of a general redemption, they maintain that in spite of the loss of the supernatural aids through the Fall, and the consequent incapacity of unassisted man to have such good dispositions, there is given to every one, through Christ, those gracious influences which, if not resisted, would lead on to a saving conversion (Watson's Theol. Instit. ii, 48-52; Porter's Comp. of Methodism, pt. ii, ch. iv). The reason that these gracious influences are not resisted they can only refer to the doctrine of free-will, and from the nature of the case they can give no farther account of it. The orthodox Congregationalists and the New-school Presbyterians of the United States usually object to the phrase "universal redemption" as used by the Amyraldists of France, the Baxterians of England, and the Arminians generally, inasmuch as the word redemption properly signifies more than what is obtained simply by the expiatory work of Christ, and includes an entire deliverance from sin. They therefore use the word atonement to signify the objective or expiatory work of Christ, and contend that this is for sin, and for all men, while redemption implies the salvation of men, and must, of course, be confined to such as shall be saved (Dr. W. R. Weeks, in Parks's Collections on the Atonement, p. 579). Such an atonement is not merely hypothetical, but really opens the door of salvation to all men, who are supposed, even since the Fall, to possess all those faculties and powers which render them responsible for a compliance with the terms of salvation. And yet, so certain are all men to use their powers, and the best external means of grace, to their perdition, that no reason can be assigned for the repentance and faith of any but the covenant of grace formed in Christ before the world was (Dwight's Theol. ser. xliii; Barnes, ,On the Atonement, chap. ix; Presb. Quart. Rev. iii, 218 7252, 630-648). Other classes of Presbyterians and Calvinistic Baptists in this country use the word redemption, and even atonement, in the sense of an entire deliverance from sin; and they, of course, confine its application to the elect. They speak in the largest terms of the sufficiency of the work of Christ for the pardon of all sin, but regard it as limited in the purpose and design of God to such as are effectually called of the Spirit, and are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation (Princeton Theol. Essays, vol. v, iii, and xiv; A. Fuller's Gospel, etc., in Works, i, 312-340, vol. i, att. viii and xiv).
III. Literature.-On the general system and history: Turretin's Inst. Theol. Elench. loc. viii and xii; Hill's Lect. is Divinity, bk. v, ch. v; Dick's Lect. on Theol. Lect. xlviii; Witsius, aEcon. of the Cov. 3 vols.; Buck's, Simith's, and Kitto's Dictionaries, art. Covenants; Herzog's Real-Encykl. arts.
Cocceius, Burmanan, Witsius, and Voetius; Ebrard's Chr. Dogm. § 37-44; Vincenst's and Fisher's Catechisms; Hagenbach's Hist. of Doctr. § 224; New Englander, 27:469-516; Bibl. Repeat. for 1868; L. Noack's Chr. Dogmengesch. § 74; Knapp's Christ. Theol. § 76, 113; Hopkins's System, i, 240-250; Mercersburg Review, 10:63; Kelly, On the Covenants; Jahrb. Deutsch. Theolog. 10:209; Fletcher's Works, i, 452; Gass, Protest. Theol. ii, 276, 318; Isaac Watts's Ruin and Recovery, p. 324-347; Ridgley's Body of Divinity, p. 11; Dr. E. A. Park's Discourses and Treatises by Edwards, Smalley, Maxey, Emmons, Griffin, Burge. and Weeks, on the Atonement; Neander, Dogmengesch. per. iii, bk. ii, c-f; Max Goebel, Gesch. d. chr. Lebens, etc., Vol. ii, A, § 7-10, p. 153; Cunningham's Hist. Theol. ch. xxv; Schweitzer, Ref. Dogm. p. 103 sq. (C. P.'W.)