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this salvation is despised, when tendered according to the gospel, &c.
Obs. II. The Lord Christ was consecrated himself, in and by the sacrifice that he offered for us, and by what he suffered in so doing. --This belonged to the perfection both of his office and his offering. He had none to offer for him but himself, and he had nothing to offer but himself.
Obs. III. The Lord Christ alone is the only principal cause of our eternal salvation, and that in every kind. There are many instrumental causes of it in sundry kinds. So is faith, so is the word, and all the ordinances of the gospel ; they are instrumental, helping, furthering causes of salvation, but all in subordination to Christ, who is the principal, and who alone gives use and efficacy to all others. How be is so by his oblation and interces. sion, by his Spirit and grace, in his ruling and teaching, offices and power, it is the chief work of the ministry to declare. God hath appointed that in all things he should have the pre-eminence. There are both internal and external means of salvation that he hath appointed, whereby he communicates to us the virtue and benefit of his mediation. These it is our duty to make use of according to his appointment, so that we expect no relief or help from them, but only by them. So much as they have of Christ in them, so much as they convey of Christ to us, of so much use they are and no more. Not only therefore to set up any thing in competition against him, as the works of the law, or in conjunction with him, as the Papists do their penances, and pilgrimages, and pardons, and purgatory, is pernicious and ruinous to the souls of men, but also to expect any assistance by, or acceptance in such acts of religion or worship as he hath not appointed, and therefore doth not fill up with his grace, nor communicate from his own fulness by, is the highest folly imaginable. This there. fore is the great wisdom of faith, to esteem of Christ, and to rest on him as that which he is indeed, namely, the only Author of salvation to them that believe. For,
Obs. IV. Salvation is confined to believers, and those who look for salvation by Christ, must secure it to themselves by faith and obedience. It is Christ alone who is the cause of our salvation, but he will save none but those that obey him. He came to save sinners, but not such as choose to continue in their sins ; though the gospel be full of love, of grace, of mercy and pardon, yet herein the sentence of it is peremptory and decretory. • He that believeth not, shall be damned."
Ver. 10.- In the tenth verse, the apostle returns to the im. provement of the testimony given to the priesthood of Christ, taken from Psal. cx. And hereby he makes way to another ne. cessary digression, without which he could not profitably pursue the instruction which he intended the Hebrews from that testimony, as we shall see in the following verses. He had drawn forth nothing out of that testimony of the psalmist, but only that the Lord Christ was a Priest ; and when he had done this in general which was necessary for him to do, he declares his sacerdotal actings which he was enabled to by virtue of that office. For a priest he must be who so offered to God as he did. But be had yet a farther and peculiar intention in the production of that testimony. And this was not only to prove him to be a Priest in general, and so to have right to perform all sacerdotal offices and duties in behalf of the people, which he did accordingly, ver. 7 -9. ; but withal to declare the especial nature and pre-eminence of his priesthood, as typified or shadowed out by the priesthood of Melchisedeć. The demonstration and declaration whereof is that which he now designs. But so soon as he hath laid down his general assertion in this verse, considering the greatness of the matter he had in hand, as also the difficulty of understanding it aright, which he should find among the Hebrews, he diverts to a preparatory digression, wherein he continues the remainder of this, and the whole ensuing chapter, resuming his purpose here proposed in the beginning of the seventh chapter. VER. 10.-Προσαγορευθεις ύπο το Θεα αρχιερευς κατα την ταξιν Μελχισεδέκ.
Il gordyog su.fecs, called,' he refers to the testimony produced, ver. 6. And it is here manifest who it was that is intended in those words, “ as he saith in another place, Thou art a Priest ;" that is, God said so ; for he was #goteryogaubtus to t& : dicéus, cognominatus, eps, called, pronounced.' Salutatus, as salutare aliquem regem, is to pronounce him so ; and we may inquire into the reason of this peculiar expression. He bad before declared that the Lord Christ the Son of God, was a Priest after the order of Melchisedec. Now there may be more supposed herein than is indeed intended. When we say that Phinehas, or Eli, or Zadok, were high priests of the order of Aaron, we intend that they had the very same priesthood that Aaron had. But that is not the meaning of the expression in this place and matter. The priesthood of Christ and of Melchisedec were not the same. For chat of Christ is such as no mere man could possibly sustain or exercise ; only these two priesthoods, as expressed in the Scrip. ture, had an especial agreement in sundry things, the particulars whereof the apostle enumerates and explains, chap. vii. For on the account of sundry things that were singular in the person of Melchisedec, (either absolutely, or as his story is related in the Scripture, which is the rule of our comprehension of sacred things) and suited to prefigure or shadow out the Lord Christ in his priesthood, above what was in Aaron or his office, he is said to be made a Priest after the order of Melchisedec, or according to the things spoken of Melchisedec. He is not said to be a priest of the order, but 1737 by, ruta tabor, according to the things spoken of Melchisedec,' as he was a priest, after the manner of what is related concerning him. And this in my judgment is the reason of the use of this word ngerayogov.guis, in this place, for it doth not signify a call to office, that is wastos constantly; but it is the denomination of him who is so called, for some certain reason Because, saith the apostle, of the especial resemblance that was between what Melchisedec was, and what Christ was to be, God called his priesthood Melchisedecian; whereon I must necessarily declare wherein that resemblance did consist, which he doth afterwards. So was his priesthood surnamed from his type, and not Aaronical. Called of God, Agxiegtus, ver. 6.
He renders the Hebrew 1973 by incrus, only a priest.' And it signifies no more. For where the high priest in a note of distinction is intended, they call him477277 in, the great,' or high priest.' Sacerdos magnus, summus. Pontifex, pontifex summus. But the whole nature, right and privilege of the office belonged to any one as a priest. Every high priest was a priest absolutely, but every priest was not a high priest also. Aaron and his sons were together separated to the same office of the priesthood, Exod. xxviii. 1. But some duties in the execution of the office, were peculiarly reserved to hiin who was chief and singular. And because he who was singular, had thus sundry pre-eminences above other priests, and also that the discharge of some duties, and offering of some sacrifices, as that of the great atonement, were committed to him alone, which were peculiarly typical of the sacerdotal actions of Christ, as he is called isgeus, a priest absolutely,' as being invested in the real office of the priesthood; so is he termed agxigius, by our apostle, the chief' or ' high priest,' not because there were any other in or of the same order with himself, but because all the pre-eminences of the priesthood were in him alone, and he really answered what was typified by the singular actings of the Aaronical high priest.
He was thus called an high priest, κατα την ταξιν Μελχισεδέκ, “ ac. cording to the order of Melchisedec.' This is not a limitation of his priesthood to a certain order, but a reference to that priesthood whereby his was most eminently prefigured. And there are two things intended herein by the apostle. First, A concession that he was not an high priest according to the constitution, law and order of the Aaronical priesthood. And this he doth not only grant here, but elsewhere positively asserts, chap, viïi. 4. yea and proves at large, that it was impossible he should be so ; and that if he had been so, his priesthood would not have been of advantage to the church, chap. vii. 11-14., &c.
He was neither called as they were, nor came to his office as they did, nor was confirmed in it by the same means, nor had right unto it by the law, nor was his work the same with theirs. Secondly, That there was a priesthood antecedent unto, and diverse from that of Aaron, appointed of God to represent the way and manner how he would call the Lord Christ unto his office; as also the nature of his person in the discharge thereof, in what is affirmed, and what is concealed concerning him, who singly and alone was vested with that office, that is Melchisedec. Look in what manner, and by what means, he became a priest; by the same, with other peculiar excellencies and pre-eminencies added thereunto, was Christ also called, so as that he may be said, and is termed of God, a Priest after his order or manner of appointment. For as he, without ceremony, without sacrifice, without visible consecration, without the law of a carnal commandment, was constituted a high priest ; so was Christ also by the immediate word of the Father, saying unto him, Thou art my Son, a Priest for ever, or after the power of an endless life. And in this sense is he called a Priest after the order of Melchisedec.
I have elsewhere evinced the corruption of the Targum on Psal. cx. 4. whence these words are taken ; as also the malice of some of the late Jewish masters, who would have Melchise. dec to be there called 1773, ' a priest," improperly, as David's sons were said to be 1772, that is, 'princes.' So the Targum, • Thou art a great prince. But the expression here used by the psalmist, is taken directly from Gen. xiv. 18. 5x5 ina 11 : 7759 · And he was a priest of, or unto the most high God.' Ilere none of the Jews themselves are so profligate, as to pretend that a prince is intended; a prince to the high God. It is nothing therefore but that obstinacy which is the effect of their unbelief, which casts them on the shift of this evasion. Some observations do ensule.
Obs. I. God was pleased to put a signal honour upon the person and office of Melchisedec, that in them there should be an early and excellent representation made of the person and priesthood of Jesus Christ. I am not here to inquire who this Melchisedec was, nor wherein the nature of his priesthood did consist. I shall do it elsewhere. Here he is reflected on as an eminent type of Christ in his office. And in how many particulars the resemblance between them did consist, our apostle doth afterwards declare. In the mean time we may observe, 1. in general, That all the real honour which God did unto any persons under the Old Testament, it was in order unto the prefiguring of Christ, that in all he might have the pre-eminence. Other reason of the great exaltation of Melchisedec in the church, even above Abraham the father of the faithful, there was none. 2. He was the only type of the person of Christ,
that ever was in the world. Others were types of the Lord Christ in the execution of his office, but none but he were ever types of his person. For being introduced, without father, without mother, without beginning of days or end of life, he was made like to the Son of God, and represented his person, which none other did. 3. He was the first personal type of Christ in the world. After him there were others, as Isaac, and Aaron, Joshua, David, and Solomon; but he was the first, and therefore the most eminent. 4. He was a type of Christ, in these two great offices of a king and a priest, which none but he ever was. 5. The circumstances of his name, and the place of his reign, whence he was a king of righteousness and peace, do most gloriously represent the whole effect of the mediation of Christ; all which may be spoken to afterwards. Now, the exaltation of any one in the like kind, is a mere act of sovereign grace in God: he might so honour whom he pleased. Hence is Melchisedec introduced without the consideration of any circumstances of prerogative on his own part whatever, that all his dignity might be owned to be of God's sovereign pleasure. God therefore having referred all to Christ, it is our wisdom to do likewise.
Obs. II. As the Lord Christ received all his honour as Mediator from God the Father, so the ground and measure of our giving glory and honour unto him, as such, depends on the revelation and declaration of it unto us.--He was termed, called, and declared of God, a high priest after the order of Melchisedec. He made him so, which was his honour; he declared him to be so, whence we ought to give all honour unto him. But this hath been spoken unto elsewhere.
Obs. III. And from the respect that these words have unto the preceding verse, we may observe, that it is an evidence and testimony that the Lord Christ was able to be, and is the author of eternal salvation unto all that do obey him, because he is a priest after the order of Melchisedec; that is, that bis priesthood is eternal.
Ver. 11.-In the eleventh verse, the apostle enters upon his designed digression. And first he expresseth the occasion and reason of it, taken from the subject or matter which in this place it was necessary for him to insist upon ; and the condition, with the former carriage, or rather miscarriage, of them unto whom he spake. Hence he evidenceth the necessity of his digression, which consists in such awakening admonitions, as they then stood, and we now stand in need of, when we are to be excited unto a due attendance unto spiritual and mysterious truths.