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THE CHARACTER OF THE WRITERS OF THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENTS,
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled of the word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us ;) That which we have seen and heard, declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.
Andothers had trial of cruel mockings, and scourgings, yea, moreover, of bonds and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheep-skins, and goat-skins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented: (of whom the world was not worthy :) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens, and in caves of the earth.
WHAT a sensation must the ascension of the Saviour have excited in heaven and upon earth ! what interest in the bosoms of some, what emotions of fear and of rage in the hearts of others : what were the the reflections of all parties upon this wonderful and impressive event? Had the chief priests then seen him, (and it is not impossible that from the tops of their houses at Jerusalem they might see him) they would have gnashed their teeth with envy and indignation, and disappointment, and have said—‘Is this the ‘ despised carpenter's son, whom we crucified? * Is this the man whom we endeavoured to con‘ fine in the grave? Is this the cause which we ‘hoped to subvert? Is this the teacher whom “we laboured to destroy? O fruitless efforts' • He rises superior to all our designs! He tri‘ umphs over all our malice!' But what did the disciples think? Were they not saying in their hearts, ‘Is this the friend upon whose kind and ‘ disinterested counsels we have so long relied ? ‘Is this the expiring “Author and Finisher of “our faith,” whom our unbelieving fears thought “ to be “dead, but who is alive again, and will “ live for evermore ?” John would ask, ‘Is this “ the Saviour who permitted me to share his ‘ confidence, and to repose my head upon his * bosom?' Thomas would inquire, ‘Can this ‘ be the man, of whom my faithless heart said, “Except I shall see in his hands the print of “ the nails, and put my fingers into the print “ of the nails, and thrust my hands into his “ side, I will not believe?” Prostrate and weeping on the mount, Peter would say, ‘Is this the “master whom I denied, and for whom I dared
not endure a little affliction? Is this he who
raised me from my vile employment, and ad
mitted me into his glorious service; but whom I feared to own, what day my false tongue said, “I know not the man?” And am I, who was “afraid to ‘watch with him one hour,” and, ‘ashamed to be called his disciple, permitted to ‘ behold his glory, to participate his parting ‘ blessing, and to share the dignity of his exal
‘tation ?—“To me, who am less than the least “of all saints is this grace given "–Would they not all say—‘ From this moment we give our ‘ fears to the winds of heaven? “Lord, we “believe, help thou our unbelief?” We wait the ‘ accomplishment of thy promise, and hail the ‘ dawn of thy empires' And while these were gazing below, lost in wonder, in love, and in admiration, were not the angels answering each other in responsive lays * “He hath ascended “up on high! he hath led captivity captive “he hath received gifts for men! yea, for the “ rebellious also, that the Lord God may dwell “among them s” He ascended higher, and they renewed their song—“ Glory to God in the “highest, and on earth, peace, good will to“ward men!” As he still continued to rise, and gradually to lose sight of the earth, “the “chariots of God, which are twenty thousand, “even thousands of angels,” waited to receive him: the celestial harps were struck yet louder; and the full chorus shouted, “Lift up your heads, “O ye gates, and be ye lift up, ye everlasting “ doors, and the King of glory shall come in “Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong “ and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle ! Lift “ up your heads, O ye gates, even lift them up, “ye everlasting doors, and the King of glory “shall come in ' Who is this King of glory?
“The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory !” And now all the resplendent scene faded through distance from mortal vision. HIM, the heavens received; and he sat down on his Father's throne. Even then, did not a voice break from the most excellent glory, the voice of God heard and adored by all the armies of heaven? “This is “my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; “ and let all the angels of God worship him. “Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever; “a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy ‘ kingdom. Ask of me, and I shall give thee “ the heathen for thine inheritance, and the “uttermost parts of the earth for thy posses‘sion" Still were the disciples rivetted to the spot whence he ascended; still were their eyes fixed on the point in the heavens where he disappeared: still his voice sounded in their ears, and they seemed to listen to his parting blessing. “And while they looked stedfastly toward hea“ven as he went up, behold, two men stood “ by them in white apparel; which also said, ‘Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up “ into heaven? This same Jesus which is taken “ from you up into heaven, shall so come in like “ manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” And they returned unto Jerusalem : but as they left the hallowed mount, surely their hearts burned within them, and they said—“Blessed