Page images

I proceed to my third head, under which I am to shew what was signified by these garınents and ornaments; and how the high priest in the jewish church was a figure and representative of our great high priest, Christ Jesus.

It has been already observed, that these garments were mystical and symbolical: they were sacred types of Christ's immaculate purity, of the dignity of his person; of his glorious majesty and honour, of his transcendent holiness, of his fits ness and qualificatious for his mediatorial office; of his all perfect righteousness, of his will and alacrity in the discharge of his work and office, as the high priest of his church and people; they shadowed forth the glorious representation which Christ makes of his whole church in his own person and mediation before the majesty of Jehovah the Father, who hath accepted his people in the beloved, and loves them in him with an everlasting love, and beholds them in him allglorious, a perfection of beauty, holy, righteous, and spotless, in the person, holidess, obedience, and atonement of Jesus. The high priest was the figure and representative of our great high priest, Christ Jesus.

Aaron, is stiled, "The saint of the Lord," Psalm ci. 16. He was Jehovah's anointed and separated oné; so was Christ, his antitype, and received his name Messiah, or anointed, from the Holy Ghost's anointing him as Mediator, the


true Prophet, Priest, and King of his church and people. Aaron was called of God immediately to the office and work of priesthood ; so was Christ. All the sacrifices on the day of annual atonement were offered by the high priest, and these services were performed by him with his golden garments. He stood at the brazen altar in his pure linen coat, over which was the robe all of blue, on the skirts of which were the golden bells and pomegranates, and above it he had on the ephod, on the shoulders of which, and also on the breast-plate, were the naines of all the twelve tribes: he represented them; he made atonement for them; and this he did as the holy one of Jehovah, which was signified by the golden plate on his mitre. He made au end of their sins yearly, made reconciliation for iniquity, and appeared at the golden altar with the blood of atonement, which he put on the horns of it, burnt incense, trimmed the lamps, and went out; afterwards he entered in his plain linen garments in the holiest of all, and carried thither sacrificial blood, and a censer of burning coals, with his hands full of sweet perfume, and sprinkled the blood, and fumed the incense before the mercyseat, and between the cherubims of glory, and came out, and pronounced the blessing. The high priest on this day made so complete an atonement for the sins of the people, in a typical way and manner, that it is expressly said, “ On

[ocr errors]

that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the Lord.” See Levit. xvi. 30. So Christ, his antitype, by bearing, as our great high priest, all our sins, the iniquities of all his church and people in his own body on the tree, hath removed them from us as far as the east is from the west. His blood cleanseth us from all sin. The high priest represented all the people in bis own person, wore their names on his heart, and bore them on the shoulders of his power, and entered into the holiest of all with blood and incense, and was interested in the good of the people in all his priestly performances; it was for their benefit, and on their behalf, that he performed these services. So Jesus wore all the names of his people on his heart: he represented them, acted for them, suffered for them, and having, by his own blood, obtained eternal redeinption, he entered into the holiest of all, to appear in the

presence of God for us.

Aaron, the high priest, was a mortal man, he was inherently sipful, he was encompassed with infirmity; this served to give him to feel for those he represented: his office required this of him, to have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way. Our Christ, the essential Word and Son of God, took our nature, with all its sinless infirmities, into personal union, and is most graciously disposed to exercise all ways'

of pity, mercy, tenderness and compassion on his church and people, as their various cases and necessities may require. The apostle sets Aaron and Christ in comparison with each other, and shews how Christ infinitely exceeds him, and gives us a beautiful account of this in the fifth chapter of his epistle to the Hebrews.

Aaron must appear very glorious when adorned with all his priestly vestments, the golden crown, the sparkling gems, the lustre and

olendor which must reflect from his breast plate, could not but affect the minds of beholders. The old testament church saw herein the glories of Christ's person and righteousness, and breaks out thus: “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with jewels.” Isai. Ixi. 10. As the high priest. had all the names of the people on his breast-plate, so the church, understanding the mystery of it, prays Christ to set her as a seal upon his heart and arm, Caut. viii. 6. As the high priest bore the names of the people also on his shoulders, so the prophet Isaiah refers to it when speaking of our Jesus: he says, “ In all their afflictions he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved: them: in his love and in his pity be redeemed. them, and he bare them and carried them all the days of old." Isai. Ixiii. 9.

Aaron had in his breast-plate of judgment, the urim and the thummim. These words signify lights and perfections. Some learned persons think the urim and thummim were the

pres cious stones in the breast-plate, which being pre pared and properly fitted, Moses himself fixed them in it. Doubtless, the light and effulgency of glory' which were reflected from the precious jewels, must have been very great; and they might be designed to point out the eternal and personal, native and inherent glories, and perfections of the God-man, Christ Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our profession; in his person dwelleth all the fulvess of the Godhead; in him, as Mediator, it hath pleased the Father that all fulness should dwell; and in him, as the head of his body, the church, is bid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. The breast-plate was called the breast-plate of judgment, because by it the high priest enquired of the Lord on behalf of the people, and received answers. Christ is our high priest, with him is the urim and thummin, and by him we enquire the mind and will of God, and he is the interpreter of the whole mind and will of bis Father to us; and all the gifts: and graces of the Holy Spirit come from him. The high priest was a public person, and he

« PreviousContinue »