Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

these words, “ Ask of me;" wherein authority is given him to make intercession with God. And this exposition, whereof, as far as I can find, Junius was the author, I shall not oppose ; only for two reasons, I cannot readily assent unto it. For, 1. It seems not probable that the apostle in the quotation of a testimony, should omit that which was directly to his purposé, and produce those words only, which alone were not so. 2. The asking here enjoined is not his sacerdotal intercession, but only an expression denoting the dependance of Christ as king on God the Father, for the subduing of his enemies.

Fourthly, Some conceive that the apostle intends not a testimony of the constitution of Christ in his office of priesthood, but only to give an account of the person by whom he was called thereunto. He made not himself an high priest, but was made so by him from whom he had all his honour and glory as Mediator, and that because he was his Son, and in his work declared so to be. But the testimony given unto his priesthood is brought in, in the next verse. Nor do I see any more than one exception which this exposition is liable unto, and which ..those that follow it, have taken no notice of. And this is, that the manner of the introduction of the next testimony, he also saith in another place," doth evidence that they are both produced and urged to the same purpose, for the confirmation of the same assertion. But withal, I answer thereunto by concession, that indeed they are both here of the same importance, and used to the same purpose. For these words in ihis place, " Thou art a Priest after the order of Melchisedec," are considered as spoken to him by. God the Father, even as the former were. This, therefore, is the design of the apostle in the introduction of this testimony; for the clearing whereof, we may observe, 1. That it is not the priesthood of Christ,' but his call thereunto, which in this place the apostle åsserts, as was before declared. 2. As to this, he intends to shew only, that it was God the Father, from whom he had all his mediatory power, as king, priest, and prophet to his church. 3. This is evidently proved by this testimony, in that therein God declares him to be his Son, and his acceptance thereby of him in the discharge of the work committed unto him. For this solemn declaration of his relation unto God the Father, in his eternal sonship, and his approbation of him, doth prove that he undertook nothing, performed nothing, but what he had appointed, designed and authorised him unto. And that he had so designed him unto this office, is more particularly declared in the ensuing testimony.

Obs. I. The office of the high priesthood over the church of God, was an honour and glory to Jesus Christ. It was so unto his human nature, even as it was united unto the divine. For it was capable of glory, of degrees of glory, and an eug

mentation in glory, John xvii. 3. 1 Pet. i. 21. And the Lord Christ had a two-fold glory upon him, in the bearing and discharging of this office: First, The glory that was upon him, or of the work itself; Secondly, The glory that was proposed unto him in the effects of it. i. There was a glory upon bim in his work, from the nature of the work itself. So it was prophesied of him, Zech. vi. 13. “ He shall build the temple of the Lord, and shall bear the glory." All the glory of the house of God shall be on him, Isa, xxii. 24. And it was a glory unto him, because the work itself was great and glorious. It was no less than the healing of the breach made between God and the whole creation, by the first apostasy. Sin had put variance between God and all bis creatures, Gen. x. Rom. viii

. 20. No way was left but that God must be perpetually dishonoured, or all creatures everlastingly cursed. And bereby there seemed to be a kind of defeating of God's first design to glorify himself in the making of all things. For to this purpose he made them all exceeding good, Gen. i. 31. And his glory depended not so much upon their being, as their being good; that is, their beauty and order and subjection to himself. But this was now lost, as to all the creation, but only a part and portion of the angels, who sinned not. But yet the apostasy of those who were partakers of the same nature, privileges and advantages with them, made it manifest what they also in their natural state and condition, were obnoxious unto. How great, how glorious a work must it needs be, to put a stop unto this entrance of confusion; to lay hold on the perishing creation, running headlong into eternal ruin, and to preserve it, or some portion of it, some first fruits of it unto Göd from de. struction ? Must not this be a work equal unto, if not exceeding the first forming of all things ? Certainly it is a glorious and honourable thing unto him that shall undertake and accomplish this great and glorious work. What is said with respect unto one particular in it, may be applied unto the whole When the sealed book, containing the states of the church and the world was represented unto John, it is said that there was $none in heaven, or earth, or under the earth, that was able to open the book, or look thereon,” Rev, v. 3. whereon the apostle wept, that none was found worthy to engage in that work, But when the Lord Christ, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, ap, peared to do it, and prevailed therein, ver. 5. all the host of heaven, all the saints of God, joined together in ascribing glory and honour unto him, ver. 6--14. The work was great and honourable ; and therefore, on the account of it, doth that harmonious ascription of glory and honour unto him ensue. How much more must the whole work be esteemed such, whereof that book contained only a small portion. Herein then was the Lord Jesus Christ exceedingly glorious in his priestly office, because in the discharge of it, he was the only means and way of the recovery and advancement of the glory of God; the greatness of which work, no heart can conceive, nor tongue express. 2. It appears from the effects and consequents of the discharge of his office, or the glory proposed unto him. And that, 1st, On the part of them for whom he did discharge it. And these were all the elect of God. He himself looked on this as a part of the glory set before him, that he should be a Captain of salvation unto them, and bring them unto the eternal enjoyment of God in immortal glory. And a double honour ariseth hence unto Jesus Christ. First, Initial, the love, thankfulness, and worship of the church in all ages in this world, see Rev. i. 5,6. This is a glory wherein he is delighted, that all his saints, in all parts of the world, do severally, and in their assemblies, with all humility, love and thankfulness, worship, adore, bless, praise and glorify him, as the Author and Finisher of their recovery unto God, and eternal salvation. Every day do they come about his throne, cleave unto him, and live in the admiration of his love and power. Secondly, This glory will be full at the latter day, and so hold unto all eternity, when all his saints, from the beginning of the world upto the end thereof, shall be gathered unto him, and abide with him, adoring him as their Head, and shouting for joy when they behold his glory. 2dly, On bis.own part there is a peculiar honour and glory given him of God, as a consequent of his discharge of this office, and on the account thereof, 1 Pet. i. 21. Phil. ii. 9, 10. Eph. i. 20—23. whereof see our exposition of ch. i. 2. 3dly, That glory wherein God will be exalted upto all eternity in the praise of his grace, the end of all his holy purposes towards his chureh, Eph. i. 6. doth ensue and depend hereon. For these and the like reasons it was, that our blessed Saviour, knowing how unan ble we are in this world to comprehend bis glory, as also bow great a part of our blessedness doth consist in the knowledge of it, makes that great request for us, that after we are preserved in, delivered from, and carried through our course in this world, as a principal part of our rest and reward, that we may be with him where he is, to behold bis glory which is given him of his Father, John xvii. 24. And our present delight in this glory and honour of Christ, is a great evidence of our love of him, and faith in him.

Obs. II. Relation and love are the fountain and cause of God's committing all authority in and over the church, to Jez sus Christ. by this expression of relation and love, “ Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee," doth the apostle prove that God called him to be the high Priest of the church. To the same purpose himself speaketh, John iii. 35.' “ The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.“ In his constitution and declaration to be the great and only prophet of the church, God did it by an expression of his relation and love to him. “ This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him," Matt. xvii. 5. And this also was the foundation of his kingly office, chap. i. 2. He bath spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things; he who was his Son, and because he was his Son. God would give this glory and honour unto none, but unto his only Son, which to prove is the design of our apostle in the first chapter of this epistle. And this his relation unto God, manifested itself in all that he did in the discharge of his office; for, saith the evangelist, “ We beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth," John i. 14. Now, first, the relation intended, is that one sin. gle eternal relation of his being the Son of God, the only begotten of the Father, through the divine ineffable communication of his nature with him or unto him.. And hence, the faith hereof is the foundation of the church. For when Peter made that confession of it, in opposition unto all false conceptions of others concerning his person, “ Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God;" he answers, “Upon this rock will I build my church," Matt xvi 16. 16. And why doth the Lord Christ build his church on the profession of this article of our faith concerning his person? It is because we declare our faith therein, that God would not commit all power in and over the church, and the work of mediation in its behalf, unto any but to him who stood in that relation to him, of his only begotten Son. And hereby, as God declares the greatness of this work, which none could effect but his Son, he who was God with himself, that none other should partake with him in this glory; so lie directs us to the worship and honour of him as bis Son. For it is the “ will of God, that all men should honour the Son as they honour the Father," John v. And those who put in themselves, their wills and authorities, as the Pope; or bring in others into the honour of this work, as saints and angels; do rise up in direct opposition to the design of the will and wisdom of God. They must first give any one the relation of an only Son to God, before they ought to ascribe any thing of this great work or the honour of it to him. Secondly, The love intended is I wofold. 1. The natural and eternal love of the Father unto the Son, and his delight in him, as participant of the same nature with himself. This is expressed, Prov. viii. 30, 31. which place hath been explained and vindicated before. 2. His actual love towards him on the account of his infinite condescen. sion and grace, in undertaking this work, wherein his glory was so deeply concerned, see Phil. i. 6-11.' And this love hath a peculiar influence into the collation of that glory and honour

[ocr errors]

on Christ, which God bestowed on him. And in these things, which must not be here enlarged on, doth lie the blessed, sure, stable foundation of the church, and of our salvation, by the mediation of Christ.

Ver. 6.-The next verse gives us a farther confirmation of the call of Christ unto his office, by another testimony taken trom Psal. cx. 4. And much time with diligence would be needful to the explanation hereof, but that this is not its proper place. For that the whole psalm was prophetical of Christ, I have proved before, and vindicated it from the exceptions of the Jews, both in our exercitations and expositions on the first chapter. The subject matter also spoken of, or the priesthood of Melchisedec, with the order thereof, the apostle expressly resumes and handles at large, chap. vii. where it must be considered. There is, therefore, only one concernment of these words here to be inquired into. And this is, how far, or wherein they do give testimony to the assertion of the apostle, that Christ did not glorify himself to be made an high Priest, but that he was designed thereunto of God, even the Father.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

VER. 6.-Καθως και εν έτερο λεγει: Συ ιερευς εις τον

ταξιν Μελχισεδέκ. . Ver. 6.-As he says in another (Psalm), thou (art) a Priest

for ever, after the order of Melchisedec. There are two things in these words. 1. The manner of the introduction of a new testimony. 2. The testimony itself. The first, as 66 he saith in another." And therein we may consider, 1. The connection unto, and compliance with that foregoing. Kædwsxat, in the same manner,' as he had said in Psal. i. “ Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee;" so he speaks in another place to the same purpose. So great and important a truth had need of solid confirmation. . 2. The author of the testimony, or he that spake the words of it; asyss," he saith.' And this may be taken two ways.

1. With respect unto the delivery of the words. 2. With respect unto the subject matter of them, or the thing signified in them. In the first way, be that speaks may be, 1. David. He who was the penman of the second psalm, was so also of this hundred and tenth. As therefore the words foregoing, as to the declaration of them, were his, so were these also. As he said in that place, so he saith in this. Or 2 The Holy Spirit himself, who in both places spake in and by David. “Saying in David," chap. iv. 7.' But 2. The thing spoken and signified is principally here intended. And yes, he saith,' referreth immediately to God the Father himself. That which the apostle designed

« PreviousContinue »