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he was twelve years old, and had gone up to Jerusalem with his parents to the feast, he took that opportunity of submitting himself to the masters of Israel, and complying with what appears to have been the established custom 4.
From first to last, therefore, he who was prefigured in all the ceremonial observances of the Jewish worship, and whose purer doctrines were intended finally to supersede the preparatory commandments taught by Moses, himself conformed to the whole law, whether ritual or moral, in all its branches ;-he was circumcised, although about to introduce in the place of that ceremony an initiatory rite of another description ;-he was brought to Jerusalem to be presented to the Lord, and redeemed as the first born of his parents, according to the law of Moses, from the inferior services of the temple, although he was destined to be the high priest of a more excellent ministry, after another order :- he conformed even in less im
4 See Le Bas' Sermons, p. 5.
portant particulars to the established rules of the synagogue, standing up for to read' as a member of his own congregational place of worship, and sitting down to expound, as the custom was, when he had closed the sacred volume;—he went up periodically unto the feasts, and attended to all the circumstantial rites of the passover in their prescribed orders, although he was himself about to be offered, as the lamb slain from the foundation of the world ; - he kept the seventh day sabbath, although from henceforth the day devoted to God was to take its date from that important event which proved beyond all doubt the reality of his own Messiahship, and to be distinguished with peculiar honour by the name of the Lord's day
5. He (St. John) gives an account of his going up to the passover; and unless there may be some scruple about the third, from John, vi. he resorted to all between his baptism and his death. Now in all the evangelists you cannot find, that when he came there, he differed the least tittle from the custom and order that was constantly used by the church at that solemnity. Nay, they that are versed in the Jews' records, and see their customs there, may show you how he followed the rubrics and ritual of that passover from point to point. His manner of sitting at the table, his beginning the meal with a cup of wine, his ending it with a cup of blessing, his using bread and wine,-his concluding with a psalm; and indeed his whole demeanour at the meal, compared with the Jews rubric and custom for the solemnity, does clearly speak that he kept close communion with the whole church in that great symbol of communion. He that was to be the paschal .lamb himself, and to fulfil what the typical ordinance signified, would not, might not, confound or cross the constant received order of that solemnity.'-Lightfoot's Works, vol. vi. p. 221.
Neither did our Saviour exempt others who came within the sphere of his influence from paying respect to those ordinances to which he submitted in his own person. A patient whose disorder had been removed by none of the usual means of cure, but who had been rendered whole by the miraculous exercise of those healing powers which were resident in the Son of God, might have considered himself relieved from the necessity of complying with the directions provided in the Mosaic law for ordinary cases.
6 Rev. i. 10. Sherlock has remarked in the fourth dissertation annexed to his Discourse on Prophecy, that our Lord's public entry into Jerusalem riding on an ass, was an instance of his strict observance of the divine law, God having forbidden the people of Israel the use of the horse in their armies. Deut. xvii. 16. See also Doddridge's Paraphrase of Matt. xxi. 5, with his note on that verse.
. Our Lord therefore expressly orders a leper whom he had cleansed to go and shew himself to the priest, and offer the gift which Moses commanded for a testimony unto them?. The jealousy with which the Jews would have regarded any infraction of their religion, may be inferred from the disturbances which afterwards arose, when Paul and Barnabas were accused of undervaluing the obligations of the ceremonial law in the matter of circumcision 8. Such indeed was the caution of Jesus in this particular, that he even enjoins obedience to those who were personally unworthy of respect, for the sake of the office they held, and in honour to the authority of their situation'.
But further than this, since it became Christ to fulfil all righteousness, he was anointed with his priestly office, as Aaron, the first Jewish high priest, was consecrated into the exercise of his functions'. And at the end of his ministry, as the Jewish high priest offered up atonement for himself and all his family, so too the Captain of our salvation, when about to finish his course, notwithstanding that his priesthood was superior to that of Moses, inasmuch as it was not successional, but everlasting, interceded solemnly once for all his followers in that affecting prayer contained in the seventeenth chapter of St. John. So fully did the prophecy of Isaiah receive its completion,- The Lord is well pleased for his righteousness sake; he will magnify the law, and make it honourable 3.'
9 Matt. viii. 4. Luke, xvii, 14. 8 Acts, xv. 1-30. 9 Matt. xxiji. 2, 3. 1 Exod. xxiv. 447. Ps. xlv. 7. Heb. i. 9. Acts, x. 38. (The
V. The last characteristic of the ministry of Christ which need be mentioned in connexion with this subject, the authority with which he spoke, was in a great measure the natural result of those peculiarities which have been already considered. This qualification was observed in an early stage of his labours, and seems to have excited more attention than any of the other external advantages of his teaching.
Heb. ix. 26.
2 Levit. xvi. 17. Rom. vi. 10. 3 Is. xlii. 21.