« PreviousContinue »
of itself. By his death, he overcame death, and the Prince of death ; and pursuing him, when laid in the sepulchre, to the remotest corner of his kingdom, he completely defeated him. It was therefore utterly impossible, that he should be holden of death. He had in himself, as “ the true God and eternal life,”d " the power of an endless life.”e It was necessary for him to display this power in himself, as a Mediator now made perfect through sufferings. He could not be to others what he is called in Isaiah, f“ the Father “ of eternity," unless he were so, in the first place, to himself. It behoved him, in fine, to be declared and publicly manifested to be what he really is, the Conqueror of death and the Triumpher over it. But in what way
could that be done, unless by rising again, that he might stand last on the earth,s having put the enemy to flight.36 Hence those two characters are joined together, “ The first-begotten of the dead, and “ the Prince of the kings of the earth ;”h and he says also: “I am he that liveth and was dead; and, be“ hold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” i
XLIII. Let us now consider, in fine, the UTILITY of Christ's resurrection. The advantage which redounds to us from this important event is chiefly three-fold, 1st, Our justification. He “ was delivered for our of
fences, and was raised again for our justification.”i When God released his Son from the bonds and prison of death, into which he had been thrown on account of our debts, he is to be viewed as having given him a discharge, and as having declared by that very deed, that his justice was now satisfied to the last farthing. When Christ was raised up, he was thus “justified in the
b Heb. ii. 14.
e Acts ii. 24. di John v. 20.
e Heb. vii. 16. Chap. ix. 6. 8 Novissimus in pulvere staret, Job xix. 25. h Rev. i. 5.
i Verse 18. i Rom. iv. 25.
36 See Note XXXVI.
Spirit.”k But if he was justified, we must at the same time have been justified in him.
XLIV. 2dly, Our sanctification. « Ye are risen with “ him through the faith of the operation of God, who “ hath raised him from the dead.”I Hence believers are said to be “risen with Christ,” that is, in a spiritual sense;m and to be “ planted together with him in “ the likeness of his resurrection, that, as Christ was “ raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father,
even so they also should walk in newness of life.”n This is “ the power of his resurrection," of which Paul speaks. Christ, when he came forth from the earth, was made, not merely like the first Adam, “ a living “ soul, but a quickening spirit.”r He received life, not only for himself, but also for his people; and not merely that he might live with the Father in heaven, but also that he might live by the Spirit in believers. As the animal spirits, derived from the brain, and distributed through the nerves to the whole body, communicate life and motion even to the remotest members; so the Spirit of life, which is in the Saviour as the head and fountain, flows down by secret channels to all the members of the mystical body, producing in them a new life, and a life worthy of Christ. While believers are “ members of his body,”: they are also “one spirit “ with him;"s and he is “ our Life.”
* 1 Tim. iii. 16.
i Col. ï. 12.
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 be so, “ among many brethren.” “ Christ the first-fruits ; afterwards, they that are “ Christ's, at his coming.” 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.”z 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.” 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. + Col. üi. 4. u 1 Cor. xv. 12, 13. 1 Thes. iv. 14. v Rom, viii, 17.
w Col. i. 18. * Rom. viii. 29.
y 1 Cor. xv. 23. * John xiv. 19.
• Job xix. 25-27. 1 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.
e Rom. viii. 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.
11. 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