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LECT. The frame of mind in which we are to
celebrate the Christian passover, is described to us in terms borrowed from the Jewish: this feast we are to keep with the unleavened bread of fincerity and truth; free from all impure mixtures of worldly affections, pharifaical pride, hypocrisy, and false doctrine. To which those other descriptive ceremonies may be added, of having our lains girded, our shoes on our feet, and our staves in our hands; in the garb and posture of pilgrims, soon to depart from the Egypt of this world.
Some other forms with which sacrifices were offered are of great account, and will explain to us the sense of many passages not otherwise to be understood. Christ as our substitute, is said to have borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; and the Lord is said to have laid on him the iniquities of us all*. According to the form prescribed in the law, when a sacrifice was brought to the priest, it was the custom for
* Ifaiah liji. 4. 6,
the sinner, or the congregation at large*, as LECT. the occasion might require, to lay their hands upon the head of the victim, and confess their fins upon it, which the innocerit animal about to die was to bear for them; and the fins fo transferred from the finner to the offering were to be done away. This shews us what was meant by the prophet, when he said, the Lord hath laid on him the iniquities of us all; that is, he hath laid upon the head of Christ, as upon a devoted facrifice, the sins of all mankind.
In the case of what was called the scape goat, the animal, with this burden of fin upon his head, was turned loose into a wilderness, into a land not inhabited, no more to be seen of men: with allusion to which it is said in the Psalms, as far as the easts is from the west, so far hath he fet our hins from us $, no more to be remembered
* The elders of the congregation (see Lev. iv. 15.) or the high priest in the name of the congregation. (see Lev. xvi. 24.) of Lev. xvi. 22. § Plalm ciii, 12.
LECT. or heard of to our condemnation. There como por seems to be another reference to the fame
in those words of Jer. 1. 20. “ the iniquity “ of Israel shall be fought for, and there “ shall be none; and the fins of Judah, “ and they shall not be found.”
On one particular occasion, the congregation were commanded to lay their hands upon the head of the guilty person, before he was carried out to execution : which ceremony explains what is said of those for whom no atonement was to be accepted, that they should bear their iniquity; they should suffer for it themselves and be their own facrifice. So again, where it is said, his blood shall be upon his head*, it means, that the person in this case should be answerable for the guilt of his own death. And when the Jews blasphemously cried out, his blood be on us, and on our children, they meant, that whatever fin there might be in putting Jesus to death, they would venture to have the guilt of it laid upon the heads of themselves and their posterity, * Joshua ii. 19,
and atone for it in their own persons; LECT which they have accordingly, by the just me, judgment of God, been doing ever since.
This laying of sin upon the head of a facrifice, gives us a farther understanding of what happened to Christ in his passion, when the curse of our fins was crushed with heavy and merciless hands upon his head, in the form of a crown of thorns ; under which afflicting burden he was duly prepared as an offering for fin. Hence also we see the meaning of a like form which has a contrary intention; for as the curse of guilt was laid on the head of a facrifice; so blessings of every kind are conveyed by the laying of hands on the heads of the persons who are appointed to receive them. Thus our Saviour took the little children into his arms, and when he blessed them he laid his hands upon them: thus also the sick were restored to the blessings of health; and thus the ministers of God receive their commission, with the gifts neceffary to the exercise of it: stir up the gift
LECT. of God, faith Paul to Timothy, which is
in thee by the putting on of my hands*.
When Christ is said to be a priest, we must understand the word in a new sense ; for certainly he was not a priest in a literal sense, neither could he officiate according to the forms of the law, because he was not of that tribe to which the priesthood pertained. He is therefore called a priest after the order of Melchizedec, whose priesthood was prior and superior to that of the Levitical order, and carried with it the administration of brcad and wineof, after the form of the gospel itself. Yet still we must go to the Levitical law, for the nature of the office, and the proper character of our high priest. Such an high priest became us, saith the author of the epistle to the Hebrews, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, Separate from finners, and made higher than the heavenst. Such an high priest as the law had in all respects, according to the letter ; such ought we to have in the spirit; one in whom all the outward figns
* 2 Tim. i. 6. Gen. xiv, 18. Heb, vii. 26.