Page images
PDF
EPUB

Instead of smoothing over our guilt, under the flesh-pleasing epithet of unavoidable infirmity; we confess its finfulness, and have our only confidence in that blood which cleanseth from all fin. Instead of thinking we are already perfect; we press towards the mark for the prize of the high calling of God. We obey, not to patch up and prefent to God an imperfeël obedience (common language, though a perfect contradiction) but, because our heart is won over and powerfully attached to righteousness by the Gospel of Jesus. We walk worthy of the vocation with which we are called, because we esteem it our reasonable service ; it is not the flavish, fervile fear of damnation, which leads us to act, as if we strove to please one we thought a hard master, but the love of Christ constraineth us to be followers of God as dear children. The grace which bringeth salvation teacheth us, that denying ungodliness and worldly lusis, we should live seberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; luoking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ who gave himself a ransom for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works..

D. E.

THE THREEFOLD OFFICE OF CHRIST.

It is usual for profeffors of the Gospel to speak of the Lord Jesus Christ, as holding with respect to his church, those three great offices of Pro

phet, phet, Priest, and King. The language is just and consonant to Scripture, and blessed are all they that believe the truths which it avows. But among the many who hold that language, of how few may it be said that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh ! How few know and are persuaded of what they confess with their tongues ! May the great Saviour, whose dignity we desire to affert, acknowledge what we are now about to offer upon this subject, by giving his word access into the hearts of them that read, and explaining to them by his Spirit, what is written concerning himself in the law, in the prophets, in the psalms, and in the New Testament.

1. Christ was foretold under the Jewish dispensation, as one that should be a Prophot, when the Lord said unto Mofes : I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and I will put my words in his mouth, and he fall speak unto them all that I shall command bim. The promised Christ was to preach righteoufness in the great congregation, and to declare JEHOVAH's faithfulness and his salvation. The LORD testified that he gave him as a light to the Gentiles, to open the blind eyes : and therefore faith Isaiah, in the person of the Messiah, The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings, &c. And of the same it was faid, He ball feed his flock like a shepherd-he will seek that which was loft, and bring again that which was driven awayand feed them in good pasture; to foreshew that He was to dispense unto his people the word of God; for therein alone do finners find food for their fouls, even that bread of life-which came down from heaven, that the starving and ready to

perish might eat and live for ever (Comp. John vi.). Accordingly, when the desire of all nations came, he proclaimed himself the light of the worldthe good shepherd, who caused his sheep to hear his voice, and who came to feek and to save that which was loft. While He was with them in the world, He manifested unto his disciples the name of God, and in that name he kept them. Continually, as occasion presented itself, He expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself, and opened their understandings that they might understand their testimony. Now we observe him reproving false professors, and shewing them to be destitute of the love of God. Now we find him giving commandments to his real followers for the regulation of their daily conduct. At all times, and amidst all descriptions of men, we hear him Speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God. Nor let any fuppofe, that this character eeased to be his, when, the days of his fiefb at an end, he sat down at the right hand of God. His commissioned and inspired ministers preached him as the still-existing Prophet of his people, the Apostle of their profession,—the shepherd and overseer of their souls. Neither let it be imagined, that believers are now deprived of his instructions, and that the Holy Ghost was given only to the first disciples ; for it was his gracious worů, when on earth, that the Spirit of Truth hould come, to teach them all things, and bring all things to their remembrance, whatsoever he had said unto them; and thus, although he went to the Father-and the world faw him no more, yet well did he say to his flock: I will come to you:

And he promised, that that Spirit thould abide with them FOR EVER; which promise,

Ye see me.

as the context evinces, respected not Him as the author of miraculous influences, nor them as the inspired ambassadors of God; but is an assurance to all who believe, of the never-failing presence of light, and guidance, and comfort from above. After this manner doth Jesus now communicate, what once fell from his own lips. He sendeth forth his Spirit, not to give new lights and private revelations; but to explain and make known the grand one already given in the external word; and so to open the minds of the ignorant, that the light of his Gospel may thine unto them. Thus much concerning the Prophetic office of Christ.

2. We learn from the Scriptures, that Christ is the great perpetual High Priest to all the people of God. Unto Him JEHOVAH hath sworn (and he will not repent); Thou art a Priest for ever after the order of Melchisedek. To Him also the prophet Zechariah bore testimony, saying; He shall build the temple of JEHOVAH, and he fall bear the glory, and mall

sit and rule upon

his throne, and he mall be a Priest upon his throne, and the counsel of peace shall be between them both. Moreover the apostolic record at large declares Jefus to be the true proprietor of that office in the ceconomy of redemption, whereof the Levitical Priesthood was but a type; and the comparison there drawn between the shadow and the sub{tance, at once establishes the necessary resemblance, and marks the superiority of the latter over the former. As the Jewish High Priest was ordained to his ministerial office, and no man took this honor to himself, but he that was called of God, as was Aaron: lo alfo Christ glorified not himSelfs to be made an High Priest, but He that said wuto Lim, Tovu art my fon, this day have I begotten thee. As the Jewish High Priests were of a certain order, of the tribe of Levi ; fo Jefus was constituted a Priest, after the order of Melchisedek; an order proved (Heb. 7.) to be fuperior to that of Levi, upon this undoubted principle that the less is blessed of the better ; seeing that Levi, in the loins of Abraham, received blessing from Melchisedek. And inasmuch as not without an oath he was made priest (whereas those priests were made without an oath), by so much was Jesus made a surety of a better covenant.

thee.

The Jewish High Priest was ordained for men- that he might offer both gifts and facrifices for fins : fo Chrift gave his life a ransom for many,—an offering and a sacrifice to God. "But the former was compased with infirmity; and was therefore obliged as for the people, So also for himself, to offer for fins : whereas the

latter was a lamb without blemish; though in all points tempted as we are, yet without fin; and thus He offered himself without spot to God,—the just for the unjust, needing not to present any thing in his own behalf. It was also necessary from the mortality of the human creature, that the High Priesthood, in the Jewish economy, should be conferred upon a number of men in succession :

But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood ;having neither beginning of days, nor end of life, He abideth an High Priest continually. Further, in the Jewish facrifices there was a remembrance again mode of Jins every year, by which it was manifested that they could never make the comers thereunto perfect (for indeed it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats, should take away fins ); but the offering of Jesus needs not to be repeated, for thereby He hath made an end of fin, and brought in everlasting righteousness, and so, perfeEled for

« PreviousContinue »