« PreviousContinue »
excellencies, that were neither designed, nor discovered, by the authors themselves. But we need never be afraid of ascribing too much to him, who delivered to us the sacred oracles. If time would permit, we might point out a great variety of passages that would illustrate this remark. But that, before us, may stand as a specimen of the rest. Peter had exhorted the Jews to believe in Christ, that their sins might be blotted out by his blood. The Jews imagined, that a compliance with this exhortation would be a defection from Moses. Peter therefore obviated this objection by an appeal to the writings of Moses; and shewed them, that Moses himself, not only fore: told the advent of this new prophet, but enjoined an unreserved obedience to him under the severest penalties. Thus he turned their regard for Moses into an argument in support of that very doctrine, which for the sake of Moses, they were inclined to reject. His words naturally lead us to set before you I. The character of Christ
The words of the text are twice mentioned in Deut. xviii. and twice mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles, They may well therefore be considered as deserving peculiar attention.
They set forth the character of Christ literally
[When God had spoken to the Jews in thunderings and lightnings, they intreated that he would, in future, communicate his mind and will to them through a Mediator. He, approving their request, promised them a prophet raised up from among themselves, who should fully reveal to them his most secret counsels. Such a prophet was Jesus. He was raised up in a most extraordinary way, being the son of a pure virgin. He was taken from among their brethren, being of the tribe of Judah, and of the family of David. “Though he. was in the form of God, and thought it no robbery to be equal with God, he took upon him the form of a servant;" yea, “ became a worm and no man, the very scorn of men, and the outcast of the people.” He revealed all that it was needful for men to know, and “ opened their understandings, that they might understand it.” To him did the Father himself, by an audible voice from heaven, apply this prophecy... And Jesus thus literally executed the commission given him of the Father.]
2 Acts vij. 37.
. b Deut, xviii. 16–18.
Matt. xvii. 5.
But it is in a typical view that the text is principally to be considered
[Our Lord resembled Moses in the offices of a lawgiver, a saviour, an intercessor. But, waving all observations respecting these, let us trace the resemblance, which subsisted between them, as“ prophets” of the most high God.
Both of them received their doctrines in the same way. Moses was not merely instructed, like other prophets, by visions, or dreams, or by the “still small voice” of inspiration, but was admitted to converse with God as a. man talketh with his friend, and received the law from the hands of God, engraven upon stones by God himself. In this he differed from all the other prophets that ever existed in the world, till this new prophet, the Lord Jesus Christ, arose. But Christ had been from all eternity “in the hosom of the Father;”d and he taught the very truths which he had heard, and learned, of the Father.
Both of them also taught the very same doctrine. Moses gave the law to be a “ministration of death,” and a rule of life; and our Lord explained, and enforced it, for the very same ends. Moses also pointed the people to the sacrifices as the only means of expiating their offences: our Lord also declared, that he “ gave his life a ransom for many;" and that it was by the shedding of his blood alone, that any could obtain the remission of their sins.
Moreover both of them taught in the same manner. Moses spake, not as one giving advice, but with authority. “ Thus saith the Lord;" yet he instructed the people with astonishing meekness and forbearance; and when they, in direct opposition to what he had taught them, revolted from God, and set up a golden calf, he was so filled with compassion towards them, as to pray, that he himself might be blotted out of the book of God, rather than that they should suffer the punishment due to their transgressions. Thus did Jesus preface his instructions with that authoritative declaration, “ I say unto you:” yet so mild was he, that he made his meekness a plea with persons, to encourage them to learn of him; “ Learn of me for I am meek and lowly of heart:” and to such a degree did he compassionate the obstinate refusers of this law, that he wept over them, and with his dying breath pleaded their ignorance in extenuation of their guilt.5]
While Moses thus explicitly foretold the prophetical character of our Lord, he declared to us also II. Our duty resulting from it
As all the offices of Christ are replete with benefits to our souls, so cach lays upon us some correspondent duties
d John i. 18.
e John viii. 28.
and obligations. While we rely on him as our Priest, and obey him as our King, we must regard him as our Prophet, by attending to his instructions
This is plainly declared in the text
[“ Him shall ye hear,” is the command of God. But it is not in a careless manner, that we are to regard his voice; we must incline our ear to him, and hear him with fixed attention. We must so consider the dignity of his person, and the importance of his message, as to receive his word with the deepest reverence; not gainsaying it, and sitting in judgment upon it, but bringing every high thought and every proud reasoning, into subjection to it. It becomes us also to listen to it with lively joy, as to the voice of our Beloved; knowing that there is not a word of his lips, in which there are not treasures of knowledge, and inexhaustible fountains of salvation. Above all, we must attend to it with unreserved submission to his will: we must obey it “ in all things whatsoever he shall say unto us:" whatever he may enjoin or forbid, we must never reply, “ This is an hard saying;” but must instantly “ pluck out the right eye, or cut off the right hand, that has caused us to offend.”]
Nor is this merely declared; it is enforced also by the most awful sanctions
(God will put a difference between his friends and his enemies, in the last day. They shall all indeed appear before his tribunal; but “ he will separate the goats from the sheep.” They, that hear not this great Prophet, shall be taken from among those who have obeyed his voice; “ they shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.” As Korah and his company were destroyed from among Israel, so shall the disobedient from among the just. It will be of little avail for them to say, I was sober, charitable, devout; if they did not hear that Prophet with attention, reverence, joy, and an unreserved submission to his will, their destruction is sure, their doom is sealed. Nor will there be any exception to it in favour of the great and learned; every soul is alike included. Let none reply, God forbid; for God says, “ It shall come to pass;” and “he is not a man that he should lie, or the son of man that he should repent.” What madness then is it for any person whatsoever to persist in a neglect of the words of Christ! O let us turn to him. Let us sit, with Mary, at his feet. Let us hear him, and him only. Let us believe on him, as “ the way, the truth, and the life.” Let us “ deny ourselves, and take up our cross, and follow him.” “ So shall we be his true disciples,” and, in due season, experience the accomplishment of that promise, “ Where I am, there shall also my servant be."] 2 Cor. x. 5. i Isai. xii. 3. & Luke x. 39. John xii. 26. Vol. II.
In this threatening, however, there is a blessed promise implied
[If the disobedient be destroyed from among the Lord's people, it follows, that the obedient shall not be destroyed; the humble, and sincere follower of Jesus shall never perish. This also extends to all; “ every soul” that shall unfeignedly obey his voice, whatever his past life may have been, shall most assuredly be saved. Unbelief may be ready to make exceptions; but God says It shall come to pass." Nor is this merely an uncertain inference from the text, but an express promise from God himself; “ HEAR AND YOUR SOUL SHALL LIVE.”m Let this encourage us to listen more than ever to the voice of Jesus in his word. Let us read, and meditate, and pray. Let us get our souls cast, as it were, into the mould of the gospel, that, being altogether formed and fashioned by it, we may be “ meet for the inheritance" reserved for us. Thus will this Prophet be glorified in us; and we receive the full benefit of his instructions.]
m Isai. lv. 3.
CX. CHRIST'S PRE-EMINENCE ABOVE AARON AND
THE LEVITICAL PRIESTS. Heb. ix. 11, 12. Christ is come an High Priest of good things to
come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.
THOUGH there are a multitude of types, besides those which were instituted by Moses, yet the direct and complete representations of Christ are certainly to be found in the Mosaic ritual. Amidst the various ordinances rela. tive to the priests and the temple, there is perhaps not any one point, however minute, which has not a typical reference, though, for want of an infallible instructor, we cannot precisely ascertain the meaning in every particular. The Epistle to the Hebrews, however, affords us great as. sistance in our enquiries into this subject, inasmuch as it declares the exact relation between the types and the one great antitype in all the principal and most important points. The text especially, connected as it is with the whole preceding and following context, leads us to consider 1. The resemblance between Christ and the Aaronic priests
It would be endless to enumerate all the points of agreement between them: we shall rather confine our attention to those referred to in the text.
1. The high priests were taken from among men to mediate between God and them
[This is expressly declared to be the end of their institution. Aaron and his descendants were called to this office, and, in all the transactions between the Israelites and their God, performed that office according to the commandment. Thus our blessed Lord was taken from among men; he was bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh. He assumed our na. ture for that very purpose, that he might be capable of officiating as our great high priest, and, in that nature, he both comes from God to us, and goes to God from us.]
2. Their mediation was to be carried on by means of sacrifices
[The precise method in which they were to execute their office is recorded in the 16th of Leviticus: nor could they deviate from it in the least: if any but the high priest had presumed to enter within the vail, or he, on any other day than that of the annual atonement, or even then without the blood of the sacrifices,d he would have instantly been smitten, as a monument of divine vengeance. Thus Christ approached not his God without a sacrifice. He presented his own sacred body as an offering for sin; and, having " offered himself without spot to God,” he is “ gone with his own blood within the vail,” and makes that blood the ground of his intercession on our behalf. 7
3. They obtained blessings for those on whose behalf they mediated
[The judgments, which God had denounced against the transgressors of his law, were averted, when the high priest had presented the accustomed offerings, and God was reconciled to his offending people. In like manner does Christ make reconciliation for us by the blood of his cross:8 He "gives his own life a ransom for us,” and thus redeems us from those awful judgments, which our sins have merited. Nor is it a mere deliverance from punishment that we obtain through him: “ we are brought nigh to God by his blood," and are restored to the possession of our forfeited inheritance.bl
But while the text intimates the resemblance between Christ and the high priests, it most unequivocally de
a Heb. v. 1.
b Ib. 4.
c Heb. ii. 14-17.