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even the noblest priesthood, that ever existed Look back to the origin of your nation, and there you will find your father Abraham, after he had received the covenant, which is the source and sum of all your national glory, paying tythes to Melchisedec, a priest of the Most High God, and receiving his blessing. And as he was at that time your covenant head and representative, his act was yours, and his inferiority your inferiority. And therefore to speak plainly (ώς έπος ειπείν) your whole nation, and among the rest the tribe of Levi, who boast their priesthood, paid tythes in Abraham to Melchisedec, his superior, and theirs and bowed farther to that superior. man, by receiving his blessing; for "without all controversy the less is blessed of the better." After the model of that man's noble priesthood, God hath sworn to raise up the priesthood of his son: and be not chagrined, my brethren, that your covenant God, who hath always consulted for your nation, better than ever it consulted for itself, hath raised up the priesthood of Jesus, not according to the less worthy order of Aaron, but according to the more worthy order of Melchisedec.
There is one passage more relating to the superiority of Jesus's priesthood over that of Aaron, which, because it is too plain to need illustration, we shall merely cite
vii. 20-"And inasmuch as not without an oath he was made a priest;" 21. ("For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath, by him that said unto him, the Lord sware and will not repent, thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchisedec.") 22. "By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament."
But waiving farther discussion, we shall close by a statement of the typical points in Melchisedec's character, and by placing opposite to them the analogous particulars in the character of Jesus, the high priest of our profession. A simple statement is all that shall be given here, the illustration has been seen in the antecedent parts of the discourse.
VI. Comparison between Melchisedec and Jesus Christ.
1. Was a King- 1. Is a King-priest.
2. Was a Righteous king-priest.
3. Was a King-priest
2. Is a Righteous
3. Is a King-priest
in Salem, a city, the in the church of God, name of which signifies which is a peaceful community. Rom. xiv.
4. Was not a Levi- 4. Is not a Levititical priest:-had no cal priest: "for it is genealogy in the tribe evident that our Lord of Levi; his father's sprang out of Judah; name, his mother's of which tribe Moses name,—the time of his spake nothing concernbirth, the time of his ing priesthood." death; are not enter
ed in the Levitical re
5. Was a priest for
5. Is a priest for
a whole dispensation; a whole dispensation; and lived, and minis- And, because he contitered, from the beginning of that dispensation to the end of it.
6. Was greater than Abraham after he had
nueth from the beginning to the end of it, hath an intransmissible priesthood.
6. Is greater than Abraham and his race,
received the covenant greater than the Levi
and promises, and of tical priests, on many consequence was great- accounts; among the er than all the posterity rest, for this, that he of Abraham received was made a priest after tythes from Abraham the more honourable and blessed him, and of order of Melchisedec, consequence received and constituted by the tythes from all his pos- oath of God; receives terity, and from Levi among the rest; and blessed them.
the tythes of his churches adoration, and blesses the whole family of faith.
THIS then is the interpretation of the passages of scripture respecting Melchisedec, which is now submitted to the reader's candid consideration, in hope of a favourable reception, provided the main argument shall be found perspicuous and conclusive. Whatever may be its demerits in other respects, one merit it has it is simple, and as remote from all refinement and mysticism, as can well be imagined. All other interpretations, which
we have seen, are mystic, involved, inconsistent, and inconceivable. This interpretation carries us consistently through every step of the apostle's argumentation, and gives clearness and precission to every syllable of the scriptural phraseology. All others destroy the argument, and render the phraseology foolish. But the reader will judge.
It is impossible, however, to conclude, without animadverting on the extreme anxiety, which the apostle displays on this theme of our Lord's priesthood. He calls into operation all those mighty powers of mind with which God had armed him, and all the knowledge of Jewish and Christian theology, which he possessed, to defend this doctrine against all the forms of opposition. The man who marks his movements sees that the motto on his banner is DEATH OR VICTORY. It is not every cause that could claim so much. But truly the apostle did not manage a local or transient litigation: it was the subject of human redemption that he pleaded: the benig