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leges with which we are favoured; and may use them to His glory, and to our own happiness and salvation.
We are to consider the high priesthood of our Lord Jesus Christ,
First, In reference to the place in which He officiates. The apostle calls it a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building. The tabernacle in the wilderness was a small place, into which only a few persons could enter at one time. The priests were therefore but a small number, consisting of only one family, Aaron and his sons. But the place in which Christ officiates is a greater tabernacle, one of vast extent, in which all His people shall be assembled with their great High Priest, being made themselves also priests unto God, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. 42 But greater may denote merely the superiority of the antitype to the type. And in this respect it is said, Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us. This is indeed a greater and more perfect place, where nothing but infinite perfection exists. It is not a place formed with human hands, in the workmanship
42 1 Peter ii. 5.
43 Hebrews ix. 24.
of which the imperfection of the artificer is apparent; but a place of which the Builder and Maker is God, where He takes up His abode, where the beatific vision of His glory is displayed, and where the riches of His grace and glory are manifested to the blessed company who are admitted to see Him as He is.
In this greater and more perfect tabernacle, where He that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in; a tabernacle that shall not be taken down,45 Christ officiates as a High Priest, in heaven, on behalf of His church and people on earth, as a minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man; ever living to make intercession for them that come unto God by Him. His believing people are therefore exhorted, By Him let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.** Hence they are assured that every blessing which they need shall be vouchsafed to them; and it is their privilege to look forward beyond this present life, and to rejoice in the hope of being admitted into the abode of the blessed hereafter; because it is said that thither the Forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made a High Priest for ever, after the order of Melchisedec." He is en
44 Heb. xi. 10; viii. 2 ; xiii. 15; vi. 20. 45 Isa. xl. 22; xxxiii. 20.
tered into heaven as the Forerunner of His people, and they shall assuredly follow Him thither; since He has promised them, Where I am, there ye shall be also, in the mansions of my Father's house.46 From thence they shall never go out, but shall be ever with the Lord. Let us then bring our offerings of prayer and praise with confidence to the throne of grace, relying on the advocacy of our great High Priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God," and not doubt of our continual acceptance through His merits and mediation. Let us thus walk humbly with our God here on earth; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing instant in prayer; and be assured that all the promises of His grace shall be made good to us in His eternal kingdom and glory, when we have done with all things here below. We are to consider,
Secondly, The nature of the offering which is made by our great High Priest. On this subject the apostle enlarges, as it is a most important 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. Under the Old Testament dispensation, the offerings made in the court of the tabernacle of the congregation, consisted of the blood of animals, which were slain for the purpose of show
46 John xiv. 2, 3. 47 Heb. iv. 14.
48 Rom. xii. 12.
ing the desert of the sinner. The transgressor of the law of Moses was directed to bring his offering, and to confess over it his sins, laying his hand upon the head of the victim; and then the animal was put to death as his substitute, and the blood which was shed was sprinkled upon the altar to make atonement for him. When this had been done, the man was considered to be absolved from the penalty due to his transgression; and was permitted to join in the worship of God with the congregation, from which his sin would otherwise have excluded him. The apostle remarks respecting these offerings, that the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctified to the purifying of the flesh. A compliance with the appointed ordinance of sacrifice admitted the offerer to the outward privileges from which he would have been cut off; he was esteemed clean as to the purposes for which this was requisite; the unclean not being permitted to appear among the congregation of the people of God. The ordinance respecting the heifer is recorded in the nineteenth chapter of the book of Numbers. It was directed to be put to death as a sacrifice, and then it was to be burnt to ashes; and these ashes were to be kept by themselves in a clean place, and to be made use of as a purification for sin. And it was declared that the man that shall be unclean, and shall
not purify himself with these ashes, in the manner that was appointed, that soul shall be cut off from among the congregation, because he hath defiled the sanctuary of the Lord; the water of separation hath not been sprinkled upon him; he is unclean.49
With these legal purifications, which referred only to the flesh, or the outward man, the apostle contrasts the superior benefit derived from the blood-shedding and death of our Lord Jesus Christ. How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works, to serve the living God? If the offerings appointed under the old dispensation answered the purpose designed by them; if they restored those who had contracted any pollution, which separated them from the ordinances of Divine worship, to communion with the visible church; how much more shall the blood of Christ answer the purpose for which it was shed, namely, that of cleansing the consciences of those to whom its virtue is applied by faith, from sin and guilt; and of rendering them acceptable worshippers of the living and true God, who demands the service of the heart as well as that of the body.
The animals offered in sacrifice under the law of Moses were to be without blemish; so the
49 Numbers xix. 20.