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the saints may there-hence receive, hath sealed it by an oath : so that he is a priest by a decree, which cannot be removed.
It notes unto us, the solemn call of Christ unto the office of priesthood, as before of King, verse 1.
He did not usurp this honour to himself, as Nadab and Abihu did, when, of their own heads, they offered strange fire unto the Lord; nor encroach upon it, as Uzziah ; but he was ordained and begotten, and called of God thereunto, after the order of Melchizedekh. “He was sanctified and sent, and had a commandment, and a work set him to do i.” In which respect, he was called 'a servant or a chosen officer, formed for a special employmentk. Here then is the consent of the whole Trinity unto Christ's priesthood: First, The Father's consent in his act of ordination ; for “him hath God the Father sealed!." "Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten theem.” Secondly, The Son's, by voluntary susception and vadimony for mankind: for he was the surety of the covenant".' The apostle joineth these two together o. “Lo, I come to do thy will, O God:” there was God's will, and Christ's submission thereunto, in which regard he is said to sanctify' himself. There was a covenant between God and Christ; Christ was to undertake an office of service and obedience for men, to suffer himself a sacrifice for sin?, to be made of a woman under the law, &c. And for this God was to prolong his days, to give him a seed, and a generation that could not be numbered,-a kingdom which cannot be bounded,-a portion with the great, and a spoil with the strong,
,-a name above every name,—to set a joy and a glory before him, after he should have finished his work', &c. Thirdly, Here is the consent of the Holy Ghost, which did hereunto anoint him, which came along with him, which formed him in the womb of the virgin, and descended upon him in his solemn susception of this office in John's baptism; by which Spirit he was consecrated, warranted, and enabled unto this great function.
b Heb. v. 5, 10. i John X. 16, 36, 37. k Isai. xlii. 1, xlix. 5. liii. 11. Phil. ii. 7. I John vi. 27. m Heb. v.5, 6. n Heb. viii, 22. o Heb. x. 9, 10,
P John xvii, 19. 9 Isai. liii. 1, 10, 11, 12. r Psalm ii. 7, 8. Phil. ii. 7, 9. John xvii. 2, 4.5. Heb. ii. 8,9. xii. 2. s Isai. lxi. 1. xlii. l. Matth. iii. 16, 17. Heb. i. 9.
If, then, God call Christ unto his priesthood by a solemn oath, and make him surety of a better covenant, we ought to take the more especial notice thereof: for when God swears, he must be heard. The more excellent any thing is, the more earnest heed should be given unto it: for “how shall we escape," saith the apostle, « if we neglect τηλικαύτης owrmplas, so great salvation," so sure a covenant
This is the only rock, on which we may cast anchor in any trouble, doubt, or fear of spirit. It is not our own will or strength, that holds us up from ruin, but only God's oath, by which Christ is made a priest, “ able to save, to the uttermost, all, that come unto God by him.” St. Paul and his company were in a great tempest; all hope that they should be saved, was taken away": yet he exhorts them to be of good chcer, because there should not be the loss of any man's life amongst them: and the ground hereof was God's promise, which he believed *. The case is the same with us; we are encompassed about with infirmities, with enemies too hard, and with sins too heavy for us; with fears and doubtings, that we shall lose all again : how can we, in such tempests of spirit, be cheered, but only by casting anchor upon God's covenant which is established by an oath? by learning to hope above hope Y ; to be strong in him, when we are weak in ourselves; to be faithful in him, when we are fearful in ourselves; to be steadfast in him, when we stagger in ourselves. In the midst of Satan's buffets and our own corruptions, to find a sufficiency in his grace, able to answer and to ward off all?;—to catch hold of his covenant and to fly to the hope that is set before us, as the only refuge and sanctuary of a pursued soul, when we are not able to stand by ourselves a. It is a very hard thing, when a man hath a distinct view of bis filthiness and guilt, by reason of sin, not to give over himself and his salvation as desperate things. It is nothing but ignorance and insensibility, which make men presume of the pardon of sin. In this case, then, we must consider God's oath and covenant with his people. First, Not to reject them for their sins ;—“ Israel hath not been forsaken, nor Judah of his God, though their land was filled with sin against the Holy One of Israel b."
+ Heb. ii, 1, 3. 2 2 Cor. xii. 10.
u Acts xxvii. 20. * Acts xxiv. 15. a Isai. lvi. 6. Heb, vi. 18. b Jer. li. 5.
y Rom. iv. 18.
ple are bent unto backsliding,” &c. “and yet I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger;"_" I will not return to destroy Ephraim, for I am God, and not man",” &c.
Secondly, Not always to suffer them to lie under sin, but in due time to heal their backslidings d.' He will not only remove our transgressions from himself, but he will remove them from us too, and that so far, as that it shall be as possible for the East and West to meet together, as for a man and his sin". Though we made him to serve with our sins, and wearied him with our iniquities, yet “He will not remember against us our sins pastf;" "neither will he see against us the sins which remains.” Those, he will forgive,and these, he will subdue ; and all this, because of his “truth unto Jacob, and his mercy unto Abraham, which he sware unto our fathers from the days of old h.” He hath given us ground for both our feet to stand upon, and holdfast for both our hands to cleave unto : a promise, and an oath; that, by two immutable things, we might have strong consolation i So the apostle saith, that “ All the promises of God in Christ are Yea and Ameni” yea, to note their truth,—and amen, to note their certainty and stability, being confirmed by the oath of Christ. For so that word may be conceived, either as an oath “, or at least as a very strong and confident affirmation', which is equivalent unto an oath"; except haply we will understand vaand 'Aurin to be the same thing expressed in several tongues ; as “ Abba Pater” in other places; thereby noting not only the stability, but the universality, of God's promises.
Many things there are in this call of Christ unto his office, to confirm this consolation, and upon which the troubled soul may cast anchor.
First, From the Father he hath received a command and call unto this service, and so as a servant he hath fidelity : for God chooseth none but faithful servants. He was an apostle and high priest sent to preach the will, and to pacify the wrath of God, and he was “faithful to him that appointed him, as Moses was.” And if he be faithful, we may trust him, for he will do the work which is given him to do. “ Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do ito."
c Hosea xi. 7, 9. d Hosea xiv. 4. e Psal. ciii. 12. f Isai. xliii. 25. & Numb. xxiii. 11. h Micah vii. 18, 19, 20. i Heb. vi. 18. k Quodammodo, si dici fas est, juratio ejus est. Amen, Amen, dico vobis.' Aug. Tract. 41. in Johan. I Confirmationis verbum. Ambros, in Psal. xl. Είσί τινες λόγοι σχήματα μεν όρκων έχοντες, ουχ όρκοι δε αυτοί, αλλά θεραπεία προς τους åkotortas. Basil Mag, in Psal. xiv.--Vid. Nicol. Fulleri Miscellan. lib.'. cap. 2. m 2 Cor. i. 20.
Secondly, From himself there is a voluntary submission, whereby he gives himself for his church, and lays down his own life P. For being of himself equal with the Father, he could not be by him commanded, ordained, or overruled, to any service, without a voluntary concurring to the same decree; emptying himself and taking on him the form of a servant; making himself less than his Father ?, and, in some sort, for a while, lower than the angels, that so he might be commanded. So that besides his fidelity to rest on as a servant, here is his especial mercy as a concurring agent in the decree, whereby he was ordained unto this office: he is not only a 'faithful,' but a 'merciful High-priest,' to make reconciliation for the sins of men'. But a man may, both by his fidelity as a servant, and by his mercy as having the same tender compassion with him that sent him,-be willing to help another out of mercy; and yet may not be able to effect his own desires, for want of power. And therefore,
Thirdly, By the unction of the holy Spirit, who proceedeth from the Father and himself, he is said to be "sanctified by the Fathers, and to 'sanctify himself';' to have received power and authority from his Father", and to have power likewise within himself. That Spirit, which, for the discharge of this office, he brought with him in fulness, and unto all purposes of that service, into the world, is a “spirit of power "," whereby he is enabled perfectly to save all comers”; so that unto his fidelity and mercy, here is added ability likewise.
Fourthly, As he received an office and a service, so he received a promise from his Father likewise, which did much encourage him in this service. And this promise is twofold: First, The promise of a great seed, which, by the execution of his office, he should gather unto himself, and of a great conquest over all his enemies. God conferred this honour upon him, to be the king of a mighty people, whom he should save and sanctify to himself.—They “ were given unto him “;" so that unto his fidelity, mercy, and power, here is farther added a propriety to the thing which he saves : and who would not use all fidelity in his own business, all mercy towards his own seed, all the power he hath to deliver his own house from the fire ? And Christ was faithful, “ as a son over his own house, whose house are we b.” Secondly, There was the promise of a great glory and crown,' which the nature he had assumed, should, in his person, receive after the fulfilling of his service. After he had been a little while lower than the angels, he was to be "crowned with glory and honour";" and therefore we may be sure, that he hath fulfilled all righteousness, and done for his church all which he was to do upon the earth, “because he is gone, and we see him no more:” for his sufferings were to go before, and his glory to follow. This is the apostle's argument, why we are not in our sins, but delivered from them, Because Christ is risene : “ Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather that is risen again ; who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us f.” And it is his argument again, why we ought to hold fast our profession, and to come boldly to the throne of grace for help in time of need,- because we have a great High-priest, that is passed into the Heavens 8.
n Heb. iii. 11, 2. ol Thes. v. 24. p Ephes. v. 25. Tit. ii. 14. John
9 John xiv. 28.- August. de Trinit. lib. 1. cap. 7. et 9. s Heb. ii. 17. John x. 36. t John xvii. 19. u Matt. xxviii. 18. John v. 27. xvii. 2. x John x, 18. y 2 Tim. i. 7. 2 Heb, vii. 25,
Fifthly, As he had a promise from the Father to encourage him, so he had a nature from us, to incline him unto the execution of his office. He was made of a woman; made like unto us in all things, sin only excepted; tempted and afflicted as we are: and so there are two things, which the heart of a believer may rest upon in him, in any discomforts. First, His sympathy; for besides his essential mercy, as he is God, there was in him a mercy, which he learned by being like unto us. “ In all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and a faithful High-priest h.” Such was his compassion towards the hunger of the multitude', because he himself knew what
a Psal. ii. 8. John xvii. 6. b Heb. iii. 6. c Heb. ii. 7. • 1 Cor. xv. 17. f Rom. viii. 34. g Heb. iv. 14, 15, 16. i Matt. xv. 32.
di Pet. i. 11. h Heb. ii. 17.