Imatges de pàgina

and glorious rule; but the acting with God on the behalf of his disciples. "I go,' saith he, to my Father, and to your Father, to my God, and to your God;' not his God and Father with respect unto eternal generation, but as he was their God and Father also. And he was so, as he was their God and Father in the same covenant with himself; wherein he was to procure of God all good things for them. Through the blood of this everlasting covenant, namely, his own blood, whereby this covenant was established, and all the good things of it secured unto the church, he was brought again from the dead,' that he might live ever to communicate them unto the church; Heb. xiii. 20, 21, With this design in his ascension, and the effects of it, did he often comfort and refresh the hearts of his disciples, when they were ready to faint on the apprehensions of his leaving of them here below; John xiv. 1, 2. xvi. 5-7. And this was typified by the ascent of the high priest, unto the temple of old. The temple was situated on a hill, high and steep, so as that there was no approach unto it but by stairs. Hence in their wars it was looked on as a most impregnable fortress. And the solemn ascent of the high-priest into it on the day of expiation, had a resemblance of this ascent of Christ into heaven. For after he had offered the sacrifices in the outward court, and made atonement for sin, he entered into the most holy place, a type of heaven itself, as the apostle declares, Heb. ix. 24. of heaven, as it was the place whereinto our high priest was to enter.

And it was a joyful ascent, though not triumphant. All the Psalms, from the 120th to the 134th, inclusively, whose titles are Dr nibyon, ‘songs of degrees,' or rather ascents or risings, being generally songs of praise and exhortations to have respect unto the sanctuary, were sung to God at the resting places of that ascent, especially was this represented on the day of jubilee. The proclamation of the jubilee was on the same day that the high priest entered into the holy place; and at the same time; namely, on the tenth day of the seventh month;' Levit. xvi. 29. xxv. 9. Then did the trumpet sound throughout the land, the whole church; and liberty was proclaimed unto all servants, captives, and such as had sold their possessions; that they might return unto them again. This being a great type of the spiritual deliverance


of the church, the noise of the trumpet was called the joyful sound, Psal. lxxxix. 15. • Blessed are the people that know the joyful sound, they shall walk, O Lord, in the light of thy countenance.' Those who are made partakers of spiritual deliverance, shall walk before God in a sense of his love and grace. This is the ascent of our high priest into his sanctuary, when he ‘proclaimed the acceptable year the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn ; to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified ;* Isa. Ixi. 2, 3. For in this ascension of Christ, proclamation was made in the gospel, of mercy, pardon, peace, joy, and everlasting refreshments, unto all that were distressed by sin, with a communication of righteousness unto them, to the eternal glory of God. Such was the entrance of our high priest into heaven, with acclamations of joy and praise unto God.

2dly. The place whereinto he thus entered was the sanctuary above, the 'tabernacle not made with hands;' Heb. viii. 2. It was into heaven itself, not absolutely, but as it is the temple of God, as the throne of grace and mercyseat are in it, which must farther be spoken unto immediately.

3dly. The end why the Lord Christ thus ascended, and thus entered into the holy place, was to appear in the presence of God for us,' and to make intercession for all that come unto God by him ;' Heb. vii. 26, 27. ix. 24. 25.

He ascended triumphantly into heaven, as Solomon ascended into his glorious throne of judgment; described 1 Kings x. 18—20.

18-20. As David was the type of his conquest over all the enemies of his church, so was Solomon of his glorious reign. The types were multiplied because of their imperfection. Then came unto him the queen of Sheba, the type of the Gentile converts and the church. When D'Y 'D'73, the voluntaries of the people' (those made willing in the day of his power, Psal. cx. 3.) 'gathered themselves to the people of the God of Abraham,' and were taken in his covenant; Psal. xlvii. 9. But he ascended graciously, as the high-priest went into the holy place. Not to rule all things gloriously with mighty power, not to use his 'sword and his sceptre,' but to appear as an high priest' in a 'gar. ment down to the foot, and a golden girdle about his paps,' Rev. i. 13. as in a tabernacle, or temple, before a throne of grace. His sitting down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, adds to the glory of his priestly office, but belongs not unto the execution of it. So it was prophesied of him, that'he should be a priest on his throne;' Zech. vi. 13.

It may be added hereunto, than when he thus left this world and ascended into glory, the great promise he made unto his disciples, as they were to be preachers of the gospel, and in them unto all that should succeed them in that office, was, that he would ‘send the Holy Spirit unto them,' to teach and guide them, to lead them into all truth, to declare unto them the mysteries of the will, grace, and love of God, for the use of the whole church. This he promised to do, and did, in the discharge of his prophetical office. And although his giving“ gifts unto men' was an act of his kingly power, yet it was for the end of his prophetical office.

From what hath been spoken, it is evident that the Lord Christ‘ascended into heaven,' or was received up into glory, with this design, namely, to exercise his office of mediation, in the behalf of the church, until the end should be. As this was his

grace, that when he was rich, for our sakes he became poor; so when he was made rich again for his own sake, he lays forth all the riches of his glory and power on our behalf.

2. The glory of the state and condition whereinto Christ thus entered, is the next thing to be considered. For he is set down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. And as his ascension with the ends of it were twofold, or of a double consideration, so was his glory that ensued thereon. For his present mediatory state consists either in the glory of his power and authority; or in the glory of his love and grace; his glory as a king, or his glory as a priest. For the first of these, or his royal glory, in sovereign power and authority over the whole creation of God, all in heaven and earth, persons and things, angels and men, good and bad, alive and dead, all things spiritual and eternal, grace, gifts, and glory; his right and power, or ability, to dispose of all things according unto his will and pleasure I have so fully


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The third and last thing which we proposed unto considera-
the person of Christ in heaven, is the exercise and discharge

tion, in our inquiry into the present state and condition of
of his mediatory office in behalf of the church; especially as
true tabernacle, which God hath fixed and not man.'
he continueth to be a 'minister of the sanctuary, and of the

All Christians acknowledge that his present state is a
creation of God, above every name that is or can be named;

state of the highest glory, of exaltation above the whole pend. Neither do they doubt of his power, but take it for and hereon they esteem their own honour and safety to degranted that he can do whatever he pleaseth, which is the ground of their placing all their confidence in him. But we must shew, moreover, that his present state is a state of office power, work, and duty. He leads not in heaven a life of

glory, majesty, and blessedness, but a life of office, love, and care also. He lives as the mediator of the church, as the king, priest, and prophet thereof. Hereon do our present safety, and our future eternal salvation depend. Without the continual actings of the office, power, and care of Christ, the church could not be preserved one moment. And the darkness of our faith herein, is the cause of all our disconsolations, and most of our weaknesses in obedience. Most men have only general and confused notions and apprehensions of the present state of Christ with respect unto the church. And by some, all considerations of this nature are despised and derided. But revealed things belong unto us ; especially such as are of so great importance unto the glory of God, and the saving of our own souls; such as this


is concerning the present state of the person of Christ in heaven, with respect unto his office, power, and care.

Thus he is at once represented in all his offices, Rev. v. 6. “And I beheld, and lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, stood a lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. The whole representation of the glory of God, with all his holy attendants, is here called his throne,' whence Christ is said to be in the midst of it. And this he is in his kingly glory; with respect also whereunto he is said to have seven horns,' or perfect power for the accomplishment of his will. And with respect unto his sacerdotal office, he is represented as a ‘lamb that had been slain ;' it being the virtue of his oblation that is continually effectual for the salvation of the church. For as the Lamb of God,' in the offering of himself, he takes away the sins of the world.' And as a prophet he is said to have 'seven eyes,' which are the '

seven spirits of God;' or a perfect fulness of all spiritual light and wisdom in himself, with a power for the communication of gifts and grace for the illumination of the church.

The nature of these offices of Christ, what belongs unto them and their discharge, as was before intimated, I have declared elsewhere. I do now no farther consider them but as they relate unto the present state and condition of the person of Christ in heaven. And because it would be too long a work to treat of them all distinctly, I shall confine myself unto the consideration of his priestly office, with what depends thereon. And with respect thereunto the things ensuing may be observed.

1: The Lord Christ entered into heaven, the place of the residence of the glory of God, as into a temple, a tabernacle, a place of sacred worship. He did so as the high-priest of the church, Heb. vi. 9. 24. “He is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.' He is entered into heaven, as it was figured by the tabernacle of old, which was the place of all sacred and solemn worship. And therefore is he said to enter into it through the veil;' Heb. vi. 19, 20. x. 19, 20. Which was the way of entrance into the most holy place both in the

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