« VorigeDoorgaan »
of atonement, and both making intercession with God, and blessing his church. So far, their typical character is perfectly equal; and so far, Jesus is a priest after the similitude, or, if you will, the order of Aaron as much as of Melchisedec. This is a fact, which can neither be evaded, nor invalidated. It is a miserable species of criticism, that would sacrifice fact to verbiage.
But why then is Messiah represented as a priest after the order of Melchisedec? The reason is as follows. Melchisedec possessed all the typical characteristics of Aaron; but, in addition to these, he had sundry peculiar characteristics: now the priesthood of Jesus, which tallied exactly with all the typical characteristics of Melchisedec's, must be different from the priesthood of Aaron. So definitely were these peculiarities marked, that every candid and judicious observer must, on seeing him, exclaim, here is a priest, who is not an Aaronic priest ! This distinction of the priesthood of Jesus from the priesthood of Aaron is a most important point to mark that distinction was the chief, perhaps I might say, the sole end of the type, and the sole end of the apostle's argument. These ideas will be illustrated in the two subsequent articles,
III. Why was Jesus exhibited in prophecy as a priest after the order of Melchisedec, and not after the order of Aaron?
If, as has been proved above, order means similitude; and if, as has also been proved, Jesus was after the similitude, or order of Aaron, as well as of Melchisedec; the Holy Spirit might with perfect truth have spoken of him, as a priest after the order of Aaron. Why was this not done? This question has important connections with the general subject of this dissertation; and, as we do not recollect to have seen it discussed, we beg the indulgence of some detail.
1. We say then, that Melchisedec's priesthood was not made the exemplar of Christ's, by the Spirit of prophecy, because they were both the same priesthood-for we have proved them to be essentially different.
2. Nor, because priest Melchisedec bore an exclusive resemblance to priest Messiah, for the contrary has been proved.
3. Considerations wholly moral led to this exhibition. When David was directed to foretell that Messiah should be a priest, the Holy Spirit looked forward to the time when he should be revealed to the Jewish nation, and calculated the reception which such a priest
might expect from that people. It was foreseen to what a pitch of vanity, their self-preference, or, as it is called, nationality, after having been accumulated by so many peculiar blessings, and nursed by such numerous interpositions of the Deity in their behalf, would carry the Jewish nation: It was foreseen that there was not one of their national institutions, on which they would set a more exorbitant value, than on their priesthood: this, by the atonement which it made for sin, would be viewed as the complement of that righteousness in which they would trust and, being so often denominated an everlasting priesthood by their sacred writers, they could imagine no less than that it should be interminable; and that God would never consecrate another priesthood, at least for them. In a word, the nation was foreseen wholly engrossed with its typical priesthood.
If then Messiah had been foretold as a priest after the order of Aaron; or, had he been foretold as a priest without specification of order; the Jews, according to their ideas of priesthood, could have anticipated nothing else than an Aaronic priest. It is true that this inference of theirs would be a logical noh-sequitur; for it does not follow that every priest must be an Aaronic priest; nay, had Messiah been foretold
as a priest after the order of Aaron, it would not follow that he should have the very same priesthood with Aaron; even as it does not follow from his being after the order of Melchisedec, that he has the very same priesthood with that man. But the Spirit of God does not deal with men upon the presumption that they will always reason justly. There is a moral logic, in which prejudices occupy the place of principles. And the Jewish prejudice on the subject of priesthood was foreseen.—It was foreseen that, in the age of Messiah, the Jewish nation would not be able to form any idea of a priesthood distinct from the Aaronic priesthood. And, of consequence, if he were foretold as a priest, they would expect an Aaronic priest. Let us suppose for a moment, that the phrase, AFTER THE ORDER OF MELCHISEDEC, were omitted in the prophecy contained in the 110th psalm. The passage would then read thus:
"Jehovah hath sworn, and will not repentthou art a priest for ever."
Now, be it remembered, that this oath is given to the son of David. What could the Jews, take them as they are, with all their prejudices on the subject of priesthood about them; what could they make of this prophecy? Nothing at all. Every argument which proved
Messiah to be a son of David-proved him to be no priest; because, no son of Aaron. And, every argument which proved him to be a priest -proved him no son of David. For them to have so much as an idea of such a personage, was neither more nor less than an impossibility.
Against this dilemma the Spirit of God guards them, in the 110th psalm. On the one hand, Messiah is to be the Son and Lord of David, and king on his father's throne.-On the other hand, he is constituted by the oath of God a priest. What sort of priest? A priest after the order, or similitude, of Melchisedec; and this Melchisedec was a king-priest, and had nothing to do with the blood of Levitical genealogy, nor with the priesthood entailed on that blood. Such a priest, therefore, as was after the order of Melchisedec, must be totally different from the priests of Levi. Thus, the whole and sole end of this prophecy is to exhibit Messiah as a priest,—and to distinguish him from the Aaronic priests.
The foregoing argument would derive additional interest from the ascertainment of one point. I feel strongly inclined to put it into round assertion; but, perhaps, some may prefer the modesty of interrogation. I ask, then, if the 110th psalm be not the first explicit reve