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God, who met and blessed the patriarch Abraham as
he returned victorious from the
laomer and the confederate kings.
slaughter of Chedor
But from that little,
we are led to regard him as a person of distinction. To him, the great father of the faithful and friend of God presented the tithes or tenths of the spoil. It is from the prophetical word of the royal Psalmist, “the Lord hath sworn and will not repent, thou art a Priest for ever, after the order of Melchizedek,” that we are taught to view this ancient priest of God as a type: and of whom, if not of Christ? Paul, in his epistle to the Hebrews,* speaks largely on the subject; he proves the fulfilment of the prophecy, and declares, that Christ's priestly office was prefigured in the person of Melchizedek, to Abraham the father of the Israelitish race. In the same epistle, we find blended the priesthood of Aaron, in order to show the vast superiority of that of Christ over the other two, though both instituted by God himself. But as we find no prophecy respecting the Aaronic priesthood, we make no further reference to that subject, in order to attend more immediately to the words, "The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, thou art a priest for
Hebrews v. 5-11., vii. 1-28.
ever, after the order of Melchizedek."
Was this priest of the most High God honoured with the title of King of Salem-by interpretation, King of Righteousness, and King of Peace? Is not Jesus proclaimed King of Zion; the Lord our Righteousness, and the Prince of Peace? Nor are these mere empty titles, but real characters, and offices, sustained by Him, who "abideth a priest upon his throne for ever." We have no historical account of the parentage or descendants of Melchizedek; he is presented to us as "without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life;" but being made like unto the Son of God, abideth a priest continually.* And Christ's priesthood was not derived by genealogy, or succession, he had neither father or mother of the family of Aaron, from whom his priesthood could descend. It is evident our Lord sprang "out of Judah, of which tribe no man gave attendance at the altar;"† neither did Christ die and leave it to others, by way of descent, but was constituted a single priest, without predecessor or successor. "He abideth a priest for ever, after the order of Melchizedek." It is impossible for a finite mind to
* Hebrews vii. 3.
+ Hebrews vi. 20.
comprehend the eternal sonship of the Son of God, whom the Father, before the foundation of the world, constituted a priest for ever; and therefore, the priesthood of Melchizedek was instituted to prefigure to us the nature of Christ's eternal priesthood. "The Lord hath sworn and will not repent, thou art a priest for ever, after the order of Melchizedek." These words deserve particular attention. It is God the Father who swears to Christ; no oath of allegiance is required from him who is constituted our Priest. Jehovah, whose eye pierces through futurity, knew he would be faithful in his office, and he freely and unreservedly trusted him to maintain his divine honour "and justice, and accomplish the salvation of sinners. The high-priestly office, though honourable, could not add to Christ's dignity; but his glorious person did confer honour and dignity upon the sacred office, for he who is constituted our High Priest, "is fellow to the Lord of Hosts." "Every high priest is ordained, to offer both gifts and sacrifices," and great was the sacrifice offered by Christ: he offered up himself; he would borrow nothing, but was both priest, sacrifice, altar, and temple: and "by that offering, he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified." "And because he continueth ever, he hath an un
changeable priesthood;" "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.” Blessed Jesus! thou priest of Melchizedek's order, while we would not withhold from thee a portion of all that thou givest us, let us not rest satisfied, till we are enabled to present “our bodies and souls a reasonable sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God."
Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. Know, therefore, and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem, unto the Messiah, the Prince, shall be seven weeks, and three score and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.-Daniel ix. 24, 25.
THE harps of Judah were silent-the disconsolate Israelites hung them on the willows of Babylon-no songs of Zion were heard in that land of captivity, where, for seventy long years, they wore the galling yoke of bondage, bereft of home and all its blessings
-the land of their forefathers in the possession of strangers-Jerusalem in ruins-her palaces consumed -the Temple destroyed-the spot trodden down by the Heathen-themselves exposed to the taunts of their conquerors, and compelled to bow before the idolatrous image of Chaldean superstition.* Well might Judah's sons weep by the waters of Babylon, whose murmurings recalled to their recollection the stream which gushed from Horeb's mount.+ The remembrance of past blessings increases the weight of present misery. How changed their state, and changed to punish their awful rebellions against the Lord of Sabaoth! Yet the God of Israel was not unmindful of his promise— he cheered their drooping spirits with the assurance of speedy deliverance from their captive state. The prayer of Daniel entered into the ears of the Lord of Hosts-the command was given-swiftly the angel, even Gabriel, flew to reveal his Lord's decrees unto the mourning prophet-that " man greatly beloved" of his God. Daniel was commissioned to foretel the deliverance of the Jews from Babylon-the building of Jerusalem and its walls in troublous times; and to him, Jehovah was graciously pleased to renew
* Dan. iii. 4-15.
+ Numbers xx. 11.