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office; he is a Priest, and a great one.' Accordingly I spoke to these two: 1. That our Lord Jesus Christ as a Saviour is a true and proper Priest betwixt God and men. 2. That he is a great one; as it is his office to be a Priest, he is a great one in that office. From these I have spoke.
The second thing in the verse, is that which follows now to be discoursed of; and that is our Lord's charge in this office. We are told by the Spirit of God in the word, that he is a Priest over the house of God, in it, towards it, and crer it. On this truth, That Christ is a great Priest over the house of God, I would spend this time in speaking, and would do it in this order.
1. Shew you, what is the house of God that Christ's charge is in and over.
II. What sort of charge and authority he hath in it and over it.
Then apply it.
First, What is the house of God that Christ's charge lies about and over? We all know, that there was of old a typical house, and it had a typical priest, which was the chief officer over it. Of this there was a change in the wilderness, and a good many years after they came to Canaan; the tabernacle was removed in all their journeyings in the wilderness, and was removed according to God's ordinance and appointment several times; in the land of promise it was sometimes in Kirjath-jearim; the ark was a while in captivity; it was at last brought to the city of David, then settled by Solomon in the temple, which the Lord calls his house, 2 Sam. vii. 6, 7. This house of God, the temple, was a type of Christ's body. So our Lord uses it of his natural body, if I may so call it: Destroy this temple, says our Lord, and I will raise it again in three days; but he spoke of the temple of his body, John ii. 19, 20, 21. All the glory that was in the temple, was but so many shadows of the great glory of that tabernacle wherein Cod was to dwell, where the fulness of the Godhead was to dwell in the man
Christ. This temple was typical also of Christ's mystical body, the church: therefore we find the church often called by this name, the temple of the living God: re are the temple of the living God. Our bodies are so, the whole man is so: 1 Tim. iii. 15. That thou mayest know, how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God. That we have now no more to do with this typical temple, it pleased the Lord, in the depth of his providence, a little while after our Lord Jesus came in the flesh, and after he had gone to heaven, and had fulfilled all righteousness, and had dispatched all his work; it pleased God, I say, to lay this temple desolate by the hands of strangers, and it remains a ruin to this day; and so perhaps it will to the last day. There is now no house can be called the house of God, as the temple at Jerusalem was. Typical temples and typical priests are all expired with the ceasing of the Levitical service, and it is but an aping of this, that Antichrist, and they that would work after the same spirit, labour to rear up in the church of Christ. What then is the true house of God? The apostle certainly had no thoughts to draw the minds of these Hebrews unto the doting upon the outward worldly temple, that he knew was shortly to be removed and destroyed. By the house of God, that Christ's charge is about and over, we are to understand two things, 1. All the matters; and, 2. All the people of God.
1. All the matters of God. All those things wherein God deals with us, and we with him, our Lord is concerned about them all: He is a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, Heb. ii. 17. Every high priest is chosen from amongst men for things pertaining to Go!, Heb. v. 1. Let us look a little to this.
Ist, In all God's dealing with us, he deals with us altogether by this High Priest. The Lord hath resolved, and he keeps his purpose, that he never will treat graciously with men, but only in, and through, and by Christ Jesus. (1.) In all the revealings of his mind to us, they are in and by Christ Jesus. If ever God manifest bis will, if he speak forth all his mind unto the children of men, it is by his Son, as the apostle tells us, Heb. i. 2. (2.) In all his ruling, and manage
ing, and guiding of his church and people, it is all done by Christ Jesus. (3.) In all the communications of his love, and grace, and mercy to the children of men, they are all given through Christ Jesus. Never did any man obtain a saving blessing immediately out of God's hand, it is all given by Christ Jesus.
2dly, In all our dealings with God, we must do so too. If God deal with us only by Christ Jesus, we must deal with him, and thereby acknowledge this power that our Lord hath over the house of God. As for instance, (1.) If ever we set about the knowing of God, or thinking on him, or studying of him, we must do it all by Christ Jesus. There is nothing so hard to bring your hearts to; I know it well by my own; and every one that knows his own heart, will find it so; there is nothing so hard as for a person to confine all his meditations and thoughts of God unto those dis. coveries that are made of God in the face of Christ Jesus. There are some natural notions we have of God, and by the light of the word; these are polished in a great many people; thereupon you will find, that the religion of a great many folks (a great part of it) who bear their heads high in Christianity before men, lies wholly and altogether, if I may so call them, in a company of philosophical thoughts, of the majesty, and power, and attributes of God, and never a thought of God in Christ. Whenever a man thinks of God out of Christ, he enters immediately into a maze and labyrinth, and he will be confounded and wander unavoidably: The light of the knowledge of the glory of God shines to us in the face of Christ Jesus, 2 Cor. iv. 6. If thou hast seen me, saith our Lord, thou hast seen the Father also: believest thou this? John xiv. 9. (2.) In all our treatings with God for reconci'liation, they must all be managed in Christ Jesus. This is one of the matters, that God is specially concerned in in this office. It is a great reflection on Christ as a High Priest over the house of God, when a sinner offers to make bis peace, or seek his peace from God, without Christ. No man can come to the Father but by him; he is the only introducer of poor men into God's favour and friendship. (3.) In all the exercise of grace and performance of worship
and duty, these are matters of God, these are things wherein we have to do with God, and in all these we must deal with God through Christ Jesús. Whatever our sacrifices be, they must all be offered up in and by the hand of this great High Priest. Never was there a man in this world, that had so good a gift to give to God, as that he durst give it out of his own hand. No, we must put it in Christ's hand; and till it come out of his own hand, it cảu never be accepted of God: We are built up a spiritual house, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ, 1 Peter ii. 4, 5. So also as to all our expectations from God, all the hopes that we have of good things from God, are all to be in Christ Jesus; the apostle therefore does well call him Jesus Christ, who is our hope, 1 Tim. i. 1. That is the first thing that is to be understood by the house of God; all the matters of God, all things that pertain to God, every thing wherein God deals with men, and wherein men deal with God, he deals with us by this Mediator and High Priest, and we must deal with him so too. He knows we cannot bear his immediate deale ings with us, and we should know that we are not able to deal with him; therefore the Mediator is betwixt God and men, that all the affairs of God and men may be well and fitly managed
2. By the house of God, is understood, in the word, the people, the church of God, a company of people that our Lord hath chosen and gathered unto himself in every age. Sometimes they have been fewer, and sometimes they have been more; but it is a plantation that hath been of so long standing, and there have been so many in every age, that doubtless when they come all together, there will be a great and goodly company; they are the house of God: In whom you also are builded together, says he, for an habitation of God through the Spirit, Eph. ii. 22. So much for this thing, What this house of God is, that Christ's charge is over; all matters of God, and all the people of God.
II. The second thing to be spoke to is, what is this authority that Christ has over this house of God? I will name a few of the general properties of it, and give you a few of the Vol. III.
instances thereof, that may give some understanding of the nature of it.
1. This authority that our Lord hath is divine, though delegated, though commissioned. All commission from God is not divine, is not so divine as Christ's authority is. The apostles had their authority from Jesus Christ, yet their authority was but that of men; whatever power they were clothed with, it was still in the name of another, in the name of God. But our Lord Jesus comes in his own name, and in the name of his Father; his power, though delegated, is divine, because the person is so; so that all the respect that we owe to divine authority in its most glorious exertings and exercises, is due to the Son of God. He hath committed all power to him, that all men should honour the Son, as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son, honoureth not the Father which hath sent him, John v. 23.
2. This authority of our Lord's is universal and absolute; it is over all things, it is over all things with reference to his church and people. The immediate exercise of his charge as Priest is about the house of God, but every thing besides, as it may serve that. So says the apostle,— And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Eph. i. 21, 22. He hath put all things under his feet; therefore it is evident, that there is nothing that is not put under him, as the apostle exactly reasons upon Psal. viii. in Heb. ii. 8. In that he saith all things are put under him, it is evident, that there is nothing left that is not put under him; where we have the Spirit of God, in the New Testament, giving a full meaning of the Spirit in the Old. This authority that Christ hath over the house of God, is altogether incommunicable; there is none but he that is God's fellow and equal, that is worthy of this honour, nor able to manage this great trust; there is none capable of this trust but Christ Jesus; no men, no angels have a share in it. None of the apostles ever had a share in an authority over the house of God; they had but the power of servants and ministers in the house; they were not lords in it: as the same apostle in Heb. iii. does most elegantly compare Moses and Christ : Moses was faithful in all his house; but how? as a servant,