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that he might taste of death for every man, and so bring many sons unto glory, by receiving glory in our nature, as the reward of his sufferings. In virtue of his incarnation, we are become the sons of God and brethren of Christ; as he was in all things made like unto his brethren, his brethren will in all things be made like unto him; that is, they will be imputed by a new relation to the same Father, with a legal right to the same inheritance, and be crowned with glory and honour after their sufferings upon earth.
The divine and human natures of the Son of God being thus settled and distinguished, we are now to consider him with the apostle under the three characters he took upon him for the salvation of the world.
1. As Moses, he was to be a teacher, lawgiver, and prophet; and Moses had acted as a minister of God for a testimony of these things which were to be spoken after* by a greater than Moses.
2. Like Aaron and Melchizedec he was to be a high priest and intercessor; a minister of the true sanctuary.
3. As Joshua, whose name is called Jesus in this epistle, he was to be the captain of our salvation, to conquer our spiritual enemies, and put us into possession of the heavenly Canaan.
From all these figurative characters of the old law, it was foreshewn, that he should be the greatest of prophets, the greatest of priests, and the greatest of conquerors. And first he is to be understood as a prophet or teacher.
The apostle and high priest of our profession, Christ Jesus, was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house: to which the
+ Chap. iii. 1.
⚫ Chap. iii. 5.
apostle adds, that he was thus faithful for a testimony; his ministry was prophetical, and bore witness in all the principal circumstances of it to the greater ministry of Christ, who was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, because he was the master and builder of that house, in which Moses was no more than a servant. The fidelity of Moses, under all the various trials of his ministry, is the circumstance here selected by the apostle, and chiefly insisted on; but there was scarcely a circumstance attending his whole character which did not afford some testimony to the ministry of Christ. The general character of both is the same, in that they were prophets; and as the one is said to be mighty in word and deed*, so is the other.
The deeds of Moses were great beyond those of any other prophet, Christ excepted. We see him working wonders amongst a proud and obstinate people, whose hearts were hardened against him ; as Christ wrought his miracles amongst the blinded Jews, who never believed on him at last and as Egypt was at length fearfully judged by the hand of Moses, so were the Jews cast out and destroyed in a terrible manner, when the time of vengeance came upon them, which Christ had threatened. As Moses left Pharaoh in wrath, never to see his face any more, so Christ left the Jews at their own desire, never more to meet with them but in judgment, when Jerusalem should be overthrown.
In their words they were so far alike, that both were lawgivers, delivering to the people the precepts which were received from heaven. All the faithful of the Israelitish church were disciples of Moses, and did as he had commanded them; as the faithful of
* Comp. Acts vii. 22. with Luke xxiv. 19.
the latter days are followers of Christ, and observers of his laws.
But most remarkable was the fidelity of both these teachers, in persisting on the part of God, in opposition to the powers of this world, and the malice of their own people. When Moses was come to years, he refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season*. As the one rejected the pleasures of Pharaoh's court, so the other withstood the solicitations of the ambitious Jews, refusing to be made a king, and rejecting all the kingdoms of the world when they were offered to him. Each of them exposed themselves to reproach and hatred, for maintaining the authority of God, and acting in his name. This is pointed out to us in many remarkable observations of the first martyr, St. Stephen, in his apology against the Jews. This, says he, is that Moses, whom our fathers would not obey, but thrust him from them. When he first offered himself to his own people as a deliverer, they received him not, but affronted him with that insolent question, Who made thee a ruler and a judge? When he pleaded the cause of God, all the congregation murmured at him, as the Jews hated Christ for his exhortations to obedience: corrupt Scribes, Pharisees, and chief priests, rose up against him, as Moses was opposed and railed at by a self-sanctified party, headed by Corah, Dathan, and Abiram. The opposition therefore that was raised against Jesus Christ, and all the affronts put upon him, though they might make him seem little in the eyes of the Jews, brought his character to a conformity with that of their first law
* Chap. xi. 24.
giver, and to their eternal confusion demonstrated the truth of his mission, and thus argues the first martyr, pressing the Jews with the inference-This Moses, whom they refused, saying who made thee a ruler and a judge, the same did God send to be a ruler and a deliverer. Persecuted as he was and despised, God sent him and supported him; and they who have persecuted Christ, have only fulfilled what the Scriptures foreshewed by the things which had hap→ pened to Moses, the first faithful minister of God to the children of Abraham. The church which was brought out of Egypt, was under his œconomy in the wilderness, to be directed in the way, and to be fed and supported as occasion required. The people of God are still travelling through a wilderness, with the second Moses to lead and support them under all the wants, temptations, and dangers of their earthly pilgrimage. By this faithful guide will the house of God be governed and protected, till the office of Moses shall be superseded by that of Joshua, and he shall put them in possession of the good land which they have now in prospect.
The second capacity in which this epistle sets before us the Son of God, is that of our great high priest, signified to us under the figures of the law by the two characters of Melchizedec and Aaron.
It pleased God from the beginning of the world, as soon as the fall had given occasion to such a dispensation, to take from among men some person properly appointed, to make intercession for the rest; and thereby to keep up the expectation of a divine intercessor, who should make an atonement once for all by a sufficient and eternal sacrifice. The first eminent example the Scripture gives us of such a person, is in the character of Melchizedec, who as priest of
the most high God met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the Kings, and blessed him*. His priesthood was prior to that of the Mosaic law, and greater, because, as the apostle argued, Abraham shewed its superiority, by offering to this priest the tenth of the spoils, and taking his blessing. From Abraham the Levitical priesthood descended; and the children being inferior to the father, and the father inferior to this high priest, it follows that the priesthood of the law was inferior to the priesthood of Melchizedec. From him Abraham received bread and wine; and the oath of God being the great sanction of the priesthood which administers this sacrament, it is thence evident, that the priesthood of the gospel, which Christ began, and continued and perpetuated, with its offering of bread and wine, is the only true priesthood; earlier than the priesthood of the law in time, and superior to it in dignity. Thus after the similitude of Melchizedec, there ariseth another priest, who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life. For it appears by the apostle's reasoning, that this Melchizedec was no human person; inasmuch as he had no human descent, and it is essential to this order, that its priesthood should be unchangeable † and eternal.-Whence it must follow, that no mere man could ever be capable of the conditions of such a priesthood. There never could be more than one priest of the order; and that priest is Christ himself; who, before the days of his flesh, exhibited to the Father of the faithful that effectual priesthood, which should save the world; and made him a partaker of
Chap. vii. 1.
+ The Greek means such a priesthood as doth not pass from one person to another; so that there can be but one person of that order.