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high priest acted in his own pontifical character; but in offering and slaying the victims, he represented the whole nation. For in the sacrifices of individuals, every one was commanded to bring his own victim to the altar, to consecrate or devote it with his own hand, and then to slay it. Hence it is evident that those who performed these offices, which were performed, sometimes by some of the elders, sometimes by the high priest himself, respecting the sacrifices offered on behalf of the whole congregation, manifestly represented that congregation during their discharge of such services.
III. From the rites connected with those sacrifices, which beyond all others pre-eminently typified the sacrifice of Christ, it is plain that Christ accomplished his sacrifice by three things :- By his voluntary oblation of himself to a bloody death,-by his death itself,--and by his entrance into heaven as a victim that had been slain, and with a mind so disposed towards men, as to commend them to God.
The first of these things, in which his sacrifice consisted, the Son of God performed, when he voluntarily offered himself to the Father to undergo the death which awaited him. This we learn, both from his words and actions on that occasion. In the first place, when he was about to die, his language was ;* " For their sakes I sanctify myself;" that is, as the word sanctify sometimes imports,t and as it must necessarily be understood here, according to the ex. planation of Chrysostom, I offer myself to thec as a sacrifice.'* In the neat place, it must be observed, that the prayers with which Christ consecrated or devoted himself to his death,t were in some respect similar to those with which we have shown in another place, that the Jewish high priest consecrated or offered the victims to God before the altar on the day of atonement. For as the high priest, when he offered those victims to God, prayed for salvation, first, on behalf of himself and his own family; secondly, for all the family of Aaron; and lastly, for the whole congregation: so Christ, when consecrating himself to death, commended to God in solemn prayers, first, himself; secondly, his apostles; and lastly, all who should afterwards believe on him. Hence it is inferred, that when our Lord uttered these prayers he then offered himself to God as a victim, typified by the victims already mentioned. In the last place he verified all this by his own act. For as soon as he had finished these prayers, he voluntarily went to the very place, whence he knew that he should immediately be led to judgment, and then to the cross, to be slain as an expiatory sacrifice: so that, beyond all doubt, the words “ I sanctify “myself,” were equivalent to saying: 'I offer myself 'to be slain as a piacular victim.
* John xvii, 19. + The word ayaw, like the Hebrew up is sometimes equivalent to mgoopigw. See Septuag. Levit. xxii. 2, 3. I Chron. xxiii. 13.
* Ad loc. Homil. 72.
The second of those things in which his sacrifice consisted, our Lord accomplished, when he suffered death for our sins without the city of Jerusalem, where those victims used to be burned, which were his most
*TR.-The same explanation is given by Cyril of Alexandria, who pa. raphrases the clause thus : ' I present and devote myself an offering with
out spot to God even the Father.' De Adorat. L. I. et alibi. Apud Suicer. Thesaur. tom. 1, col. 56. t John xvii.
John xviii, 1. xvii. 1.
The last was accomplished by him, when entering heaven, typified by the holy of holies, in the character of our high priest, as well as of the victim slain for our sins, he appeared in the presence of God, and that with such a disposition of mind toward us, as to desire that God would be most propitious to us.
For as the high priest of the Jews carried the blood (the vehicle of the life or sensitive soul) of the victims into the innermost sanctuary of the temple, as a sign of the previous immolation of them, and sprinkled it towards the mercy-seat: so our high priest, in heaven itself which that sanctuary prefigured, presents before God, not only the soul, but also the body, of the victim that was slain for our sins. If any one chooses to call this entrance of Christ into the heavenly sanctuary, his oblation of himself, I shall be far from opposing it. Indeed I consider it in this light myself; yet at the same time I maintain that Christ also offered himself as an expiatory victim, when he gave himself up to die. For, as we have before stated, there was a twofold oblation of sacrifices; one, of the victim while yet alive; which in the sacrifices of individuals was performed by the offerers themselves, and in the sacrifices of the whole congregation, either by elders, or by the high priest on behalf of the congregation : the other, of the blood and entrails after the victim had been slain; which was performed by the priest. In the sacrifice of Christ, his voluntary oblation of himself to death corresponds to the former; his presentation of himself before God in heaven, as a victim that had been slain, „resembles the latter; for the blood of those victims which were the principal types of Christ, was carried into the holy of holies which typified heaven itself.
IV. In these things, in which the sacrifice of Christ consisted, he sustained the threefold character, of offerer, victim, and high priest. Of offerer on our behalf, and likewise of victim about to be slain, in his oblation of himself to death; of victim also in death itself: lastly of high priest, and of a victim already slain for our sins, on his entrance into the heavenly sanctuary. For there he now appears in the presence of God in both characters, and by the efficacy of his sacrifice, as our high priest, he commends us and our services to God. And as the high priest of the Jews, when offering before the altar the victims for the whole congregation previously to their being slain, acted not so much in his pontifical character, as in that of representative of the congregation: so I consider Christ, in his oblation of himself to death, to have acted not so much in the capacity of high priest, as in that of our representative. For in the sacrifices of individuals, as we have more than once already observed, it was the business of the offerers themselves to bring their victims to the altar, and then to offer or consecrate them to God. It is evident, therefore, that those who performed these offices in the sacrifices of the whole congregation, while performing them, represented the whole congregation. Hence it follows, that our Lord also, in bis oblation of himself to death, acted not in the character of high priest, but as our representative; just as the Jewish high priest, in offering before the altar the victims about to be slain on behalf of the whole congregation, acted not in his peculiar character of high priest, but as the representative of that congregation.
CHAPTER IV. The Eficacy of that Obedience which Christ rendered
to God in offering himself to die. HAVING ascertained these things in which we conclude the sacrifice of our Lord to consist, we proceed to shew in what respects each of them contributes to our eternal salvation. To do this in the order which has just been proposed, we have to consider,- First, the obedience which Christ rendered to God in voluntarily offering himself to a bloody death :-Secondly, his death itself :-and Lastly, his entrance into heaven with a mind so disposed towards men as to commend them to God by the efficacy of his sacrifice, and to do for them every thing becoming the best of all advocates. By voluntarily offering himself to die, Christ
performed many things conducing to our salvation, which he never could have accomplished by his death, if that death had not been voluntary. It would not have been possible for him by an involuntary death, either to confirm the truth of his gospel, or to give his disciples an example of obedience to God and love to men, or to obtain from God universal and sovereign power, and supreme favour with him; in the former of which consists the strength of his kingdom, and in the latter the efficacy of his priesthood. But by his voluntary death all these things have been fully accomplished.
II. By freely offering himself to a painful death, Christ confirmed his gospel, as a martyr or solemn witness. Hence his "blood” is said to "bear witness"*
. I John v.8.