The transformation of Calvinism was not, as Perry Miller would have it, from a theology of unbridled, inscrutable divinity to that of the “chained God” of the covenant. The covenant or federal theology goes back beyond the Puritans, even byond Cocceius, to Calvin himself. The real transformation effected by eighteenth-century Puritan thought was the individualization of the covenant, the appropriation of a corporate Old Testament image to described what became essentially a private psychological event. As Peter Bulkley, a later Puritan cleric, so explicitly stated:
God conveys his salvation by way of covenant, and he doth it to those onely that are in covenant with him…this covenant must every soule enter into, every particular soule must enter into a particular covenant with God; out of this way there is no life.
Rather than God entering into covenant with His people Israel or with His redeemed Church and the individual participating in the covenant insofar as he is related to Israel or Church, under this new form of Calvinism, the individual makes a covenant with God directly; it is a one-on-one relationship. The influence on North American Protestantism of this theological shift has been enormous.
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