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things gloriously with mighty power, not to use his sword. and his sceptre,' but to appear as an high priest' in a 'garment down to the foot, and a golden girdle about his paps,' Rev. i. 13. as in a tabernacle, or temple, before a throne of grace. His sitting down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, adds to the glory of his priestly office, but belongs not unto the execution of it. So it was prophesied of him, that he should be a priest on his throne;' Zech. vi. 13.
It may be added hereunto, than when he thus left this world and ascended into glory, the great promise he made unto his disciples, as they were to be preachers of the gospel, and in them unto all that should succeed them in that office, was, that he would 'send the Holy Spirit unto them,' to teach and guide them, to lead them into all truth, to declare unto them the mysteries of the will, grace, and love of God, for the use of the whole church. This he promised to do, and did, in the discharge of his prophetical office. And although his giving gifts unto men' was an act of his kingly power, yet it was for the end of his prophetical office.
From what hath been spoken, it is evident that the Lord Christ' ascended into heaven,' or was received up into glory, with this design, namely, to exercise his office of mediation in the behalf of the church, until the end should be. As this was his grace, that when he was rich, for our sakes he became poor; so when he was made rich again for his own sake, he lays forth all the riches of his glory and power on our behalf.
2. The glory of the state and condition whereinto Christ thus entered, is the next thing to be considered. For he is set down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. And as his ascension with the ends of it were twofold, or of a double consideration, so was his glory that ensued thereon. For his present mediatory state consists either in the glory of his power and authority; or in the glory of his love and grace; his glory as a king, or his glory as a priest. For the first of these, or his royal glory, in sovereign power and authority over the whole creation of God, all in heaven and earth, persons and things, angels and men, good and bad, alive and dead, all things spiritual and eternal, grace, gifts, and glory; his right and power, or ability, to dispose of all things according unto his will and pleasure I have so fully
of the church, the noise of the trumpe ful sound, Psal. lxxxix. 15.
know the joyful sound, the
love and grace.
A DECLARATION OF THE MYSTSAY
and distinctly declared it
resent glory, BUY EXPavin' HED. 1. 3. as Priest, will be
that shall not here most curi
in the way of love and is glory as a manifested in what he overs
The exercise of the mediatory office of Christ in heaven.
THE third and last thing
which we proposed unto considera
tion, in our inquiry into the present state and condition of the person of Christ in heaven, is the exercise and discharge of his mediatory office in behalf of the church; especially as true tabernacle, which God hath fixed and not man.'
he continueth to be a
minister of the sanctuary, and of the
All Christians acknowledge that his present state is a creation of God, above every name that is or can be named; state of the highest glory, of exaltation above the whole pend. Neither do they doubt of his power, but take it for and hereon they esteem their own honour and safety to degranted that he can do whatever he pleaseth, which is the ground of their placing all their confidence in him. But we must shew, moreover, that his present state is a state of office power, work, and duty. He leads not in heaven a life of mere glory, majesty, and blessedness, but a life of office, love, and care also. He lives as the mediator of the church, as the king, priest, and prophet thereof. Hereon do our present safety, and our future eternal salvation depend. Without the continual actings of the office, power, and care of Christ, the church could not be preserved one moment. And the darkness of our faith herein, is the cause of all our disconsolations, and most of our weaknesses in obedience. Most men have only general and confused notions and apprehensions of the present state of Christ with respect unto the church. And by some, all considerations of this nature are despised and derided. But revealed things belong unto us; especially such as are of so great importance unto the glory of God, and the saving of our own souls; such as this
is concerning the present state of the person of Christ in heaven, with respect unto his office, power, and care.
Thus he is at once represented in all his offices, Rev. v. 6. And I beheld, and lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, stood a lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.' The whole representation of the glory of God, with all his holy attendants, is here called his throne,' whence Christ is said to be in the midst of it. And this he is in his kingly glory; with respect also whereunto he is said to have 'seven horns,' or perfect power for the accomplishment of his will. And with respect unto his sacerdotal office, he is represented as a ‘lamb that had been slain;' it being the virtue of his oblation that is continually effectual for the salvation of the church. For as the Lamb of God,' in the offering of himself, he takes away the sins of the world.' And as a prophet he is said to have seven eyes,' which are the 'seven spirits of God;' or a perfect fulness of all spiritual light and wisdom in himself, with a power for the communication of gifts and grace for the illumination of the church.
The nature of these offices of Christ, what belongs unto them and their discharge, as was before intimated, I have declared elsewhere. I do now no farther consider them but as they relate unto the present state and condition of the person of Christ in heaven. And because it would be too long a work to treat of them all distinctly, I shall confine myself unto the consideration of his priestly office, with what depends thereon. And with respect thereunto the things ensuing may be observed.
1. The Lord Christ entered into heaven, the place of the residence of the glory of God, as into a temple, a tabernacle, a place of sacred worship. He did so as the high-priest of the church, Heb. vi. 9. 24. He is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.' He is entered into heaven, as it was figured by the tabernacle of old, which was the place of all sacred and solemn worship. And therefore is he said to 'through the veil;' Heb. vi. 19, 20. x. 19, 20. the way of entrance into the most holy place
enter into it.
Which was both in the
wherein God dwells, not only in majesty
and power, but in tabernacle and temple. Heaven is not only a palace, as it is God's throne, Matt. r. 3, 4. but it is a temple It is the seat of ordinances and solemn worship. So is it represented, Rev. vii. 15. 17. It is said of the whole number of the saints above that have passed through the tribulations of this world; that they are 'before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temAnd the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed ple, and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. also chap. viii. 1-4. The worship of the church below, them, and lead them unto living fountains of water.' may also be herein comprised; but it is by virtue of communion with that above. This is that heaven which the souls of believers do long for an entrance into. Other apprehensions of it are but uncertain speculations.
2. In this temple, this sanctuary, the Lord Christ continueth gloriously to minister before the throne of grace, in the discharge of his office. See Heb. iv. 14-16. ix. 24. As the high-priest went into the holy place to minister for the church unto God, before the ark and mercy-seat, which were types of the throne of grace; so doth our high-priest act for us in the real presence of God. He did not enter the holy place only to reside there in a way of glory, but to do temple-work, and to give unto God all that glory, honour, and worship, which he will receive from the church. And we may consider, both
(1.) What this work is, and
(2.) How it is performed.
[1.] In general; herein Christ exerteth and exerciseth all his love, compassion, pity, and care towards the church, and every member of it. This are we frequently called unto the consideration of, as the foundation of all our consolation, as the fountain of all our obedience. See Heb. ii. 17, 18. iv. 15, 16. v.2. Thoughts hereof are the relief of believers in all their distresses and temptations; and the effects of it, are all their supplies of grace, enabling them to persevere in their obedience. He doth appear for them as the great representative of the church to transact all their affairs with God. And that for three ends.
1st. To make effectual the atonement that he hath made
for sin. By the continual representation of it, and of himself as a lamb that had been slain,' he procures the application of the virtues and benefits of it in reconciliation and peace with God, unto their souls and consciences. Hence are all believers sprinkled and washed with his blood in all generations; in the application of the virtues of it unto them, as shed for them.
2dly. To undertake their protection, and to plead their cause against all the accusations of Satan. He yet accuseth and chargeth them before God. But Christ is their advocate at the throne of grace, effectually frustrating all his attempts; Rev. xii. 10. Zech. iii. 2.
3dly. To intercede for them; as unto the communication of all grace and glory, all supplies of the Spirit, the accomplishment of all the promises of the covenant towards them, 1 John ii. 1, 2. This is the work of Christ in heaven. In these things, as the high-priest of the church, doth he continue to administer his mediatory office on their behalf. And herein is he attended with the songs and joyful acclamations of all the holy ones that are in the presence of God, giving glory to God by him.
(2.) As unto the manner of this glorious administration, sundry things are to be considered.
[1.] That this transaction of things in heaven, being in the temple of God, and before the throne of grace, is a solemn instituted worship at present, which shall cease at the end of the world. Religious worship it is; or that wherein and whereby all the saints above do give glory to God. And it is instituted worship, not that which is merely natural, in that it is God's especial appointment in and by Christ the Mediator. It is a church state which is constituted hereby, wherein these glorious ordinances are celebrated; and such a state as shall not be eternal, but hath its time allotted unto it. And believers at present, have, by faith, an admission into communion with this church above, in all its divine worship. For 'we are come unto mount Sion; and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels; to the general assembly and church of the first-born, which are written in heaven, and to God the judge of all, and to the