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: The parallel between them may be yét further noticed in II. The duration of their priesthood"
We are altogether indebted to the revelation of God for a just construction of what was related respecting Melchizedec, and of what was intentionally, omitted in this history
[Melchizedec, like other men, was doubtless born of human parents, and cut off by death from this state of existence. But there is no mention made of his birth, or parentage, or death: nothing is said of any predecessor, whom he followed in his office, or of any successor to whom he resigned his office. These omissions, which might have been accounted for from the brevity of that part of the Mosaic history, we are assured were ordered of God, on purpose that, by appearing " not to " have beginning of days or end of life, he might, as far as a mortal man could do, shadow forth the eternity of Christ's. priesthood.]
What was figuratively ascribed to him, is literally true with respect to Christ
[Christ, though-born after the world had stood 4000 years, was appointed to this office from all eternity; and actually executed it, by his representatives at least, from the first moment that Adam or Abel offered their sacrifices on the altar. Nor has he ceased from his priestly work: he is now within the vail, offering up the incense of his own prevailing intercession, while his people continue praying without. Nor will be desist from his labour as along as there shall continue one single soul, for whom to intercede before God. As he had none to precede him in his office, so will he have none to follow him:“ He abideth a priest continually, the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever.”] ADVICE 1. Regard the Lord Jesus according to his real dignity
[Jesus unites in himself the kingly and priestly character. None of the Levitical kings or priests ever attained to this honour. Uzziah, presuming to exercise the priestly office, was smitten with a leprosy, and made a monument of the divine displeasure to the latest hour of his life. But Jesus, as was foretold concerning him, was, like Melchizedec, " a priest upon his throne.”h Let us view this combination of character with lively gratitude. Let us contemplate him as every way qualified to be a Saviour to us. And let us beg that he will exalt us also to “ a royal priesthood, that we may offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God through him."'i]
Heb. vii. 23, 24, 25, 28. and xiji. 8. h Zech, vi. 13.
& 2 Chron. xxvi. 16-21. il Pet. ii. 5. 9.
2. Look to him for the blessings which he is authorized to bestow
[As our exalted head “he is a Prince and a Saviour to give repentance and remission of sins.” “ He has received gifts even for the most rebellious:" and, having given himself for us, he is fully authorized to bestow upon us the purchase of his blood. Shall we not then make our application to him? Shall we not
open our mouths wide that he may fill them?” Surely, “ if we be straitened, it is not in him, but in ourselves:" he would
satisfy the hungry with good things:” he would“ fill us with all the fulness of God.” Othat that “ God, who raised him from the dead, would now send him to bless us, in turning every one of us from our iniquities!"k
3. Consecrate to him, not the tenth only of your spoils, but all that you possess
[Though we should “honour him with our substance, and with the first-fruits of all our increase," yet that is by no means sufficient: we should dedicate to him all that we possess in mind, or body, or estate. We are not indeed called to dispose of all our goods in charity, but to ascribe to his bounty every thing we possess, and “ whether we eat or drink, or whatever we do, to do it all to his glory." Have we overtaken and destroyed our spiritual enemies? Let us acknowledge that “his was the power, and the glory, and the victory.” Let us see him in all things, and glorify him for all things; and "present to him both our bodies and our souls a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is our reasonable service.??]
CVI. ISAAC A TYPE OF CHRIST. Gen. xxii. 6—10. And Abraham took the wood of the burnt
offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son: and he took the fire in his hand and a knife: and they went both of them together. And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, May father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burntoffering? And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt-offering. So they went both of them together. And they came to the place which God had told him of, and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Ísaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.
MANY and wonderful are the instances of faith and obedience recorded in the scriptures. But no 'action
whatever (those only of our Lord himself excepted) has at any time surpassed or equalled that related in the text. It justly obtained for him who performed it, the honourable title of The Father of the Faithful, and, The Friend of God. We shall find it profitable to consider I. The history itself
Abraham had often enjoyed intimate and immediate communion with the Deity. But now he heard the command which was of a most singular and afflictive nature
[God in some way clearly intimated to Abraham his will: nor left him to doubt one moment, whether it were his voice
He commanded Abraham to take his only, his beloved son Isaac, and to offer hiin up as a burnt-offering in a place that should afterwards be pointed out. How strange the order! How difficult to be complied with! How well might Abraham have said, “Would to God I might die for thee, o Isaac, my son, my son!”]
Instantly, however, and without reluctance, he arose to execute the will of God
[Had he presumed to reason with God, what specious arguments might he have adduced for declining the way of duty! The certainty of his being reproached by Sarah, “ A bloody husband art thou to me: 19b the offence that would be taken by all the neighbouring nations against him, his religion, and his God: the counteracting and defeating of all the promises which had been made by God himself, and which were to be accomplished solely in and through his son Isaac:e all this, with much more, might have been offered in excuse for his backwardness, if indeed he had been backward, to accomplish the will of God. But he conferred not with flesh and blood.dj
Nor was he diverted from his purpose during the whole of his journey
[Having prepared the wood, he proceeded instantly, with Isaac and his servants, towards the place, that God had pointed out. Nor did he open his intentions to Sarah, lest she should labour to dissuade him from his purpose. But what must have been his thoughts every time that he looked on Isaac? Yet never for one moment did he relax his determination to execute the divine command. Having come in sight of the mountain, he ordered his servants to abide in their place, lest they should officiously interpose to prevent the intended
2 Jam. X. 21, 23. c Gen, xvii. 19.
b Exod. iv. 25, 26. d Gal. i. 16.
offering. He put the wood on his son, and carried the fire and the knife in his own hands. Affecting as these preparations must have been to a father's heart, how must their poignancy have been heightened by that pertinent question, which was put to him by his son! His answer, like many other prophetical expressions, conveyed more than he himself probably was aware at the moment. Without giving a premature disclosure of his intention, he declares the advent of Jesus, that Lamb of God, who in due time should come to take away the sin of the world. Thus for three successive days did he maintain his resolution firm and unshaken.
Having arrived at the spot determined by God, he with much firmness and composure proceeded to execute his purpose
[He built the altar, and laid the wood upon it in due order. Then with inexpressible tenderness announced to Isaac the command of God. Doubtless he would remind his son of his preternatural birth; and declare to him God's right to take away,
in any manner he pleased, the gift he bestowed.5 He would exhort him to confide in God as a faithful and unchangeable God; and to rest assured, that he should, in some way or other, be restored, after he was reduced to ashes, and have every promise fulfilled to him. Having thus gained the consent of his son, he binds him hand and foot, and lays him on the altar; and, with a confidence unshaken, and obedience unparalleled, holds up the knife to slay the victim. Whether shall we more admire the resolution of the father, or the submission of the son? O that there were in all of us a similar determination to sacrifice our dearest interests for God; and a similar readiness to yield up our very lives in obedience to his will!]
Nothing but the interposition of God himself prevented the completion of this extraordinary sacrifice
[God had sufficiently tried the faith of his servant. He therefore, by a voice from heaven, stopped him from giving the fatal blow; ordered him to substitute a ram in the place of Isaac; renewed to him with an oath his former promises; rendered him a pattern to all succeeding generations; and, no doubt is at this instant rewarding him with a weight of glory, proportioned to his exalted piety.]
Almost every circumstance in this narrative deserves to be considered in II. Its typical reference
• Ver. 7.
f Ver. 8. John i. 29.
& Job i. 21.
Waving many less important points, we may observe that Isaac was a type of Christ 1. In his appointment to be a sacrifice
[Isaac was a child of promise, born in a preternatural way, of a disposition eminently pious; yet him did God require for a burnt-offering : it must not be Abraham's cattle, or his son Ishmael, but his beloved Isaac. Thus was Jesus also the promised seed, named, like Isaac, before he was conceived in the womb: He was born, not after the manner of other men, but of a pure virgin: He was that only, that beloved son, in whom the Father was well pleased: yet him did God appoint to be a sacrifice. A body was given him for this very purpose. He was ordained from eternity to be a propitiation for sin: nor did the Father recede from his purpose for 4,000 years. Having set apart his son for this end, he changed not: and Jesus, at the appointed time, became obedient unto death, even the death, of the cross.k] 2. In the manner of being offered
[Isaac bore the wood on which he was afterwards to be lifted
up; and voluntarily yielded up his body to be bound, and his life to be destroyed in God's appointed way. Thus did Jesus bear his cross to the place of his crucifixion; and, having been bound was lifted up upon it. On the the very spot where Isaac had been laid upon the altar, was Jesus (most probably) offered in sacrifice to God. And by whose hand was Isaac to bleed, but by that of his own Father? By whom too did Jesus suffer, but by Jehovah's sword?m It was not man, who made him so to agonize in the garden; nor was it man, that caused that bitter complaint upon the cross. Nevertheless it was with the perfect concurrence of his own will that he died upon the cross; “ He gave himself an offering and a sacrifice to God of a sweet smelling savour.”
There is one point however wherein the resemblance
does not appear
k Phil. ii. 8. 1 Mount Calvary was one of the mountains in that small tract of country called the land of Moriah: and from ver. 2. it can scarcely be doubted, but that it was the very' spot pointed out by God. It could not possibly be far from the spot; and therefore, when the place for the sacrifice of Isaac was so accurately marked, it can scarcely be thought to be any other, than the very place where Jesus was offered 2,000 years afterwards.
h Heb. X. 4, 5.
Rom. iii. 25.
m Zech. xiii. 7. Isai. liii. 10, n Luke xxii, 44. Mark xv. 34. • Eph. v. 2.