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AN

ILLUSTRATION

OF THE

DOCTRINES of the CHRISTIAN RELIGION,

with respect to both Faith and PRACTICE,

UPON THE PLANOS

The ASSEMBLY's SHORTER CATECHISM.

Of Christ's priestly Office,

HEBREWS vii. 17.

Thou art a Priest for ever, after the order of Melchisedec.

**T is evident from the context, that the a. i postle is speaking of Christ as a Priest, ap

plying to him this passage taken from Pfal. 果

cx. 4. Thou art a Priet for ever after the order of Melcbifedek. Where two things are proposed. 1. That he is indeed a Priel, whole business it is to offer sacrifices. 2. That he is so after the order of Melchisedec ; noting thereby the fimilitude betwixt the two, the one being a notable type of the other. This likeness consists not in an unbloody facrifice, that of bread and wine which Melchisedec brought forch to Abraham when he returned from the slaughter of the kings who had taken Sodom and Gomorrah ; but, (1.) In the name, Christ being the true King of righ

VOL. II.

A

teousness, and King of peace, in which respect Melchifedec was only a type of him, Heb. vii. 2. (2.) In their original, ver. 3. Melchisedec is represented as without father, without mother, without descent, having 770 beginning of days ; nothing being recorded of his birth and parentage, he is like an immortal. In this he was a notable type of Christ, who had no father as man, no mother as God, was God himself from eternity, and his goings forth were of old, from everlasting. (3.) In their continuance, because Melchisedec's cleath is no where recorded, ver. 8.; but is reprefented as one who who liveth. So Christ our Higli Priest li. veth for ever to make intercession for us. (4.) In their office. Melchisedec was priest of the most high God, and king of Saleın, or Jerufalem. So Christ is a Priest, who offered himself a sacrifice to God, and he is condituted King of Zion, of the church. (5.) In respect of unity. Melchisedec is set forth as having neither predeceffor nor fucceflor in his office. So Christ was fet up to be a Priest from everlasting, and is reprefented as a lamb fain from the foundation of the world ; and the facrifice that he offered being perfect, there is no more occasion for any other priests, and he has no successor, having an unchangeable and perpetual priesthood. (6.) In respect of dignity; Melchisedec being proposeu as greater than Abraham. So Christ is greater than both: for he said, Before Abraham was, I am. Thus Christ is a Priest, and that for ever, In this office is contained the grand relief of poor souls distressed and perplexed with the guilt and burden of their fins. When all other remedies have been tried in vain, it is the blood of the facrifice of Christ, sprirkled by faith upon the trembling conscience, that must cool and refresh, and sweetly compose and Settle it.

The doctrine arising from the text is,

Doct. “ Christ executeth the ofice of a Priest, in “ his once offering himself a facrisice to satisfy divine “ justice, and reconcile us to God, and in making 66 continual interceflion for us."

In discoursing from this doctrine, I shall,
1. Shew that Christ is truly and properly a Priest.
II. Explain the nature of Christ's priestly office.
Ill. Make some practical improvement.

I. I am to shew that Christ is truly and properly 3 Priest. This is evident, if we consider, 1. That the fcripturę holds him forth as such, Pfal. cx. 4. and Heb. v. and other places of that epittle. 2. Because he exercises the acts of the priestly oflice, in offering facrifice, and praying for his people. 3. Because ne was typified by such as were really priests, as all the Levitical priests, and Melchisedec.

Quest. Wherein did Chriit's priestly office differ from the priestly office under the ceremonial law?

1. The priests under the law were priests after the order of Aaron; 'but Christ is a Priett atter the order of Melchisedec. Who this Melchifedec was, it is in vain to inquire, and cannot possibly be known; the Holy Ghost designedly concealing his genealogy, be. ginning and ending, and defcent, that lo he might be a fitter type of Chritt and his everlasting prieithood, He was like a man dropt from the clouds, and at lait caught up again, and none knew how, It is said of him, Hub. vii. 3. that he was without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto tbe Son of God, abi. deth a priest continually. Now, Christ was a Priest after the order of this Melchifedec, not by a corporeal unction, legal ceremony, or the intervening act of a human ordination, but by a divine and heavenly inttitution, and immediate 'unction of the Spirit of live, in that extraordinary manner, whereby he was to be both King and Priest unto God, as Melchisedec was, Heb. vii. 16. He was not a Priest after the order of Aaron, because the law made nothing perfect, but was weak and unprofitable; and therefore was to be abo. l.ihed, and to give place to another priesthood. Men wae quţ to rest in it, but to b. led by it to him włag

;

was to abolish it, Heb. vii. 11. 12. The ministry and promises of Christ were better than those of the law and therefore his priesthood, which was the office of dispensing them, was to be more excellent too, Heb, vii. 6. For when the law and covenant were to be abolished, the priesthood, in which they were established, was likewise to die.

2. The priests under the law were sinful men, and therefore offered facrifices for their own sins, as well as for the fins of the people, Heb, v. 3. But Christ was boly, harmless, undefiled, separate from finners, and made higher than the heavens ; who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up facrifice, first for his own fins, and then for the people's : for this he did once, when be offered up himself, Heb, vii. 26. 27. He was perfectly pure and holy, and could ftand before God even in the eye of bis strict justice, as a lamb without blemish and without spot. Though he made his soul an offering for fin, yet he had done no iniquity, neither was there any guile found in his mouth. And indeed his sacrifice had done us no good, had he been tainted with the least fin,

3. The priefts under the law were many, becaute they were mortal; death as an universal deluge was continually sweeping them off the stage. But Christ is a Priest for ever, Pfal. cx.4. Heb. yii. 23, This man continueth ever,

4. The priesthood under the law was changeable ; but Chrift's priesthood is unchangeable. The legal dispensation was to continue only for a time. It was but like the morning-star to usher in the rising sun, which so soon as he appears in our horizon, it evanishes and shrinks away, Heb. vii. 12. God confirmed this priesthood with an oath, Pfal.cx. 4. Heb. vii, 21. as well as a King, Those oflices which were di

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tere both united and vefted in Chrift; this being abfolutely neceffary for the discharge of his mediatory undertaking, and for the establishment of his kingdom, which being of another kind than the kingdoms of this world, even

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