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sonal qualifications. The former gave him a fitness, the latter authority. For no man can warrantably assume lo himself the honor and dignity of the high priest's office, and offer gifts and sacrifices for sin with acceptance, but he who is called of God to that office, and authorized by his special and immediate appointment to execute it, as was Aaron at the first institution of the Levitical priesthood. In like manner, Jesus of Nazareth, our great high priest “glorified not himself to be made a high priest, but He that said unto him, thou art my Son, to-day have I begotten thee: as he saith also in another place, thou art a priest for ever, after the order of Melchisedek.” Heb. 5:5, 6. Here the apostle proves the authority of our blessed Savior to his priestly office by two testimonies from the Old Testament, both of which, as we have already shown, have been applied to the Messiah by our ancient Rabbins. This was peculiarly necessary, inasmuch as the Hebrews might be at a loss to understand how Christ could be called a high priest, unless he had descended from Aaron, in whose family the high priesthood was settled by the law; but from these words they might learn that there was a priesthood appointed of God, antecedent to, and of a more excellent order than that of Aaron, and that the priesthood of Messiah, David's Lord, was to be according to that order, namely, the crder (or after the similitude, Heb. 7:15) of Melchisedek's priesthood.
§ 7. The apostle not only proves the call of Christ, but shows likewise its superiority over that of Aaron, in its being confirmed by an oath. By this oath, Jehovah honored the Messiah above Aaron and his successors, and gave strong consolation to his people in such a royal high priest, who should effectually manage all their concerns with him for ever. In the 7th chapter the apostle gives a very minute explanation of this oath, by which he sets forth the excellency and dignity of Christ's priesthood above the Aaronical; and argues from it, that as the oath mentions another priest, that was to arise according to the order of Melchisedek, il inust import that the Aaronical priesthood was to be set aside, and the Mosaic law disannulled, which settled that priesthood in the tribe of Levi and family of Aaron, and by which all its ministrations were prescribed and regulated :—that the reason why the Levitical priesthood was abrogated, was the weakness and unprofitableness of it for obtaining real pardon of sin, purification of conscience, and free access to God; for the law, by all its sacrifices and external purification, made none perfect in these respects; but that the oath intimates the introduction of a better hope, namely, Christ's priesthood, by which we draw near to God with acceptance.
Dear Benjamin, read the whole of this seventh chapter to the Hebrews, with fervent prayer to God for light and love. To me it hath been of invaluable benefit. It hath confirmed my faith in the truth of the Christian religion; convinced me of the ability of Jesus to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him; and hath powerfully encouraged me to come unto a throne of grace, where I found mercy and grace to help in time of need.
§ 8. 3. Although we cannot stay to point out the typical design of all the priestly garments, yet we must notice some. The fair miter which adorned Aaron's head, and the golden plate surrounding his temples, with the venerable inscription “ Holiness to the Lord," was a figure of him who is a priest upon his throne, and is holiness itself, and the fountain of holiness to his people.
Did the high priest carry the names of the twelve tribes, both upon his shoulder and
upon his breastplate; so does our blessed Jesus carry the name of every true Israelite, both upon the shoulders of his almighty power, and on the breastplate of cordial love, and from which not the smallest jewel shall ever be picked by the joined powers of hell and earth,
The Urim and Thummim placed into the breastplate of Aaron, but afterward lost, are found to greater advantago in Jesus, our great high priest. However ignorant we may be about the nature or form of those which Aaron wore, none will dispute that their names signify light and perfection, and thus they were typical of that light of wisdom and perfection of holiness which were so admirably displayed in every part of our Savior's conduct.
Aaron's beautiful girdle of costly texture, gold and purple, blue and scarlet, was but a faint emblem of the Messiah, of whom it was prophesied, that " faithfulness shall be the girdle of his loins, and righteousness the girdle of his reins. Sweet was the sound of those golden bells suspended around the hem of Aaron's under-robe, but far more sweet and pleasant was the sound of those “gracious words." which proceeded from the lips of Jesus, “who spake as never man spake.” And blessed are the people who hear the joyful sound of the glorious Gospel of the blessed God.
9. 4. The consecration of the high priest is next to be considered. Aaron and his sons were brought before the tabernacle of the congregation, and there they were washed with water, arrayed with the priestly garments, anointed with costly oil, and sanctified by the offering up of peculiar sacrifices, the blood of which was put upon the extreme points of their bodies. In all this, Jesus, our great high priest, is infinitely more glorious. Before he entered on his ministry, when about thirty years of age, he was publicly baptized by John, his harbinger; not indeed because he was himself polluted, but as it became him to fulfill all righteousness."
.” That the unction by which Christ was consecrated, was different from, but superior to that of any who had been anointed before or after him, we have already shown in a former letter.
Our Jesus, indeed, was not consecrated by having a sacrifice offered for himself, and its blood sprinkled upon his body, but this bespeaks his superiority over all other priests. Our high priest being "holy, harmless, undefiled, and separated from sinners, needeth not from time to time, like the Aaronical high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, (for he had none,) and then for the sins of the people; for this he did effectually at once, when he offered up him. self. For the law constitutes men high priests who have sinful infirmity, and therefore need to offer for their own sins; but the word of the oath, which was since the law was given, constitutes the Son a high priest, who is consecrated for evermore." Heb. 7 : 26-28.
§ 10. We will now proceed to consider the second part of the subject, víz. to show that the office or function of the high priest was fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Beside his offering up gifts and sacrifices for sin, the high priest was also appointed to bless the people; to pray for them; to instruct them in the knowledge of the divine will; to oversee the service of the tabernacle; to blow the trumpet, and to judge between the clean and the unclean. Now we see Jesus our high priest giving himself an offering and a sacrifice to God, for a sweet-smelling savor, more grateful unto God, and more appeasing to his incensed justice, than all the victims that ever smoked in the worldly sanctuary, or than all the gifts that ever were presented there, or than all the incense that ever fumed from the golden censer. “ Put off your robes, ye legal priesthood, your work is finished, your office is entirely superseded. What ye could not do by multiplied oblations, Jesus Christ hath done by one sacrifice. The veil is now rent, and the temple now destroyed. The shadow hath given place to the substance. Jesus is that priest whom God hath sent to bless us; who prays for his people; whose lips keep knowledge to instruct us in the will of God. Jesus is that priest who oversees the service of the taberna.. cle, being head over all things to the church, which is his body. Jesus is that priest who now blows the great trumpet of the Gospel, and who shall descend shortly from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God, to gather the congregation of the righteous. Then all who have not Him for their priest, to wash and
sprinkle them with his hyssop and blood, shall have him for their priest, to pronounce them utterly unclean.” But to do any justice to this subject, we must particularly consider the sacrifice which Jesus offered ; the intercession he makes; and the blessing he bestows. To make it evident that Christ offered up a sacrifice agreeably and answerably to the types and predictions concerning the sacrifice of the Messiah, I shall show,
§ 11. 1. That the sacrifice which he offered had respect unto God. That Jesus Christ, the true Messiah, sustains the office of a priest, as well as that of a prophet, we have already demonstrated. But the nature and design of these offices are radically different; and one of these differences is, that a prophet ministers from God to man, but a priest ministers from men to God. The apostle Paul hath taken particular notice of this distinction. Speaking of prophets and apostles, he says, “ Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you, in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.” 2 Cor. 5:20. But the work of a priest he defines thus: "For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pcrtaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sin.” Heb. 5: 1. Furthermore, Jehovah expressly and repeatedly calls the sacerdotal office a ministering to himself. “And thou shalt put them upon Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him, that they may minister unto me in the priest's office.” Ex. 28 : 41; 29 : 44; 30: 30. Accordingly the Messiah engaged in the eternal covenant, to offer himself a ransom for his people; and of Jesus Christ it is asserted that he hath. " given himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor." Eph. 5 : 2. Beside, sacrificing, like praying and thanksgiving, was an act of religious worship, and therefore could have respect to God only, as its true object; and hence sacrifices were to be offered only in the sanctuary, dedicated and consecrated for the service of Jehovah. Again, as the life of the victim was