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There is not a notion so full of evil-of all heresies it is the most fatal, both to God and creation-as to put forth that the Son of God's taking upon him human nature, was only for the particular and private end of redeeming fallen men,--that it was merely a phenomenon in Godhead's ever busy administration, that it was only one act of which many such may succeed, or may have gone before, in creation's history. I say that this is the fellest conclusion and foulest error which can be promulgated, equally subversive of God's glory, and creation's well-being. And the truth is, that all things were created in the Christ, and by the Christ, before the Son of God had really become the Christ; creation being the foretelling and foreshewing of the great purpose of God, to assume a creature form. The Christ was to come into subsistence, not by creation, but by generation, out of a fallen creation, in order to shew that the Son is eternally generated, and not created; so likewise, in order to shew that creation is an act of God, far short of generation; and that it is only through the knowledge and in the strength of the generated Son, that creation recovers from the poison of sin, and the corruption of the grave. If, therefore, I be asked how he was in the likeness of men ; I answer, in all respects, according to the declaration of the Apostle (Heb. ii). I answer, even unto our sinful. ness; so far as that is our condition, and not our act. Yea, it is the essence of the mystery that he should take the creation under the disguise, the deformity and the weakness, and the sorrow, and the enmity of sin, in order that he might prove truly its salvation, its life, its beauty, and its stability. To those who set these things at nought, or deny them, I say stoutly, and fearlessly, ye are setting at nought the truth and the glory of God; and the sooner ye are warned of the peril thereof, the better it may prove to your immortal souls. So much for the name which he takes to himself in this vision; and now we come to the raiment with which it hath pleased the Divine Wisdom to invest him, for the fuller manifestation of his person and office.
“ He was clothed with a garment down to the feet, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle." Both these pieces of raiment were proper to the Jewish high priest, and to him only. The first, rendered in our version a garment down to the feet, is one word in the original (Troðnpn) formed from the word signifying the foot, and therefore denoting a garment reaching down to the feet. Now this very word is used in the Greek version of the Old Testament;
for the high priest's robe, upon wbich was suspended the breast plates and the ephod (Exod. xxviii. 4): “ And these are the garments which they shall make, a breast plate, and an ephód, and a robe;" which is thus described in the 31st verse: " And thou shalt make the robe of the ephod all of blue......And it shall be upon Aaron to minister, and his sound shall be heard when he goeth in unto the holy place before the Lord, and when he cometh out, that he die not.” In like manner in the vision which Zechariah had of Joshua the High Priest, chap. iii, he is represented, first, as clothed with filthy garments, upon which it is said in the hearing of Zechariah : “Take away the filthy garments from him..... Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with a change of raiment (in the Greek, with a Podera); and I said, Let them set a fair mitre upon
his head : so they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments.” Under this vision it is expressly declared that He is signified whose name is THE BRANCH (Zech. iii. 8; vi, 12). And the substance of that vision is, the changing of the High Priest's raiment. Jesus, or Joshua, is presented to us, first with filthy garments, and Satan at his right hand resisting him in the work of building the temple of the Lord ; signifying to us, our High Priest once clothed in the likeness of sinful flesh, in order to resist and overcome Satan, who hath the power of death. And it is promised that these filthy garments should be taken away, and a High Priest's royal garment (a Podera) given to him. Accordingly, the first time the Son of Man is exhibited to us, after his controversy with Satan, he is clothed with the garment which was promised to
He hath the ensign of the High Priest; he hath the garment of blue colour of heaven; he hath heavenly humanity, in which he sheweth himself as the great High Priest of his church. The crowns, indeed, which were promised to Joshua (Zech. vi. 11), he hath not yet re
ceived in this first of his Apocalyptic revelations; for the time to manifest bim, as a King, is not yet arrived. But when the kings of the earth have been removed from their vice-regal thrones, or rather when he comes by force to dispossess them, when their period of probation is over, he comes with many crowns upon his head (Rev. xix. 12). But with those seven eyes, which were upon the foundation-stone of the temple, laid before Joshua (Zechi. iii. 9), the Lamb which was slain, and whose redeemed flesh is the foundation-stone of his church, is exhibited in the v th of the Revelations. I touch these points of similarity, between the High Priest of Zechariah, and the High Priest of the Apocalypse, to shew their identity, and thereby to exhibit the importance of this feature of the vision, his being clothed with the robe of Aaron. It is no less than the fulfilment of the prophecy in Zech. iii.; as if God had said, “ I will clothe thee with the High Priest's robe; vile though thy garments heretofore have been, in thy mortal controversy with the prince of corruption.' The second piece of his vesture is likewise proper only to the High Priest, “girt about the paps with a golden girdle," whereof the particular description is given in the book of Exodus, xxxix. 5: where, though it be commanded to be made of gold, blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen, yet was it commonly called the golden girdle, as indeed all the glorious garments of the High Priest, were called his golden garments. But the girdles of the other priests, and of Aaron also, save when he was gloriously arrayed, were simply of linen, as is laid down in the xxviiith and xxixth chapters of the Book of Exodus. But that girdle of the High Priest, which shone with gold and glorious colours, is always distinguished as the girdle, the holy girdle, the curious girdle, of the ephod. And thus the one doth corroborate the other; and both together do put it beyond a doubt, that the Son of Man is here attired as the High Priest.
Now if we would know how much of Christ's office is by these symbols pointed out to us, we have only to study the Epistle to the Hebrews, which throughout is the exposition of Christ, the great High Priest of our profession. The proper dignity of the high priest stood in this, that he could come into God's in.
visible presence; and this is the prerogative of Jesus, that of all creatures, he alone as a creature standeth in the presence of the Father. And wherefore ? Because he only hath a holy being and substance to present unto God, in whose sight nothing unclean can stand. It is a vulgar error, that the separate soul is in that presence of God which was figured by the holy of holies, of which figure the reality is (Heb. ix. 24) declared to be heaven, and the
presence of God. If the tabernacle of God were now with men in bliss, what were the meaning of giving this as the characteristic of the time when the harlot Babylon being destroyed, the bride New Jerusalem cometh down from heaven? (Rev. xxi. 3.) But this common error hath been already sufficiently refuted in the first lecture, by the consideration that our Lord, after having been a separate Spirit, did, while he abode upon earth between his resurrection and asce
cension, declare, that he was not yet ascended to his father. It is not only to destroy Christ's proper and peculiar dignity of High Priest, to say that the souls of the faithful are at present in the very presence of God; but it is to anticipate the proper characteristic of the New-Jerusalem condition of the risen saints at the beginning of the Millennium, and of this whole earth at the end of the Millennium. It is to destroy the difference between the blessedness of the departed spirit, and the glory of the risen saint, and to gainsay the tenor of all Scripture, and of all the creeds of the orthodox church. Christ's single and sole prerogative, it is to stand in the presence of God: as other priests must do their ministries by the light of the holy lamp, and the high priest only might do his by the light of the glory of God, so verily must every creature for a while continue at a distance, and Christ only be in the presence of God; through whom every creature must approach God, in whom the church doth by faith indeed regard herself as now in the heavenly places; but only by faith, and not as yet by possession. This faith of our oneness in privilege with our High Priest, doth give us boldness to enter within the veil, as the Apostle declareth. (Heb. x.) But we shall not in very substance be brought into that most holy presence until the time and the event, whatever it be, which is declared in various parts of Scripture; as
Eph. i. 27, “ That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle" (Col. i. 22): “ To present you holy and unblameable, and unreproveable in bis sight (Jude 24): “To him that is able to present you faultless in the presence of his glory:” the same which is signified in the xlv th Psalm, by the bride being brought unto the King, and in the parable by the King coming in to look upon the guests of the marriage chamber; and also what is signified, as I take it, in the xv th of the Corinthians, by the delivering up of the kingdom unto the Father, and in the xxist of the Revelations, by the tabernacle of God being with men. Not that any one shall at any time see the Father, in his Godhead; but that it shall be the privilege of the church glorified, to see a manifestation of himn in Christ, which now we wait for, but not until our gathering into the New Jerusalem shall enjoy. This, therefore, I place first in the proper dignity and peculiar prerogative of Christ, our High Priest, that he ever standeth in the presence of God.
Now what kind of ministry did the high priest then perform, when once a-year he was admitted into the most holy place of the dwelling of the Most High? The ministry which he performed on that most solemn day of atonement, was to make intercession for the tabernacle and the priesthood; which two, the holy things and holy persons, were supposed according to the law to drink up the blood, and eat up the flesh of those victims which had been offered for the sins of the people all the year
round. The sin confessed was supposed to pass over to the victim on whose head it was confessed ; and of the sinful victim the blood sprinkled on the horns of the altar and before the mercy-seat, was supposed to transfer its defilement to them, and the flesh eaten by the priests to transfer its defilement to them: so that all the sin of Israel was understood to accumulate all the year round upon the tabernacle, and upon the priesthood; and upon the day of atonement, the high priest, and he only, might offer victims and make intercession for the sin of the tabernacle, and for the sin of the priesthood, which thus represented the sins of all Israel. To this the day of atonement, the high priest stood as it were the consecrated minister, and for this ministry he