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to prove, is, that Christ was called and constituted an high Priest, by the authority of God the Father. And this was done by his immediate speaking unto him. The Holy Ghost by the mouth of David, speaks these things to us. But he doth only therein declare what the Father said unto the Son ; and that was it whereby the apostle's intention was proved and confirmed. • He saith. This was that which God said unto him, and this is recorded, 3. Ey sriga, in another; that is, tam wu, place,' or rather bonew, in another psalm;' that is, Psal.
Secondly, The testimony itself is expressed, or the words of the Father unto the Son, whereby the apostle's assertion is confirmed. “ Thou art a Priest forever, after the order of Melchisedec." It was sufficient for the apostle at present to produce these words only, but he will elsewhere make use of the manner how they were uttered; namely, by and with the oath of God, as it is declared in the psalm, Có The Lord hath sworn and will not repent, thou art a Priest,” fc. And these words of ver. 4. do indissolubly depend on the first verse: “ The Lord said unto my Lord;" that is, God the Father said unto the Son, with respect unto his incarnation and mediation, as I have proved elsewhere. And this word, “ Thou art," is verbum constitutivum, a constituting word, wherein the priesthood of Christ was founded. And it may be considered : 1. As declarative of God's eternal decree, with the covenant between the Father and Son, whereby he was designed unto this office, whereof we have treated expressly and at large in the previous Exercitations. 2. As demonstrative of his mission, or bis actual sending to the discharge of his office. These words are the symbol and solemn sign of God's conferring that honour upon him which gave him his instalment. 3. There is included in them a supposition that God would prepare a body for him, wherein he might exercise his priesthood, and which he might offer up unto him. In the whole, it is undeniable from this testimony, that God called and appointed him to be a priest, which was to be proved.
Thus Christ was called of God, as was Aaron ; that is, immediately and in an extraordinary manner, which was necessary in the first erection of that office in his person. But yet, as to the special manner of his call, it was every way more excellent and glorious than that of Aaron. What his call was, and what were the weaknesses and imperfections of it, was before deelared. But the eall of Christ, 1. had no need of any outward ceremony to express it; yea, it had a glory in it which no ceremony could express. 2. It consisted in the words of God spoken immediately to himself, and not to any others concerning him, only they are reported unto the church in the two
psalms mentioned. 3. The words spoken are present, effective, constituting, authoritative words, and not merely declarative of what God would have done. By these words was he called and made a Priest. 4. They are expressive of infinite love to, and acquiescency in the person of Christ as an high Priest. “ Thou art my Son; Thou art a priest for ever." 5. They were spoken and pronounced with the solemnity of an oath: the Lord hath sworn; whereof elsewhere. He was not therefore only called of God, as was Aaron, but also in a peculiar way far more eminently and gloriously.
Obs. I. We may hence observe, that in all things wherein God hath to do with mankind, Jesus Christ should have an absolute pre-eminence. It was necessary that of old, some things should be made use of to represent and prefigure him. And it is necessary now, that some things should be made use of, to reveal and exhibit him unto us. And these things must, as they are appointments of God, effects of his wisdom, and out of their respect unto him, be precious and excellent. But yet, in and through them all, it is his own person, and what he doth therein, that hath the pre-eminence. And this is so on a twofold account. 1. Because in the representation which they made of him, there was an imperfection, by reason of their own nature, that they could not perfectly represent him. So Aaron was called in an extraordinary manner, to prefigure his call unto his priesthood. But that call of his was accompanied with much weakness and imperfection, as hath been declared. It belonged unto the pre-eminence of Christ, that there should be something, yea, very much in his call absolutely peculiar. 2. The principal dignity of all these things, de. pended on their respect and relation unto him, which exalts him infinitely above them. And so also is it with all the means of grace, whereby at present he is exhibited, and the benefits of his mediation communicated unto us.
Ver. 7.-In this verse, two instances of the qualifications of a high priest, are accommodated unto our Lord Jesus Christ, and that in the retrograde order before proposed. For the last thing expressed concerning a high priest according to the law, was, that he was encompassed with infirmities, ver. 2. And this in the first place is applied unto Christ, for that it was so with him when he entered upon the discharge of his office. And therein the apostle gives a double demonstration : 1. From the time and season wherein he did execute his office--it was in the days of his flesh. So openly do they contradict the Scripture, who contend that he entered not directly on his priestly office, until these days of his flesh were finished and ended. Now, in the days of his flesh, he was compassed with infirmities, and that because he was in the flesh. 2. From the manner of his deportment in this discharge of his office-he did it with eries and tears. And these also are from the infirmity of our nature.
Secondly, The acting of the high priest, as so qualified in the discharge of his oflice, is accommodated unto him. For a high priest was appointed, ένα προσφερη δωρα τε και θυσιας υπίς αμαςTIM, ver. 1. “ that he might offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. So it is here affirmed of our Saviour, that he also offered to God, which is expressive of a sacerdotal act, as shall be declared. And this is farther described, I. By an especial adjunct of the sacrifice be offered, namely, prayers and tears. 2. By the immediate object of them, and his sacrifice which they accompanied-he that was able to save him from death. 3. By the effect and issue of the whole-he was heard in that which he feared. VER. 7.-ος εν ταις ημέραις της σαρκος αυτε, δεησεις τε και ικετηρίας
προς τον δυναμενον σωζειν αυτον εκ θανατε, μετα κραυγης ισχυρας και
δακρυων προσενεγκας, και εισακεσθεις απο της ευλαβειας. Ev Tuis husçais ons reqxos aýts. Syr. "Also when he was clothed with flesh. Arab. • In the days of his humanity.' M65% xguuryns so mugees. Syr. “ With a vehement outcry.' Año tas tohto Gilas. This is wholly omitted in the Syriac. Only in the next verse mention of it is introduced, as X377,"fear or dread, ' which is evidently transferred from this place; the interpreter, it seems, not understanding the meaning of it in its present construction. Ver. 7.— IVho in the days of his flesh, offered up prayers and
supplications, with a strong cry (or vehement outcry) and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was
heard (or delivered) from (his) fear. The person here spoken of, is expressed by the relative és, who;' that is, ó xpiatos, mentioned ver. 4. to whose priesthood thenceforward testimony is given. Who, that is Christ, not absolutely but as a high priest.
The first thing mentioned of him, is an intimation of the ininfirmity wherewith he was attended in the discharge of his office, by a description of the time and season wherein he was exercised in it: it was sv this mucegais ans auqxos airs, in the days of his flesh.' That these infirmities were in themselves perfectly sinless, and absolutely necessary unto him in this office, was before declared. And we may here inquire, 1. What is meant by the flesh of Christ? 2. What were the days of his flesh?
First, The flesh of Christ, wherein he was, is in the Scripture tiken two ways.
1. Naturally, by a synecdoche, for his whole human nature, John i. 14. “ The Word was made flesh." 1 Tim. iii. 16. ^ God was manifest in the flesh.” Rom. ix. 5. “ Of whom was Christ according to the flesh.” Heb. ii. 9, 10. 14. “ He partook of flesh and blood." 1 Pet. iii. 18. Rom. i. 3. See our exposition of Chap. ii. 9-11. In this flesh, or in the flesh in this sense, as to the substance of it, Christ still continues. The body wherein he suffered and rose from the dead, was altered upon his resurrection and ascension, as to its qualities, but not as to its substance: it consisted still of flesh and bones, Luke xxiv. 39. And the same spirit which, when he died, he resigned into the hand of God, was returned unto him again when he was quickened in the Spirit, 1 Pet. iii. 18. when God shewed him again the path of life, according to his promise, Psal. xvi. 11. This flesh he carried entire with him into heaven, where it still continueth, though inwardly and outwardly exalted and glorified beyond our apprehension, Acts i. 11. and in this flesh shall he come again unto judgment, Acts i. 11. iii. 21. xvii. 31. Rev. i. 7. For the union of this fiesh with the divine nature in the person of the son of God, is eternally indissoluble. And they overthrow the foundation of faith, who fancy the Lord Christ to have any other body in heaven, than what he had on the earth ; as they also do who make him to have such flesh as they can eat every day. It is not therefore the flesh of Christ in this sense as absolutely considered, which is here intended. For the days of this flesh abide always, they shall never expire to eternity,
2. Flesh, as applied unto Christ, signifies the frailties, weaknesses, and infirmities of our nature, or our nature as it is weak and infirm, during this mortal life. So is the word often used, Psal. lxxviii. 39. “ He remembereth 7707 7023 that they are but flesh ;" that is, poor, weak, mortal, frail creatures. Psal. lxv. 2. “ Unto thee shall all flesh come;" poor helpless creatures, standing in need of aid and assistance. So'flesh and blood is taken for that principle of corruption, which must be done
away before we enter into heaven, 1 Cor. xv. 50. And this is that which is meant by the flesh of Christ in this placehuman nature not yet glorified, with all its infirmities, wherein he was exposed unto hunger, thirst, weariness, labour, sorrow, grief, fear, pain, wounding, death itself. Hereby doth the apostle express what he had before laid down, in the person of the high priest according to the law-he was compassed with infirmities.
Secondly, What was intended by the days of his flesh? Io. is evident that in general his whole course and walk in this world, may be comprized herein. From his cradle to the grave, he bare all the infirmities of our nature, with all the dolorous and grievous effects of them. Ilence all bis days he was 2***
117 1171 m2), Isa. liii. 3. “ a man of sorrows," filled with them, never free from them, and familiarly acquainted with grief, as a companion that never departed from him. respect is not had here unto this whole space of time, only the subject matter treated of, is limited unto that season : it fell out neither before nor after, but in and during the days of his flesh. But the season peculiarly intended, is the close of those days, in his last suffering, when all his sorrows, trials and temptations, came unto a head. The sole design of the expression is to sbew, that when he offered up his sacrifice, he was encompassed with infirmities, which hath an especial influence into our faith and consolation
Secondly, An account is given of what he did in these days of his flesh, as a high Priest, being called of God unto that office. And this in general was his acting as a priest, wherein many things are to be considered.
First, The act of his oblation, in that word #goorvexas. Igor pigw, is accedo, appropinquo, or accedere facto, when applied unto things in common use, or unto persons in the common occasions of life. So doth 37p signify in the Hebrew; but when it doth so, the LXX. constantly render it by wricw and coseygroeten, that is, ' to draw near.' But when it is applied to things sacred, they render it by ricoripuga, that is, offero, or to offer.' And although this word is sometimes used in the New Testament in the common sense before mentioned, yet it alone, and no other, is made use of to express an access with gifts and sacrifices, or offerings on the altar ; see Matt. ii. 11. v. 23, 24. viii. 4. Mark i. 44. Luke v. 14. 10 paipa, Lev. i. 2. that is, tagoo Pogn derpor, offer a gift," that is, at the altar. And in this Epistle, it constantly expresseth a sacerdotal act, ch. v. 1.3. vii. 3, 4. ix. 7. 9. 14. 25. 28. X. 1, 2. 8. 11. 12. xi. 4. 17. And #goo papa is a sacred oblation,' or 'a sacrifice,' ch. x. 5. 8. 10. 14. 18. Nor is the word otherwise used in this Epistle ; and the end why we observe it, is to manifest, that it is a priestly saeerdotal offering that is here intended. He offered as a priest.
Secondly, The matter of his offering, is expressed by danctis *** initingiaus, prayers and supplications. Both these words have the same general signification. And they also agree in this, that they respeet an especial kind of prayer, which is for the averting or turning away of impendent evils, or such as are deserved and justly feared. For whereas all sorts of prayers may be referred unto two heads, 1. Such as are petitory, for the impetration of that which is good. 2. Such as are deprecatory for the keeping off, or turning away that which is evil the lat. ter sort only are here intended. Ashesis are every where preres deprecalorice ; and we render it “supplications, i Tim. i. 1.