The Doctrine of the Covenant 
               in the Elenctic Theology of Francis Turretin
                             Peter J. Wallace
I.  Introduction
     In recent years several excellent dissertations have begun
to look at Francis Turretin (1623-1687), at least in part due to
the increasing attention on the theology of Old Princeton, and
while not uniform in their conclusions, they have indicated that
Turretin is not the "dry as dust" scholastic that he was made out
to be by earlier historians of Reformed theology.  Still, the
paucity of Turretin studies is amazing, as most Post-Reformation
scholars have focused on the late 16th and early 17th century. 
Even more disappointing is the absence of a single study of
Turretin's doctrine of the covenant of grace.  This lack is not
only true of Turretin, but also of the late 17th century as a
whole.  With the exception of a few treatments of Johannes
Cocceius, virtually no one has looked at the continental Reformed
responses to the Arminian and Amyraldian reformulations of the
     Francis Turretin, often known as the bastion of Reformed
confessionalism in the declining years of Genevan orthodoxy,
articulated a nuanced response to these developments, as well as
the rising Cocceianism in the Dutch churches.  Turretin's
response is of further interest because he distinguishes between
the heretical Semi-Pelagian challenge of the Arminians and the
dangerous and erroneous, but not heretical conclusions of
Amyraut.  Far from the reactionary conservative of many
portraits, at least on this issue Turretin appears as a moderate
conservative, attempting to maintain the traditional Reformed
doctrines, while making careful distinctions in his analysis, and
treating his opponents fairly and responsibly.  So while Turretin
may on the one hand affirm that "I avoided [novelty] most
diligently lest it should contain anything new, a stranger from
the word of God and from the public forms received in our
churches, and nothing is built up there that is not confirmed by
the vote of our most proven theologians" in the same tenor of
Charles Hodge's affirmation nearly 200 years later, it is with
the same understanding that what is being preserved is the
content of Reformed theology, not necessarily that there has been
no growth and development in the understanding of that theology. 

     A.  Thesis
     While appreciating the contributions and concerns of the
leading innovators in Reformed theology such as Moises Amyraut
and Johannes Cocceius, Turretin refrained from following in their
footsteps, recognizing that their departures from traditional
orthodoxy would seriously impair the integrity of Reformed
theology.  Nonetheless, Turretin himself was more concerned with
the radical heresies which confronted the Reformed churches, and
attempted to reconcile his friendly foes both on the left and on
the right, through irenic polemics.
     Standing firmly in the federalist camp, Turretin advocated a
moderate Covenantal theology, refraining from positing a third
covenant of Law while recognizing significant discontinuity
between the Old and New Testaments.  Vigorously asserting the
unity of the covenant of grace against its seventeenth century
detractors, Turretin nonetheless carefully distinguished between
those who had departed from Reformed orthodoxy, and those who
were on the fringes.  Attempting to draw together the fragmented
remnant of the continental Reformed churches, Turretin avoided
the twin pitfalls of theological arrogance ("I alone am right")
and theological relativism ("that's just your interpretation"). 
His masterful treatment of the covenants walks the narrow line
between covenant and testament, universal and particular,
substance and accidents, law and gospel, works and faith.  
     Since Turretin's is a polemical theology, it is necessary to
sketch the historical background which he assumed would be
familiar to his readers.  Having studied at Geneva, Leyden and
Saumur, he was well acquainted with the leading figures of
continental Reformed theology, and the controversies which
swirled around them.  Therefore after briefly discussing the
question of the relationship between scholasticism and covenant
theology, we will explore the seventeenth century debates
surrounding the covenant, before turning to address the treatment
of these debates in his Institutio Theologiae Elencticae.
     B.  The Question of Scholasticism
     While many scholars have attempted to pit scholasticism
against federal theology, they have inevitably had to admit that
the two were not diametrically opposed.  The attempt to define
Protestant Scholasticism has generally followed McCoy's assertion
that scholasticism moved from philosophy to faith, resting upon
deductive reasoning from accepted authority, and "tending toward
massive systematization, buttressed by appeal to authority, and
intellectualistic with reference to faith," but in recent years,
a more nuanced definition has arisen, recognizing that
scholasticism is more a pedagogical than a theological method. 
Richard Muller first questioned the propriety of McCoy and
Armstrong's definition on the grounds that it did not correspond
to the actual method of the supposed "scholastics" themselves,
and Stephen Spencer has since pointed out the value of comparing
Reformed and Medieval Scholasticism, showing areas of continuity
and discontinuity between representative theologians of the two
periods, Francis Turretin and Thomas Aquinas.  
     Timothy Phillips' work on Turretin's theological method has
conclusively shown that his scholasticism is not to be equated
with a sort of rationalistic approach, but is firmly rooted in
his Reformed understanding of the character of theology as a sui
generis habitus:  that theology cannot be identified as a strict
science, following the dictates of reason, but is dependent upon
the joint operation of Word and Spirit.  Crucial to Turretin's
discussion of theology is his distinction between Archetypal
theology (the original and infinite knowledge which God has of
himself and of all created things) and ectypal theology (the
derivative and finite knowledge which man has of God and created
things), and the further distinction between the ectypal theology
of vision, which is the theology of the saints in heaven, and the
ectypal theology of the traveller--"the theology of revelation"--
with which we must remain content.  Far from exuding too much
confidence in his own powers of ratiocination, Turretin himself
implores his readers in his preface:  "since I am a man (and I do
not suppose that I am free from any human limitations), if
anything would be said by me here that would correspond little
with Scripture united with the rule of our faith, not only do I
want it to be unsaid, but even to be stricken out."
     The relationship between Covenant Theology and Scholasticism
has not yet been fully worked out, but Spencer's comments on
Turretin demonstrate that they came to a happy union in his
theology:  "Whereas for Cocceius, covenant theology seemed to be
opposed to scholasticism, Turretin displays the harmonization of
those movements.  He is at once thoroughly scholastic and
profoundly covenantal."
II.  Covenantal Influences on Turretin
     The son of Benedict Turretin (1588-1631), himself professor
of theology at the Academy (1612-31), Francis Turretin was
educated in Geneva by two staunch defenders of Reformed
orthodoxy, Jean Diodati (1576-1649), Theodore Tronchin (1582-
1657), who had been the Genevan delegates to the Synod of Dort. 
A promising theological student, he was sent to travel and study
abroad in the Netherlands and France, the two hot spots of 17th
century covenantal debate and development on the continent.  His
first stop was Leyden where he studied with Friedrich Spanheim
who had taught philosophy and theology in Geneva from 1626-41,
(succeeding Benedict Turretin as professor of theology in
1631).  After making the acquaintance of Voetius, Rivet, and
other Dutch luminaries, he spent several months in Paris before
traveling to Saumur to hear the famous Salmurian trio of
Placaeus, Capellus, and Moises Amyraut, whom he would later
strongly but gently oppose.  He returned to Geneva in 1648, where
he pastored the Italian congregation for three years before being
called to a pastorate in Leyden, from 1651-52.  In 1653, however,
the council of Pastors of Geneva issued a call to the young
Turretin to take up the retiring Tronchin's chair as professor of
theology at the Academy.  This theological education gave him a
broad exposure to the various developments in Reformed theology
since the late 16th century.  
     Francis Turretin would have studied with Tronchin, Diodati
and Morus in the early 1640s at Geneva, where he would have
received mixed signals:  while the leading theologians were
opposed to the Salmurian school, Morus was sympathetic.  In
Leyden, however, Turretin would have been studying with Spanheim
at a time (the mid 40s) when he was engaged in an exhaustive
refutation of Amyraut's teaching on universal grace.  It is
perhaps noteworthy to remark that Spanheim's successor at Leyden
in 1649 was Johannes Cocceius, who would have been professor of
theology at the time that Turretin pastored in that city from
1651-52.  It would have been impossible--especially for a
thinker of Turretin's caliber--to be a pastor in Leyden even for
a year in the early 1650s without having to engage Cocceius'
     A.  The Covenant in Geneva from Calvin to Turretin
     While many have argued that covenant theology was a late
importation into Geneva, this depends greatly upon how one
defines covenant theology.  Certainly Calvin did not structure
his whole theology around the idea of the covenant, but then
again, very few theologies have been thoroughly structured around
the covenant.  Rather, in covenant theology the covenant plays a
key role in viewing how God relates to his people, and in showing
how God's decrees relate to the historical unfolding of
redemption, particularly as revealed in Jesus Christ.  Even
Turretin, who declares that the covenant is "the center and bond
of all religion," is not fixated on the covenant, but utilizes
it to understand God's redemptive activity.  
     Turretin's brand of covenantal theology, which in his case
is articulated on a carefully developed Federal scheme, may be
seen as the development of an inherent tendency within Calvin's
thought.  While Calvin had not developed as systematic a
treatment, some of his statements in his treatise Concerning the
Eternal Predestination of God suggest at least the beginnings of
a covenant of works, and certainly a federal understanding of the
first Adam.  Responding to Pighius' abhorrence of his doctrine of
reprobation, Calvin declares that there are three considerations
which must be maintained:  First, that God's eternal
predestination "by which before the fall of Adam He decreed what
should take place concerning the whole human race and every
individual, was fixed and determined."  Second, that Adam was
appointed to death "on account of his defection."  Third, that
"in his person now fallen and lost, all his offspring is
condemned."  Adam's fall brought destruction upon himself and his
posterity, and hence "all the reprobate are justly left in death,
for in Adam they are dead and condemned."  Calvin stresses that
Adam is federally connected with his posterity, and that it was
due to his defection from God's commandment that the human race
was plunged into death.
     In the Institutes, Calvin does not speak of a prelapsarian
covenant except in passing with reference to the Tree of Life in
the garden as a sacrament which are "proofs and seals of his
covenants."  In his treatment of Adam's fall he refrains from
speaking of a covenant, but his insistence that the means of the
transmission of original sin is through God's decree leads
naturally to viewing Adam as the federal head of the human
race.  Peter Lillback has argued cogently for a prelapsarian
covenant in Calvin, though acknowledging that it falls short from
the later covenant of works.  Calvin's views become
particularly important in the Amyraldian controversy, because
Amyraut studied Calvin more seriously than most theologians of
his day, and believed that he was a truer exponent of the Genevan
Reformer's approach than any of the "orthodox" theologians of his
     During the latter part of the 16th century, Swiss and German
influences continued to build in Geneva as well, as the covenant
idea was developed more thoroughly in the Rhineland.  It is clear
that by the 1590s a full federal theology is being taught at many
of the leading universities of Switzerland, Germany and
Holland.  Unfortunately, the era between Calvin and Turretin
has not been explored with reference to covenantal development in
the Academy of Geneva, and so it is difficult to uncover the flow
of thought in a project of limited magnitude.  Still, a glimpse
of the covenantal ideas current among the city's theologians may
be seen through their enthusiastic participation in the Synod of
Dort and its response to the covenantal modification made by the
     B.  The Dutch Connection
     One tendency in Reformed Covenant Theology which has often
been confusing is the Reformed emphasis upon one Covenant of
Grace, with several administrations.  This seems to many critics
to deny Paul's distinction between Law and Gospel, as well as
Jesus' emphasis on the New covenant.  While the actual difficulty
is more of terminology than substance, it produced no less than
two significant controversies related to the doctrine of the
covenant in seventeenth century Holland.  The Arminian
controversy of the 1610s and 20s was loaded with political and
social ramifications, and the condemnation of their teaching at
the Synod of Dort in 1619, while removing them from the pale of
Reformed orthodoxy did not resolve the issues as much as it did
force the questions into a narrower field.
     The second controversy arose in response to Johannes
Cocceius' attempt to resolve the one covenant, several
administrations dilemma.  The ensuing battle between Voetians and
Cocceians continued long after Turretin's death, but was in full
swing by the late 1650s.  Fifteen years later, at the time that
Turretin was consulting with the theologians who eventually
produced the Formula Consensus Helvetica in 1675, there were some
among them (particularly it seems in Basel and Zurich), who
wanted to condemn Cocceius' teachings, but the more moderate
party prevailed.  Turretin deals explicitly with the Arminians,
condemning their innovations at several points in the Institutio,
but his references to the Cocceian disputes are more veiled, no
doubt due to the fact that these were sensitive issues among the
Swiss churches which Turretin desired to influence.
          1.  The Arminian Challenge
     Jacob Arminius attempted to resolve the linguistic
difficulty between Scripture and the Reformed covenant theology
by articulating a threefold covenantal scheme:  the covenants of
"Lex, Promissio, et Evangelion."  The first covenant with Adam
is not intrinsically opposed to grace, but rather "differ in that
the promise of fellowship with God was offered under the former
as the reward of sinless obedience but under the latter as the
gift of grace to sinners."  Arminius introduced at this point
an element of natural law into the Adamic covenant, which he
argued remained in force throughout the covenant of grace as
well.  In other words, the obedience required and possibility of
performance both remain in the covenant of grace.  The Law of
Moses, however, is utterly opposed to grace and has no place in
the new covenant; it is abolished in Christ.  By eliminating
the impossibly high requirements of the Law, Arminius was able to
reintroduce the medieval principle of facere quod in se est. 
This new covenantal principle was worked out more fully in his
disciple, Phillip Limborch and Simon Episcopius, who Muller calls
"the Cocceius of Arminianism" due to his emphasis on the
historical nature of the covenants.  Episcopius posited four
covenants:  the Natural Covenant with Adam, essentially a
"natural religion" covenant; the Dipleuric Covenant with Abraham,
including a vague promise of grace; the Old Covenant with Moses,
which contained a fuller promise, but also combined a system of
obedience with a testimony to grace; and the New Covenant in
Christ, the full manifestation of grace.  Limborch took radical
Arminianism to the fringes of Pelagianism, denying the federal
headship of Adam and any Covenant of Works/Nature allowing for a
Law of Nature alone, and insisting upon a radical disjunction
between the Old and New Covenants.  Limborch's rejection of the
Old Mosaic Covenant went to the extent of denying the validity of
the Ten Commandments for the Christian, claiming that the New
Testament contains its own divine precepts and rule of
     Arminianism quickly became linked to the rising Cartesian
rationalism with its insistence upon natural law and human
autonomy.  In response, the Synod of Dort denied that the natural
light of reason was sufficient to bring man to salvation, because
of man's inability. Dort affirmed that the Law was in the same
position because it is only able to heighten the awareness of
sin, but cannot lift a finger to succor man in his distress. 
While the Synod did not focus directly on the covenantal issues
which Arminius and Episcopius were raising, the teaching on the
Law rejected the extremes of the Arminian modifications of the
covenant.  Nonetheless the Synod's silence allowed for a great
variety of views within the Reformed churches, a variety which
soon caused tension as Cocceius' radical covenantalism began to
trouble some of the older Dutch theologians, including Gisbertus
          2.  Johannes Cocceius (1603-69)
     While some early claims about the radical opposition between
Reformed scholasticism and Federal theology are overstated, there
were scholastics who were opposed to the rising emphasis on the
mutuality of the covenant.  Johannes Maccovius (1588-1644),
professor at Franeker from 1614-1644, was one such theologian. 
His supralapsarian emphasis upon the unilateral nature of the
divine decree made him uncomfortable with the moderate
infralapsarian position, but it did not prevent him from raising
a young colleague, Johannes Cocceius, who had been teaching at
Franeker since 1636, to the doctorate in 1644.  Cocceius had
studied under Maccovius and William Ames (1576-1633) at Franeker,
and later would go on to succeed Friedrich Spanheim at Leyden in
1650, the leading Dutch university where he would remain for the
final two decades of his life.  Cocceius was originally trained
as an orientalist and had done much of his early work in
exegetical theology before adding duties in the systematics
department.  By the mid-1650s his adherence to the divine
authority of the Sabbath was questioned, since he denied that
strict Sabbath observance was a New Testament duty.  The
underlying issue of the relationship between the economies of the
covenant, however, did not erupt until the 1660s when Maresius of
Groningen and Voetius of Utrecht challenged his teaching that
"under the Old Testament there is an overlooking of sin
(paresiV), not a complete forgiveness erasing all guilt.  Under
the New Testament, after the atonement of Christ, in which the
covenant and testament of God is brought to fulfillment, there is
complete forgiveness of sins (afesiV)."  Cocceius insisted that
the historical nature of the covenant means that God could not
actually forgive sins until the actual sacrifice was made. 
Voetius responded that this "denied that the Patriarchs were
justified by faith and could attain to eternal life."  Cocceius
replied that he believed that the patriarchs were justified by
faith in the future atonement, and since that atonement was
certain, they could indeed receive eternal life.  
     Cocceius' distinctive contribution to Reformed theology is
found in his attempt to consider all of theology in its relation
to the covenant and testament of God (the title of one of his
leading works was Summa doctrinae de foedere et testamento Dei). 
Cocceius may fairly be said to have a theology thoroughly
structured around the covenant idea, to a greater extent than any
before him.  Seeing the covenant as the "framework of the system
existing in Scripture," he attempted to articulate the different
economies of the divine covenant.  Connecting the
accomplishment of redemption with the eternal decrees of God in
the institution of the covenant, Cocceius followed the
traditional Covenant of Works / Covenant of Grace distinction. 
He attempted to articulate a nuanced position regarding the
relationship of the Old and New Testaments within the Covenant of
Grace--a position which did not endear him to foes like Voetius. 
Affirming a stronger Law/Gospel distinction than most Reformed
theologians before him, Cocceius tended to interpret the law in a
spiritual sense (which led him to rethink the Sabbath), and
viewed the Old Testament with a strong element of typology. 
While not going as far as Amyraut had in differentiating Law and
Gospel into two separate covenants, Cocceius pressed in this
direction, wanting to emphasize the great benefits of the New
Testament era.
     The Covenant of Grace partakes in both the nature of a
Testament (because of the necessity of the death of Christ and
the inability of sinful man to enter into a covenant with God)
and of a Covenant (because God has allowed us--and indeed caused
us--to enter into a covenant with himself by faith in Christ). 
This is true of the Old as well as the New Testaments, but not
equally so.  The Old are but types, whereas the New contains the
reality.  But whereas Christ is the substance of both the Old and
New Testaments, the sacraments of the Old Testament do not have
the efficacy of the New Testament sacraments--which led Cocceius
to allow only a passing over of sin in the Old, but complete
forgiveness only in and after Christ.  The promises of the Old
Testament do not contain within themselves the content of the New
Testament reality.  Hence the promises of the Gospel, of the
reconciliation of the Gentiles, of the circumcision of the heart,
and of the new heaven and new earth are all shadows which do not
find reality until the redemption accomplished by Christ.
     Cocceius insisted that what is applied to the believer under
the Old Testament economy is distinct from what is applied to the
believer under the New.  It is the same justification, but rather
than offered as a passing over to the Jews alone, it is now
offered as full remission of sins to Jew and Gentile alike.  The
onerous restrictions of the Mosaic Law are now passed away and
the New Testament believer lives under the "law of faith and
love" removed from all legalism.  It is disappointing that
McCoy, seemingly oblivious to the debates which followed
Cocceius, does not address with any clarity how Cocceius dealt
with the issues surrounding the relationship of the Law to the
Christian, particularly the third use of the law.  Klauber
insists that Cocceius denied the applicability of the Law for the
believer, but does not give enough evidence to determine the
truth of the matter.  Nevertheless, from Turretin's veiled
references to the controversy, it will be seen that he at least
felt that Cocceius had gone a little too far in separating Law
from Gospel.
     C.  Amyraut
     The tension between Law and Gospel in the Dutch tradition
pales in comparison to the actual division between the two which
was effected in the French Reformed Church, particularly at the
Academy in Saumur.  Moises Amyraut (1596-1664) studied with John
Cameron prior to 1618 at Saumur, where he also pastored before
being promoted to full professor there in 1631, a position which
he retained for the rest of his life.  Three years later he
published his infamous Brief Traitte de la predestination et de
ses principales dependances, which provoked the controversy which
would forever be associated with his name.  Acquitted on a number
of occasions by the French Synod, though sometimes censured for
immoderate language departing from the form of sound words, he
quickly became a leading figure in the French church.  By
positing an actual Covenant of Law, as well as those of Nature
and of Grace, Amyraut thought that he had succeeded at returning
to the biblical formulation, and argued that Calvin had taught a
similar position.  An advocate of union with the Lutherans, his
disjunction between Law and Gospel was rejected by Lutherans as
not giving enough, and by the Reformed for giving away too much. 
Armstrong points out that these emphases led Amyraut to divorce
ethics from dogmatics in the interest of a natural law based on a
natural theology.  Turretin arrived at Saumur around 1646, at a
time when Amyraut was in the process of responding to Friedrich
Spanheim's assault, in a work published thereafter as Specimen
animadversionum in exercitationes de gratia universali.  In this
volume he set forth what he believed to be the three doctrines
which he and the orthodox were at odds over:  "the universality
of God's will to save, the universal intent of Christ's
redemptive act, and the sufficiency of the external call."  
          1.  The Threefold Covenant
     Amyraut adapted and developed the idea of a threefold
covenant from his mentor, John Cameron, who had posited a
threefold covenant in time.  Recognizing that this was flatly
unacceptable, Amyraut articulated a threefold covenant from all
eternity, pushing the universal offer of the gospel back to a
universal decree of salvation.  Asserting that "all true religion
necessarily consists in some covenant which exists between God
and men," he insisted that a proper understanding of these
covenants is of the highest importance.  Armstrong argues that
the key to understanding Amyraut's theology is his "peculiar
covenant theology."  He identified two types of covenants--two
ways in which God related to man--the foedus absolutum which does
not depend upon man at all, and the foedus hypotheticum which is
a mutual covenant and the "proper object of theological
discussion."  The absolute covenant is hidden in the secret will
of God and is to be believed where God has revealed it, but
otherwise is to be left alone.  Theological discourse must pay
chief attention to the reciprocal covenants because through them
God has accommodated himself to us.  It is within this latter
type (the conditional covenant) that all three of the divine
covenants fall.  The following schema should show the general
framework of Amyraut's covenantal thinking:
          foedus naturae      foedus legale       foedus
Extent         one man (Adam)      Israel                   
Condition Perfect obedience to          Perfect obedience to     
     faith alone
          the natural law          natural law clarified by
                              Mosaic Law
Promise   Eden                Canaan              Eternal Life
Mediator  None                Moses                    Christ
Efficacy  None, apart from         Restraining Evil, and         
Inclination to Good
          Perfect Obedience        pointing to man's need
Foundation     Creation            Exodus              Christ
Armstrong states that the two themes running through Amyraut's
discussion of the covenant are 1) "the progression of God's
revelation" and 2) "the final full and perfect experience of
God's redemption in the age to come" as seen in the excellency of
the promises of the covenant of grace.  Amyraut acknowledged
that the covenant of grace had its origin in the promise to Adam
after the fall, but contended that it was obscured by the
covenant of law, which had no revelation of the mercy of God.  In
keeping with his emphasis on progress, Amyraut insisted that the
covenant of grace could not be made only with the elect, because
that would deny the superlative character of this covenant in
distinction with the other covenants before.  There is always a
progression from the lesser to the greater--to limit the extent
of the covenant of grace would be to reject the progress of God's
redemptive purposes.  Amyraut will always insist that salvation
is only by faith in Christ, however obscurely the Old Testament
saints may have recognized him, but he firmly denied that Law is
merely an administration of the covenant of grace.  Armstrong
maintains that the reason why Amyraut insisted on a threefold
covenant is because he was moving toward Luther's emphasis on
justification by faith, and had to do something to remove the
tension between Law and Gospel which the Reformed retained with
their affirmation of the third use of the Law.
          2.  The Conditional Decree and Covenant
     Amyraut taught that just as God's will is one, yet must be
considered under the twofold distinction between the revealed
"will which commands" and the hidden "will which discerns," so
also the one foedus gratiae must be considered as containing both
a foedus absolutum and a foedus hypotheticum.  At this point it
is useful to hear Armstrong's comments:
     the use that he makes of this bifurcation is quite
     peculiar to Amyraldian theology.  For while using it to
     emphasize the hidden and revealed nature of God's will,
     the absolute, incomprehensible and the conditional
     accommodated work of God in grace, he shifts his
     emphasis decidedly to the latter as the proper object
     of religious contemplation....[H]is own use of it tends
     to sound a great deal like Luther.  Indeed, Luther had
     propounded the same bifurcation of God's will.
But Amyraut takes it one step further and proposes a bifurcation
in the covenant, whereby the Father covenants with the Son to
provide for the salvation of the whole human race (the foedus
hypotheticum).  This is conditioned, however upon an impossible
predicate:  that man should turn to Christ in faith.  Therefore,
the Father covenants with the Holy Spirit to apply the work of
the Son to those he has chosen (the foedus absolutum). 
Therefore Christ's death is not merely a "sufficient price for
the sins of the whole world" (an orthodox statement), but also is
intended as a sacrifice for the sins of the whole world, based
upon the eternal will of God that all should be saved--provided
that man responds in faith.  This, of course, man is unable to
do.  Hence Amyraut is able to maintain that salvation is actually
all of God, and does rest upon the decree of election.  
     Amyraut's attempt to resolve the tensions of Reformed
theology became increasingly popular as rationalism grew on the
continent.  One of his chief spheres of influence outside of
France was Geneva, largely due to the fact that so many Genevan
students came to Saumur to study.  Turretin returned after his
years of foreign study to a Geneva standing at the crossroads. 
His influence at the Academy would postpone the decisive moment,
but Geneva was caught up in the changing intellectual currents of
the times, and had no desire to seek after ancient paths.
     D.  Genevan Developments in Turretin's Day
          1.  The Rise of Amyraldianism in the Academy
     By the time that Turretin was recalled to take the
professorship in theology, the softening of Genevan orthodoxy was
well under way.  Alexander Morus returned from foreign study in
1641, at which point the Council of Pastors refused to ordain him
because he was suspected of Arminianism.  Yet the very next year,
after Friedrich Spanheim had left for Leyden, Morus was appointed
professor of theology in his place.  Tensions rose over the next
four years as Morus became more popular with the students, until
in 1646 a controversy broke out over Morus' condemnation of his
supralapsarian colleagues.  Three years later he resigned and
went to Holland, but not before he was required to subscribe to
"the Articles of Morus" a series of theses which became a test of
orthodoxy in Geneva.  Yet far from solving the problem, Morus'
departure was only the beginning of the decline, as two
theologians who were added to the faculty (Mestrezat, who
replaced Morus in 1649, and Louis Tronchin who replaced Leger, an
orthodox Calvinist, in 1661) were convinced Salmurians.  The
election of Francis Turretin, therefore, in 1653, was a key
appointment for the orthodox party.  
     This, of course, is the hindsight of history.  It was not
clear at first that Mestrezat and Tronchin were as heterodox as
later events were to make manifest.  It was only in 1669 that
matters came to head:  a new minister, Charles Maurice, was
required to subscribe to a statement condemning the doctrines of
Saumur.  Tronchin and Mestrezat protested against this
requirement, affirming that they themselves could not sign such a
statement in good conscience, and four ministers joined them. 
The Company of Pastors denied their protest, but the City Council
attempted a compromise, requiring that they "teach according to
the standards, but not to do so polemically.  This tolerated
liberals, but forbade the conservatives to attack them."  This
compromised the orthodoxy of the Genevan Academy, and the
churches of Zurich, Basel, Bern and Schaffhausen issued a united
declaration that unless the City Council repealed this action,
they would immediately recall their students from the Academy. 
Within a week the City Council "returned to the old subscription
on the Articles of Morus and ordered controversy to cease." 
Later that August the new philosophy professor, Chouet, refused
to sign the Articles of Morus on the grounds that he was not a
theologian.  This weakening of the standards caused great
consternation among the orthodox, and it is interesting to note
that within two months of these events, Turretin wrote to
Heidegger "suggesting a new confession to which subscription
should be required."  Six years later the Formula Consensus
Helvetica was born.
          2.  The Formula Consensus Helvetica (1675)
     While Good calls the Formula "the clearest statement of
scholastic Calvinism, and...the highest of the Calvinistic
creeds," he also admits that it refrains from attacking persons,
and avoids anathemas, but sticks to doctrinal issues.  The chief
issues were the rejection of three doctrines:  1) that the Hebrew
vowel-points were not inspired, 2) hypothetical election and
universal atonement, and 3) the denial of immediate imputation of
Adam's sin.  While strict subscription was required in Protestant
Switzerland during the last quarter of the seventeenth century,
by 1720 it was a dead letter in virtually all of the Swiss
     The short life of the Formula Consensus Helvetica may
indicate that the tightening of confessional standards was
ineffective without the necessary theological consensus which the
title of the Formula indicated.  Neither did the orthodox have
the clout to make it stick.  Geneva had fallen far since Calvin's
day:  no longer was the City Council willing to listen to the
voice of the Venerable Company of Pastors.  The only stick which
the orthodox could wield was the unanimity of the Swiss cantons,
without whose political good will Geneva was doomed to Catholic
military aggression.  Even after the Peace of Westphalia (1648),
Geneva was not safe from attack (as Turretin's fund-raising trip
to Holland in 1661 indicates).  And once the Swiss churches
wavered, Geneva would be the first to depart from Reformed
orthodoxy, largely because so many Genevan students had studied
at Saumur (Turretin not excluded).  Naturally this led to the
rise of Amyraldian ideas in the Academy, and even Turretin seems
to have recognized that the complete expulsion of the Salmurians
was not possible in Geneva.  Rather, the Formula provided a
halter to keep them gagged until sound teaching could work a
reverse effect.  Unfortunately, the zeitgeist of the late 17th
century was not conducive to Reformed orthodoxy.  The common
thread between Socinianism, Arminianism and Amyraldianism was a
rationalistic emphasis on human autonomy.  The desire for a
reasonable orthodoxy would lead Turretin's son, Jean-Alphonse, to
wage a campaign to end subscription to his father's beloved
creed, and emphasize a lowest common denominator theology which
would reconcile Protestants of opposing views on a number of
issues.  Francis Turretin's firm but gentle orthodoxy, insisting
upon the limits of reason in the realm of theology, had no chance
in an age of optimistic rationalism.
III.  Turretin's Exposition of the Covenant
     A note should be made regarding the nature of the Institutio
Theologiae Elencticae. Spencer correctly points out that Turretin
is attempting a polemical (elenctic) and not a systematic
theology, a point which is critical to a correct understanding of
the work.  On the one hand, if there is little controversy over a
particular issue, then Turretin will gloss over it, while on the
other hand he will treat such trivialities as the date of
Christmas in an attempt to show students that this is not an
issue which should occupy their time.  The covenant is a
critical idea under attack from several angles; hence it receives
fairly thorough treatment.  When explicating the debates on the
Covenant of Grace, Turretin departs from his normal method and
rather than plunge straight into his polemics, uses the first
question to do some preparatory exegetical work, the second
question to expound the nature of the Covenant of Grace, before
moving to the specific controversies in question three.  
     A.  The Twofold Covenant
     In opposition to the Arminian and Amyraldian tendency to
divide the covenant of grace into separate covenants of law and
grace, Turretin insists that there is but one postlapsarian
covenant: the covenant of grace.  Since God has only one
disposition to man after the fall, there can be only one
postlapsarian covenant.  In fact Turretin will go further and
declare that there is but one covenant, revealed under a twofold
aspect:  the covenant of nature and the covenant of grace, which
rest upon the different relations of God to man.  Strictly
speaking, they are not two covenants, but one "double covenant." 
Nonetheless, although he conceives of the covenants of nature and
of grace as united in their fundamental characteristics, Turretin
will often speak of two covenants.
     Turretin proposed five similarities and ten differences
between the covenants.  They both have:  1) God as their author;
2) God and man as their contracting parties; 3) the glory of God
as their end; 4) stipulations attached; and 5) the promise of
heavenly eternal life.  These points of identity demonstrate
that there is a fundamental unity in the covenant, both before
and after the fall.  After the first covenant was abrogated (and
Turretin strongly affirms that it was) God initiated the covenant
of grace, in which Christ reversed Adam's fall: "Thus what was
demanded of us in the covenant of works is fulfilled by Christ in
the covenant of grace."  Yet the differences between them are
crucial, and show that there is to be no confusion between the
covenants of nature and grace.  The following scheme delineates
Turretin's distinctions:
          foedus naturae      foedus gratiae
Author    God as Creator and Lord  God as Father and Redeemer
Parties   God and man              God and man, with the Mediator
Foundation     Man's obedience          Christ's obedience
Promise   Eternal life             Eternal life and Salvation
from sin and death
Condition Works               Faith
End       Declaration of Justice   Manifestation of Mercy
Manifestation  Conscience in the State  The mystery "entirely
hidden" from reason, and
          of Nature           available only by revelation
Order          First (violator has hope Last (violator has no
further recourse)
           in the new covenant)
Extent         Universal in Adam        Particular with the elect
in Christ
Effects   Glory to obedient man    Glory to God alone
          Terror to fallen man          Gracious to fallen man
          Bondage to sinners       Freedom to sinners
          Drives man away from God Calls men back to God
Note particularly the substantial differences from Amyraut's
chart given above.  By positing three emphatically distinct
covenants, Amyraut allows his emphasis on the progress of
redemption to obscure the unity of God's redemptive activity. 
This chart will be useful for considering Turretin's discussion
of the covenants.
          1.  The Covenant of Nature
     Over against the Arminian theologian Simon Episcopius,
Turretin asserts that God indeed made a covenant of nature with
Adam.  Defining the covenant of nature as the giving of "eternal
happiness and life under the condition of perfect, personal
obedience," Turretin insists that the legal covenant is founded
upon the nature of man and is dependent on man's fulfilling of
the law of nature and proper obedience.  Adam is the federal
head of mankind, "the root and the seminal principle from whom
the whole human race was to descend....Hence that covenant
pertained not only to Adam, but to all his posterity in him.  The
illustrious Amyrald acknowledges 'as he was the first man, he, as
it were, represented the whole human race, which was to be born
from him.'"  Both as the natural father and as the forensic head
of the race, Adam is bound with a twofold bond to his
               a.  Prelapsarian Merit and Grace 
     Turretin is careful to maintain that Adam had no proper
merit before God, but only merited the reward from God's
gratuitous promise to which "God had of his own accord bound
himself."  Therefore there can be no talk of God owing anything
to man apart from the covenant.  
     Adam had the natural ability and obligation to obey God, but
did not have the benefit of the immediate help of God.  In other
words, there was no salvific grace present in the garden to
infuse man with new power in the covenant of nature--otherwise
God could be blamed for not strengthening man against his
tempter.  Rather, in order to remain upright, man was simply in
need of God's help "to actuate [his] faculties and powers and to
preserve them from change."  But, Turretin notes, this was not
promised in the covenant of nature, because it "depended on the
most free good pleasure of God; otherwise the covenant of nature
had been immutable, and man had never sinned.  In other words,
God chose to allow man to face the temptation without any
immediate assistance.  Hence, while the covenant of nature was a
gratuitous promise, based upon God's own "goodness, fidelity and
truth," Turretin refrains from bringing grace into the
discussion.  Nonetheless, he insists that "there was no debt
(properly so called) from which man could derive a right, but
only a debt of fidelity, arising out of the promise by which God
demonstrated his infallible and immutable constancy and truth." 
So while it would be improper to call this grace, there is
certainly a sense in which Turretin asserts that God does not owe
man anything--even if Adam had never sinned--and it is solely by
his gratuitous promise and pact that man has any claim to God.
               b.  Sacramental Trees
     A key element of Turretin's discussion is the sacramental
character of the Trees in Paradise.  The tree of the knowledge of
good and evil did not have inherent powers of the knowledge of
good and evil, but was given as a sign to Adam, 1) as an
"exploratory law" to demonstrate that God was the Lord of man, 2)
to demonstrate the wickedness of sin, 3) to declare that man was
created with a free will, 4) to teach that his happiness did not
consist in earthly things, but 5) that man's highest good is to
be sought in the service of God.  The tree of life, Turretin
asserts, was a sacrament to signify and to seal the promise of
eternal life which would have been man's if he had remained
upright.  It was to remind man that his life came from God, as
well as to point him to the heavenly life that awaited him. 
Finally, it was also a "type of Christ himself who acquired and
confers it upon us and who is therefore called 'the tree of life
in the midst of the paradise of God' (Rev. 2:7)."  Turretin
concludes by stating:
     Hence it is evident that these two trees of paradise
     are not free from mystery.  For as the first was a
     sacrament of trial (which prescribed to man his duty)
     and the second a symbol of the reward (by which God
     wished to remunerate his obedience), so each shadowed
     forth to us in the best manner, the mode of God's
     acting in his church by commands and promises.
     Yet far from being empty symbols, the sacraments of the covenant
of nature conveyed the realities which they symbolized.  The tree
of life had for its substance Christ himself, and the one who
partook of it received the benefits of the covenant.  This
typological interpretation may be distinguished from Cocceius'
approach because Turretin does not merely point to the shadow,
but to a greater degree insists that the reality was also
               c.  The heavenly goal of the covenant
     Turretin responds to Amyraut's threefold covenantal
distinction by claiming that Amyraut misses the point of the
covenant of nature.  Far from simply promising eternal life in
Paradise, the covenant of nature promised him an eternal heavenly
life once he passed his probationary period.  But if the covenant
of nature promised heaven, then Amyraut's emphasis on progressive
revelation is misplaced.  Rather than say that the substance of
the promises are grander in the covenant of grace, Turretin
contends that it is the mode of the promises which surpass the
covenant of nature in offering such a great gift to such unworthy
objects through the inestimable mediation of Christ.  Amyraut
had argued that progressive revelation moved from the particular
to the general:  from the individual (Adam, who was given Eden)
to the nation (Israel, who was given Palestine) to the world (the
human race, who will be given the whole earth).  Turretin rejects
this notion by pointing out that Adam was not merely an
individual, but was the representative of the whole human race
who inherited the entire earth, not merely Eden.  Once this is
accepted, Amyraut's whole scheme is undermined.
          2.  The Covenant of Grace
     Affirming both the testamentary and covenantal character of
the covenant of grace, Turretin defines the covenant of grace as
a "gratuitous pact entered into in Christ between God offended
and man offending."  
               a.  The Conditionality of the Covenant of Grace
     The covenant of grace is both unconditional and conditional,
depending whether it is viewed antecedently or consequently. 
Considered antecedently in the light of the meritorious cause, it
is wholly gratuitous and depends solely upon God's good pleasure. 
Considered consequently in light of the instrumental cause, it is
undeniably conditional, depending upon the condition of faith. 
Faith however, (contra the Armininians) cannot be accepted as
righteousness by God, because it cannot replace proper obedience. 
Rather, faith "must be considered relatively and instrumentally,
inasmuch as it embraces Christ and applies to him for
righteousness and through him obtains the right to eternal life." 
Faith is not a work, but a receiving of Christ's work.  Faith
and obedience are causally separate in the covenant of grace,
faith alone being efficacious as the "means and instrument of our
union with Christ which reconciles him to us."  Responding to an
intramural debate within the Reformed community, Turretin asserts
that properly speaking, faith is the sole causal condition of the
covenant of grace, but at the same time, taken "broadly and
improperly" the conditions of the covenant of grace may be said
to include "repentance and the obedience of the new
life...because they are reckoned among the duties of the covenant
(Jn. 13:17; 2 Cor. 5:17; Rom. 8:13)."
               b.  Christ the Center
     A good example of Turretin's clear-headed attempt to forge
unity among the orthodox is his discussion of the distinction
between the covenant of redemption and the covenant of grace. 
Rejecting Amyraut's dual covenant of the accomplishment of
redemption between the Father and the Son, and the application of
redemption between the Father and the Spirit, Turretin affirms
that each member of the Trinity "has his own mode of operation"
in the one covenant of grace, but that Christ must be clearly
portrayed as the center of the covenant.  Turretin refuses to
get caught up in the quarrel over whether the covenant was made
"with Christ as one of the contracting parties and in him with
all his seed" (which would make it the proper counterpart to the
Adamic covenant of nature) or whether it was made "in Christ with
all the seed so that he does not so much hold the relation of a
contracting party as of Mediator, who stands between those at
variance for the purpose of reconciling them."  Confessing that
he cannot tell the difference between these positions, Turretin
declares that either way, "it amounts to the same thing."  
     In any case, Christ remains the center and the goal of the
covenant of grace.  Turretin outlines three periods of the
covenant:  1) "with regard to destination" from the vantage point
of the decree of God; 2) "with respect to the promise" in the Old
Testament, when Christ was beginning to function as a Mediator,
as the Prophet interpreting the divine will both through
theophany and through the prophets, as the King ruling and
leading his people, and as the Priest interceding for his elect;
and 3) "with regard to the execution" in the incarnation where he
accomplished the work of our salvation.  Here we see that
Turretin is utilizing a certain amount of typology to maintain
the unity of the covenant of grace throughout the diverse
administrations.  Christ is not merely foreshadowed in the Old
Testament, he is actually present and working as prophet, priest
and king.  The connection which Turretin maintains between symbol
and reality in the sacramental character of the Trees of Paradise
is echoed here in the affirmation that Christ was really present
in the Old Testament dispensation.  If there are shadows in the
era of promise, it is because Christ is standing there casting
those shadows by the reality of his presence with them.  While
following Cocceius in his use of typology, by asserting the
connection between symbol and reality he was able to maintain
stronger ties between the Law and the Gospel through the
centrality of Christ in the covenant of grace.
     B.  Polemical Thrusts
          1.  The Arminians 
               a. The Unity of the Covenant of Grace
     Acknowledging that Arminius himself recognized that both
testaments partake of the one covenant of grace, differing in
nothing but accidentals, Turretin points out that his followers
denied that there was a clear promise of eternal life in the Old
Testament, and therefore concluded that the Old Testament did not
partake of the same covenant as the New.  He recognizes that:
     The question is not whether the fathers of the Old
     Testament were saved, whether their sins were pardoned,
     whether they had any hope of eternal life, whether
     Christ was preached to them.  Most of our adversaries
     do not dare deny this.  Rather the question is whether
     they looked to Christ and were saved in the hope of his
     coming.  Whether promises not only temporal, but also
     spiritual and heavenly concerning eternal life and the
     Holy Spirit were given to them.
     Turretin argues for the unity of the covenant on seven grounds: 
1) from the New Testament's teaching that "the covenant of grace
(which God contracted with us in the New Testament) is the same
with the covenant previously made with Abraham;" 2) from the
identity of the parts of the covenant in both administrations; 3)
from the identity of the Mediator in both administrations:  the
one and the same Jesus Christ; 4) from the identity of the
condition of the covenant in both testaments: viz., faith; 5)
from the NT teaching that the same promises were given to them as
to us, "although often under the shell and veil of temporal
things;" 6) from the identity of the sacraments under both
administrations; and 7) from the use of the Mosaic law which
pointed the Israelites to Christ and his sacrifice.  Still,
while vigorously affirming the unity of the covenant of grace,
Turretin acknowledges the distinctions of administration.
               b.  The diversity of the Covenant of Grace
     Turretin presents a summary of redemptive history to explain
the purpose of the economical diversity of the covenant of grace. 
Suggesting that God's will is sufficient reason for why God chose
to administrate the covenant in this fashion, Turretin attempts
to expound a posteriori the "various wise reasons for this
counsel:" 1) God's mode of progressive revelation, 2) the
immaturity of the church, 3) the dignity of the Messiah and the
necessity for man to see his misery, and 4) the nature of the
case--namely that prophecies are necessarily more obscure the
further they are from fulfillment.  Turretin proposes a simple
periodization for understanding the covenantal development within
the covenant of grace:
The Old Testament:  external law and internal grace
     Adam to Abraham:  the primeval promise 
     Abraham to Moses:  the federal promise, and the conditions
of the covenant
     Moses to Christ:  the double relation--legal and evangelical
The New Testament:  Incarnation of Messiah and Pentecost
     The difference between the "old and new covenants," Turretin
acknowledges, has been a sticking point even within the Reformed
community.  He therefore attempts to articulate a position which
can mediate between the orthodox while excluding the Arminians. 
He starts out by distinguishing between the broad and strict
meanings of the Old Testament:  broadly it refers to the whole of
the time from Adam to Christ, but strictly to the "covenant of
works or the moral law given by Moses...apart from the promise of
grace."  The true end of the Old Testament "was Christ for
righteousness to every believer" but this was distorted by the
Jews into "a false end, maintaining that the law was given in
order that by its observance they might be justified before God
and be saved (Rom. 10:30-5).  Against this error the apostle
everywhere disputes from that hypothesis which takes the law
strictly and opposes it to the promise."  Similarly, the new
covenant can be read broadly to stand for the entire covenant of
grace, or strictly as a new covenant made at the time of Christ. 
Granting that some of the Reformed have held to the strict
formulation (identifying Rollock, Piscator, and Trelcatius),
Turretin concedes that this tends to create "two covenants
diverse in substance," but affirms that they although they depart
from the more traditional orthodox formulation of one substance,
different administrations, the difference lies in a "different
use of terms, but not as to the thing itself."  Nonetheless, it
is useful to consider the law in its strict relation when
considering Paul's discussion of the letter and the Spirit,
because the law was designed to display man's worthiness of death
while the gracious gift of the Spirit has been given to bring him
to life.  The orthodox explication of the differences between the
Testaments may be seen as to:
          Old Testament            New Testament
Time      Precedes and Predicts Christ  Follows and Exhibits
Clarity   Obscure and shadowy      Clear and open
Easiness  Burdensome                    Easy
Sweetness Emphasis on obedience         Emphasis on grace
Perfection     Essential, but not accidental      Essential and
Freedom   Infancy and minority               Maturity and
Amplitude Jews alone                    Jew and Gentile alike
Duration  Until Christ came             Everlasting
Hence there is no place for the Arminian (and Lutheran) rejection
of the Old Testament, yet at the same time, there are crucial,
though accidental differences which are essential for our
          2.  Amyraldianism
               a.  The Extent of the Covenant of Grace
     Turretin treats Amyraut as one of "our men," and when it
comes to the substance of Amyraut's doctrine, Turretin must admit
that he is within the pale of the Reformed camp and a fellow
combatant against the Arminians.  Nonetheless, he frequently
condemns the theologians views as dangerous in language and
tendency, and had no qualms about declaring some of his
formulations flatly unacceptable in the Genevan church.  
     Responding to both the Arminians and Amyraldians on the
question of extent, Turretin recognizes that whereas the former
insist that sufficient grace is granted to all both objectively
and subjectively, the latter allow the "universality of the
covenant only to objective and not to subjective grace."  In
other words, the Amyraldians only grant a hypothetical
universalism in the atonement of Christ, but while there is a
universal covenant by which their salvation is objectively
accomplished, it is not subjectively applied, because the
subjective covenant is particular.  In opposition, Turretin
states that the covenant is particular both objectively and
subjectively.  The fundamental question is whether God's
intention for the covenant was universal or particular, but this
involves the subordinate questions of whether there is "a real
call through the works of nature by which all are summoned to the
covenant of grace; whether a knowledge of Christ is necessary for
adults to be saved; whether "common grace" (to use the modern
term) flows from "the covenant of grace and the merit of Christ"
with the intention of the salvation of all who receive it.  
     In response Turretin affirms the particularity of the
covenant of grace, showing that since there is but one covenant
of grace, there can be but one intention and promulgation. 
Amyraut's error was in creating a conditional covenant of grace,
which "is repugnant to the nature of the covenant of grace" but
is reintroducing a covenant of works, whereby God promises life
to man on the basis of a condition, which fallen man can in no
way fulfill.  The condition of the covenant of grace is not
dependent upon man, but upon God's determination "to give to all
the elect certainly and infallibly the condition itself without
another condition."  Further, if the covenant of grace were
universal, then its promulgation would also have to be universal,
or else God would fail in his purposes.  This is indeed where
Amyraut found himself returning to a natural theology, affirming
the natural ability but moral inability of man to respond to
God's general revelation.  Turretin pounces on this, contending
that the assertion of a universal call to the covenant of grace
confounds nature and grace, all for the sake of a universal
objective grace which is subjectively impotent!  
     [S]ince universal objective grace is vain and illusory
     without subjective grace, we must either say that
     sufficient strength is restored to each and all, by
     which they can (if they will) obey God and be received
     into the covenant...or that God intends something under
     an impossible condition which neither man can have of
     himself, nor does God, who alone can, will to bestow
     upon him.
     The first option is impossible, because God's common grace (what
Turretin calls "various testimonies of his goodness and patience
to the pagans") does not reveal his mercy--only the satisfaction
of Christ can do that.  But even if it did point to God's
placability, it would still be insufficient for salvation,
because it is not enough to know that God is willing to be
reconciled to us, we must also know that he is (or at least will
be) reconciled to us.  Hence we are left with the second
option--that God intends something which he has no intention of
accomplishing--which is a patent absurdity.  
               b.  The Third Covenant
     Cameron, the teacher of Amyraut, had introduced the idea
that the Sinaitic covenant was distinct from the covenant of
nature and the covenant of grace.  Amyraut adapted and developed
this in his threefold scheme (see above).  Admitting that the
Sinaitic covenant was different in dispensation, Turretin rejects
the notion that it is different in substance on three grounds: 
1) Scripture only allows for two covenants:  the legal and the
evangelical; 2) there are only two scriptural ways to obtain
happiness:  by works or by faith; and 3) the Sinaitic covenant
declares itself to be a covenant of grace.  This last assertion
he fleshes out exegetically and theologically from the Old
Testament itself, as well as the New:  1) God declares himself to
be the Redeemer of his people; 2) the Israelites are considered
as helpless sinners; 3) the circumstances of the covenant,
including the communal meal of the elders with God (Ex. 24:10),
which presupposes a merciful covenant; 4) the typical nature of
the ceremonial law; 5) the Old Testament sacraments are
continuous with the New Testament sacraments and hence demand
that they be signs and seals of the same covenant; 6) the
absurdity of supposing that God made a covenant with Moses
inferior to the covenant made previously with Abraham.  This
would reverse the order of redemptive history.  Hence the
Sinaitic covenant must be seen as substantially and essentially a
covenant of grace.  He further takes issue with the Amyraldian
insistence that Moses be seen as the mediator of the Sinaitic
covenant, claiming that while "Moses can in a measure be called a
mediator in the Sinaitic covenant" his mediatorial function is
only as an interpreter, not as the one who is able to reconcile
God and man.  Turretin qualifies his insistence on the unity of
the covenant, by emphasizing the accidental differences between
the Sinaitic and New Covenants, once again demonstrating his
flexible use of language, but he maintains that the Amyraldian
distinction of three substantially distinct covenants is
          3.  Cocceianism 
     While not mentioning Cocceius by name, Turretin addresses
two of the concerns surrounding the Dutch controversy:  the state
of the Old Testament saints and the third use of the law,
particularly in relation to the Sabbath.
               a.  The Old Testament and the forgiveness of sins
     Cocceius had been accused of saying that Christ gave
security for the elect, but "in such a way that there was not an
actual transference of the debt to him; nor were the fathers
freed from the guilt of sin," until Christ actually accomplished
their redemption.  In contrast, Turretin asserts that the
fathers were "truly freed from the punishments due to them." 
But in order to avoid falling into the opposite error of overly
extolling the fathers privileges, he then goes on to maintain
that the remission of sins was not actually obtained for them
until Christ's death.  This question Turretin sums up as "whether
under the Old Testament the sins of the fathers were so
translated to Christ, the surety, that in virtue of the payment
to be made in his own time, they obtained a true and full
remission of all their sins and from a sense of it, . . . they
could have a tranquilized conscience and enjoy solid
consolation."  Denying that this remission of sins was a mere
passing by (paresin), he contends that it is a real and true
removal (afesin).  To demonstrate this he argues that the
opposing view is repugnant:  1) to the suretyship of Christ; 2)
to the nature of the covenant of grace; 3) to the guilt of sin,
which demands that either the offender bear his punishment, or
that another should bear it for him, neither of which the
Cocceians allow; 4) to the justification of the fathers, for if
they were justified, how could they still remain under the
slightest possibility of condemnation?; 5) to the justifying
faith of the fathers, which consists "especially in the fiducial
apprehension and application of the righteousness of Christ and
of his most perfect satisfaction (whether as already made or as
infallibly to be made)"; and 6) to their sanctification which if
it delivered them from the power of sin, ought also to deliver
them from its guilt.  Turretin then goes on to undermine the
validity of a distinction between afesin and paresin on
exegetical grounds, before presenting his view of the fathers as
receiving a full, though relatively and comparatively less
efficacious manifestation of grace.  Admitting that this is a
fine distinction, Turretin refrains from nitpicking any further,
stating that the agitation on these issues "can break the bonds
of peace and divide the souls of the brethren in contrary
pursuits (with great offense to the pious and injury to
               b.  The third use of the Law
     Turretin sets his discussion of the three uses of the law in
the terms of the two states of man.  In the "destitute state" the
law is used for conviction of sin, restraint of wickedness and
condemnation of the reprobate.  Yet in the "state of grace" the
law functions in two ways prior to conversion--by convincing man
of sin and humbling him, and by leading him to Christ by casting
down his trust in his own strength--and in one way after
conversion--directing him in the ways of the Lord, "serving him
as a standard and rule of the most perfect life." 
Acknowledging that the dispute about the abrogation of the moral
law was an intramural debate between Reformed theologians,
Turretin seems to try to walk the middle road between Cocceius
and Voetius, admitting that:
     "Moses...can be viewed in two lights:  either generally
     and indefinitely as a teacher of the whole church; or
     particularly and definitely as a leader of the people
     and legislator of Israel...In the latter sense, the
     law...pertained to the Jews alone, but in the former is
     extended to all no less than the law of nature (of
     which it is a compend).  And thus the diverse opinions
     of the orthodox about the use and obligation of the
     Mosaic law can be reconciled.
     Admitting that when the Mosaic law is considered apart from the
covenant of grace it takes the form of "the letter that killeth,"
Turretin concludes that "considered precisely in itself" the law
looks like a covenant of works.  Nonetheless, when understood in
its relation to the promise, it becomes a means of grace.
     One of the issues which exercised the Dutch in the Cocceian-
Voetian controversy was that of the Sabbath.  Turretin, as
expected, takes the via media:  insisting that the divine
institution of the Sabbath as a commandment for all generations
mandates its observance in the church, but the proper mode of
rest and worship should focus on abstaining from the employments
of the week and servile labor.  He allows all works directly
related to the worship and glory of God, works of charity and
mercy, works of common honesty, and works of necessity, including
those whereby "some great advantage and emolument accrues to us
or our neighbor if they are done or some great disadvantage and
loss if they are omitted."  Hence, among other things, Turretin
allows cooking, war, continuing a journey, and "innocent
relaxation of the mind and body, provided they are done out of
the hours appointed for divine worship."  Far from bogged down
in the minutiae of legal questions, Turretin attempts to extract
his readers from the debate and remind them of the purposes of
the Sabbath, which are to be an encouragement into "true piety
and holiness."  This approach successfully steers between the
Scylla of the extreme Cocceians' carnal frivolities, as well as
the Charybdis of the strict Voetians' grim legalism.
IV.  Conclusion
     Far from the dry and dusty scholastic which Turretin has
been portrayed as, we have seen that Turretin merged a scholastic
teaching style with a vigorous confessional theology and irenic
polemics, designed to unite the orthodox (including those whose
positions differed from his own) while keep out the heretics.  As
a textbook for students attempting to understand the issues
facing the churches in the late seventeenth century, the
Institutio is a masterpiece, both for clarity and for fairness. 
His articulation of an orthodox Reformed response to the Arminian
and Amyraldian challenges, as well as other intramural
discussions, is invaluable to understand how Reformed Covenant
Theology developed throughout the century.  
     Does Turretin succeed in maintaining traditional Reformed
orthodoxy, as Muller says, employing "the breadth of the
tradition and the techniques of scholasticism without detriment
to the original message of Protestantism"?  Is his doctrine of
the covenants an appropriate development of the Reformers?  Many
have suggested that Turretin failed, largely on the grounds that
Geneva rejected his program in favor of his son's "reasonable
orthodoxy," but is the fact that the entirety of Europe was in
the process of rejecting Reformed orthodoxy a valid argument
against it?  Most scholars have attempted to answer these
questions on the basis of purely theological and philosophical
issues, disregarding the historical context into which Turretin
was speaking.  This paper has only been able to address this
issue slightly, but further study into the social, political and
intellectual climate would doubtless support my conclusions. 
When seen in this light, Turretin appears to be much more of a
moderate and careful thinker, frustrated by many of the trivial
issues which exercised his contemporaries, who is attempting to
call a recalcitrant age to return to the ancient paths.  His
failure is not to be attributed to his theological orthodoxy, any
more than the Hebrew prophets failed because their message was
inappropriate for their times.  Rather, his audience, most
tragically his son, was unwilling to listen.Bibliography
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