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the use of the same word in a similar sense on a similar occasion; this being the term adopted by the Septuagint in various places to designate the consecration of the Aaronic priests,* and the victim whose entrails were delivered by Moses into the hands of the priests as a sign of the priesthood committed to them.t
Exod. xxix. 9. 33. 35. Lcvit. viji, 33. xvi. 32.
Priesthood, properly so called. WE have already defined the general business of Christ's priesthood to be an advocacy with God on the behalf of men, and observed, that it is primarily and immediately exercised towards God. This we learn from the very design of the sacerdotal office. But the followers of Socinus suppose that our Lord performed all things pertaining to our salvation by himself in such a manner, that he neither now obtains, nor ever has obtained, any thing from God for us from his first entrance on his priestly office: so that they attribute to Christ no priesthood but such as is improperly so called. This opinion is equally contrary to the language of scripture, and to the nature and design of the priesthood. Whoever consults the sacred volume will find the priesthood of Christ invariably mentioned as a priesthood properly so called. Thus speaks the apostle to the Hebrews:* “ If there“ fore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood (for “under it the people received the law) what further “ need was there that another priest should rise after “ the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after " the order of Aaron ? For the priesthood being
changed, there is made of necessity a change also of “the law.” Here, from the priesthood conferred upon Christ, the apostle concludes, that there must have been a change of the law which had conferred the sacerdotal office exclusively on the family of Aaron. But this conclusion could not possibly be
Heb. vii. 11, 12.
be drawn, unless the priesthood of our Lord possesses the proper nature and design of the priesthood, and he is a priest properly so called. For there were always many priests improperly so called, even while the law of Moses relative to the priesthood was yet in full force. Such priests were those who offered spiritual sacrifices, or prayers to God. Such priests were all the faithful among the Jews, and even the whole Israelitish nation is called “a kingdom of
priests."* Since, therefore, there were many priests improperly so called, even while the law which confided the sacerdotal office exclusively to the family of Aaron was yet in full force; and our Lord could not be such a priest as he actually is, unless that law had been abrogated; it clearly follows that his priesthood is a priesthood properly so called.
II. The same conclusion may be drawn from another passage :f “ For if he were on earth, he “ should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests " that offer gifts according to the law.” On these words Crellius observes :I 'He gives a reason for 'what he has asserted, that is, why Christ could not ' be a priest if he were to minister on earth. It is ' because there are already other priests appointed
by God, who minister and offer gifts on earth : · Christ neither is nor can be one of these, as has 'been shown in the preceding chapter. Now they ' are said to offer gifts according to the law, because * the law has granted to them the exclusive right and privilege, so that no one, without violating the law, can arrogate to himself the right of offering gifts on earth, or ministering in the earthly sanctuary.' What is the reason of this? Because, if we attend
to Crellius, the priesthood of Christ is of such a nature as is prohibited to him to administer on earth, by that law which conferred on the family of Aaron the sole right of exercising the priesthood on earth. But that law contained no prohibition inconsistent with Christ's having even on earth a metaphorical priesthood, and being a priest improperly so called. For while that law was in force, there were many such priests even on earth; and Christ himself performed the duty of such a priesthood, whenever he commended either himself or his people to God in his prayers. Since Christ, therefore, possesses such a priesthood as' by the Mosaic law could not be executed by him on earth, though he was at liberty to exercise on earth a metaphorical priesthood, it clearly follows that our Lord is a priest properly so called.
III. To the passages already cited we may add the following :* “For every bigh priest is ordained “to offer gifts and sacrifices : wherefore it is of
necessity that this man have somewhat also to 66 offer.”
But this reasoning of the apostle must appear to be altogether inconclusive, unless Christ, who is here spoken of, has a priesthood properly so called. For every priest improperly so called is always provided with somewhat to offer to God; holiness of heart, chastity of body, prayers, and thanksgivings. And this was so well known to the Hebrews that there could be no ground for the apostle to argue with them in this manner, unless he intended to attribute to Christ a priesthood properly so called.
IV. And since this apostle frequently gives Christ the title of high priest, he must be considered as
* Heb viii. 3.
attributing to him the office itself, and that in a true and proper sense, unless any thing can be alleged on the contrary, to shew that such an office is altogether incompatible with his character. But neither Socinus himself, nor even Crellius, who has laboured in this controversy more than all the other disciples of Socinus, has adduced any proof of such incompa
tibility. Let us briefly notice the observations which confersee thee offee Crellius makes on this subject. He says :* · You
never find these two offices, the regal and pontifical, 'plainly divided, or according to the language of the
schools, contradistinguished from each other, in the 'scriptures; but you may rather observe them comprehended as it were in each other. For the author of the epistle to the Hebrews, at the beginning of the third chapter, intending to exhibit to our view 'the dignity of Christ, which he possesses in consequence
of the office committed to him by God, and ' exhorting us to a consideration of him, mentions
only his two offices, prophetical and sacerdotal. " The former of these offices he once fulfiiled on * earth, the latter he speaks of as to be perpetually ' administered in heaven; “Wherefore, holy brethren,
partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the 'Apostle,” or Ambassador, "and High Priest of our ‘profession Christ Jesus.” These and other similar remarks of Crellius are all without foundation. For the sacred writers never comprehend, either the kingdom of Christ in his priesthood, or his priesthood in his kingdom; but always distinguish and discriminate between these really disinct offices. Nor is the apostle to the Hebrews correctly cited in support of the contrary sentiment. When he called
Contra Grot. c. X. p. 55.