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  • WORKS OF ARMINIUS - ON THE PRIESTLY OFFICE OF CHRIST


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    DISPUTATION XXXV

    ON THE PRIESTLY OFFICE OF CHRIST

    I. Though the person of Christ is, on account of its excellence, most worthy to be honoured and worshipped, yet, that he might be, according to God, the object of the Christian religion, two other things, through the will of God, were necessary:

         (1.) That he should undertake some offices for the sake of men, to obtain eternal salvation for them.

         (2.) That God should bestow on him dominion or lordship over all things, and full power to save and to damn, with an express command, "that all men should honour the Son even as they honour the Father," and that "every knee should bow to him, to the glory of God the Father."

    II. Both these things are comprehended together under the title of saviour and Mediator. He is a saviour, so far as that comprises the end of both, and a Mediator, as it denotes the method of performing the end of both. For the act of saving, so far as it is ascribed to Christ, denotes the acquisition and communication of salvation. But Christ is the Mediator of men before God in soliciting and obtaining salvation, and the Mediator of God with men in imparting it. We will now treat on the former of these.

    III. The Mediator of men before God, and their saviour through the soliciting and the acquisition of salvation, (which is also called, by the orthodox, "through the mode of merit,") has been constituted a priest, by God, not according to the order of Levi, but according to that of Melchisedec, who was "priest of the most high God," and at the same time "king of Salem."

    IV. Through the nature of a true and not of a typical priest was at once both priest and victim in one person, which [duty], therefore, he could not perform except through true and substantial obedience towards God who imposed the office on him.

    V. In the priesthood of Christ, must be considered the preparation for the office, and the discharge of it.

         (1.) The Preparation is that of the priest and of the victim; the Priest was prepared by vocation or the imposition of the office, by the sanctification and consecration of his person through the Holy Spirit, and through his obedience and sufferings, and even in some respect by his resuscitation from the dead. The victim was also prepared by separation, by obedience, (for it was necessary that the victim should likewise be holy,) and by being slain.

    6.

         (2.) The Discharge of this office consists in the offering or presentation of the sacrifice of his body and blood, and in his intercession before God. Benediction or blessing, which, also, belonged to the sacerdotal office in the Old Testament, will, in this case, be more appropriately referred to the very communication of salvation, as we read in the Old Testament that kings, also, dispensed benedictions.

    VII. The results of the fulfillment of the sacerdotal office are, reconciliation with God, the obtaining of eternal redemption, the remission of sins, the Spirit of grace, and life eternal.

    VIII. Indeed, in this respect, the priesthood of Christ was propitiatory. But, because we, also, by his beneficence have been constituted priests to offer thanksgivings to God through Christ, therefore, he is also a eucharistical priest, so far as he offers our sacrifices to God the Father, that, when they are offered by his hands, the Father may receive them with acceptance.

    IX. It is evident, from those things which have been now advanced, that Christ, in his sacerdotal office, has neither any successor, vicar, nor associate, whether we consider the oblation, both of his propitiatory sacrifice which he offered of those things which were his own, and of his eucharistical sacrifice which he offered of those also, which belonged to us, or whether we consider his intercession.

    COROLLARIES

    I. We deny that the comparison between the priesthood of Christ and that of Melchisedec, consisted either principally or in any manner in this, that Melchisedec offered bread and wine when he met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings.

    II. That the propitiatory sacrifice of Christ is bloodless, implies a contradiction, according to the Scriptures.

    III. The living Christ is presented to the Father in no other place than in heaven. Therefore, he is not offered in the mass.

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