Wilhelmus à Brakel (1635–1711) on the Covenant of Works


Historical Dutch Reformed theology echoes many of the same biblical and Reformation truths as the Westminster Standards in the Presbyterian tradition. For example, read how Wilhelmus à Brakel (1635–1711) explains the covenant of works and the imputation of Adam’s sin in his The Christian’s Reasonable Service (De Redelijke Godsdienst), Vol. I, p. 384:

“The relationship with Adam consists in this, that the human nature of the human race, at that moment solely existing in Adam, was created as being in the covenant of works.  Adam did not enter into the covenant of works subsequent to his creation, but was created in this covenant, being in this covenant from the very first moment of his existence.  At the very moment that he formulated his first thought, he was conscious of God and the covenant, and could not but approve of this covenant.  Therefore, the human nature and its totality, as well as the entire human race in Adam, were created in that covenant.”

“For this reason all men are still born within this covenant of works discussed above [earlier in volume 1].  Upon Adam’s breach of the covenant, the human nature in its totality, that is the entire human race, broke the covenant.  It is therefore righteous [just] that this nature of the human race is rendered guilty, and that every human being, every person, by virtue of having this same nature, has the covenant breach imputed to him, and is deemed worthy of condemnation.  From this it is clear that only Adam’s breach of the covenant and not his subsequent sins are imputed to his descendants.  This is not merely because they are partakers of the same nature but because they were created in the covenant of works and have broken it in him.”


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