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pel of Christ being holiness itself, whoever is engaged in the service of Christ, in whatever sphere or capacity, is alive unto God, therefore “free from sin and death.” It is, however, utterly impossible by the use of any means laid down in Scripture, to receive any benefit to ourselves or give effect to the Gospel, preached or wrote, only as virtue is received from Christ. To communicate this the Spirit acts, and we receive a supply according to our need ; not to be sensible of this, implies unskil. fulness in the word of righteousness. If we have ever been blessed with his presence on the mind in sweet communion with the Father and the Son, and longing and looking for richer and brighter manifestations of Christ, and all our heart in exercise after Christ; it is impossible for us not to know when he withdraws. But the question so important with me is, why he leaves us? Is there not a cause ; and may I not lay the blame at my own door without being charged with being legal ? I am free to own my belief as to the reason of my darkness-i.e. I have violated some precept of this law of the Spirit of life, or, in other words, I have committed something or omitted something; the mind is tainted, carnality has crept in, and the Spirit of life is withheld ! The Father chastens me, would he do it were I not wrong? No. Let these questions sink into the reader's mind. Did the reader ever feel dead to all comfort and peace, or rather past feeling, and indifferent about his best interests-so much so, that, in reading God's word, it appeared like a statement of things which did not apply to himself; yet in the midst of this well recollecting that he could formerly call it his own ? At a time like this whom does he blame? God does not alter, “ He is of one mind.” The Gospel is not altered. The very words which once cheered him by communicating the mind and will of God concerning him, seem, on looking at them, to produce a reverse effect. Does not his conscience accuse him ? And of what, he knows best. This much is evident, that the mind has inclined to the law of sin which is in his members. I need not enumerate its variety of evils (see Col. iii. 5–8; Gal. v. 19-21; Eph. v. 3).
The apostle seems a pattern, a select sample of believers. Although clogged with a body of sin and death, so rich and extensive was the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus to him, that he exclaims, “Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ” (2 Cor. xi. 14). Nor does it once appear that in one instance he questioned his own personal interest in Christ ! If he did he could not always triumph. Herein he differed from most of those who succeeded him. “For I delight in the law of God after the inward man” (Rom. vii. 22). If, then, he always triumph, he must always delight in the law of God or the Gospel of Christ. Hence he talks so familiarly of praying without ceasing, rejoicing evermore; “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God concerning you” (1 Thess. v. 16-21). If, then, this were any part of the business of the Thessalonians, it must be ours, otherwise it were as well not revealed. But they are farther exhorted to “Quench not the Spirit” (ver. 19). The Ephesians are exhorted not to grieve the holy “Spirit of God.” “ Neglect not the gift that is in thee” il Tim. iv. 14.) Paul had a means of keeping his body under subjection (1 Cor. ix. 27), So that it would seem by praying without ceasing, he received a continued supply of the grace of life with which to prevail against the power which opposed; that is, by the grace of God he himse't conquered himself! He farther tell us, that we are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in us (1 Cor. iii. 16, 17). “If any man defile the temple of God, bim shall God destroy, which temple ye are :" and in chap. vi. 15, he tells us, moreover, that our bodies are the members of Christ. He also speaks of the redemption of the body, the resurrection of the body, and all by Christ! O, the blessedness of an interest in him! Well might Paul exhort the Colossians, “Set your affections on things above, not on things of the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.".
What a blessed security this, your life is hid with Christ in God! It has been the exalted privilege of a select few to live so daily and hourly on Christ, as always to triumph ; among whom are Newton and Romaine, who often in his valuable works accuses believers generally of living beneath their privileges. Watts also lamentably inquires
“Why should my passions mix with earth,
And let my God, my Saviour go?” I shall close this paper, praying that the reader might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.
A future paper, God willing, will contain some thoughts on the words immediately following. Cossey, Feb. 14th.
HOLY ORDERS IN THE NEW TESTAMENT PRIESTHOOD.
ADDRESSED TO THE HOUSEHOLD OF FAITH. One of the precious promises relative to the latter-day glory of the church of God, assures us that “ He will destroy the face of the covering cast over all people, and the veil that is spread over all nations” (Iša. xxv. 7). Now it is certain that this promise is not yet fulfilled, for verily there is still remaining a thick veil or covering over all nations, concealing the principal glory of the Gospel dispensation from the view of almost all people ; so that the worship of God, even in these days of boasted intellectual improvement, is but little superior to that which Paul protested against at Athens, as “in all things too superstitious," and addressed to an unknown God (Acts, xvii. 22).
The prominent glory of the Jewish dispensation, under which the Lord's people worshipped him until the coming of Messiah, was the order of the priesthood divinely appointed for the time being, and full of spiritual instruction ; particularly in the doctrines of atonement, mediation, substitution, and sacred distinction from the world. So that
the real church of God had then the Gospel preached unto them in types and shadows (“which,” saith the Holy Ghost, “served unto the example of heavenly things”), until the fulness of time should come.
That dispensation has passed away, or, as the apostle speaks, “is disannulled for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof” (Heb, vii. 18). The priesthood is changed, and the law is changed also (Heb. vii. 12); and the point of importance to which I invite the prayerful attention of my reader is, the change of holy orders in the introduction of that glorious and last dispensation of his church, which the Son of God came down from heaven to introduce. For if I can but be instrumental in removing one thread of that thick veil under which Popery hides all its deeds of blood and murder, I shall praise my God for the honour thus conferred upon me.
The glory of the Gospel dispensation is its priesthood, which is twofold, official and personal ; and each has its holy orders of divine appointment. That which is official belongs exclusively to Christ; and the whole mass of mischiefs and miseries which the man of sin has inflicted upon the world, may be attributed to the one blasphemous crime in which mortals assume the office and title of Christ, in their mocking of holy orders in direct opposition to the whole tenour of the New Testament, which nowhere gives the official title of priest to the ministers of the Gospel : they are indeed called bishops, overseers, elders, &c., but never priests by office.
That we may have a right understanding of this subject, let us calmly. look at the meaning of the word priest, and then listen to the New Testament account of its orders. The learned inform us, that the Hebrew word which we translate priest, literally signifies one who is divinely appointed to offer sacrifice and intercede. To whom, then, can this office belong but to Jesus? He, and he alone, is the priest who “now once in the end of the world hath appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself” (Heb. ix. 26); and who now abideth a priest for ever to intercede, having entered into the holiest by blood, yea, his own blood, for that purpose. And the apostle declares that there remaineth no more sacrifice for sin; hence all pretensions to other sacri. fices, and to the office of priest, are, and must be, a virtual rejection of Christ and of the Gospel.
In this assumption appears the real character of Antichrist ; a usurper of the title, office, and prerogative of Christ. And the Popish priests seem somewhat consistent with themselves, for if men will be priests, they must of necessity have somewhat to offer ; hence the invention of the blasphemous ceremony called the sacrifice of the mass, and the rest of the Pagan rites which Popery has adopted under the Christian name. Yet all this, absurd and wicked as it is, appears consistent with itself ; for it cannot be more sinful to assume the business of a priest, than to assume the title, honours, and emoluments, without the work, which the title of priest includes. If therefore a man will call himself priest, let him be consistent, and with it pretend to offer sacrifice, intercede for men, and forgive sins !
But all this is ascribed to Christ alone in the New Testament, there
fore he alone is the official priest of the Gospel church : nor is it with him, as with his enemies and rivals, a mere empty name; he did the work, he offered one sacrifice for sins, by which “he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified ;” and then for ever sat down on the right hand of God. Yea, there he ever lives to make intercession for all that come to God by him ; so that whosoever comes to God, trusting in his one perfect and satisfactory atonement, is sure of the forgiveness of sin ; and whosoever trusts in any other sacrifice, whether of mass, merit, or ministry, is sure to perish in his sins, as it is written, “If ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins” (John, viii. 24).
Let us now inquire what is the New Testament account of holy orders with regard to priesthood officially considered : this is explicitly stated in the eleventh verse of the seventh chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews, that “another priest should arise after the order of Melchisedeck, and not after the order of Aaron;" so that the order of Aaron is abolished for ever, and the order of Melchisedeck is the only order recognised officially in the New Testament, consequently all pretensions to priesthood in the church of Christ are, and must be, unscriptural and antichristian.
Melchisedeck was priest of the most high God antecedent to the giving of the law, and quite distinct from Aaron's order and Aaron's line; he was expressly the type of the Lord Jesus Christ, and none can take his holy orders but Christ himself ; “for the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity.” So that men-made priests which have infirmity, are under the law of Moses, and of Aaron's order ; “but the word of the oath which was since the law, maketh the Son who is consecrated for evermore” after the order of Melchisedeck, which order is never assumed in the New Testament but by Christ himself ; nor can it be, without the most daring presumption.
Moreover, in Melchisedeck's order the kingly and the sacerdotal offices were united, for he was “ King of Salem," as well as “priest of the most high God ;” whereas under the law, and in-Aaron's order, this was never allowed on pain of death (Num. xviii. 7). Hence the awful judgment which fell upon King Uzziah for his transgression in this very thing (see 2 Chron. xxvi. 16); and this it is which constitutes the character of Antichrist, the substituting Aaron's order for Melchisedeck's, and violating even that by assuming temporal power and regal authority with it. It is therefore a misnomer to call a Gospel minister a priest, for no man can be a priest of Melchisedeck's order, that belonging exclusively to Christ ; and to assume Aaron's order is to abandon Christianity and turn Jew.
Succession belongs not to Melchisedeck's priesthood, for he is said to be - without descent," and abideth a priest continually ;” so also our precious Christ, being the priest after the order of Melchisedeck, is said to continue for ever, and to have “ an unchangeable priesthood.” The apostles were not Christ's successors in office, nor did they ever call themselves priests ; theirs was a mission limited to their day, to publish the triumphs of the cross, plant churches, and ordain pastors or bishops over them : but whenever did they speak of taking priest's
orders, or of forming a line of succession? They dared not take the honour and the office which belong only to Christ, but, as his servants, rejoiced to know that he ever liveth to present his one offering, to intercede for his redeemed, and to seal pardon to their hearts by his Holy Spirit applying the blood of atonement ; all which is quite inseparable from the priest's office, and utterly impossible to all but to Christ himself.
In all that is written in the New Testament of the Gospel ministry, nothing can be gathered to authorise the Christian minister to assume the name of priest ; nor is that office among Christ's ascension gifts, as recorded by Paul (Eph. iv. 11). Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers, are all named, but no priests. I therefore conclude that the Gospel ministry is not a priesthood; and that to call it such is to renounce Christianity for Judaism, or to obtain a diploma from Rome, and join affinity with Antichrist. Yea, more; when that title is assumed by unregenerate men, it is no less than a profanation of the sacred name and office of Christ, and reaches the climax of wickedness by mocking the Son of God in his priestly office, as the Jews of old did his kingly and prophetic offices.
Glory be to his precious name ; he is still a Priest upon his throne, and all intercourse between God and souls is by him. He officiates as Priest within the veil, presenting his own merit, blood, and righteousness on behalf of all the election of grace-receiving their poor breathings of prayer and praise in his own censer, and presenting them with a cloud of incense before the throne, which renders them acceptable to God, even the Father. He officiates as Priest also in his earthly temple, rendering the preaching of the Gospel effectual to the conversion of sinners ; causing the dead to hear his voice, and begin to live ; sealing pardon to the conscience of the contrite, and manifesting himself in his official character to his people. Let, therefore, all pretenders to his titles and honours hide their impious heads, or show them only in Pagan or Jewish temples; for Jesus will not give his glory to another.
There is, however, an order of priesthood mentioned in the New Testament which is personal, and which hath an unbroken line of succession ; for the Apostle Peter, when speaking of the chosen generation, calls them “a royal priesthood” (1 Peter, ii. 9); but then it must be remembered, that this appellation is limited to those whom God has called out of darkness into his marvellous light, and cannot possibly include those who are still under the power and influence of the prince of darkness, blinded by the god of this world. • In the fifth verse, the apostle calls this chosen generation, “a holy priesthood," and says, “they offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ." They possess a holy nature, even the life of God in their souls ; and their prayers and praises are the spiritual breathings of their spiritual life, and are offered up through the priestly office and divine merits of Jesus Christ: herein the chosen generation are distinguished from the world, and have one common privilege ; but none of them can approach the throne, even with these spiritual' sacri