« ForrigeFortsæt »
taught, and our faith in himself, as also to set us an example of patient suffering. But these things were not highly necessary if considered alone, nor peculiar, and such there must be, or no man can satisfy himself why the Son of God should suffer and die. For God sent' many before to reveal his will, Moses for instance, whose declarations thereof all men were bound to believe; and yet caused them not to die violent, bloody and cursed deaths in the confirmation of them. So the death of Moses was concealed from all the world, only it was known that he died; his doctrine was not confirmed by his death. Besides, our Lord had such a power of working miracles, as gave an uncontroulable evidence unto his being sent of God, and God's approbation of what he taught. Nor can it be pretended that it was necessary that he should die that he might rise again, and so confirm his doctrine by his resurrection. For he might have died for this end any other way, and not by a shameful and cursed death, not by a death in the view whereof he cried out that he was forsaken of God. Besides, on the supposition that Christ died to confirm his doctrine, his resurrection was not of any more virtue to ingenerate, strengthen or increase faith in us, than any other miracle that he wrought. For himself tells us that the rising of any one from the dead absolutely, is not accompanied with such a peculiar efficacy to that purpose, Luke xvi. 31. But on supposition that he died for our sins, or underwent the punishment due to them, his resurrection from the dead, is the principal foundation of our faith and hope. Nei. ther was his being an example unto us, indispensably necessary. For God hath given us other examples to the same purpose, which he obligeth us to conform ourselves unto, Jam. v. 10, 11. Whereas therefore all acknowledge that Christ was the Son of God, and there must be some peculiar reason why the Son of God should die a shameful and painful death, this cannot be assigned by them, by whom the indispensable necessity of punishing is denied.
Others say it was needful the Lord Christ should suffer, for the declaration of the righteousness of God, with his hatred of and severity against sin. So indeed the Scripture says; but it says so on the suppositions before laid down and proved. How they can say so with any congruity to or consistency of reason, by whom these are denied, I cannot understand. For if there be no such justice in God as necessarily requires that sin be punished, how can it be exalted or manifested in the punishment of it. If the punishment of sin be a mere free act of the will of God, which he may exert, or the contrary, the pleasure of his will is manifested indeed therein, but how his justice is made known I see not. Suppose, as the men of this persuasion do, that it was easy with God to pardon the sins of men freely, without any satisfaction or compensation; that there was nothing in his nature which required of him to do otherwise; that had he done so, he had done it without the least disadvantage to his own glory; that is, he had acted therein as became his holiness and righteousness, as he is the supreme governor over all; on these suppositions I say, who can give a reasonable account why he should cast all our sins on his Son, and punish them all in his person, according as if justice had required him so to do? To say that all this was done for the satisfaction of that justice which required no such thing to be done, is not satisfactory.
§ 8. 'From what hath been discoursed, both the origin and necessity of the priesthood of Christ are evidently demonstrated. There was no respect, in the designation of it, to the state of innocence. Upon the supposition and consideration of the fall, the entrance of sin and the ruin of mankind thereby, there were personal transactions in the Holy Trinity with respect to the recovery of men ; as there had been before in their creation. Herein the Son undertook to be our deliverer, in and by the assumption of our nature (wherein alone it could be wrought) into personal union with himself; because for this end the justice and holiness of God required, that the penalty due and threatened unto sin should be undergone and suffered. This the Son willingly undertook to do in that nature which he assumed to himself. And because the things themselves to be suffered, were not only, nor indeed so much, considered, as his will and obedience in suffering, being an instance of obedience in compliance with the will and law of God, outballancing the disobedience of the first, and of all our sins in opposition thereunto; therefore was he in all his sufferings to offer himself up freely to the will of God, which offering up of himself was his sacrifice, to which end he was called, anointed, ordained of God an high priest. For this office consisteth in a power, right, and faculty given unto him of God to offer up himself in sacrifice, in, by and under his suffering of the penalty due to sin, as thereby to make expiation of sin, and reconciliation for sinners, as we shall prove in our next discourse.
Í 1. The nature of the priesthood of Christ why proposed to consideration.
The opinion of the Socinians concerning the priesthood of Christ; consequents thereof. § 2. Christ a High Priest properly so called. Argu. ments in the confirmation thereof proposed and vindicated. Heb. v. 1. vii. 11-16. explained to that purpose. § 3. God the immediate object of the sacerdotal actings of Christ, proved from the typical priesthood, and the use of sacrifices. $ 4. Farther confirmed from the nature of all the offices of Christ. $5. From the nature of sacerdotal duties and acts. $ 6. Some particular testimonies pleaded to the same purpose ; the conclusion. § 7. The call of Christ unto his priestly office. His inauguration and actual susception of it. $ § 9. Things considerable in the priest's offering sacrifices of old. § 10. Their accomplishment in the Lord Christ discharging his priestly office. $11. The truth thereof farther explained and confirmed." § 12. Testimonies of the Scripture to that purpose urged, explained, vindicated, Eph. V.2. § 13. Heb. v. 6, 7. Ś 14. Heb. i. 3. vindicated. s 15. Heb. ix. 14. vindicated. Ş 16. Christ once offered, and that when he bare our sins. § 17. The necessity of suffering unto sacrifice, Heb. ix. 25, 26. vii. 27. x. xi. xii.
That our Lord Jesus Christ is the true and only High Priest of the church, hath been before declared, and it is in words acknowledged by all in some sense or other. The general nature also of that office hath been fully manifested from what we have discoursed concerning its original, with the ends of it, and his designation thereunto; without the utter overthrow of those foundations in the first place, all the attempts of men a. gainst the true and proper nature of this office as vested in him are weak and impotent. The sacrifice that he offered as a priest, the nature, use and end thereof, must be considered apart afterwards in its proper place. The qualifications of his person, with the love, care and grace which he exerciseth in the discharge of this office, must all be distinctly spoken to, as they are represented to us by the apostle in the epistle itself. Wherefore there would be no necessity of handling the nature of this office here apart, were it not for the opposition that is made to it, and that depra. vation of the doctrine of the gospel concerning it, which some have attempted. For whereas the principal design of the Socinians in these things is to overthrow the sacrifice that he offered as a priest, they lay the foundation of their attempt in an oppo
The true Nature of the Priesthood of Christ, &*c. 145 sition to the office itself. It is therefore principally with respect to them that I have here proposed the nature of that office unto consideration, and shall be more conversant in its vindication than in its declaration, which most Christians are acquainted withal. And I shall proceed in this method herein: First, I shall declare what are in general their conceptions about this office, in opposition whereunto the truth declared in the Scripture shall be taught and vindicated. Secondly, I shall more particularly declare their opinions as to the several concerns of it, and consider as well their explanation of their own sense with their confirmation of it, as their opposition and exceptions to the faith of the church of God.
9 2. In the first place, they grant that the Lord Christ is our High Priest ; that is, that he is so called in the Scripture ; but that he is so really they deny. For this name they say is ascribed unto him, not properly or directly to denote what he is or doth, but by reason of some kind of allusion that there is between what he doth for us, and what was done by the priests of old amongst the Jews, or under the Old Testament. He is there. fore in their judgment, improperly and metaphorically called a priest, as believers are said to be kings and priests, though after somewhat a more excellent manner. For he iş so termed because of the good offices that he doth for the church, and not that he is or ever was a priest indeed. Hereon they say,
Secondly, That he then entered on this office, or then began to do that work, with reference whereunto, because of its allusion to the work of the priest under the law, he is called a priest, when upon his ascension into heaven and appearance in the holy place, he received power from God, to help and relieve and assist the church in all its occasions. What he did and suffered before in the world, in his death and blood-shedding, was by virtue of God's decree a necessary preparation unto his discharge of this office, but belonged not thereunto, nor did he there offer any sacrifice to God; wherefore they also affirm,
Thirdly, That this priesthood of Christ is indeed of the same nature with his kingly office, both of them consisting in a power, ability, authority, and readiness to do good unto the church. Only herein there seems some difference between them, that as a King he is able to help and save us, but as a Priest he is wil. ling and ready so to do.
Fourthly, That the object of the acts of the priesthood of Christ, is first and principally man, yea it is only so, none of them having God for their object, no more than the acts of his kingly power have. For it is his care of the church, his love towards it, with the supply of his grace and mercy, which from God he bestows upon it, on the account whereof he is said to be a priest, and his so doing is called the exercise of his priesthood. This in general is the substance of what they affirm and teach concerning this office of Christ, as we shall more particularly manifest and evince in the ensuing Exercitation. Now if these things are so, I confess all our exposition of this epistle, at least the principal parts of it, must fall to the ground, as being built upon the sandy foundation of many false suppositions.
And not only so, but the faith of the whole church of God in this thing is overthrown, and so are also all the common notions of mankind, about the office of the priesthood and its exercise, that ever prevailed in the world. And to lay the whole fabric of truth in all instances level with the earth, the instructive relation or análogy that is between the types of the Old Testament and the substance of things declared in the New, is taken away and destroyed. Wherefore it is necessary that we should diligently assert and confirm the truth in this matter, in opposition to all their bold assertions, and vindicate it from their exceptions, whereby we shall fully declare the nature of this blessed office of Christ.
§ 3. Our first difference is about the name and title as to the signification of it when applied to Jesus Christ. And we affirm that he is properly the High Priest of the church, and not metaphorically only. When I say he is properly the High Priest of the church, my meaning is, that he is so the High Priest, as he is the King and Prophet of the church. And observe that by what means or arguments it may be proved, that Christ is the true real King and Prophet of the church, and not only so called metaphorically, by the same may it be proved that he is in like manner the High Priest of the church also. For both the name is in a like manner assigned unto him, and the office, and the acts of it, yea, they are so more fully and expressly than the other. And he may as well be said to be metaphorical in his person, as in his offices. But I shall distinctly manage those arguments, to which I challenge all the Socinians in the world to return a direct answer, and not by long digressions and tergiversations; a precedent for which is given them by Crellius in this case, whose sophistical evasions shall be called to particular account afterwards.
1st, He unto whom all things whatever, properly belonging to a priest are ascribed, and to whom belongs the description of a priest in all things essential to him, such ascription and accommodation being made by the Holy Ghost himself, or by persons divinely inspired by him; he is an High Priest properly so called. And that things are so with reference unto the priesthood of Christ, will appear in the ensuing instances.
1. As to the name itself, this is ascribed unto him; and no man durst have so called him, had he not been first called so by the