« ÎnapoiContinuați »
keys of hell and death. God would reserve those gifts for the triumphal coronation of his Son, as an evidence of the peace which was made by him, by the effusion of the rich. est treasures of God. Thus, when Christ had taken our flesh to heaven, he sent his Spirit, as an earnest of our glory. 2 Cor. 5:5. God never taketh any thing away from his children, but he sendeth them a better thing in the room of it
.. § 15. I would further observe, in the words of Jesus him. self, that it was expedient that he should go to the Father, to prepare places for his people. Heaven was prepared from the foundation of the world, by the decree of the Father. Mat. 25: 34; but, because we are to hold heaven not only by gift but by purchase, Christ came from heaven to procure it, and went to heaven again to prepare it. As our head, he went to seize upon it in our right; as our legal head, he possesses heaven in our name, as a guardian takes up lands for the heir. And as out mystical head and author of grace, he dispenseth the Spirit and maketh us fit for that place; and making intercession for us, “ Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me be with me whero I am, that they may behold my glory which thou hast give' en me," John, 17: 24; Christ speaks as if he were not cong tent without his people. The apostle, in writing to the He. brews, informs them that Christ has entered heaven as our "Fore-runner," to make way for us—as our harbinger, tą take up rooms and lodging for us. He is gone to fit all things for our entertainment, as Joseph was sent into Egypt to prepare for his father Jacob. His ascension is a pledge of ours. It is the meritorious, efficient cause and example of our ascension into heaven.
§ 16. Another end of Christ's ascension was to open a new source of encouragement to the pentitent sinner, and of consolation and support to the people of God. What greater encouragement could possibly be given to the poor, trembling, penitent sinner, who inquires what to do to be saved, than ta
direct him to Jesus, “ whom God has exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Savior, to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.” Acts, 5:31. If, when nailed to the accursed tree, he was able to save the penitent thief, how much more now, seeing that he ever liveth to make intercession for us. Wherefore," saith the apostle, he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them." Heb. 7 : 25. The ascension of Christ ought to be the great solace of the people of God, in all the distresses of the present evil world.
It ought to be so to us,
because we are encouraged by Christ's example to endure with patience whatever is afflictive to us. We have heard of the patience and sufferings, the bitter agony and passion of our Lord; and we have seen the end of the Lord; we know what was the issue and event of those dreadful things which ħe endured. . Affliction was his passage to glory. His hule miliation and abasement ushered in his advancement and exaltation. From this consideration we may be encouraged to banish all despair, and not be dejected in the lowest condition. Poverty may make way for our promotion, sickness and disease for a happy state of body, disgrace may be designed to enhance our fisture felicity, and make our crown of glory more massy and weighty; for the apos. tle assures us that “our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” 2 Cor. 4: 17. Whilst in this world, and surrounded by enemies, how consoling the thought of having a friend and advocate in heaven. Christ is gone to disannul all Satan's accusations. The sacrifice was slain without, but the intercession was made by the high priest in the most holy place. "If any man sin," says the apostle, have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." | John, 2:1. Take away the intercession of Christ and you starve the hope of the saints. Christ is our friend at the court of heaven, on purpose to transact all our affairs,
and as a surety for the peace between God and us. Having detained you already so long, my dear Benjamin, I will nonotice but one more end or design of Christ's ascension; viz.
$ 17. To draw the affections of his people from earth to heaven. When Christ was speaking of his death, he said, ' And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me." John, 12:32. If these words were true of his crucifixion, how powerful ought they to be in reference to his ascension. When the Lord would take Elijah up into heaven, Elisha said unto him, “ As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee.” 2 Kings, 2 : 2. When Christ is ascended up on high, we must follow him with the wings of our meditation and the chariots of our affections. Hence, says the apostle, ye
then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God. Set your affections on things above, and not on things on earth." Col. 3:1, 2. Let us no longer grovel upon the earth, but mount upward and soar aloit in devout contemplation and fruition of our ascended Lord. Where our treasure is; where our head, our bridegroom, our Savior is; there let our hearts be also. We ought to make every place a mount Olivet; every where, by pious thoughts and ejaculations, raise up ourselves to heaven, and to hold correspondence with the glorious Redeemer, and with " the spirits of the just mado perfect."
Now, my dear Benjamin, from what has been said re. specting the ascension of Christ, you will easily perceive the privilege of being united to bim by faith, as the members are united to the body, and the body to the head. The sure hope of being with Christ at death is sufficient to sup. port us under all afflictions. Now, when a child of God dieth, he dies but to go to his Father in heaven; for Christ and believers have the same relation. I ascend to my Fa. ther, and your Father; to my God, and your God." John, 20: 17. As Christ was the Son of God by nature, they
are the sons of God by grace; and when they die they go to their heavenly Father, to a sweet rest, to the bosom of God. The same entertainment which Christ has, we shall have; a joyful entertainment, a sweet welcome, when we come to heaven, conducted thither by holy angels. The beggar died, and was carried by angels into Abraham's bosom. God will take us, as it were, by the hand, saying, "Well done, good and faithful servants; ye have been faithful over a few things, I will make
rulers over many things: enter ye into the joy of your Lord.” Matt. 25 : 21. May this be our happy lot, and the glory be unto Him who " bore our sins in his own body on the tree," but is now ex. alted above all praise, honor and glory. Amen.
THE INTERCESSION OF THE MESSIAH,
Dear Brother Benjamin,
Permit 'me to invite your attention to the intercession of the Messiah as the third step of his exaltation.
§ 1. That the Messiah was to make intercession for his people was taught emblematically, typically, and prophetically; Abel's blood speaking after his death, Melchizedeck blessing Abraham, Abraham interceding for Sodom, Joseph for his brethren, and Moses for Israel, were so many emblems of Messiah interceding for his people.
The entrance of the high priest into the most holy place on the day of atonement, was an eminent type of the Mesa
siah's entering into heaven to intercede for his people. As the high priest was to kill the sacrifice, then enter the most holy place with its blood, and sprinkle it on the mercy-seat, and kindle the incense; so the Messiah was first to offer himself a sacrifice, then to enter heaven, to present his pre• cious blood and kindle the incense of his prayer, as our intercessor, and thus complete the atonement. to the high priest, thus saith the Lord : • Then shall he kill the goat of the sin-offering that is for the people, and bring his blood within the veil, and do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it upon the mercy-seat, and before the mercy-seat. And there shall be no man in the tahernacle of the congregation when he goes in to make an atonement in the holy place, until he come out, and have made an atonement for himself, and for his household, and for all the congregation.” Lev. 16:
It was also taught prophetically; for thus it is written, Psa. 2:8, “ Ask of me and I will give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.” And Isaiah saith, 53: 12, " He made intercession for the transgressors."
§ 2. That Jesus Christ also made intercession, is declare ed by the apostles in many places. Two or three may suffice. “Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us." Rom. 8: 34, " Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” Heb. ñ : 25. If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, even Jesus Christ the righteous.” 1 John, 2: 1.
$ 3. With respect to the nature of Christ's intercession, I would observe,
1st. That he appears in heaven for us, Heb. 9: 24; as a public person, in his own nature and in ours; as Media.