« AnteriorContinuar »
gone a little before to prepare our way, having promis'd to come again, and receive us to himself, and so shall we b* ever with the Lord.
4. Christ's Ascension should raise our Hearts and Affections to things above: his being gone from this lower World to the Regions above, should make us lift up our Hearrs and Desires to him, and mount after him upon the wings of Prayer and Meditation. We should scorn to be taken up with any thing here below, when our Saviour is above; or be groveling upon Earth, when we should be thinking and preparing for Heaven. The Patriarchs look'd upon themselves but as 'Pilgrims and Strangers upon Earth, and were ever seeking another and letter Country: How much more ought we to do so, when our Saviour hath not only discover'd and purchas'd this Country, but is gone before to take possession of it for us? This should teach us to set our Jjfefiions on things above, and not on things on the earth; to rife and ascend with Christ, that where our 'Treasure is, there our Hearts may be also.
Mark xvi. 19. latter part. f
And sat on the Right Hand of God.
FROM the Second Step of our Blessed Saviour's Exaltation, viz. his Ascension into Heaven; I proceed to the Third, to wit, his Session at the Right Hand of God-, which both our Text and our Creed teach us stedsastly to, believe. In discoursing whereof, it will be necessary,
First, To explain the true Sense and Meaning os it.
Secondly, To shew that 'twas foretold and promis'd of the Messiah, that after the sinishing the Work of Man's Re-\ dempuon, he should sit down at the Right Hand of God: ',
'Thirdly, That our Blessed Saviour is accordingly thus set, down at the Right Hand of the Majesty on high.
T % Fourthly\
Fourthly, I am to consider the great Benesits and Privileges that accrue thereby unto Mankind. 'And,
Lastly, what Influence the Belief of it ought to have upon par Practice.
For the Explication of it, we must note, That God be'ng a Spirit, must not be suppos'd to have any material pr corporeal Parts, and consequently not ;o have either * right Hand or a left; but we are to understand it siguratively, as spoken after the manner of Men: for the Hand being the Instrumept of Power, by which most of our Actions natural and ar irlcial are perform'd; therefore the Power by which God is laid to act or do *ny thing, is commonly express'd by the Hand of God. And because the Right Hand, by being more generally us'd than the left, acquires a greater Strength and Activity; therefore the insinite Strength and Power of God is frequen' ly set forth and signify'o by the Right Hand of God. Moreo
The Right Hand is among Men esteem'd the p'ace of greatest Honour and Dignity; whence S'iomon, sitting on his Throne, is said, in honour to his Mother, to feat her at his Right Hand, i Kings 2. 19. And therefore the Right Hand of God is us'd to signify the highest. Honour and Dignity in hls Presence.
Again, Because Gifts are generally given and receiv'd by the Hands of Men; therefore the Right Hand of God is made to signify his Bounty, and the Blessedness of such as partake of it: according to that of the Psalmist, In thy ^Presence is Fulness of fry, and at thy' Right Hand are Pleasures fer evermore. So that by the Right Hand of God here, we are to understand Power, Honour, Pleasure, and ererlastipg Happiness.
Furthermore, by Christ's SeJJion at the Right Hand of God, we are not to understand any one determinate Posture of Body, much less that inclining Posture which we call sitting: setwe sind him descrjb'd in Scripture in other and different Postures. St. Stephen looking up stedfastly to Heaven, saw Jesus standing at the Right Hand of God; Acts 7. sS. and St. John represents him as lying in his Father's BoJbm. But by Sitting here we are to understand his being, inhabiting, and possessing for ever this superlative Degree •f Qlprv. And because Sitting is a Posture of Rest, HoJ0ufr Command? and Continuance; therefore Christ's
sitting at the right Hand of God, implies his eternal and undiiturb'd Enjoyment of the highest Honour, Power and Happiness with God in the highest Heavens. From whence I proceed to shew,
Secondly, That this was foretold of the Meffias, and re•veal'd to the Prophets in the Old Testament concerning
Joseph's being taken from Prison, and made the Ruler of 'PbaraoFsKoule, and thereby advanc'd to the highest Power and Dignity in his Kingdom, was a Type of the Meffiab • Advancement to the highest Honour and Power in the Kingdom of Heaven. 2)avid speaking prophetically ot the MelKas, says, The Lord faid to my Lord, Sit thou at my right Hand, till I have made thine Enetmcs thy Footstool; Psol no I. This Prophecy our Saviour, in his realomng with the Pharisees, applies to himself; shewing it could not be meant of the Son ofDavid, but of the Son of God h because David in Spirit call'd him Lord, wh.ch he would not have done if he hadbeenonlyhh Son. Yea so assur d was he Of this Honour, that he told the Chief Pr.ests and Elders before his Death, Hereafter shall the Son of Man sit at the right Hand of the "Power of God $ Luke 21. $9.
Thirdly, But what was thus prophetically foretold of the Me/Tias, was exactly fulsill in the Person of Christ, who after be was receiv'd up into Heaven, fat down at the Right Hand of God. Yeaj we sind all the Prophecies concerning Se Glorious and Eternal Kingdom of the Meffias, and hi. exercising Regal Power and Anthority over his Church, app y'dJ, ^accomplish* in him at this fc» solemn, Session aVGod's r'ight Hand. Then was that of the falm>st fulsill d Behold, Ihavefetmy King upon my Holy HMof,Zion!Then was it truly said to him, Thy Throne, OGod, is for-ever and ever, a Scepter of Righteousness is the Scepter of thv Kingdom And the Vision of Vaniel came to pass, whofan one coming in the Clouds of Heaven to the Anticnt of Days, and -was brought near before him; and '^TMffi"»£ him Dominion and Glory, and a Kingdom, that all People, Xations^and Languages should serve him ^ofi^mimon is everlasting, andhis Kingdom such asjhattTM* ^ destroy d: Dan 7. 1?, 14. This was an Honour never promts dor given to any but the Son of God;for tho the Angels are said to stand about the Throne of God, yet !t was never said to any of them in this glorious manner, Sit thou at my right Hand, till I make thine Enemies thy Footstool. And this will lead me, in the
Fourth place, to consider the great Benesits and Privileges that accrue to us hereby. And they are chiefly two:
1. A complete Victory obtain'd over all our Enemies. And,
2. His powerful Intercession for us at God's right Hand.
1. I fay, Christ by his sitting at the right hand of God, hath obtain'd for us a complete Victory over his and our Enemies: So the Apostle assures us, Heb. 10. 12, 1.3. He is fit down at the Right Havd of God, from henceforth expcBing till all his Enemies be made his Footstool. And he elsewhere tells us, that he mttst reign, till he hath put all his Enemies under his Feet. Where the Apostle, in both thofe Expressions, of pitting his Enemies under his feet, and malting them his Footstool, alludes to the antient Custom of the Eastern Conquerors, who were wont to tread upon the Necks of their subdu'd Enemies. So we read of Jojhua, who having made sive Kings his Prisoners, said unto the Men that went with him, Come near, and put your Feet upon the Necks of them; Josh. 10. 4. which in that, as in the present Case, was a token of a complete Conquest and Subjugation of all their Enemies.
Now the Enemies subdu'd unto Christ by this means, are Temporal and Spiritual ; of the sirst fort are both Jews and Gentiles. The former, for theirobstinate Refusal of Christ, were scatter'd up and down, and remain to this day dispers'd over the Face of the Earth. The latter, by yielding to him, are receiv'd into the Bosom of his Church, ana partake of the Benesits of his Merits and Satisfaction. The Spiritual Enemies he hath hereby conquer'd for us, are Sin, Satan, Death and Hell; all which, by his sitting at the right Hand of God, he hath made his Footstool, and in a great measure too put under our sect.
He conquer'd Sin by the Power of his Grace, and hath so w-'.aken'd the Dominion ofit, that if we consent not to it, it shall no longer reign in our mortal Bodies.
He vanquished Satan by the Triumphs of his Cross, in which he Jpoifd 'Principalities and Towers, and the Rulers of the 2)arknefs of this World, and thereby rescu'd us from the Snares and Wiles of the Devil.
He destroy'd Death by the Power of his Resurrection, opening thereby the Gates of the Grave, and rising thence, sirst himselfas our Head, and then drawing us his Members after him. 7"he last Enemy (fays the Apostle) which shall he destroy' d., is Death: which he did, by destroying him that had the 'Power of Death, which is the Devil; and thereby freed his Followers from all the Powers of Hell and Darkness.
This is, in short, the Victory obtain'd for us by Jesus Christ over his and our Enemies, of which we have abundant assurance by his ascending up into Heaven, and his sitting down at the right Hand of the Majesty on high : which Victory, tho begun, and in some measure confer'd on us here, yet will not be completed till his second Coming, and the time of the Restitution of all things. In the mean time let us consider,
2. Another great Privilege we enjoy by his sitting at the right Hand of God; and that is, his interceding and pleading our Cause in Heaven for us: and this he doth, not by any verbal or vocal Address, not by formal Pleas or Supplications; but by presenting himself, and appearing in the presence of God for ns* shewing his Merits for our Discharge, and exhibiting the Virtue of his Sacrisice, that we may obtain Grace and Help in time of need. For as the High Priest under the Law went into the Holy of Holies with the Blood of Expiation, and by sprinkling and presenting it before the Mercy-Seat, obtain'd Mercy and Pardon for the Sins of the People, Levit. 16. even so our High Priest is enter'd into Heaven with the Blood of his Sacrisice, and presenting it at God's right Hand, intercedes in our behalf, and procures Mercy for us. So the Apostle assures us, He ever liveth to make Intercession for us; Heb. 7. 25. And jf any Man sin, we have an ddvocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous; 1 John 2. 1.
Now his Intercession must be very powerful, and cannot but prevail and succeed sor us; for being still near at hand, and so highly exalted at God's right Hand, he is ever ready to present our Petitions, and to receive Returns, and is always heard in what he asks. But beside his nearness and dearness to his Father, he pleads not only the Father's Premise but his own Purchase; and asks no more than his Merits claim for us: which must make his Intercession prevalent beyond all Expressions. He hath all Power given him both in Heaven and Earth, and can grant what he pleases: If ye ask the Father any */;>/»£ (says he) in my Name,