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15. Phil. '3, 21. As our blessed Lord rose to an immor. tal life, and his body was transformed into a very glorious state and appearance, to fit him for that heavenly world where he now resides; so we know that “when Christ who is our life shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is,” and be in our bodies transformed into "the same image, from glory to glory.” Believers know and feel, and may you, my dear Benjamin, know it too, that they have passed from death unto life, and are united to their Savior by a living faith, as really as the members are to the body, and the body to the head; and is it conceivable ihat he should leave any of his saints, the members of his body, under the power of death? If Moses, the deliverer of our fathers from the tyranny of Pharaoh, would not suffer any thing, not an hoof" to remain in the house of bon. dage," will our great Redeemer be less perfect in his work? shall our last enemy always retain his spoils, our bodies, in the grave? This would greatly reflect on his love, his pow. er, and faithfulness. His promise is, “ I live, and ye shall live also.” John, 14: 19. Oh, my dear brother, how consol. ing and supporting is the thought of a risen and a living Savior, under all the afflictions and troubles, perils and uncertainties of the present life, and in the nearest view and approach of death! Believers in Christ may say, as the sea we traverse may have iis storms, but he calms them, and speaks them into peace. We may sometimes be ancertain where to direct our course; but if that heavenly pilot steer our bark, we shall not wander wide of the place we aim at. Dangers may encompass, but his power can protect us. Enemies may distress us, but through him that strengthens us, we shall become superior to them. The risen and exalted Jesus is a compassionate and “merciful High Priest, ready to save to the uttermost," and, by office and inclina. tion, ready to succor us in every time of need. O, my beloved Benjamin, may you have a "good hope through race," may Christ be precious" to thy soul, “as he is to
all them that believe." Then, whatever are thy burdens and afflictions of life, whatever thy cares, anxieties, and sorrows, you need not sink under them. Better things wait for thee. The scene here, howerer uncomfortable, shall soon pass away. Death, which is the curse of bad men, shall be thy blessing; and what is the commencement of their misery, shall be to thee the beginning of endless peace and happiness. Remember that Jesus, though crucified and slain, Jives at the right hand of God. May you, my beloved bro. ther, be able to join in the doxology of the apostle to the circumcision, saying, “ Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who, according to his abundant merey, has begotten us again unto a lively hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you who are kept by the power of God, through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time. 1 Pet. 1:3-5.
$ 6. Having already detained you so long, I will make but one observation more, viz. The resurrection of our blessed Lord is a powerful motive to imitate him in purity of heart and universal holiness of conversation, and to walk before God in all newness of life. The remembrance of this great erent should put us in mind of the obligation we are under to separate ourselves from the corruption of the world ; to subdue our sinful passions, and to for. sake our former sins; to “ yield ourselves to God, as those who are alive from the dead;" to do the things that are acceptable to him; to live a spiritual and divine life; and as “risen with Christ, to seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God; and to set our affections on things which are above, and not on things on the earth ; that when Christ, who is our life, shall appear, we may also appear with him in glory." Col. 3: 1-4. The same direction the apostle gives to the church at Rome, saying, “Know ye not that so maov of us as were
baptized into Jesus Christ, were baptized into his death? Therefore, we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also shall walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection." Rom. 6: 3-6. On this passage the pious and learned Dr. John Edwards, a Pedo baptist, has the following remark: “In the fourth verse we have a most appropriate and elegant similitude, which is to this effect: The immersion or plunging into the water, which was then used in baptism, represents to us the death and burial of Christ; and by this symbol is also signified, that those who were baptized, and, as it were, buried under the water, undertook to die unto sin, and to all carnal inclinations ; for that is to be buried with Christ, and to be baptized into his death. And then on the other hand, the coming out of the baptismal water represents unto us the resurrection of Christ; and also that we ought to rise unto righteousness, and a holy and godly life. The similitude and analogy are exact, and therefore made use of by the apostle in other places. Col. 2 : 12. Christ's resurrection is an hieroglyphic of our spiritual rising out of the grave of sin; it is a fit emblem of our ris. ing to newness of life.”
Having, at considerable length, shown that Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day, according to the Scriptures, I propose, by divine permission, to show next, that Christ hath also ascended up into heaven, according to the Scriptures,
My Dear Benjamin,
Having shown that Messiah was to rise from the dead, and that Jesus Christ did rise, according to the Scriptures; I will now show that the Messiah was to ascend into hear ven, as the second part of his exaltation; and that Jesus Christ has actually entered heaven, which is to be considered as an additional proof that he is the true Messiah. By the ascension of the Messiah, I mean not a metaphysical or figurative, but a real translation of his body and soul, after his resurrection from the dead, into heaven, the dwellingplace of Jehorah.
$1. The ascension of the Messiah, like his resurrection, was both typified and predicted. We notice the translation of Enoch and Elijah. The one during the patriarchal period, before the giving of the law; the other in the days of the prophets, after the giving of the law. Enoch was a man that walked with God and held communion with him, and he was not on the earth, for God took him from thence to heaven, both in body and soul. Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind, in a chariot, on horses of fire, whilst he and Elisha were conversing together. Gen. 5: 24; % Kings, 2 : 11.
The carrying of the ark from the house of Obed-Edom up unto the city of Zion, is another type of the ascen. sion of the Messiah into heaven. In the Mosaic ritual, the ark was the most striking symbol of the Messiah. For, like him, it was the seat of Deity, the token of the divine presence, the appointed medium of maintaining intercourse with Jehovah, of approaching him, and of beholding his glory.. The removing of this ark by David to the hill of Zion was an event of peculiar solemnity, and was celebrated with great fervor and devotion. Amongst the various Psalms of thanksgiving composed and sung on that occasion, was most probably the 24th ; but it rists far above the types, and points to the ascension of Messiah. “Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lifted up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord, strong and mighty; the Lord, mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah."
The high priest, entering within the veil into the most holy place, was a most instructive type of the ascersion of the Messiah. You know, my dear brother, that our people consider the three different apartments of the tabere nacle and the temple to have a typical representation; the
first represented this present world ; the second, the firma. ment; and the third, the most holy place, the heaven of heavens; therefore as the high priest, on the day of atonc. ment, went into the most holy place, with the blood of the sin-offering ; so was Messiah to enter heaven, the most holy place, with the blood of his own sacrifice. See Joseph, L. 5. c. 8.
§ 2. It was also predicted, as well as typified, that Mes. siah’ should ascend into heaven. We have already shown that in Psalın 16: 10, the resurrection of the Messiah was foretold; and in the next verse, David being a prophet, speaks of the ascension of the Messiah, saying, “thou wilt show me the path of life; in thy presence is fullness of joy, and at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore."
The 47th Psalm, 5th verse, is another prediction of the same fact : “God is gone up with a shout, the Lord with the sound of a trumpet.” Both Kimchi and Aben Ezra apply the passage to the Messiah, and it has been fully fulfille ed in Jesus Christ, as will be shown presently,