III. What is the priestly or sacerdotal office of Christ ?
A priest in general is a person appointed of God, for the purpose of offering oblations and sacrifices, for interceding and teaching others. We may distinguish between those who serve in the capacity of priests, by speaking of them as typical and real. A typical priest is a person ordained of God to offer typical sacrifices, to make intercessions for himself and others, and to teach the people concerning the will of God, and the Messiah to come. Such were all the priests of the Old Testament, among whom there was one that was the greatest, usually called the High Priest; the others were inferior. It was peculiar to the High Priest:

1. That he alone entered once every year into the sanctuary, or most holy place, and that with blood which he offered for himself, and the people, burning incense and making intercession.

2. He had a more splendid and gorgeous apparel than the others.

3. He was placed over the rest.

4. He offered sacrifice, and made intercession for himself and the people.

5. He was to be consulted in matters or questions that were doubtful, weighty and obscure, and returned to the people the answer which God directed him to give. All the rest were inferior, whose office it was to offer sacrifices, to teach the doctrine of the law, and the promises pertaining to the Messiah, and to intercede for themselves and others. Wherefore, although all the priests of the old Testament were types of Christ, yet the typical character of the High Priest was the most notable of them all, because in him there were many things that represented Christ, the true and great High Priest of the Church.

Obj. But if prophets and priest both teach, they do not differ from each other.

Ans. They did indeed both teach the people, yet they were variously distinguished. Prophets were raised up immediately by God, from any tribe, whilst the priests were mediately ordained from the single tribe of Levi. Prophets taught extraordinarily, whilst the priests had the ordinary ministry. The prophets received their doctrine immediately from God, whilst the priests learned it out of the law. The prophets had divine testimonies so that they could not err; the priests could err in doctrine, and often did err in their instructions, and were reproved by the prophets.

The signified and true priest is Christ, the Son of God, who was immediately ordained by the Father, and anointed by the Holy Ghost to this office, that, having assumed human nature, he might reveal the secret will and counsel of God to us, and offer himself a propiatory sacrifice for us, interceding in our behalf, and applying his sacrifice unto us, having the promise that he is always certainly heard in behalf of all those for whom he intercedes, and obtains for them the remission of sins; and finally through the ministers of the word and the Holy Spirit, collects, illuminates and sanctifies his church.
There are therefore, four principal parts of the priestly office of Christ:

1. To teach men, and that in a different manner from all others, who are called to act as priests; for he does not merely speak to the ear by his word, but effectually inclines the heart by his Holy Spirit.

2. To offer himself a sacrifice for the sins of the world.

3. To make continual intercession and prayer for us to the Father, that he may receive us into his favor on account of his intercession and will, and on account of the perpetual efficacy of his sacrifice; and to have the promise of being heard in reference to those things which he asks.

4. To apply his sacrifice unto those for whom he intercedes, which is to receive into favor those that believe, and to bring it to pass that the Father may receive them, and that faith may be wrought in their hearts, by which the merits of Christ may be made over to them, so that they are regenerated by the Holy Spirit unto everlasting life.
From what has now been said we may easily perceive the difference between Christ and other priests.

1. The latter teach only with the external voice; Christ teaches also by the inward and efficacious working of the Holy Spirit.

2. Other priests do not make continual intercession, nor do they always obtain those things for which they pray.

3. They do not apply their own benefits to others.

4. They do not offer themselves a sacrifice for others ; all of which things belong to Christ alone.