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Aaronical high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, (for he had none,) and then for the sins of the people; for this he did effectually at once, when he offered up himself. For the law constitutes men high priests who have sinful infirmity, and therefore need to offer for their own sins; but the word of the oath, which was since the law was given, constitutes the Son a high priest, who is consecrated for evermore." Heb. 7: 26–28.

§ 10. We will now proceed to consider the second part of the subject, viz. to show that the office or function of the high priest was fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Beside his offering up gifts and sacrifices for sin, the high priest was also appointed to bless the people; to pray for them; to instruct them in the knowledge of the divine will; to oversee the service of the tabernacle; to blow the trumpet, and to judge between the clean and the unclean. Now we see Jesus our high priest giving himself an offering and a sacrifice to God, for a sweet-smelling savor, more grateful unto God, and more appeasing to his incensed justice, than all the victims that ever smoked in the worldly sanctuary, or than all the gifts that ever were presented there, or than all the incense that ever fumed from the golden censer. "Put off your robes, ye legal priesthood, your work is finished, your office is entirely superseded. What ye could not do by multiplied oblations, Jesus Christ hath done by one sacrifice. The veil is now rent, and the temple now destroyed. The shadow hath given place to the substance. Jesus is that priest whom God hath sent to bless us; who prays for his people; whose lips keep knowledge to instruct us in the will of God. Jesus is that priest who oversees the service of the taberna-. cle, being head over all things to the church, which is his body. Jesus is that priest who now blows the great trumpet of the Gospel, and who shall descend shortly from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God, to gather the congregation of the righteous. Then all who have not Him for their priest, to wash and

sprinkle them with his hyssop and blood, shall have him for their priest, to pronounce them utterly unclean." But to do any justice to this subject, we must particularly consider the sa crifice which Jesus offered; the intercession he makes; and the blessing he bestows. To make it evident that Christ offered up a sacrifice agreeably and answerably to the types and predictions concerning the sacrifice of the Messiah, I shall show,

§ 11. 1. That the sacrifice which he offered had respect unto God. That Jesus Christ, the true Messiah, sustains the office of a priest, as well as that of a prophet, we have already demonstrated. But the nature and design of these offices are radically different; and one of these differences is, that a prophet ministers from God to man, but a priest ministers from men to God. The apostle Paul hath taken particular notice of this distinction. Speaking of prophets and apostles, he says, "Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you, in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God." 2 Cor. 5: 20. But the work of a priest he defines thus: "For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sin." Heb. 5: 1. Furthermore, Jehovah expressly and repeatedly calls the sacerdotal office a ministering to himself. "And thou shalt put them upon Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him, that they may minister unto me in the priest's office." Ex. 28: 41; 29: 44; 30: 30. Accordingly the Messiah engaged in the eternal covenant, to offer himself a ransom for his people; and of Jesus Christ it is asserted that he hath "given himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor." Eph. 5: 2. Beside, sacrificing, like praying and thanksgiving, was an act of religious worship, and therefore could have respect to God only, as its true object; and hence sacrifices were to be offered only in the sanctuary, dedicated and consecrated for the service of Jehovah. Again, as the life of the victim was

surrendered to God as the price of expiation, and in order to obtain for the sinner the favor of him to whom it was solemnly presented, and on whose altar it was laid; so in like manner Jesus Christ became a vicarious sacrifice, and gave his life a ransom to expiate our sins, and to be "set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood; to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time his righteousness; that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus." Rom. 3: 25, 26. What hath been said may suffice to show that Jesus Christ, as a priest, officiated from men to God. We proceed now to show,

§ 12. 2. Wherein the sacrifice consists. It must be allowed, that whoever is a real priest, must have a sacrifice. The very nature of his employment requires it. His whole and entire office, as a priest, consists in offering sacrifices, with the performance of those things which did necessarily precede and follow the action. This, it is evident, the apostle took for granted; "for," says he, "every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices; wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer." Heb. 8: 3. In a former letter it was already mentioned that the human nature of the Messiah, consisting of a real body and soul, was to be the sacrifice, agreeably to the prediction in Ps. 40: 6, 7. "Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened," (or a body hast thou prepared me, as the apostle explains it, Heb. 10: 5; see Dr. Owen in loco :) "burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not requir ed. Then said I, lo, I come; in the volume of the book it is written of me." The prophet Isaiah also speaks of the Messiah as "pouring out his soul unto death," and "his soul becoming a sin offering." ch. 53: 10-12.

§ 13. Nor ought it to be questioned by the believer, of the New Testament, that Jesus Christ offered up his body and soul as a real sacrifice. Our Lord's own language is very

explicit: "I am the good shepherd the good shepherd gives his life for the sheep." John, 10: 11. When he instituted the memorials of his dying love, he gave bread to his disciples, and said: Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink, ye all of it, for this is my blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many, for the remission of sins;" and the same evening, when prostrated on the ground under the weight of our sins, he exclaimed, "My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death." Matt. 26: 26-28, 38. The same truth is evident from the expressions used by the apostles, "Who gave himself a ransom," 1 Tim. 2:6, "when he had by himself purged our sins;"" when he offered up himself;" "to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself;" "through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ." Heb. 1: 3. 7: 27; and 9:26. 19:10; "who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree." 1 Pet. 2: 24. Also from the application of Ps. 40 to Jesus Christ. Heb. 10:5-9; and from the comparison between the Levitical sacrifices and that offered by Jesus Christ.

§ 14. I would further observe, that as it was necessary for the Messiah to have a real human nature, to be capable of dying as a vicarious sacrifice, in obedience to the will of his Father; so it was equally necessary that there should be an altar proportionate to the nature of this sacrifice. For it is the altar that sanctifies the gift, was the sentiment of our ancient Rabbins referred to by our Lord and Savior. Matt. 23:19. Now this altar was nothing less than the divine nature of our blessed Immanuel; and which gave infinite value to the sufferings of his human nature, with which it was united; as gold, which hath a luster of itself, hath a greater when the sun shines upon it. Hence, we may well say that Jesus Christ was priest, sacrifice and altar. A priest in his person, a sacrifice in his humanity, and the altar in his divinity.

Upon this foundation, my dear Benjamin, rests my hope

of eternal salvation. Nor shall any who rely on this sacrifice be either "ashamed, confounded, or make haste." For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who, through the eternal Spirit, offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works, to serve the living God." Heb. ch. 9: 13, 14.

Having already extended this letter beyond the usual limits, I shall leave the remainder of the subject to our next. Farewell.

Letter XV.

THE SACRIFICE OF CHRIST VICARIOUS,

Beloved Brother Benjamin,

1. In my last letter I noticed two important circumstances respecting the sacrifice of Christ, viz. to whom he of fered, and what he offered. I shall now proceed to show,

3. The design of his sacrifice. That Jesus Christ suffer ed, is believed by all, and needs therefore no proof; nor does the subject in hand require us to consider, at present, the nature and circumstances of his sufferings; but it is very necessary to show that he suffered and died as an expiatory and vicarious sacrifice, else he would not have answered the character of the promised Messiah; for we have already shown, both from the Old Testament Scriptures, as well as from the testimony of our Rabbins, that Messiah was to die an expiatory and vicarious death. It is not enough to say,

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