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many good people have contended, viz. the elect world ; meaning, according to those who use this term, “a certain number of persons chosen in Christ to eternal life, out of all the nations of the earth; all others being passed by, reprobated, or left to perish in their sins, without atonement or Saviour." I must confess I have not produced this meaning, because I did not find it; and, after all my most careful researches, it appears to me that neither the term nor the thing is found in the oracles of God; and it has ever been a matter of astonishment to me that any soul of man, partaking at all of the Divine nature, or knowing any thing of the ineffable love and goodness of God, should have ever indulged the sentiment; or have laboured to prove that the God whose name is Mercy, and whose nature is Love, and who hateth nothing that he hath made, should, notwithstanding, have a sovereign, irrespective, eternal love to a few of the fallen human race; together with a sovereign, irrevocable, and eternal hatred, to the great mass of mankind: according to which, the salvation of the former, and the perdition of the latter, have been, from all eternity, absolutely and irrevocably fixed, pre-ordained, and decreed.
I have met with these sentiments. I have seen and heard them maintained with great acrimony. I have seen them sometimes opposed in the same spirit. I looked on it, received instruction, was grieved, and passed on with
-Tantone animis coelestibus iro? lo beavenly minds cap such affections dwell! That the whole human race needed this interposition of God's infinite love is evident; for the Scriptures have unequivocally declared that all have sinned; all have corrupted their way; they are all gone astray, and altogether become abominable they are fallen from the image of God, righteousness, and true holiness; and are inwardly corrupt, and outwardly defiled.This doctrine stands in no need of proof :-man is not what God made him; were the Scriptures silent on the subject, all reason and common sense would at once declare that it is impossible that the infinitely perfect God could make a morally imperfect, much less a corrupt and sinful being. Yet God is the maker of man; and He tells us that He made Him in His own image, and in His own likeness; it follows then, that man has fallen from that state of holiness and perfection in which he was created. And that this fall took place in the head and root of human nature, before any of the generations of men were propagated on the earth, is evident, not only from the declaration of God Himself in His word: but also from this strong and commanding fact, that there never was yet discovered a nation or tribe of holy or righteous men in any part of the world; nor
is there a record that any such nation or people was ever known! This is a truly surprising circumstance; and a most absolute proof that not only all mankind are now fallen and sinful, but have ever been in the same state ; and that this fall must have taken place, previously to the propagation of mankind : for had it not taken place in our first parents before they began to propagate and people the earth ; the heads of families and their suc. cessors, who might have been born previously to such fall, could not have partaken of their contagion; and consequently must have been the progenitors of nations doing righteousness, loving God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength; and their neighbour as themselves. But no such nation exists; no such nation ever did exist. Thus we find that universal experience and knowledge agree with and confirm the account given in the Book of Genesis, of the Fall of man. The root being corrupt. ed, the fruit also must be corrupt: the fountain being poisoned, the streams must be impure. All men coming into the world in the way of natural generation, must be precisely the same with him from whom they derive their being the body, soul, and spirit, of all the descendants of Adam must partake of his moral imperfections; for it is an indexible and invariable law in nature, that like shall produce its like. We, therefore, seeing this total corruption of human nature, no longer hope to gather grapes off thorns, or figs off thistles.
Experience not only confirms the great but tremendous truth, that all mankind are fallen from the image of God; but it shews us that man has naturally a propensity to do evil, and none to do good; yea, to do evil, when it is most demonstrably to his own hurt :-that the great principles of self-love and self-interest, weigh nothing against the sinful propensities of his mind; that he is continually and confessedly running to his own ruin; and has, of himself, no power or influence by which he can correct, restrain or destroy, the viciousness of his own nature. In short, that he lieth in the wicked one, with an unavailing wish, yet without any efficient power, to rise :-Understanding, judgment, and reason, those so much boasted, strong, and commanding powers of the soul, which should regulate all the inferior faculties, are themselves so fallen, enfeebied, darkened. and corrupted, as to spiritual good, that they see not how to command, and feel not how to perform : there is, therefore, no hope that the man can raise himself from his fall, and replace himself in a state of moral rectitude ; for the very principles by which he should rise, are themselves equally fallen with all the rest. Wishing and willing are all that he can exercise; but these, through want of moral energy, are totally inefficient; God has inspired him with the desire to be saved; and this alone places him in a salyable state. There is, therefore, in the human soul no self
reviviscent power; no innate principle which may develope itself, expand, and arise : all is infirm; all is wretched, diseased, and helpless. This view of the wretched state of mankind led one of the primitive fathers to consider the whole human race as one great diseased man, lying helpless, stretched out over the whole inhabited globe, from east to west, from north to south; to heal whom, the Omnipotent Physician descended from heaven.
(To be continued.)
[We regret that in consequence of the long delay of the European Magazine, we are again under the necessity of breaking off the narrative of the Budhist Priest. We shall resume it immediately on receiving the balance.]
REMARKS ON HEBREWS VII. 3.
Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God, abideth a priest continually.'
To understand the true import of these words of St. Paul, it is necessary to apprehend as clearly as possible the principal subject which he designs to propose and illustrate. This being ascertained, the various topics introduced in the several parts of the discourse must be considered in relation to the main design, and as tending to elucidate and support it.
The dignity, excellency, and perfection of the priesthood of Christ, especially in comparison with the Levitical priesthood, appears to be the grand subject of the discourse. To set this subject in the clearest light the Apostle, refering to Psal. cx. 4, declares Christ to be an High Priest for ever after the order of Melchisedek. He then proceeds to show the real greatness and true dignity of this distinguished type of Christ, both as a king and a priest. He was greater than Abraham, who paid tithes to him, and was blessed by him : And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better.' This argument is strengthened by the prerogatives by which God had distinguished Abraham. He had received the promises—was the father of the faithiul, and the friend of God. And at the very time when he paid tithes to Melchisedek, and received his blessing, Levi, and all the Priests in his order, were in the loins of the patriarch, and hence might be said to pay tithes in him. Well might the Apostle say, consider how great this man was. But his VOL. III,
greatness was exceedingly augmented, and his offices shone with clearer lustre, and were far more efficacious by virtue of his being made specially typical of Jesus Christ,
In the closest connection with this argument, the Apostle maintains that the priesthood of Christ was entirely distinct and separate from that of Levi. It was of vast importance that this point should, as far as possible, he rendered incontrovertible ; especially as the declarations which abound in all the epistles, with respect to the origin, nature, design, and termination of the Levitical priesthood, stand or fall with it. The Apostle's argument in support of this may be stated thus-Melchisedek, after whose order, (or according to whose similitude) Christ is made a priest, was before Levi, in whose tribe the order of priesthood was established; therefore Christ's priesthood could not be connected with that order. Moreover he, Melchisedek, was without father, without mother, in the order of the Levitical priesthood. Without descent from the loins of Levi: Having neither beginning of days nor end of life; that is, he neither began nor ended his life or office in the regular line of the priesthood ; but, in all these respects being made like unto the Son of God, whose descent was from Judah not from Levi, abideth a priest continually, (ess to denyexs, all his life) having neither successor nor predecessor in the sacred office.
These remarks on this remarkable and much disputed passage are offered with due deference to the opinion of those who have given a widely different sense to it.
Without noticing the various interpretations given to the passage, it may not be improper to consider it with reference to the most prevailing opinion of modern Commentators.
Every one perceives that the passage could not be literally true with respect to Melchisedek as a man. He, like other men, had both father and mother from whose loins he descended. He, like other children of Adam, began and ended his natural life. We are therefore compelled to fix a different sense to the words: hence we are informed that the Apostle's meaning is, that “Moses has given us no account of his parentage--that his pedigree is not reckoned in the Old Testament Scriptures," "How it should be supposed that St. Paul would use such strong and positive expressions simply to inform those to whom he wrote that Melchisedek's parentage was not recorded in the Old Testament, is not easy to conceive; especially as a plain statement of the fact relative to his history, had it been necessary to notice it at all, would have been much more congenial with the Apostle's general cleatness and precision : and it is presumed that it will be extremely difficult, not to say impossible, to produce an instance from all his epistles in which he has employed such strength and majesty of language in stating a simple historic fact. Again; it is yery difficult to conceive what connection this fact could have with the important subject of his discourse. Had the Jewish historian named the father and mother of Melchisedek-had he recorded the time and place of his birth—and informed us when he slept with his fathers, and where his sepul. chre was to be found, the Apostle's argument would not have been weakened by the narrative; and it is humbly conceived that it could not be strengthened by informing us that no such narrative existed.
Some authors from these words, bave discovered a very striking typical agreement between Melchisedek and Christ. “Without father, without mother, typifying Christ who was without father, with respect to his human nature-without mother with respect to his divine." What agreement there can be be. tween this opinion, and the supposed sense of the Apostle, that Moses had given no account of the genealogy of Melchisedek, those who embrace both must determine. When it is recollected that the Apostle's argument rests on the typical character of Melchisedek, the utmost caution should be observed in admitting any explanation of his words which would go to weaken the true typical resemblance.' This effect, it is believed, must re. sult from interpreting the passage under consideration as above noticed. Suppose the plain meaning to be “ Moses has given no account of the parentage, or pedigree of Melchisedek.” Where, it is enquired, is the typical character? the Evangelists have given a circumstantial account of the genealogy of Christ; -his tribe, his parents, his birth, his death, are all recorded in the most minute and particular manner.
But if we consider the text with positive reference to the Order of the Levitical Priesthood, the strength of the language is justified, not only by indubitable truth ; but also by the importance of the subject. The typical agreement is preserved with peculiar force, and we perceive in the person and office of Melchisedek, the character of our great High Priest clearly typified; for it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Judah, of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood; and it is far more evident, because that after the similitude of Mel. chisedek there ariseth another priest, who shall not be called after the order of Aaron.