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"in that word," our English is too flat, to deliver out the elegancy of the original, it isfuper-exaltation. The Syriac, renders it, " he hath multiplied his sublimity." The Arabic, " he hath heightned him with an height." Justin, "he hath samous"ly exalted him." Higher he cannot raiiehim, a greater argument of his high satissaction and content, in the recovery of poor sinners, cannot be given. For this, therefore, God the Father, shall have glory and honour alcribed to him in heaven, to all eternity,
Now this singular exaltation of Jesus Christ, as it properly respects his human nature, which alone is capable of advancement; for, in respect of his divine nature, he never ceased to be the Most High. So it was done to him as a common person, and as the head of all believers, their representative in this, as well as in his other works. God therein shewing what, in due time, he intends to do with the persons of his elect, after they, in conformity to Christ, have suffered a while. Whatever God the Father intendeth to do in us, or for us, he hath first done it to the person of our Representative, jfesus Christ. And this, if you observe, the scriptures carry in very clear and plain expressions, through all the degrees and steps of Christ's exaltation, viz. his resurretlion, ascension, session at the right-hand of God, and returning to judge the world. Of which I purpose to speak distinctly in the following sermons.
He arose from the dead, as a common person, Col. iii. i. "IF «* ye then be risen with Christ," saith the apostle; so that the saints have communion and fellowship with him in his remrrection.
He ascended into heaven, as a common person, for so it is said in Eph. ii. 6. "He hath raised us up," or exalted us together with Christ. He sits at God's right-hand, as a common person, for so it follows in the next clause, "and hath made us sit toge"ther in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." We sit there in our Representative. And when he shall come again to judge the world, the saints shall4come with himi So it is prophefied, Zech. xiv-. 5. " The Lord my God shall ceme, and all the saints with "thee." And as they shall come with Christ from heaven, so they shall sit on thrones with him, judging by way of suffrage. They shall be assessors with the Judge, 1 Cor. vi. 2. This deserves a special remark, that all this honour is given to Christ, as our Head and Representative, for thence results abundance of
Jigniter extulit, Justin. M.' Secundum eandem naturam dicitur txaltatus, secundum quam humiliatai suit. Zanch.
comfort to the people of God. Carry it therefore along with you in your thoughts, throughout the whole of Christ's advancement. Think when you shall hear that Christ is risen from the dead, and is in all that glory and authority in heaven, how sure the salvation of his redeemed is. "For it when we were enemies, we were "reconciled to God, by the death of his Son; much more, being "reconciled, we shall be saved by his life." Surely, it cannot be supposed, but "he is able to lave to the uttermost, all them that "come to God by him; seeing he ever lives to make intercession," Heb. vii. 25; T hink how sate the people of God in this world are, whose Head is in heaven. It was a comfortable expression of one of the sathers, encouraging himself and others with this truth in a dark day; " Come, (said he,) why dq we tremble thus, "Do we not fee our head above water f?" If he live, believers cannot die, John xiv. 19. "Because I live, ye shall live also." ,
And let no man's heart suggest a suspicious thought to him, that this wonderful advancement of Christ, may cause him to forget his poor people, groaning here below under sin and misery. For the temper and disposition of his saithful and tender heart, is not changed with his condition. He bears the same respect to us, as when he dwelt among us. .For indeed he there lives and acts upon our account, Heb. vii. 25. 1 John ii. 1*2.
And how seasonable and comfortable will the meditations of Christ's exaltation be to thee, O believer, when sickness hath 'wasted thy body, withered its beauty, and God is bringing thee to the dust of death! Ah! think then, that that "vile body "shall be conformed to the glorious body of Christ," Phil. iii. 21. As Godhath glorified, and highly exalted his Son, "whose "form was marred more than any man's;" so will he exalt thee also. I do not say, to a parity, or equality, in glory with Christ, for, in heaven he will be discerned and distinguished, by his peculiar glory, from all the angels and saints; as the fun is known by its excellent glory from the lesser stars. But we shall be conformed to this glorious Head, according to the proportion of members. O whither will love' mount the believer in that day!
Having spoken thus much of Christ's exalted state, to cast some general light upon it, and engage your attentions to it, I shall now, according to the degrees of this his wonderful exaltation, briefly open it, under the fore-mentioned heads, viz:. his resurrection, ascension, session at the Father's right-hand, and his return to judge the world.
'J- Nonne vidimus erfut nostrum super aquas. Greg.
Wherein the Resurrection of Christ, with its Influences upon the Saints Resurrection, is clearly opened, and comfortably applied, being the first Step of his Exaltation.
Matth. xxviii. 6. He is not here; for he is risen, as he said: come, see the place inhere the Lord lay.
YT7E have sinished the doctrine of Christ's humiliation, where
*' ing the Sun of righteousness appeared to you, as a setting sun, gone out of sight; but as the fun when it is gone down to us, begins a new day in another part of the world; so Christ, having sinished his course and work in this world, rises again, and that, in order to the acting another glorious part of his work in the world above. In his death, he was upon the matter totally eclipsed; but in his resurrection, he begins to recover his light and glory 3gain. God never iutended, that the darling of his soul should be lost in an obscure sepulchre. An angel descends from heaven, to roll away the stone, and, with it, the reproach of his death. And to be the heavenly herald, to proclaim his resurrection to the two Mary's, whose love to Christ had, at this time, drawn them to visit the sepulchre, where they lately left him.
At this time (the Lord being newly risen) the keepers were trembling, and become as dead men. So great was the terrible majesty, and awful solemnity, attending Christ's resurrection: but, to encourage these good souls, the angel prevents them with these good tidings; "He is not here ; for he is risen, as "he said: come, see the place where the Lord lay:" j. d. Be not troubled, though you have not the end you came for, one fight more of ytur dear, though dead, Jesus; yet you have not lost your labour; for, to your eternal comfort, I tell you, " he '»' is risen, as he said." And to put it out 6f doubt, come hither and satisfy yourselves, " See the place where the Lord lay."
In which words, we have both a declaration, and confirmation of the resurrection of Christ from the dead.
First, A declaration of it by the angel, both negatively and affirmatively. Negatively, He is not here. Here indeed you laid him, here you left him, and here you thought to sind him as you left him; but you are happily mistaken, He is not here. However, this giving them no satissaction, so he might continue dead still, though removed to another place, as indeed they suspected he was, John xx. 13. Therefore his resurrection is declared positively and affirmatively; He is risen; myt^i, the • word imports, the active power or self-quickening principle, by which Christ raised himself from the state os the dead. Which Luke takes notice of also, Acts i. 3. where he saith, He she-wed, or presented, hirnself alive after his passion. It was the divine nature, or Godhead of Christ, which revived and raised the manhood.
Secondly, Here is also a plain confirmation of Christ's resurrection, and that, first, From Christ's own prediction, He is risen, as he said. He foretold that, .which I declare to be now fulfilled. Let it not therefore seem incredible to you. Secondly, by their own sight, " Come, see the place where the "' Lord lay." The grave hath lost its guest; it is now empty; death hath lost its prey. It received, but could not retain him. ** Come, fee the place where the Lord lay." Thus the resurrection of Christ is declared, and confirmed. Hence our observation is,
Doct. That our Lord Jesus Christ, by the almighty power of his own Godhead, revived, and rofe from the dead; to the terror and consternation of his enemies, and the unfpeakabli consolation of believers.
That our Lord Jesus Christ, though kid, was not lost in the grave; but the third day revived and rose again, is a truth confirmed to us by many insallible prooss, as Luke witnesseth, Acts i. 3. We have testimonies of it, both from heaven and earth, and both insallible. From heaven, we have the testimony of angels, and to the testimony of an angel all credit is due; for angeJa are holy creatures, and cannot deceive us. The angel tells the two Marys, m the text, " He is risen." We have testimonies of it from men, holy men, who where eye-witnesses of this truth, to whom'he shewed himself alive by the space of forty days after his resurrection, by no less than f nine lolemn apparitions to them. Sometimes five hundred brethren saw him
* The argument whereby we prove that Christ raised himself by his own power, is drawn from the very activity of his resurrection: Christus nyifru i- e. Christ arofe, Matth. xxviii. 6. arafsmrw s<*utot £*i»t«, Acts i. 3. Maccov. loc. Cent. p. 874.
\ John xx. 14. Mark xvi. 12. John xx. 19. 1 Cor. xv. 6, 7. 1 Cor. Xt. i. John vii. 26. John xxi. i, 2. Luke xxiv. 36.
at once, i Cor. xv. 6. These were holy persons, who durfl not deceive, aod who confirmed their testimony with their blood. So that no point of religion is of more confessed truth, and insallible certainty than this before us.
And blessed be God it is so. For if it were not, then were "the gospel in vain," i Cor. xv. 14. seeing it hangs the whole weighr>of our saith, hope, and salvation, upon Christ as riiea from the dead f. If this were not so, then would the holy, and divinely inspired apostles be found false--witnejses, 1 Cor.
xv. 1 5. For they all, with one mouth, constantly, and to the death affirmed it. If Christ be not risen, " then are believers "yet in their fins," 1 Cor. xv. 17. For our justification is truly ascribed to the resurrection of Christ, Rom. iv. 25. Whilst Christ was dying, and continued in the state of the dead, the price of our redemption was all that while but in paying, the payment was compleated, when he revived and rose again. Therefore for Christ to have continued always in the state of the dead, had been never to have compleatly satisfied; hence the whole force and weight of our justification depends upon his resurrection. Nay, had not Christ risen, " the dead had "peristied," 1 Cor. xv. 17. Even the dead who died in the saith of Christ, and of whose salvation liiere now remains no ground to doubt. Moreover,
Had he not revived, and risen from the dead, how could all the types that prefigured it have been satisfied? Surely they must have stood as insignificant things in the scriptures, and so must all the predictions of his resurrection, by which it was so plainly foretold. See Matth. xii. 40. Luke xxiv. 46. Psal.
xvi. 10. 1 Cor. xv. 4.
To conclude. Had he not risen from the dead, how could, he have been installed in that glory whereof he is now possessed in heaven, and which was promised him before the world was, Upon the account of his death and sufferings?" For to this "end Christ both died, and rose and revived, that he might "be Lord both of the dead and living," Rom. xiv. 9. And that, in this state of dominion and glorious advancement, he might powerfully apply the virtues and benefits of his blood to us, which else had been as a precious cordial spilt upon the ground.
% Our deliverance, was in his death, put in motion; or, as they say, in fieri, i. e. begun; but was finished in Iris resurrection, whence it is, that our justification or absolution from debt is justly by the apostle ascribed not to his death but resurrection, &c. Maccov. loc. Com. p. 869.