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dead, but also ascended into heaven; there to dispatch all that remained to be done for the compleating the salvation of his people.

So much the apostle plainly witnesseth, Eph. iv. 10. "He "that descended, is the fame also that ascended up sar above ",all heavens," si. e.J all the afpectable heavens. A full and faithful account whereof the several evangelists have given as, Mark xvi. 10. Luke xxiv. 51. This is sometimes called hisgoing away, as John xvi 7. Sometimes his being exalted, Acts ii. 33. Sometimes his being made higher than the heavens, Heb. vii. 26. And sometimes his entering -within the veil, Heb. vi. 19, 20. All which are but so many s.nonymous phrales, expressing his ascension, in a very pleasant variety.

Now for the opening this act of Christ, we will bind up the whole in the satissaction of these six questions 1. Who ascended? 2. Whence did he ascend? 3. Whither? 4. When? 5. How? 6. and lastly, Why did he ascend? And these will take in what is needful for you to be acquainted with in this point.

First, Who ascended? This the apostle answers, Eph. iv. 10. "the same that descended," Christ. And himself tells us in the text, "I ascend." f "And though the ascension "were of Christ's whole person, yet it was but a figurative

and improper expression, with respect to his divine nature, "but it agrees most properly to the humanity of Christ, which "really changed places and conditions by it." And hence it , is that it is said, John xvi. 28. "I came forth from the Father, "and am come into the world; again, I leave the world, and "go to my Father." He goes away, and we fee him no more. As God he is spiritually with us still; even to the end of the .world. But as man, " the heavens must contain him till the "restitution of all things,v Acts iii. 21.

Secondly, Whence Christ ascended?

I answer, more generally, he is said to ascend from this world, to leave the world. That is the terminus a quo, John xvi. 28. 'hm more particularly, it was from Mount Olivet, near unto Jerusalem. The very place where he btgan his last sorrowful tragedy. There, where his heart began to be sadded, there is it now made glad. O what a difference was there betwixt the

* AfcenJiD totius suit person*, naturee tamen divinæ non conve. nit nifi figurate. Sed humana natura maxime proprie convs qit, See. Ames. Med. p-114.

frame Christ was in, in that mount before his passion, and this he is now in, at his ascension! But, Thirdly, Whither did he ascend?

it is manifest it was into the third heavens: the throne of God, and place of the blessed: where all the saints shall be with him for ever. It is said to be sar above all heavens; that is the heavens which we fee, for they are but the pavement of that stately palace of the great King. He is gone (saith the apostle) 'within the veil, (i. e.) into the most holy place. And into his Father's house, John xiv.^2. And he is also said to go to the rt place where he was before," John vi. 62. back again to that sweet and glorious bosom of delight and love, from whence at his incarnation he came. -'

Fourthly, When did Christ ascend I Was it presently as soon as he rose from the dead? ,

No, not so, for" after his resurrection (saith Luke) he was "seen of them forty days, speaking of the things pertaining "to the kindom of God." And truly the care and love of Christ tohis people was very manifest in this his stay with them %. He had inefsable glory prepared for him in heaven, and awaiting his coming , but he will not go to possess it, till he had settled all things for the good of his church here. For in this time he confirmed the truth of his resurrection, gave charge to the apostles concerning the discipline and order of his house or kingdom: which was but needful, since he intended that their Acts should be rules to future churches. So long it was necessary he should stay. And when he had set all things in order, he would stay no longer, " lest he should seem to affect a terrene life fl." And besides, he had work of great concernment to do for us in the other world. He desired to be no longer here, than he had work to do for God, and fouls. A good pattern for the saints.

Fifthly, How did Christ ascend into heaven? Here it is worthy our observation, that Christ ascended as a public person or forerunner, in our names^ and upon our accounts *.

% The weakness of his disciples required the delay of his separation from them. Ames.

I Ne ttrrenam vitam videretur meditare. Ames.

* He by his entrance into heaven gives us the strongest consolation, for as he came down from heaven, not on his own but our account, so he bath taken possession of heaven to prepare a place and habitation there for us. Pareus en the place.

Vol. II. F

So it is said expressly, Heb. vi. 20. speaking of the most holy place within the veil: 'whither (saith he) the forerunner is for us entred. His entring into heaven as our forerunner implies botb his public capacity, and precedents.

First, His public capacity, as one that went upon our business to God. So he himself speaks, John xiv. 2." I go before "to prepare a place for you." To take possession of heaven ia our name?. The forerunner, hath respect to others that were to come to heaven after him, in their several generations; for whom he hath taken up mansions, which are kept for them against their coming.

Secondly, It notes precedency, he is our forerunner, but he himself had no forerunner. Never any entred into heaven before him, but such as entred in the name, and through the virtue of his merits. He was the first, that ever entred heaven direttly, immediately, in bis own name, and upon his own account. . But all the sathers who died before him, entred in his name. To the holiest of them all, God would have said as Elisha to Jehoram, 2 Kings iii. 14. Were ic not that I had respect to the person of my son, in whose name.and right you come, I woulcVnot look upon you. You must go back again, heaven were no place for you. No not for you, Abraham, nor for you, Moses.

Secondly, He ascended triumphantly into heaven. To this, pood expositors * refer that which in the type is spoken of 'David, when he lodged the ark in its own place, with musical instruments and shoutings; but to Christ, in the antitype, when he was received up triumphantly into glory, Psal. xlvii. 5. "God is gone up with a shout, the Lord with the sound "of a "trumpet; sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises un"to our king, sing praises." ,

A cloud is prepared, as a royal chariot, to carry up the King of glory to his princely pavilion -f. "A cloud received him "out of their sight," Luke xxiv. 51. And then a royal guard of mighty angels surround the charior, if not for support, yet for greater state and solemnity of their Lord's ascension. And oh what jubilations of the blessed angels were heard in heaven! How was the whole city of God moved at his coming! For look as when " he brought his first-begotten into the world, '*' he said, let all the angels of God worship him," Heb. i. 6. So at his return thither again, when he had sinished redempti

* Molerus in loc. Geirus. Aynsworth, f Mr. Cide in his Pisgah."

on-work, there were no less demonstrations given by those blessed creatures of their delight and joy in it. The very heavens echoed and resounded on that account. Yea, the triumph is not ended at this day, nor never shall.

It is said, Dan. vii. 13, 14." I saw, (saith the prophet), in "the night visions, 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 to him. And there was given "him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom; that all people, "nations and languages should serve him." This vision of Daniel's was accomplished in Christ's ascension, when they, i. e. the angels, brought him to the Ancient es days, i. e. to Cod the Father, who, to express his welcome to Christ, gave him glory, and a kingdom. And so it is and ought to be expounded *. TheTather received him with open arms, rejoicing exceedingly to fee him again in heaven; therefore God is said to "receive him up into glory," 1 Tim. iii. 16. For that which, with respect to Christ is called ascenfion, is, with respect to the Father, called assumption. He went up, and the Father received him. Yea, received so as none ever was received before him, or shall be received after him.

Thirdly, Christ ascended munificently, shedding forth, abundantly, inestimable gifts upon his church at bis ascension. As in the Roman triumphs they did spargere missilia f, bestow their largest promises upon the people: so did our Lord when he ascended; "wherefore he saith, when he ascended up on "high, he led captivity captive; and gave gifts unto men." The place to which the apostle refers, is Psal. lxviii. 17, ,18. where you have both the triumph and munificence, with which Christ went up, excellently set forth together.

"The chariots of God, {saith the Psalmist), are twenty "thousand, even thousands of angels; the Lord is among "them, as in Sinai, in the holy place. Thou hast ascended "on high, thou hast led captivity captive, thou hast received "gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that God might "dwell among them." Which words in their literal fense, are a celebration of that famous victory and triumph of David over the enemies of God, recorded 2 Sam. viii. These con

F 2

• See Deodat. and English Annot. <bc

f Prince*, when triumphing after victory, use to disperse great presents, and sums of money among the people, congratulating their triumph with joyous shouts.. . 1 .

quered enemies bring him several sorts of presents, all which he dedicated to the Lord. The spiritual sense is, that jast so our Lord Jesus Christ, when he had overcome by his death on the cross, and now triumphed in his ascension, he takes the parts and gifts of his enemies, and gives them, by their conversion to the church, for its use and service: thus he received gifts, even for the rebellious *, i. e. sanctifies the natural gifts and saculties of such as hated his people before, dedicating them to the Lord, in his peoples service. Thus, (as one observes), Tertullian, Origen, Austin, and Jerome, came into Canaan, laden with Egyptian gold. Meaning they came into the church richly laden with natural learning and abilities. Austin was a Manichee, Cyprian a magician, learned Bradwardine a scornful proud naturalist, who once said, when he read Paul's epistles, Dedignabar ejse parvulus; he scorned such childish things, but afterwards became a very useful man in the church of God. And even Paul himself was as fierce an enemy to the church as breathed on earth, till Christ gave him into its bosom by conversion, and then no mere man ever did the Lord and his people greater service than he. Men of all sorts, greater and smaller lights, have been given to the church. Officers of all forts, were given it by Christ. Extraordinary and temporary, as prophets, apostles, evangelists; ordinary and standing, as pastors and teachers, which remain to this day, Eph. iv. 8, 9. And those stars are fixed in the church-heaven by a most firm establishment, 1 Cor. xii. 28. Thousands now in heaven, and thousands on earth also, are blessing Christ at this day for these his ascension-gifts.

Fourthly, Our Lord Jesus Christ ascended most comfortably, for whilst he was blessing his people, he was parted from them, Luke xxiv. 50, 51. Therein making good to them what is said to him, John xiii. 1. "Having loved his own, he loved them to "the end." There was a great deal of love manifested by Christ in this very last act of his in this world. The last sight they had of him in this world was a most sweet and encouraging one. They heard nothing from his lips but love, they saw nothing in, his sace but love, till he mounted his triumphant chariot, and was taken out of their sight.

Surely these blessings at parting were sweet and rich ones. For the matter of them, they were the mercies which his blood

* Thou dost raise up teachers of thy church, among those whohate and persecute thy people; and, from time to time, bring many? of thy enemies to this thy kingdom. Mol. on the place.

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