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sense, corresponding with the facts of ancient history, and according with the scope of the apostle's argument: a meaning, moreover, illustrated and confirmed by other phrases of kindred and indisputable signification, in the discourse.
Melchisdec, says Paul, after whose similitude Jesus is constituted a priest by the oath of God, has nothing to do with your Levitical priesthood. His priesthood could not be established by your law: (μs yeveaλoys & ATV) he reckons not his genealogy from your priests. Search all the records of the tribe of Levi, Melchisedec (aysvsaλoynros) is without genealogy there. Search minutely: do you find his father's name? No: (ararwg) he is without father. Can you find his mother's name? No: (aunrog) he is without mother. Have you fallen upon the record of his birth? No, nor of his death: (μητε αρχην ήμερων, μητε ζωης τελος Exwv) he has neither beginning of days nor end of life recorded here. Very well, exclaims Paul, here you have a Priest of the Most High God, who has nothing to do with your Levitical priesthood: a priest, after whose similitude God has sworn to constitute the priesthood of his son. The negation of Aa
ronic priesthood, therefore, is no prejudice to the priesthood of Jesus: Nay, but it is a confirmation of that priesthood. For you to expect that God should constitute Messiah a priest after the order of Aaron, is to expect that he should violate his oath; and to deny that Messiah is a priest, is to maintain that God has violated his oath.
We have now weathered the Cape of Storms, or rather let us call it the Cape of Good Hope, for henceforth our voyage will be safe, and perhaps we may return enriched with some of the treasures of the east. A single error in any first principle of an argument propagates and reproduces itself through the whole train of conclusions; and these new errors, leading still to further errors, will be in number and magnitude directly proportioned to the logical accuracy of the understanding employed in the discussion. On the other hand, the detection of the prime error leads to an easy refutation of all its consequences. That task in relation to the present discourse is now accomplished. But to proceed.
IV. Of the duration of Melchisedec's priest
The following passages relate to this subject.
3 αφωμοιωμένος δε. Τῷ 3. "But made like unto υῳ 18 Φες μένει ίερεύς | the Son of God, abideth a εις 7ο διηνεκες. priest continually.”
8 και ὧδε μὲν δεκαίας 8. "And here men that αποθνησκονίες ανθρωποι | die receive tithes ; but there λαμβανεσιν· εχει δε, he receiveth them of whom μαρτυρόμενος ότι ζη.
it is witnessed that he liveth."
15. “And it is yet far more evident, for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest."
16. "Who is made not
15 και περισσότερον ει καταδηλον εσιν, ει κατα Την ομοιοτητα Μελχισε- | δεκ ανιςαται ιερευς ἑλε
16 ός 8 κατα νόμον ενΊολης σαρκικης γεγονεν | after the law of a carnal δυναμιν | commandment, but after the
power of an endless life."
17 Magluge yag, 871 17. “For he testifieth του ἱερεύς εις 7ον αιωα |thou art a priest forever κατα την ταξιν Μελ- | after the order of Melchiseχισεδέκ. dec."
23." And they truly were
483 μὲν πλείονες εισι γεγονότες ξερεις, δια | many priests, because they
το θανατω κωλύεσθαι
were not suffered to continue by reason of death."
24. "But this man because he continueth ever hath an unchangeable priesthood."
24 ὁ δε δια το μένειν
αυτον εις του αιώνα,
απαράβατον έχει των ἱερωσύνην :
When the meaning of one word is fixed, the passages cited above will be perfectly perspicuous. In the cx. psalm God is represented as declaring with an oath that his Son should be a priest, h, which Paul translates 15 TOV ava, or as it is in our common version "Forever." But it is well known, that neither the Hebrew, nor the Greek term, uniformly signify duration strictly eternal; but frequently defined portions of duration. Two or three appropriate quotations will place the meaning of these words in the clearest light, according to their application in the cx. psalm, and in the passages cited from the vii. chapter of the epistle to the Hebrews.
Exod. xii. 17. "And ye shall observe the feast of unleavened bread: for in this self-same
day have I brought your armies out of the land of Egypt: therefore shall you observe this day in your generations by hy лp, voμiμov aswvrov, an ordinance forever." That is by an ordinance continuing during the dispensation established by the Horeb covenant.
Exod. xl. 15. "And thou shalt anoint them," (the sons of Aaron)" as thou didst anoint their father, that they may minister unto me in the priest's office, for their anointing shall surely be-b5y namyy, χρισμα-ξερατειας εις 7ον αιώνα* an everlasting priesthood throughout their generations." That is, a priesthood throughout that dispensation.
I. Chron. xxiii. 13. "And Aaron was separated, that he should sanctify the most holy things, he and his sons-way-sws aivos-for ever, to burn incense before the Lord, to minister unto him, and to bless his name aswvos*-forever."
Now comparing these citations with the cx. psalm, and the vii. chapter of the epistle to the Hebrews, we collect that Melchisedec's, Aaron's and Messiah's priesthoods were