PRIEST, noun [Latin proestes, a chief, one that presides; proe, before, and sto, to stand, or sisto.]
1. A man who officiates in sacred offices. Among pagans, priests were persons whose appropriate business was to offer sacrifices and perform other sacred rites of religion. In primitive ages, the fathers of families, princes and kings were priests. Thus Cain and Abel, Noah, Abraham, Melchizedek, Job, Isaac and Jacob offered their own sacrifices. In the days of Moses, the office of priest was restricted to the tribe of Levi, and the priesthood consisted of three orders, the high priest the priests, and the Levites, and the office was made hereditary in the family of Aaron.
Every priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins. Hebrews 5:1.
2. In the modern church, a person who is set apart or consecrated to the ministry of the gospel; a man in orders or licensed to preach the gospel; a presbyter. In its most general sense, the word includes archbishops, bishops, patriarchs, and all subordinate orders of the clergy, duly approved and licensed according to the forms and rules of each respective denomination of christians; as all these orders 'are ordained for men in things pertaining to God.' But in Great Britain, the word is understood to denote the subordinate orders of the clergy, above a deacon and below a bishop. In the United States, the word denotes any licensed minister of the gospel.