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much more ought we to ours, and to all that act in his name, for his sake: and they who think meanly of the priesthood, or speak of it with contempt, as some do of malice, and some of ignorance, shall one day see heaven and earth fly away from before the face of a priest.
When the name of a priest is applied toChrist in the new testament, we understand the term in a figurative sense, and go to the law for its literal meaning; because Christ did not serve at the altar, nor officiate in the temple, nor was of the family of the priesthood. Whereas in truth, he was the original, and they of the law were figures of him. Had it not been for his priesthood fore-ordained of God, there never had been such a thing as a priest in the world. Why was one man appointed to intercede for another? Where can be the sense and reason of it? For why cannot that man as well intercede for himself? It was to shew that there should be in the fulness of time one to intercede effectually for all: and that this great intercessor should be taken from, among men, like the other priests who were before him: this is the true reason why some men in preference to others were admitted to intercede; though still on a level with the rest, and obliged to offer sacrifices/or their own sins.
In one respect we are to this day in the state of the Jewish people. They could not offer their own sacrifices; they were to bring them to the priest and he was to offer them. So cannot we now offer up our prayers and praises to God but by Jesus Christ; and so the apostle applies the case for us; by him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continuallys that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to his name. Yea and even under the law, while the earthly high priest served, as a shadow, to present the offerings of the people to God, it was understood by the prophets that he was no more than a shadow, and that there was another divine priest to whom the office properly belonged. For who is he that saith in the 16th psalm, their drink offerings of blood will I not offer nor make mention of their names within my lips? David was no priest; and though he was a king, he could offer no sacrifice either for himself or for others. The passage refers to the impure and unsanctified offerings of the heathens who went after other gods; yet he, who refuses to offer these, must be the person whose office it is to present to God, as the common intercessor, the offerings of all men: for the speaker here is the same as in the 10th verse, where the same priest saith, thou wilt
not not leave my soul in hell, nor suffer thy holy one to see corruption; which words are expressly said to have been spoken of the resurrection of Christ: as the next words are of his exaltation. —Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is the fulness of joy, and at thy right hand there is pleasure for evermore: for certainly this place at the right hand of God is the place of the Son of God, which he assumed when he ascended into heaven; this was the joy which the prophets and the psalms had set before him, for which he endured the cross and despised the shame of it. This is the priest who saith all these things: it was therefore declared to those who were under the law, that there was another high priest, above him that ministered in the tabernacle or temple, by whose invisible ministration, the offerings of men were to be presented and made acceptable to God. So plain and direct is the doctrine of this psalm, that St. Peter, by an application of it to the person of Christ, converted three thousand souls at once.
As the words of the apostle above-mentioned, relating to the priesthood of Christ, are spoken with reference to the figures and prophecies of the old testament, it must have been declared therein that we should have a priest higher than
c 4 the the heavens: for that such an one became us, inasmuch as every other would have fallen short of what the scripture had testified by prophetical figns and prophetical words: some of which I am now to set before you. Melchizedec was a sign of the priesthood of Christ 5 being not only priest of the most high God, but also a king, a person of royal majesty, and in dignity superior to the greatest man upon earth, because he blessed the father of the faithful; and the less is blessed of the greater. It follows therefore from this character of Melchizedec, that to the holiness of the priesthood there should be added in the person of Christ the majesty x>i a king; even of such a king as should have a throne in heaven itself. For thus is this priest spoken of in the 110th psalm; The Lord said unto my Lord, sit thou at my right hand: and in the subsequent verses of the psalm the same person is spoken ,unto as a priestforever after the order of Melchizedec: therefore the scripture, under the old covenant, gave notice of a priest who should sit at the right hand of God; and should of consequence be higher than the heavens. The argument from this psalm is very clear; but what the scripture hath said on the character and priesthood of Melchizedec is so important, and withal $0 mysterious, that the apostle hath a long and
critical critical discourse upon it in the epistle to the Hebrews; of which he himself gives us this as the sum: we have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens.
The intercession of Christ as a priest in heaven was signified yearly in the service of the tabernacle, when the high priest went on the great day of atonement into the inner tabernacle, or holy of holies, with the blood of a sacrifice. From whence the same apostle argues, that Christ as our high priest should enter, not into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of tlte true, but into heaven itself,now to appear in the presence of God for us*. The holy place of the tabernacle is applied in the same manner to the residence of God in the invisible heavens in the 24th psalm: Who shall descend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place f he that hath clean hands, &c. this may allude to the ceremony prescribed, for the high priest to wash himself with water f before he entered the holy place. Then follows a description of the majestic ascension and entrance of the king of glory into the everlasting doors of the heavenly places; and this psalm is accordingly appointed by the church
f fieb. ix. 2.4* + See Lev. xvi. 4.