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ALL-SUFFICIENCY OF CHRIST TO SAVE SINNERS, &c.
HEB. vii. 25.
WHEREFORE HE IS ABLE ALSO TO SAVE THEM TO THE UTTERMOST,
THAT COME UNTO GOD BY HIM; SEEING HE EVER LIVÉTH TO MAKE. INTERCESSION FOR THEM.
INTRODUCTION. The general design of the Apostle in this Epistle, is, to shew the dignity of Christ, above the Levitical Priesthood: which he doth, as by many other deep and accurate arguments; so, likewise, by affirming him to be a priest, after the order of Melchisedec, in the last verse of the foregoing chapter.
In this chapter he prosecutes the argument, by drawing a long parallel, between the priesthood according to Melchisedec's Order, and the priesthood according to Aaron's Order: and, in every comparison, he gives the pre-eminence to the former above the latter; and thereby proves, that Christ, who was a priest after the order of Melchisedec, obtained a more excellent priesthood than they, who were priests according to the Order of Aaron.
I. Now because, in this parallel, there are many things hard to be understood, I shall give you a brief EXPLICATION of them, and thereby bring you to the Text.
Concerning this Melchisedec, there is much enquiry who he was. Some think him to be Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Second Person in the Blessed Trinity ; who assumed human shape then, when Abraham returned from pursuing the four kings: but this is altogether impossible, because the Scripture makes him to be the King of Salem, a visible and a temporal king over Jerusalem ; for, by Salem, that must be implied, as
is clear from Ps. lxxvi. 2. Others conjecture this Melchisedec to be the same with Shem, the son of Noah; but whether it was he or no, it is not much material: this is certain, that he was appointed and raised up by God to be an eminent and illustrious type of our High Priest, Jesus Christ.
i. Now, though the Levitical Priesthood was a clear type of Christ's Priesthood, yet this Melchisedec, who lived four hundred years before the institution of that order, WAS A MORE CLOSE, ADEQUATE TYPE, and far superior to them. And this is here expressed:
1. In that he was King of Salem, as well as Priest of the Most High God: v, 4.
Now the Levitical Priests were not kings, as he was : as, in those first ages of the world, it was an usual custom, for the same person that was king to exercise the priestly office; and therefore he was a more express resemblance of Christ, than the Aaronical Priests were.
2. In that he was described to be first King of Righteousness, and then King of Salem : v. 2. that is, the King of Peace.
Herein, also, he is a most lively type of Christ, who observed the same order, Christ was King of Righteousness, to subdue our sins and sanctify our natures: and he was King of Peace, to pacify our consciences, through the assurance of pardon and acceptance; for this peace he doth usually bestow upon us, as the fruits of righteousness formerly communicated to us.
3. In that he was without father or mother, without descent; having neither beginning of days, nor end of life, as Melchisedec is described in the third verse.
And, herein, he putvies the Aaronical Priesthood : for their birth and death the Scripture records ; but, of Melchisedec, it witnesseth that he liveth : v. 8. Now, herein, he is a nearer resemblance to Christ, than they : for Christ, as God, was without mother ; and, as man, he was without a father : as God, he hath not beginning of days, as God and man, he is without end of life.
4. In that Aaron, who was the father of all the Aaronical Priests, did pay tithe to him : so v. 4. And he received them from him: v. 6. which denotes that Abraham himself was inferior to him: as v. 7. and much more the children of Levi, the offspring of Aaron, who themselves are said to pay tithes to Melchisedec, being in the loins of their father Abraham : as we