« AnteriorContinuar »
SE KM. ture represented to us by that similitude, which is most XXXI. apt to beget in us reverence toward God, and which indeed ~ ~ really doth most resemble it; by the state of a king here, fitting upon his throne, being surrounded with personages of highest rank, worth, and respect; his nearest relations, his dearest favourites, the chief officers of his crown, and ministers of his affairs there attending upon him; so that yet for distinction, some place more eminent, and signally honourable, is assigned to that person, to whom the King pleaseth to declare most especial favour and regard; the which place by custom, grounded upon obvious reason, hath been of old, and continueth still, determined to the Psal.cxvii\.next place at the right hand; (the next place, because nearness yieldeth opportunity for all kind of conversation and address; at the right hand, because that hand hath advantage for strength and activity acquired by use, and therefore hath a special aptitude to offer any thing, or to receive, as occasion doth require:) hence for instance of the custom among those from whom the phrase is taken, when Bathfheba, king Solomon's mother, did come i Kings ii. unto him, it is said, The king—-sat down upon his throne, and caused a seat to he set for the king's mother; and she sat on his right hand: thus our Lord, as man, in regard to his perfect obedience and patience, being raised by God to the supreme pitch of favour, honour, and power with him, Acts ». 31. God having advanced him to he a Prince and a Saviour, to give repentance unto Israel, and remission os fins; having Phil. ii. 9, superexalted him, and bestowed on him a name above alt 10 names, to which all knees in heaven, in earth, and under
Eph. i. so, the earth must, how; baring seated him in heavenly places above ell principality, and authority, and power, and dominion, and name that is named, either in the present world, Matt. or in that which is to come; having committed to him all John'iii'as. auihorily in heaven and upon earth, and given all things xiii. a. xvii. into his hand; having constituted him heir of all things, Heb. i. a. and subjected all things under his feet, and crowned him, ii.8,9. wjth sovereign glory and honour-; having, in fine, given M. unto him all that which in the Revelation the innumera
Rev. T. g. ble host of heaven acknowledgeth him worthy of j power , end riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and SERM. glory, and blessing; that is, all good and excellency con- XXXI. ceivable in the most eminent degree, so that yiWai Iv ~~~
Tbti vpgrrtum, he in all things lecometh to have tlie preemi- Col. i. is. nence; God having, I fay, conferred all these preeminences of dignity, power, favour, and felicity upon our Saviour, is therefore said to have seated him at his right Eph. i. 20. hand; at the right hand of power, say the Gospels; that64. is, so at the right hand of the Almighty Potentate, thatMark *ivall power is imparted to him for the governance and pre- Luke xxii. servation of his Church; at the right hand of the majesty ^'h ;ii ew high, and at the right hand of the throne of God, faith the Apostle to the Hebrews; that is, so at the right hand of the Sovereign King of the world, that royal dignity is communicated to him; in regard to which all honour and worship, all service and obedience, are due to him from all creatures.
Thus much plainly the whole speech, fitting at God's right hand, doth import; the which matter is otherwise more generally and simply expressed by being at God's right hand; Who, faith St. Peter, is gone into heaven, slnrf1Pct.iii.2i. is at the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject to him: and, It is Christ, Rom. viii. feith St. Paul, that died, yea rather, that is risen again,34' who is also at the right hand of God: sometimes also our Lord is represented standing at God's right hand, as in the Revelation several times, and in the vision of St. Stephen, who saw the glory of God, and Jesus funding at the Rev. v. 6. right hand of God; the which posture doth then seemj^jjj.„ purposely assigned to him, when he is represented assisting sehis servants, or in readiness to achieve some great work for the good of his Church; but most commonly, as in our text, it is caWedftting; the which word in ordinary use denoteth an abode, or permanency, in any state: but there is, perhaps, some peculiar emphasis designed in attributing to our Lord that position; it implying the solid ground, the firm possession, the durable continuance, the undisturbed rest and quiet of that glorious condition, wherein he is instated: the- term fitting may also seem to augment
SERM. the main sense; for that Jilting is the most honourable XXXI. posture, and therefore implieth to the utmost that eminency of favour and regard which our Lord enjoyeth in God's fight. It may farther also denote the nature, quality, and design of our Lord's preferment; his being constituted our ruler and our judge; fitting being a posture most proper and peculiar to such persons; whence this expression representeth him as seated upon a throne of majesty, or upon a tribunal of justice *.
t shall only farther observe, that the attainment and settlement of our Lord in this high state is by one word
Johnvii.39.frequently in Scripture called his glorification; Tlie Spirit,
x'iii. a a. 'it is fe'd, was not yet, because Jesus was not yet glorified:
ivii. 1,5. and) When Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written of him: and, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified: and, Now, Father, prayeth our Saviour, glorify me with thee, with the glory which I had with thee before the world was; that is, constitute me as mediator in glory supereminent above all creatures, accordingly as in my divine nature I was eter
Acts iii. i3.nally with thee most gloriously happy: and, The God of your fathers, faith St. Peter to the Jews, hath glorified
Heb. ii. 9. his child Jesus, whom ye delivered up: and, We fee Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for thefuffering of death, crowned with glory and honour, faith the Apostle to the Hebrews. So much for explication of these points.
II. The confirmation of them may be drawn partly from ocular testimony, partly from rational deduction, partly from their correspondence to ancient prefignifications and prediclions.
The ascension of our Lord toward heaven was testified by the Apostles, who were eye-witnesses thereof; for
Acts i. 9. ^XfTTovrcoy aoTmv, they beholding, he was, faith St. Luke, taken up, and a cloud received him out of their fight.
» Sederc judicantis eft, stare pugnantis; Stcphanus ergo in laborc certaminis politus stantem vidit, quern adjutorem habuit; fed hunc post asoenfionem Marcus sedere scribit, quia post ascenfjonis suæ gloriam Judex in fine vidtbitur. Leo M.
His arriving at the supreme pitch of glory, and fitting SERM. there, is deduced from the authority of his own word, XXXI. and of his inspired disciples, the which standeth upon the Luke xxii. fame grounds with other points of Christian faith andjjj- .
doctrine; the which it is not seasonable now to insist64. upon.
But it may be proper and useful to consider how they (as all other important events and performances belonging to our Saviour) were by the Holy Spirit in the ancient Prophets many ways prefignified and predicted: that they were so, our Lord telleth us; Ought not Chrijl, Luke xxiv. said he, according to what the prophets had spoken, to fits- a5' a6' fer, and so to enter into his glory? and St. Peter assureth us, that the Spirit of Christ, which was in the prophets, did* Pet. i. 11. testify beforehand the sufferings of Chrijl, and the glories after the fame: so indeed there were many signal types representing them, and many notable passages respecting them, interpreted according to analogy, with other mystical representations.
Isaac, the heir of promise, after his being devoted for sacrifice, and received from death in a parable, was settled Heb- *'• 19in a prosperous state of life, God being with him, and bless- a> l<lt &c#* ing him in all things. Joseph, being freed from that death to which by his envious brethren he was designed, and raised from'that burial in prison into which by the Egyptian Gentiles he was cast, was advanced thence unto flourishing dignity, and established in chief authority over the king's house, and over all the land. Which persons, Gen. xiuo. as they were in other things, so may they well be conceived in these respects to have been types of our Lord's ascension and glorification. Joshua, (who in name and performances was the most exact type of our Lord,) being preserved from the common fate of the people, and with miraculous victory over all the accursed enemies of God's people, entering as captain of Israel into the possession of the promised land, the sure type of heaven, doth fitly represent the glorious ascension of our Lord into heaven, and his everlasting possession thereof, together with the good people which follow his conduct. The great af
SERM. flictions and depressions of David, with his restoration XXXI. from them unto a mighty height of royal splendour and ~"~~ prosperity, (all enemies foreign and domestic being subdued,) may be also supposed to typify the same; his expressions in acknowledgment and thanksgiving for them seeming to allude hither, and to be more congruously applicable to our Lord, than to himself: such for instance as Psal.xxi. those are in the aist Psalm; He ajked life of thee, and *' '♦6- thou gaveft it him, even length of days for ever and ever: his glory is great in thy salvation; honour and majejly has, thou laid upon him : for thou haji made him mojl blessed for ever; thou haft made him exceedingly glad with thy Gen. v. 24. countenance, &c. Enoch, having walked with God, (that He .xi. 5. jS^ jn conftant devotion, and in faithful obedience to God's will,) and having received testimony that he pleased God, was taken unto God; thereby prefiguring the ascension of the well-beloved, in whom God was mojl well pleased: so a Kings ii. was also the translation of Elijah into heaven, in presence ofElistia and other his disciples, after he most zealously had served God, in declaration of his will and maintenance of his truth, a manifest prelude of our Lord's like trans' lation, after he had been employed in the like service, though far more high and important, and performed it in a more eminent manner,
The high priest was a certain type of our Lord, and
Heb. ix. 24. the Jewissi temple a shadow of heaven, and the holy of
holies a figure of the highest place in heaven; wherefore
the high priest's sole and solemn entry once only in the
year into the most holy place, after having by a bloody
Lev.xvi.i6, sacrifice made atonement for all tlie transgressions of the
Exod. xxx. children of Israel, and his there sprinkling the blood of the
J?\ . sacrifice upon the mercy feat, and before the mercy feat,
(the emblem of God's special presence,) doth certainly
prefigure our Lord's ascending into heaven, and sitting
there at God's right hand; there, by representation of
his merits and passion performing the office of a most holy
Heb.ix.i4,priest and gracious mediator for us; By his own blood,
84. x. 12. fa;th tjje d;vme Apostle, he entered once into the holy place,
having obtained eternal redemption for us: He is entered,