(Calvin, Paul to the Hebrews. part 9)

knows the heart, his own office is taken from him, when in things hidden,
of which men can form no opinion, we appeal to any other judge; and
thirdly, because in swearing we not only appeal to him as a witness, but
also call upon him as an avenger of perjury in case we speak falsely. It
is no wonder, then, that he is so greatly displeased with those who swear
by another name, for his own honour is thus disparaged. And that there
are different forms often used in Scripture, makes nothing against this
truth; for they did not swear by heaven or earth, as though they ascribed
any divine power to them, or attributed to them the least portion of
divinity, but by this indirect protestation, so to speak, they had a
regard to the one true God. There are indeed various kinds of
protestations; but the chief one is, when we refer to God as a judge and
directly appeal to his judgment-seat; another is, when we name things
especially dear to us as our life, or our head, or anything of this kind;
and the third is, when we call creatures as witnesses before God. But in
all these ways we swear properly by no other than by God. hence they
betray their impiety no less than their ignorance, who contend that it is
lawful to connect dead saints with God so as to attribute to them the
right of punishing.
    Further, this passage teaches us, as it has been said, that an oath
may be lawfully used by Christians; and this ought to be particularly
observed, on account of fanatical men who are disposed to abrogate the
practice of solemn swearing which God has prescribed in his Law. For
certainly the Apostle speaks here of the custom of swearing as of a holy
practice, and approved by God. Moreover, he does not say of it as having
been formerly in use, but as of a thing still practiced. Let it then be
employed as a help to find out the truth when other proofs are wanting.
=====> 6:17. "God, willing", &c. See how kindly God as a gracious Father
accommodates himself to our slowness to believe; as he sees that we rest
not on his simple word, that he might more fully impress it on our hearts
he adds an oath. Hence also it appears how much it concerns us to know
that there is such a certainty respecting his goodwill towards us, that
there is no longer any occasion for wavering or for trembling. For when
God forbids his name to be taken in vain or on a slight occasion, and
denounces the severest vengeance on all who rashly abuse it, when he
commands reverence to be rendered to his majesty, he thus teaches us that
he holds his name in the highest esteem and honour. The certainty of
salvation is then a necessary thing; for he who forbids to swear without
reason has been pleased to swear for the sake of rendering it certain.
And we may hence also conclude what great account he makes of our
salvation; for in order to secure it, he not only pardons our unbelief,
but giving up as it were his own right, and yielding to us far more than
what we could claim, he kindly provides a remedy for it.
    "Unto the heirs of promise", &c. He seems especially to point out the
Jews; for though the heirship came at length to the Gentiles, yet the
former were the first lawful heirs, and the latter, being aliens, were
made the second heirs, and that beyond the right of nature. So Peter,
addressing the Jews in his first sermon, says, "To you and to your
children is the promise made, and to those who are afar of, whom the Lord
shall call." (Acts 2: 39.) He left indeed a place for adventitious heirs,
but he sets the Jews in the first rank, according to what he also says in
the third chapter, "Ye are the children of the fathers and of the
covenant," &c. (Acts 3: 25.) So also in this place the Apostle, in order
to make the Jews more ready to receive the covenant, shows that it was
for their sakes chiefly it was confirmed by an oath. At the same time
this declaration belongs at this day to us also, for we have entered into
the place quitted by them through unbelief
    Observe that what is testified to us in the Gospel is called the
"counsel" of God, that no one may doubt but that this truth proceeds from
the very inmost thoughts of God. Believers ought therefore to be fully
persuaded that whenever they hear the voice of the Gospel, the secret
counsel of God, which lay hid in him, is proclaimed to them, and that
hence is made.known to them what he has decreed respecting our salvation
before the creation of the world.
=====> 6:18. "That by two immutable things", &c. What God says as well as
what he swears is immutable. (Ps. 12: 6; Numb. 23: 19.) It may be with
men far otherwise; for their vanity is such that there cannot be much
firmness in their word. But the word of God is in various ways extolled;
it is pure and without any dross, like gold seven times purified. Even
Balaam, though an enemy, was yet constrained to bring this testimony,
"God is not like the sons of men that he should lie, neither like men
that he should repent: has he then said, and shall he not do it? Has he
spoken, and shall he not make it good?" Numb. 23: 19.) The word of God,
then, is a sure truth, and in itself authoritative, (|autopistos|,
self-worthy of trust.) But when an oath is added it is an overplus added
to a full measure. We have, then, this strong consolation, that God, who
cannot deceive when he speaks, being not content with making a promise,
has confirmed it by an oath.
    "Who have fled for refuge", &c. By these words he intimates that we
do not truly trust in God except when we forsake every other protection
and flee for refuge to his sure promise, and feel assured that it is our
only safe asylum. Hence by the word flee is set forth our poverty and our
need; for we flee not to God except when constrained. But when he adds
"the hope set before us", he intimates that we have not far to go to seek
the aid we want, for God himself of his own free will meets us and puts
as it were in our hand what we are to hope for; it is "set before us".
But as by this truth he designed to encourage the Jews to embrace the
Gospel in which salvation was offered to them; so also he thus deprived
the unbelieving, who rejected the favour presented to them, of every
excuse. And doubtless this might have been more truly said after the
promulgation of the Gospel than under the Law: "There is now no reason
for you to say, 'Who shall ascent into heaven? Or, Who shall descend into
the deep? Or, Who shall pass over the sea? For nigh is the word, it is in
thy mouth and in thy heart.'" (Dent. 30: 12; Rom. 10: 6.)
    But there is a metonymy in the word "hope", for the effect is put for
the cause; and I understand by it the promise on which our hope leans or
relies, for I cannot agree with those who take hope here for the thing
hoped for - by no means: and this also must be added, that the Apostle
speaks not of a naked promise, suspended as it were in the air, but of
that which is received by faith; or, if you prefer a short expression,
the hope here means the promise apprehended by faith. By the word "laying
hold", as well as by "hope", he denotes firmness. 
=====> 6:19. "As an anchor", &c. It is a striking likeness when he
compares faith leaning on God's word to an anchor; for doubtless, as long
as we sojourn in this world, we stand not on firm ground, but are tossed
here and there as it were in the midst of the sea, and that indeed very
turbulent; for Satan is incessantly stirring up innumerable storms, which
would immediately upset and sink our vessel, were we not to cast our
anchor fast in the deep. For nowhere a haven appears to our eyes, but
wherever we look water alone is in view; yea, waves also arise and
threaten us; but as the anchor is cast through the waters into a dark and
unseen place, and while it lies hid there, keeps the vessel beaten by the
waves from being overwhelmed; so must our hope be fixed on the invisible
God. There is this difference, - the anchor is cast downwards into the
sea, for it has the earth as its bottom; but our hope rises upwards and
soars aloft, for in the world it finds nothing on which it can stand, nor
ought it to cleave to created things, but to rest on God alone. As the
cable also by which the anchor is suspended joins the vessel with the
earth through a long and dark intermediate space, so the truth of God is
a bond to connect us with himself, so that no distance of place and no
darkness can prevent us from cleaving to him. Thus when united to God,
though we must struggle with continual storms, we are yet beyond the
peril of shipwreck. Hence he says, that this anchor is "sure" and
"steadfast", or safe and firm. It may indeed be that by the violence of
the waves the anchor may be plucked off, or the cable be broken, or the
beaten ship be torn to pieces. This happens on the sea; but the power of
God to sustain us is wholly different, and so also is the strength of
hope and the firmness of his word.
    "Which entereth into that", or those things, &c. As we have said,
until faith reaches to God, it finds nothing but what is unstable and
evanescent; it is hence necessary for it to penetrate even into heaven.
But as the Apostle is speaking to the Jews, he alludes to the ancient
Tabernacle, and says, that they ought not to abide in those things which
are seen, but to penetrate into the inmost recesses, which lie hid within
the veil, as though he had said, that all the external and ancient
figures and shadows were to be passed over, in order that faith might be
fixed on Christ alone.
    And carefully ought this reasoning to be observed, - that as Christ
has entered into heaven, so faith ought to be directed there also: for we
are hence taught that faith should look nowhere else. And doubtless it is
in vain for man to seek God in his own majesty, for it is too far removed
from them; but Christ stretches forth his hand to us, that he may lead us
to heaven. And this was shadowed forth formerly under the Law; for the
high priest entered the holy of holies, not in his own name only, but
also in that of the people, inasmuch as he bare in a manner the twelve
tribes on his breast and on his shoulders; for as a memorial for them
twelve stones were wrought on the breastplate, and on the two onynx
stones on his shoulders were engraved their names, so that in the person
of one man all entered into the sanctuary together. Rightly then does the
Apostle speak, when he reminds them that our high priest has entered into
heaven; for he has not entered only for himself, but also for us. There
is therefore no reason to fear that access to heaven will be closed up
against our faith, as it is never disjoined from Christ. And as it
becomes us to follow Christ who is gone before, he is therefore called
our "Forerunner", or precursor.



Chapter 7

=====> 7:1 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;
7:2 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;
7:3 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 continually.

=====> 7:1. "For this Melchisedec", &c. He has hitherto been stimulating
the Jews by exhortations, that they might attentively I consider the
comparison between Christ and Melchisedec. At the end of the last
chapter, that he might return from his digression to his subject, he
quoted again the passage from the Psalms; and now he enters fully into
what he had before slightly referred to; for he enumerates particularly
the things connected with Melchisedec, in which he resembled Christ. It
is indeed no wonder that he dwells so minutely on this subject. It was
doubtless no common thing that in a country abounding in the corruptions
of so many superstitions, a man was found who preserved the pure worship
of God; for on one side he was nigh to Sodom and Gomorrah, and on the
other to the Canaanites, so that he was on every side encompassed by
ungodly men. Besides, the whole world was so fallen into impiety, that it
is very probable that God was nowhere faithfully worshipped except in the
family of Abraham; for his father and his grandfather, who ought to have
retained true religion, had long before degenerated into idolatry. It was
therefore a memorable fact, that there was still a king who not only
retained true religion, but also performed himself the office of a
priest. And it was doubtless necessary that in him who was to be a type
of the Son of God all things excellent should be found: and that Christ
was shadowed forth by this type is evident from the Psalm referred to;
for David did not say without reason, "Thou art a priest forever after
the order Melchisedec;" no, but on the contrary, by these words a sublime
mystery was recommended to the Church.
    Let us now consider each of those particulars in which the Apostle
makes Christ like Melchisedec.
    The first likeness is in the name; for it was not without a mystery
that he was called "the King of righteousness. For though this honour is
ascribed to kings who rule with moderation and in equity, yet this
belongs really to Christ alone, who not only exercises authority justly
as others do, but also communicates to us the righteous of God, partly
when he makes us to be counted righteous by a gratuitous reconciliation,
and partly when he renews us by his Spirit, that we may lead a godly and
holy life. He is then called the King of righteousness, because of what
he effects in diffusing righteousness on all his people. It hence
follows, that out of his kingdom nothing but sin reigns among men. And
therefore Zechariah, when he introduces him, as by the solemn decree of
God, into the possession of his kingdom, thus extols him, - "Rejoice, O
daughter of Sion, Behold thy righteous King cometh to thee," (Zech 2:
10;) intimating that the righteousness, which is otherwise wanting to us,
is brought to us by the coming of Christ.
    The second likeness which the Apostle states is as to the kingdom of
"peace". This peace indeed is the fruit of that righteousness which he
has mentioned. It hence follows that wherever Christ's kingdom extends,
there peace ought to be, as we find in Isa. 2 and 9, and in other places.
But as peace among the Hebrews means also a prosperous and happy state,
it may be so taken here: yet I prefer to understand it here of that
inward peace which tranquillizes the conscience and renders it confident
before God. And the excellency of this blessing cannot be sufficiently
estimated, unless you consider on the other hand, how miserable a thing
it is to be tormented by constant inquietude; which must necessarily be
the case until we have our consciences pacified by being reconciled to
God through Christ.
=====> 7:3. "Without father", &c. I prefer this rendering to that of
"unknown father;" for the Apostle meant to express something more
emphatic than that the family of Melchisedec was obscure or unknown. Nor
does this objection disturb me, that the reality does not correspond with
the figure or type, because Christ has a Father in heaven, and had a
mother on earth; for the Apostle immediately explains his meaning by
adding "without descent", or kindred. He then exempts Melchisedec from
what is common to others, a descent by birth; by which he means that he
is eternal, so that his beginning from men was not to be sought after. It
is indeed certain that he descended from parents; but the Apostle does
not speak of him here in his private capacity; on the contrary, he sets
him forth as a type of Christ. He therefore allows himself to see nothing
in him but what Scripture contains. For in treating of things respecting
Christ, such reverence ought to be observed as not to know anything but
what is written in the Word of the Lord. Now, as the Holy Spirit in
mentioning this king, the most illustrious of his age, is wholly silent
as to his birth, and makes afterwards no record of his death, is not this
the same thing as though eternity was to be ascribed to him? And what was
shadowed forth in Melchisedec is really exhibited in Christ. It behoves
us then to be satisfied with this moderate view, that while Scripture
sets forth to us Melchisedec as one who had never been born and never
died, it shows to us as in a mirror, that Christ has neither a beginning
nor an end.
    But we hence also learn how much reverence and sobriety is required
as to the spiritual mysteries of God: for what is not found read in
Scripture the Apostle is not only willing to be ignorant of, but also
would have us to seek to know. And surely it is not lawful for us to
allege anything of Christ from our own thoughts. And Melchisedec is not
to be considered here, as they say, in his private capacity, but as a
sacred type of Christ; nor ought we to think that it was accidentally or
inadvertently omitted that no kindred is ascribed to him, and that
nothing is said of his death; but on the contrary, that this was done
designedly by the Spirit, in order to give us an idea of one above the
common order of men. There seems therefore to be no probability in the
conjecture of those who say that Melchisedec was Shem the son of Noah;
for if we make him to be some known individual, we destroy this third
likeness between Melchisedec and Christ.
    "Made like", or assimilated, &c. Not as far as what was typified
required; for we must always bear in mind that there is but an analogy
between the thing signified and the sign; for they make themselves
ridiculous who imagine that he came down from heaven, in order that there
might be a perfect similarity. It is enough that we see in him the
lineaments of Christ, as the form of the living man may be seen in his
picture, while yet the man himself is very different from what represents
him. It seems not to be worth one's while to refute the delirious notions
of those who dream that Christ himself, or the holy Spirit, or an angel,
appeared at that time; unless indeed one thought it to be the duty of a
right-minded man to dispute with Postillus and such fanatics; for that
impostor asserts that he is Melchisedec with no less supercilious folly
than those mad spirits of old, mentioned by Jerome, who pretended that
they were Christ.

=====> 7:4 Now consider how great this man [was], unto whom even the
patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils.
7:5 And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office
of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people
according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of
the loins of Abraham:
7:6 But he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of
Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises.
7:7 And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better.
7:8 And here men that die receive tithes; but there he [receiveth them],
of whom it is witnessed that he liveth.
7:9 And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in
Abraham.
7:10 For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him.

=====> 7:4. "Now consider, &. This is the fourth comparison between
Christ and Melchisedec, that Abraham presented tithes to him. But though
tithes were instituted for several reasons, yet the Apostle here refers
only to what serves his present purpose. One reason why tithes were paid
to the Levites was, because they were the children of Abraham, to whose
seed the land was promised. It was, then, by a hereditary right that a
portion of the land was allotted to them; for as they were not allowed to
possess land, a compensation was made to them in tithes. There was also
another reason, - that as they were occupied in the service of God and
the public ministry of the Church, it was right that they should be
supported at the public cost of the people. Then the rest of the
Israelites owed them tithes as a remuneration for their work. But these
reasons bear not at all on the present subject; therefore, the Apostle
passes them by. The only reason now alleged is, that as the people
offered the tithes as a sacred tribute to God, the Levites only received
them. It hence appears that it was no small honour that God in a manner
substituted them for himself. Then Abraham, being one of the chief
sergeants of God and a prophet, having offered tithes to Melchisedec the
priest, thereby confessed that Melchisedec excelled him in dignity. If,
then, the "patriarch" Abraham owned him more honourable than himself, his
dignity must have been singular and extraordinary. The word "patriarch"
is mentioned for the sake of setting forth his dignity; for it was in the
highest degree honourable to him to have been called a father in the
Church of God.
    Then the argument is this, - Abraham, who excelled all others, was
yet inferior to Melchisedec; then Melchisedec had the highest place of
honour, and is to be regarded as superior to all the sons of Levi. The
first part is proved, for what Abraham owed to God he gave to
Melchisedec: then by paying him the tenth he confessed himself to be
inferior.
=====> 7:5. "And verily they", &c. It would be more suitable to render
the words thus, "because they are the sons of Levi." The Apostle indeed
does not assign it as a reason that they received tithes because they
were the sons of Levi; but he is comparing the whole tribe with
Melchisedec in this way. Though God granted to the Levites the right of
requiring tithes from the people, and thus set them above all the
Israelites, yet they have all descended from the same parent; and
Abraham, the father of them all, paid tithes to a priest of another race:
then all the descendants of Abraham are inferior to this priest. Thus the
right conferred on the Levites was particular as to the rest of their
brethren; yet Melchisedec, without exception, occupies the highest place,
so that all are inferior to him. Some think that the tenths of tenths are
intended, which the Levites paid to the higher priests; but there is no
reason thus to confine the general declaration. The view, then, I have
given is the most probable.
=====> 7:6. "Blessed him", &c. This is the fifth comparison between
Christ and Melchisedec. The Apostle assumes it as an admitted principle
that the less is blessed by the greater; and then he adds that
Melchisedec blessed Abraham: hence the conclusion is that the less was
Abraham. But for the sake of strengthening his argument he again raises
the dignity of Abraham; for the more glorious Abraham is made, the higher
the dignity of Melchisedec appears. For this purpose he says that Abraham
had the "promises"; by which he means that he was the first of the holy
race with whom God made the covenant of eternal life. It was not indeed a
common honour that God chose him from all the rest that he might deposit
with him the privilege of adoption and the testimony of his love. But all
this was no hindrance that he should not submit himself in all his
preeminence to the priesthood of Melchisedec. We hence see how great he
was to whom Abraham gave place in these two things, - that he suffered
himself to be blessed by him, and that he offered him tithes as to God's
vicegerent. 
=====> 7:7. "The less is", &c. Let us first know what the word "b1essed"
means here. It means indeed a solemn praying by which he who is invested
with some high and public honour, recommends to God men in private
stations and under his ministry. Another way of blessing is when we pray
for one another; which is commonly done by all the godly. But this
blessing mentioned by the Apostle was a symbol of greater authority. Thus
Isaac blessed his son Jacob, and Jacob himself blessed his grandsons,
Ephraim and Manasseh. (Gen. 27: 27; 48: 15.) This was not done mutually,
for the son could not do the like to the father; but a higher authority
was required for such a blessing as this. And this appears more evident
still from Numb. 6: 23, where a command is given to the priest to bless
the people, and then a promise is immediately added, that they would be
blessed whom they blessed. It hence appears that the blessing of the
priest depended on this, - that it was not so much man's blessing as that
of God. For as the priest in offering sacrifices represented Christ, so
in blessing the people he was nothing more than a minister and legate of
the supreme God. In the same sense ought to be understood what Luke
records when he says, that Christ lifted up his hands and blessed the
Apostles. (Luke 24: 50.) The practice of lifting up the hands he no doubt
borrowed from the priests, in order to show that be was the person by
whom God the Father blesses us. Of this blessing mention is also made in
Ps. 116: 17; 118: 1.
    Let us now apply this idea to what the apostle treats of: The
blessing of the priest, while it is a divine work is also an evidence of
a higher honour; then Melchisedec, in blessing Abraham, assumed to
himself a higher dignity. This he did, not presumptuously, but according
to his right as a priest: then he was more eminent than Abraham. Yet
Abraham was he with whom God was pleased to make the covenant of
salvation; though, then, he was superior to all others, yet he was
surpassed by Melchisedec.
=====> 7:8. "Of whom it is witnessed that he liveth". He takes the
silence respecting his death, as I have said, as an evidence of his life.
This would not indeed hold as to others, but as to Melchisedec it ought
rightly to be so regarded, inasmuch as he was a type of Christ. For as
the spiritual kingdom and priesthood of Christ are spoken of here, there
is no place left for human conjectures; nor is it lawful for us to seek
to know anything farther than what we read in Scripture. But we are not
hence to conclude that the man who met Abraham is yet alive, as some have
childishly thought, for this is to be applied to the other person whom he
represented, even the Son of God. And by these words the Apostle intended
to show, that the dignity of Melchisedec's priesthood was to be
perpetual, while that of the Levites was temporary
    For he thus reasons, - those to whom the Law assigns tithes are dying
men; by which it was indicated that the priesthood would some time be
abrogated, as their life came to an end: but the Scripture makes no
mention of the death of Melchisedec, when it relates that tithes were
paid to him; so the authority of his priesthood is limited by no time,
but on the contrary there is given an indication of perpetuity. And this
is added for this purpose, lest a posterior law, as it is usual, should
seem to take away from the authority of a former law. For it might have
been otherwise objected and said, that the right which Melchisedec
formerly possessed is now void and null, because God had introduced
another law by Moses, by which he transferred the right to the Levites.
But the Apostle anticipates this objection by saying, that tithes were
paid to the Levites only for a time, because they did not live; but that
Melchisedec, because he is immortal, retains even to the end what was
once given to him by God.
=====> 7:9. "Levi also", &c. He advances farther, and says, that even
Levi himself, who was then in the loins of Abraham, was at exempt from
the same subordination; for Abraham, by paying tithes, made himself and
his posterity inferior to the priesthood of Melchisedec. But here one, on
the other hand, may say, that in the same way Judas also of whose seed
Christ was born, paid tithes. But this knot can be easily untied, when
one considers two things which are settled beyond all dispute among
Christians: first, Christ is not to be counted simply as one of the sons
of Abraham, but is to be exempted by a peculiar privilege from the common
order of men; and this is what he himself said, "If he is the son of
David, hen does David call him his Lord?" (Matt. 22: 45;) secondly, since
Melchisedec is a type of Christ, it is by no means reasonable that the
one should be set in opposition to the other; for we must remember that
common saying, that what is subordinate is not in opposition: hence the
type, which comes short of the reality, ought by no means to be opposed
to it, nor can it be, for such is the conflict of equals.
    These five particulars, mentioned by the Apostle, complete the
comparison between Christ and Melchisedec, and thus is dissipated the
gloss of those who seek to show that the chief likeness between them is
in offering of bread and wine. We see that the Apostle carefully, and
even scrupulously, examines here each of these points; he mentions the
name of the man, the seat of his kingdom, the perpetuity of his life, his
right to tithes, and his benediction.
    There is, forsooth! in these things, less importance than in the
oblation! Shall we say that the Spirit of God, through forgetfulness,
omitted this, so that he dwelt on minor things, and left unnoticed tale
chief thing, and what was most necessary for his purpose? I marvel the
more that so many of the ancient doctors of the Church were so led away
by this notion, that they dwelt only on the offering of bread and wine.
And thus they spoke, "Christ is a priest according to the order of
Melchisedec; and Melchisedec offered bread and wine; then the sacrifice
of bread and wine is suitable to the priesthood of Christ." The Apostle
will hereafter speak largely of the ancient sacrifices; but of this new
sacrifice of bread and wine he says not a word. Whence then did
ecclesiastical writers derive this notion? Doubtless, as one error
usually leads to another, having of themselves imagined a sacrifice in
Christ's Supper without any command from him, and thus adulterated the
Supper by adding a sacrifice, they afterwards endeavoured to find out
plausible arguments here and there in order to disguise and cover their
error. This offering of bread and wine pleased them, and was instantly
laid hold on without any discretion. For who can concede that these men
were more intelligent than the Spirit of God? Yet if we receive what they
teach, we must condemn God's Spirit for inadvertence in having omitted a
matter so important, especially as the question is avowedly handled!
    I hence conclude, that the ancients invented a sacrifice, of which
Moses had never thought; for Melchisedec offered bread and wine, not to
God, but on the contrary to Abraham and his companions. These are the
words, "Melchisedec, king of Salem, went out to meet him, and brought
forth bread and wine; and the same was priest to the most high God, and
blessed him." (Gen. 14: 18.) The first thing mentioned was a royal act;
he refreshed those wearied after the battle and their journey with
sustenance; the blessing was the act of a priest. If then his offering
had anything mystical in it, the completion of it is to be found in
Christ, when he fed the hungry and those wearied with fatigue. But the
Papists are extremely ridiculous, who though they deny that there is
bread and wine in the Mass, yet prattle about the sacrifice of bread and
wine.

=====> 7:11 If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood,
(for under it the people received the law,) what further need [was there]
that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not
be called after the order of Aaron?
7:12 For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a
change also of the law.
7:13 For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe,
of which no man gave attendance at the altar.
7:14 For [it is] evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe
Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood.

=====> 7:11. "If therefore perfections", or, moreover if perfection, &c.
From the same testimony the Apostle concludes, that the old covenant was
abrogated by the coming of Christ. He has hitherto spoken of the office
and person of the priest; but as God had instituted a priesthood for the
purpose of ratifying the Law, the former being abolished, the latter
necessarily ceases. That this may be better understood, we must bear in
mind the general truth, - That no covenant between God and man is in
force and ratified, except it rests on a priesthood. Hence the Apostle
says, that the Law was introduced among the ancient people under the
Levitical priesthood; by which he intimates, that it not only prevailed
during the time of the Law, but that it was instituted, as we have said
for the sake of confirming the Law.
    He now reasons thus, If the ministry of the Church was perfect under
the order of Aaron, why was it necessary to return to another order? For
in perfection nothing can be changed. It then follows, that the ministry
of the Law was not perfect, for that new order was to be introduced of
which David speaks.
    "For under it the people received the Law", &c. This parenthesis is
inserted in order that we may know that the Law was annexed to the
priesthood. The Apostle had in view to prove that in the Law of Moses
there was no ultimate end at which we ought to stop. This he proves by
the abrogation of the priesthoods and in this way: Had the authority of
the ancient priesthood been such as to be sufficient fully to establish
the Law, God would have never introduced in its place another and a
different priesthood. Now, as some might doubt whether the abolition of
the Law followed the abolition of the priesthood, he says that the Law
was not only brought in under it, but that it was also by it established.
=====> 7:12. "For the priesthood being changed", or, transferred, &c. As
the authority of the Law and the priesthood is the same, Christ became
not only a priest, hut also a Lawgiver; so that the right of Aaron, as
well as of Moses, was transferred to him. The sum of the whole is, that
the ministry of Moses was no less temporary than that of Aaron; and hence
both were annulled by the coming of Christ, for the one could not stand
without the other. By the word Law, we understand what peculiarly
belonged to Moses; for the Law contains the rule of life, and the
gratuitous covenant of life; and in it we find everywhere many remarkable
sentences by which we are instructed as to faith, and as to the fear of
God. None of these were abolished by Christ, but only that part which
regarded the ancient priesthood.
    For Christ is here compared with Moses; whatever then they had in
common, is not to be taken to the account, but only the things in which
they differ. They in common offer God's mercy to us, prescribe the rule
of a holy and godly life, teach us the true worship of God, and exhort us
to exercise faith and patience, and all the duties of godliness. But
Moses was different from Christ in this respect, that while the love of
the Gospel was not as yet made known, he kept the people under veils, set
forth the knowledge of Christ by types and shadows, and, in short,
accommodated himself to the capacity of ignorant people, and did not rise
higher than to puerile elements. We must then remember, that the Law is
that part of the ministration which Moses had as peculiarly his own, and
different from that of Christ. That law, as it was subordinate to the
ancient priesthood, was abolished when the priesthood was abolished. And
Christ, being made a priest, was invested also with the authority of a
legislator, that he might be the teacher and interpreter of the new
covenant. At the same time, the word Law is applied, though not in its
strict sense, to the Gospel; but this impropriety of language is so far
from having anything harsh in it, that on account of the contrast it adds
beauty to the sentence, as we find in the seventh chapter of the Epistle
to the Romans
    Moreover, the impiety of the Pope is extremely arrogant, who has
inserted this article in his decretals, that he himself is now invested
with the same authority as Aaron formerly had, because the Law and also
the priesthood have been transferred to him. We see what the Apostle
.



(continued in part 10...)


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