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EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS;
BY JONN OWEN, D. D.
REVISED AND ABRIDGED;
A FULL AND INTERESTING LIFE OF THE AUROR, A COPIOUS
BY EDWARD WILLIAMS, D. D.
Search the Scriptures.......JOHN V, 39.
IN FOUR VOLUMES.
No. 50, CORNHILL,
For every high priest taken from among men, is ordained for
men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts
and sacrifices for sins. $1. Introduction. $2, The chapter and particularly this verse analized. $3 (L.) The High Priest's origin. $4. (II) The nature of his office. $5. (IL) The end of the priesthood. $6. Observations
$1. If we consider the relation of these words to the foregoing parts of the epistle, (which treated of the person of Christ, his kingly and prophetical offices,) they contain an entrance into a full and particular description of the sacerdotal office of the Messiah, with its excellency and benefits, which was the principal design of the epistle. And it was a design highly important; for besides the excellency of the doctrine in itself, and the inestimable benefits which the whole church received thereby, it was, on many accounts, peculiarly necessary for the Hebrews.
82. There are three general parts of this chapter. First; a description of the office and duties of an high priest, verse 1_4. Secondly; the application vi this general description to the person and priesthood of Jesus Christ in particular, verse 5–10. Thirdly; an occasional reproof and expostulation about their backwardness in learning the mysteries of the gospel, ver. 11-4.
In this verse, the general description of an high priest is given, from his original; “he is taken from among men.” From the nature of his office; he “is ordained for men in things pertaining to God.” From the special end of it; “to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sin.” And this subject, now first professedly entered upon, (but still with respect to the Old Testament church) is pursued with sundry occasional digressions, to the end of the tenth chapter.
$3. (I.) We have the description of an high priest from his original. “For every high priest taken from among men.” All the males of the family of Aaron were equal as to the priesthood; but there was one who was the head and prince of the rest, whose office was not distinct from theirs, but in the discharge of which, and his preparation for it, there were many things peculiarly appropriated to him, which are distinctly appointed and enumerated in several places. The whole office was primarily vested in him, the other priests being as it were his assistants, and a nursery
for future succession. The whole nature of the type was preserved in him alone.
One single high priest had been sufficient to have represented the priesthood of Christ; but because God would have that done constantly, during the continuance of that church state, they were to be multiplied by succession. And since by reason of their multiplied carnal services, no one man was able to discharge the whole office, there were others added to ascisi him, which were so far also types of Christ, as they were partakers of his office. But because the office was principally conferred on and vested in the high priest, and because many important parts of the duty of it were appropriated to him; as also, because his glorious vestments, made for beauty and glory, to
represent the excellency and holiness of the person of Christ, were to be worn by none but him; he alone is singled out as the principal representative of the Lord Jesus Christ in his office. (Εξ ανθρωπων γαμβανομενος.)
Taken from among men. This expression is not a part of the subject of the proposition, but what is attributed to every high priest; every one who is so, is to be taken from among
The sense may be supplied by a copulative"and is ordained." He is (neußavojenos, assumptus,) taken from among men, separated from them, is no more of the same rank; (5 cv@pwtwv) from among men; that is, first, he is (naturæ humunde particeps) "partaker in common of human nature,” with the rest of mankind;-neither the divine nature, nor the angelic is capable of the exercise of it for men; which is principally intended: and secondly, before his assumption to this office, he was among the number of common men; as having nothing in his nature to prefer him above them. So was it with Aaron; he was a common man amongst his brethren, yea, a mean man in bondage before his call to office. The former of these declares what every high priest is and ought to be; the latter what the first legal high priest actually was. Whatever is essential to the office of high priest, without which it could not be duly executed, is found in Christ, in a far more perfect and excellent manner than in the priests of the law, without any of their imperfections. It was essential to the office itself that he should be partaker of human nature, but it was not so, that he should be absolutely in the common state of all men, antecedently to his call to office.
$4. (II.) The next part of the general description of a high priest is from the nature of his office. He "is ordained for men in things pertaining to God.”