Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

Doth not this illustrious figure, correspond exactly with his antitype, the glorious high Priest of our profession, who with respect to his human nature was without father, and with respect to his divine nature, without mother.

It is notorious that perfection was not to be found in the Levi. tical priesthood. Nor did God expect to find undeviating rectitude either in Aaron or his successor. An omnipotent and prescient being can never make erroneous calculations. God, according to his own good pleasure, instituted another order, selected from another tribe, in whose line the priesthood was not found. It is evident from the genealogical table, regularly and distinctly preserved in scripture, even to the birth of our Saviour, that he was not of the house of Levi, he was a lineal descendant of Judah, whose posterity was not consecrated for the priesthood. The Apostle, from these considerations, leads us to conclude, that as a priest of a very different order was now ordained, not after the carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life, that there is verily a disannulling of the commandment, going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof, Hebrews, vii. 11, 18.

How incalculably great, to the human family are the advantages. A Priest forever, says the Apostle to the Hebrews, after the order of Melchisedec. This is assuredly a royal priesthood, a royal order; here church, and state, are indeed united, here therefore, on all our glory there is a defence. Both Priests and Kings have been found among men very injurious to their species; but those Priests and Kings were not of this order, but they shall be brought in, for all Kings shall serve him, Psalm. cxxxviii. 4, “ All the Kings of the earth shall praise thee, O LORD, when they hear the words of thy mouth.” Again, Isaiah, Ix. 3, “ And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and Kings to the brightness of thy rising." And Ixii. 2, “ And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all Kings thy glory : and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the LORD shall name." This is glad tidings of good things, even unto Kings, and if the Neroes and other blood-thirsty monarchs, who have slaughtered mankind, are to be saved, their suffering victims can have little reason to fear

The Apostle Paul informs us, Hebrews, vii. 24, “ That this man, because he continueth forever, hath an unchangeable Priesthood," and again,

“ Wherefore he is able to save unto the uttermost, them that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them."

But who are they who are thus blessed ? Certainly all those to whom this Priest was given, and certainly this everlasting Priest was given to every one, to whom the passing, dying Priests, under the Levitical institution were given, and surely Aaron was given to all the people of Israel, and most certainly all the people of Israel came unto God by their high Priest; they were his fulness, as we have seen in the high Priest we have been contemplating. Many of the people might have been, and no doubt were, at the moment when Aaron entered within the veil, otherwise engaged, without a recurrence even in thought, to their high Priest; yet undoubtedly they came to God by him : and so far were they from being parties concerned with their high Priest, either in thought, word or deed, that no one of the tribes were suffered even to look into the holiest within the veil, yet they all entered with him. The children of Israel were, accorcling to scripture testimony, an epitome of the human race. The house of bondage, in which they were retained, was a figure of the thraldom of sin. Pharaoh is a type of the grand adversary; Moses and Aaron are figures of the Redeemer in his different offices ; the deliverance of the Israelites is the redemption of mankind; the pursuit and overthrow of Pharaoh, is the victory obtained over the Prince and power of the air, and his legions, &c. &c. &c.

When our glorious high Priest entered into the holiest, within the veil, the people entered with him and were accepted in the beloved, so that being crucified with Christ, they were buried with him, they have risen with him, and they have ascended with him, and they are seated together with him in beavenly places, in Christ Jesus, and thus having entered with him as his fulness within the veil, he ever liveth for them, and they will be saved to the uttermost, thus coming to God by him. No wonder, therefore, that we hear this high Priest saying, “ Because I live, ye shall live also."

Another special benefit attendant upon this change is, that the high Priest of our profession is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; yea, and he. will always thus continue, and indeed, indeed such, exactly such VOL. III. 5

an high Priest, became us so perfectly accomodated at all points to our infirmities.

Moreover, it is not necessary to repeat this sacrifice, as did those high Priests who daily offered sacrifices, first for their own sins and then for the sins of the people, for this he did once when he offered up himself. And as when he was lifted upon the cross, he drew all men unto him, we were thus crucified with him. Hence, saith an Apostle, “ The love of Christ constraineth us, because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead."

The law maketh men high Priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath which was since the law, maketh the son, who is consecrated forever more. He will ever continue blameless, offending in no one point, either with respect to God or to the people, with respect to the human or to the divine nature: he will be forever faithful to both, and in these characters he is consecrated forever more.

These are the true sayings of God. Surely we should never lose sight of this glorious, this divine high Priest. We were gratified and astonished, by a view of the figure, in bis sacerdotal habit, entering within the veil. But now, when the veil of the temple is rent from the top to the bottom, we see our high Priest, who hath entered for us within the veil, seated upon the throne of his glory, and if we have not heard the golden bells, we have heard the glad sound of the gospel, we have heard our great high Priest say, “ Because I live, ye shall live also.Moses turned aside to see the great sight, when he saw the bush burning and not consumed. But this is an infinitely greater sight than ever was exhibited upon mount Horeb or mount Sinai. It is the living God clothed in garments of flesh.

The ninth chapter of Hebrews is full to our purpose, and in Exodus, xxiv. 7, 8, we read,

“ And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people : and they said, All that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient.

“ And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the Lord hath made with you concerning all these words."

Exhibiting blood as the sanction of leagues and covenants, was an ancient rite, and probably intended to show that the parties

entering into covenant, pledged their lives for the fulfilment of the covenant, for the blood is said to be the life of the creature, and the words added to the action were, This is the blood of the covenant, that is, this is the blood by which the covenant is confirined between God and the people. It is called the blood of the covenant, because it was a sign of the covenant, and a seal in confirmation of its validity.

The new covenant was confirmed by blood, so said the Saviour, this is my blood of the New Testament, shed for you and for many ; without the shedding of blood there can be no remission of sins. If the blood of Christ had not been shed, not all the tears that the sinner could shed, nor all the confessions he could make, would avail to procure his salvation. These, no more than the blood of calves or any other sacrifice, could take away sin, or obtair the remission of sins. But, says the Apostle, Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true ; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God, for us.

Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high Priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others.

For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world : but now, once in the end of the world hath this, our glorious high Priest, appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

It is a most consolatory, nay, it is a transporting consideration, that Jesus Christ came in the end of the world to put away sin, by the sacrifice of himself.

We know he did not then display his almighty power by producing a physical change in the creature. This he could assuredly have done, yet this he did not do, but he put away sin by the sacrifice of himself, thereby evincing that he was indeed the Saviour of the world.

When the sacrifices under the law were offered up, for the sins of the people, their sins being first laid upon the appointed victim; although this mentorable transaction wrought no physical change in the people ; yet God, that God whose law was broken, beheld them as sinless as though they had never transgressed. But these sacrifices could not so effectually take away sin, as to render their continuation unnecessary; hence, their repetition ; hence, the superiority of the substance of these fig.

ures, who now, once in the end of the world hath appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. Do not let us repeat the question. Whose sins hath he taken away? Are we not called upon to behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world ? And did not this fundamental truth, furnish the Apostle with a reason for ex horting the people to whom he preached, to reckon themselves indeed dead unto sin, but alive unto God by Jesus Christ our Lord? Romans vi. 11. Thus, while according to the testimony of their senses, they were dead to a life of holiness, they were according to the testimony of God, and as living by faith, to conclude they were dead indeed unto sin, and alive unto God by Jesus Christ.

O! how vast the difference between faith and sense, between the believer and the unbeliever, between him who gathereth with Christ, and putting on the LORD Jesus, walketh in him, as he hath received him, and those who judge themselves by themselves ; so did not the man of Tarsus, but he was a christian, God had revealed his son in him, and his first wish was to be presented complete in the God man.

The Apostle concludes the ninth chapter of his Epistle to the Hebrews, by observing, that as it was appointed for all men once to die, but after this was the judgment; so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many ; upon this clause in the passage unbelievers thus remark and thus question ; to bear the sins of many. Who were the many, whose sins he bore? If you can answer this question in our favour, you will indeed give us consolation. How abundant is our happiness, who can boldly assert, that God himself has given a full answer to this all important question; and an answer from which there can be no appeal. Isaiah, lüi. 6, “ All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way, and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all." But the prophet Isaiah is not a solitary witness. The immediate harbinger of our LORD, called upon the multitude, to behold the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world. Yes, we can determine to a single individual, how many there are whose sins he bore in his own body on the cross, for we can say, that for whomsoever Christ died, their sins he bure, their sins are taken away, and, saith the spirit of truth, Jesus by the grace of God tasteth death for every man.

« ZurückWeiter »