« PreviousContinue »
of the High-Prieft, are faid, to be gathered together, in order to examine St. Peter and St. John. And one of thefe Heads of Families was Scava, the Jew, and chief of the -xix.14Priests; whom we read of, at Ephefus.
Now, the Priesthood being, by the Law, infeparable from the Tribe of Levi, when the Law came to be abolish'd by CHRIST, that Qualification vanish'd along with it. This St. Paul exprefly afferts and explains in his Epiftle to the Hebrews. He fhews, Heb. vii, CK that CHRIST our High-Priest, after the Order of Melchifedec, and not of the Tribe of Levi, having chang'd the Priesthood, muft of necessity have made a change of the Law alfo. For, it is evident (says he) that our LORD sprang out of Judah; of which tribe Mofes pake nothing, concerning the Priesthood.
And, as there is a difanulling of the commandment going before, for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof; as the Law is abolifh'd, with all its (now) useless Ceremonies and Sacrifices; and God, inftead thereof, has declar'd that he will be worship'd, in Spirit and in truth, with a Life of Charity, fpringing out of faith unfeigned; fo CHRIST, T 4
inftead of the Levitical, has eftablish'd another, unchangeable Priesthood. He faid to John. xx. his Disciples, As my father bath fent me, even 24, 22, 23. fo fend I you: Receive ye the Holy Ghoft. Whofoever fins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whofoever fins ye retain, they are retained.
And this is the Form now us'd, by our Bishops; who are the Succeffors of the Apostles, and to whom the Commiffion of CHRIST has fucceffively defcended, authorizing and empowering them accordingly Acts. xiv. to ordain elders (whether Bishops or Priefs) in every church; as Occafion requires. Of the proper Qualifications for this facred Office, They are the Judges. Nor (as our Art. xxiii. Church declares) is it lawful for any "Man to take upon him the Office of publick Preaching, or miniftring the Sa "craments in the Congregation, before he "be lawfully called and fent to execute "the fame. And those, we ought to judge "lawfully called and fent, which be chosen "and called to this Work, by Men who "have publick Authority given unto them, "in the Congregation, to call and fend "Minifters into the LORD's Vineyard, A SECT.
-ns b'dildafls zud ID ros?
1999 The LEVITE S. -odW Mode
Next to the Priefts were the Levites, properly fo call'd, by way of Diftinction from the Reft of the Minifters of the. -Sanctuary. Levites, in one Senfe, they were all from the High-Prieft down to the Door-keeper: as they were defcended from Levi. But when God appropriated the Priesthood to Aaron and his Sons, and their Succeffors in the Houfe of Aaron; He diftributed the Reft of the facred Offices to the Remainder of the Tribe of Levi: Some of whom were to attend upon and affift the Priests, in the more laborious and fervile Parts of their Function; and the Reft (of whom we shall speak afterwards) to take care of other Duties relat ing to either the Tabernacle or Temple.
The former of these, are what we find emphatically styl'd Levites. Let us fee how the general Institution of them ftands. The Numb.iii. LORD spake unto Mofes, faying, Bring the 5. &c. tribe of Levi near, and prefent them before Aaron the Prief, that they may minister un1032
to bim. And they shall keep his charge, and the charge of the whole congregation, before the tabernacle of the congregation, to do the Service of the tabernacle. And they shall keep all the inftruments of the tabernacle of the congregation, and the charge of the children of Ifrael, to do the fervice of the tabernacle. And thou shalt give the Levites unto Aaron and to his fons; they are wholly given unto him out of the children of Ifrael. And thou fhalt appoint Aaron and his fons, and they fhall wait on their Prief's Office: And the ftranger (who is not of the Tribe of Levi) that cometh nigh shall be put to death.
Their Number, at that time, was Two ---22.28. and twenty thousand and three hundred They were to encamp about the four Quar ters of the Tabernacle, and had the refpective Duties allotted them under their feveral Chiefs. And Levi having had three Sons, Gershon, *Kohath, and Merari, the Levites were number'd, and affign'd to their proper Offices, under three Divifions. The Sons of Gershon were to take charge of, the tabernacle, and the tent, the covering thereof,
* He was Grandfather to Mofes and Aaron.
and the hanging for the door of the tabernacle; the hangings of the court, and the curtain for the door of the court, and the cords of it, for all the fervice thereof. The Charge of the Kohathites was to be The ark, -31. and the table, and the candlestick, and the altars, and the veffels of the fanctuary, wherewith they minifter, and the hanging, and all "the fervice thereof. And the Defcendents from Merari were to have The cuftody and --- 36, charge of the boards, and bars, and pillars, and fockets, and pins, and cords, that any way belong'd to the tabernacle and the court thereof. And when there was a Neceffity of removing it, each of thefe Divifions A took to pieces, and carried off those Parts of the Tabernacle, which were thus affign'd to them: And, were fo difpos'd in their Encampment, as to be each as near as con#veniently they could to their respective
The Confecration of the LEVITES.
Nor were, even these, to enter upon their Office, without a previous Confecration, as it were preparing and fitting them thereto.