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" and the court was full of the brightness of Jehovah's glory.", 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, 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." This is the ascension of the Son of God from the earth to his throne in heaHenceforth 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
j Verse 4.
k John i. 14.
m 2 Pet. i. 16, 17.
• Verse 19.
Mount Olivet was opposite to it. Consequently, that which 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 heaven, 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, 1st, That it took place on the fortieth day after the resurrection. 2dly, 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
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 ii. 22. comp. Lev. xii. 2, 4, 6.
• Exod. xxxiv. 28, 29.
" Jer. xxxi. 26.
1 Kings xix. 5-8.
with the ministration of Angels, walked about for the space of forty days through the wilderness of this world, and in particular through the land of Judea, (which alas! bore a very great resemblance to an uncultivated desert,) till he betook himself to the mount of the heavenly Zion, to be eternally present with the Father.
x. But we must not overlook the circumstance, that it was while Jesus was still speaking with his disciples that he was taken up from them; just as, whilst Elijah and Elisha were walking and conversing together, a chariot of fire, with horses of fire, suddenly parted them both asunder. Our Lord thus discovered his assiduity in instructing and comforting his disciples to the very last. As he had begun to teach when he was a youth scarcely twelve years of age, so he did not desist on the cross; and his last hour upon earth found him engaged in the same work. In conformity to his Master's example, CALVIN nobly replied to his friends, who exhorted him to abstain entirely, during his indisposition, from the labour of speaking, or at least of writing, "What! Do you "wish that the Lord should find me idle?"
XI. At the conclusion of his discourse, Christ blessed the disciples. Accordingly, Luke says: --- "He "lifted up his hands and blessed them; and it came "to pass while he blessed them, he was parted from "them, and carried up into heaven."s Lifting up the hands was a gesture used in prayer; and blessing is a species of prayer. The hands of one person, were laid on the head of another, on whose behalf prayers were
preferred; for it was the request of the one, that as he protected the other with his hand, so God would protect him in his ways. Such was the practice, wherever there might be only one or two to be blessed; but if the number were greater, a more expeditious method was adopted, and instead of many repeated impositions of hands, the supplicant stretched forth his hands over the heads of the assembly. We read that "Aaron lifted up his hands towards the people, and "blessed them."z Christian Bishops were accustomed to observe the same practice, both at the beginning, and at the conclusion, of every meeting. And in the ancient constitutions which are commonly ascribed to Clement," the imposition of hands, and blessing both "small and great," are numbered among "the services "of priests."* Our Lord thought proper to depart, whilst employed in this exercise. He had already discharged his functions as a Prophet; as a Priest, he had offered up himself. And now as a most merciful Highpriest, he imparts his blessing to his disciples; being about to enter immediately into the most holy place, to present the virtue of his shed blood to the Father, and to sit down on the throne of glory, encircled with royal magnificence. Not only did he bring a blessing with him, when he came into the world; but when he departed, he left a blessing behind him. Thus the blessed seed is always like himself. At his departure no less than at his advent, he is the source of the most desirable benedictions.
XII. A two-fold PLACE must here be considered. 1st, The place whence Christ departed. 2dly, The
See Grotius and Vossius.
y Gen. xlviii. 14.
• Lev. ix. 22.