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such occasions.* Nor is Melchisedec called a priest, because he "brought forth bread and wine;" but to account for his solemn benediction of Abraham, which was part of the priestly office,† and also for Abraham's giving him a tenth of the spoils. "He," says Moses, "was the priest of the most high God. "And he blessed him" (Abraham)" and said, Blessed "be Abram of the most high God, possessor of "heaven and earth: And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thine "hand. And he gave him tithes of all."

There is no ground therefore, for the supposition. that Melchisedec sacrificed nothing but bread and wine, or none but inanimate things; but sufficient reason for a contrary opinion. For, if his priesthood had nothing to do with bloody sacrifices, how came it to pass that Christ himself, whose priesthood is declared to be of the same kind as that of Melchisedec, offered his sacrifice by shedding his own blood?


Nor should we pay any attention to those who attribute to Christ a priesthood of the order of Aaron as well as of that of Melchisedec, and suppose that he offered a sacrifice by blood in the character of an Aaronic priest. The advocates of this opinion produce nothing sufficient to justify such a representation. It is repugnant to the express language of scripture; which affirms that the priesthood of Christ was "NOT "after the order of Aaron," and assigns this reason, that Christ descended from another family, and a different tribe, 'from that to which the Aaronic priesthood was confined by an inviolable law.

+ Deut. xxi. 5. I Chron. ↑ Gen, xiv. 17-19. Heb. vii. 11.

* Deut. xxiii. 4. Jud. viii. 5, 6. 15.

xxiii. 13. Num. 'vi, 23.

III. Our next inquiry respects those things by which the Son of God, the eternal Word, on his assumption of our nature, was initiated into his priesthood. It was in a very different way from that in which the Aaronic priests were consecrated to their office. They were consecrated by ablutions with purifying water, by cloathing with prescribed vestments, by an ointment composed of various perfumes, and by the blood of slaughtered beasts:* by which the virtues required in a priest were emblematically represented, but could not be conferred. But when God would have his Son to be a priest possessed of every qualification in absolute perfection, no one can doubt but he would initiate him into his priesthood by those very things which constitute such a priest. This being the case, let us examine,-first, wherein the absolute perfection of a priest consists; and in the next place, by what things Christ, as Mediator, attained that perfection: for it is evident that by those very things he must have been consecrated to the priesthood.

IV. To constitute a priest absolutely perfect, the three following things are indispensably necessary. First, he must have sufficient authority and favour with God, to be able effectually to commend all his people to him, and to render him propitious to them. Secondly, he must feel sufficient kindness and mercy towards men, to be inclined to a sedulous attention to these objects. Lastly, he must possess an immortal life, to be capable of the perpetual performance of them. The necessity of the first of these requisites, in a perfect priest, appears from the design of the office itself. For as it is the business of a See Diss. I. Chap. V,

priest, as an advocate, to commend to God those whose cause he undertakes, and to render God propitious to them ;* no one can attain perfection in the sacerdotal office, who has not sufficient favour and authority with God to be able to accomplish these objects. Nor, in reference to the second of these requisites, can any one be a perfect priest, who, whatever may be the influence of his favour and authority with God, is not willing to use it all in the cause of his people. For he would be deficient in that fidelity and mercy toward his people, which are necessary in every priest, and especially in every high priest of superior excellence. The scriptures give us this very idea.↑ "For," says the apostle to the Hebrews, " every high priest taken from among men "is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, "that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins: "who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on "them that are out of the way: for that he himself "also is compassed with infirmity."+ "Wherefore "in all things it behoved" Christ, as the same apostle had before said, "to be made like unto his brethren, "that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest, "to make reconciliation for the sins of the people :" which fully implies that in every priest no qualities are more necessary than mercy and fidelity. But the last requisite is equally indispensable in a perfect priest; who must be possessed of an immortal life, to be capable of perpetually defending and maintaining the cause of his people before God. Hence the following expressions of the same apostle when speaking of Christ. “But this man, because he "continueth ever, hath unchangeable priesthood. * I John ii. 1, 2. † Heb. v. 1, 2. Heb. ii. 17. § Heb. vii. 24, 25, 26. 28,

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"Wherefore he is able also to save them to the "uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ' ever liveth to make intercession for them. For "such an high priest became us, who is holy, harm"less, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens.-For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, "who is consecrated for evermore."



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Since it is sufficiently evident, therefore, that the greatest authority and favour with God, and the greatest mercy and fidelity toward men, combined with an immortal life, render a priest absolutely perfect; there can be no doubt that by those things by which Christ attained all these requisites, by those very things he was also consecrated to his priesthood. Now those things, as every one must perceive, were Christ's pre-eminent excellencies, the perfect sanctity of his life, and principally that obedience which consisted in voluntarily surrendering himself to death, and freely submitting to those extreme pains and sorrows which he endured on account of our sins. For it is in consequence of these things, that Christ has so much favour and authority with God as to be able effectually to commend to him all his people. His willingness to do it is also the result of the same things. For he has learned by experience, what it is to be a man; what it is to bear hunger, thirst, poverty, and the deepest ignominy; what it is to be deserted by friends, to be rejected by others, to be the sport of all the basest of men; what it is to be assailed, harrassed, and oppressed, by dangers of every kind; and lastly, as the consummation of calamity, what it is to suffer the most excruciating death on account of

our sins. From an experience of these things, he has acquired such benevolence and compassion towards his people under all their afflictions and temptations, that he is ready to afford them assistance himself, and desirous that they may obtain abundant mercy from God in all circumstances. Hence the following language of the apostle to the Hebrews:* " Seeing then "that we have a great high priest, that is passed into "the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold "fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling "of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted "like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore "come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we 26 may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time. "of need."-In the last place, those who have put their trust in him, have no reason to fear that they shall ever be deprived of their advocate. For by his voluntary submission to death he has obtained an immortal life, on his attainment of which he is said to be perfected, or consecrated to an eternal priesthood after the order of Melchisedec. Thus the apostle to the Hebrews: "And being made perfect, " he became the author of eternal salvation to all "them that obey him; called of God an high priest "after the order of Melchisedec." Whence we conclude, that it was on his resurrection from the dead to an immortal life, that the Son of God was fully consecrated to the perpetual priesthood. For there is no doubt that the word here rendered "being "made perfect" means fully and perfectly consecrated. This is evident, both from the scope of the passage, which relates to this very point, and from

* Heb. iv. 14-16,

↑ Heb. v, 9, 10.


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