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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, a 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.b 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 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.

* John vi. 41, 50, 51. xvi. 28. e John viii. 23.

b Ephes. iv. 9, 10. d John iii. 31.

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,

הוד •

הודות +
הוו מלכות +

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.Ps
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viii אשר תנה הוון על השמים'

+

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& Ps. cxlviii. 13. Hab. ii. 3.
h Exod. xxix. 43. Lev. xvi. 2. Ps. lxxx. 1.
i Jer. ii. 17.

"and the court was full of the brightness of Jehovah's

glory.”j, The glory of Jehovah, is '“ the glory of " the Only-begotten of the Father, full of grace

and “ truth.” It was formerly “ above the cherubim,” that is, in heaven. It moved thence, proceeding “ to " the threshold of the house;" as a king, rising from his throne, shows himself at the gate of the palace, graciously affording an opportunity to his people to see him. Meanwhile, " the house was filled with the “cloud ;” which may denote God's dwelling with his people in an humble form, yet so that the rays

of divine majesty shone through the cloud; “ the court be“ing full of the brightness of Jehovah's glory.” For

majesty, and honour and glory,” attended Christ at his coming, m and were apparent to all the people, in his discourses, which were altogether heavenly; and in his deeds, to which nothing similar had ever been heard of. But Ezekiel soon beheld the same glory departing from off the threshold of the house, and standing over the cherubim.”n This is the ascension of the Son of God from the earth to his throne in hea

Henceforth there is no earthly sanctuary, where the glory of God dwells, or is to be sought for by Israel; but Christ is immediately found, without a temple made with hands, showing himself openly to the Gentiles, who resort to him from all quarters. And this is what Ezekiel saw in the symbol of “ the glory “ of the God of Israel at the east gate of Jehovah's

house, standing over the cherubim above.” The temple was situated in the east part of the city, and

ven.

j Verse 4.
1 Ezek. i. 26.

Verse 18.

k John i. 14.
m 2 Pet. i. 16, 17.
o Verse 19.

2D

VOL. II.

27.

Mount Olivet was opposite to it. Consequently, that whieh was at the door of the east gate of the temple, lay open to the view of all that approached. And certainly these two things ought to be connected : while the glory of God is placed above the heavens, his name should be great in all the earth; as we have just learned from the eighth Psalm.

The design of all these remarks, is to show in what manner Christ may be said to have ascended, even with regard to the Divine nature. His Deity, which was formerly manifested on earth, while he dwelt among men as the Son of man, is now most gloriously displayed in heaven, in his exalted humanity.

vii. Nevertheless, in the proper acceptation of the word, as it denotes local motion, ascension is competent to the human nature only, and indeed principally to the body. The entrance of Christ's body into heaven, serves to distinguish the ascension of which we now speak, from that ascent of Christ's separate soul to heaver, which preceded his resurrection from the dead. That ascent, however happy, is not esteemed glorious, because it was connected with the ignominious descent of his body to the grave.

VIII. With respect to the TIME of the ascension, let it be observed, Ist, That it took place on the fortieth day after the resurrection.p2dly, That it happened in the same hour in which he was conversing familiarly with the disciples, and whilst he was blessing them. Each of these circumstances is mystical, and highly instructive.

ix. Our Lord was pleased to show himself alive to his disciples very frequently, and to converse with

P Acts i. 3.

9 Luke xxiv. 50, 51.

them for a considerable time, that he might give them the stronger an assurance of the truth of his resurrection, of which they were to be witnesses and preachers through the whole world, and that he might communicate to them the more ample instruction respecting the mysteries of his heavenly kingdom. But the space of forty days precisely, is not unaptly compared with the time of his presentation in the temple. As on the fortieth day after his birth, Joseph and his mother brought him to Jerusalem, and presented him to the Lord in the temple ;' so on the fortieth day after his resurrection, which was a kind of second nativity, he went to his heavenly Father, and appeared before him in the temple not made with hands. The same space of time, besides, was consecrated in Moses and Elias, who had been his attendants on the holy mount. Moses, when, after holding intercourse with God forty days without food, his body, at his return, was so far from being emaciated almost to death, that it shone with an extraordinary lustre which dazzled the eyes of the beholders, exhibited to the Israelites some resemblance of a glorified body, while yet residing on the earth. Elias also, being awakened from sleep and supplied with food by an angel, accomplished, in the strength of that food, a journey of forty days through the wilderness, till he arrived at Horeb the mount of God, where he was to see God in a figure, and to hear his voice. And the Lord Jesus, in like manner, being awakened from the sleep of death, which was sweet to him on account of the inestimable benefits resulting from it to his people, and - honoured

Luke ïi. 22. comp. Lev. xii. 2, 4, 6. • Exod. xxxiv. 28, 29.

1 Kings xix. 5-8. u Jer. xxxi. 26.

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