Question on the History of the Covenant of Works

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Travis Fentiman

Puritan Board Freshman
Friends,

I am helping to assist on the editing of the Peter van Mastricht volumes for RHB, and am wondering if anyone can help us out in figuring out who the two reformed figures are mentioned after Episcopius in the following excerpt from his Theoretical Practical Theology. Mastricht, of course, was Dutch and was in the late-1600's.

"XXIII. It is asked, first, whether there is any covenant of works. The socinianizing Episcopius, so that he might more effectively undermine original corruption, whose propagation, without the covenant of works, can hardly be explained adequately enough, denies that there is such a covenant. Likewise one Reformed theologian and another, only from an itch for novelty, does the same, although not in the same way: the one categorically denies that it exists, the other had denied it before, but now convinced otherwise, acknowledges at least that it exists, but denies it with respect to the promise of eternal life."​
Please provide evidence for any proposals. Thank you!
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
Likewise one Reformed theologian and another, only from an itch for novelty, does the same, although not in the same way: the one categorically denies that it exists, the other had denied it before, but now convinced otherwise, acknowledges at least that it exists, but denies it with respect to the promise of eternal life.

It might be useful to define what is meant here by eternal life. I recall reading Robert Traill on the covenant of works wherein he denied that there was a promise of eternal life, but it appears from the context that he meant eternal heavenly life, as opposed to eternal earthly life. I doubt that PvM is referring to Traill, however.

PvM's comment does show us how rare it was for any Reformed divine to outrightly deny the covenant of works. May modern innovators take note of this fact, repent, and bring forth fruits in keeping with repentance.
 
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Phil D.

Puritan Board Junior
He also mentions a certain "Vlackius", though I do not know who this person is. (Wes is largely relying on Bernadinus De Moor for his analysis.)

I'm not well-versed in this subject matter, but I was up for a brief treasure hunt...

A look at De Moor indicates he is referencing a certain Dutch theologian named Johannem Vlack (aka Vlackius or Vlackium), and specifically a work entitled Differtationum Trias (Amsteld, 1689). Vitringa also mentions him. Elsewhere Vlack is called "from the Reformed" (ex Reformatis). I can't find any of Vlack's writings on line, but another search does brings up a work that refutes Vlack, which frequently cites his Trias. I know very little Dutch, but there are some references to "verbond der werken" throughout.
 
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