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suffering? According to the tenor of the doctrine before delivered, the inference is, that until after his sufferings he obtained not his priestly office, for by them he entered upon it. The answer is,' Heb. ii. 10. 17, 18.’
Ans. 1. The apostle doth not say absolutely, that it became Christ to be made like us, that he might be a highpriest, but that he might be a merciful high-priest. That is, his suffering and death were not required antecedently, that he might be a priest, but they were required to the execution of that end of his priesthood, which consists in sympathy and sufferance together with them, in whose stead he was a priest. He sustained all his afflictions, and death itself, not that he might be a priest, but that being merciful, and having experience, he might on that account be ready to succour them that are tempted; and this the words of the last verse do evidently evince to be the meaning of the Holy Ghost; in that he suffered, being tempted.' His sufferings were to this end of his priesthood, that he should be merciful, able to succour them that are tempted; besides, it is plainly said, that he was a high-priest, εἰς τὸ ἱλάσκεσθαι τάς ἁμαρτίας τοῦ λαοῦ, or ἱλάσκεσθαι τὸν θεὸν περὶ τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. Now that reconciliation was made by his death and blood the Scripture informs us, Rom. v. 10. Whilst we were enemies, we were reconciled by the death of his Son; Dan. ix. 24. So that even from this place of Scripture, produced to the contrary, it is evident, that Christ was a high-priest on earth,' because he was so when he made reconciliation, which he did in his death on the cross.
But yet Mr. Biddle's candid procedure in this business may be remarked; with his huckstering the word of God. He reads the words in this order: 'It became him to make the captain of their salvation perfect through suffering; that he might be a merciful and faithful high-priest.' Who would not conclude, that this is the series and tenor of the apostle's discourse; and that Christ is said to be made perfect through sufferings, that he might be a merciful high-priest? These words of making perfect through suffering,' are part of the 10th verse; 'that he might be a merciful high-priest,' part of the 17th. Between which two there intercedes a discourse of a business quite of another nature; namely, his
being 'made like his brethren' in taking on him the seed of Abraham,' whereof these words, that he might be a merciful and faithful high-priest,' are the immediate issue; that is, he had a body prepared him, that he might be a priest, and have a sacrifice. Our High Priest was exercised with sufferings and temptations, says the apostle: Jesus was exercised with sufferings and temptations, that he might be our high-priest, says Mr. Biddle.
Heb. viii. 1, 2. is insisted on to the same purpose in his third question, which is, 'What manner of high-priest is Christ?'
'A. Heb. viii. 1, 2. We have such a high-priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the majesty in the heavens. A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle,' &c. I name this in the next place, because it is coincident with that of chap. iv. 14. insisted on by Socinus, though omitted by our author.
Hence it is inferred, that Christ entered the heavens before he was a high-priest; and is a high-priest only when he is set down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.'
Ans. That Christ is a high-priest there also, we grant; that he is so there only, there is not one word in the place cited to prove. Heb. iv. 14. saith indeed, that 'our High Priest is entered into the heavens;' but it says not, that he was not our high-priest before he did so; as the high-priest of the Jews entered into the holy place; but yet he was a highpriest before, or he could not have entered into it. He is such a high-priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of majesty;' that is, not like the typical high-priest who died, and was no more; but he abides in his office of priesthood; not to offer sacrifice, for that he did once for all, but to intercede for us for ever.
Heb. viii. 4. is nextly produced in answer to this ques
Was not Christ a priest whilst he was upon earth; namely, when he died on the cross?
'A. Heb. viii. 4. vii. 15, 16.
The same question and answer is given by the Racovian catechism, and this is the main place insisted on by all the Socinians: For if he were on earth, he should not be a
priest, seeing that there are priests, that offer gifts according to the law.'
Ans. 1. 'Eπì yñs may be interpreted of the state and condition of him spoken of, and not of the place wherein he was. If he were iπì yns of a mere earthly condition, as the high-priest of the Jews, he should not be a priest. So is the expression used elsewhere. Col. iii. 2. we are commanded not to mind τà kπì rñs yñs; that is terrene' things, earthly things. And, ver. 5. ' mortify your members,' τà ¿πì tñs yñs, that is, your earthly members.
2. If the word signify the place, and not the condition of the things, whereof they are, they may be referred to the tabernacle, of which he speaks, and not to the high-priest: ver. 2. the apostle tells us, that he is the minister, or priest of the true tabernacle, which God made, and not man: and then, ver. 3. that in the other tabernacle there were 'priests that offered daily sacrifices;' so that, saith he, if this tabernacle vì yns, he should not be a priest of it. For in the the earthly tabernacle there were other administrators; but to pass these interpretations,
3. The apostle does not say, that he that is upon the earth can be no priest, which must be our adversaries' argument, if any, from this place, and thus formed, He that is upon the earth is no priest; Christ before his ascension was upon the earth, therefore he was no priest. This is not the intendment of the apostle, for in the same verse he affirms, that there were priests on the earth. This, then, is the utmost of his intendment; that if Christ had been only to continue on the earth, and to have done what priests did, or were to do upon the earth, there was neither need of him, nor room for him: but now is he á priest, seeing he was not to take upon him their work; but had an eternal priesthood of his own to administer. There is no more in this place, than there is, chap. vii. 19. 23, 24, which is a clear assertion, that Christ had a priesthood of his own, which was to perfect and complete all things; being not to share with the priests, that had all their work to do upon the earth. And in ver. 13-15. of chap. 7. you have a full exposition of the whole matter. The sum is, Christ was none of the priests of the Old Testament; no priest of the law all their earthly things vanished, when he undertook the administration of
heavenly. So that neither doth this at all evince, that Christ was not a priest of the order of Melchisedec, even before his ascension.
To this, Heb. vii. 15, 16. is urged, and those words, 'After the power of an endless life,' are insisted on: as though Christ was not a priest, until after he had ended his life, and risen again.
But is this the intendment of the apostle? Doth he aim at any such thing? The apostle is insisting on one of his arguments to prove from the institution of the priesthood of Melchisedec, or a priesthood after his order, the excellency of the priesthood of Christ above that of Aaron; from the manner of the institution of the one and of the other, this argument lies: says he, 'The priests of the Jews were made karà νόμου ἐντολῆς σαρκικῆς, according to the law of a carnal commandment:' that is, by carnal rights and ceremonies; by carnal oil and ordinances; 'but this man is made a priest after the order of Melchisedec, κατὰ δύναμιν ζοῆς ἀκαταλύτου, by virtue of an endless life; by the appointment of God, having such a life, as should never by death interrupt him in the administration of his office; for though the life of Christ was intercepted three days, yet his person was never dissolved, as to the administration of his office of priesthood: which is the thing spoken of, and in respect of that he had an endless life.
Quest. 9. is to the same purpose. 'How did Christ enter into the holy place to offer himself?
'A. By his own blood; Heb. ix. 12.
Ans. Would not any one imagine, that it was said in the Scripture, that Christ entered into the holy place to offer himself; that that is taken for granted, and the modus, or manner how he did it, is alone inquired after? This is but one part of the sophistry Mr. B. makes use of in this Scripture catechism. But it is so far from being a true report of the testimony of the Scripture, that the plain contrary is asserted; namely, that Christ offered himself before his entrance into the holy place, not made with hands, and then entered thereinto, to appear in the presence of God for us. Christ entered by his own blood into the holy place, inasmuch as having shed and offered his blood a sacrifice to God, with the efficacy of it he entered into his presence, to carry on
the work of his priesthood in his intercession for us. As the high-priest, having offered without a sacrifice to God, entered with the blood of it into the most holy place, there to perfect and complete the duties of his office, in offering and interceding for the people.
The remaining questions of this chapter may be speedily despatched. His sixth is,
What benefit happeneth by Christ's priesthood?
Though the place be very improperly urged, as to an answer to the question proposed; there being very many more testimonies clearly and distinctly expressing the immediate fruits and benefits of the priestly office of Christ; yet because we grant, that by his priesthood principally and eminently, Christ is become the author of salvation, we shall not dissent, as to this question and answer. Only we add as to the manner, that the way whereby Christ by his priesthood became the author of salvation, consists principally in the offering up of himself to death, in, and by the shedding of his blood, whereby he obtained for us eternal redemption; Heb. ix. 14. 26.
But this Mr. B. makes inquiry after. 'Q. 8. How can Christ save them by his priesthood?
'A. Heb. vii. 25. ix. 28.'
Ans. 1. We acknowledge the use of the intercession of Christ, for the carrying on, and the completing of the work of our salvation: as that also it is the apostle's design there to manifest his ability to save, beyond what the Aaronical priests could pretend unto, which is mentioned chap. vii. 25. but, that he saves us thereby,' exclusively to the oblation he made of himself at his death; or any otherwise, but as carrying on that work, whose foundation was laid therein (redemption being meritoriously procured thereby), I suppose Mr. B. doth not think, that this place is any way useful to prove. And that place which he subjoins is not added at all to the advantage of his intendment: for it is most evident, that it is of the offering of Christ by death, and the shedding of his blood, or the sacrifice of himself, as ver. 26. that the apostle there speaks.
There is not any thing else that is needful for me to insist upon in this chapter; for though the Scripture instructs