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for the Lord shall be her everlasting light, her God shall be her glory."
“ Now unto him who is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God, our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and for ever.-Amen."
HEBREws, ix. 24.-" The holy places made with hands, which are the
figures of the true.”
The general object of the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, in that very remarkable and interesting production, is to guard the Christians of Jewish extraction, to whom it is addressed, against the strong temptations to which it would appear they were at the time exposed to apostatize from the faith of Jesus the Messiah. The great argument on which he insists for this purpose is, by a lengthened comparison of Judaism and Christianity, to show, that in real substantial spiritual glory, the latter infinitely surpassed the former,-that, in passing from under the Mosaic institute into the Church of Christ, they had made a most advantageous exchange, and that to revert from their present to their former religious profession, would be for them to go back from a higher to a lower school,—from substance to shadows,-from comparative perfection and maturity to "beggarly elements,"—to carnal rudiments. This subject,—the superiority of the Christian to the Jewish revelation, the author illustrates in three views. After a short but sublime introduction, in which he states generally the contrast between the two dispensations, he shows that Jesus Christ,--the sum and substance, the Author and Mediator of the Christian revelation, is superior-1. To the angels, by whom the Jewish economy was communicated. 2. To Moses, by whom that economy was established. 3. To the Levitical priesthood, and more especially to the Aaronic pontificate, by whom that economy was administered. These are the three heads of the doctrinal part of the epistle, which is written throughout with a profusion of learning, a strength of argument, and a splendour of eloquence, almost unrivalled by any other part of the New Testament. In the prosecution of his argument, the apostle is very far from being anxious to disparage the real glory and value of the Mosaic system for the time and circumstances in reference to which it was ordained. Throughout this epistle, he argues entirely in the same spirit which he had exhibited in the opening of the third chapter to the Romans, “What advantage then hath the Jew? and what profit is there in circumcision ?-Much every way: chiefly that unto them were committed the oracles of God." So much the more honourable to Christianity did the argument become by which the apostle demonstrated that, venerable, and sacred, and illustrious, as was the system of Moses, that of Jesus, at every point and in every detail of comparison, was more venerable, and sacred, and illustrious, still, and showed that that which was glorious now had no glory by reason of the glory that excelled. This is more particularly the tone and tenor of his argument in the chapter from which our text is taken, in which the particular subjects of comparison are, the sanctuary of the ancient dispensation, and the sanctuary of the new.
This topic forms one particular in the apostle's illustration of the third head of his discourse, that which treats of the superiority of the Christian to the Jewish sovereign priesthood,—of the person, character, and function of Jesus, the high-priest of our profession, to those of the high-priests of the tribe of Levi and the family of Aaron,-a superiority which, having already asserted by many striking considerations, he, in the ninth chapter, illustrates by the fact that Jesus is now called to officiate as the priest of man in a nobler sanctuary than that in which Aaron or any of his sons had ministered as priest of Israel. Yet, while there was an infinite superiority on the part of the Holy Place wherein Christ Jesus ministers, to that in which the high-priest of the Jews was wont to approach Jehovah, the apostle intimates in various parts of the discussion, and particularly in the express words of the text, that there was at the
same time a decided and an intended resemblance between them. The Levitical tabernacle is said to be" a figure for the time then present," to be with its furniture and services the copies of things in the heavens ; they who ministered within its sacred enclosure are represented as serving unto the model and the shadow of heavenly things,”—while, on the other hand, Jesus is declared to be " set down on the right hand of the throne of the majesty in the heavens, a minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle which the Lord pitched, and not man,”-to have “come an high priest of good things to come, by the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands,- that is to say, not of this building,”to have “ entered not into the holy places made with hands, but into heaven itself, there to appear in the presence of God for us."
That the resemblance thus asserted and alluded to by the apostle was not the fiction of his own imagination,-was not a mere pious fancy or happy accommodation,-but an analogy intended and indicated by God from the very beginning,—he infers from the oracular instructions given to Moses respecting the erection of the tabernacle of testimony in the wilderness. “The priests," he says in the chapter preceding, “that offer gifts according to the law, serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was by oracle admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle : for, See,