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those covenanters who joined with him at this time: They made a thorough separation from those idolaters who worshipped the golden calf. When the service of God cannot be carried on in connection with backsliders, then persons, who have a conscience, must make a choice, Whether they will part with their duty, and a good conscience, or with their companions : And they are at no lofs what part to choose.
to describe, --The Parties of this Covenant. -The Parts of it. -The Occasions of it. -And, its Confirmations. We shall dwell a little on each of these ; and then subjoin a few Reflections on the whole.
FIRST, We shall attend imto the PARTIES of this Covenant : And Mofes was instructed to make it with Israel;
1. In the name of the LORD THEIR GOD: « That thou shouldst enter into covenant withi THE LORD THY GOD*."
* Deut. xxix. 12.
X x 2
2. The other party is declared to be fuch as stood before the Lord that day, with the generations to come, represented by them. They are distributed into the following classes:
- "Your CAPTAINS of your tribes *.” So our translation has it. I find it otherwise rendered by Ainsworth: He translates it, “ Your HEADs of your tribes t : And I find the same term rendered HEADS in a parallel text: “ And with you there shall be a man of
tribe : every one IIEAD of the house of his fathers 1." They are also styled PRINCES. Says a modern author,“ Thefe Princes were chief captains, or generals, in time of war; and chief magifrates in time of peace: Not unļike Peers of the realm, and Lords-Lieutenants of the county G.” These persons were the highest order in the civil ftate; but not too high to fubmit to God's yoke.--" Your ELDERS ||.” There is
* Deut. xxix, 10.
Mumb. i. 4. W87. s In Numb. vii. 2. They are ituled Princes. See Lowman on the civil government of the llebrews, p. 74.
Etiam Sigonium de Repub. Hcb. Lib. VII. cap. v.
|| Deut. xxix. 10. apr. This order of persons is free quently mentioned in Old Testament history. Abraham had an officer, who bore this description, in his faznily, Gen xxiv. 2. Our translation styles lim, “The cideft fervant in his family;" and not improperly. Pharaoh had a servant of this kind likeways, Gen. I. 7. There were not only domeftic, but also elders, belonging to larger focieties, whether cities or coinmonwealths.
more difficulty in this term than the former one.
It was first intended to denote persons of advanced age ; but it is more frequently expressive of an office, whether in family, church, or commonwealth. The Church was, by this time, changed from her domestic to her congregational state : Hence, I am apt to conclude, that the term denotes both civil and ecclefiaftical rulers. Your OFFICERS *." As for the officers, “they were (says a moriern author), according to the account given of them by Maimonides and the Rabbins, much like those whom the Roinan law calls OFFICI. ALES, and EXECU TOREs, and the New Teitament OFFICERS, who attended the cort, to keep the people in order, with a staff and a whip; and to execute the orders and decrees of the judges t."--A fourth class are, “All the MEN of Israel :" That is, all the males which belonged unto the congregation, who were obliged to attend the celebration of the
Of the former fort we read, Dent. xxv. 8. of the latter', Gen, 1. 7. Numb. xxii. 4. 7. Wherever the Church of God obtained, there were elders both civil and ccclefiaftic : Ifrael, in particular, had an ecclesiastic government, distinct froin the state. For proof this, the reader may, in the mean time, consult Gillespie's Aaron's Rod Bloftomning, Lib. I. cha;'. iii.
Leidekker de Repub. Hebræor. Lib. II. cap. vii, viii.
. + Sce JESSIXCS Antiquities, Vol. I. p. 36, 37. The subliance of which is taken from Fuller's Mifcella n. Lib. III. cap. xix. Johan. Nic. Not. in Sigon. Lib. VII. cap. vii.
folemn feasts.' The males may be mentioned
in this arrangement, as being next in dignity · unto the foriner class.- “ Your LITTLE
ONES.”. These are such little ones as the males covenanted for, even as they covenanted for them at circumcision; and as parents still covenant for their children at baptism." Your WIVES." Feniales, even such as were married, and had husbands to answer for them in civil things, were not exempted from this oath, as it was a religious one. Females have been exempted from oaths of allegiance, in all ages, and in all countries, unto civil rulers; but it was fit they should enter into this covenant not only in regard of their personal interest in it, but also as examples unto the Church in future times. This example was accordingly imitated in the days of Nehemiah; and deserves our imitation in succeeding times.Another class of covenanters are, Thy STRANGERS." These strangers were probably profelytes; and had received circumcision, the initiating seal of the Abrahamic covenant. Though these persons were bond
men, yet they were free to enter into the Lord's covenant; though they were the lowest rank in the commonwealth, yet not below God's notice.
In one word, This covenant was made with fucceeding, as well as with the present generation : “ Neither with you only do I make this covenant, and this oath: But with him that Standeth liere with us this day before the Lord