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there never was more than three priesthoods, than either the importance of the fact in any view, or its connection with the object of this dissertation, will justify. A different opinion however was entertained. It was, indeed, perceived that were there a thousand priesthoods, still Melchisedec's is, and Aaron's is not, the pattern of Messiahs. But we endeavoured to establish the fact of there being only three priesthoods, not for the light which it casts on some passages of scripture, but because, though not essential, it is not quite irrelevant to our purpose. To perceive that this is the case, let the following remarks be considered. It will not be denied that if the reality, and nature, of Christ's priesthood be perceived and admitted, all ideas of typical patterns are superseded and useless. For the sole use of such patterns and analogies is to prove the fact of his priesthood, and explain the nature of his functions. When, in the days of king David, Messiah was to be exhibited to the Jewish nation as their Priest ; the divine spirit had two priesthoods, either of which might have been brought forward as a pattern, viz. Melchisedec's and Aaron's. He chose the former, in preference to the latter, because it did as well establish the fact, that Messiah should be a priest, as the other could
do—And, at the same time warned against an error, to which that nation would one day be exposed. This idea will be fully evolved in a subsequent part of this discourse. I will only add, that there is little reason to doubt that in addition to the importance of Melchisedec's priesthood to his cotemporaries, a great and an essential end of its original institution was to have in reserve a pattern, by which, when Messiah should appear, his priesthood might be proven-while at the same time it was distinguished from the Levitical priesthood, with which it was foreseen that it would be confounded.
II. The second subject of enquiry is, in what sense Jesus is said to be a priest after the order of Melchisedec, and not after the order of Aaron.
The first idea that strikes one, on hearing that one priest is after the order of another, is this-that they both have precisely the same rights and functions; and these functions the same efficacy. Thus, the high priests who succeeded Aaron, were of the same order with him: the office, its duties, and its efficacy, remained immutable; and descended pure and entire, like an estate equally incapable of waste and of augmentation. In this sense, Jesus was neither
of the order of Melchisedec, nor of Aaron. His priesthood was peculiar: his sacrifice was his SOUL: "neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood, he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us:"* his intercession is carried on in heaven: he "is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, there, to appear in the presence of God for us." Such a sacrifice neither Melchisedec nor Aaron ever offered; for, if they had, "the worshippers once purged, should have had no more conscience of sins."‡ In which event, Messiah's priesthood would have been unnecessary; for "where remission of sin is, there is no more offering for sin."§ It was the imperfection of the antecedent priesthoods that rendered his necessary: and had his been the very same with them, the imperfection must have continued. But he assumed a perfect priesthood, to which nothing was equal; a priesthood, which finished transgression, and made an end of sin. We must, therefore, search for some other idea of order.
The learned reader is not to be informed that the 4th verse of the 110th psalm admits, and
*Heb. ix. 12.
+ Heb. x. 2.
† Heb. ix. 24.
§ Heb. x. 18.
has received, very different translations. To analyse and refute, or establish these, would be toil without profit. All the light we can hope to receive must come from the lamp of the apostle Paul. The passage alluded to runs thus:— "The Lord hath sworn,
and will not repent; Thou art | נשבע יהוה ולא ינחמ אתה כהן לעולם על־
a priest for ever, after the order of Melchisedec."
The chief difficulty lies in the phrase ', "after the ORDER." Paul's translation, which is also that of the Septuagint, is xarα Inv lağıv: and as to the idea which he affixed to 7ağı, we collect it from his own synonyme, chap. vii. 15., xara 7nv ομοιοτητα Μελχισεδεκ. “ After the sIMILITUDE of Melchisedec." There is another phrase, in the third verse, which also goes to fix the apostle's idea: Melchisedec is spoken of as one, aqusvos TWIW 78 88,"made like unto the Son of God." Thus then Messiah was made a priest, xala inv lağv, "after the order,"-that is, xala 7nv oporo7n7α, after the similitude" of Melchisidec. Or, inverting the related ideas, Melchisedec, aqwpoшp.svos των υπ 78 was constituted a similitude, or ype, of the Son of God." TYPICAL SIMILITUDE, then, is the apostle's idea.
But here we are met by a question of some apparent difficulty. Was not Aaron, it may be
asked, a type of the Son of God: was there not a similitude between his and Messiah's priesthood: and, if so, was not Jesus a priest after the similitude, or order of Aaron, as well as after the similitude, or order of Melchisedec?
The correctness. of the assumption is admitted; viz., that Aaron was a type, or similitude of Messiah, in his priestly character. He was "called of God:"* he was "taken from among men ;" and, "ordained for men, in things pertaining to God;"‡ he entered once a year into the most holy place, "not without blood;"§ he served "unto the example, and shadow, of heavenly things;"-The law, which had a shadow of good things to come, had not a single type of Messiah so illustrious as the high priest entering into the holiest of all, with the blood of atonement, and incense of intercession.
The literal fact is, both the priesthood of Aaron, and that of Melchisedec, were types of the priesthood of Christ: Aaron and Melchisedec, so far as their characters coincided, were types of equal value: both of them "priests of the Most High God;" both "taken from among men, and ordained for men, in things pertaining God;" in sacrifice both shedding the blood
‡ Heb. v. 1.
* Heb. v. 4.
+ Heb. v. 1.