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the order of a true and proper priesthood, was truly, and properly so. 'He was a priest after the order of Melchisedec;' Psal. cx. 4. which the apostle often insists on in the Epistle to the Hebrews. If you say that Christ is called a high-priest, after the order of Melchisedec, not properly, but by reason of some proportion and analogy, or by way of allusion to him: you may as well say, that he was a priest according to the order of Aaron; there being a great similitude between them, against which the apostle expressly disputes in the whole of the 7th chapter to the Hebrews. He therefore was a real priest, according to a real and proper order.
3. Again, He that was appointed of God to offer sacrifices for the sins of men, was a priest properly so called; but that Christ did so, and was so appointed, will appear in our farther consideration of the time, when he was a priest, as also in that following, of the sacrifice he offered; so that at pre sent I shall not need to insist upon it.
4. Let it be considered, that the great medium of the apostolical persuasion against apostacy in that Epistle to the Hebrews, consists in the exalting of the priesthood of Christ, above that of Aaron: now that which is metaphorically only so in any kind, is clearly and evidently less so, than that which is properly and directly so. If Christ be metaphorically only a priest, he is less than Aaron on that consideration. He may be far more excellent than Aaron in other respects, yet in respect of the priesthood he is less excellent, which is so directly opposite to the design of the apostle in that epistle, as nothing can be more. It is then evident on all these considerations, and might be made farther conspicuous, by such as are in readiness to be added, that Christ was, and is, truly and properly a high-priest, which was the first thing designed for confirmation.
The Racovian catechism doth not directly ask or answer this question, Whether Christ be a high-priest properly so called? but yet insinuates its author's judgment expressly to the contrary. The sacerdotal office of Christ is placed. herein, that as by his kingly office he can help and relieve
• Munus igitur sacerdotale in eo situm est, quod quemadmodum pro regio munere potest nobis in omnibus nostris necessitatibus subvenire: ita pro munere sacerdotali subvenire vult, ac porro subvenit: atque hæc illius subveniendi, seu opis afferendæ ratio, sacrificium ejus appellatur. Catec. Rac. de Mun. Chr. Sacer. Q. 1.
our necessities; so by his sacerdotal office he will help, and actually doth so: and this way of his helping or relieving us, is called his sacrifice.'
Thus they begin. But, 1. That any office of Christ should bespeak power to relieve us, without a will, as is here affirmed of his kingly, is a proud, foolish, and ignorant fancy. Is this enough for a king among men, that he be able to relieve his subjects, though he be not willing? or is not this a proper description of a wicked tyrant? Christ as a king, is as well willing, as able to save; Isa. xxxii. 1, 2. 2. Christ as a highpriest is no less able than willing also, and as a king, he is no less willing than able; Heb. vii. 27. That is, as a king he is both able and willing to save us, as to the application of salvation, and the means thereof. As a priest, he is both willing and able to save us, as to the procuring of salvation, and all the means thereof. 3. It is a senseless folly to imagine, that the sacrifice of Christ consists in the manner of affording us that help and relief, which as a king he is able to give us such weak engines do these men apply, for the subversion of the cross of Christ; but of this more afterward.
But they proceed to give us their whole sense, in the next question and answer, which are as followeth.
'Q. Why is this way of his affording help, called a sacrifice?
'A. It is called so by a figurative manner of speaking; for as in the old covenant, the high-priest entering into the holiest of holies, did do those things, which pertained to the expiation of the sins of the people; so Christ hath now entered the heavens, that there he might appear before God for us, and perform all things that belong to the expiation of our sins.'
The sum of what is here insinuated, is, 1. That the sacrifice of Christ is but a figurative sacrifice, and so consequently, that he himself is a figurative priest: for as the priest is, such is his sacrifice: proper, if proper; metaphorical, if me
d Quare hæc ejus opis afferendæ ratio sacrificium vocatur?-Vocatur ita figurato loquendi modo, quod quemadmodum in prisco fœdere summus Pontifex ingressus in sanctum sanctorum, ea quæ ad expianda peccata populi spectarent, perficiebat: ita Christus nunc penetravit cœlos, ut illic Deo appareat pro nobis, et omnia ad expiationem peccatorum nostrorum spectantia peragat. Heb. ii. 17. iv. 14. v. 1. ix. 24. De Mun. Chr. Sacerdot. Q. 2.
taphorical. What say our catechists for the proof hereof? They have said it; not one word of reason, or any one testimony of Scripture is produced to give countenance to this figment. 2. That the high priest made atonement and expiation of sins, only by his entering into the most holy place, and what he did there: which is notoriously false, and contrary to very many express testimonies of Scripture; Lev. iv. 3. 13. 21.27. v. 16. vi. 5—7. xvi. &c. 3. That Christ was not a high-priest, until he entered the holy place; of which afterward. 4. That he made not expiation of our sins, until he entered heaven, and appeared in the presence of God. Of the truth whereof, let the reader consult Heb. i. 3. If Christ be a figurative priest, I see no reason why he is not a figurative king also; and such indeed those men seem to make him.
The second thing proposed is, that Christ was a highpriest, whilst he was on the earth; and offered a sacrifice to God. I shall here first answer what was objected by Mr. Biddle to the contrary, and then confirm the truth itself.
I say then, first, that Christ was a priest, while he was on earth, and he continueth to be so for ever; that is, until the whole work of mediation be accomplished.
Socinus first published his opinion in this business in his bookDe Jesu Christo Servatore' against Covet. For some time the venom of that error was not taken notice of. Six years after, as himself telleth us, (Epistola ad Niemojev. 1.) he wrote his answer to Volanus, wherein he confirmed it again at large. Whereupon Niemojevius, a man of his own antitrinitarian infidelity, writes to him, and asks him sharply (in substance), if he was not mad to affirm, a thing so contrary to express texts of Scripture. (Epist. Joh. Niemojev. 1. ad Faust. Socin.) Before him, that atheistical monk, Ochinus, had dropped some few things in his dialogues hereabout. Before him also, Abailardus had made an entrance into the same abomination, of whom, says "Bernard, (Epistola 190.) 'Habemus in Francia novum de doctore magistro theologum:
e Nam annos abhinc sex atque eo amplius idem paradoxum in mea de Jesu Christo Servatore disputatione sine dubio legisti. Faust. Socin. Res. ad Joh. Niemojev. Ep. 1. Verum non sine mærore (ne quid gravius addam), incidi inter legendum in quoddam paradoxon, dum Christum in morte, sive in cruce sacrificium obtulisse pernegas, Joh. Niemojev. Epist. 1. ad Faust. Socin.
Vide Bernard. Epist. 109.
qui ab ineunte ætate sua in arte dialectica lusit, et nunc in Scripturis sacris insani.'
How the whole nation of the Socinians have since consented into this notion of their master, I need not manifest. It is grown one of the articles of their creed; as this man here lays it down among the substantial grounds of Christian religion. Confessedly on their part, the whole doctrine of the satisfaction of Christ, and justification, turns on this hinge. For though we have other innumerable demonstrations of the truth we assert, yet as to them, if this be proved, no more is needful. For if Christ was a priest, and offered himself a sacrifice, it cannot but be a sacrifice of atonement, seeing it was by blood and death. Crellius tells us, that Christ died for us on a double account; partly as the "mediator, and surety of the new covenant; partly as a priest, that was to offer himself to God. A man might think he granted Christ to have been a priest on the earth, and as such to have offered himself a sacrifice. So also doth 'Volkelius allow the killing of the sacrifice, to represent the death of Christ. Now the killing of the sacrifice, was the sacrificing of it. So Stuckius proves from that of the poet, Et nigram mactabis ovem, lucumque revises.' But Crellius afterward expounds himself, and tells us, that this twofold office of Christ (than which nothing can be spoken more ridiculously) of a mediator and a priest did as it were meet in the death of Christ: the one ending (that is, his being a mediator), and the other beginning. And 'Volkelius doth the like; with a sufficient contradiction to his assertion, calling the death of Christ the beginning and entrance of his priesthood. For his mediatorship, Crellius telleth us that it is most evident, that Christ therein was subordinate to God:
↳ Etenim mortem, Christus subiit, duplici ratione; partim quidem, ut fœderis mediator, seu sponsor, et veluti testator quidem partim ut Sacerdos Deo ipsum oblaturus. Crell. de caus. mort. Christi, p. 6.
Partes hujus muneris hæc sunt potissimum; mactatio victimæ, in tabernaculum ad oblationem peragendam ingressio, et ex eodem egressio. Ac mactatio quidem mortem Christi violentam, sanguinisque profusionem continet. Volkel. de vera Relig. lib. 3. cap. 37. p. 145.
k In morte utrumque munus (mediatoris, et sacerdotis) veluti coit: et prius quidem in ea desinit, eaque confirmatur postremum autem incipit, et ad id Christus fuit quodammodo præparatus, p. 8.
Hinc colligitur solam Christi mortem, nequaquam illam perfectam absolutamque ipsius oblationem de qua in Epist. ad Hebræos agitur, fuisse-sed principium et præparationem quandam istius sacerdotii in cœlo demum administrandi, extitisse. Idem. ibid.
so he phrases it; that is, he was a mediator with us from God, and not at all "with God for us. And this he proves, because he "put not himself into this office, nor was put into it by us, so to confirm the covenant between God and us; but was a minister and messenger of God, who sent him for this purpose. But the folly of this shall be afterward manifested. Christ was given of God, by his own consent, to be a mediator for us, and to lay down his life a ransom for us; 1 Tim. ii. 4-6. which certainly he did to God for us, and not for God to us, as shall afterward be evinced. But coming to speak of his priesthood he is at a loss. When,' saith he, he is considered as a priest (for that he was properly a priest he denies, calling it 'Sacerdotii, et oblationis metaphora') although he seemeth to be like one who doth something with God in the name of men, if we consider diligently, we shall find that he is such a priest, as performs something with us, in the name of God.'
This proof is, παρὰ τὴν σύνθεσιν καὶ διαίρεσιν. But this is no new thing with these men. Because Christ as a highpriest, doth something with us for God, therefore he did nothing with God for us. As though because the high-priest of old, was over the house of God, and ruled therein, therefore he did not offer sacrifices to God for the sins of the people. All that Crellius, in his ensuing discourse hath to prove this by, is, because as he saith, Christ offered not his sacrifice until he came to heaven.' Which because he proves not, nor endeavours to do it, we may see what are the texts of Scripture urged for the confirmation of that conceit by Mr. B. and others.
Seeing all the proofs collected for this purpose are out of the Epistle to the Hebrews, I shall consider them in order as they lie in the epistle, and not as transposed by his questions with whom I have to do.
The first is, in his eleventh question, thus insinuated; Why would God have Christ come to his priestly office by
m Jam vero satis apparet, Christum priori modo spectatum, penitus Deo subordinatum esse, p. 6.
Neque enim vel ipsum ingessit, vel a nobis missus est ad fœdus inter Deum, et nos peragendum: sed Dei, qui ipsum in hunc finem miserat, minister, ac internuntius hac in parte fuit, p. 7.
• Cum vero consideratur ut Sacerdos, etsi similitudinem refert ejus, qui Deo aliquid hominum nomine præstet. Si tamen rem ipsam penitus spectes, deprehendes, talem eum esse sacerdotem, qui Dei nomine nobis aliquod præstet, p. 7.