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ostaegory the Great,* " what ...session, he sat on the right
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“ heaven, that he might obtain the victory over the perverseness of his persecutors on earth.”
XIII. Haring 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 hea“ ven, and sat on the right hand of God;"İ-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
i Mark xvi. 19.
2 Pet. i. 16, 17.
; Heb. viii. 1. VOL. II.
But since Christ is not more honourable than the Father, what is meant by his being placed at the Father's right hand ? For the solution of this difficulty, it is observed by learned men, that when one, for the sake of honour, is placed at the right hand of a king, we must not attend so much to the person of the king as to his throne. The throne itself, too, is to be considered as having two sides,—having a seat not only on the right hand, but also on the left; whilst the seat on the right side, is more honourable than that on the left. Yet the king's own seat in the midst of the throne, is more eminent than either; for the middle place is the most honourable of all.* To this there is a reference in the ambitious request of the sons of Zebedee, who employed their mother to solicit, that it might be given them to sit, the one on the right hand of Christ, and the other on the left, in his kingdom. The same form is alluded to in the following passage of Suetonius concerning Tiberius :-“ After this, when a young “ man, in the triumph celebrated for the victory of Ac“ tium, he accompanied the chariot of Augustus, riding
upon the horse on the left hand; while Marcellus, “ the son of Octavia, rode upon the horse that was “joined to the chariot on the right.”+ The right hand horse, as the more honourable, was given to Marcellus; to whom Augustus had destined the empire. Augustus himself, however, it appears, held the middle, being the highest place. The middle, therefore, is the first place; and the right hand, the next.
* See l'oss. Harm. Evang. lib. iii. cap. 6. sect. 7.
+ Dehinc pubescens, Actiaco triumpho, currum Augusti comitatus est sinisteriore funali equo, quum Marcellus Octaviæ filius, des. teriore veheretur. Tib. cap. vi.
• Mat. xx. 21.
ix. The learned men add, that it is not necessary that a third person be associated with the king, on the left hand; for it is understood that a vacant seat, which might be occupied, is on that hand. Of this we have an instance in Solomon, who, to confer honour on his mother Bathsheba, caused her to sit on his right side ;p for had he caused the left side to be occupied, whilst the seat on the right was vacant, he would have seemed to prefer some one for whom that seat was reserved, to his mother. But by the mode adopted, he assigned her the honour next to that which belonged to the king. Christ, therefore, is on the right hand of the Father, because the Father is considered as sitting in the midst of the throne, to whom our Lord, as Mediator, is next in dignity. Hence he is said to sit on the throne of the Father ;9 not excluding the Father, or superior to Him, but with the Father: as his Mediatorial dignity in the state of exaltation makes the nearest approach to the Divine.
x. In making these observations, the learned men indeed discover ingenuity. But it will be no disadvantage to us, to lay aside such hypotheses, and perhaps unnatural refinements; provided only we remember, that, since it is impossible for any to be greater or more honourable than a king in his own kingdom; a king, when he makes any one sit on his right hand, wishes him to be very highly honoured, yet doth not exalt him above himself. To be at the right hand of the highest, is the dignity next to the highest; or, if the case so require, it is to possess equal honour. Nor is it necessary to imagine a vacant seat on the left. In Psalm xlv. 9. the Queen is represented as standing on the right hand of the King; and we read nothing of a person occupying the left. Nero, according to Suetonius,* placed Tiridates king of Armenia,“ next himself on “the right hand.” And with this Casaubon judiciously compares the following passage of Eunapius :t “ And so great a height of wisdom and power did he “ attain, that the king himself became enamoured of “ him, and had him for his assessor in public, setting “ him in the right hand place.” Claudius, according to Suetonius also, “ appointed a triumph to Aulus Plau" tius ; and, having gone forth to meet him, when he “ made his entry into the city, proceeded to the Capi“ tol, and returned,--supported his side,” that is, if we adopt the interpretation of Eutropius, marched on his “ left.” This he did, surely, not for the purpose of degrading, as Becanus would understand it, but of exalting him; yet by no means so as to advance him above himself. Hence it appears, that princes placed on their right hand, those on whom they wished to confer the greatest possible honour, without any reference to a third place in relation to which the prince held the middle station. From this custom, then, we ought to explain the expression, that Christ is on the right hand of the Father. The meaning is, that he is exalted by the Father to the highest dignity, and honoured with a name which is above every name.”
r i Kings ii. 19.
9 Rev. iii. 21.