« AnteriorContinuar »
was an astonishing instance of his power; it was not after the ordinary way of generation ; he was without father.
Secondly, He is said to be without mother; this is true of Chriit as God; as man, he had a mother, but no father,; as God, he has a father, but no mother: he was from all eternity begotten by the father, in a way ineffable and unspeakable to us; the modus of his generation who can tell ? We are not to entertain any carnal conceptions of Chrilt's generation, nor compare it with that of ours, nor any other creature's ;. for he is without mother; it is true, the virgin Mary is sometimes called by the antients the mother of God"; but this is said by reason of the hypoftatical union of the two natures in one person, upon the account of which sometimes what is proper to one nature is ascribed to the other.
Thirdy, He is said to be without descent; that is, there is no account of his pedigree, kindred, and ancestors, in any authentic genealogy: this is true of Christ as God; for his genealogy as man is given us both by Matthew and Luke; but as God, without genealogy; and hereby is distinguished from the gods of the heathens, of whom are given ' long, tedious, and unaccountable genealogies: but he is the first and the last; before him was no God formed, neither shall there be after him.
ist, He is said to have neither beginning of days, nor end of life; this is true of Christ as he is God; for be is the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, she beginning and the end, from everlasting to everlasting : and he is the same yesterday, to day, and for ever; he who was born in Bethlehem, bis goings forth were of old, even from everlasting : there never was a time when he began to be, and there never will be one when he will ceafe to be: and also, though as he is man he had a beginning of days, and an end of life, in this world, yet being risen from the dead, he lives, and will live for evermore; death Mall no more have dominion over him.
2 dly, These things may be referred to the priesthood both of Melchizedek and Christ: Melchizedek may be said to be without father and without mother, &c. because his father was not a priest, nor did his mother descend from chose that were priests ; his descent either on father or mother's side was not counted from them, nor had he any predeceffor or successor in the priesthood; now this was, or at least ought to have been, carefully observed during the Levitical dispensation, that none be admitted to service as a priest, but who appeared from their registers and genealogies to be of the right line : and therefore we find in Ezra's time, when there was a reformation in the Jewish church state, that those who were not found in the registers and genealogies, were looked on as polluted, and
put from the priesthood : and herein Melchizedek was different from the Levites, and was a proper type of Christ; who did not descend from parents of
the i Vid. Hesiod. Ouogovías
the priestly line, for neither his supposed father Joseph, nor his real mother Mary, were of Levi's tribe, but of the tribe of Judah; of which tribe no man gave attendance at the altar; as also of which Mofes fpake nothing concerning priesthood; and out of this tribe, it is evident, our Lord sprang, who never had one that went before him, nor never will have any come after him in the priesthood.
Thirdly, There is a likeness or similitude between Christ and Melchizedek, in the conjunction of the kingly and priestly offices in him : Melchizedek was both king of Salem, and priest of the most high God; and there are some particular actions which are recorded of him, which concern hin in both characters; in which he prefigured Christ.
ist, As a king, there is one single action of his in which he typified Christ, and that is, his bringing out bread and wine to refresh Abraham and his wearied soldiers : he did not do this as a priest, but as a prince; here is no sacrifice to God, but an instance of his regard to one of his faints: this royal and generous act of his, is expresive of the great regard which Christ has for his people, who are engaged in a warfare, are fighting the Lord's battles, and are enduring hardness as good soldiers of Christ; What royal entertainments ? What large and rich provisions of grace has he made for them? He feedeth them with himself, the bread of life, whose flesh is meat indeed, and whose blood is drink indeed; and sheds abroad his love in their souls, which is better than wine; he has made a gospel-feast, and it is a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things, full of marrow; of wines on the lees, well refined; and to this feast does he invite his people, and brings it forth unto them, and bids them heartily welcome ; and says, Eat, О friends; yea, drink abundantly, O my beloved : and then, when the good fight of faith is fought, when the battle is ended, and the victory is obtained, then will he lead them into his banqueting-house above, and bring forth his best wine, which is referved till last, and cause them to sit down at his table, where they shall feed for ever on those inexpressible joys and everlasting pleasures which are at his right hand.
2dly, There are several actions of his as a priest wherein he was typical of Christ.
Ist, He blessed Abraham, and said, Blessed be Abraham of the most high God: this he did as a priest, it being the priest's work to bless the people : it is probable this might be a ratification or confirmation of the blessing of the promised seed to Abraham ; for the apostle says, be blessed him which had the promises k; which is introduced by him as an argument of his being greater than he: now Christ in this is reprefented by Melchizedek, who blesseth his with all spiritual blessings, such as a justifying righteousness, the pardon of sin, adoption, and eternal life: and these blesings are lasting and durable; for those who are blessed
by k Heb. vij. 6, 7.
by Christ, are blested for ever; he never removes them himself, nor is it in the power of men or devils to reverse them : these then are blessings indeed; and happy are those who are possessed of them.
2dly, He gave thanks to God for the victory obtained by Abraham over his eneinies : for thus we read he said, and blessed be the most high God, which bath delivered thine enemies into thy band': this may very well be referred to Christ's praising his Father in the great congregation, and his paying vows there before them that fear him; he has obtained a complete victory over all his and our enemies, and has made us more than conquerors ; and now he is set down at the right hand of God, and is there blesing his father, and giving thanks unco him for strengthening, asisting, and enabling him to do this work, as nan and mediator. He asked of his father, and he gave him the heathen for bis inheritance, and the uttermost part of the earth for his pollesion; and now is praising him for it; he has delivered all our enemies into his hands, and us out of the hands of them all, and now is blessing God for both.
3dly, Another act recorded of him as a priest, is his receiving tithes from Abraham. Christ is our great high priest, by whom we should offer up all our facrifices to God; and in whom alone they are acceptable to him; and also to him should we prefer our sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving for those many blessings wherewith we are blessed by him ; he should have not only a tenth of what we have, but even all we have; we should give him our hearts, and prefent our bodies a living, holy and acceptable sacrifice to him.
Thus we have considered those actions of Melchizedek, which concerns him both as king and priest, wherein he was a peculiar type of Christ the royal priest. Samuel was a prophet and a priest, but not a king. David was a king and prophet, but not a priest; nor any of his posterity. Uzziah once attempted the priestly office, but was severely rebuked by God, and struck with a leprosy, which continued with him to his death, Melchizedek alone was king and priest; these two met together alone in him, and therefore more especially on this account, Christ is said to be a priest of his order ; that is, he is just such a priest as Mela chizedek was, who was both king and priest; but Chrift exceeds all his types, for he is prophet, priest and king; he is said to be the faithful wituess m, which is expressive of his prophetic office; and the first begotten of the dead, which denotes his priestly office; and the prince of the kings of the earth, which directs us to his kingly office; all those three, which meet in one person, are clustered here in one verse; and perhaps the conjunction of the regal and priestly offices is intended in Zech. vi. 12. and be shall be a priest upon his throne, and the counsel of peace shall be between them both; he that fits upon the throne is a priest, and
there · Gen. xiv, 20.
m Rev. i. 5.
there is nothing interferes to hinder the discharge of either office, but an entire harmony between them.
Fourthly, As Melchizedek was a greater priest than Levi, or any of his sons; so is Chrift: Melchizedek appears to be greater than Levi, by the account that is given both of his person and priesthood; by his blessing Abraham, from whom Levi sprang, and by his receiving tithes, not only from Abraham, but also from Levi, who was then in Abrabam's loins. Christ now is greater than Melchizedek, and therefore must be greater than Levi, or any of his sons,
it, Christ is greater than any of the Levitical priests in his person; for he is truly and properly God; these were but men; hence Christ is fully qualified for this work, which was too weighty for a mere creature : and all he did was effectual; his blood sufficient to cleanse, his sacrifice to atone, and his righteousness to justify from all fin; he is also the Son of God: Melchizedek was made like to the Son of God; but Christ is really the Son of God; in that sense in which none of Levi's tribe were; and as he was the ablest, so the fittest for this work. He is God's first and only begotten ; who has interest in his Father, and who would, no doubt, be as faithful to him as merciful to us: and his assuming human nature added yet to his fitness, for hereby he was made like unto us, as it behoved him, and had something to offer: and what he offered was in our nature, that so the benefit of it might redound to us : he was truly and properly man ; and yet herein excelled the Levites; for though he was a man, yet not a mere man; he was united to the Word, the second person in the Trinity, so were not they: he was perfectly holy, fo were not they, but had need to offer for their own fins as well as for the peoples.
2dly, In his sacrifice he is greater than they : his was perfect; by it a full atonement was made ; fin was entirely put away, and his people perfected : but their facrifices could not take away sin, nor make either them that did the fervice, or those shat came thereunto, perfect : and therefore there was a repetition of them : the priests stood daily ministering, and offering the same sacrifices; but Christ was but once offered, and will never be offered more: there remains no more, neither is there any need of any more or any other facrifice for sin.
Fifthly and lastly, There is a likeness between them in the perpetuity of their priesthood: Melchizedek is said to abide a priest continually”; because we have no account of the end of his priesthood, or that he ever had any successor therein ; moreover, his priesthood, as the Syriac renders it, does abide for ever in Christ, who is of his order, and the truth of this type; for what is said mystically and figuratively of Melchizedek, is really and properly true of Christ : but this leads me to consider,
Secondly, Heb. vii. 3.
Secondly, The everlastingness of Christ's priesthood: Thou art a priest for ever, &c. There will never be a change of Christ's priesthood, it will never be antiquated. Offering of sacrifices, which is one main branch of the priestly office, began very early; Adam, no doubt, quickly after his fall, was taught by God to offer sacrifice for fin; and he taught his children to do the same: and now every man was his own priest: Abel offered sacrifice as well as Cain : which practice, perhaps, continued until the Levitical order was instituted. Though the Jews say, that before this was set up, the priesthood belonged to the firstborn : but however, be it how it will, here is a change of the priesthood now, it is appropriated to a particular tribe ; and none of another tribe might exercile this office : and this continued till Christ came in the flesh : and now, he being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle; this priesthood is changed, as also the law thereof, which is disannulled, and abolished, because of the weakness and unprofitableness thereof: though sacrifices were of God's own appointing, yet now sacrifice and offering, and burnt-offering, and offering for fin, he will not ; neither does he take any pleafure in those things that are offered by the law; but now the priesthood is in Christ's hands, and there will never more be another change. There were frequent changes in the Levitical priesthood, by reason of age and death; they truly, as the apostle observes, were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue". Some by reason of age; for they were not allowed to be in fervice after fifty years of age : and others not suffered to continue by reason of death; but this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthoodi or, as it may be rendered, an intransible priesthood”. A priesthood that does not pass from one to another. Christ will never have any successors in his priesthood, it will never pass from him to another: there is now no real priesthood among men; ministers of the gospel are no more priests, than the people to whom they minister : for, in a metaphorical sense, all the saints are made Kings and Priests to God; there is none a real and proper priest but him. self, nor never will be ; for he is a priest for ever. But
you will say, Has not Christ performed his priestly office? Does he continue to act as a priest? Has he not finished his work as such ? I answer ; it is trueChrist our pass-over is sacrificed for us; and he will never be sacrificed more: he was once offered to bear the lins of many, and he will be offered no more: he has offered one sacrifice for sin, and he will offer no more: for he is set down for ever, having done his work : but then the virtue and efficacy of his sacrifice will abide for ever ; by it he has put away sin for ever ; by it he has brought in everlasting righteousness; a righteousness which will last for ever; by it he