Page images

ted as


of pot

у cefresł 11,

chisede cealing his genealogy, beginning and sending, and descent, , or Je that so he might be a fitter type of Christ and his everlasting á sacri priesthood. He was like a man dropt from the clouds, and church at last caught up again, and none knew how. It is said of having

him, Heb. wii. 3. that he was without father, without morist wa ther, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor

end of life; but 'made like unto the Son of God, abideth a ne sacr priest continually. Now, Christ was a Priest-after the orccasic

der of this Melchisedec, not by a corporeal unction, legal cere. wing a mony, or the intervening act of a human ordination, but by

a divine and heavenly institution, and immediate unction of Abr the Spirit of life, in that extraordinary manner, whereby he** Betar was to be both King and Priest .unto God, as Melchisedec hat for was, Heb. vii. 16. He was not a Priest after the order of

Aaron, because the law made nothing perfect, but was weak rdend and unprofitable; and therefore was to be abolished, and to n vai give place to another priesthood. Men were not to rest in fait it, but to be led by it to him who was to abolish it, Heb. vii.

12. The ministry and promises of Christ were better than those of the law; and therefore his priesthood, which

was the office of dispensing 'them, was to be more excellent is one too, Heb. viii. 6. For when the law and covenant were to

be abolished, the priesthood, in which they were established, on fix was likewise to die.

2. The priests under the law were sinful men, and therefore offered sacrifices for their own sins, as well as for the sins of the people, Heb. v. 3. But Christ was holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than

the heavens; who needeth not daily, as those high priests, Priezt to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the hold people's; for this he did once when he offered цр

himself,' Heb. vii. 26, 27. He'was perfectly pure and holy, and could stand before God even in the eye of his striet justice, as a lamb without blemish and without spot.' Though he

made his soul an offering for sin, yet he had done no iniquity, neither was there any guile found in his mouth.' And indeed his sacrifice had done us no good, had he been tainted with the least sin.

3. The priests under the law were many, because they

were mortal; death as an universal deluge was continually nd sweeping them off the stage. But Christ-as a Priest for ever, Psal. cx. 4. Heb. vii. 23. • This man continueth ever.'


placa f thi ople

[ocr errors]


der ise

[ocr errors][merged small]

4. The priesthood under the law was changeable ; but Christ's priesthood is unchangeable. The legal dispensation was to continue only for a time. It was but like the morningstar to usher in the rising sun, which so soon as he appears in our horizon, it evanishes and shrinks away, Heb. vii. 12, God confirmed this priesthood with an oath, Psal. cx. 4. Heb, vii. 21. as well as a King. Those offices which were divided before between two families, were both united and vested in Christ; this being absolutely necessary for the discharge of his Mediatory undertaking, and for the establishment of his kingdom, which being of another kind than the kingdoms of this world, even spiritual and heavenly, therefore needed such a King as was also a minister of holy things. And the apostle tells us, Heb. vii. 24. that this man, because he continueth ever,

ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.' 5. The priests under the law offered many sacrifices, and of various kinds, as lambs and rams, calves and bullocks, and the blood of many beasts: but Christ offered but once, and that but one sacrifice, even the sacrifice of himself. So it is said, Heb. ix. 25, 26. Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place, every year with the 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 he appeared to put away sin bý the sacrifice of himself. And herein he excelled and far transcended all other priests, in this, that he had something of his own to offer. He had a body given him to be at his own disposal for this very end and purpose. It is said, Heb. x. 5, 7, 10. - Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldst not but a body hast thou prepared me. Then said I, Lo, I come in the volume of the book it is written of me) to do thy will, O God. By the which will we are sanctified, through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.? He offered up his body, and not only his body, but his soul also was made an offering for sin, Isa. liii. 10. We had made a forfeiture both of our souls and bodies by sin. It was therefore necessary that the sacrifice of Christ should be answerable to the debt which we owed to God. And when Christ came to offer up his sacri. fice he stood not only in the capacity of a Priest, but also in that of a Surety; and so his soul stood in the stead of ours, and his body in the stead of our bodies.

6. All those sacrifices that the priests offered under the law were types of the sacrifice of Christ, which he was to offer in the fulness of time, they not being sufficient in themselves to purge away sin, nor acceptable to God any further than Christ was eyed in them. But Christ's sacrifice was the thing typified by all these oblations, and is efficacious in itself for the satisfaction of justice, and the expiation of sin, Heb. X. 1, 4, 14. “For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually, make the comers thereunto perfect. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. His sacrifice was invaluably precious, and of infinite efficacy and virtue. And such it behoved to be: for it being offered as an expiatory sacrifice, it ought to be proportioned and equivalent, in its own intrinsic value, to all the souls and bodies that were to be redeemed by it. So that as one richiamond is more in worth than ten thous. and pebbles, or one piece of gold than many counters, so the sacrifice of Christ's soul and body is far more valuable than all the souls and bodies in the world.

7. The priest's under the law appeared before God in behalf of the people, in the temple made with hands; but Christ appeareth in heaven itself. The Levitical priests offered sa crifices and made prayers for the people in the temple ; and the high priest, who was an eminent type of Christ, entered into the holy of holies, the figure of heaven, once a-year, and that not without blood. This was typical of Christ's entering into heaven itself in his people's name, to appear for them before the throne of God. Hence it is said, Heb. ix. 24. * For 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." 1 Johin ii. 1. If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous."

8. The priests under the law had only the office of priest. hood; but Christ is Prophet, Priest, and King.

II. Let us take a view of the nature of Christ's priesthood. The office of the priests was to offer sacrifices, and to pray for the people. Hence there are two parts of Christ's priestly office, namely, oblation of the sacrifice, and intercession.

Of CHRIST's OBLATION, One part of Christ's priestly office was the oblation of a sacrifice. Where we may consider,

1. The import of offering.
2. What was the sacrifice.
5. How often he did offer himself.
4. For whom he did so.
5. For what ends he did offer hiinself.
6. The efficacy of his one offering.

First, I am to shew what the import of offering is. It sig. nifies the voluntariness of Christ's sufferings, Eph. v. 2.

Christ hath given himself for us, an offering, and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour. He laid down his life of himself, that he might take it again. He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth. For,

1. Though he well knew his sufferings beforehand, and that dreadful storm of the divine wrath and indignation that was to fall upon him, and all the abuse, indignities, and torments, he was to meet with from wicked men and on the cross. yet he did not withdraw from that dreadful apparatus of a violent death when his time was come; he would not suffer his disciples, could they have done it, to rescue him from the impending danger: nay his delivering himself up to his blood-thirsty pursuers, after he had exhibited a remarkable instance of his divine power, in making them fall to the ground with a word, John xviii. 28. was an evidence, that he was nowise constrained, but a hearty volunteer in his then intended offering. The cup of his sufferings was continually before his eyes; he never declined to drink of it : nay, he was pained and straitened till he drank it to the bottom.

2. The strong cry he uttered immediately before his yielding up his soul on the cross, was an evidence there was more than a natural power attending him in that important crisis, He was no criminal in the eye of God and scripture, and could not have been put to death unless he had pleased, being the most high God, and Sovereign of men and angels, and therefore having the whole creation at his command. The strong cry he then uttered was not the effect of weakness or reluctance to part with his life, such as a criminal may be supposed to give, but rather a shout of triumph, pro

ceeding from one who had spontaneously offered himself to of

such a dreadful death, testifying before God, angels, and men, his joy and exultation in having performed the anduous work he had of his own proper motion engaged to as chieve.

Secondly, Let us consider what was the sacrifice he offered up. On this head it may not be improper to observe, that sacrifices were of two sorts.

1. Some were cucharistical, or thank-offerings in testimony of homage, subjection, duty, and service; as the dedication of the first fruits, the meat and drink offerings. By these

the sacrificer acknowledged the bounty and goodness of God, ht

and his own unworthiness to receive the least of his favours, rendered praise for mercies received, and desired the divine blessing. But Christ's sacrifice was not of this kind.

2. Some sacrifices were expiatory, for the satisfaction of justice, and the purging away of sin. The institution of this

kind of sacrifices. was upon a double account (1.) That har

man is a sinner, and therefore obnoxious to the just indigna. tion and extreme displeasure of the holy and righteous God, and laid fairly open to all the fierceness of wrath and vengeance. (2.) That God was to be propitiated, that so he might pardon man.

These truths are rooted and deeply engraven in the natural consciences of men, as appears by the pretendo 76 ble

ed expiations of sin among the Heathens. But they are he

more clearly revealed in sacred writ. Under the law, without the effusion of blood there was no remission, to intimate unto us, that God would not forgive sin without the atone

ment of justice; which required the death of the offender: Y

but it being tempered with mercy, accepted of a sacrifice in

his stead. 9.

Of this last kind was the sacrifice of Christ, which he offered for us, even a sacrifice of expiation. All this was requisite to a real and proper sacrifice, concurred in his sacrifice As,

1. The person offering was to be a priest. It was the peculiar office of a priest under the law to offer sacrifices. So says the apostle, Heb. v. 1. Every high priest taken from among men, is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins. In like

manner Christ, that he might offer this sacrifice, was called.

to that office, and made an High Priest in the house of God;


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


« PreviousContinue »