The Covenant Theology of Nehemiah Coxe…

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The Covenant Theology of Nehemiah Coxe is featured in chapter 7 of  Samuel Renihan’s new book  From Shadow to Substance. Below are a few quotes taken from this chapter which provide some clarity concerning the differences between a Particular Baptist view of the Covenants, and the common Paedobaptist view of Coxes’ day.

As noted in the above picture, Coxe had a desire to devote more time to the Old Covenant and how it differed from the New. However, Coxe found no need to explain this as Dr. John Owen had already answered this in the 3rd Vol. of his Exposition of Hebrews. As Samuel Renihan says, “…Coxe referred the reader to Owen and left it at that.”

 

“I found my Labour for the clearing and asserting of that Point, happily prevented by the coming forth of Dr. Owen’s 3rd Vol. upon the Hebrews, where it is largely discoursed, and the Objections that seem to lie against it, fully answered…whither I now refer my Reader for Satisfaction about it, which he will there find answerable to what might be expected from so great and learned a Person.”

 

On how the Old and New Covenants could not be the same due to better promises…

 

“…if one covenant be established upon better promises…then another, it is from thence denominated, and for that reason to be esteemed a better covenant then the other.”

 

On federal headship, and how the only way one could belong to a given covenant was through that federal head. Samuel Renihan says,

 

“Thus it was, Coxe argued, for Adam, Noah, and Abraham. And so it is with Christ.”

 

Christ is the federal head of the New Covenant. Therefore, Coxe says,

 

“It is by union to him that Believers obtain a new-Covenant-interest.”

 

Coxe describes the Covenant of Works that Adam broke, and the result of this fall for him and his posterity. Wait, what? The Particular Baptists believed in a Covenant of Works? 😉

 

”In this condition Man was…utterly disabled to stand before God upon Terms of a Covenant of Works, and as uncapable to bring himself upon other Terms with God; for he was not able to move one step towards a Reconciliation with God.”

 

On the Covenant of Grace being made known in the curse pronounced on Satan in Genesis 3:15…

 

“In the Sentence passed upon the Serpent…there was couched a blessed Promise of Redemption…which Salvation thus promised, Man was to receive by Faith.”

 

In chapter 7, Dr. Renihan provides a systematic description of Coxe and his theology. The chapter unfolds with these headings:

 

*Introduction to Coxe *Of Covenant-Relation to God in General *The Covenant of Works, *The Covenant of Redemption and the Covenant of Grace *The Noahic Covenant *The Covenant of Grace revealed to Abraham *The Covenant of Circumcision *Of the Mutual Respect of the Promises Made to Abraham *Conclusion.

 

If you’re interested in learning more about the founding, history, and theology of the Particular Baptists, I encourage you to read this book. What you will find is that while Reformed Theology does = Covenant Theology, Covenant Theology does not = Infant Baptism. There’s another option…

 

“From the beginning, the covenants of works and grace involved two contradistinguished groups of people, fallen man and redeemed man. The strength of this argument rested on Coxe’s supporting assertions. None could escape the curse of the covenant of works unless God placed them in a new covenant, and none could claim a place in the mediatorial work of Christ except those who had been promised to the Son in the covenant of redemption and who had believed in the promise of salvation in the covenant of grace.”

~ Samuel Renihan

 

https://www.amazon.com/Shadow-Substance-Theology-Particular-1642-1704/dp/1907600310

 

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