« PreviousContinue »
thing itself refutes Baronius. In common with Theodoret, he will have Eustathius of Antioch to have been the Bishop who occupied the first seat on the right hand in the council of Nice, and addressed the Emperor. I shall not now examine the accuracy of this statement. I only observe, that in the Epistle to Zeno the Emperor, respecting the deposition of Peter of Antioch, Felix, the Roman Pontiff, makes mention of Eustathius, as President of the council of Nice. His words are as follows:-" And of Eustathius the Confessor, and "PRESIDENT of the three hundred and eighteen holy "Fathers who met at Nice."* Now if this be true, most certainly the first seat on the right hand bench, which belonged to the President, could not be considered inferior to any seat on the left.
v. Whatever may have been the practice amongst the Romans, it clearly appears, that amongst the Hebrews, the right hand place was more honourable than the left. Hence the Apostle speaks of " the right hand "of the majesty;" and of "the right hand of the throne "of the majesty." He whom God loves and honours most, is called "the Man of God's right hand." "A wise "man's heart is at his right hand; but a fool's heart " at his left." The former pursues right-hand; the latter, left hand things. The one meditates and devises in his mind, what is laudable, useful, and excellent; the other, the contrary. Joseph, when presenting his sons to his father Jacob to receive his blessing, placed them according to the order of seniority, so that Manas
Και "Ευσταθία τῷ ὁμολογητές, και ΠΡΟΕΔΡΟΥ τῶ, ΤΙΗ ἁγίων Kategwv iv Nixxių algos DevTwv.
i Heb. i. 3.
* Ps. lxxx. 17.
J Heb. viii. 1.
1 Eccles. x. 2.
seh, the elder, was on Israel's right hand, and Ephraim, the younger, on his left.m Job, when complaining of the arrogance of young men towards him, says; Upon my right hand rise the youth :" That is, matters are now come to such a pass, that youths not yet arrived at the years of discretion, are not ashamed wantonly to prefer themselves to me, although an aged and a venerable man.43 In fine, Christ will set the elect on his right hand, as a token of honour and love; and the goats on his left, in testimony of contempt and disgrace, Mat. xxv. 33. But what necessity is there for multiplying examples in so clear a point?—That the language of the sacred writers, too, referred to the custom of the Hebrews, requires, I think, no laborious proof.
VI. The matter was thus understood by the ancient Christian writers. Basil says, "The place on the
right hand denotes equal dignity and eminence." "If he had intended to intimate," says Chrysostome,* "that he is inferior, he would not have said on the "right hand, but on the left." It is observed by Theophylact, that " he sits, and that on the right “hand, and on high; in order to show that he is equal "in dignity to the Father." And Maximus of Turin‡ expresses himself in the following words: "The Fa"ther offers Christ his Son an exalted place with him"self on his throne; and, for the purpose of doing him "honour, he has set him in an everlasting seat at his right hand." Let it then be regarded as certain and
indisputable, that to sit at one's right hand is a mark of dignity and honour.
VII. What then? you will say; because Christ is at the right hand of the Father, is he greater and more honourable than the Father? Socinus, indeed, with Schlichtingius his disciple, speaks to that effect, absurdly affirming, “that in some degree, and according "to a certain sense, Christ now sits in a more honour"able place than the Father." Maldonatus, too, on Psalm cx. seems to adopt the same idea, asserting that this expression signifies, "that Christ is not merely “equal, but even greater; namely, in the administra"tion of the kingdom, although not absolutely." A more preposterous opinion, however, cannot be formed. "When" the Scripture saith, "all things are put under "him, it is manifest that he is excepted, who did put "all things under him," 1 Cor. xv. 27. And since the Divine majesty and supremacy are absolutely infinite, it is impossible for the mind to suppose, or the imagination to conceive, any thing that is in any respect greater, or more exalted than God. It is highly indecorous also for those, who on other occasions are wholly bent on depreciating Christ and robbing him of his true glory, now to attribute to him a glory in some respect superior to the Divine; which is but a vain glory, and what he never claimed to himself. A writer whom I have just quoted, namely, Maximus of Turin, makes the following excellent remark: "Some may per
haps wonder, why Christ is said to be at the right "hand. There are indeed no degrees of dignity, where "there is a fulness of divinity. Yet Christ sits at "the right hand,-not that he may be preferred to "the Father, but that he may not be considered infe"rior."
a this sitting, that at the right hand of st not be understood ture of the body, but as car that posture, namely, authority. The standmeared to Stephen, was in
readiness, amidst the unded, to defend and and to receive his spirit.s egory the Great,* " what ression, he sat on the right -tephen's saying, I see the Son of man standing on the Why does Mark affirm that vers that he saw him standren, that it belongs to a Judge, I rHelper, to stand. Since er, being exalted to heaven, ::versal judgment, and will come
all, Mark describes him as ceived up; for, in consequence sion, he will appear as Judge Stephen, engaged in the dd him whom he regard
a. sanding posture; because he sa supported him by his
"heaven, that he might obtain the victory over the perverseness of his persecutors on earth."
XIII. Having premised these observations respecting the terms and the phrase, let us now examine the subject itself; which, agreeably to what has been said, we explain thus. Christ's sitting at the right hand of God, is that supreme and peculiar glory, both in his person and in his Kingly office, which, after his ascension into heaven, was conferred on him by the Father, and most justly taken possession of by himself, for the glory of God the Father, and for the perfect salvation of the Church.
XIV. This definition sets forth, without doubt, the HIGHEST GLORY OF CHRIST; to which he rose by several distinct steps. First, whilst he was yet in a state of abasement, some rays of glorious majesty occasionally broke forth. In the next place, in his resurrection, he was exalted from a mortal to an immortal state; which is the beginning of his glorification. Further, in his ascension, he was raised from a condition till then terrestrial, although immortal, to a celestial state;—which is an advance in glory. And in fine, he was exalted in heaven, to the dignity of sitting at the right hand of God: "He was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God;"-in which the summit and perfection of his glory consists. "He "is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty "in the heavens."j
xv. This glory is not merely supreme, but also peculiar to Christ. It far surpasses the dignity of all
h2 Pet. i. 16, 17. j Heb. viii. 1.
i Mark xvi. 19.