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altar. Nor has he ceased from his priestly work : he is now within the vail, offering up the incense of his own prevailing intercession, while his people continue praying without. Nor will he desist from his labour as long as there shall continue one single soul, for whom to intercede before God. As he had none to precede him in his office, so will he have none to follow him : " He abideth a priest continually, the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever?"] ADVICE

1. Regard the Lord Jesus according to his real dignity

[Jesus unites in himself the kingly and priestly character. None of the Levitical kings or priests ever attained to this honour. Uzziah, presuming to exercise the priestly office, was smitten with a leprosy, and made a monument of the Divine displeasure to the latest hour of his life. But Jesus, as was foretold concerning him, was, like Melchizedec,a priest upon his throneh." Let us view this combination of character with lively gratitude. Let us contemplate him as every way qualified to be a Saviour to us And let us beg that he will exalt us also to "a royal priesthood, that we may offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God through himi.”)

2. Look to him for the blessings which he is authorized to bestow

[As our exalted head " he is a Prince and a Saviour, to give repentance and remission of sins." "He has received gifts even for the most rebellious:" and, having given himself for us, he is fully authorized to bestow upon us the purchase of his blood. Shall we not then make our application to him? What “ bread and what wine" would he not bestow on us for the refreshment of our weary souls! Shall we not then “ open our mouths wide that he may fill them?” Surely, “if we be straitened, it is not in him, but in ourselves :" he would tisfy the hungry with good things;" he would “ fill us with all the fulness of God." O that that “God, who raised him up from the dead, would now send him to bless us, in turning every one of us from our iniquitiesk !")

3. Consecrate to him, not the tenth only of your spoils, but all that you possess

Though we should “honour him with our substance, and with the first-fruits of all our increase," yet that is by no means

sa

f Heb. vii. 23-25, 28, and xiii. 8.
h Zech. vi. 13.
k Acts ii. 26.

8 2 Chron. xxvi. 16–21.
i 1 Pet. ï. 5, 9.

sufficient: we should dedicate to him all that we possess in mind, or body, or estate. We are not indeed called to dispose of all our goods in charity, but to ascribe to his bounty every thing we possess, and “ whether we eat or drink, or whatever we do, to do it all to his glory." Have we overtaken as Abraham did, and destroyed, our spiritual enemies? Let us acknowledge that “ his was the power, and the glory, and the victory." Let us see him in all things, and glorify him for all things; and “present to him both our bodies and our souls a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is our reasonable service!")

1 Rom. xii. 1.

MMCCXCVII.

THE SUPERIORITY OF THE CHRISTIAN ABOVE THE MOSAIC

DISPENSATION.

Heb. vii. 19. The law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did ; by the which we draw nigh unto God.

THAT the Jewish religion is superseded by the Christian, is well known : but, why it is superseded, and what relation the two have to each other, is not so generally considered.

The true light in which the law is to be considered, is this; it was “a shadow of the things which were to be more fully revealed by the Gospel,” or a scaffolding erected for a season for the purpose of constructing the edifice of Christianity, and to be removed of course as of no further use, when that building should be complete. It is in this view that the Apostle speaks of it in the passage before us. He has shewn that, while the law was yet in the summit of its glory, David foretold, that a priesthood, of an order totally different from that established by Moses, should be introduced ; and that consequently all the rites and ceremonies connected with the Levitical priesthood should be done away. The reason that he assigns for this is, that the legal economy was “weak and unprofitable.” Not that it was so in that particular view in which it was designed of God; but that it was so as far as related to those ends which the

Jews, through the ignorance of its nature, expected to be answered by it. As a scaffolding is of use for the building of a house, but most unprofitable if resorted to as a residence instead of the house, so the law was good, as a typical exhibition of the way of salvation, but weak and unprofitable to those who should expect salvation by it. Salvation was, from the beginning, intended to be, and could be, by the Gospel only:

“ for the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh to God.”

It is our intention to mark, I. The difference between the Mosaic and the Chris

tian dispensationBy “ the law,” the whole dispensation of Moses was meant; and, by “the introduction of a better hope,” the dispensation of Christ; which alone affords a solid ground of hope to sinful men. The things which the law could not effect, the Gospel does : it gives us, 1. Perfect reconciliation with God

[The sacrifices which were offered under the law could never take away sin. There was nothing in them that was at all suited to this end. What was there in the blood of a beast to make satisfaction to Divine justice for the sin of man? The Apostle truly says, it was not possible for the blood of bulls and of goats to take away sina.

But the Gospel points us to an atonement which was of infinite value, even the blood of God's co-equal, co-eternal Son. This might well satisfy even for the sins of the whole world; because more honour was done to the Divine law by His performing its commands and suffering its penalties, than could have been done by the obedience or suffering of the whole human race.

Hence the Scriptures invariably represent the Father as

“ reconciled to the world by the death of his Son;" and as requiring nothing more of us, than to come to him in the name of his Son, pleading the merits of his blood, and relying wholly on his atoning sacrifice. To all such persons he says, that, “ though their sins may have been as crimson, they shall be as white as snow," and that they not only shall be, but actually are, from the first moment of their believing, "justified

a Heb. x. 4.

we

have peace

a peace which

are

from all things, from which they could not be justified by the law of Moses b.” In this view the Gospel is called “ the ministry of reconciliation :" and the one message which all the ministers of the Gospel have to declare, is, that “God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them."] 2. Perfect peace of conscience

[The annual repetition of the same sacrifices under the Mosaic dispensation shewed, that the sins for which they were offered were not yet fully pardoned. Hence they were rather “ remembrances of sins” than actual means of forgiveness: and consequently “they could not make men perfect as pertaining to the conscienced."

But the atoning “ blood of Christ really cleanses from all sin.” It“purges the consciencee ;" so that, being justified by it,

with God," and in our souls “ passeth all understanding.” “ In fleeing to Christ for refuge, and laying hold on that hope that is set before us, we have strong consolation.” Divine justice being satisfied, we satisfied also. “ We know in whom we have believed, and are assured that he is able to keep that which we have committed to him.” According to his promise," he keeps our minds in perfect peace, because we trust in him" he fills us with "

peace and joy in believing,” yea, “ with joy unspeakable and full of glory."] 3. Perfect holiness of heart and life

[The law commanded, but gave no strength for obedience. But Christ procured for his followers the gift of the Holy Spirit, “ by whose effectual aid we can do all things” that are required of us. Absolute perfection indeed is not to be expected in this life : for even St. Paul, after having ministered in the Gospel for twenty years, said of himself, "I have not yet attained, neither am I already perfect:" but evangelical perfection, which consists in an unreserved surrender of our whole souls to God, we may, and must attain. For this purpose are “the Scriptures given, that by them the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works?.” For this purpose are the promises in particular revealed, that “ by them we may cleanse ourselves from all filthiness both of flesh and spirit, and perfect holiness in the fear of God." Nor is holiness merely provided for us; it is actually secured to us by the Gospel : “Sin shall not have dominion over us, because we are not under the law, but under grace:" on the contrary, we shall be made “new creatures,” and “ be renewed after the image of God in righteousness and true holiness.” This is “ that thing which the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh; and which God, sending his own Son, in the likeness of sinful flesh, as a sacrifice for sin, has done; he has so condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteousness of the law shall be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirith."]

b Acts xii. 39.
d Heb. ix. 9, 10. and x. 1-3.
1 2 Tim. iji. 16, 17.

c 2 Cor. v. 18, 19.
e Heb, ix. 14.
8 2 Cor. vii. 1.

Corresponding with this difference is, II. The distinguishing benefit which under our dis

pensation we enjoyThe access to God which Christians possess, results entirely from the nature of the dispensation under which they live: and the Apostle, in speaking of it, includes two things :

1. The liberty which we have of drawing nigh to God

[The whole of the Jewish ritual tended rather to keep men at an awful distance from God than to bring them near to him. There was one court for the priests, into which they alone had admittance: and into the holy of holies none but the high-priest could enter! and he only on one day in the year; and then only according to certain forms that were prescribed. By these restrictions " the Holy Ghost signified, that the way into the holy place was not yet made manifest while the first tabernacle was yet standingi.” Had any one presumed to violate this law, he would have instantly been visited, if not with a fatal stroke, at least (as King Uzziah was) with some awful calamity.

But for us there is a new and living way opened, through the vail,” which was rent in twain from the top to the bottom at the very moment of our Saviour's death. And, as by Christ " we have access unto the Father,” so we are told to "come with boldness into the holiest by his blood." The golden sceptre is held out to every one of us, so that we may boldly to the throne of grace," assured of obtaining mercy, and of " finding grace to help us in the time of need" - - ]

2. The delight which we have in the exercise of that liberty

[The approaches of persons to God under the law were full of burthensome ceremonies: those under the Gospel are intimate and delightful. “God draws nigh to us, whilst we draw

come

h Rom. viii. 3, 4.

i Heb. ix. 8.

Heb. x. 20–22.

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