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Well then may he be called “an High-priest of good things ;" for there is nothing good in time or eternity, which he does not procure for those who seek an interest in his mediation.] This subject may serve to show us, 1. What use to make of the Levitical law
(If we read it merely as a system of rites and ceremonies, without considering the end of its institution, it will appear absurd, and utterly unworthy of its Divine Author: but, if we view it in its relation to Christ, it will appear beautiful and very instructive. There is no longer a veil over it with respect to uso; let us look at it therefore as at a mirror that reflects his glory; and we shall have no cause to regret the time and labour that we employ in exploring its mysterious contents.] 2. How to appreciate the blessings of redemption
[We may form some judgment of them by meditating on the terrors of hell, and the glories of heaven: but there is nothing that can so fully discover their value, as a consideration of the price paid for them. Who can reflect on “ the precious blood of Christ by which we are redeemed,” and entertain low thoughts of the blessings purchased by it? Would men be so indifferent about salvation, if they thus considered how great it was? Surely, it would be impossible: callous as the human heart is, it would melt into contrition at the sight of an expiring Gode. Let us but habituate ourselves to such views as these, and neither earth nor hell shall ever hold us in the bonds of sin. With such a sight of the prize, we shall never cease to run till we have obtained it.]
3. What grounds of hope there are for the very chief of sinners
[Had any other price been paid for our redemption, many might have doubted whether it were sufficient for them: but who can doubt, when he knows, that he has been bought with the blood of Christ? This will expiate the foulest guilt: the difference, that exists between one sinner and another, is lost, when we apply to Christ's infinitely meritorious atonement : its efficacy is the same, whatever degrees of guilt we may have contracted: it will avail for one as well as for another; nor is there any “sin of such a scarlet or crimson die, but it shall be made white as snow," the very instant it is washed in this fountain: “the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin." Let none then despair: let us rather consider what “an Highpriest we have over the house of God;” and “come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help us in the time of need."] o 2 Cor. ii. 14. p Zech. xii. 10. 9 Heb. iv. 14, 16. and x. 19--22.
THE JEWISH SACRIFICES TYPICAL OF CHRIST's. Heb. ix. 13, 14. If the blood of bulls and of goats, and the
ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh : how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
THE peculiar benefits of Christianity are usually displayed by contrasting our state with that of the heathen world : but they will be seen nearly to the same advantage, if we compare our privileges with those that were enjoyed under the Jewish dispensation. The Jews indeed had much that distinguished them above other nations : but we possess in substance what they enjoyed only in the shadow. One great object in the Epistle to the Hebrews is, to set this matter in a just point of view. This has been done with great perspicuity and strength of argument in the preceding context: and the author having shewn that we have a true, and eternal redemption obtained for us, while that accomplished by the Jewish ordinances was only typical and temporal, states afresh, in few words, the grounds of his conclusion, and appeals to every intelligent reader for the justness of it.
In discoursing on his words we shall shew, I. The excellence of the type
The Jewish ordinances were altogether typical of Christ's sacrifice
[The ordinances mentioned in the text, though similar, as means of purifying from pollution, were very different from each other as to the kind of pollution which they were intended to remove.
The blood of bullocks and goats was offered annually on the great day of expiation, to atone for the moral guilt both of the priests and people. The ashes of the heifer, which, together with cedar, hyssop, and scarlet, had
a Lev. xvi. 6, 15.
been burnt without the camp, were to be mixed with running water, and sprinkled upon a person who had contracted any ceremonial uncleanness (as from the touch of a grave, a corpse, a human bone, or any thing that had been touched by an unclean person). On the third day, and on the seventh, they were to be sprinkled on him; and then he was to be esteemed clean. These were typical of Christ's sacrifice, by which the greatest sins may be forgiven; and without which, not even the smallest pollution imaginable can ever be purged away.]
As types, these certainly were deserving of much regard
[ While they shadowed forth, and prepared men for, the Messiah that should come, they conveyed many real benefits to those who conformed to the rules which they prescribed. The penitents who bewailed their moral defilements, had their hopes of mercy and forgiveness revived and strengthened: and they who, on account of some ceremonial uncleanness, were separated for seven long days from the house of God, and from all intercourse with their dearest friends, were restored, as it were to the bosom of the Church, and to communion with their God. Doubtless these rites were burthensome; but every one who valued the favour of God, and the blessings of social converse, would thankfully use the means which Gid had prescribed for the renewed enjoyment of them.]
Nevertheless the things, which were glorious in themselves, lost all their glory when contrasted
II. The superior excellence of the antitype
As, by a type, we mean a shadowy representation of something future and substantial; so, by an antitype`, we mean that thing which corresponds to the type, and had before been represented by it. The antitype then, or the thing that has been before represented, is, the sacrifice of Christ : and this infinitely excels all the ordinances by which it had been shadowed forth. The superior excellence of this appears particularly, in that, 1. It purifies the conscience
[The legal offerings never could remove guilt from the conscienced: they were mere remembrances of sinse; and the constant repetition of them shewed that those, which had been before offered, had not availed for the full discharge of the persons who offered them?.
b Numb. xix. 12. d Heb. ix. 9.
c 'AvTitu OS. 1 Pet. iii. 21. e Heb. x. 3, 4.
But the blood of Christ, once sprinkled on the conscience, “perfects for ever them that are sanctified &." No other atonement is then wanted, or desired: the sinner needs only to exercise faith on that, and he will have peace in his soul; “ being justified by faith, he shall have peace with God.” How strongly does this mark the superiority which we ascribe to the sacrifice of Christ !] 2. It sanctifies the life
[Though the Jewish ordinances availed for the restoration of men to the enjoyment of outward privileges, they never could renew and sanctify the heart. On the contrary, they rather tended to irritate the minds of men against both the law, and him that enjoined it. But the blood of Christ sprinkled on the soul, instantly produces a visible change in the whole man: “ the dead works” which were daily practised with delight, are now abandoned; and “ the service of the living God,” which before appeared irksome, is now its chief joy. It is undeniable that many in every place throughout the world (wherever the Gospel is preached) have undergone a very great change in all their views, desires, and pursuits ; they have become dead to the things of time and sense, and have devoted themselves in body, soul, and spirit, to the service of their God. Let the question be put to all of them, When did this change take place ? there will be but one answer from them all: they will with one voice acknowledge, that it was effected by the sprinkling of the blood of Christ upon their hearts and consciences; that, till that blessed period, they were altogether carnal; and that from that time, they have been under the habitual influence of spiritual affections. What more can be wanting to establish the point before us ?)
The pre-eminence of Christ above the legal offerings will yet further appear, while we shew, III. How it is that the transcendent worth of the one
may be inferred from the comparatively trifling
value of the otherThe Apostle's argument in the text is this: If the Jewish sacrifices availed for the smallest good, how much more will the sacrifice of Christ avail for the greatest possible good? The force of this argument will appear by comparing, 1. The nature of the offerings
& IIeb. x. 10, 14.
i Heb. x.
[The blood that was sprinkled on men under the law, was merely the blood of worthless beasts : but what is that which is sprinkled on us ? Let the voice of inspiration answer this question; It was “GOD that purchased the Church with his own blood h.” Astonishing mystery! “ the blood of Christ” was the blood, not of a mere man, but of one who was God as well as man. How plain is the inference in this view! Surely, if the blood of a beast, which was only externally " spotless," availed for any thing, much more may the blood of Christ, that immaculate Lamb, avail for every thing.) 2. The persons by whom they were offered—
(Under the law the offerings were presented by sinful men, who needed first to offer for their own sins, before they were permitted to offer for the people's. But our sacrifice was offered by God himself: Christ was both the sacrifice and the priest : yea, each person of the ever-blessed Trinity was engaged in this stupendous work: the Father was the person to whom the sacrifice was offered; Christ was the person who offered it; and “the Eternal Spirit" concurred and co-operated with him in this mysterious act. Let then the offerings be compared in this view, and how infinite will the superiority of Christ's appear!] 3. The suitableness of each to the end proposed
(What was there in the blood of bulls and goats that could wash away the stain of sin! How could that satisfy the Divine justice, or avert his wrath from sinful man? there was not the least affinity between the means and the end. But Christ was “bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh;" and he assumed our nature on purpose that he might stand in our place and stead. Here was a perfect suitableness between the means and the end. Must the penalty due to sin be endured ? He became a curse for us, and submitted to endure its just deserts. Must the law be fulfilled and honoured ? He magnified it by his perfect obedience. And being God as well as man, he was at liberty to do this for us; and his substitution in our place is justly available for our salvation. How plain then is the Apostle's inference when viewed in this light! Surely, when these considerations are all combined, there will be a strength in his argument, and a force in his appeal, which must bear down every objection, and fix the deepest conviction on our minds.] This subject may further lead us to OBSERVE,
1. How manifest is the doctrine of the divinity of Christ!
h Acts xx. 28.