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for what they had heard; of Grief and Fear concerning their now solitary Condition ; yet mixed, at the same time, with Submission and Hope, and faithful Trust in their dear Lord. But as he himself had told them, If they loved him, they would rejoice, because he went unto the Father"; fo, in fact, amidst all the Passions working within them, this prevailed above the rest; and triumphant Gladness of Heart was the Feeling, that took Possession, and dwelt with them. They worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: and were continually in the Temple, praising and blessing Godo.

Let us then rejoice also in this glorious Exaltation of Christ our Head. Let us consider the Opportunity it gives us, of exercising that Faith in him, which the Apostle juftly calls the Evidence of Things not seen ; and of obtaining a Reward, suitable to the greater Virtue and Piety that we fhew, in conducting aright our Understandings, our Hearts and our Lives, under a lower, and yet sufficient, Degree of Evidence for our holy Religion. Because thou hast seen me, faith he himself to St. Thomas, thou haft believed: blessed are they, that have not seen, and yet have believed 9. Í his Blefjedness therefore, by his Ascension, he hath left to his whole Church the Means of acquiring: that the Trial of your Faith, as St. Peter expresses it, may be found unto Praise, ard Honour, and Glory, at the appearing of Jesus Chrift: whom not having seen, ye love ; and in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with Joy unspeakable and full of Glory; receiving the End of your Faith, the Salvation of your Souls", Let us consider too, that if his Absence tries our Faith, the Manner of his going away powerfully confirms it. For the Apostles were Eyewitnesses of his ascending into the Clouds : and what stronger Proof need we, of his coming from God, than his being thus taken up to him again ; according to his

P Heb. xi. I.

* John xiv. 28. " Joho xx, 29.

• Luke xxiv. 52.
1 Pet. i. 7. 8, 9.

own repeated Predictions; besides the remarkable, though obscurer, Intimations of the same Things in the Old Testament?

Nor let it seem strange, that the Scripture should speak of one especial Place, as the peculiar and appropriated Residence of God. We acknowledge, that he is, and cannot but be, every where. Heaven and Earth are full of the Majesty of his Glorys: yea, the Heaven, and Heaven of Heavens, cannot contain him'. Whither Shall I go from thy Spirit ? or whither shall I flee from thy. Presence? If I ascend up into Heaven, thou art there : If I go down to Hell, thou art there also. If I take the Wings of the Morning, and remain in the uttermost Parts of the Sea ; even there Mall thy Hand lead me, and thy right Hand shall hold me". Yet, notwithstanding this, the Scripture constantly mentions him, as having condescended to establish his Throne in one particular Place; and exhibit himself there, in the Symbol of Light inaccessible : where therefore his holy Angels attend upon him, and see his Face; from whence he issues forth his Commands, as Princes do theirs from the royal Palace ; and is represented, as viewing and observing the Actions of his Creatures; and pouring down Blessings or Vengeance, as their Behaviour requires. The Lord is in his holy Temple, the Lord's Seat is in Heaven : his Eyes behold, his Eye-lids try, the Children of Men". Here it is, that thousand thousands minister unto him; and ten thousand Times ten thousand stand before him", celebrating his Praises, and rejoicing in the Light of his Countenance, For in his Presence is the Fulness of Joy, and at his right Hand there are Pleasures for evermorey,

Into this blessed Place then did our Saviour ascend : and there, as the Creed, in Conforinity with Scripture, teaches, sat down at the right Hand of the Father.' Not that God, who is an intinite Spirit, and by the Word of his Power doth whatever he pleases, both in Heaven

$ Te Deum. Pial, xi. 4.

+ Kings viii. 27. * Dan. vii. 10.

u Pfal. cxxxix. 7-10 y Psal. xvi. 12.

and

and Earth ; either hath, or needs, bodily Members, for Instruments of Perception or Action, like our imperfect Nature. But these Things are figuratively ascribed to him, in Condescension to human Capacities. And the Meaning of such Figures is easily understood. He is the King of the whole world. Now into a King's immediate Presence not all Persons are usually admitted. And of those, who are, not all poffess the same Rank and Degree of Nearness to him: but every one such as he pleases to appoint. Now the highest Mark of Dignity, which the Eastern Monarchs conferred on the Person, whom they efteemed and favoured most, was placing him, on Occasions of Solemnity, at their right Hand : the second in Honour was next to the Royal Person, on the other Side ; and the rest of the Court succeeded in the same Order. Thus, when the Mother of King Solomon came to petition for Adonijah, the Scripture informs us, he sat down on the Throne, and caused Seat to be set for her, and she fat on his right Hand. And when the Sons of Zebedee had, by Mistake, imagined the Kingdom of our Saviour to be like one of this World, their Petition was, that they might fit, one on his right Hand, the other on his left, in his Kingdoma. Some-, times the Posture of standing is mentioned: as Pfal. xlv. 9. on thy right Hand did stand the Queen in Gold of Ophir. And, when the Court of Heaven, attending on their Sovereign, is described ; I saw, faith the Prophet, the Lord sitting on his Throne : and all the Host of Heaven Atanding by him, on his right Hand and on his left. When therefore our blessed Lord is represented by "St. Stephen to stand, or in the cx. Psalm, and frequently in the New Testament, to fit at the right Hand of God: we are to conceive by it, not that he is confined to this or that Posture or Place; but that he is raised, in Respect of his human Nature, to a Rank and Station above all Creatures : pofTefled of the fullest Happiness, the highest

a

? 1 Kings ii. 19.

* Matth. XX, 21.

1 Kings xxii. 19.

Honour,

Honour, and the most sovereign Authority: that Authority, with which Daniel foretells his being invested : I saw, and behold, one, like the Son of Man, came with the Clouds of Heaven ; and came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought him near before him; and there was given him Dominion and Glory and a Kingdom, that all people, Nations and Languages should serve him : bis Dominion is an everlasting Dominion, which shall not pass away ; and bis Kingdom, that which shall not be destroyed. The fulfilling of which Prophecy is thus recorded by the Apoftle. God raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right Hand' in the heavenly Places, for above all Principality and Power, and Might and Dominion, and every Name that is named, not only in this World, but also in that which is to come d; that at the Name of Jesus every Knee jould bow, of Things in Heaven, and Things in Earth, and Things under the Earth: And he must reign, till he hath put ail Enemies under his Feet'. Sitting at God's right Hand implies this Pre-eminence: for to which of the Angels faid God at any Time, Sit thou on my right Hand, until I make thine Enemies thy Footstool ?

Indeed all Power, both in Heaven in and Earth, was given to our Saviour before his Ascension : but not, till afterwards, was his Title to it publicly recognized, and Poffeffion of it folemnly taken by him : which, in other Words, is sitting down at the right Hand of God.

But let us consider, not only the Nature of our Saviour's Exaltation ; but, what principally concerns us, the Benefits of it to Mankind, which are three: his fenda ing the Holy Spirit to abide for ever with his Church : his interceding for it with the Father: his powerful Protection of it against its Enemies.

1. His sending the Holy Spirit. This was reserved, with great

Wisdom, till after his Ascension; both because it was then most needed, to comfort his Disciples under the Loss of his personal Presence : and also, be

4

[

e Dan. vii. 13, 14. ! Cof.XV, 256

e Phil. ii. 1o.

B Heb. i, 13

d Epb, i. 20, 21.

Matth. xxviii, 18.

cause

cause it afforded a new Evidence of his divine Power, that, far from being in a worse Condition by his Departure, they were endued with higher Degrees of miFaculous Gifts, than ever they had been before. St. John therefore, upon our Saviour's promising the Spirit to them who should believe on him, observes, that the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. And St. Peter, on the Day when it was beftowed, faith, Therefore, being by the right Hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the Promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath fhed forth this, which ye now see and heark. The miraculous Gifts of the Holy Ghost indeed, being no longer necessary, ceased many Ages ago: but his fan&tifying Graces, a much more important Bleffing, which we shall always need, continue still ; and constitute his present Share in the Work of our Redemption : agreeably to the Assurance, which our blessed Lord gave, of another Comforter to abide with us, and dwell in us for ever'.

2. His Interceffion with the Father. For his Oblation of himself being accepted, as the Foundation of a new Covenant of Mercy and Favour; we have now an Advocate in Heaven, sure to prevail : an high Priest, that can be touched with the Feeling of our Infirmities, having been tempted in all Points as we are m, ever appearing for us in the Presence of God; and efficaciously pleading the Pardon, which he hath purchased, for all who repent of and forsake their Sins. Who then is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died; yea rather that is risen again ; who is even at the right Hand of God; who also maketh Interceffion for us ".

3. His Protection of his Church against all its Enemies, spiritual and temporal. The Attempts of the former he defeats by the above-mentioned Methods, the InAuences of his Spirit to preserve us from Sin, and the Efficacy of his Interceffion to procure us Pardon on

John vii.

32.

K A&ts ii. 33
a Rom. viii. 34•

John xiv. 16, 178

- Heb. iv. 15

moft

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