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his Antiquities, Book xiii. c. 6. Certainly he must be in greater peril, and liable to sorer destruction, who shall dare to pervert, by rashly wresting the sacred mysteries of the Divine Covenants; our Lord himself openly declaring, that “ whosoever shall break one of these least commandments, and thall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven,” Matt. v. 19. It is therefore, with a kind of sacred awe I undertake this work; praying God, that, laying aside every prejudice, I may demean myself a tractable disciple of the holy scriptures, and, with modesty, impart to my brethren, what I think I have learned from them: if hap. pily this my poor performance may serve to lessen the number of disputes, and help to clear up the truth; than which nothing should be accounted more valuable.
II. As it is by words, especially the words of those languages,
in which God was pleased to reveal his sacred mysteries to men, that we can, with hopes of success, come to the knowledge of things; it will be worth while, more accurately to enquire into the import both of the Hebrew word, ma, and the Greek diaInxn, which the holy Spirit makes use of on this subject. And first, we are to give the true etymology, and then the different significations of the Hebrew word. With respect to the former, the learned are not
. agreed: some derive it from 172, which, in Piel, signifies to cut down : because, as we shall presently observe, covenants were solemnly ratified by cutting or dividing animals asunder.
also be derived from the same 'root in a very different signification : for, as x42 properly signifies to create ; so, metaphorically, to ordain, or dispose, which is the meaning of diarideolas. Avd hence it is, that the Hellenist Jews make use of Toxi(ev. "Certainly it is in this sense that Peter, 1 Pet. ï. 13. calls izxora, poroer dppointed by men, and for human purposes, av@waimn xrisis, the ordinance of man; to which, I think, Grotius has learnedly observed on the title of the New Testament. Others had rather derive it from 1772, ás n'av from 77w, signifying, besides other things, to choose. And in covenants, especially of friendship, there is a choice of persons between whom, of things about which, and of condition upon which, a covenant is entered into: nor is this improperly observed
III. But noga is variously taken in scripture : sometimes improperly, and sonetimes properly. Improperly, it denotes the following things. Ist. An immutable ordinance made about a thing: In this sense God mentions his “ covenant of the day, and his covenant of the night,” Jer. xxxiii. 20. That
by a ,נילס היא לחם עילס ברית מלח daughters with thee
is, that fixed ordinance made about the uninterrupted vicissitude of day and night; which, chap. xxxi. 86. is called pr,
, that is, statute, limited, or fixed, which nothing is to be added to, or taken from. In this sense is included the notion of a testament, or of a last irrevocable, will. Thus God said, Numb. xviii. 19. “ I have given thee, and thy sons, and thy 'statute for ever, it is a covenant of salt for ever. This observation is of use, more fully to explain the nature of the covenant of grace, which the apostle proposes under the similitude of a testament, the execution of which depends upon the death of the testator, Heb. ix. 15, 16, 17 To which notion both the Hebrew 1702, and the Greek dia:Inxn may lead us 2dly. A sure and stable promise, though not mutual
, Exod. xxxiv. 10. “ Behold I make a covenant; 'before all thy peo ple I will do marvels.". Isa. lix. 21. “ This is my covenant with them, my Spirit shall not depart from them." Sdly. It signifies a precept, and to cut or make a covenant, is to give a precept, Jer. xxxiv. 13, 14. “ I made a covenant with your fathers-Saying, at the end of seven years, let ye go every man his brother." Hence appears in what sense the decalogue is called God's covenant. But properly, it signifies a mutual agreement between parties, with respect to something. Such a covenant passed between Abraham, Mamre, Eshcol, and Ader, who are called, confederates with Abraham, Gen. xiv. 13. Such also was that between Isaac and Abimelech, Gen. xxvi. 28, 29.: between Jonathan and David, 1 Sam. xvii. 3. And of this kind is likewise that which we are now to treat of between God and Man.
IV. No less equivocal is the dra. Inun of the Greeks: which, both singularly and plurally, very often denotes a testament: as Budæus shews, in his Comment. Ling. Græc. from Isocrates, Oeschines, Demosthenes, and others. In this sense, we hinted, it was used by the apostle, Heb. ix. 15. Sometimes also it denotes a law, which is a rule of life. For, the Orphici and Pythagoreans denominated the rules of living, prescribed to their pupils, according to Grotius. It also often signifies an engagement or agreement;
wherefore Hesychius explains it by owuosia, confederacy. There is none of these significations but will be of future use in the progress of this work.
V. Making a covenant, the Hebrews call, nata na, to strike a covenant, in the same pner as the Greeks and Latins, ferire, icere, percutere foedus. Which doubtless took its rise from the ancient ceremony of slaying animals, by
which arenants were ratified. Of which rite we observe very ancient traces, Gen. xv. 9, 10. This was either then first commanded by God, or borrowed from some extant custom.. Emphatical is what Polybius, Book iv. page 398. relates of the Cynæthenses, " over the slaughtered victims they took a solemn oaths and plighted faith to each other :" a phrase plainly similar to what God uses, Psalm 1.-5.6 those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice." They also used to pass in the middle between the divided parts of the victim cut asunder, Jer. xxxiv. 18. Whoever wants to know more about this rite, may consult Grotius o Matt. xxvi. 28. and Bochart in his Hierozoicon, Book äi. c. xxxiii. p. 325. and Ouwen's Theologum, Book üii. ai. It was likewise a custom, that agreements and compacts were ratified by solemn feasts. Examples of which are obvious in scripture. Thus Isaac, having made a covenant with Abimelech, is said to bave made a great feast, and to have eat with them, Gen. xxvi. 80. In like manner acted his son Jacob, after having made a covenant with Laban, Gen. XXXI. 54. We read of a like federal feast, 2 Sain. üi. 20. wbere a relation is given of the feast which David made for Abner and his attendants, who came to make a covenant with him in the name of the people. It was also customary among the heathen, as the learned Stuckius shews in his Antiquitates Convivales, lib. I. c. xl.
VI. Nor were these rites without their significancy : the cutting the animals asunder, denoted, that, in the same manner, the perjured and covenant-breakers should be cut asunder, by the vengeance of God. And to this purpose is what God says, Jer. xxxiv. 18, 19, 20. “ And I will give the men that have transgressed my covenant, which have not performed the words of the covenant, which they had made before me, when they cut the calf in twain, and passed between the parts thereof. I will even give them into the hands of their enemies, and their dead bodies shall be for meat unto the fowls of the heaven, and to the beasts of the earth.” See 1 Sam. xi. 7. An ancient form of these execrations is extant in Livy, Book i. “ The Roman people do not among the first break these conditions; but if they should avowedly, and through treachery, break them, do thou, O Jupiter, on that day, thus strike the Roman people, as I do now this hog; and be the stroke the heavier, as thy power is the greater." By the ceremony of the confederates passing between the parts cut asunder, was signified, that being now united by the strictest ties of religion, and by a solemn oath, they formed but one body, as Vatablus
has remarked op Gen, xv. 10. These feasts were tokens of a sincere and lasting friendship.
VII. But when God in the solemnities of his covenants with men, thought proper to use these, or the like rites, the significancy was still more noble and divine. They who made covenant with God by sacrifice, not only submitted to punishment, if impiously revolting from God, they slighted his covenant; but God likewise signified to them, that all the stability of the covenant of grace was founded on the sacrifice of Christ, and that the soul and body of Christ were one day to be violently separated asunder. All the promises of God in him are yea, and in him amen, % Cor. i. 20. His blood is the blood of the New Testament, Matt. xxvi. 48. in a far more excellent manner than that with which Moses sprinkled both the altar and the people entered into covenant, Exod. xxiv. 8. Those sacred banquets, to which the cove nanted were admitted before, the Lord, especially that inatituted by the Lord Jesus, under the New Testament, do most effectually seal or ratify that intimate communiop and fellow. ship there is between Christ and believers.
VIII. There are learned men, who from this rite would explain that phrase, which we bave, Numb, xviji 19. and 2 Chron. xiv. 5. of “ a covenant of salt," that is, of a covenant of friendship, of a stable and perpetual nature. Which seems to be so denominated, because salt was usually made use of in sacrifices to signify that the covenant was made sure upon observing the customary rites, says Rivet on Genesis, Exercit. 136. Unless we would rather suppose, a pegard to be here had to the firmness of salt, by which it resists putre faction and corruption, and therefore prolongs the duration of things, and in a manner renders them everlasting. For that reason, Lot's wife is thought to have been turned to a pillar of salt: not so much, as Augustin remarks, to be for a seasoning to us, as a lasting and perpetual monument of the divine judgment. For all salt is not subject to melting : Pliny says, that some Arabs build walls and houses of blocks of salt, and cement them with water, Nat. Hist. L. xxxi. c.7.
IX. Having premised these things in general about terms of art, let us now enquire into the thing itself, viz. the nature of the covenant of God with man; which I thue define : A covenant of God with man, is an agreement bet yeen God and man, about the way of obtaining consummate happiness including a commination of eternal destruction, with which the contemner of the happiness, offered in that way, is to be punished.
X. The covenant does, on the part of God, comprize three things in general. Ist. A promise of consummate happiness in eternal life. 2dly. A designation and prescription of the condition, by the performance of which, man acquires a right to the promisc. Sdly. A penal sanction against those, who do not come up to the prescribed condition. All these things regard the whole man, or aroxangos, in Paul's phrase, as consisting of soul and body. God's promise of liappiness is to each part, be requires the sanctification of each, and threatens each with destruction. And so this covenant makes God appear glorious in the whole man.
XI. To engage in such a covenant with the rational creature, formed after the divine image, is entirely worthy of, and by no means unbecoming of God. For it was impossible but God should propose himself to the rational creature, as a pattern of holiness, in conformity to which he ought to frame himself and all his actions, carefully keeping, and always exerting the activity of that original righteousness, which he was, from his very origin, endowed with. God cannot but bind man to love, worship, and seek him, as the chief good; bor is it conceivable, how God should require man to love and seek him, and yet refuse to be found by man, loving, seeking, and esteeming him as his chief good, longing, hungering, and thirsting, after him alone. Who can conceive it to be worthy of God, that he should thus say to man, I am willing that thou seekest me only; but on condition of nerer finding me: to be ardently longed for above every thing else, with the greatest hunger and thirst; but yet, never to be satisfied. And the justice of God no less requires, that man, upon rejecting the happiness, offered on the most equitable terms, should be punished with the privation of it, and likewise incur the severest indignation of God, whom he has despised. Whence it appears, that from the very consideration of the divine perfections, it may be fairly deduced, that he has prescribed a certain law to map, as the condition of enjoying happiness, which consists in the fruition of God; enforced with the threatening of a curse against the rebel. In which we have just now said, that the whole of the covenant consisted. But of each of these we shall bave fuller scope to speak hereafter.
XII. Thus far, we have considered the one party of the covenant of God: man becomes the other, when he consents thereto, embracing the good promised by God, engaging to an exact observance of the condition required; and upon the violation thereof, voluntarily owning himself obnoxious to