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ance after his incarnation, when he was made a priest after the order of Melchisedec, the priest of the most high God. If Melchisedec were Christ, then Christ was Melchisedec; and there is no absurdity in Christ being compared with himself, in two different conditions and appearances.

As Melchisedec he appeared as Jesus of Nazareth, and as Jesus of Nazareth he appeared as Melchisedec. And since there never was any human priest who exactly resembled Christ, it was proper to compare him before his incarnation, to himself after his incarnation. On the whole, there is no evidence in scripture of Melchisedec's being a mere man. I now proceed a step further, and observe, 2. There is evidence in scripture of his being more than

This appears from the description which the apostle gives of him in the text and context. One part of the description is this: that he was without father, without mother.” This is true of Adam, but of none of his posterity. Noah, Shem, and every other man whom Melchisedec has been supposed to be, had a father and mother. This leads us to conclude, that Melchisedec, who had no father nor mother, was more than man. But here it may be said, that, by having neither father nor mother, nothing more is meant than that his genealogy was lost or not recorded. Of this there is no proof or probability. If he was a man of superior dignity and excellence to Abraham, it is hard to believe that his genealogy should have been either lost or not recorded. The apostle,

. however, plainly contradicts this absurd supposition, by subjoining, “Without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life.” It was very improper to say, that he had neither descent, nor beginning of days, nor end of life, merely because his descent, his birth, and death were not recorded in sacred or profane history. These expressions naturally and almost necessarily convey the idea, that he never had a beginning and end of life, like any mere man.

And this is further confirmed by his being set up in contrast with other mere mortal men. “ And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed, that he liveth” and “abideth a priest continually.” Whoever Melchisedec was, it is certain, according to this description of him, that he never died, and is now alive. But such a person must be more than man; for it is appointed to all men once to die. The apostle, moreover, represents Melchisedec as superior to mere men in dignity as well as immortality. “ Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils. And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have

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a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they came out of the loins of Abraham: but he, whose descent is not counted from them, (that is, Melchisedec, who is not of human descent) received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises. And without all contradiction, the less is blessed of the better.” Why does the apostle take so much pains to prove that Melchisedec was greater than Abraham the patriarch, the man who had the promises, that in him all the families of the earth should be blessed ? The reason is plain; for by proving Melchisedec to be greater than Abraham, he proves him to be more than man, which is the grand point he means to establish. I know that a writer, not long ago, observed that we ought to consider Abraham in that low estate in which he was when Melchisedec met him; and then his being superior to Abraham will be no argument to prove his being more than

But the apostle says he was superior to Abraham when he had the promises, and was really superior to any man then on the face of the earth. The dignity and immortality which the apostle expressly ascribes to Melchisedec, therefore, clearly prove him to be superior to Abraham in his best estate, and to every

other in the world. This leads me to observe once more,

3. That we have clear, positive, scriptural evidence, that Melchisedec was Christ himself. The apostle having curiously mentioned Melchisedec in the fifth and sixth chapters of this epistle, undertakes in this seventh chapter to prove that he is Christ, and spends twenty-one verses on the subject. Every lineament which he has drawn of the character of Melchisedec agrees with the known character of Christ. Is Melchisedec called priest of the most high God ? so is Christ. then that we have a great High Priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.” Is Melchisedec called the king of Salem or Jerusalem ? so is Christ. God the Father says, “ I have set my King upon my holy hill of Zion,” that is, Jerusalem. Is Melchisedec called King of peace ? so is Christ. For of him it is foretold, “His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.Is Melchisedec represented as being without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life? This character perfectly agrees with the character of Christ, to whom God the Father says, Heb. i. 8, “ Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the

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foundation of the earth : and the heavens are the works of thine hands. They shall perish ; but thou remainest: and they all shall wax old as doth a garment: and as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed; but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.” And in the thirteenth chapter of this same epistle the apostle says, “ Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to-day, and forever.” Is Melchisedec said to be superior to Abraham ? so is Christ. For he says himself, “Before Abraham was, I am.” Is Melchisedeo said not to proceed from the tribe of Levi ? so is Christ. he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar. For it is evi. dent, that our Lord sprang out of Judah; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood.” Is Melchisedec said “ to abide a priest continually ?" so is Christ. " Wherefore he is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them." But it may be asked, why did not the apostle say in plain words that Melchisedec was Christ, if he meant so? I answer, he did say so in plain words. For he begins to describe the character of Melchisedec in the first verse of this chapter, and continues the description, without change of person, down to the twelfth verse, and then says, “ He of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar. For it is evident, that our Lord sprang out of Juda." This is expressly saying, that he of whom he had been speaking, namely, Melchisedec, was our Lord, who sprang out of Judah.. Thus it appears, that Melchisedec, priest of the most high God, without beginning of days, and end of life, is the very same person as Jesus Christ, who once appeared in the form of God, and afterwards in the form of God and man, and who is now the Apostle and High Priest of our profession. We have shown that he was more than man, and possessed all the peculiar properties of him, who is “ God and man in two distinct natures, and one person forever.” I proceed to show,

II. That Christ, who is king of Zion, and Prince of Peace, abideth a priest continually. The apostle speaks much of the perpetuity of Christ's priesthood in this epistle. He quotes in the fifth chapter, that prophecy respecting Christ in the one hundred and tenth psalm.“ The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent. Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchisedec.” In the sixth chapter he says again, “ Jesus is made an high-priest forever after the order of Melchisedec.” In the text he says, “ He is made like unto the Son of God, and abideth a priest continually.” And from the sixteenth verse to

the end of the chapter, he insists largely upon the perpetuity of Christ's priesthood. Among other things concerning Christ he says,

“Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life. For he testifieth, Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchisedec. And inasmuch as not without an oath he was made priest; (for those priests were made without an oath ; but this with an oath, by him that said unto him, The Lord sware, and will not repent, Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchisedec.) And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death. But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood ;” and “is consecrated for evermore.It is very plain from these and other texts which might be cited, that Christ abideth a priest continually, or that he always will be a priest in the same sense in which he ever was a priest. We know he has been a priest by becoming incarnate, by atoning for sin, and by interceding for the elect. And in all these respects, he abides and will abide a priest continually. For,

1. He will continue to be incarnate. The union between his divine and human nature will never be dissolve This union continued after his resurrection. He appeared to have the same body; he said he had the same body; and Thomas examined it, and found it to be so. He ascended to heaven with the same body; and since his ascension, the apostle John, in vision, saw him in the form of man; and he told John, what he told his disciples when he went up into heaven, that he should appear visibly in the form of man, at the great and last day. That union of the divine and human nature of Christ, which commenced at his birth, will continue forever. Christ, the second Person in the sacred Trinity, will continue to be united with a human soul and body to all eternity. And in this respect, he will be a priest forever, after the order of Melchisedec, who was the second Person in the Godhead apparently united with a human soul and body. After this order and appearance, Christ will really be forever such a priest of the most high God. You recollect that the argument, which the apostle uses, to prove the perpetuity of Christ's priesthood, is taken from his being made a priest after the order of Mel. chisedec, and not after the order of Aaron. The Aaronical priests died; and death which destroyed their bodies destroyed their priesthood; but the death of Christ did not destroy his body, nor consequently his priesthood. Being made like unto the Son of God and like unto the son of man; that is, being

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really God and man in two natures, he will continue forever, and forever perform the part of a priest. For,

2. His atoning virtue will forever remain in its full force. It is the part of a priest to make atonement, and Christ acted in his priestly office when he gave his life a ransom for many. This the apostle observes in the chapter following the text.

Every high-priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices; wherefore it is of necessity that this man, (the man Christ Jesus) have somewhat also to offer.” And though his offering himself a sacrifice for sin was a transient act; yet the atonement he made by it, will forever remain in its full value and efficacy. This the apostle, in treating on the priesthood of Christ, clearly and fully illustrates. He says, “E

Every priest standeth daily ministering, and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.

But this man, (meaning Christ) after he had offered one sacrifice for sins, forever sat down on the right hand of God. For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.” And again

“ Christ being come an high-priest of good things to come; 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.” Christ will forever continue to atone for the sins of men, by that one offering of himself to God, in their room and stead ; and consequently his redemption is an eternal redemption, and his priesthood an eternal priesthood. Besides,

3. Christ will forever continue to intercede as well as to atone. It was the part of the Jewish priests to intercede, as well as to make atonement for the people. And the apostle represents Christ as perpetually performing the priestly office, by making continual intercession for those whom he has redeemed by his blood. He says, “ Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.” And again he says, “ This man, (meaning Christ) because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them." Christ's perpetual intercession conclusively proves his perpetual priesthood.

IMPROVEMENT.

1. If Melchisedec was Christ, as has been, perhaps, sufficiently proved, then the Old Testament and New are insepa

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