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woman, made under the law, that we might receive the adoption of Sons k.” By which we have free access to call upon God in the virtue of his sacrifice, sure supplies in all our wants, because our heavenly Father knoweth all our needs; a most certain inheritance and salvation in hope; for we are already “saved by hope!.” And Christ is to us“ the hope of glorym.” Lastly, There is from hence our exaltation, in our final victory and resurrection, by the fellowship and virtue of his victory over death, as the fruits of ours":" and in our complete salvation, being carried in our souls and bodies to be presented to himself without spot and blameless °, and to be brought unto God P. Now to take all in one view, what a sum of mercy is here together! Remission of all sins, discharge of all debts, deliverance from all curses; joy, peace, triumph, security, exaltation above all evils, enemies, or fears ; a peculiar, purchased, royal seed (the gift of God the Father to his Son); deliverance from the dominion and service of all sin, vanity, ignorance, hardness, disobedience, bondage, coaction, terror; sanctification of our persons, natures, lives, actions ; adoption, hope, victory, resurrection, salvation, glory. O what a price was that which procured it! O what manner of persons ought we to be for whom it was procured!
The fifth thing to be spoken of about the priesthood of Christ, I shall despatch in one word, which is the duty we owe upon all this. First, Then, we should not receive so great a grace in vain, but, by faith, lay hold upon it, and make use of it. “Let us fear,” saith the apostle, “ lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of
you should seem to come short of it; for unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the Word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it?.” God in Christ is but reconcilable unto us, one with us in his good will, and in his proclamation of peace. When two parties are at a variance, there is no actual peace without the mutual consent of both again. Till we by faith give our consent, and actually turn unto God, and seek his favour, and lay hold on the mercy which is set before us; though
k Gal. iv. 5. Phil. iii. 21.
I Rom. viii. 24. • Ephes. v. 26, 27.
m Col. i. 27. P1 Pet. iii. 18.
0 1 Cor. xv. 20,49. 9 Heb. iv. 1, 2.
God be one, in that he sendeth a mediator, and maketh tender of reconcilement with us,-yet this grace of his is to us in vain, because we continue his enemies still. The sun is set in the heavens for a public light, yet it benefiteth none but those who open their eyes, to admit and make use of its light. A court of justice or equity, is a public sanctuary ; yet it actually relieveth none but those that seek unto it. Christ is a public and universal salvation, set up for all comers, and appliable to all particulars'. “He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentances ;”“He tasted death for every man';" but all this is not beneficial unto life, but only to those that receive him. Only those that receive him, are, by these mercies of his, made the sons of God"; without faith, they abide his enemies still. God in Christ publisheth himself a God of peace and unity towards us *,-and setteth forth Christ, as an all-sufficient treasure of mercy to all, that, in the sense of their misery, will fily unto him. But till men believe, and are thus willing to yield their own consents, and to meet his reconciliation towards them, with theirs towards him, his wrath abideth upon them still; for by believing only, he will have his Son's death actually effectual, though it were sufficient before. O, therefore, let us not venture to bear the wrath of God, the curse of sin, the weight of the law, upon our own shoulders, when we have so present a remedy, and so willing a friend at hand to ease us.
Secondly, We should labour to feel the virtue of the priesthood and sacrifice of Christ working in us, purging our consciences from dead works, renewing our nature, cleansing us from the power and pollution of sin: for when, by the band of faith, and the sweet operations of the Spirit, we are therewithal sprinkled, we shall then make it all our study to hate and to forbear sin, which squeezed out so precious blood, and wrung such bitter cries from so merciful a High-priest; to live no longer to ourselves (that is, 'secundum hominem,' as men ?; after our own lusts and ways), but (as men that are not their own, but his that bought them,) to live in his service, and to his glorya. All that we can do, is too little to
John iii. 16. • 2 Pet. iii. 9. t Heb. ji. 9. u John i. 12. * Gal. iii. 20. y Revel. xxii. 17. 3 | Cor. jii. 3. Hos. vi. 7. a I Cor. si. 19, 20. 2 Cor. v. 14. 1 Pet. iv. 2.
answer so great love ;-love to empty himself, to humble himself; to be God in the flesh, to be God on a cross; to take off from us the hatred, fury, and vengeance of his father ; to restore us to our primitive purity and condition again. Why should it be esteemed a needless thing, to be most rigorously conscionable, and exactly circumspect, in such a service, as unto which we are engaged with so infinite and unsearchable bounty? He paid our debt to the uttermost farthing, drunk every drop of our bitter cup, and saved us eis Wartenès, thoroughly :' why should not we labour to perform his service, and to fulfil every one of his most sweet commands to the uttermost too?
Thirdly, We should learn to walk before him with all reverence and fear, as men that have received a kingdom which cannot be moved b. And with frequent consideration of the High-priest of our profession, that we may not, in presumption of his mercy, harden our hearts, or depart from Gode; but in due remembrance of the end of his sacrifice, which was to purchase to himself a peculiar people, zealous of all good works.
Fourthly, We should learn confidence and boldness towards him, who is a great, a faithful, and a merciful High-priest. This use the apostle inakes of it: “Seeing we have a great High-priest, let us hold fast our profession, and come with boldness unto the throne of grace" And again; “ Having therefore boldness to enter into the Holiest, by the blood of Jesus; and having a High-priest over the house of God; let us draw near, with a true heart, in full assurance of faithf,” &c.
Fifthly, We learn perseverance and steadfastness in our profession, because he is able to carry us through, and save us to the uttermost. This is that which indeed makes us partakers of Christ. “ We are made partakers of him, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end s." The considering of him, of his perseverance in finishing of his own work, and our faith, and his power and ability to save us to the uttermost, will keep us from fainting in our service and the profession we have taken.
Sixthly, We have hereby access to present our prayers,
b Heb. xii. 28, f Heb. s. 19, 22.
c Heb. iii, 1, 8. 3 Heb. iii. 14,
d Tit, ii. 14. • Hcb. iv, 14, 15, 16. b Heb. xii. 2, 3. X. 23.
and all our spiritual sacrifices upon this altar, sprinkled with the blood of that great sacrifice, and liberty to come unto God by hin, who liveth to make intercession for us. “In him we have access with confidence by faith k." Therefore the Lord is said to have his "eyes open to our prayers, to hearken unto them';” because he first looketh upon our persons in Christ, before he receiveth or admitteth any of our services.
Lastly, We ought frequently to celebrate the memory, and to commemorate the benefits of this sacrifice, wherein God hath been so much glorified, and we so wonderfully saved. Therefore the Lord hath of purpose instituted a sacred ordinance in his church, in the room of the paschal lamb; that as that was a prefiguration of Christ's death expected, so this should, to all ages of the church, be a resemblance and commemoration of the same exhibited. “So often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye show forth the Lord's death till he comem.” For in the ordinances he is "crucified before our eyes ." Therefore the apostle more than once infers, from the consideration of this sacrifice and office of Christ, our duty of not forsaking the assemblies of the saints, and of exhorting and provoking one another o.
Now I proceed to the last thing mentioned in the words, concerning the priesthood of Christ; and that is about the order of it. Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek. • Secundum verbum,' or 'secundum morem et rationem :' the apostle readeth it xatà táčov, according to the order of Melchizedek's priesthood. Of this Melcbizedek, we find mention made but in two places only of the Old Tes tamient, and in both very brietly: the first, in the history of Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, when Melchizedek, being the priest of the Most High God, brought forth bread and wine, and blessed bim P; and the other, in this place. And for this cause the things, concerning him and his order, are sucrepuýveuta, “ bard to be understood 9." It was so then, and so it would be still, if St. Paul had not cleared the difficulties, and showed wherein the type and the antitype did fully answer; which he hath largely done in Heb. vii.
i Heb, vii, 25. n Gal. iii. l. 9 Heb. v. 11.
k Ephes, üi. 12. 1 Kings viii. 52. m 1 Cor. xi. 26. • Heb. ii. 13. X. 24, 24.
p. Gen. xiv. 18, 19, 20. s Vid. Cameron. Quæst. in Heb. Apud Hieron. Epist. To. 3. Epist. 136. et Epiphan. lib. 2. Heræs. 55. u Origen. apud Hieronym. * Hebræi apud Epiphan. et Hieron. y Tertull. cons. Judæos. Just. Epiphan. Pareus in Gen.
For understanding and clearing the particulars which are herein considerable, here are some questions which offer themselves. First, Who Melchizedek was ? Secondly, What is meant by tágos, his order? Thirdly, Why Christ was to be a priest after his order, and not after Aaron's ? Fourthly, Why he brought forth bread and wine ? Fifthly, What kind of blessing it was, with which he blessed Abraham ? Sixthly, In what manner he received tithes ? Lastly, In what sense he was without father, and without mother, without beginning of days, or end of life?
First, For Melchizedek, who he was, much hath been said by many men, and with much confidence. Some heretics of old affirmed', that he was the Holy Ghost. Others", that he was an angel. Others *, that he was Shem the son of Noah. Others ", that he was a Canaanite, extraordinarily raised up by God to be a priest of the Gentiles. Others”, that he was Christ himself, manifested by a special dispensation and privilege unto Abraham in the flesh, who is said “to have seen his day, and rejoiced a.” Difference also there is about Salem, the place of which he was king. Some take it for Jerusalem, as Josephus ", and most of the ancients. Others for a city in the half tribe of Manasseh, within the river Jordan, where Jerome reports, that some ruins of the palace of Melchizedek, were, in his days, conceived to remain. Tedious I might be in insisting on this point, who Melchizedek was. But when I find the Holy Ghost purposely concealing his name, genealogy, beginning, ending, and descent, and that to special purpose; I cannot but wonder, that men should toil themselves in the dark, to find out that of which they have not the least ground of solid conjecture; and the inevidence whereof is expressly recorded, to make Melchizedek thereby the fitter type of Christ's everlasting priesthood.
Secondly, What is meant by tátus. It is as much as the state, condition, or prescribed rule of Melchizedek; and that was κατά δύναμιν ζωής ακαταλύτου, “ after the power
Quidam apud Epiphan. ct nuper Petrus Cunæus, de Repub. Hebræor. cap. iii. vid. Coqu. in Aug. de Civ. Dei lib. 16. cap. 22. a John viii. 56. Jud. lib. i. cap. 11.