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declared his sufferings fulfilled, light revisited the earth, and the sufferer was received into glory. Joy was again in heaven (never to be absent more); when the human soul of Christ ascended from the cross. With what eclats of admiring transport was he seen of angels, when he rode on cherubs and did fly, and went up to his throne as on the wings of the wind !
IN THE PARISH CHURCH OF BROAD HEMBURY, DEVON;
DECEMBER 25th, 1770.
Herein is love; not that we loved God, but that he loved us; and sent his Son
to be the propitiation for our sing.-1 John iv. 10.
1 Tim. iii. 16.
Seen of Angels.
One grateful and pious office was yet to be performed. The precious remains of Christ must be released from the cross, and consigned to the sepulchre. A virgin-tomb, wherein no person had ever been deposited, is to receive the sinless offspring of a virgin-parent. Think not that his disconsolate mother, and his favourite disciple John, together with Joseph of Arimathea, and Nicodemus, the converted rabbi ;-think not that these were the only mourners, who waited on the breathless Jesus to the place of interment. As his triumphant spirit, on its emersion from the body, had been convoyed to heaven by a detachment of angelic beings; so, without a doubt, a guard du corps was left below, who forsook not their station at the cross, until the temple of his body was taken down. These joined invisibly, the tender solicitude of those holy persons, who payed (as they imagined) their last tribute of love to the departed Messiah. His obsequies were celebrated by angels, and by men; who saw the Lord of life and glory counted with them that go down into the pit; free among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave, who are remembered no more, but are cut off by God's hand; when he was laid in the lowest pit; in a place of darkness, and in
the deep *. While the few, the very few believers, who had the courage to follow his loved remains to their bed of rest, were embalming the Lord with their spices and their tears; angels, though deeply and awfully imprest with the mournful scene, sung, perhaps, this for the funeral anthem, Thou wilt not leave his soul in the state of invisibility and separation; neither wilt thou suffer the body of thine holy one to see corruption t.
He was seen of angels, when he arose on the third auspicious day. An angel of God burst the seal, and rolled away the stone from the entrance of the cavern, and sat upon it: his countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow; and, for fear of him, the keepers, or Roman guard, consisting of sixty soldiers, did shake, and became as dead men.
More than one of the celestial host appeared to the trembling women and the anxious apostles, who came shortly after to visit the place where the Lord lay. As angels had been the annunciators of his birth, angels were the first preachers of his resurrection. Why seek ye the living among the dead ? He is not here: he is risen.
Forty days were the space that intervened, between the Resurrection and the Ascension of Christ. This memorable interval he devoted to the comfort, instruction, and confirmation of his disciples. If the general appear to be slain, it is usual for his soldiers to fly. But, when he shows himself alive, his rallying troops forget their panic, and return to their deserted banners. Such was the conduct of the apostles. They threw down their shields and fled, when the captain of their salvation fell; they resumed their arms, and flocked again to his person, when the prince of life revived. In flying, they showed what the best are, if left to their own
* Psalm lxxxviii.
+ Psalm xvi.