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whom he might devour ;” that you might fully appreciate and clearly understand the invaluable blessings which you may enjoy as conscientious members of a church of apostolic institution, of which Christ is the chief corner stone; based upon the word of God—the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. And with such inestimable blessings, brethren, be thankful, not with your lips only, but likewise with your lives. By such means will you obtain infinitely more happiness than man can offer : by such means will you set at nought the frowns and miseries of the world: by such means will you experience a foretaste of the joys of Heaven, even before you become surrounded by their full meridian splendour: by such means will life be enjoyed and death disregarded, or at least viewed as a distant barrier, impenetrable indeed to mortal ken, yet as one which opens to an incomprehensible immensity of space, and happiness, and life; to a spiritual and eternal sunshine ; to the kingdom of Heaven itself, where Christ is already seated at the right hand of God, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
MELCHISEDEC A TYPE OF CHRIST.
HEBREWS, vii. 1, 2, 3.
“ For this Melchisedec, king of -Salem, priest of
the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all ; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of Peace ; without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life, but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continu
ally.” The Epistle to the Hebrews was addressed by the Apostle Paul to the Hebrews or Jews resident in Palestine, who had become converts to the religion of Christ. It was intended to confirm them in the new faith. by means of sundry arguments drawn from the Scriptures of the Old Testament, which they received as of divine origin. These arguments are founded on prophecies respecting our Saviour,
which St. Paul maintained to have been fulfilled in
person of Christ, and on the Jewish sacrifices and services, and even the construction of the temple, which, as St. Paul explains, meant nothing in themselves, but were clearly and indisputably typical of
Jesus Christ and the religion which originated
There is, however, an argument of a nature distinct
from any of these, which is implied in the words
of our text, inasmuch as it refers to an event which
indeed is recorded in the Old Testament, but
Which is neither a direct prophecy concerning Christ, nor has it any connection with the Jewish religion. It is recorded in the fourteenth chapter of the book of Genesis, where, on the return of Abraham from the rescue of Lot his kinsman, Melchisedec is represented to have gone to meet Abraham, and as a priest of the Most High God to have
blessed him. Melchisedec is here likewise stylea King of Salem,” that is, of Jerusalem, as it
Called in after ages, which became the residence of King David, and the capital of his domin ions, as soon as he had wrested it from the han als of the Jebusites".
the 110th Psalm the Royal Psalmist expresses him self thus in respect of a very extraordinary Per
ge: “ The Lord hath sworn and will not repen to
Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.” The argument, therefore, of St.
in the text was precisely according to a pro
a 2 Samuel, v. 7-9.
phecy of King David, in regard to the authenticity and inspiration of which the Jews entertained no manner of doubt. For the purpose, therefore, of explaining to his correspondents, the Hebrew Christians, how this prophecy had been fulfilled in the person of Christ, the peculiarity and superiority of Melchisedec's priesthood are set forth in comparison with the Jewish priesthood which were of the tribe of Levi, the great-grandson of Abraham. St. Paul developes the meaning of Melchisedec's name and office, and his superiority which was acknowledged by Abraham. The name Melchisedec, as the Apostle explains it, means King of Righteousness; and Salem, the city over which Melchisedec reigned, signifies Peace. And in virtue of such superiority Melchisedec blesses Abraham, and Abraham in acknowledgment presents him with a tenth part of the spoils which he had taken from the
enemy. In respect of circumstances and events which go back into the remotest depths of antiquity, it is impossible at all times to obtain a correct understanding. Such a fact cannot be disputed, when we consider the changes to which customs and languages are liable in the progress of time. We know, nevertheless, that the term Melchisedec is of Hebrew extraction, (as such it belongs to the most ancient known language,) and that it signifies King of Righteousness. It is, however, necessary to consider further, that in former times, when the world was less thickly peopled, names were arbitrary as they now are, but they were oftentimes
appropriated to individuals in respect of some circumstance which more peculiarly applied to them. Thus Esau declares that “ Jacob” was rightly named, because he had twice supplanted him". And Pharaoh's daughter, called the future Lawgiver of the Jews “Moses,” because she had drawn him out of the water. In the same manner, the name “ Melchisedec” was descriptive of something peculiarly applicable to the person to whom it belonged, and as it is explained by St. Paul, meant King of Righteousness. Such an expression undoubtedly implies, that in the age in which Melchisedec lived he was generally regarded as pre-eminent for sanctity—the sanctity of his character and his office. This conception becomes the more natural and easy, when we reflect that in the earliest ages of the world, that is, in the patriarchal times, the head of the family was likewise priest and sovereign within the circle of his family and relatives. Accordingly, Melchisedec, as priest of the Most High God, was not only superior to other patriarchs in his capacity of priest, and therefore properly styled King of Righteousness, but the city which he governed was likewise called “Salem,” that is, Peace; doubtless in reference to the peaceful and devout influence which the monarch's example exercised on his subjects.
A further description, however, of Melchisedec is that given in the last verse of our text; “without father, without mother, without descent, having Genesis, xxvii. 36.
• Exodus, ii. 10.