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Respecting the character and relative state of ABRAHAM, prior to God's estaba
lishing with him that covenant, which is generally called the Covenant of Cir-
CHAPTER VIL som
Containing several interefting deductions and addrefles. .
Respecting the different significations of the word Covenant, as .
it is used in the scripture.
As we professedly design to examine the cove. nant of circumcision, as the constitutional basis of the Hebrew community, and shall have occasion to consider wherein it differs from other covenants with which it stands connected; it may aid us in our en. quiries and guard us from error, to notice, in the first place, the different significations of the term covenant, as it is used in the holy scripture.
.1. The word covenant is used in many parts of the scripture to express an absolute or unconditional proma ise. It is evidently used in this sense, in the 9th chap. of Gen. 8th verse, and onward. “And God spake unto Noah and his sons with him, saying, And I, be. hold, I establish my covenant with you, and your seed after you, and with every living creature that is with you, of the fowl, of the cattle, of every beast of the earth, and I will establish my covenant with you, nei. ther shall all flesh bé cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there be any more a flood to destroy the earth. And God said, this is the token of the covenant, which I make between me and you, and every living creature that is with you for perpetual generations. I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a token of a covenant between me and the earth. And it shall come to pass when I bring a cloud over the earth, the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will remember my covenant which is between me and you and all flesh, and the waters shall no more become a food to destroy all flesh.” Here is no condition.The engagement respects the irrational animals, as well as human beings, and is therefore absolute. No impiety on the part of man can make the engagement void.
The word covenant has evidently the sanie signification in the promise which God makes to David, as ex. pressed in the 89th Psalm, from the 20th verșe, and onward. This passage, because it not only confirms the idea, that the word covenant sometimes means an unconditional promise, but reflects light on our main subject, I shall quote at large. “I have found David my servant, with my holy oil have I anointed him.With whom my hand shall be established; mine arm also shall strengthen himo | The enemy also shall not exact upon him, nor the son of wickedness afflict him. And I will 'beat down his foes before his face, and plague them that hate him. But my faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him, and in my name shall his horn be exalted. I will set his hand also in the sea, and his right hand in the rivers. He shall cry unto me, Thou art my father, my God, and the rock of my salvation. Also I will make him my first born, higher than the kings of the earth. My mercy will I keep with him forever more, and my covenant shall forever stand fast with him. His seed also will I make to endure forever, and his throne as the days of heaven.' If his children forsake my law; and walk not in my judgments, if they break my statutes and keep not my commandments; then will I visit their transgressions with a rod, and their iniquity with stripes. Nevertheless, my loving kindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail. My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that has gone out of my lips. Once have sworne by my holiness, that I will not lie unto David. His seed shall endure forever as the moon, and as a faithful witness in heaven.” Here are several promises wrought into this covenant. They had an ultimate respect to the Mes." siah, the root and the offspring of David; his Lord and heir ; God's first born. They are of the same tenori and are, as is plain from the terms in which they are expressed, and from the nature of the purpose which they reveal, absolute. David indeed complains, in the following verses, as though they were made void ; but