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at hand. The Difference of the Sacrifices offered. Their High Prieft entred by the Blood of Goats and Calves; Ours, with his own Blood, and This the Blood of Christ, who, through the eternal Spirit, offered bimfelf without fpot to God.
The Plan, upon which the Apoftle forms his Argument in this Epiftle, fo far as the Sacrifices of each Difpenfation are concerned, is, that moft folemn of all the Levitical Services, the Great Day of Atonement. The Directions given by God for This, fo far as affect the Point under debate, are as follow. The High Priest is commanded to kill and offer a Bullock, as a Sin-Offering for himfelf and his Houfe: Afterwards to take a Cenfer full of Coals from the Altar, and his Hands full of fweet Incenfe, and to bring this within the Veil, to make a Cloud of Smoak, which might cover the Mercy-Seat; Then to bring in of the Blood of the Bullock, and to fprinkle it upon, and before the Mercy-Seat. Afterwards, to do the fame with the Goat, which by Lot was that Day to be flain. The Method of proceeding is the fame in Both. The only Difference is, that, as the Bullock was an Atonement for the High Prieft and his Houfe; The Goat was a Sin-Offering for the whole Body of the People. All which, and more upon the fame Occafion, not neceffary to be mentioned here, we have at large, in the Sixteenth Chapter of Leviticus.
Hence it is, that the High Prieft is faid to enter into the Holy Place by the Blood of Goats and Calves: Because he might not go in there at any time without Blood; nor with the Blood of any Sacrifices but Thefe; nor with That neither, except on this Occafion.
Mean while, how far are thefe Creatures and their Blood, below the Value of that of a Man? But efpecially of an innocent Man, fuch as Chrift was; For that is meant by offering himself to God without fpot. An Allufion to that Ordinance in the Law, which (as I had occafion to remark before) rendred all Beafts, Dd wherein
Ver. 12, 14.
wherein was any Blemish, incapable of being offered in Sacrifice. But, yet more efpecially, How contemptible an Expiation was the Blood of thefe Creatures, in comparison of His, who offered himself through the eternal Spirit; who was not only Man but God; and, by taking Our Human into His Divine Nature, hath rendred this Sacrifice of Merit invaluable, of Efficacy unqueftionable, of Benefit unconceivable? So that, in no regard does the Glory of Our High Priest excel and eclipfe the Legal more eminently, than in that, which this Paffage fets before us, as a
T'er. 13, 14.
IV. Fourth Difference between them, The Ends and Effects of their respective Sacrifices. The Legal fan&tify to the purifying of the Flesh; The Blood of Chrift purgeth the Confcience from dead Works, The Legal High Prieft entred into the Holy Place once a Year; The Evangelical once in all. The Effect of Chrift entring is a Redemption of the Tranfgreffions that were under the First Teftament; Confequently, the First Testament did not take away the Tranfgreffions, even of its own Time. Laftly, This is the noblest, and the peculiar Excellence of Our High Priest, that he hath obtained eternal Redemption for us, and that, by means of His Death, they, that are called, receive the promife of eternal Inberitance.
By all these Characters is fignified the Weakness, the Infufficiency of the Levitical Sacrifice, and the Power and Efficacy of Chrift's alone, for taking away the Guilt and Punishment of Sin. The Grounds of Both would take up too much Time to be confidered now, and will be more seasonably enlarged upon hereafter. But, in regard the Apostle attributes fome, tho' not an equal, Effect to the Legal, in the Comparison at the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Verfes; I will endeavour
Epifle for Wed-
to adjust that Point, and then draw toward a Conclufion of this Difcourfe.
The Law of Mofes then may be confidered, either Abftractedly, and in its Literal; or more Extensively, and in its Mystical, Meaning. According to the Former, Its Promifes and Threatnings are merely Temporal, Its Ceremonies, Conditions of attaining the One, and efchewing the Other; as the Obfervance or Neglect of Then kept up, or forfeited, a right of Communion in Thofe Ordinances. According to the Latter, Eternal Benefits and Punishments were implied, under the Expreffions of Temporal; and thus the Outward Ceremonies were Types of, and Admonitions to, inward Virtues. We do not therefore, by calling These Shadows and Figures, take from them all Manner of Efficacy and Influence, upon the Perfons heretofore obliged by them: But, we allow them fuch, as bears Proportion to this Twofold Character, in which they ftood. The Impurities contracted in Violation of the Law plainly drew on a double Inconvenience. One, that the Unclean incurred the Wrath of God, and the Sentence of Death, here and hereafter; Not only their Bodies, but their Confciences, were defiled, by A&ts, which, in that State of things, were appointed Terms of Salvation and God's Favour; The Other, that, as a mark of prefent Disfafavour, they stood incapable of Communion, either Civil with their Brethren, or Religious with Almighty God.
Now the Laft of thefe Inconveniencies was directly and effectually taken off, by thofe refpective Rites and Sacrifices, which the Law prefcribed in fuch Cafes. They were restored to the Camp or the City, the Tabernacle or the Temple, to all the Benefits and Advantages exprefly contracted for, by that Covenant. But, as to the mystical and more valuable Part, the purging of the Confcience, delivering from Death Spiritual, and, as a Confequence of Sin forgiven, qualifying them for a Poffeffion of the Heavenly Canaan, These were referved Dd 2
for a nobler Sacrifice; a Blood better than that of Goats and Calves: Yet ftill a Blood, figured and reprefented by, and virtually fhed in, Theirs. Hence the Apoftle tells his Coloffians, thofe OrdinanColoff. ii. 17. ces were a fhadow of things to come, but the Body is of Chrift. So far then, as they contributed to the Reconciliation of Offenders, fo far they did not work by any inherent and effential, but by a derived and relative, Power. The Virtue and Acceptance of the Type was entirely owing to its Antitype; For all the Bloody Sacrifices prefigured the Offering of the Body of Jefus once for all. Nay, even thofe Temporal Advantages, which were actually faved to them, or recovered, by their Sacrifices, were intended to typify fuch as are Spiritual and Eternal. So perfectly figurative was their whole Oeconomy, So induftrioufly contrived for Service and Subordination to the GofpelDifpenfation; that, ftrictly speaking, the Law was little elfe than the Gofpel typified, the Gofpel was the Law explained and accomplished. And the Difference between them is like that, which diftinguishes Shadow from Subftance, Clearnefs from Obfcurity, and Profpect from Poffeffion.
I only add an earnest Exhortation, that Two Expreffions in the Epiftle for this Day may be heedfully attended to. The One, that they who are called, Ver. 15. (effectually fo, by obeying that Call ) are the Perfons faid to receive the eternal Inheritance. The Other, That the Blood of Chrift purges our Confciences from dead Works to ferve the living God. By Both is meant, that even fuch an High Priest, and fuch a Sacrifice, will not fave Them, who take no care to fave themfelves. But, as the Jewish Rites reftored Men to the Temple, and capacitated them for frequenting Religious Worship; fo the Chriftian Expiation is an Encouragement to, a Comfort in, an Affurance that we shall be accepted by, our Service; but
by no means a Difpenfation from it. Were it not for
John xiv. 15.