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"earth; sing ye praises with understanding." the day when Solomon was anointed king over Israel, so extatic was the joy of the people, so vehement were their acclamations, so loud the noise of the pipes, " that the "earth rent with the sound of them." But how much more joyful to us that splendid day, on which Solomon's Antitype and Lord, solemnly took possession of the kingdom! Then was it for Angels, then was it for all the pious inhabitants of heaven and of earth, to clap their hands together, and to sing together with one voice. "The LORD reigneth, let the earth rejoice; "let the multitude of the isles be glad. The LORD "reigneth, let the people tremble; he sitteth between

the cherubims, let the earth be moved. The LORD "is great in Zion; and he is high above all people." These sacred odes, adapted to that occasion, were dictated long before to the Church, by the Spirit of prophecy. And truly that man has no love to Jesus our King, to whom it is not a pleasure, to celebrate his glorious triumph in joyful songs.h

XLIII. But another point now demands our attention. For us, even for us, the ascension of Christ is expedient. As for us he was born, for us he lived, for us he suffered, for us he died; so for us, also, he rose again, and for us he ascended to heaven. The following, in particular, are the purposes for which he ascended. 1st, That he might pray for us, pleading that the whole virtue and worth of his satisfaction may be imputed to us. Heaven sometimes appears to be at so vast a distance from us, and the voice of our prayers so feeble, that we can scarcely dare to hope that it will pierce

Ps. xlvii. 6, 7, 8.

Ps. xcvii. 1. xcix. 1, 2.

i John xvi. 7.

f 1 Kings i. 40.

h John xiv. 28.

j Rom. viii. 34.

through the intervening clouds, and reach the ears of the Supreme Being. But how great a comfort is it, that we have an Advocate in heaven, at once thoroughly acquainted with our concerns, and industriously attentive to them; who being near to God, and being his intimate Friend and Confederate, pleads our cause without intermission; and who, as he is always heard, will certainly obtain for us whatever he pleaseth.k 2dly, That he might prepare a place for us. It was already prepared of old in the immutable and eternal decree of God. It was reared and furnished" from the foundation of the world." It was acquired for us by the merit of our Lord's sufferings, death, and descent into hell. It only remained, that he should go to possess and inhabit it, in our name and place. As our "forerunner, he "hath entered into that within the vail;"n and we are "made to sit together in heavenly places in Christ "Jesus." 3dly, That he might thence shed down upon us his gifts, more precious than gold. When the ark of the covenant was introduced into its habitation, David gave "to the whole multitude of the Israelites,


as well to the women as men, to every one a cake of "bread, and a good piece of flesh, and a flagon of wine."p But far better gifts were to be expected from Christ after his ascension to heaven;-not bread, or flesh, or wine, adapted merely to the support of the body,-but the quickening virtue of his own flesh, lately offered up to the Father, and that celestial "corn, which makes "the young men eloquent," and that mystical" new wine," which has the same effect on "the maids."q*


* See Vol. I. NOTE XIX.

1 John ii. 1.

m Mat. xxv. 34.

• Ephes. ii. 6.

a Zech. ix. 17.

1 John xiv. 2.

n Heb. vi. 19, 20.

P 2 Sam. vi. 19.

The Redeemer himself being most liberally anointed with the oil of joy above his fellows, he doth not distil a few drops of it merely on his people, but waters them with a copious shower. The kings of this world, at the festival of their coronation, throw amongst the people a small number of pieces of money, perhaps of silver or of gold; which a few individuals, and generally the boldest and the most forward, seize for themselves. But, unlike those kings, Christ doth not require his people to be satisfied, so to speak, with a few crumbs and toys. On the contrary, he confers on all of them, gifts, which cannot be valued with the fine gold of Ophir, or with the precious onyx, sardius, or the sapphire, or the finest jewel, or the topaz of Ethiopia ; namely, the gifts of his Holy Spirit, who is "the Spirit "of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel " and might, the Spirit of knowledge, and of the fear "of the Lord;"" the Spirit of adoption," in fine, "by whom we cry, Abba, Father."" 4thly, That when he shall at last return from heaven, he may receive us to the place where himself now is. O how blessed will that day be, in which our soul, emancipated from the prison of this vile body, shall be gently conveyed by angels above the moon, the sun, and all the stars, into the magnificent palace of the greatest of kings, to the possession of heavenly joys! And how much more blessed the day when the body, now made glorious, spiritual, and heavenly, shall be re-united to the soul, and when, in soul and body, we shall be caught up in the clouds, together with all the saints, "to meet the Lord in the

* Joel ii. 21-32. Is. xliv. 3.

t Is. xi. 2.

* John xiv. 2. xvii. 24.


2 H

• Job xxviii.
"Gal. iv. 6.


"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 soult 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.

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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

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