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Where if to rise fo high as the Patriarchal Age, Even in that there are visible footsteps of a Divinely instituted Priesthood, or of Representatives impower'd by God to intercede between Him and his Creatures, to fend Up Prayers for them to Him, and to bring Down Blessings to them from Him; Instances of both which parts of the Priestly Office, namely Interceffion with God and Blessing and Curfing in His Name we find long before the time of the Levitical Inftitution; of the first in the story of Abraham and Abimelech Gen. 20. Where tho Abimelech has the Testimony of so good a Man as to have the fingular Grace of God's appearance to Him, who also for the Integrity of his Heart had withheld Him from Sinning against Him, yet He receives at the same time a command from God for the faving of his Life to procure Abraham to pray for Him, For He is a Prophet, faith God, and He shall Pray for thee and thou shalt Live! So Abraham pray d unto God and God healed Abimalech. And again in God's sending Job's three Friends to Him to make reconciliation for them, Therefore take unto You now sever Rams and go to my Servant fob, and offer up for yourselves a Burnt offering, and my Servant Fob fall pray for You, for him will I accept. Instances of the second (i. e.) of God's difpensing His Blessings and Cursings by the

Ministry Ministry of Men, we have in Noah's Blessing Shem and Cursing Canaan, in Isaac Blessing Jacob and Rejecting Esau, and in Jacob's moft remarkable and folemn Blessing of the twelve Patriarchs. For tho' every Man may in some sense Bless another, so far as praying for the Blessing of God upon him may be so call'd, yet solemnly to pronounce a Blessing in the Name of the Lord, is an Act of Authority, and cannot be done so as to have any force or validity without a Commission from God. And that these Blessings and Cursings which I have mention'd were of such a Nature, the Event and Notorious Verification and Ratifying of 'em by God sufficiently argues, and is also further confirm'd, because that being once pronounc'd they were irrecoverable: which particularly appears in that of Isaac, who tho' impos d upon by the younger Brother, who had come by Subtilty and taken away the Blessing, yet could not recall it; But Efau was finally rejected, and could find no place of repentance tho be fought it carefully with Tears. "Which plainly shews, that his Father reckon'd not the Blessing that he had bestow'd to be given in his Own Name or Authority, but that it was a Ministerial Act, and as such, having been once Executed, was not in his Power to alter or reverse. But to stay no longer in the darker times that preceded the Law;

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let us come to the Legal Priesthood; in the account of which we may find plainly and expressly related, how it pleasd Almighty God to Choose and Sanctify one only Tribe, the Tribe of Levi out of all the other twelve, to Minister to Himself, and out of that Tribe One only Family, to the highest Sacerdotal Dignity. He exalted Aaron, and gave him the

Priesthood among the People; He shose him out of all Men living to offer Sacrifices to the Lord, and to make reconciliation for his people. Ecclus 45.6,7.16. There we may see the several diftinct Employments and different charges allotted to them; how the Levites were in all their Service at the

appointment and direction of the Sons of Aaron, They subject to the Principal Guides and Leaders of their own Order, and they all under Obedience to the High Priest. There we may read, with what August Solemnities they were publickly admitted to their Holy Functions. How God beautify'd Aaron with comely Ornaments, and cloathed him with a Robe of Glory, with a Breastplate of Judgment, and

with Vrim and Tlummim, such as before him was none; neither did ever any Stranger put them on, but only his Children and his Children's Children perpetually. How Moses consecrated him, and anointed him with Holy Oyl; Hom this was appointed to him by an Everlasting Covenant, and to his Seed, that they

Jould fbould minister unto God, and execute the Office of the Priesthood, and bless the People in his Name, as the Son of Sirach describes it ( Ecclus 45.) And as this divine Institution so plainly set forth was a sufficient Warrant, and nothing else could be fo, for all the Ministerial Acts which every One in their several Orders perform'd; so the severe Punishments, which God inflicted upon any, that prefum'd to invade the Office, to which they were not calld, or with Sacrilegious Hands to touch those Holy things, that appertain'd only to the High Priest, abundantly witness, how jealous God was of this his Own Holy Sanction. Out of the many Instances of this Nature in the Old Testament, I shall mention but Two, the most remarkable for the Quality of their Persons, their Crime, and Punishment. Nothing can be more terrible than the Vengeance, which was executed upon Dathan and Abiram; and what was their Crime, but that being only Levites, they aspir'd to the Priestly Office. Let us hear Mofes expoftulating with them, and

aggravating their Offence from the Digoity that they were already invested with, Seemeth it but a small thing to you, that the God of Israel bas separated you from the Congregation of Israel, to bring you near to HimJelf, to do the Service of the Tabernacle of the Lord, and to stand before the Congregation, to

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minister unto them? And he hath brought thee near to Him, and all thy Brethren the Sons of Levi with thee: and seek ye the Priesthood also? (Numb. 16.9,10.) This was so prodigious, lo unheard of a Provocation, that God also, as the Texts speaks (v. 30, &c.) made a Nero thing to punish it. And the Earth open'd her Mouth, and swallom'd them up, with all that appertain d to them: and they went down quick into the Pit, and the Earth clos'd upon

them. And there came out a Fire from the Lord, and consum'd the two hundred and fifty Men that offer'd Incense with them. And in after-times, when Uzziab, otherwise a good and religious, and so long a prosperous and victorious King, forgetful of this terrible Work of the Lord, waxed proud, and took upon Him the Priestly Office, and went into the Temple of the Lord to burn Incense upon the

Altar of Incense, His Heart, as it is there faid, was lifted up to His Destruction; for in that very act of Presumption, while he had the Censor in his hand to burn Incense, and was wroth with the Priests, who would have prevented his Sacrilege, he was smitten with a Leprosy, and was a Leper to his Death, and was cut off from the house of the Lord. These remarkable Judgments, what do they else bat proclaim aloud from Heaven, how great an Impiety it is for any person, of what degree or qualification foever, with

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