4. IT IS A PARTICULAR AND NOT A UNIVERSAL COVENANT. This means (a) that it will not be realized in all men, as some Universalists claim, and also that God did not intend that it should be realized in the lives of all, as Pelagians, Arminians, and Lutherans teach; (b) that even as an external covenant relation it does not extend to all those to whom the gospel is preached, for many of them are not willing to be incorporated in the covenant; and (c) that the offer of the covenant does not come to all, since there have been many individuals and even nations who were never made acquainted with the way of salvation. Some of the older Lutherans claim that the covenant may be called universal, because there have been periods in history when it was offered to the human race as a whole, as for instance, in Adam, in Noah and his family, and even in the days of the apostles. But there is no ground for making Adam and Noah representative recipients of the offer of the covenant; and the apostles certainly did not evangelize the whole world. Some Reformed theologians, as Musculus, Polanus, and Wollebius, and others, spoke of a foedus generale, in distinction from the foedus speciale ac sempiternum, but in doing this they had in mind the general covenant of God with all creatures, men and beasts, established by Noah. The New Testament dispensation of the covenant may be called universal in the sense that in it the covenant is extended to all nations, and is no more limited to the Jews, as it was in the old dispensation.


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