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"air;" that, associated with choirs of patriarchs and of angels, we may be ever with the Lord."w
XLIV. The man who cherishes this glorious hope, cannot fail to be excited by it, to the study of a sublime and exalted holiness. Of this holiness, he has in the very ascension of our Lord, 1st, An exemplary cause. It belongs to Christians to be constantly "looking "unto Jesus, the author and finisher of faith, who, for "the joy that was set before him, endured the cross,
despising the shame, and is set down at the right "hand of the throne of God." Since he, therefore, who, as we have just learned, is our Forerunner, has taken leave of the dust of this lower world, and sought the things which are above, who can doubt that it is incumbent on us, to tread the same footsteps? And as we cannot follow him now but by prayers, by desires, by sighs, by endeavours, and by the efforts of a soul earnestly tending upwards; let us not, in these respects at least, neglect him, or be wanting to ourselves. 2dly, A primary and morally influential cause.* 1. Where the treasure is, there is the heart also. The soul is not so much where it lives, as where it loves. Bodies are carried according to their weight: such as are heavy, downwards; such as are light, upwards. Love is the weight of the soul; love carries it whithersoever it goes. If, therefore, we love Jesus, as we ought, with a sincere and ardent love, that love will give wings to the soul, on which it will fly upwards, and bend its course towards the Lord; that, as far as possible, it may obtain familiar intercourse with him, in heavenly meditations, prayers, and devout aspirations of mind.
It is out of its power,-nor were it able, would it be inclined to bring down Jesus from heaven. It longs, however, to be united with him—to enjoy him. What remains then, but that, scorning the deceitful pleasures of the world, it should aspire to heaven, by the strenuous cultivation of a noble sanctity? 2. What a disgraceful crime would it be, if, whilst the Head shines in heaven like the purest gold, the members of the spiritual body should basely roll themselves in the dust of the earth, in the filth of sin, and in the abominable mire of hell! This would be to transform Christ into a monster, akin to Nebuchadnezzar's great image; of which the head was of gold, but the feet, part of iron, and part of miry clay. 3. If Christ has gone before to prepare a place for us, in his Father's house, and to prepare glory worthy of so magnificent a place, what an indecorous and abject meanness of spirit would it discover, to cleave to the trifles, the toys, and the refuse of this world; to pursue them; to be distracted by them; or to be drawn away by them, from the pursuit of those glorious felicities, which we believe are reserved for us with Christ in God. 3dly, A supernaturally efficacious cause. Christ is the head; all believers are the members of his mystical body. Owing to this intimate union, the Spirit flows down from the head to the members: and, as the Spirit comes from heaven, so he raises to heaven, those to whom he is given; just as the beams of the Sun, which warm the earth, cause the vapours to ascend. This, however, is effected by the Spirit in a gradual manner, and by several distinct degrees. 1. He causes believers to ascend by holy desires, and endeavours, to which the following
words in the Song, are usually referred: "Who is "this that cometh out of the wilderness like pillars," as if perfumed with pillars, " of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and frankincense," better than "all powders "of the merchant."a 2. He actually wafts the soul itself to heaven, after its sèparation from the body, to enjoy the presence of Christ, till the day of judgment. 3. He will convey the whole man, in fine, to the place where Christ is.-And such is the order which the Lord observes, that there is no possibility of passing to the higher degrees but by the first. Whoever expects to be admitted to heaven, is deceived, unless he feel himself impelled by the Spirit of Christ, to seek those things which are spiritual and heavenly, and manifest that impulse by the holiness of his life.
ON CHRIST'S SITTING AT THE RIGHT HAND
L. WHOEVER loves Christ in sincerity, cannot fail, on many accounts, to take pleasure in meditating on that unbounded glory, to which the Father has been pleased to exalt him. No spectacle can be more excellent, more splendid, or more delightful in the esteem of believers, than that to which they are invited in the following terms: "Go forth, O ye daughters of Zion, "and behold king Solomon with the crown where"with his mother crowned him, in the day of his es“pousals, and in the day of the gladness of his heart."
King Solomon," is the Lord Jesus, the Head of the Church, the son of David, the Prince of Peace, the Supreme Wisdom. "The day of his espousals,” is the time of the New Testament, confirmed and sealed by the Mediator's blood; who, after ratifying his Testament on earth, himself ascended to heaven, that, by the Spirit of grace and liberty, sent down from thence, he might dwell for ever with the Church. It is also called
Song iii. 11.
"the day of the gladness of his heart:" for then, having finished the most grievous sufferings, he was himself" anointed with the oil of joy above his fellows;" and embraced the opportunity also of displaying the riches of his grace and mercy, by conferring on his people the most signal benefits, the enjoyment of which would inexpressibly gladden their hearts. Christ cannot but rejoice, when he fills his much loved people with joy, and causes them to delight themselves in his blessings. "The crown" put upon his head, denotes the great glory of his heavenly kingdom-a glory which includes the multitude of his faithful subjects, who are given to him," that he may be glorified." God the Father, doubtless, gave him that glory; as Solomon owed his kingdom to his father David. Yet the crown is here said to have been procured by his "Mother:" because, as Bathsheba, by earnest and importunate entreaties, solicited the crown for her son; so likewise the Church, from whom according to the flesh Christ came,e and who, by hope and expectation conceived and brought him forth, entertained a most ardent wish, that he should bring the sharpest conflicts to a successful issue, and in consequence rule peaceably and gloriously in the midst of his enemies. Besides, by the word of faith, she brings forth those, who are "the glory of Christ." "The daughters of Zion," even all believers, as many throughout the whole world as belong to that kingdom of the Messiah, which is given him in Zion, are invited to "behold" the crown. For this purpose they are required to “go forth,”—to go out from the world, and