CHAP. IIII. Of the word Covenant, and of the na∣ture of a Covenant, and the agree∣ment and difference betweene the old and new Covenant.
THe second thing which comes to be considered, is the Cove∣nant betweene God and Man; where we are to shew what the word Cove∣nant signifieth, what is the nature of Page 39 a Covenant, and the agreement and difference between the Old and New Covenant. The word Covenant, in our English tongue, signifieth, as we all know, a mutuall promise, bargaine and Obligation betweene two par∣ties, and so likewise doth the Hebrew word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, and the Greek word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, signifie most commonly: But the derivation of the Hebrew word, and of the Greeke, is of speciall use, to shew the nature of the Covenant which they principally signifie, and what speciall things are therein re∣quired. I will therefore first insist upon it a little. Secondly, I will shew the severall sorts of Covenants which the words signifie, and will briefly describe all the Covenants betweene God and Men. Thirdly, out of the severall descriptions I will gather the agreement and difference betweene the Old and the New Co∣venant. And lastly, I will make some use and application of these conside∣rations to our selves.
First the derivation of the words of it, if it be rightly considered, may Page 40 give us great light. The Hebrew word Berith, is of some derived from 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Barar, to purifie, and to purge out Drosse, Chaffe, and all uncleannesse, and to choose out, and separate the pure from the impure, the gold and silver from the drosse, and the pure Wheate from the Chaffe. The rea∣sons of this derivation, are two. One, because God, in making the Cove∣nant of naturall life, did choose out man especially with whom he would make the Covenant. And in the Covenant of Grace he doth chuse out the multitude of the Elect, even his Church and faithfull people, whom he did separate by Predestina∣tion, and Election, from all eternity, to be an holy people to himselfe in Christ. The other reason is, because in a true, and lawfull Covenant, both parties must be of pure hearts, free from all deceit and Sophistry, and must deale faithfully, and meane plainely and sincerely in every point and article.
Others derive the word Berith of 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Bera, which signifieth both to Page 41 Elect or choose, and also to divide or cut asunder. The reasons wch they give, are two. The first, because Co∣venants are not made but betweene choise persons, chosen out one by an∣other, and about choise matters, and upon choise conditions, chosen out and agreed upon by both parties. The second, because God made the first Covenant of Grace, and sealed it by sacrifices of Beasts, slain, divided, and cut asunder, and the choise fat and other parts offered upon the Altar; and in making of great and solemne Covenants, men in Old time were wont to kill and cut asunder sacrifi∣ced Beasts, and to passe betweene the parts divided, for a solemne testimo∣ny, Gen. 15. 17. and Ier. 34. 18▪ Others derive the word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 of 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 which signifieth to eate and refresh ones selfe with meate, whereof there is some reason, to wit, Because the Old Covenant of God, made with Man in the Creation, was a Cove∣nant wherein the Condition or Law was about eating; That Man should eate of all Trees and Fruits, except of Page 42 the Tree of Knowledge of good and evill. And in the solemne making and scaling of the Covenant of Grace in Christ the blessed Seed, the publique Ceremony was slaying and sacrificing of Beasts, and eating some part of them, after the fat and choise parts were offered up and burnt on the Altar. For God by vertue of that Covenant gave Man leave to eat the flesh of Beasts, which hee might not doe in the state of innocency, be∣ing limited to Fruits of Trees, and Hearbes bearing Seed, for his meate, Gen. 1. 29. So also in solemne Cove∣nants betweene men, the parties were wont to eate together; as appeares, Gen. 31. 46.
To these, two other derivations may be added; one, that Berith may be derived of 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 which signifieth to create, whereof there is good reason; to wit, because the first state of creati∣on was confirmed by the Covenant which God made with Man, and all creatures were to be upheld by means of observing of the Law and Condi∣tion of that Covenant. And that Co∣venant Page 43 being broken by Man, the world made subject to ruine, is up∣held, yea, and as it were created a∣new by the Covenant of Grace in Christ.
The other derivation is of the Hebrew word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 which signifieth fat: because in the Covenant of Grace, God promiseth to Man the fat of Heaven, and of the Earth, that is, the most excellent blessings which Heaven and Earth can afford: and Man offereth up to God the fat of his soul, & of all his goods, that is, the most precious things which he hath, besides the sweet and most excellent and precious sacrifice which Christ offers up for him to God.
These are the divers derivations of the word Berith, which I have ob∣served out of the writings of the lear∣ned, to which I have added these two last.
And because this word doth well agree with the sound and significati∣on of all the words of which it is de∣rived by severall learned men, so that if wee should make choise of any one Page 44 derivation, we might seeme to reject and despise others which stand with as good reason; I hold it th• safest and surest way to account of this word, as of a speciall word invented and given by the Spirit of God him∣self, who sees and knowes all circum∣stances of every thing at once, and that it is purposely framed out of all the words before named, and includes in it the sum of them all, being, as it were, the quintessence of them all di∣stilled together into one perfect sense. And howsoever it may seeme strange to some, at the first blush, that one word should be derived of ma∣ny, and receive a mixt signification from them all; yet if they better consi∣der it, they shall see good reason for it, and shall finde that it is no rare thing in holy▪ Scripture, for one word to signifie in one place divers things, and one word to be derived of many, and to borrow the severall significa∣tions of them all.
The proper name of the Prophet Samuel, is derived of foure Hebrew words, the first Shaal, which signi∣fies Page 45 to Aske; the second Hu, which signifies Him; the third Min, which signifies Of; the fourth El, which sig∣nifies God, And it is said, 1 Sam. 1. 20. that his Mother called him She∣muel, that is, one asked of God, be∣cause shee said, I asked him of the Lord. So the Prophet Isaiah called his sonne by Gods appointment Sheariashub, wch is derived of seve∣rall words which signifie, A remnant shall returne. And the Prophet Iere∣my, by inspiration of Gods Spirit, told Pashur the persecuting Priest, that his name should be Magormissa∣bib, terrour round about, or on eve∣ry side, because the Lord would make him a terrour to himselfe, Ier. 20. 3. Now if one name may by the testimo∣ny of Gods Spirt be derived of di∣vers words, and borrow a mixt sense from them all, as the word Samuel, which is derived or compounded of foure words, and doth hold the signification of them all, though it includes but one letter of some of them; much more may wee thinke that the word Berith is derived of all Page 46 the words before named, and in∣cludes in it the sense and signification of them all, as well as it includes a syllable at least of every one of them; this is one strong and invincible rea∣son. Secondly, wee have good rea∣sons of every derivation, as I have al∣ready shewed. Thirdly, the deriving of the word, from all, and not from one onely, doth reconcile in one, all the severall opinions of the Learned, and justifies their several derivations, without rejecting, or offering any wrong, or disgrace to any. Fourth∣ly, the Greeke word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, by which the Septuagint in their Greeke translation doe expresse the Hebrew word Berith, and which the Evange∣lists and Apostles in the New Testa∣ment doe use to signifie a Covenant, is derived of the Greeke word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, which hath divers of the significations of the Hebrew words, of which Berith is derived; for it sig∣nifies, to set things in order and frame, to appoint orders, and make Lawes, to pacifie and make satisfa∣ction, and to dispose things by ones Page 47 last Will and Testament. Now to compose and set things in order, is to uphold the Creation; to walke by Orders & Lawes made & appointed, is to walk by rule, & to live & to deal plainely, and faithfully, without de∣ceit. To pacifie and make satisfacti∣on includes sacrifices and sinne-offe∣rings. To dispose by Will and Te∣stament, implies choice of persons and gifts; for men doe by Will give their best and most choise goods to their most deare and most choise friends. Thus the Greeke which the Apostles use in the New Testa∣ment to signifie a Covenant, to ex∣presse the Hebrew word Berith, wch is used in the Law and the Prophets, doth confirme our derivation of it from all the words before named. And this derivation of the Hebrew and Greeke names of a Covenant being thus laid downe and confir∣med by these reasons, is of great use:
First, to shew unto us the full signi∣fication of the word Covenant, and what the nature of a Covenant is in generall.
Page 48Secondly, to justifie the divers ac∣ceptations of the Word, and to shew the nature of every word in particu∣lar; and so to make way for the knowledge of the agreement, and dif∣ference betweene the Old and New Covenant.
First, there we see that this Word signifies all Covenants in generall, both Gods Covenant with men, and also the covenants which men make among themselves. For there is no∣thing in any true Covenant, which is not comprised in the signification of this Word▪ being expounded accor∣ding to the former derivations.
Heere also we see what is the na∣ture of a Covenant in generall, and what things are thereunto required.
First, every true Covenant presup∣poseth a division, or separation.
Secondly, it comprehends in it a mutuall promising, and binding be∣tweene two distinct parties.
Thirdly, there must be faithfull dealing, without fraud, or dissem∣bling, on both sides.
Fourthly, this must be betweeene choice persons.
Page 49Fiftly, it must be about choyce matters, and upon choice conditions, agreed upon by both.
Sixtly, it must tend to the well-or∣dering and composing of things be∣tweene them. All these are manifest by the significations of the words from which Berith is derived. But I hold it not so needfull to stand up∣on the nature of a Covenant in gene∣rall. I therefore come with speed to the divers acceptations of the Word, and to the description of every speci∣all, and particular Covenant, which is needfull to be knowne of us.