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are “ members of his body,”- they are also “ one spirit “ with him;"s and he is
xlv. 3dly, Our glorification in a blessed resurrection. This is inferred by the Apostle from the resurrection of Christ :u and the reasoning is just; for he is our first-born Brother, and we are “ joint-heirs with “ him.” If he then received life and immortality by a hereditary title from the Father, we too, in our place and order, must be partakers of the same inheritance ; that, as he is “ the beginning, the first-born from the “ dead,"w he may
among many brethren.” “ Christ the first-fruits; afterwards, they that are “ Christ's, at his coming.”y Besides, Christ is our Head, we are his members; he would not therefore reckon himself entirely alive, unless we also were alive with him. Hence he teaches us to reason from his life to our own : “ Because I live, ye shall live also.”: Job had long before argued in the same manner. Christ, too, is the second Adam, from whom life is no less certainly derived to those that are his, than death from the first Adam to all : “ For as in Adam all die, even "so in Christ shall all be made alive.”b In fine, since the same Spirit, by whom God raised up Jesus from the dead, dwells in us, what reason can be assigned, why he should not perform the same work in us? “If “ the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead, “ dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead, " shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit " that dwelleth in you.” That is to say ; God, by his Spirit, was the author of the resurrection of Christ, both by his omnipotent power, in which is the fountain of life; and by the virtue of that unspotted holiness, with which he adorned the human nature of Christ, and effectually preserved it from sin, the only cause of corruption. And he will accomplish the same work in believers, first by sanctifying their souls, that is by raising them to spiritual life, and hereafter their bodies, by raising them to a glorious life; for these also, according to their measure, were the subjects of sanctification.
Ephes. v. 30.
« 1 Cor. vi. 17. i Col. iii. 4. "1 Cor. xv. 12, 13. i Thes. iv. 14. "Rom. viii. 17.
w Col. i. 18. » Rom. viii. 29.
y 1 Cor. xv. 23. * John xiv. 19.
a Job xix. 25-27. bi Cor. xv. 22.
It were easy to improve these topics for Consolation ; and, in the mean time, to inculcate assiduously, that none can justly assure himself of the privilege of a blessed justification, or of a glorious resurrection, arising from the resurrection of Christ, unless he also experience its power to communicate the vigour of the spiritual life.
c Rom. vii. 11.
ON CHRIST'S ASCENSION INTO HEAVEN.
1. The second step of Christ's exaltation, is his asCENSION INTO HEAVEN; in treating which we shall adopt the same method as on the article immediately preceding. We shall explain the four following heads. First, Its NATURE and MANNER. Secondly, Its TRUTH and CERTAINTY. Thirdly, Its NECESSITY. Fourthly, Its UTILITY.
II. By the Ascension of Christ we understand, The second step of his glorious exaltation, by which, on the fortieth day after his resurrection, and in the sight of his disciples, he removed his already glorified body from the earth, and in particular, from mount Olivet on the side which lay towards Bethany; and advanced it, through the air and the visible heavens, into the highest heaven, to remain there in glory till the day of the last judgment.
III. Observe here, 1st, The subject. 2dly, The time. 3dly, The placc. 4thly, The cause.
iv. The SUBJECT of the ascension, is the Person of Christ, GOD-MAN. "Properly indeed, it is the human nature in soul and body ;—which human nature was
translated from the vicinity of bodies in the lower world to the vicinity of bodies in the upper world. Figuratively, however, the Divine nature is also the subject of the ascension ; for, as in reference to that nature, he is said to have “ descended into the earth,” when he appeared among men at the assumption of the human nature, so he may be said to have ascended into heaven, in as much as he causes the splendour of his glory to shine forth in that humanity, now exalted to heaven. To this I would refer the following words of Paul : “ Now that he ascended, what is it but that he “ also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? “ He that descended, is the same also that ascend“ed,” &c. It is not true of every one who ascendeth, that he first descended. Moses first ascended to the mount, and afterwards descended. But it was necessary that Christ should first descend, before he ascended; for he is “ from above,"c and is called “ he that “ cometh from above,” and “ he that cometh from "heaven.”d This appears also from Ps. lxviii. 8, 9, 11. . where he is called God and LORD. Further, Christ descended, not as to the flesh, which it is certain he did not bring from heaven; but as to the manifestation of his Deity, in the flesh which he assumed from the Virgin Mary. In like manner, “ he that descended is " the same that ascended,”-giving now a far brighter display of the same Deity, in the human nature, advanced to the throne of glory.
v. Hence also, in reference to the ascension of Christ, it is said to “ Jehovah our Lord, whose name is excel“ lent in all the earth;"_“who hast set thy glory above
• John vi. 41, 50, 51. xvi. 28.
Ephes. iv. 9, 10. d John iii. 31.
“ the heavens.”Every word is emphatical. Hod," if you attend to the meaning and origin of the word, signifies brightness and evidence: and hence comes Hodoth,t to confess that any thing fully corresponds to its name. Hod malchoth, signifies the dignity and majesty belonging to a king, by which men are induced, hodoth, to be subject to him, to obey and submit to his will and appointment; as a celebrated Interpreter has acutely observed. The brightness and majesty of such glory belongs to none in a more eminent degree than to the Most High God, who displays his perfections in the magnificent works which he performs. Of old, God set his glory in the earth, when he dwelt between the cherubim, above the mercy seat." In due time, he made all Jerusalem “ the throne of “ his glory;" i having his seat not only in the sacred apartments of the sanctuary, but exhibiting himself in human nature to be seen and heard throughout the whole city, and every where in the streets of Jerusalem. But by the ascension of Christ, the glory of God was set “ above the heavens ;" for no where doth it shine more illustriously than in our Lord's human nature, crowned with glory and honour.
VI. Nor can I venture to contradict those, who are of opinion, that the same thing was foreshown to Ezekiel, in the obscure representation described in the tenth Chapter of his book. He saw “ the glory of “ Jehovah go up from the cherub over the threshold “ of the house; and the house was filled with the cloud,