תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

stantiated, and let the event be considered as the proof,) we have in him that incarnate Divinity, who made man in his own image at the foundation of the world, and will restore man to somewhat, at least, of the same glorious similitude at the restitution of all things. By his bringing back from the grave the human part of his nature, he plainly intimated, as he had expressly avowed, that he was “the Resurrection and the Life.” By his raising that nature above any future pressure of mortality, investing it with an incorruptible principle, and carrying it publicly up into heaven, he unequivocally demonstrated, that the bodies of his faithful servants shall all be raised from the grave, and be made glad partakers of the same immortality, and the same glory in heaven. For “ if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in

you.

SERMON XVII.

JESUS CHRIST THE GREAT HIGH PRIEST.

HEBREWS ix. 11, 12.

CHRIST BEING COME AN HIGH PRIEST OF GOOD THINGS TO COME, BY A GREATER AND MORE PERFECT TABERNACLE, NOT MADE WITH HANDS, THAT IS TO SAY, NOT OF THIS BUILDING; NEITHER BY THE BLOOD OF GOATS AND CALVES, BUT BY HIS OWN BLOOD HE ENTERED IN ONCE INTO THE HOLY PLACE, HAVING OBTAINED ETERNAL REDEMPTION FOR US.”

All religions, whatever may have been the nature of their doctrines or the forms of their public service, have set apart an order of men for the express purpose of ministering in holy things, and rendering their ordinances of worship more solemn and affecting. Under the Patriarchal dispensation every head of a family performed this solemn duty, and the offices of prince and priest appear to have been combined in them. This was evidently the case from the time of Noah till the delivery of the Law, and may, by common inference, be presumed to have been so, during the existence of the old world. Moses himself acted in this double capacity; and Aaron, the first appointed priest of Heaven, was ordained to that office by his brother. But when the Law was authoritatively established, the priesthood was confined to a distinct order of men, who were exempt from all secular employment, and were provided for by the state. God had two ends in view by this appointment; first, to clothe the office itself with greater sanctity and importance, by holding it up to the eyes of men as one unapproachable in an ordinary way; and secondly, to render the persons who were called to it, more holy in their lives and conversation, and more meet to become ministers for the benefit of others. The very office of a priest implies mediation. In no other view does the appointment seem to be necessary.

When one man is selected from his brethren by the voice of God or by their common consent, to become the organ of their desires at the throne of grace, it supposes a qualification in him superior to the rest, which fits him for the duty of leading their devotions, and presenting their offerings to God; and it invests him with the authority of a mediator and intercessor, as one whom God will more readily accept. The Heathen world had their religious establishments as well as the Jews, which shows the natural feeling men have of the want of a mediator; and their rites, of which the most distinguished and important was sacrifice, bespeak a common origin and sense of sin. It is probable that all nations, as they became civilised, prescribed to themselves ordinances of divine worship and a standing ministry, and though they had no Sabbath-day, and but few set occasions of worship, yet a priest to conduct their services was considered indispensable. Jezebel, the daughter of a Heathen king, had four hundred and fifty of these priests, and four hundred more who officiated at the groves; which shows of what importance idolatrous princes deemed it to be, to keep a large establishment of men to manage their services.

The Jewish ecclesiastical Establishment was formally settled at Mount Sinai,

Sinai, and Aaron was solemnly appointed High Priest of the Church of God. His duties were very accurately defined, and they consisted, in chief, of making intercession and atonement. He led the people in their devotions, and offered up the victim which was to make reconciliation for them.

And “no

one could take this honour unto himself, but he that was called of God, as was Aaron.” After this mode of intercourse with God was made an ordinance of Israel for ever, it does not appear that the people had any power of sacrificing themselves, or making intercession, independent of the ministration of the priest, but they were to present to him the victim intended to be slain, that its blood might be rendered efficacious as à propitiation.

Now, when we look at the end of this mediatorial and propitiatory system, we shall see at once how important it was to bring us to Christ. In order to prepare the way for the ministration and satisfaction of our blessed Lord, God was pleased to institute a form of worship, which, in its most striking particulars, shadowed out that new and better dispensation which was to be established in

Q

we

more

the fulness of the time. Accordingly, the more

examine the Levitical priesthood, the clearly shall we see its complete adumbration of the Christian.

I. In the First place, let us examine the personal qualifications of the priest.

The priests under the Law were to be perfect in their form and without blemish. This, whilst it represented their own moral excellence, shadowed out, at the same time, the perfection of Christ's holy nature, who was born without any original guilt or deformity, the offspring of a pure virgin, as free from inbred sin as the first Adam when he came forth unshamed from the hands of his Creator. They were to be clad in white linen garments as emblems of the holiness of their office, and the innocence of their lives. This prefigured the sanctity of the Son of God, who put on the robe of unspotted righteousness, and became a spiritual “minister of the true sanctuary, which the Lord pitched, and not man.”—They were to wash often and observe various modes of purification, to remind them of their natural defilement, and of the necessity of keeping themselves clean from sin. This illustrated the purity of Christ's moral character, who was not only free from inbred sin and original guilt, but likewise from all voluntary and contracted stain; “ holy, harmless, undefiled,” “perfect even as our Father which is in heaven is perfect.”—They stood northward, or on the right side of the altar of burnt-offering, where

« הקודםהמשך »