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26 For it was fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, blameless, undefiled, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens.


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26. For such an high priest, etc. He reasons from what is necessarily connected with the subject. These conditions, or qualifications, as they commonly say, are of necessity required in a priest — that he should be just, harmless, and pure from every spot. This honor belongs to Christ alone. Then what was required for the real discharge of the office was wanting in the priests of the law. It hence follows, that there was no perfection in the Levitical priesthood; nor was it indeed in itself legitimate, unless it was subservient to that of Christ; and, doubtless, the external ornaments of the high priest indicated this defect; for why were those costly and splendid vestments used with which God commanded Aaron to be adorned while performing holy rites, except that they were symbols of a holiness and excellency far exceeding all human virtues? Now, these types were introduced, because the reality did not exist. It then appears that Christ alone is the fully qualified priest.

Separate from sinners, etc. This clause includes all the rest. For there was some holiness, and harmlessness, and purity in Aaron, but only a small measure; for he and his sons were defiled with many spots; but Christ, exempt from the common lot of men, is alone free from every sin; hence in him alone is found real holiness and innocency. For he is not said to be separate from us, because he repels us from his society, but because he has this excellency above us all, that he is free from every uncleanness. 125125     Christ as a priest was “holy” with regard to God; “harmless,” or innocent, or guileless, according to Chrysostom, with respect to men; “undefiled” as to himself, morally so, as the priests under the law were so ceremonially; “separate,” or separated “from sinners” removed from their society to another place, and “exalted higher than the heavens.” There is an allusion to the Levitical high priest, especially in the three last words, and a contrast in the two last; the Levitical high priest continued among sinners, Christ is removed from them; the former entered into the holy of holies, the latter has entered into a place higher that the heavens, even the heavens of heavens. How immeasurable is the superiority of our high priest! — Ed.

And we hence conclude, that all prayers, which are not supported by Christ’s intercession, are rejected.

It may, however, be asked as to angels, whether they are separate from sinners? And if so, what prevents them from discharging the offices of the priesthood, and from being our mediators with God? To this there is an easy reply: — No one is a lawful priest, except he is appointed by God’s command; and God has nowhere conferred this honor on angels. It would then be a sacrilegious usurpation, were they, without being called, to intrude into the office; besides, it is necessary, as we shall presently see at the beginning of the next chapter, that the Mediator between God and men should himself be a man. At the same time the last thing mentioned here by the Apostle is abundantly sufficient as an answer to the question; for no one can unite us to God but he who reaches to God; and this is not the privilege of angels, for they are not said to have been made higher than the heavens. It then belongs to Christ alone to conciliate God to us, as he has ascended above all the heavens. Now, these words mean the same as though Christ were said to have been placed above all orders of creatures, so that he stands eminent above all angels.




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