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blance which Melchisedec bears to Christ in respect of the genealogy which has been assigned to the former by St. Paul. We have already seen that this genealogy, in respect of Melchisedec, was not literally true, but merely described by the Apostle in a figurative manner; in a manner which was to be understood in reference to the customs and notions of the Jews respecting pedigrees, and in reference to the fact of the Jewish priesthood not being taken from all tribes promiscuously, but from that tribe which was peculiarly set apart and consecrated to this purpose the tribe of Levi. With such qualifications as are here implied, the great and zealous apostle says, in speaking of Melchisedec, that he was "without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life, but made like unto the Son of God, abideth a priest continually." Now it is here worth our while to contrast this last expression with that which terminates the preceding chapter, and which forms an appropriate and necessary introduction to this. St. Paul, at the end of the last chapter, speaking of Jesus, says that he was made a "high priest for ever, after the order of Melchisedec;" and here, speaking of Melchisedec, he says, "made like unto the Son of God, abideth a priest continually." Now inasmuch as that to which any person or thing is likened cannot be expected to bear a complete resemblance to its counterpart-the thing likened, and, as we have already seen, Melchisedec the likeness, was in certain respects different from our Lord,
the object likened to it; Melchisedec, for example, was an earthly king, whereas our Lord was a heavenly one; so here our Lord, who becomes the likeness, of course is in some degree different from Melchisedec. In either case, in fact, inferiority and superiority are implied; and, therefore, when a description is applied to Melchisedec, which implies a heavenly origin, (and such, certainly, the being without father and mother, without beginning of days or end of life, does imply,) we perceive that Melchisedec, the earthly personage, was inferior to our Lord, the heavenly personage: and, consequently, though the Son of God could be thus literally described, yet could a mere man be only figuratively and comparatively so. It is, therefore, clear that
it was not he who was made like unto the Son of God, but the Son of God himself of whom it can be literally said that He was without father, and without mother, and without descent; that He is without beginning of days and end of life, and that He it is who abideth a priest continually. Jesus Christ was made a high priest after the order, that is, in the same manner, or according to the similitude or likeness, of Melchisedec; but Melchisedec it was, and not Christ, who was king of Salem, and a mere priest, or minister, or servant of God; whereas Melchisedec was made like unto Jesus Christ, yet Jesus Christ was it, and not Melchisedec, who, in a spiritual sense, is without father, without mother, without descent, who has neither beginning of days, nor end of life, who is the Son
of God, and who, inasmuch as he has offered his body on the cross, as a holy and living sacrifice unto God, and even now sitteth at God's right hand making intercession for us,-abideth a priest continually.
The argument of the Apostle, which we have now been considering, is as strong as any could or can possibly be in favour of the superiority of our Saviour, that is, in favour of his divinity. The Jews, or Hebrews, recognized, as their descendants still recognize, the inspiration of the scriptures of the Old Testament. In these scriptures, Melchisedec is spoken of as superior to Abraham their ancestor. And the same scriptures, in another part, that is, in the Psalms of David, declare that Christ is to be like to Melchisedec, who, as we have seen, was superior to all, and consequently to every priest of their own nation. Abraham, the "less," is blessed of "Melchisedec, the better," to whom, in return for the blessing, and in acknowledgment of his own inferiority, Abraham gives tithes. The Jewish priesthood, therefore, were inferior to Christ, for "as I may so say," in the words of the Apostle, "Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham. For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him."
The subject of this discourse may have been uninteresting to some-to some it may have been unintelligible. It occupies, nevertheless, a position in Holy Writ, and as such must be deserving of consideration, though it may be both unintelligible
It was suggested to me by reading the second lesson of last Sunday, and by the recollection of a very good and conscientious Christian, who almost seemed to doubt the inspiration of this epistle, because she could not understand how Melchisedec could have been described as having been without father and mother and descent; how it could be said of him that he had neither beginning of days, nor end of life, and that he abode a priest continually. Such a difficulty is easily cleared up, as are many others which must necessarily occur in a volume written at so many different periods, in languages which now, even at the best, can be but imperfectly understood, in which manners and customs, and ideas, are alluded to, and in which phraseologies are oftentimes made use of, with which we must be unacquainted. Let it, however, be remembered that, practically speaking, the word of God may be easily understood.
When we are virtually told, that by grace we are saved, through a practical and lively faith in the crucifixion of the Redeemer, through whom alone we can approach the Divine Presence, there is no difficulty in comprehending thus much. And further, when we are told that the truth of this doctrine is based on the fulfilment of ancient prophecies, and on the miracles of Jesus, there can be no great difficulty in comprehending this argument, though certain arguments adapted to others rather than to ourselves, and certainly rather adapted to the consideration of the better educated, may be unintelli
gible to the unlearned, and even to many fession it is not to examine into them. scriptures, however, are written for our learning, and, therefore, though we may not understand them at first, yet is it our business to endeavour to do so. We are commanded by our Lord to search the scriptures, not to be satisfied with a cursory and inattentive perusal of them, but to sift and examine into them with assiduity and attention. May God, therefore, brethren, assist both you and me in such our endeavours; may he enable us to help each other according to our respective callings and ability, and mutually to promote and assist each other in the great object we ought all to have in view—a perfect, indeed, yet not so much a theoretical as a practical comprehension of the Holy Scriptures, by which means, and by which means alone, we shall most assuredly attain happiness in heaven, through Him who has been aptly typified by one of our fellow mortals; who is in every respect the Great High Priest of our Christian profession; who is now seated at the right hand of God, making intercession for us; who needeth not daily, as those, the Jewish high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people; who, having once offered up himself for the sins of the world, was made an high priest for ever, after the order of Melchisedec; who abideth our priest continually!