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Of the Divine Covenants in general.

I. WHOEVER attempts to discourse on the subject and design of the Divine Covenants, by which eternal salvation is adjudged to man, on certain conditions equally worthy of God and the rational creature, ought, above all things, to have a sacred and inviolable regard to the heavenly oracles, and neither, through prejudice nor passion, intermix any thing, which he is not firmly persuaded is contained in the records, which hold forth these covenants to the world. For, if Zaleucus made it a condition to be observed by the contentious interpreters of his laws, "That each party should explain the meaning of the lawgiver, in the assembly of the thousand, with halters about their necks: and that what partysoever should appear to wrest the sense of the law, should, in the presence of the thousand, end their lives by the halter they wore:" as Polybius, a very grave author, relates in his history, book 12. c. 7. And if the Jews and Samaritans in. Egypt, each disputing about their temple, were admitted to plead before the king and his courtiers on this condition only; that "the advocates of either party, foiled in the dispute, should be punished with death," according to Josephus in VOL. I.



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 shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven." Mat. 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 happily 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,

, and the Greek in, 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, which, in Piel, signifies to cut dowh: because, as we shall presently observe, covenants were solemnly ratified by cutting or dividing animals asunder. It may also be derived from the same root in a very different signification: for, as a properly signifies to create; so, metaphorically, to ordain, or dispose, which is the meaning of διατίθεσθαι. And hence it is, that the Hellenist Jews make use of oxigen. то Certainly it is in this sense that Peter, I Pet. ii. 13. calls, power appointed by men, and for human purposes, angwan xtion, the ordinance of man; which, I think, Grotius has learnedly observed on the title of the New Testament. Others had rather derive it from 2, as from w, 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 n is variously taken in Scripture: sometimes improperly, and sometimes properly. Improperly, it denotes the following things. 1st. 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

is, that fixed ordinance made about the uninterrupted vicissi tude of day and night; which, chap. 31. v. 36. is called P, 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

by a עילם היא לחם עילם בדית מלח daughters with thee


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, and the Greek dan may lead us. 2dly, A sure and stable promise, though not mutual, Exod. xxxiv. 10." Behold I make a covenant; before all thy people I will do marvels." Isa. lix. 21. "this is my covenant with them, my spirit shall not depart from them." 3dly, 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, Escol, and Aner, 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. xviii. 2. And of this kind is likewise that which we are now to treat of between God and Man.

IV. No less equivocal is the dann 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 Pethagoreans denominated the rules of living, prescribed to their pupils, according to Grotius. It also of ten signifies an engagement or agreement; wherefore Hesychius explains it by eva, confederacy. There is none of these significations but will be of future use in the progress

of this work.

n', to

V. Making a covenant, the Hebrews call, strike a covenant, in the same manner as the Greeks and Latins, ferire, icere, percutere fœdus. Which doubtless took its rise from the ancient ceremony of slaying animals, by

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which covenants were ratified. Of which rite we observe very ancient traces, Gen. chap. 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 Cynathenses, "over the slaughtered victims they took a solemn oath, and plighted faith to each other" a phrase plainly similar to what God uses, Psalm 1. 5. " 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 on Matt. xxvi. 28. and Bochart in his Hierozoicon, book ii. c. xxxiii. p. 325. and Ouwen's Theologum, book iii. c. i. 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 have made a great feast and to have eat with them, Gen. xxvi. 30. 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 Sam. iii. 20. Where 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 mcat 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 1. "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 trictest ties of religion, and by a solemn oath, they formed



but one body, as Vatablus has remarked on Gen. xv. 1c. 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, 2 Cor. i. 20. His blood is the blood of the New-Testament, Matth. xxvi. 28. 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 covenanted were admitted before the Lord, especially that instituted by the Lord Jesus, under the New Testament, do most effectually seal or ratify that intimate communion and fellowship there is between Christ and believers.

VIII. There are learned men, who from this rite would explain that phrase, which we have, Numb. xviii. 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 regard to be here had to the firmness of salt, by which it resists putrefaction 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. 31. c. 7.

IX. Having premised these things in general about terms of at, let us now enquire unto the thing itself, viz. the nature of the covenant of God with man; which I thus define, A covenant of God with man, is an agreement between 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

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