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and in our estimates of the state of religion, but a selected few, they hardly blend in one in the world. For these calculations and es- and the same person, seldom meet to crown timates through ignorance and contracted- the same head. But in the new creation of ness of spirit, are generally, if not always, God, in “ the kingdom prepared for the heirs erroneous, by being short of the truth. Who of glory from the foundation of the world," did not conclude, when Abram was called to the high lot of Melchizedec is the lot of every leave his idolatrous country, that the know- child of God. All are “ kings and priests ledge and the worship of the true God were unto God, even the Father.” And the Aposentirely confined to his family? When lo! tle Peter, addressing, not the princes and a king and priest of the most high God, of potentates of the earth, but“ strangers scatwhom we never heard, of whose existence tered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadowe had formed no opinion before, breaks forth cia, Asia, and Bithynia,” thus writes, “ Ye upon us, all at once; and teaches us this are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, most elevating, this most encouraging truth, an holy nation, a peculiar people, that ye that the number of the redeemed is much should show forth the praises of Him, who greater, and the state of religion much more hath called you out of darkness into his marprosperous, than the partial views, and the vellous light."* systematic spirit of even good men, will per Is this king of righteousness and peace vemit them to believe. Thus, in latter times, nerable in his priestly robes, attending, in a prophet of less dignity than Elijah, from the order of his course, upon the most high apparent circumstances, made a most erro- God? Is he less amiable and respectable in neous computation of the number of the administering to the necessities of his fellowfaithful in his day. “The children of Israel," men? A prince is never more kingly, than saith he, “have forsaken thy covenant, thrown when he is practising the virtues of humadown thy altars, and slain thy prophets with nity, hospitality, and compassion. And the the sword; and I, even I only, am left, and praise of these too belongs to Melchizedec, they seek my life, to take it away."* But for “ he brought forth bread and wine," to rewhat saith the answer of God to him? "I fresh the patriarch and his little army, after have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the the labour and fatigue of their rapid march knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and and violent conflict. The great God is inevery mouth which hath not kissed him.”+ finitely above the need of our services. How And when the ransorned of the Lord shall then can we honour him most, and serve him at length return together to Zion, they shall best? By copying his example; by doing be “a great multitude which no man can good; by communicating to the comfort of number, of all nations, and kindreds, and others what he has kindly bestowed upon us. people, and tongues.” And what heart but What object does this world present, once to must exult in the prospect of the grace of be compared with a human being replete God being more widely diffused than we ap- with benevolence, habitually studying to glo prehended, and extended to regions unknown, rify his Creator, by alleviating the distresses, and multitudes unthought of by us? and promoting the happiness of his creatures ?
Though but little be told us of this extra- This is the true lustre of riches, this is the ordinary person, that little is both pleasing glory of greatness, this the splendour of and instructive. In him, we find united two power, this the majesty of kings. offices of high dignity and respectability Kindred spirits are easily and powerfully royalty and the priesthood; the majesty of attracted to each other; and religion forms the one united to the canctity of the other; the strongest and tenderest bond of union Melchizedec,“ king of Salem," was also“ the among men. Abram and Melchizedec meet priest of the most high God.” How truly like men long acquainted. The patriarch honourable is high station, when supported nobly disdains to accept the spoils proffered by the beauty and dignity of holiness, and to him by the king of Sodom; but joyfully, adorned with unaffected goodness! Is the and with gratitude, embraces the friendship state of a king either dishonoured or di- and kindness of the king of Salem. The minished by attendance at the altar of God? gifts of a bad man yield a very mixed satisNo; it is religion that sweetens, and embel- faction to an honest mind, but it is pleasing lishes, and ennobles every condition: it is to the soul to receive benefits from the wise religion, forming an intimate and a perma- and good. An interchange of kind offices is nent relation between a man and his God, the life of friendship in worthy minds. In " that raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and our commerce with Heaven, benefits flow lifteth the needy out of the dung-hill, and continually from God to us; continually resetteth him with princes;" and which exalt- ceiving, we have nothing to send back but eth earthly princes to heavenly thrones. Ex- the effusions of a thankful heart, and the amples are rare in history of these two cha- humble desires of needy dependants; but racters being united. The kingdoms and friendship among men subsists only among the priesthood of this world, fall to the lot of equals, and depends on kindnesses mutually * 1 Kings xix. 14. | 1 Kings xix. 18.
1 Peter ii. 9.
given and received. Melchizedec “brings | he has left behind him. Blessed type of him, forth bread and wine" to Abram; Abram who “ led out his disciples as far as to Begives him “ tithes of all.” So early existed thany, and he lift up his hands and blessed in the world that mode of supporting the mi- them. And it came to pass, while he blessed nisters of religion. A great prince like Mel- them, he was parted from them, and carried chizedec needed not to minister in holy things up into heaven :"* And who,“ while they for hire, but he would, by his example, teach beheld, was taken up, and a cloud received mankind, what God, by a special constitution, him out of their sight.”+ established under the law, and afterwards Thus all the men of ages past have made delivered to the world in a general propo- their escape from us, and we behold them sition, that " he who serves at the altar should no more: and thus we ourselves are one by live by the altar."
one disappearing from among men. Adam, But how poor in comparison, is the gift and the great majority, died. Enoch, and one which the patriarch brings to the priest of more were translated without tasting death. God, to that which he receives from him. The latter end of Melchizedec is concealed Abram's is an offering of acknowledgment from us. But, from his extraordinary characand respect merely, by which the receiver ter, we are led to imagine it could not be in was neither benefited nor enriched, but Mel- the ordinary course of humanity. In so many chizedec's return to him was a real benefit; various ways can God remove and dispose he "blessed him and said, Blessed be Abram of his creatures, and thus, through various of the most high God, possessor of heaven passages, we enter into the world of spirits: and earth." Abram was already blessed, in and mortality is swallowed up of life.”growing, worldly prosperity, blessed in recent What other of the kings of the earth is to be victory over his enemies, blessed in the de- compared with Melchizedec? Is he not raliverance he had wrought for his beloved ther raised up of Providence, to reproach nephew, blessed in possessing the respect and and to condemn the potentates of this world; esteem of princes: but blessings like these the rule of whose government, too often, is have fallen to the lot of bad men, and are in not righteousness and law, but humour and themselves unsatisfactory: Melchizedec pro- caprice; and the end of it, not to bless mannounces a blessing which crowns all the rest, kind, but to gratify some passion of their and gives value to them all. “The blessing own; who, instead of preserving the nations of the Lord it maketh rich, and he addeth no in peace, themselves the sons of peace, have sorrow therewith ;" Abram is “ blessed of incessantly, from the beginning to this unthe most high God," with the prospect, though happy day, involved the wretched human distant, of the Messiah's day, who should race in scenes of war, and violence, and spring from himself , according to the flesh, blood?
To which of the earthly thrones shall and in whom "all the families of the earth we look for the union of the sanctity of the should be blessed." Abram beheld in the priesthood with the majesty of the sovereign? very person who pronounced the benediction Alas! kings are " set in slippery places." upon him, “the figure of him who was to Their education, their station, their employcome,” that “ king who should reign in ments, their connexions; all, all unhappily righteousness;" " he saw it, and was glad." encroach upon the offices of religion; tend What selfish, solitary joy is once to be to weaken its impressions, and to shut out named with the pure benevolent delight, its consolations. But there is a Prince, bewhich glowed in the patriarch's breast, every twixt whom and this king of Salem, the retime the promise was brought to his ear, and semblance is so striking, that he who runs the Saviour, his own Saviour, the Saviour may trace it. of the world, was placed before his eye? Not a few have given in to the opinion, " And blessed be the most high God,” con- that the wonderful personage represented in tinnes he, " which hath delivered thine ene- this history, under the united character of mies into thine hand.”+ The blessing which priest and king, was none other than the cometh down from heaven, ascends, together Son of God himself, assuming a temporary with its fruit, to heaven again; as the pre- human form, to exhibit in that dark age of cious drops which fall down to water the the world, an anticipated view of the person, earth, rise upward in gales of fragrance, from which he was, in the fulness of time, to asthe fruits and flowers which they produce, sume, of the character of which he was to and perfume the air. “Mercy is twice bless- sustain, and of the offices which he was to ed, it blesseth him that gives and him that execute. The expressions which describe takes." But behold, while Melchizedec yet Melchizedec, it is alleged, are not applicablesseth Abram, he is out of our sight, and ble to any creature: and as, from several is no more to be found. He burst forth upon other passages in the books of Moses, it is us like the sun from behind a thick cloud ; probable, if not certain, that the Redeemer disappeared again as quickly; and is to be of the world manifested himself in the patridiscerned only in that track of glory which archal ages, at sundry times, and on divers • Genesis ziv. 19. Genesis ziv. 20. * Luke xxiv. 50, 51.
| Acts i. 9.
occasions, under the character of the angel | wall of partition between us :" “He came of the Lord; it is apprehended, that this ap- and preached peace to you who were afar pearance to Abram might be of the same off
, and to them that were nigh."* nature; in order to furnish the father of be-chastisement of our peace was upon him, and lievers with a clearer and more distinct idea with his stripes we are healed.”His gospel of the person of the Redeemer, according to is prophesied of, as God's " covenant of the words of Christ himself, “ your father peace," and " the counsel of peace.” At his Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw birth, the melodious anthem of “peace on it, and was glad."*
earth, and good will toward men," I ascended I see no danger that can result, either to from the tongues of ten thousand angels, up faith or morality, from admitting this suppo- to the eternal throne: and when he left the sition. And it must be admitted, that there world, this bequest, more precious than the are circumstances, both in the history and mantle of Elijah, fell from him, and remainin the apostolical application of it, which ed behind him to bless mankind, "peace I sufficiently warrant such an interpretation. leave with you, my peace I give unto you:"$ If there is not an actual identity of persons peace with God, peace of conscience, peace in Melchizedec and the Messiah, the analo- with all men; for “ being justified by faith, gy at least is so obvious, that we have but we have peace with God through our Lord to bring Moses and Paul together, in order Jesus Christ."|| And “the kingdom of God to discover its exactness, and to feel its force. is not meat and drink, but righteousness and The likeness is presented to us in scripture, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost."| Acnot as some others, in scanty and obscure quaintance with God, through him, produces hints, or in some leading features and linea- inward tranquillity. “Acquaint now thyself ments only; but the portraits are drawn, as with him, and be at peace; thereby good it were, at full length, by the masterly hands shall come unto thee. *** And " if God be of a prophet and an apostle, and placed side for us, who can be against us?” “ The peace by side for our inspection. In this part of our of God passeth all understanding." "The undertaking, therefore, nothing more is ne- world can neither give it nor take it away. cessary than to transcribe from the page of And when his gospel shall have produced its inspiration.
full effect, and his kingdom is finally estaScripture is singularly expressive, both in blished; "the work of righteousness shall what it speaks of Melchizedec, and in what be peace;" "and the effect of righteousness, it conceals; and in both these respects we quietness, and assurance for ever."It may in some measure understand the mean But it were endless to enumerate the pasing of what David, in spirit, says of the Messages of scripture, which represent Jesus siah, " they art a priest for ever, after the Christ the Saviour, as the author, the purorder of Melchizedec." And first,
chaser, the giver, the operator of peace, and To whom can the names of king of righ- the Lord our righteousness.” They are teousness, king of peace, be applied with his nature, his name; the burthen of his such strict propriety, as to him whom God preaching, of his prayers: they are the fruit hath “anointed over his holy hill of Sion,” of his sufferings and death, the object of his who reigns in justice and "in love: who, intercession, the operation of his Spirit: they righteous himself, has wrought out for all are the seeds of glory in his redeemed upon his happy subjects a justifying righteousness earth; and the perfection of glory in him and by the merit of his blood, and continues to in them, when the triumph of his grace shall work out in all, a sanctifying righteousness be completed in heaven. by the grace and power of his Spirit ? As the names and titles ascribed to Mel
But peace and righteousness are not mere chizedec, apply in full force, and in their external designations of Messiah, our prince; utmost extent to our blessed Saviour, so the names without a meaning, titles without me- several actions in which we find him enrit, like many of those which are worn by gaged, have their exact counterpart in what the potentates of this world, Catholic, Most Jesus did, in the exercise of his public miChristian, Faithful, Imperial, Defender of nistry: They are these three—" he brought the Faith! Appellations calculated to excite forth bread and wine,” to refresh Abram and pity or derision. No: his titles are of the es- his weary host; he “ blessed Abram;" and he sence of his nature; the display of them, is received of him “ tithes of all” the spoils. the object of his mission, and the consumma
In the first of these we are led to contemtion of his plan. “His name shall be called plate the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Prince of peace.” “Of the increase of when he exerted, more than once, his alhis government, and peace, there shall be no mighty power, in miraculously multiplying end."+ " In Christ Jesus, we, who sometimes bread to refresh and sustain the fainting were far off, are made nigh by the blood of multitudes, who resorted to hear him: and Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made * Eph. ii. 13, 14, 17. both one, and hath broken down the middle
Rom. v.1. • John viii. 56. Isaiah ix. 6, 7.
| Isaiah xxxij. 17.
Luke ii. 14.
Isaiah liii. 5.
** Job xxii. 91.
when he instituted, by taking, blessing, and the people according to the law; that is, of distributing bread and wine, that memorial their brethren, though they came out of the of his death, which has been in every age, loins of Abraham; but he whose descent is and shall continue to the end of the world, not counted from them, received tithes of the food of the hungry soul, and a cordial to Abraham, and blessed him that had the prothe faint; the token of a salvation already mises. And without all contradiction, the wrought out and purchased; and the foretaste less is blessed of the better. And here men of a salvation " ready to be revealed;" the that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth communion of imperfect saints, in the church them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth. militant, and the eternal bond of union among And as I may so say, Levi also, who received the spirits of just men made perfect, in the tithes, payed tithes in Abraham; for he was church triumphant.
yet in the loins of his father, when MelAgain, Melchizedec blessed Abram. In chizedec met him."* From which he justly this action of the king of Salem, we behold infers, that “perfection" could not be " by Jesus, "who went about doing good,” and the Levitical priesthood," that "there was scattered blessings wheresoever he went. need” of “another priest, after the order of “He took little children into his arms and Melchizedec, and not after the order of blessed them.” He pronounced a blessing, Aaron;" who should be “ made, not after the which still rests on the poor in spirit,” law of a carnal commandment, but after the “the meek,” “the merciful,” “ the pure in power of an endless life;" and that “ seeing heart,” - the peace-makers," and those who the law made nothing perfect,” but “the hunger and thirst after righteousness."* He bringing in of a better hope did,” “ by so blessed the bread before he brake it, and much was Jesus made a surety of a better gave it to his disciples: when he ascended testament:" and “this man because he conup on high, blessings upon blessings flowed tinueth ever hath an unchangeable priestfrom his lips; and in virtue of his interces- hood.” Through him, therefore, let us offer sion at the right hand of the Father, “every " the calves of our lips,” and “present" our good gift, and every perfect gift cometh down “ bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable from the Father of lights."! If the world unto God, which is our reasonable service:”' has any comfort; if the soul has any hope; for “ we are not our own, we are bought with if there be any communication between hea- a price;" therefore, let us glorify God in our ven and earth; if there be a good will towards body, and in our spirit, which are God's." men;"" if there be any consolation in Christ; As the names and employments, so the if any comfort of love; if any fellowship of united offices and dignity of Melchizedec, spirit; if any bowels and mercies ;"I if there met in all their lustre in the person of the Son be any joy purer, and more perfect than an- of God; “ King of Salem,” and “ Priest of other, “the blessing of the Lord it maketh the most high God.” In “derision” of the rich, and he addeth no sorrow therewith;” vain attempts of the heathen, and of the imit is of him, whom “God having raised up,” pious confederacy of the kings and rulers of even “his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, the earth, “ against the LORD, and against in turning away every one of you from his his Anointed,” God declares, “I have set my iniquities.". But the grand accomplishment King upon my holy hill of Zion.” He came of the type is reserved for that day, when, not indeed in worldly pomp, but in lowliness together with faithful Abraham, all “the and meekness, yet the powers and potentates ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come of the earth were made subject and subserto Zion, with songs and everlasting joy upon vient to him. “ Wise men from the east" their heads;"|| when “the Son of man, com were conducted by a star to Jerusalem, and ing in the clouds of heaven with power and thence to Bethlehem of Judah, to do homage great glory," shall thus welcome his re- to him at his birth; and poured "their treadeemed to the regions of eternal day, “Come, sures, gold, frankincense, and myrrh," at his ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom feet. Augustus issued " a decree that all the prepared for you from the foundation of the world should be taxed.” What was his moworld.”
tive, what his end? We cannot tell; but we The last of Melchizedec's actions that know the end which God had in view by it: stands upon record, is his receiving the tithe namely, to bring into more public notoriety, of the spoils from Abram. On which subject the several circumstances of Christ's nativiI think it best to give you the Apostle's com- ty, and to transmit them to the latest postementary in his own words. “Now consider rity, in all their splendour and importance. how great this man was, unto whom even Thus the haughty master of imperial Rome the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the was constrained of Providence, to render unspoils. And verily they that are of the sons known, unintended, involuntary homage to of Levi, who receive the office of the priest- yonder babe in the stable of Bethlehem.” hood, have a commandment to take tithes of “For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus,
whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and
1 Phil. jj. 1.
† Psalm ii. 6.
• Matt. v. 3. 10.
+ James i. 17.
Matt. xxv. 34.
• Heb. vii. 4-10.
Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the What is its antitype ? “Who shall declare people of Israel, were gathered together, for his generation ?” “In the beginning was to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel the Word, and the Word was with God, and determined before to be done."* "Is he not the Word was God."* “ Verily, verily I then “the blessed and only Potentate; the say unto you, before Abraham was, I am.”+ King of kings, and Lord of lords ? Now es “And the word was made flesh, and dwelt pecially, exalted as he is, to the right hand among us, (and we beheld his glory, the of the Majesty on high. For by him were glory as of the only begotten of the Father) all things created that are in heaven, and that full of grace and truth."I Without conare in earth, visible and invisible, whether troversy, great is the mystery of godliness: they be thrones, or dominions, or principali- God was manifest in the flesh." "I am ties, or powers: all things were created by Alpha and Omega, the first and the last ; I him and for him." ." And he is before all am he that liveth and was dead; and behold, things, and by him all things consist.”+ And, 1 am alive for evermore, amen.”ll “Behold into the kingdom of his glory, when finished, the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin “the kings of the earth do bring their glory of the world! “ Slain from the foundation and honour.” Then shall angels and men of the world!" The altar which consecrajoin in this grand celestial chorus," the teth “ the gift," the priest that presents kingdoms of this world are become the king- the sacrifice; the “second temple” which doms of our Lord, and of his Christ, and he eclipses the glory of the “ first.” All, and in shall reign forever and ever.”I
all. Every thing pointed to him; all ended But while his exalted rank as a sovereign in him, and all are infinitely exceeded by removes us to an awful distance, his milder him. character as “the Apostle and High Priest Rejoice, Christians, in this "more sure of our profession,” allures us back to his pre- word of prophesy;" and “take heed unto it, sence, and dissipates our terrors. He is “a as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, merciful and a faithful High Priest,” an until the day dawn and the day star arise in “ High Priest, touched with the feeling of your hearts." Revere the unfathomable our infirmities:” “a great High Priest, depths of the eternal mind. “Secret things that is passed into the heavens,” through belong to God; but things which are revealed, whom we have encouragement to "come belong to us, and to our children.” Turn boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may all your inquiries to some good account; reobtain mercy, and find grace to help in time membering that the end of the commandof need." He has by one offering perfect- ment is charity," is to inspire veneration and ed forever them that are sanctified,” and love to God, and good will to men. Seek who, having “ washed us from our sins in not to be wise above what is written:" and his own blood," shall at length make us " be not wise in your own conceit.” In re“kings and priests unto God and his Father. verence adore an incoinprehensible Jehovah, To him be glory and dominion forever and who, by no search is to be “found out unto ever."l|
perfection." Rejoice in hope of that day, The circumstances relating to Melchize- when all mysteries shall be unveiled, and the dec, which are concealed, no less than those wisdom, the love, and the goodness of God which are revealed to us, lead directly to shall shine conspicuously in every creature similar circumstances in the person and and every event; when the honours of a character of our Lord. “Without father, Melchizedec shall be communicated to all without mother, without descent; having and to every one of the myriads of Christ's neither beginning of days nor end of life;" redeemed. 'When, such as is the head, shall no predecessor; no successor; no limited time all the members be,“ kings and priests unto of service; no derived title; a dignity not God.”. And let us, “ by patient continuance passing from hand to hand, but permanent, in well doing, seek for glory, and honour, and inherent, immutable.” Such was the type. immortality." Amen. * Acts iv. 27, 28. Col. i. 16, 17. 1 Rev. xi, 15.
1 John i. 14. & Heb. iv. 16. | Rev. i. 6.
$ i Tim. iii. 16 | Rey. i. 14. 18 1 2 Peter i. 19.
• John i. 1.
John vii. 58.