Page images
PDF
EPUB

these were not sufficient to carry them on under the multiplied and discouraging ills which it brought upon them amid shame and reproach, amid want and persecution, they would become weary and faint in their minds, and sink under those severe exertions which their painful course required. It was therefore necessary that they should be animated and encouraged by higher views, which might effectually sustain them, amid the various trials which they were called to endure; and it was for this cause St. Paul exhorted them, "To consider the Apostle and High Priest of their profession, Christ Jesus."

To you also, is this solemn exhortation addressed; although your situation is easy, and your trials and difficulties are light, when compared with those of the first believers in Christianity, still difficulties and sufferings of some kind, and in some degree, are to be found in every situation, in every period, and may be regarded as the common lot of all. But amid all the trials of the Christian course, the same motives for a humble submission to the Divine will, the same encouragement and consolation that was held out to the first Christians, are also held forth to you by the exhortation in the text. "Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus." And precious indeed are the advantages which may be gained, from having our thoughts frequently and steadily directed to our blessed

Saviour; for the solemn consideration of Jesus Christ may well reconcile us to the most trying circumstances in which we can be placed. We have many duties to fulfil, which require constant watchfulness and our best exertions, and which with our feeble powers, we shall find to be laborious and oppressive; sometimes violent passions are to be overcome, sometimes the calls of interest or the enticement of ease and indolence are to be opposed and rejected; or, we may have to bear with patience the dislike and revilings of the worldly-minded, and endure the ill-treatment of the wicked. Such trials as these might well dispirit those who are fainthearted, call forth the angry feelings of others, and even in experienced Christians, produce a state of mind equally unfavourable to their innocence and

peace.

Again, if by the gracious dispensations of Providence, we should escape the injuries which the violence or injustice of our fellow-men might inflict upon us; if by Divine aid, we should with some measure of fidelity discharge our duty, yet, we dare not hope to pass through life without experiencing some or other of its numerous ills: from these, no excellence of character, no rank or station of life, can free us; accidents may befall the most cautious, a weak frame, or a state of poverty, may be the portion of the most blameless, wearisome nights are assigned to some, constant labour is the appointed lot of others, and inward disquietudes may prey on

Such

those on whom the world seems to smile. circumstances as these may also have their unhappy effects upon the mind, they may excite doubts of the wisdom, the goodness, the overruling providence of the Almighty, they may tempt a person to "charge God foolishly," and awaken in him fretful or repining thoughts. Now, under such trials as these "consider the Apostle and High Priest of your profession." In the fifth chapter of his Epistle to

*The design of this institution was, to prefigure the gracious work of "Christ" in man's redemption, as well as the means which he would employ in the fulness of time to accomplish it. Considered in any other view, the office would have been nugatory, and the slaughter of so many living creatures as was prescribed in the Jewish economy, bloody and cruel. Had man continued without sin, neither the blood of beasts in the type, nor the blood of "Jesus" in the end, would have been poured out for his sake. The sacrifice of the one and the other was a demonstration that the blood or life of man was forfeited, and but for a substitute must have been lost, and have perished for ever. The offering of beasts, which began from the fall, was instituted to commemorate both the forfeiture of all that was good in "Adam," and the means by which a recovery was to be obtained through "Jesus Christ." For this reason, after "Christ was manifested in the flesh," God, by his providence, gradually ordered the removal of those institutions and ceremonies which were meant to typify him, and we find they have been everywhere discontinued (from the time of the temple's demolition, where only they could be duly exhibited), by those at least, who believe either the Old or New Testament, unto this day.

It may not be amiss to draw a brief parallel betwixt the type and the antitype, the high priest of the "Jews" and the great High Priest of all that believe, both "Jews" and

the Hebrews, St. Paul gives a brief definition of the priest's office, where he says, that "every High

"Gentiles." This will explain their mutual relation, and the design of this great office in the work of salvation.

The "high priest" under the Law was consecrated to Jehovah, for the purpose of presenting and offering the gifts, the prayers, and services of the people. Thus, "Christ presents to God the spiritual oblations of his redeemed, and by taking away the iniquities that cleave to their most holy things, renders their persons and their performances highly acceptable to Him; thus he is represented in Rev. viii. 3. None but a priest could offer incense; (Numb. xvi. 40;) Christ, therefore, as the Angel of the covenant, and as a "Priest for ever," (Psalm cx.,) will make his people acceptable for ever.

The "Jewish high priest" went into the most holy place once in every year, with the blood of the sacrifice, to expiate typically for the sins of the people; so," Christ is entered into heaven itself," of which the "most holy place" was a shadow, "to appear for ever in the presence of God for his people, not by the blood of goats and of calves, but by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption for them." The high priest put off his glorious apparel, which manifested the dignity of his person and various particulars of his office, and put on garments of white linen only, when he entered into the holy of holies, on the great day of expiation. And Christ, therefore, of whom the earthly priest was the type and representative, divested himself of all those appearances of power which he had discovered in many miraculous acts, when he was about to offer himself as the great propitiation; and then changed his raiment, or put off the grossness of his unglorified body, rendering it wholly spiritual, when he was to carry his own blood, or the merit of it, before the Majesty on high. There was to be no man "in the tabernacle of the congregation," when the high priest went in to make the atonement in the holy place; nor was any one permitted to enter till he came out and

66

Priest taken from among men, is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both had finished the solemn service. (Lev. xvi. 17.) So the blessed "Jesus trod the wine-press of God's wrath alone, and of the people there was none with him." His own arm," replete with omnipotence, "brought salvation to Him," and to his people through him; "and his zeal" for God's glory and their happiness "greatly upheld him.” (Isaiah lxiii. 5.) No power, but Divine power, could have accomplished the arduous task, and, therefore, in the manhood of "Jesus dwelt all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. He entered the lists alone; and as He alone obtained the conquest, to him must be rendered all the glory.

66

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

In these particulars, and in some others, the "Jewish " high priest "could be a striking resemblance of "Christ;' but he could not "personally" typify the Mediator throughout, he could not "suffer" and "die" for the people. And that none might fancy, that "a man alone," could be the mediatory or atoning object in the sight of God, this part of the service and type was to be exhibited upon "clean beasts;" both to shew the "passiveness" of the victim and the "merit" and "worth" of the sacrifice, to be "other than merely human." It is not possible that the "blood of bulls and goats" could expiate for the sin of man; it is equally impossible that one" man's blood could atone for the offences of "many." At the most, the blood of "one" could extend but to "one," and therefore the great "atonement" with God must be of an "infinite and extensive nature," calculated to reach "backward from the fall" of man, and to look "forward with its satisfaction to the end" of time. Now, nothing can have this "infinite" and "extensive" merit but what is " "Divine ; and, consequently, if “Israel be saved with an everlasting salvation" by the merit of "Jesus," "Jesus" himself must be "Divine" and an 66 everlasting" person. If he were not "Divine," his atonement could not have merited beyond himself, and of course he would have perished in the undertaking as entirely as the bulls and goats in the sacrifice; and

a

[ocr errors]
« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »