« PreviousContinue »
I. First, Lay before you what Account SERM. the Scriptures give concerning Melchifedec.
II. SECONDLY, I shall examine in what
III. THIRDLY, I shall enquire why and
I. FIRST, I shall observe what the Scriptures say, or what Account they give, of Melchisedec. And to do this in Order, it will be necessary in the first Place to turn to the fourteenth Chapter of Genesis.
There we read that Chedorlaomer King of Elam (who was the same with Ninyas the Son of Ninus, who was at this Time King of Asyria, the Seat of whose Empire was at Elam in Persia *; that this Chedorlaomer) with three other Kings, who were confederate with him, as being his Deputy Princes over some of his adjacent Provinces, after they had smote and wasted the Country round about, turned themselves against the Kingdoms of Sodom and Gomorrha, put them to
* See Shuckford's Connect. Vol. II. p. 3, 4
SER M. Flight, plundered their Cities, and took Lot,
who was Abraham's Brother's Son, among the Captives. The News of this being brought to Abraham, be armed bis trained Servants, 318 that were born in his House, pursued the Kings, and surprizing them in the Night, wholly vanquished them, and brought back all the Spoils : that they had taken, and also rescued his Brother, i, e. his Nephew, Lot, and his Goods, and the People that belonged
After his Retorn, Melchisedec, King of Salem, who lived not far from Sodom and : Gomorrha (the Defence of whose Kings Abraham had fo generously undertaken) being much affected with the Conduct of the Patriarch, came out to meet him; and in order to refresh him, after his Battle and Fatigue, he brought along with him Bread and Wine. And this fame Melchisedec, being also the Priest of the Most High God, blessed Abraþam and said, Blessed be. Abraham of the Most High God, Podelor of Heaven and Earth. And blessed be the Most High God, which batb delivered thine Enemies into thine Hand. Abraham again, on his Part, being full of religious Reverence and Respect, and willing to acknowledge the Civilities and Blessings he had received from Melchisedec, gave him the
Tithes or Tenths of the best of the Spoils he SER M. had taken *, thereby acknowledging God, whose Priest Melchifedec was, for the Donor of his Victory.
This is all the original Account which is given us of Melschifedec; who is mentioned no more in all the Old Testament, excepting once in the Book of Psalms. There we read, that the Lord has sworn unto the Meffiah, and will not repent, Thou art a Priest forever after the Order of Melchi sedec. Pf. cx. 4.
These are the only two Places in the Old Testament where there is so much as Mention of him. Nor is he any where fpoken of through all the New Testament, except in this one Épiftle from whence my Text is taken. But' as the inspired Writer of this Epistle fpeaks such great and high Things of him ; therefore if many curious and inquisitive Pens have been employed to find out, more particularly than the Scriptures teach us,
who he was.
Some I have imagined him to be the Holy
Aixct--- wxvidiw 'Axobariav, Heb. vii. 4.
SER M. the Form of a Man. But neither of these
Characters agree with that little Account which Mofes gives us of him. For he mentions his Name, the Place of his Abode, and his Quality or Degree. His Name was Melchifedec, he was King of Salem, and also Priest of the Most High God.
All these are true Characters of a Man; and cannot properly be understood of any Person who is not so. And the holy Penman supposes, in the first Verse of this Chapter, from whence I have taken my Text, that every High Priest is taken from AMONG Men, as well as ordained to officiate for Men. We
therefore safely infer from that little which is said of him, that he was one of the Kings in the Land of Canaan, whereof there were many, but a pious and devout Man, and a Worshipper of the true God, of which in those Days there were but few among the idolatrous Nations. To
go further than this, and to assert that he was * Shem, the Son of Noah, as is generally affirmed by the Jewish Writers, and fome Christians that follow them, savours, I think, of Rashness and Folly, in looking
Bibl. Bib. ibid.
too curiously into a Matter which God seems SER M. to have concealed designedly from us. For so shall we think, if we read the Character the holy Penman gives of him, in the Chapter next but one to my Text. This Melchi. sedec (faith he) King of Salem, Priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the Slaughter of the Kings, and blessed him : To whom alfo Abraham gave a tenth Part of all, first being by Interpretation King of Righteoufness, and after that also King of Salem, which is King of Peace, without Father, without Mother, without Descent, having neither. Beginning of Days, nor End of Life, but made like unto the Son of God, abideth: a Priest continually, Heb. vii. 13. Now who will-dare to name us the Parentage, the Family, and Stock of one whom the Holy Ghost witnesses was without Father, without Mother, without Defcent, or Genealogy? And though it appears that Shem was alive when this Victory was gained, yet who can with Modesty affirm - Melchisedec to be Shem, whose Father, and Mother, and Genealogy we know; as well as when he was born, how long he lived, and when he died? Not that we are to imagine that Melchifedec descended immediately from Heaven, or that,