On the Covenant of Works

Nehemiah Coxe on Adam’s freedom under the covenant of works:

“Under this covenant man was left to the freedom of his own will. It was in his own power and choice either to obey and be eternally happy, or sin and so expose himself to eternal misery. He was not so confirmed in grace that he could not sin and die, but he was endowed with that power and rectitude of nature that he might not have sinned nor ever died. Though he did not have a non posse peccare [inability to sin] and so a non posse mori [inability to die]; yet he had a posse non peccare [ability to not sin]  and so a posse non mori [ability to not die].” pg. 49

Coxe describes mankind in their fallen state:covenatofworks

“He fell under the dominion of sin and that image of God in which he was created was in a manner wholly defaced. He sinned and fell short of th glroy of God (Romans 3:23). And now instead of that original righteousness with which he was first beautified, there was nothing to be found in him but abominable filthiness and horrid deformity. His mind was covered over, even possessed with hellish darkness. Hatred of god reigned in his heart and his affections were no longer subject to right reason but became vile and rebellious. It is evident that in this state he must be utterly incapable of communion with God and the enjoyment of him in whom along the true happiness of a reasonable creature consists.” pg. 51

Effects of the fall and the covenant of works:

“In this condition man was altogether helpless and without strength, being utterly disabled to stand before God on terms of a covenant of works, and incapable to bring himself on other terms. For he was not able to move one step toward a reconciliation with God or the ransoming to him by the covenant of creation, of if it had, there was now in him neither power nor will to enter in there. He was utterly disabled from obeying God acceptably on any terms until made a new creature. Therefore if was impossible that this now broken covenant should be renewed with him or any of his posterity for the same ends and in the same manner as it was first made with upright man.” pg. 53

All quotes taken from Covenant Theology: From Adam to Christ by Nehemiah Coxe and John Owen

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