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Although I ,ואנכי בעלתי בם ,dering the words in the prophet
, * I was a husband to them,' as we shall see. Howbeit many learned men have exceedingly perplexed themselves and others, in attempting a reconciliation between these passages or expressions, because they seem to be of a direct contrary sense and import. 1 shall therefore premise some things which abate and take off from the weight of this difficulty, and then give the true solution of it. And to the first end we may observe,
1. That nothing of the main controversy, nothing of the substance of the truth, which the apostle proves and confirms by this testimony, doth any way depend on the precise signification of these words. They are but occasional as to the principal design of the whole promise, and therefore the sense of it doth not depend on their signification. And in such cases liberty in the variety of expositions may be safely used.
2. Take the two different senses which the words as commonly translated do present, and there is nothing of contradiction, or indeed the least disagreement between them. For the words, as we have translated them in the prophet, express an aggravation of the sin of the people. They broke my covenant, although I was' (that is, therein) ' a husband to them," exercising singular kindness and care towards them. And as they are rendered by the apostle, they express the effect of that sin so aggravated. He regarded them not ;' that is, with the same tenderness as formerly; for he refused to go with them as before, and exercised severity towards them in the wilderness until they were consumed. Each way the design is, to shew that the covenant was broken by them, and that they were dealt withal accordingly.
But expositors do find or make great difficulties herein. It is generally supposed, that the apostle followed the translation of the LXX. in the present copy whereof the words are so expressed; but how they came to render bya, by museanca, they are not agreed. Some say the original copies might differ in some letters from those we now enjoy. Therefore it is thought
, , , , • I neglected or loathed them. And those who speak most modestly, suppose that the copy which the LXX. made use of, had one of these words instead of hya, which yet is the truer reading. And because this did not belong to the substance of the argument which he had in hand, the apostle would not depart from that translation which was then in use amongst the Hellenistical Jews.
But the best of these conjectures are uncertain, and some of them by no means to be admitted. Uncertain it is that the apostle made any of his quotations out of the translation of the LXX.; yea, the contrary is certain enough, and easily demonstrated. Neither did he write this Epistle unto the liellenisti
cal Jews, or those who lived in or belonged unto their dispersions, wherein they made use of the Greek tongue, but unto the inhabitants of Jerusalem and Judea, principally and in the first place, who made no use of that translation. He expressed the mind of the Scripture, as he was directed by the Holy Ghost, in words of his own. And the coincidence of these words with those in the present copies of the LXX. hath been accounted for in our Exercitations.
Dangerous it is, as well as untrue, to allow of alterations in the original text, and then upon our conjectures, to supply other words into it, than what are contained in it. This is not to explain, but to corrupt the Scripture. Wherefore one learned man (Pocock. in Miscellan.) hath endeavoured to prove, that wyz, by all rules of interpretation, in this place must signify 'to despise and neglect,' and ought to have been so translated. And this he confirins from the use of it in the Arabic language. The reader may find it in the place referred to, with great satisfaction.
My apprehensions are grounded on what I have before observed and proved. The apostle, neither in this, nor in any other place, doth bind up himself precisely unto the translation of the words, but infallibly gives us the sense and meaning, and so he hath done in this place. For whereas bya signifies ' a husband,' or to be a husband, or a !ord, a being added unto it in construction, as it is here, anys, it is as much as jure usus suin maritali, 'I exercised the right, power and authority of a husband towards them,' «I dealt with them as a husband with a wife that breaketh covenant;' that is, saith the apostle, * I regarded then not,' with the love, tenderness and affection of a husband. So he dealt indeed with that generation which so suddenly brake covenant with him. He provided no more for them as unto the enjoyment of the inheritance; he took them not home unto him in his habitation, his resting place in the land of promise, but he suffered them all to wander, and bear their whoredoms in the wilderness, until they were consumed. So did God exercise the right, and power, and authority, of a husband towards a wife that had broken covenant. Anal herein, as in many other things in that dispensation, did God give a representation of the nature of the covenant of works, and the issue of it.
Thirdly, There is a confirmation of the truth of these things in that expression, noyu Kvęsos, saith the Lord.' This assertion is not to be extended unto the whole matter, or the promise of the introduction of the new covenant. For that is secured with the same expression, ver. 8. Xsyti Kugios, saith the Lord.' But it bath a peculiar vagas in it, being added in the close of the words, 1711x), and respects only the sin of the people, and God's dealing with them thereon. And this manifests the meaning of the preceding words, to be God's severity towards them. • I used the authority of a husband, I regarded them not as a wife any more, saith the Lord.' Now, God thus uttereth his severity towards them, that they might consider how he will deal with all those who despise, break, or neglect his covenant. • So,' saith he, I dealt with them, and so shall I deal with others who offend in a like manner. This was the issue of things with them, with whom the first covenant was made. They received it, entered solemnly into the bonds of it, took upon themselves expressly the performance of its terms and conditions, were sprinkled with the blood of it, but they continued not in it, and were dealt withal accordingly. God used the right and authority of a husband with whom a wife breaketh covenant: he neglected them, shut them out of his house, he deprived them of their dowry or inheritance, and slew them in the wilderness.
On this declaration, God promiseth to make another covenant with them, wherein all these evils should be prevented. This is the covenant which the apostle designs to prove better and more excellent than the former. And this he doth principally from the mediator and surety of it, compared with the Aaronical priests, whose office and service belonged wholly unto the administration of that first covenant. And he confirms it also from the nature of this covenant itself, especially with respect unto its efficacy and duration. And hereunto this testimony is express, evidencing how this covenant is everlasting, by the grace administered in it, preventive of that evil issue to which the former came by the sin of the people. Hence, he says of it, * *«TH TWV, not according unto it,' a covenant agreeing with the former neither in promises, efficacy nor duration. For what is principally promised here, namely, the giving of a new heart, Moses expressly affirms, that it was not done in the administration of the first covenant. It is neither a renovation of that covenant, nor a reformation of it, but a covenant utterly of another nature, by the introduction and establishment of which, that other was to be abolished, abrogated and taken away, with all the divine worship and service which was peculiar thereunto. And this was that which the apostle principally designed to prove and convince the Hebrews of. And from the whole we may observe sundry things.
Obs. VII. No covenant between God and man ever was, or ever could be stable and effectual as unto the ends of it, that was not made and confirmed in Christ.-God first made a covenant with us in Adam. Then there was nothing but the mere defectibility of our natures as we were creatures, that could render it ineffectual. And from thence did its failure roceed. In bim we all sinned, by breach of covenant. The P
of God had not then inter posed himself, nor undertaken
on our behalf. The apostle tells us, that in him all things consist; without him, they have no consistency, no stability, no duration. So was this other covenant immediately broken. It was not confirmed by the blood of Christ. And those who suppose, that the efficacy and stability of the present covenant doth depend solely on our own will and diligence, had need not only to assert our nature free from that depravation which it was brought under when this covenant was broken, but also from that defectibility that was in it before we fell in Adam. And such as, neglecting the interposition of Christ, do betake themselves unto imaginations of this kind, surely know little of themselves, and less of God.
Obs. VIII. No external administration of a covenant of God's own making, no obligation of mercy on the minds of men, can enable them unto stedfastness in covenant obedience, without an effectual influence of grace from and by Jesus Christ.–For we shall see in the next verses, that this is the only provision which is made in the wisdom of God, to render us stedfast in obedience, and to render his covenant effectual unto us.
Obs. IX. God, in making a covenant with any, in proposing the terms of it, retains his right and authority to deal with per. sons according to their deportment in and towards that covenant. They brake my covenant, and I regarded them not.
Obs. X. God's casting men out of his special care upon the breach of his covenant, is the highest judgment that in this world can fall on any persons.
And we are concerned in all these things. For although the covenant of grace be stable and effectual unto all who are really partakers of it, yet as unto its external administration, and our entering into it by a visible profession, it may be broken, unto the temporal and eternal ruin of persons and whole churches. Take heed of the golden calf. VER. 10-12.-Οτι αύτη και διαθηκη, ήν διαθησομαι των οικω Ισραηλ
μέλα της ημερας εκεινας, λέγει Κυριος, διδους νομους μον εις την drevosur αυτων, και επι καρδιας αυτων επιγραψω αυτους και ισομαι αυτοις εις Θεον, και αυτοι ισονlαι μοι εις λαον. Και ου μη διδαξωση έκαστος τον αδελφον αυτον, λυγων: Γνωθι τον Κυριον: οτι παντας ειδησoυσι με, απο μικρου αυτων έως μεγαλου αντων· ότι έλιως εσομαι ταις αδικιαις αυτών, και των αμαρτιων αυτών, και των ανομιών αυτών, ου μη μνησθω
The design of the apostle, or what is the general argument which he is in pursuit of, must still be born in mind, while considering the testimonies which he produceth in the confirmation of it. His design is to prove, that the Lord Christ is the mediator and surety of a better covenant, than that wherein the service of God was managed by the high priests according to the law. For hence it follows, that his priesthood is greater · Vol. VI.
and far more excellent than theirs. To this end he doth not only prove that God promised to make such a covenant, but al. so declares the nature and properties of it, in the words of the prophet. And so, by comparing it with the former covenant, he manifests its excellency above it. In particular, in this testimony, the
imperfection of that covenant is demonstrated from its issue. For it did not effectually maintain peace and mutual love between God and the people ; but being broken by them, they were thereon rejected of God. This rendered all the other benefits and advantages of it, useless. Wherefore, the apostle insists from the prophet, on those properties, of this other covenant, which infallibly prevent the like issue, securing the people's obedience for ever, and so the love and relation of God unto them as their God,
Wherefore, these three verses give us a description of that covenant whereof the Lord Christ is the mediator and surety, not absolutely and entirely, but as unto those properties and effects of it, wherein it differs from the former, so as infallibly to secure the covenant relation between God and the people, That covenant was broken, but this shall never be broken, because provision is made in the covenant itself against any such event.
And we may consider in the words, 1. The particle of introduction órı, answering to the Hebrew
2. The subject spoken of, which is doc.taxn, with the way of making it, ky draw noopers, which I will make.'
3. The author of it, the Lord Jehovah ;-I will, saith the Lord.
4. Those with whom it was to be made,--the house of Israel. 5. The time of making it,- after those days. 6. The properties, privileges, and benefits of this covenant, wbich are of two sorts.
First, Of sanctifying, inherent grace; described by a double consequent.
1. Of God's relation unto them, and theirs to him ;-I will be their God, and they shall be my people, ver. 10.
2. Of their advantage thereby, without the use of such other aids as formerly they stood in need of, ver. 11.
Secondly, of relative grace, in the pardon of their sins, ver. 12. And sundry things of great weight will fall into consideration under these several heads. Ver. 10.-For this is the covenant that I will make with the
house of Israel, After those days, saith the Lord, I will give my laws into their mind, and write them upon their hearts : and
I will be unto them a God, and they shall be to me a people. First, The introduction of the declaration of the new cove.