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Anne Hutchinson
by [?]

All theological dogmas, at the base, have in them a germ of truth. The danger lies in making words concrete and building a structure upon grammar.

Covenant of Grace and Covenant of Works are both true, but the first is sublimely true, while the second is true relatively. Both phrases come from Saint Paul, who was the very prince of theological quibblers. Covenant of Grace means that if you have the grace of God in your heart, your life will justify itself; that is, if you are filled with the spirit of good, inspired by right intent, and possess a firm faith that you are the child of God, and God has actually entered into a covenant with you to bless, benefit and protect you here and hereafter. Also, that under these conditions you can really do no sin. You may make mistakes, but this divine covenant that is yours transforms even your lapses, blemishes, blunders, errors and sins into blessings, so that in the end only the good is yours.

When you have gotten your mind and soul into right relationship with God or the Divine Spirit, you do not have to seek, strive, struggle, or painstakingly select and decide as to your actions. God’s spirit acting through you makes you immune from harm and wrong. Your mind being right, your actions must of necessity be right, because an act is but a thought in motion.

So, enter into the Covenant of Grace–make a bargain with God that you will keep your being free from wrong thought–lie low in His hand. Let His spirit play through you, relax, cease wrestling for a blessing, and realize that you already have it. Then for you all of the harassing details of life become simplified. What you shall say, what you shall do, how you shall dress, what the particular actions of the day shall be–all are as naught. Life becomes automatic, divinely so, and regulates itself if you but have the Covenant of Grace.

The opposite view is the Covenant of Works. That is, you make an agreement with God that you will obey His will; that you will control and guard your “work,” or actions; that your conduct will be correct. Conduct then becomes the vital thing, not thought. By a “work” was meant a deed, and you got God’s assurance in your heart of salvation through the propriety of your acts. Turner painted painstakingly before he acquired the broad and general sweep. Washington, Franklin and Lincoln, all in youth, compiled lists of good actions and bad ones.

People in this stage set down lists of things which they should not do, and also lists of things they should do. Young people usually make lists of things they want to do, but must not. This stage compares with the stage of realism in art. You must be realistic before you become impressionistic. They want God’s favor, they wish Him to smile upon them, and so they are feverishly intent on doing only the things of which He approves. Likewise they are fearful of doing the things of which He disapproves.

Moses made a list of seven things the children of Israel must not do, and three things they must do; and these we call the Ten Commandments.

The question of Covenant of Grace or Covenant of Works is a very old one, and it is not settled yet. It goes forever with a certain type of mind. Our criminal laws punish for the act–magistrates consider the deed. And it is only a few years ago since a judge in America focused the world’s attention upon himself by refusing to punish delinquent children brought before him for their deeds. He organized the Juvenile Court, the sole intent of which is not to punish for the act, but to go back of this and find out why this child committed the act, and then remove the cause. And in doing this Judge Lindsey had to become a lawbreaker himself, for he often violated his oath of office by refusing to enforce the law where a specific punishment was provided for a specific offense.