Immagini della pagina

teous God; and how they should approach him so as to find acceptance.

Now, to each of these inquiries, the pasfage I have been reading affords a direct and fatisfying answer.

ig I. If any shall ask, What warrant or encouragement hath a creature, conscious of guilt, to draw near to à God of unspotted holiness, and inflexible justice? . ., · The Apostle will inform him, that the chief of finners (for this was the title he assumed to himself, 1 Tim, i. 15.) hath boldness, or (according to the marginal reading) liberty to enter into the holiest by: the blood of Fejus, by a new and living way, which he, in the character of high-priest over the house of God, bath consecrated for us through the vail, that is to say, bis flesh, or that human nature in which he suffered, as a propitiatory sacrifice, or finoffering, in our place, ,

It will readily occur to you, that all these peculiar forms zof expression allude to the instituted means of access to God under the Mosaic difpenfation : and it were to be


wished, that Christians were better acquainted with that ancient worship than they commonly are ; for without fome knowledge of this kind, much, I need not fay of the beauty and energy of the New-Teftament language, but even of its true meaning and import, must escape their observation.

The principal service of this day will not permit me to spend fo much time as would be necessary for tracing out the several parts of the allufion with perspicuity and accu. racy: it must at present fuffice to give you a general view of the Apoítle's reasoning in the foregoing part of this epistle, with which my text is evidently connected, as an obvious inference, and practical conclufion.

There we are informed, that the correspondence with the God of Irael, in all the public exercises of religious worship, was maintained and conducted by the intervention of the high-priest. None of the other Jews, of whatever rank or office, were permitted in person to approach the symbols of the divine presence. To him alone


it belonged to pass through the curtain or vail, which feparated the first tabernacle, wherein the ordinary priests 'ministered, from the second tabernacle, or holiest of all, which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant, with the cherubims of glory over it, shadowing the mercy-feat. “ Into this second tabernacle,” faith the Apoftle, at the 7th verse of the preceding chapter, “ went the high-priest alone, once “ every year, not without blood, which he. :s offered for himself, and for the errors of “ the people.” He then proceeds to observe, that the office of high-priest, the worldly sanctuary, and the various ordinances of divine service which belonged to it, were only figures for the time then present; and plainly shows, that they were all typical of, derived their fignificancy from, and received their full accomplishment in, the . priesthood and facrifice of Jesus Chrift; who,“ by a greater and more perfect taW bernacle, not made with hands, that is ,“ to fay, not of this building ; neither by " the blood of goats and calves, but by « his own blood, entered in once into the

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

« holy place, having obtained eternal re6 demption for us." After which, he goes on to prove, with great force and perfpicuity, that what he calls the first covenant, or the Mofaic constitution, carried in its very form or aspect the most legible marks of imperfection and decay.' No permanent high-priest belonged to it, that office being exercised by men compassed about with infirmities; each of whom, by death, gave place to his successor. Besides, the gifts and sacrifices they offered were, in their own nature, so mean, and inconsiderable, " that they could not make him that did " the service perfect, as pertaining to the “ conscience : for it was imposible that « the blood of goats and of calves should,”. by any, intrinsic virtue, “ take away fin." Nay, the repetition of these facrifices was a plain confession of their weakness, and : insufficiency; as the Apostle reasons ; molt conclusively in the beginning of this chap- : ter. “ For the law,” faith he,“ having a “ Thadow of good things to come, and not " the very image of the things, can never, és with those sacrifices, which they offered

“ year

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

5 year by year continually, make the com
“ mers thereunto perfect. For then,” adds
he in the form of a question, “ would they
“ not have ceased to be offered ? because
“ that the worshippers, once purged, should
“ have had no more confcience of fins.
“ But in those facrifices there is a remem-
“ brance again made of fins once every
6 year.” Whéreas Christ is an ever-living
and unchangeable high-priest. The blood
which he offered. is of infinite worth and
efficacy, being the blood of Emmanuel, God
in our nature. Accordingly there is no re-
petition of his facrifice: for thus the Apostle
proceeds at the Irth verse, “ Every high-
“ priest standeth daily miniftering, and
." offering oftentimes the same facrifices,
“ which can never take away fins : but this
“ man,” this God-man, “ after he had
“ offered one facrifice for sing, for ever fat
“ down on the right hand of God; from
s henceforth expecting till his enemies be
66 made his footstool. For by one offering
“ he hath perfected for ever them that

are fanctified.” He is now gone to the heavenly sanctuary, “ having finished tranf

“ greflion,

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
« IndietroContinua »