« AnteriorContinua »
of a rich man, his death and his condition afterwards, as stated in the last paragraph of this chapter.
4. The introduction of the Gentiles to the knowledge and faith of the gospel, will be seen, as in the notes, by the similitude of a beggar, carried by angels, after his death, into Abraham's bosom, as stated in the same paragraph. And,
5. That the state of the high priests, and that part of Israel who were broken off through unbelief, ought not to be considered as hopeless, will be shown by the Scriptures.
1. This stewardship of the ministry, under the first priesthood, may be considered as figurative of the stewardship of the ministry of the gospel, with the same propriety that the priesthood of the law represents that of Christ. The stewardship of the gospel ministry is noticed in the following passages: 1 Cor. iv, 1, 2: Let a man so account of us as the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required in stewards that a man be found faithful.' Titus i, 7, 9: For a bishop must be blameless as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; but a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught; that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.' 1 Peter iv, 10: As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold God.'
Here we see what the ministers of the gospel are stewards of. They are stewards of the mysteries of God, and these mysteries are the manifold grace of
God. So was the stewardship of the ministry of the legal priesthood, in which was dispensed the knowledge of the mysteries of life. See Mal. ii, 4-7: And ye shall know that I have sent this commandment unto you, that my covenant might be with Levi, saith the Lord of hosts. My covenant was with him of life and peace; and I gave them to him for the fear wherewith he feared me, and was afraid before my name. The law of truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his lips; he walked with me in peace, and equity, and did turn many away from iniquity. For the priest's lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth; for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts.' Compare this passage from the prophet with Num. xxv, 12, 13: 'Wherefore say, Behold, I give unto him my covenant of peace; and he shall have it, and his seed after him, even the covenant of an everlasting priesthood; because he was zealous for his God, and made an atonement for the children of Israel.' Without any more quotations, we may clearly see that the stewardship of legal priesthood consisted in being in possession of a covenant of life and peace, in preserving the divine knowledge of this life and peace, and in communicating it to the people, turning them from iniquity, and in making atonement for their sins. This covenant of life and peace, was such, because it was a figure of a better covenant mentioned Heb. viii, 6: But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.' The priesthood of the law had power to make an atonement for sin in a figurative sense; for the high priest, under the first covenant, was an eminent representa
tive of the great apostle and High Priest of our christian profession; the sacrifices for sin, under the law, were representations of him who was made a sin offering for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. St. Paul, speaking of those priests, says, Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things.' Again, Heb. v, 1, 2: 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; who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmities.' Chap. iv, 15: For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.' Thus we see that the priesthood under the law, being a shadow of the priesthood of Christ, was, in the hands of those high priests, a stewardship, as the ministry of the gospel was in the hands of the apostles of the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world. And it is in reference to this first priesthood that the apostles are called 'priests unto God and the Lamb.'
Having this clear view of the stewardship in which the high priests stood, it is easy to see how the services of that shadowy dispensation ought to have been improved to introduce those stewards and the people, to the everlasting habitation of that covenant which was represented by the first. But the high priest, under the law, is represented by a steward who was accused to his lord of having wasted his lord's money. This accusation has the following support. See in Malachi, ii, succeeding the former quotation from that chapter, verses 8, 9, 10: 'But ye are departed out of
the way; ye have caused many to stumble at the law; ye have corrupted the covenant of Levi, saith the Lord of hosts. Therefore have I also made you contemptible and base before all the people, according as ye have not kept my ways, but have been partial in the law.' See in the 10th verse, the query with which the prophet opposes their partiality: 'Have we not all one Father? hath not one God created us? Why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother, by profaning the covenant of our fathers?' Jer. xxiii, 11, 12: 'For both prophet and priest are profane ; yea, in mine house have I found their wickedness, saith the Lord. Wherefore their ways shall be unto them as slippery ways in the darkness; they shall be driven on, and fall therein, for I will bring evil upon them, even the years of their visitation, saith the Lord.' Compare this with Matt. xxi, 12, 13: And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of money changers, and the seats of them that sold doves, and said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.'
2. The dissolution of the legal priesthood is signified by the parable recorded in the 18th verse of the 16th of St. Luke. This will appear evident if we consider the thread of discourse into which this parable was introduced. Observe the 16th and 17th verses, by which the parable and its true application may be understood. The law and the prophets were until John since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it. And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.' To show the propriety of what he stated in this
testimony concerning the law, its fulfilment, and of its infallibility, Jesus makes use of the following parable: Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery; and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband, committeth adultry.' The reader may now turn an eye to the notes, where this parable is particularly applied. What seems necessary now to consider is, how this law was fulfilled, and as a dispensation, put away. See Matt. v, 17, 18: 'Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.'
It was with reference to the fulfilment of the rites of the law that Jesus was baptized of John, the account of which we have in Matt. iii, 13, 14, 15: 'Then came Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John to be baptized of him. But John forbade him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? Jesus answering, said unto him, Suffer it to be so now : for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.' The prophet in the Psalm xl, points to our subject in very plain and expressive terms; see verses 6, 7, 8: 'Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened; burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required. Then said I, Lo, I come; in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.' St. Paul applies this scripture to Christ in such a way as to make the subject under consideration evidently clear. See Heb. x, 4-10: For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.