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MOST EXCELLENT NAME
The defign of the Scripture names in general proved, and of this NAME in particular shewn.
HAT all names were at firft intended to convey to the human mind defcriptions of perfons, places or things, by denoting some distinguishing property or condition of being or character they had, or were to be poffeffed of, is to be proved from the very nature of a perfect language, and from the matter of fact. From the nature of language this is clearly deducible.
For language is nothing more than the medium by which the foul may have ideas of perfons and places and things communicated to it, which words could not poffibly do, if they did not carry along with them and raise up fome fixed ideas of thefe in the mind. Because what information does a word, without fuch known idea annexed to it, impart to a man? For inftance, what does the unlearned reader profit by being told BERASIT BERA ALEIM? furely the perfon, who spoke them, would seem to him a barbarian; talking indeed, but unintelligibly. Whereas open the meaning of the words to him, as given in our English bibles, In the beginning GOD created, Gen. i. 1. and then, as often as they shall be read or heard, they will carry to him thefe ideas or this fenfe, and become a medium or means of instruction, lighting him, as it were, to, and giving him intercourse with a very important truth, which he had otherwise never known. The primitive language then, as being the work of an infinite. wisdom, and calculated to eftablish fuch intercourse, must certainly have confifted of such fignificative or defcriptive words, as afforded ideas to the mind of what the things spoken of were to be distinguished by; whether they were applied to things, as appellative nouns, or names, or to perfons or places, under the denomination of proper names; that is, of names properly or with propriety
propriety given to perfons or places; because thus defcriptive of what they were or are, and on this account appropriated to them. For that is in latter times only abufively called a proper name, which denotes a perfon to be what he is not; as may be clearly enough inftanced in now calling a child ABRAHAM, who neither is nor will be a father of many nations, which he should be to make this a proper name for a child; and this might be fhewn in many other names, that are indifcriminately and injudiciously bestowed on children.
Nor is this to be lefs fupported from the matter of fact. The language, in which God has been pleased to reveal His will to man, is eminently descriptive. If we examine a few words in the lexicons or dictionaries, and their usage in the Bible, we fhall foon be convinced of it. The proper names therefore, as confifting moftly (a) of words, which occur elsewhere, and are used to denote other fimilar things or actions in SS, must be equally fignificant. But left any, inattentive to the neceffary nature of language, and to the actual genius and constitution of the holy tongue, fhould not gather from them the defign of the proper names to be the fame with that of the other words of SS, to convey to us important ideas of certain characters or offices, . fituations or conditions, and fo be deprived, as
B 2 (a) For there are a few names which do not.
now they in general are, for want of a due regard to their meaning, of the prophetic notices they contain, GOD has moft graciously provided, and accordingly difperfed from time to time in SS, and, for very wife causes, more abundantly before the difcovery of writing, evident inftances of this purpofe in the names, that we might by these be waked to a due attention to it in others, which we meet with. For, to pafs over those places or things, for whose names reasons are frequently affigned, we are told exprefly before the flood, that ADAM called his wife's name [n] EvE, [Life the 70 fay]" the QUICKENING ONE," because she was the mother of all [ HI] LIVING that EVE called her first-born [P] KAIN; for she said (in expectancy of his being the MESSIAH promised in Gen. iii. which the Jewish doctors, as father Simon, b. II. p. 165, fays, affirm this text to refer to, tho' he caufelefsly blames them for it, and Luther for thus literally tranflating it,) I have [ KAIN-ITI] gotten the man, the very JEHOVAH, Gen. iv. I. It is faid that fhe called the other fon's name SETH; for GOD (said she) has [♫ SeTH] appointed me another feed instead of ABEL, whom CAIN flew, v. 25. LAMECH called his fon's name NOAH, faying, this fame shall [ NoаHм] comfort us, &c. c. v. 29. After the flood GOD faid to ABRAM, thy name shall be ABRAHAM, for a [AB] father of a [
HaME] multitude of nations have I made thee, c. xvii. 5. It is written of JACOB, afterward came his (ESAU's) brother out, and his hand held ESAU by the [py ACOB] heel: therefore his name was called JACOB," the SUPPLANTER," C. XXV. 25, 26 of whom it is alfo faid by ESAU, IS [Gen. Bib. was] not he rightly named JACOB? for he hath [apy Oqueв or ACOB] fupplanted me these two times, c. xxvii. 36. That reasons are given for the names of his fons may be seen c. xxix. 32, and c. xxx. The GOD-man, c. xxxii. 30. ver. 24, (b) faid to JACOB, thy name fhall be called no more JACOB, but ISRAEL, for [SER-IT] as a prince thou haft had power with
(c) ELOHIM or ALEIM] GOD and man and haft prevailed. When PHAREZ was born, TAMAR faid, how haft thou broken forth? [ PHAREZ-еT] this [ PHаRez] breach be upon thee: therefore his name was called PHAREZ, "the BREAKER FORTH," c. xxxviii. 29. JOSEPH called the name of the firft-born MANASSEH, “the BEARING AWAY ONE," for GOD (said he) hath made me [: Nasse-NI] forget or borne away
(b) In thefe two paffages every Jew, that does not turn away his eyes, may fee that the MESSIAH was to be, as here He appeared and is called, both GoD and man, and one wrestling alfo. For that He is the divine person spoken of in this chapter
their doctors allow.
(c) From the reafon for this name it is plain,  ALE is of the root  AL or EL. For JACOB is called ISRAEL from his having power with ELOHIM, therefore EL is a word of the fame root and fignificancy with ELOHIM: otherwise the text would contain no reason for the name.