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le, though a Priest, as a sinner, deserved to die. At the same time the duty of his office taught him that a substitute was appointed to suffer in his stead; which, no doubt, he was assisted to offer up in faith of that sacrifice which Messiah should make by the shedding of his own blood. St. Paul comments upon this part of the Hebrew ceremony of consecration, and shows the difference between Jesus and Aaron. Who, saith he, needeth not daily, as those high prieste, to offer un sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people ; for this he did once, when he offered up himself.
2. Having been more minute than I intended, in describing the person, apparel and consecration of the High Priest, I shall be more brief in enumerating the duties which God hath enjoined upon him to discharge. The most important duty was to make an atonement by blood for the sins of his people; he was to go into the holy of holies, before the presence of the Lord, with sweet incense, to intercede, to represent in his own person all the tribes of Israel, and, according to the divine order, return and bless the people. No one who is acquainted with the Gospel, and has attentively read the Epistle to the Hebrews, on hearing those ancient duties assigned to Aaron, but what will immediately consider Jesus our adored Priest. He, indeed, hath made an ample atonement by the shedding of his own blood; he hath arisen from the dead, and entered into heaven itself, there to represent our persons, and perpetually to intercede, and to confer the most necessary, glorious blessings upon sinful men. The Jewish High Priest was to have com passion on the ignorant, and on those who ar ut of the way. He was to cure the leper, with the blood of atonement, and to consecrate all subordinate priests. In all
these we consider Jesus. How great his compassion to sinners! how efficacious in cleansing the leprosy of sin ! With what heavenly truth he illuminates the understanding! and how visible are the expressions of his grace in appointing pastors and teachers for the edification and increase of his Church! We may conclude by observing, if Aaron was the glory of the Hebrew Church, and the sacred mean by which God maintained his commu. nion with his ancient people, infinitely more so Jesus is the brightness of his father's glory, the glory of the Gospel Church, and the grand mean by whom alone we have access to God, and rejoice in hope of endless bliss ! Whether, therefore, we contemplate Aaron, Melchizedek, or other person denominated the Priest of God, they are equally designed, and admirably calculated to lead us to Jesus, the great High Priest, upon his throne in the realms of glory in heaven.
Let us now return to ourselves, and make the neces· sary inquiry, What interest we have in Jesus the ever blessed High Priest? Fallen men are prone to confide in their supposed merit, in order to enter into the presence of God; of course do not consider Jesus Christ. Indeed, if Israel had not sinned, they would have required no Priest; and if we had not transgressed, we should have no need of Jesus as a Priest to atone for us. It is our mercy, Christ is able to save to the utmost all who come to God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. What then is your state of mind and exercise of heart? To depend upon that law for salvation whose precepts you have so incessantly transgressed, is to lay down bencath its awful curse. The wages of sin is death. You must, therefore, stand indebted to the vicarious sacrifice of Jesus, or await the judgment of the great day. But, should it be otherwise with you, your reason, your conscience, your Bible, and, above all, the Spirit of God, should have told you your absolute need of Jesus: then give me leave to congratulate you on such an attainment.
Let me exhort you daily to consider our great High Priest, in all the duties, the exercises, and the trials of your life. Go to him for instruction. He must not only sprinkle your conscience with his blood to keep you in daily peace, but he must bear the iniquity which is unavoidably attached to your most holy performances. Fail not to consider what great and precious things Jesus hath already done for you, and testify your gratitude and love in your temper and obedience in every part of your life. Trust his future care; he will not forsake the work of his own hand; draw near to the throne of his grace for supply in every time of need. Remember our High Priest hath rent the vail, and the way to the throne both of grace and of glory is open. How grand the sight to ancient Israel when their Priest entered into the holy of holies! infinitely more glorious our High Priest in his ascension to heaven! Thither direct your eyes; contemplate your Priest by faith ; and in a little while you shall be with him on his throne, and resound his praise for evermore!
THE TRIAL OF THE HEART.
1 JOHN iii. 18-21. My little children, let us not love in word, neither in
tongue, but in deed and in truth. And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. For if our hearts condemn us, God is greater than our hearts, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence towards God.
Hail, sacred truth, thou source of peace,
Replete with joys divine;
Make all thy treasures mine.
In spirit, body, sonl;
PERHAPS fewer sensations are more painful in the human breast, than to hang in doubt, whether in futur rity, everlasting felicity, or eternal pain await us! Had man been left to form a criterion on this subject for him. self, he could not have arrived at the desirable point. But, the word of our God is given as a true light unto our feet, and an unerring lamp unto our path, that thereby we may attain the most happy satisfaction. Among the innumerable passages calculated to produce this blessedness, our text is not the least valuable. I purpose, therefore, to select the evidences which it contains, and illucidate the conclusions which it draws in reference to our state. May we feel ourselves most soJemnly exercised on the inquiry, and be able, in the issue, to exclaim, Behold! God is my salvation, I will trust, and not be afraid. This text contains two standards for trial, which we shall first explain, and then make personal use of them.
1. The first standard is TRUTH. We know, said John, that we are of the truth. Once they were on the side of error and delusion, but now their state is changed, and are certain that they are of the truth. While this term expresses every thing opposed to falsehood, in principle and in practice, it hath in the Gospel an extensive signification. It presents an object to our FAITH. Jesus Christ is the true God, and eternal life. He is the way, the truth, and the life, and no man can come to the Father but by him. As God, Jesus is the essential, underived truth; as man, he answers the requirements of God's law, which is holy, just, and good; as Mediator, Jesus reveals the councils of Jehovah in the salvation of sinners. His life was a perfect obedience to the divine law, and his death an unequivocal satisfaction to justice for the sins of all his people. Righteousness and truth are the habitation of Immanuel's throne; just and true is he in all his ways. His word is true, and hath stood the scrutiny of friends and foes for many thousand years. And Jesus is the faithful and true witness, by whose tes. timony we must be tried in the court of our own conscience, and at the solemn bar of God. All the attri. butes of Deity shine in Christ as our Redeemer; he is therefore the true and only way of life to sinners, and as such, he is the desirable object of our faith. The Spirit of God is emphatically styled The Spirit of truth.