ON OUR SAVIOUR AS OUR KING AND OUR PRIEST
Consider first, that the Son of God, by his incarnation, came also amongst us to be both our king and our priest; and in these qualities to impart all blessings to us; and even to make us also kings and priest to his Father, Apoc i. 6. He is our true Melchisedech, sovereign king and high priest forever; he is the true king of justice, and king of peace; of whose reign there shall be no end. He came, by his incarnation, to dethrone the usurper Satan, and to establish amongst us the kingdom of grace, by which he reigns in all the souls of his true subjects. For his kingdom is not of this world; not like to any of the petty kingdoms of this world; but is of a far more excellent constitution, a more noble foundation, and a more extensive dominion, reaching to all nations and to all ages: it is never to be conquered: it shall be glorious for evermore. Of this great king and his reign the royal prophet sings, (Ps. lxxi.,) ‘Give to the king thy judgment, O God – to judge thy people with justice, and thy poor with judgment. Let the mountains receive peace for the people, and the hills justice. He shall judge the poor of the people, and he shall save the children of the poor, and he shall bring down the oppressor, (the devil.) And he shall continue with the sun, and beyond the moon, throughout all generations. He shall come down like rain upon the fleece, and as showers falling gently upon the earth. In his days shall justice spring up, and abundance of peace, till the moon be taken away. And he shall rule from sea to sea: all kings of the earth shall adore him; all nations shall serve him. For he shall deliver the poor from the mighty, and he shall save the souls of the poor. He shall redeem their souls from usuries and iniquities, and their names shall be honourable in his sight.’ Such, Christians, is our great king, who shall rule us for evermore: and such are the blessings he brings us by his reign; according to what is written in the same psalm: ‘In him shall all the tribes of the earth be blessed. O let his name then be blessed for evermore; and blessed be his heavenly Father, who worketh these wonderful things in our favour. Yea, blessed be the name of his majesty for ever; and let the whole earth be filled with his glory. So be it. So be it.’
Consider 2ndly, that the Son of God, incarnate for us, is not only our king; he is our priest too – the high priest of God and man. ‘Now every high priest,’ says the apostle, Heb v. 1, ‘taken from among men, is appointed for men, in the things that appertain to God, that he may offer up gifts and sacrifices for sin.’ And thus the Son of God, becoming man by his incarnation, was called by his Father, and anointed to this high priestly office by his holy Spirit, to execute every branch of it to the glory of his Father, and in behalf of us men. This he did ‘in the days of his flesh, that is, of his mortal life, by offering up prayers and supplications, with a strong cry and tears,’ Heb. v. 7: this he did in death, by the great sacrifice for the sins of the whole world which he then offered upon the altar of the cross. This he still continues to do in the sanctuary of heaven, into which he has carried the blood of his sacrifice, to be there presented before the throne of his Father; where also with his blood he continually makes intercession for the obtaining of mercy, grace, and salvation for us. Such are the benefits which are derived from the everlasting priesthood of our Lord. ‘Seeing then,’ says the apostle, ‘that we have this great high priest, that hath passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God: let us hold fast our confession. For we have not a high priest who cannot have compassion on our infirmities; but one temped in all things like as we, yet without sin. Let us go, therefore, with confidence to the throne of grace; that we may obtain mercy, and find grace in seasonable aid.’ Heb. vi 14, 15, 16.
Consider 3rdly, that Christ our Lord, not content with executing the priestly office in our behalf, whilst he was here upon earth in his own person; and continuing to execute it himself after his ascension into the sanctuary of heaven, was pleased moreover, before his departure hence, to ordain others, not as his successors (for his priesthood is eternal,) but as his ministers, to exercise in his name, and for the benefit of his people, all the offices and functions of the priesthood here amongst us; he assisting and co-operating with them from heaven; and as he has promised, being always with them, and keeping up a perpetual succession of them all days, even till the consummation of the world, Matt. xxviii. 18, 19, 10. So that we not only owe to that great high priest, and to his priesthood, all those blessings which he himself in person has at any time bestowed upon mankind, but also those many graces and spiritual benefits which he daily confers upon us, by the ministry of men, whom he has employed and commissioned to preach his gospel, administer sacraments, remit sins to his name, bless in his name, impart the grace of Holy Ghost by imposition of hand, and to consecrate and offer up daily to his name his body and blood for all the great ends of sacrifice. In all these offices our Lord assists us as our high priest; and whatsoever grace is here given to the faithful, it is all derived from his priesthood, who has imparted indeed to those whom he has made his vicegerents the doctrine, the authority , the spirit, the anointing, and the keys of the kingdom of heaven, which he has received of his Father; yet so that in all their performances, he himself is still the principal actor. See then, Christians, how happy we are in having such a high priest.
Conclude to keep up in your souls a grateful sense of the innumerable benefits which have been conferred upon all mankind by the incarnation of the Son of God, by which he is become our king and our priest. Adhere to him in both these his qualities; daily beg that he would establish his reign in you, and by his priesthood deliver you from your sins, and bring you to his Father, to be eternally his.