Imagini ale paginilor
PDF
ePub
[merged small][ocr errors]

ning of the glory of the head of the church, as the greatest seal and earnest of the eternal glory of all the rest.

It is further to be observed, that the day of the gospel most properly begins with the resurrection of Christ. Till Christ rose from the dead, the Old Testament dispensation remained: But now it ceases, all being fulfilled that was shadowed forth in the typical ordinances of that dispensation : So that here most properly is the end of the Old Testament night, and Christ rising from the grave with joy and glory, was as the joyful bridegroom of the church, as a glorious conqueror, to $ubdue their enemies under their feet.; or was like the sun, rising, as it were from under the earth, after a long night of darkness, and coming forth as a bridegroom, prepared as a strong man to run his race, appearing in joyful light to enlighten the world. Now that joyful and excellent dispensation begins, that glorious dispensation, of which the prophets prophesied so much; now the gospel sun is risen in glory," and with healing in his wings, that those who fear God's name, may “ go forth and grow up as calves of the stall."

II. Christ's ascension into heaven. In this I would include his sitting at the right hand of God. For Christ's ascension, and sitting at the right hand of God, can scarcely be looked upon 'as two distinct things: Far Christ's ascension was nothaing else, but ascending to God's right hand, it was his coming to sit down at his Father's right hand in glory.". This was another thing whereby Christ was put into a capacity for the accomplishing the effect of his purchase, as one that comes to be a deliverer of a people as their king, in order to it, and that he may be under the best capacity for its is first installed in his throne. We are told that Christ was exalted for this end, that he might accomplish the success of his redemption : Acts v. 31.« Him hath God exalted with his right hand, for to give repentance unto Israel, and the remission of sins." ...

Christ's ascension into heaven was, as it were, bis solemn enthronization, whereby the Father didi set him upon the throne, and invest him with the glory of his kingidora which he had purchased for himself, that he might thereby obtain the success of his redemption in conquering all his enemies :

[ocr errors]

1

Psal. cx. 1., “Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool." Christ entered into heavën, in order to obtain the success of his purchase, as the high priest of old, after he had offered sacrifice, entered into the holy of holies with the blood of the sacrifice, in order to obtain the success of the sacrifice which he had offered. See Hebi ix. 12. He entered into heaven, there to make intercession for his people, to plead the sacrifice which he had made in order to the sucess of it; Heb. vii. 25.

And as he ascended into heaven, God the Father did in a visible manner set him on the throne as king of the universe. He then put the angels all under him, and subjected heaven and earth under him, that he might govern them for the good of the people for whom he had died, Eph. i. 20, 21, 22.

And as Christ rose from the dead, so he ascended into heaven as the head of the body, and forerunner of all the church ; and so they, as it were ascend with him, as well as rise with him : So that we are both raised up together, and made to sit together in heavenly places in Christ, Eph. ii. 6.

The day of Christ's ascension into heaven.was, doubtless a joyful; glorious day in heaven. And as heaven received Christy God man, as its king, so doubtless it received a great accession of glory and happiness, far beyond what it had before. So that the times in both parts of the church, both that part which is in heaven, and also that which is on earth, are become more glorious since Christ's humiliation than before.

So much for those things whereby Christ was put into the best capacity for obtaining the success of redemption.

[ocr errors]

PART II.

I NOW proceed to show how he accomplished this success. And here I would observe, that this success consists in two things, viz. either in Grace, or in Glory. That success which consists in the former, is to be seen in those works of God which are wrought during those ages of the church

[ocr errors]

wherein the church is continued under the outward means of Grace. That success which consists in the latter of these, viz. Glory, has its chief accomplishment at the day of judga

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

I WOULD first consider the former kind of success, consisting in God's gracé liere ; which mainly appears in the works of God during the time that the Christian church continues nnder the means of grace , which is from Christ's res.

urrection to his appearing in the clouds of heaven to judgment; which inclades the three former of those great events

of providence before mentioned, which are called Christ's com ing in his kingdom. In speaking of this success, I would,

3:1. Mention those things by which the means of this success were established after Christ's resurrection ; and,

2. Consider the succeasi itself.

3

SI. I would consider those dispensations of providence,
by which the means of this success were established after
Christ's résurrection:
:01. The abolishing of the Jewish dispensation. This indeed

was gradually done, but it began from the time of Christ's
: resurrection, in which the abolition of it is founded. This
was the first thing done towards bringing the former state of
the world to an end. This is to be looked upon as the great
means of the success of Christ's fedemption. For the Jews
ish dispensation was not fitted for more than one nation : It
was not fitted for the practice of the world in general, or for a
church of God dwelling in all parts of the world : Nor would
it have been in any wise practicable by them : It would have
been impossible for men, living in all parts of the world
to go to Jerusalem three times a year, as was prescribed in
that constitution. When therefore God had a design of en-
larging his church, as he did after Christ's resurrection, it was

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

necessary that this dispensation should be abolished. If it had been continued, it would have been a great block and hina derance to the enlargement of the church. And besides, their ceremonial law, by reason of its burdensomeness, and great peculiarity of some of its rites, was, as it were, a wall of partition, and was the ground of enmity between the Jews and Gentiles, and would have kept the Gentiles from complying with the true religion. This wall therefore was broken down to make way for the more extensive success of the gospel ; as Eph. ii. 14, 15.

II. The next thing in order of timë seems to be the appointment of the Christian sabbath. For though this was gradually established in the Christian church, yet those things by which the revelation of God's mind and will was made; began on the day of Christ's resurrection, by his appearing then to his disciples, John xx. 19 ; and was afterwards confirmed by his appearing from time to time on that day rather than any other; John xx. 26, and by his sending down the Holy Spirit so remarkably on that day, Acts ii. 1, and afterwards in directing that public assemblies and the public worship of Christians should be on that day, which may be concluded from Acts Xx: 7. I Cor. xvi. 1, 2, and Rev. i. i6. And so the day of the week on which Christ rose from the dead, that joyful day, is appointed to be the day of the church's holy rejoicing to the end of the world, and the day of their stato ed publie worship. And this is a very great and principal means of the success which the gospel has had in the world.

III. The next thing was Christ's appointment of the gospel ministry, and commissionating and sending forth his apostles to teach and baptize all nations. Of these things we have an account in Matth. xxviii. 19, 20. “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: And lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.”..... There were three things done by this one instruction and commission of Christ to his apostles, viz.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

1. The appointment of the office of the gospel ministry.. For this commission which Christ gives to his apostles, in the most essential parts of it, belongs to all ministers; and the apostles, by virtue of it, weré ministers or elders of the church.

2. Here is something peculiar in this commission of the aposties, viz. to go forth from one nation to another, preaching the gospel in all the world. The apostles had something above what belonged to their ordinary character as mịnisters.; they had an extraordinary power of teaching and ruling, which extended to all the churches, and not only all the churches which then were, but all that should be to the end of the world by, their ministry. And so the apostles werė, as it were, in subordination to Christ, made foundations of the Christian church. See Eph. ii. 20, and Rev. xxi. 14.

3. Here is an appointment of Christian baptism. This ordinance indeed had a beginning before ; John the Baptist and Christ both baptized. But now especially by this institution is it established as an ordinance to be upheld in the Christian church to the end of the world. The ordinance of the Lord's supper had been established before, just before Christ's cruci. fixion.

IV. The next thing to be observed, is the enduing the apostles, and others, with extraordinary and miraculous gifts of the Holy Ghost, such as the gift of tongues, the gift of healing, of prophecy, &c. The Spirit of God was poured out in great abundance in this respect; so that not only ministers, but a very great part of the Christians through the world were éndued with them, both old and young ; not only officers, and more honorable persons, but the meaner sort of people, sërë vants and handmaids, were commonly endued with théin, agreeable to Joel's prophecỹ, Joel ü. 28, 29, of which prophecy the Apostle Peter takes notice, that it is accomplished in this dispensation, Acts ii. 16.

How wonderful a dispensation was this ! Under the Old Testament, but few had such honors put upon them by God. Moses wished that all the Lord's people were prophets, Numb. xi. 29; whereas Joshua thought it much that Eldad and Medad prophesied. But now we find the wish of Moses

[ocr errors][merged small]
« ÎnapoiContinuați »