« הקודםהמשך »
prediction, hath expired, shall, according to his own prediction, be raised again on the third day. raised. He is entered into glory. He is sat down for ever on the right hand of the Majesty on high. There he pleads the merits of his blood in behalf of those whose crying sins caused it to be shed. Nor does he plead in vain. All power is committed to him in hea. ven and on earth. The final judgment is committed into his hands; and the greatest sinner, who will but trust in him, will have no reason to fear the severity of a Judge, who has himself been touched with a fellow feeling of our infirmities. On the other hand, let none deceive themselves with the hopes of salvation, while they continue impenitent. The sacrifice of the cross was no less a display of the just severity, than of the tender mercy of God. The authority of his government must be maintained. This rendered atonement and intercession necessary, in order to the pardon of sin,—the most meritorious intercession, the highest atonement. To those who despise so great a salvation, who cannot be reclaimed by the promises and threatenings of God, by the warnings of wrath and the appearances of mercy; for those who will not be reclaimed by these motives, there assuredly remains no more sacrifice for sin, but a certain fearful looking for of fiery indignation, which at the last day will burn with inextinguishable rage against all those incorrigible enemies of goodness and of God. May God grant of his great mercy, that all of us may be permitted, through that crucifixion which we are this day to commemorate, to escape the everlasting horrors of the second death * !”
• Horsley's Sermons, vol. ii. pp. 152–155. The author gladly acknowledges his obligations in writing this sermon to Dr Barrow. Vide Sermon on Phil. ii. 8.
THE PRIESTHOOD OF CHRIST.
HEB. viii. 6.
Jesus hath obtained a more excellent ministry.
In the system of divine revelation, as in a fine historical picture, there is one object of pre-eminent importance presented to our contemplation; and all the subordinate parts of the piece, are at once intended and calculated to give prominence and effect to the beauties of the principal figure. I need scarcely add, that the great object, to the striking exhibition of which every part of Scripture is made subservient, is Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and the Saviour of sinners.
A more appropriate motto for the Book of God cannot be found than this, “ CHRIST IS ALL.” He is indeed its “ Alpha and Omega, its beginning and ending." To HIM all the sacred writers bear witness. « The testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy." The Jewish ceremonies are “shadows, of which the body is CHRIST;" and of HIM “ Moses in the law and the prophets do write." The Evangelists relate to us the
story of his actions and sufferings, his life and death ; and the epistolary part of Scripture is employed in un folding the unsearchable riches of his wisdom and grace.
To evince the necessity of his incarnation, and the divinity of his mission ; to illustrate his personal dige nity and mediatorial excellence; to shew the truth of his doctrine, and the perfection of his example, the value of his sacrifice, and the prevalence of his inter. cession ; to celebrate the depth of his wisdom, the extent of his power, the freedom of his love, and the wonders of his grace,--these are the great objects which the inspired penmen, under the guidance of the
one Spirit,” keep steadily in view, and to gain which, all the different parts of the revealed system harmoniously contribute. To the heaven-enlightened eye, the whole of the Scriptures are an exhibition of “the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” To the heaven-opened ear, all the inspired writers seem proclaiming with the prophet, “Behold your God," or with the Baptist, “Behold the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world.” He is the sun of the revealed system; the soul of the body of inspiration.
The methods which the sacred writers employ, in order to gain this one end, the exhibition of Christ Jesus in his true character, are at once numerous and diversified. They sometimes represent him in all the insufferable radiance of uncreated perfection, dwell. ing in light which is inaccessible, reposing in the bosom of his divine Father, “the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person.” At other times, they bring before the mind his voluntary humiliation; represent him as emptying himself of that form of Godhead which he possessed ; descending into a world polluted with sin, and dark with misery ; taking to himself not merely the nature of a man, but the form of a servant; and not merely the form of a servant, but the likeness of a sinner; and minutely detail the wondrous history of what he did, and said, and suffered ; of how he lived, and how he died for man's salvation. They sometimes tell us what he is in himself, and at other times what he is in the estimation of those who know and love him. Here they describe his personal excellencies, and there they enumerate some (for to tell them all were impossible) of the invaluable benefits, which, through his mediation, are bestowed on mankind.
Finding the delightful theme too big for utterance in ordinary language, they call into their aid the use of figurative expression. Their divinely invigorated imaginations range through the universe, and from the worlds of matter and of mind, collect all that is sublime and beautiful, fair and excellent, venerable and lovely, that these images combined, may give us some idea (a faint and imperfect one it must be at best) of his matchless glories. They tell us, that he is the “rose of Sharon, the lily of the valley, and the apple tree among the trees of the wood.” He is the “rock of ages,” and the “rock too of salvation.” He is “ the bread, the water, and the tree of life.” He is “ the sure foundation,” “the pearl of great price,” and “the hidden treasure.” He is “the Lion of the tribe of Judah,” and “the Lamb of God.” He is the “Star of Jacob, the bright and the morning Star.” He is as "the light of a morning without clouds,” “the sun of righteousness with healing under his wings.” He is "the good Shepherd,” “the faithful and true Witness," “the Prince of the kings of the earth, the King of kings, and the Lord of lords.”
Another method which the sacred writers not unfrequently employ, to convey to our minds just conceptions of his transcendent excellence and absolute per fection, is by comparing and contrasting him with those objects and persons whom we have been accustomed to regard with the deepest veneration. We are told that he is “greater than the temple,”-a more dignified prophet than Moses,-a more magnificent king than Solomon,—"much better than the angels,- the head of principalities and powers.” We have an instance of this mode of illustrating the excellencies of the Redeemer, in the passage which we have chosen as the subject of the present discourse. The Redeemer, in his sacerdotal character, is compared and contrasted with the Aaronical priesthood, an order peculiarly venerable in the estimation of the Hebrew nation; and while its dignity and importance are fully admitted, it is asserted that Jesus “ hath received a more excellent ministry.”
In illustrating this truth, that Jesus, as the High Priest of our profession, is far superior to the Aaronical priesthood, we will have an opportunity, not merely of stating many of the most important principles of our holy faith, but of presenting you with an abstract of much of the apostle's reasoning in this elaborate epistle. In the text, a comparison between our Lord and the Aaronical priesthood is implied, and a contrast stated. A resemblance is supposed, and a superiority is asserted. In order, then, fully to illustrate the apostle's assertion, it will be necessary to attend, first, to the points of resemblance, and then to those of contrast; or in other words, to shew, that while the priesthood of our Lord possesses all the excellencies of the Aaronical priesthood, it also possesses many excellencies peculiar to itself. These form the two great divisions of our subject; and if we can satisfactorily prove both parts of this proposition, it will appear with the most abundant evidence, that Jesus has indeed received a more excellent ministry,