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cb arias the Father of John the Baptist, g that, /gjtTj&z/^ be executed she Priests vffice, '* before God, in the order of bis Course, (according to the custom of the Priest's office) t
* bis fat/was, to burn incense, when he went into the temple of the Lord. It is said moreover, that he was of the Course of~5-' Ahia: which was the Eighth Course ofxx^TM;
;,*rre Four and Twenty. a <:. ... S s;,
- I have only to observe further: That, a
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mong the Priests, there was a Kind of a i£$i#f pr Arch'Priefl\ who, though of an
I jOrder, ittferior to thsffigb-Priest, yet was dignified with a §ort; of Pre-eminence, and presided, as it were over all the rest.
, - This Distinction we in the Book of %$be Law: where, i& is said; * Eleazar, she fen. ofAzvon, the Priest, Jhall be Chief over tfa shies of she Levites, and have the oversight of them that keep the charge of ; the fen&uary, This Person, was call'd the second Priest, by way of Distinction from the Principal or Ifigb-Priest; at the
Time of the Captivity, (as we observ'd before), 'the captain of Nebuchadnezzar*s 2 Kings rjtard took Seraiah the Ckitf Priest, and xxv' 1 'Zephaniah the second Priest, and the three keepers of the door.
There is yet, another Sense, in which we find the mere Priests, sometimes call'd Chief 'Priests; and that is, either, when the Heads of Houses or Families, in the Tribe of Levi, are spoken of; or Men of great Character for Sense and Experience. Thus Ezra, who himself was one, menEzra viii. tions twelve of the Chief of the Priests. 24' *9' We find them mention'd again in the Gospel; where they are plainly enough distinguish'd from the High-Priest. They Mark led Jesus away to the High-Priest; and X1V" 53' with him were assembled all the Chief Priests. Either, all those that were Members of the Sanhedrim; Or such as he had summon'd to consult with, in so arduous and extraordinary a Juncture. Such were those probably whom, we read of in the 6 IV' Acts of the Apostles; Where Annas the (late) High-Priest, and Caiaphas (the present High-Priest) and John and Alexander, and as many as were of the kindred
as the High-Priest, are said, to be gathered together, in order to examine St. Peter and %%..jfohn. And one of these Heads of Families was Scava, the 'Jew, and chief of the-x'ix.14, Prie/ls; whom we read of, at Ephefus.
Now, the Priesthood being, by the Lawt inseparable from the Tribe of Levi, when the Law came to be abolisli'd by Christ, that Qualification vanish'd along with it. This St. Paul expresly asserts and explains in his Epistle to the Hebrews. He shews, Heb. vii. that Christ our High-Priejl, after the Order of Melchifedec, and not of the Tribe of Levi, having chang'd the Priesthood, must of necessity have made a change of the Law also. For, it is evident (fays he) that our Lord sprang out of Judah; of which tribe Moses spake nothing, concerning the Priejlhood.
And, as there is a difanulling of the com-' mandment going before, for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof; as the Law is abolish'd, with all its (now) useless Ceremonies and Sacrifices; and God, instead thereof, has declar'd that he will be worship'd, in spirit and in truth, with a Life of Charity1 springing out of faith unfeigned; so Ch RIS r, »' T 4 instead instead of the Levitical, has establish'd another, unchangeable Prie/lbood. He said to John. xx. his Disciples,^ my ffiber bath sent me, erven H>Z2>2}-fo fend I you: Receive yetbeHoly Ghost. Whosoever fins ye remit, they are renxit2i£^riktQ them; and whosoever Jim ye retain, ghe^^ei retained.
And this is the Form now usrd, by oor Bishops; who are the Successors of the A*postlcs, and to whom the Commission of Ch Rist has successively descended* authorizing and empowering them accordingly
Acts. xiv. to ordain elders (whether Bijhops or Priefis.)
*s- in every church -, as Occasion requires. Of the proper Qualifications for this /acred Office, They are the Judges. Nor '(as -oa^
Art xxiii. Church declares) "is it lawful for any ?! Man to take upon him the Office of "publick Preaching; or ministring the Sa.«? eraments in the Congregation, before he *' be lawfully called and sent to execute "the fame. And those, we ought to judge "lawfully called and sent, which be chosen "and called to this Work, by Men who "have publick Authority given unto them, "in the Congregation, to call and fend 2 Ministers into the Lor D's Vineyard*/!*A
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-me £>*ffhld*J;r> 'i.d .'<* uc-O »fr ~-f c-j bi-Bt aH ®tE C T. - XI. -.
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v. ^Sfcxt. tQ the Priests were the Levites, properly so call'd, by way of Distinction from the Rest of the Ministers of the Sanctuary. Levites, in one Sense, they were all j from the High-Priest down to the Door-keeper: as they were descended from Levi. But when God appropriated the Priesthood to Aaron and his Sons, and their Successors in the House of Aaron; He distributed the Rest of the sacred Offices to the Remainder of the Tribe of Levi: Some of whom were to attend upon and assist the 'Priests, in the more laborious and servile Parts of their Function; and the Rest (of whom we shall speak afterwards) to take care of other Duties relating to either the Tabernacle or Temple. I The former of these, are what we find emphatically styl'd Levites. Let us see how the general Institution of them stands. The Numb, i Lord spake unto Moses, saying. Bring the S* tej tribe of Levi near, and present them before Aaron the Priest., that they may minister unto