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preserved an exact Harmony between the Law and the Gospel, the Prophecies and their respective Accomplishments, which crowned the Shadows of the Levitical Dispensation with their proper Substance, which provided a Lamb which did indeed take away the Sins of the World; and, to conclude, which suffered no one Circumstance to be wanting in his Death, that could be necessary to make good the Promises, or satisfy the Justice, or convince Men of the Love and Goodness, of God!
Wednesday before Easter.
The E PISTLE.
PARAPHRAS E. 16. WHere a Terament is, ibere must also of necelfity be 16. I had said, that the deatb of the Teftator.
the Promise of Eternal
Inheritance was received by means of Death. And this is agreeable to the Condition of all other Inheritances conveyed by Will, and of all Covenants ratified with Blood.
17. For a Testament of force after men are dead; 17. While the Deviotherwise it is of no strength at all, wbile sbe Teftator for lives he may alter his livetb.
Will; and therefore his
Death must be proved, to give the Will Force. And in Covenants, till the Blood was shed, no Bargain was struck.
18. Wbereupon neieber the first Testament was dedicated 18. The Necessity of wit bout blood.
this Bloodshedding God
plainly fignified, in the Rites, by which the Former (the Levitical) Covenant was made. Exod. xxiv.
19. For when Mofes bad spoken every precept to all the people, according to ibe Law : He rook obe blood of calves and of goats, wieb water, and scarlet wwl, and bylop, and sprinkled borb the book and all tbe people.
20. Saying, This is obe blood of tbe Teftament which God barb enjoined unto you.
21. Moreover, be jprinkled likewise with blood botb ebe tabernacle, and all the velsels of the ministry.
22. And almot all ibings are by the Law purged 22. Some few excee with blood : and wirbour shedding of blood is no re- pted, as Metals, which mision.
were purified by Fire,
and Clothes by Water. See Numb. xxxi. 23. Levit. xvi. 28. The rest were purified by being sprinkled with Blood,
23. Thus did Men 23. It was therefore necessary, bat obe patterns of gain Access to that San- things in the beavens fhould be purified with tbefe; bat &tuary, which was the heavenly rbings tbemselves with better sacrifices ebas Type of Heaven; but to bese. procure them Admittance into Heaven it self, a nobler Blood (even that of Christ) was necessary.
24. For Cbrift is not entred into the boly places made with bands, wbich are the figures of obe true; but into beaven it felf, now to appear in tbe presence of God for us.
yet that be should offer bimfelf efter, as tte bigh priest entretb into ibe boly place, every year witb
blood of orbers : 26. For, since his ap 26. (For tben must be often bave suffered fisice tbe pearing before God on foundation of the world) but now once in tbe end of be our behalf is a Conse- world barb'be appeared to put away fin by ebe sacrifice of quence of shedding his bimself. Blood; had he often entred into the heavenly Sanctuary ( as the High Priest did into the earthly one) he must have died often in order to each Entrance.
27. But in this regard too he was like other Men, who die but
27. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this ebe judgment :
28. At his first Ap 28. So Cbrist was once offered to bear tbe Sins of masy pearance, he was our Sa- and unto them that look for bim shall be appear i be lered crifice for Sin, but at time witbout Sin, unto salvation. his Second he shall come without any such offering ; to bestow that Salvation, which the Sacrifice of himself at his First Coming purchased, for all that trust in, and expect it from, him.
COM M E N T.
HE Apostle had said, in the Verse next before,
that Christ is the Mediator of the New Testament, that by means of Death they which are called might receive Remission of Sins, and the promise of eternal Inberitance. He proceeds here, to Thew the Necessity of Christ's Death, in order to that purpose. The Nature of which Argument it may be convenient to illustrate, according to the Twofold Sense of the Original Word, as it is capable of being rendred a Teftament, or a Covenant.
If we take it in the Former Signification, our dying Redeemer is the Testator ; The Legacy or Inheritance bequeathed to us is Immortality in Heaven : expressed thus by himself, Father, I will that they whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am ;
John xviii. 24. may behold my Glory, which thou hajt given me': And the Title we have to this Happiness, is that Death of his, which opened the Kingdom of Heaven to all Believers. By this Importance of the Word is intimated to us the Freedom of the Gift: But then our Duty is implied in it likewise: It being a known Rule in all Testamentary Laws, that He, who takes the Benefit of any Legacy, does, by that very Act, oblige himself to, and become answerable for, all the Conditions, upon which it pleased the Deceased, that such Benefit should be suspended. And, in this Latitude, the Expression comes very little short of that more usual Notion of the Original Word, which comes next to be considered, That of a Covenant.
Thus, it is evident, we must understand it, at the 2oth Verse here; and indeed in most places, where the Apostles and Evangelists have thought fit to make use of it. Nor is this, I conceive, any incommodious Sense even of the 16th and 17th Verses: Which yet do, more than any other Passage, incline to that Other Acceptation, of a Testament, strictly so called. For the method of making Covenants heretofore is known, almost every where, to have been by Naying of Beasts. A significant Ceremony, implying a sort of Confession, that the Contractors deserved to be, and an Execration, or Wish that they might be, treated by Divine Vengeance, as those Beasts then were ; in case they proved false to the Compacts, ratified between thein, in fo folemn a manner.
With like Formalities the Author of this Epistle does here put the Hebrews in mind, that the Covenant, pade with their Ancestors by the Law of Moles, was
about this Season ; and formerly assigned by me to this Time, as most proper for taking it into Confideration.
Now, in this point there are Two Parts contained, The Insufficiency of the Legal, First; And Then, The Perfection and Elicacy of the Evangelical, Sacrifice. Somewhat concerning Each of These, with all convenient Brevity and Plairness.
1. First, For the Insufficiency of the Legal Sacrifices. This Epistle contains sundry Arguments, which are very clear and full Proofs of it.
In the Seventh Chapter, by shewing, that the Law is changed, by reason of its being defective in this respect; and grounding this Inference upon those Passages of the Old Testament, which speak of the Messiah ; not only as a Priest inore excellent than any other ; but as a Priest descended of a Tribe, none of which had any right to minister in Holy things, and of an Order altogether distinct from, and foreign to, the Constitution of the Levitical Oeconomy. Observe the Author's Reasoning: If Perfection were by the Levitical Priesthood, (for under it the People
received the Law) what farther need was
the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron? För, the Priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the Law. For he, of whom these things are spoken, pertaineth to another Tribe, of which no Man gave attendance at the Altar. For it is evident, that our Lord Sprang out of Judah, of which Tribe Mofes spake nothing concerning the Priesthood. And it is yet far more evident ; for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another Priest, Who is made, not after the Law of a carnal Commandment, but after the power of an endless Life. For he testifieth, Thou art a Priest for ever after the order of Melchiseder. For there is verily a disannulling of the Commandment going before, for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof. For the Law made nothing
Heb, vii. 11, to 19.
Cb, viii. 8, 9, 10,
perfeit, but the bringing in of a better hope did, by the wbich we draw nigh unto God.
He proves it again, in the Eighth Chapter, from the Forgiveness of Sins, and the more compleat knowledge of God, and Man's Duty, being by their own Prophets foretold, as Blessings properly belonging to a New Covenant, which God in its proper Season promised to make with them. And the Consequence he draws from hence is, that God finds fault with, and abolishes the Old ; that, if that First Covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been fought for the Second. And thus he establishes the truth of what he had affirmed just before, that Christ bath obtained a more excellent Ministry, by how much also he is the Mediator of a beiter Covenant, which was established upon better Promises. So agreeable is all this to the Observation of St. Paul elsewhere, that if Righteousness had come by the Law, then Christ is dead in vain. i. e. Upon this Supposition, there was no manner of need for that Death: And all the Provision for Pardon made by it, and all, the Weight laid upon it, end in the most superfluous, the most absurd Contrivance, that ever was in the World.
In this Ninth, and at the beginning of the Tenth Chapter, the Apostle produces a farther Evidence of the Insufficiency of those Legal Sacrifices; Particularly, of that most Solemn one in the Great Day of Atonement; in that they were by express Order, frequently repeated. Some of them made a part of the daily Worsip: Others had their stated returns upon particular Days and Occasions. The Priests (he urges) went always into the first Tabernacle, accomplishing the Service of God; But into the Second went the High Priest alone once every Year, not without Blood, which he offered for himself and for the Errors of the People. From whence he
Gal. ii. 21.
Heb. X. II.
Heb. ix. 6.