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Holy Ghost. And this he is both in the Old Testament and in the New. He is expressly said to be the na, 'Isgsus, agxigus, a Priest, a High Priest, without the least intimation on any occasion, of impropriety or of a metaphor in the expression. And as he is thus called frequently, so constantly with respect unto those acts and duties which are proper unto the office of the priesthood. Now whatever colour may be given unto the metaphorical use of a word or a name, where it is but once or rarely used, and that with respect unto such things as answer not unto the proper signification, there can be none where it is used frequently and in the same case invariably, and constantly with respect unto things that suit its proper signification.
2. The description of a High Priest, properly so called, is given by our apostle, Chap. v. ver. 1. Iles goeg agxiggeus & av@gwa πων λαμβανομενος, υπερ ανθρωπων καθισταται τα προς τον Θεον, ένα προσφερο δωρα τε και θυσιας υπες αμαρτιών. , A high priest is one who is taken from among other men, by the call and appointment of God, and is appointed in the stead or on the behalf of other men in things appertaining to God, that is to offer unto him gifts and sacrifices for sins. See this description explained in our exposition of the place. Now this is the description of a priest properly so called. For it is the priesthood of Aaron, which the apostle intends to express in the first place, as is evident in ver. 4. But Aaron was a priest properly so called, that is within his own sphere as a type ; at least he was not so only metaphorically. To say he was, is to destroy the nature of the priesthood itself, and thereby to destroy the metaphor also ; for a metaphor can. not be of nothing. But now whatever is contained in this description, and whatever in answer to it was found in Aaron as belonging to this office, and not adhering unto him individually from the infirmity of his person, is all ascribed by the apostle unto Jesus Christ, as is undeniably evinced in our exposition of the place, whereunto I refer the reader. In brief, he was taken by the call and appointment of God from amongst men, Deut. xviii. 18. Heb. vii. 13, 14. He was appointed for man to act in their behalf, 1 John ii. 1, 2. and that ta argos Toy soy in things pertaining to God, Heb. vii. 26. ix. 14, 15. particularly to offer gifts and sacrifices for sin, Heb. viii. 3. If this were all that was required to constitute Aaron a priest properly so called ; then the ascription of these things unto Jesus Christ by the Holy Ghost, is sufficient to declare him a priest properly so called. And there is strength added unto this argument, from what the apostle discourseth, concerning the necessity of a call from God unto this office. For he tells us, “that no man taketh this honour to himself,” that is to be a priest, “ unless he be called of God as was Aaron," ver. 4. And thence he shews and proves that Christ did not take this honour unto himself, but in like manner was called of God, ver. 5. Now, if not the honour of a real and proper priesthood with respect unto Christ be intended, but somewhat else metaphorically so called, then is the apostle's way of arguing utterly impertinent, as from an in, stance of one kind, he argues the necessity of a thing of another. And it may be replied unto him, that although a man must be called of God to a priesthood that was real and proper, such as was that of Aaron, yet it doth not thence follow, that such a call is necessary to that which is so metaphorically only. For so all believers are made priests to God, but yet none of them have any especial call from God thereunto.
3. The discourse of our apostle, ch. vii. 11-16. gives farther evidence to the same truth.
« If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law) what further need was there that another Priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron. For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity also a change of the law. For he of whoin these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar. For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Judah, of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning the priesthood. And it is yet far more evident, for that after the similitude of Melchisedec, there ariseth another priest,” &c. For we may observe,
1. That as Aaron was a priest, so there was a necessity from the prophecy of Psal. cx. 4. that there should be another priest. Now if this other priest were not a priest properly so called, as Aaron was, there is no consequence in the apostle's discourse, it proceeding on terms equivocal.
2. The priesthood, according to this prophecy, and our apostle's interpretation of it, was only to be changed. But if, after the removal of the law, there was no other proper priesthood to succeed, it was not changed but abolished. And it is more true that there was none, than that there was any; for properly there was none, though metaphorically there was.
3. On this supposition, all the circumstances insisted on by our apostle, as exceedingly observable to his purpose ; namely, that our Lord was of the tribe of Judah and not of Levi, that he was constituted a priest in an especial way, and not like to that of old, are of no use. For there is nothing peculiar in these things, if he intend not a priest properly so called.
4. It utterly enervates that invincible argument whereby the apostle proves the necessary cessation of the law, and legal or Mosaical institutions. For he builds on this supposition, that the priesthood being changed, the law of divine worship or service must be so also. And this unavoidably follows, because of the inseparable relation that was between the Aaronical priesthood, and all the worship of the tabernacle. But if this other priest whom he intends, was not properly but only metaphorically so, there might be a thousand of them, and yet no necessity of the change of the law of worship ensue. For two priests, one where-. of is proper, and the other only metaphorically a priest, are consistent at the same time; but two that are properly so, are not ; whence our apostle says, that the Lord Christ could not be a proper priest of the same nature with those of the order of Aaron, whilst they continued, Heb. viii. 4.
5. He is expressly said to be a priest after the order of Melchizedec. But this Melchizedec was a priest properly so called. He therefore must be so who is a priest according to the same order. For priests of several sorts and kinds, as real and nominal only, or proper and metaphorical, cannot be said to be after the same order. For no orders can be more different than those whereof one is proper, the other metaphorical. This difference is not in some property and adjunct, but in the whole kind; as real and painted fire differ, or a man and his image : besides, he is said to be a priest after the order of Melchizedec, so as that withal he is denied to be a priest after the order of Aaron. But if he were not properly so called, but only metaphorically, by reason of some allusion unto a proper priesthood in what he did, the direct contrary might much rather be asserted. For there was more allusion between Aaron in his priesthood and him, and our apostle gives more instances of it, than between him and Mels chizedee. And if it be false that Christ was an high priest ac, cording to the order of Aaron, notwithstanding the great allusion between what he did and what was done by Aaron in that office, and the great representation made of him and his actings thereby, then is it not true that Christ was called a priest after the order of Melchizedec, by reason of sone allusion unto the office of the priesthood. 6. This conception would utterly enervate the sense of the
general argument that the apostle manageth towards these Hebrews, as well as that special one about the cessation of the law. For he is pressing them to stability and constancy in the profession of the gospel, that they fall not back unto their old Judaism which they had deserted. To enforce his exhortation to this purpose, the principal argument he insists on, is taken from the excellency and glory of the priesthood under the New Testament, incomparably exalted above that of the Old, which yet was the most glorious and useful part of their worship. But that which is metaphorical in any kind, is evidently less than that which is properly so. It is replied by Crellius, that what is only metaphorically so, may yet be more excellent than that which is properly, whereof he gives some instances. And it is true it may be so. But it cannot be so in that instance wherein the metaphor conVol. JI.
sists. Suppose the Lord Christ to be only metaphorically a priest, yet he may on many other accounts be far more excelIent and glorious than Aaron. But yet the priesthood of Aaron being properly so, and his only metaphorically so, the priesthood of Aaron was more excellent than his, which is directly contrary to the scope of the apostle. Suppose the Lord Christ were metaphorically only a prophet or a king, he might yet on many other considerations be more excellent than either Moses or David ; yet they must on this supposition be granted to have had the offices of prophet and king more eminently than he. So also must it be with his priesthood on this supposition with respect to that of Aaron.
7. Add unto all these particular instances to the contrary, that this Socinian fiction, of the Lord Christ being not a priest, but only called so by reason of some similitude between what. he doth for the church, and what was done by the priests of the law, which indeed, as by them explained, is none at all, is directly opposite to the whole design and discourse of the apostle in this epistle. For treating of the priesthood of Christ, hé constantly calls him a priest in the sense which they had of that expression to whom he wrote, or he spake not to their understandings; assigns all sorts of sacerdotal actions to him, in all instances of duties belonging to a priest as such ; and that in competition with and way of preference above the priests of the order of Aaron; nor doth in any place, either directly or indirectly, give the least information, that all these expressions of his were only tropical or metaphorical, not indeed signifying those things which those to whom he wrote understood by them. This had not been to instruct the Hebrews, but to deceive them, nor will be granted by those who have a greater reverence for the sacred writings, than to wrest them at their pleasure into a compliance with their own preconceived opinions.
And this is the first thing which we are to consider in the investigation and vindication of the true nature of the priesthood of Christ. It was such as that on the account thereof he was a priest properly so called ;. which, as it gives a rule to the interpretation of the nature of the sacrifice which as a priest he offered, so is the truth of it confirmed by all other things which are ascribed to him under that qualification, as we shall see afterwards. And what remains for the further confirmation hereof, will be added in our ensuing consideration of the attempt of our adversaries to establish the contrary assertion.
§ 3. Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, his actings in that offce do in the first place respect God himself: τα προς τον Θεον, he did the things that were to be performed with God in the behalf of the people. And this further manifests the nature of his office. He came as a priest, εις το ελασκεσθαι τας αμαρτιας τε λκε, Heb. ii. 17. that is, incorso foi Toy Osov Trige twy spagrow, as hath been observed by many, to make reconciliation with God for the sins of the people. For sins cannot be the immediate object of reconciliation ; but he alone is so who was displeased with them, and by whom on that reconciliation they are pardoned, and the sinner acquitted. But yet neither can we carry this without controul. This also is denied by our adversaries in this cause, although therein they offer violence, not only unto all that we are taught in the Scripture about these things, but also unto all common sentiments of mankind, putting such senses on these expressions as are absolutely contrary to them, and inconsistent with them. What are these senses we shall afterwards examine; 'for the present it sufficeth to our purpose to take notice of their denial, that the sacerdotal actings of Christ, that is his oblation and intercession, do respect God in the first place, the contrary whereunto we shall now teach and confirm.
The Scripture instructs us, as we have proved, that the Lord Christ was and is our high priest, and moreover that as such he offered himself to God once for all, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people, as a propitiatory, expiatory sacrifice, Isa. liii. 10. Heb. i. 3. ii. 17. v. 7. vii. 27. x. 10. Eph. v. 2. 1 John ii. 2. What the Holy Ghost intends hereby, and what is the meaning of these expressions, he had before instructed the church in, by those institutions under the Old Testament, whereby he foresignified and represented what was intended in them and by them. To suppose these expressions to have one signification under the Old Testament, and another quite of a different nature under the New; whereas the thing signified by the one were appointed only to teach and instruct us in the nature of the other, is to take away all certainty from what we are taught in the Scripture. We may therefore positively conclude, that if the actings of the priests under the Old Testament did respect God in the first place, then those of Christ did so also, or there is no similitude or analogy between these things, which to affirm is to overthrow both the Old Testament and the New. This therefore we must in the first place confirm.
The principal duty and work of the priests under the law, was to offer sacrifices. As the whole law speaks thus, so our apostle expressly confirms it, making that work the great end of the priesthood. Sacrifices had respect to sin. Priests were appointed to offer froides nago epeagtiwv, sacrifices for sin. And when God called them to the work, he said it was 17735, that they should exercise the priesthood towards him, Exod. xxviii. 1. Had there been no sin, there had been no sacrifices;