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SERM. assistance, and comfort; Behold, said he upon his deparXXXI. ture, I/end the promise of my Father vpon you; but tarry

Luke xxiv. Ve *w *he a'y °f Jerusalem, until ye be endued with the

49- power from on high: this he promised then to his disci

ples, but did not perform until his exaltation; Being

Acts ii. 33. therefore, faith St. Peter, exalted to the right hand of God, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this which ye now fee and hear. He did not, and indeed (in consistence with the divine purpose and the designed economy of things) could not

John xvi. 7. perform this until then; It is, said he, expedient for you that I go away : for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if 1 depart, I ivill fend him unto you: that is, God, for promoting our Saviour's honour, and for the glory of his undertaking, had in his wisdom determined, that so incomparably excellent a gift sliould be the reward of his obedience, the consequence of his triumph, the effect of his intercession above, an ornament of his royal state, a pledge of his princely munificence: it was reserved as a most rich and majestic gratuity, fit to be conferred at his coronation, then when he solemnly was inaugurated to sovereign dignity, and invested with

John vii.39. power superlative: whence, The Holy Spirit, it is said in St. John, was not yet, (that is, it was not yet poured forth, or bestowed in that conspicuous manner and copious measure, as God intended it sliould be afterwards,) because Jesus was not yet glorified: it was from Jesus being received into glory, and advanced to God's right hand, that so transcendent a boon was in God's purpose, and according to his promise, designed to come down. 4. Again, our Lord himself telleth us, that he went to

John xiv. 2. heaven, there to prepare a place for his faithful servants,

Psal.xvi.11. to prepare mansions of joy and bliss in God's presence, where is fulness of joy; at his right hand, where are pleasures for evermore. He accordingly hath, as the Apostle

Heb. vi. 20. faith, entered as our ttgoSpo/Ms, our forerunner into heaven; as an honourable harbinger, having disposed things there for our reception and entertainment; or rather, as the son and heir of that great house, he by his authority and hv terest there procured leave for us to enter, and reside SERItf. there, or carrieth us as his retinue thither; It is my will, XXXI. siuth he, that where I am, there Jhould ye he also; that ye John xvii' may contemplate my glory, and consequently may partake 2*- xiv- »• thereof. It was indeed our Lord's ascension which did unlock the gates of heaven, before {hut upon us by our fins; which quenched the flaming sword, and discharged the mighty cherubim, which guarded paradise from all access to menb.

The ancient Fathers generally were of opinion, that heaven, before our Lord's ascension, was inaccessible0; and that no man had ever set foot therein, until our Lord, by his actual ascent and ingress, did open the passage thither, and removed the bars there'1: to prove this, they allege that of our Lord in St. John; No man hath ascended up Johniii.13. into heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man, who is in heaven: and the forecited place, Ijotmxlr.a. go to prepare a place for you; which ieemeth to imply heaven before unfit to receive men: and those places, wherein our Lord affirmeth himself to be the gale of the John x. 7. Jlieep, and the way to the Father: and that of the Apostle XIV" 6* to the Hebrews, concerning the Patriarchs, and other good men before Christ's incarnation; And these all Aaw-Heb.xi.a9. ing obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise, God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be perseil. Hither also they referred that of the Psalmist, List up your heads, 0 ye psalm xx\r. gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King1' 9of glory shall come in: which words they interpreted to signify the gates of heaven then to have been first opened, when our Lord did ascend thithere. Joshua, a most congruous type of our Lord, leading God's people into the

b Flammca ilia rhomphæa, custos paradifi, et præsidentia foribus Cherubim Chrifti restincta, et reserata sunt sanguine, lllir. Ep. 3.

1 Qltattt in nt uta-Tsi. Ckryf. ad Heb. iz. 8.

'• Ante Christum Abraham apud inferos, post Christum latro in paradiso, &c. Hitr. in Epitaph. Nepot. Ep. 3.

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SERM. land of promise, did also to their sense imply our Lord's XXXI. first entering into heaven. The high priest alone entering into the sanctuary, did, as they deemed, argue the fame; the Apostle to the Hebrews seeming much to faHeb. U. ?» vour their sentiment, when he faith, Into the second (tabernacle) went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and the errors of the people: the Holy Ghojl this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, whilst the first tabernacle was yet standing. The same also was, fay they, signified by those persons, who, for offences wide of malice, were detained in the cities of refuge, and prohibited to return home, until the death of the high priest, Numb. but were afterward restored to the land of their possession; xKT.28. thereby, fay they, being intimated, that until after our Saviour's death no man could return into paradise, his primitive home, from which man for his sin had been excluded; but that thenceforth all persons, in an evangelical account, not malicious or wicked, had a right and liberty to return thitherf. Upon these and the like grounds did the Fathers commonly suppose no person before our Lord's ascension to have entered heaven; but however it were as to the time, yet assuredly, in order of nature and causality, it was he that did first ascend thither; and by virtue of his ascension it is, that any man ever did or shall Sanguis ever come thither; His blood was, as St. Hierome faith, Christi est tfe fay 0f paradife; the efficacy of which he carrying up difi. Hier. with him did unlock it; so that thenceforth it doth stand p"149' wide open to those who can soar up thither, following his Heb. x. 19, steps in persevering obedience. Having therefore, faith a0, the Apostle to the Hebrews, boldness to enter into the ho

liest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to fay, his flesh; and having a high priest over the house of God; let us draw near with a true heart: and, He, being perseeled, (or consummated in his state of glory,) became to all S E RM. that obey him the author of everlajling salvation; being XXXI. denominated by God a high priest after the order of Mel- Heb v 9 10^ chizedek.

f Quid est quod homicida post mortem pontificis ablblutus ad terrain propriam redit? nisi quod bumanum genus, quod peccando fibi mortem ratulit, post mortem veri sacerdotis, id eft Christi, peccatorum vinculis solvitur, et in paradisi possemonem reparatur. Greg. M. Hem. in Kztck.

5. It was indeed an effect of our Lord's ascension and glorification, that all good Christians are with him in a sort translated into heaven, and advanced into a glorious state; being thence by him made kings and priests to God. Rev. i. 6. We have, faith Tertullian, in Christ Jesus seized on heaven :^\r°' and the Apostle faith as much; Us, faith he, who were mus cœdead in trespasses and fins, God hath quickened together ^^ol\fn with Christ, and hath raised us up together, and made usCh"Ao ft together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. In many,/, Ref.c.' respects we thereby are raised to heaven and eminent5r< glory.

We thence even as men become greatly dignified, our nature being so highly advanced thereby: we thereby get the honour of being brethren or kinsmen to the world's great Lord and King; so that any of us may fay with St, Austin, Where my flefn reigns, there I believe myself lo reignS: hence, as the Apostle to the Hebrews teacheth us, is that of the Psalmist verified concerning man; Thou ps. viii. s. hast crowned him with glory and honour, and hast set him 7'

over the works of thy hands.

We also more as Christians are elevated thereby by our near relation to him, and our participation with him as our head: for where the head is, there the body is: they are inseparably connected; there can be no breach, no distance between them h; and the honour conferred on the head doth necessarily accrue to the members; according to St. Paul's rule, If'one member be glorified, all the mem- 1 Cor. xii. hers do rejoice with it, or do partake of its joyful state.a6, Christi afeenfio nostra est proveclio, The ascension of Christ is tur preferment; and whither the glory of the head is gone

8 Ubi caro mea regnat ibi me regnare credo. Aug. Med. Cirjf. m Kph. X. 3.

SERM. before, thither likewise is the hope of the body called, faith" XXXI. a devout Father'.

We also are by our Lord's glorification advanced and advantaged, in that his being so glorified is a sure pledge and an earnest of that glorious reward which all good Heb. i. i. Christians (hall receive. Christ being made heir of all 17# * "' things, did in his ascension, adire hœreditatem, take posEph. i. 11. session of that inheritance; and we consequently, as coCol, i. 12. heirs with him, and having afliare in the inheritance of the faints in light, do seize thereon, acquiring therein a right and propriety at present, being assured in due time (if by our miscarriages we do not forfeit our title) of an actual possession thereof; As, faith Tertullian, Christ did leave to us the earnest of the Spirit, so he received from tis the earnest, of the flesh, and carried it into heaven as a pledge of the whole sum to be sometime brought in thither^j

We do also in a manner ascend with Christ to heaven, in regard that by his ascension our principal concernments, our only considerable interests, (that xpeirlcav vnafai xtu piHeb, x. 34. V8<ra, belter and enduring fubflance,) the true objects of our affection, and all our hope, are transferred thither; whence heaven becometh our only true country, our abidHeb. xtii. ing city, our real home: we having here no true rest, iPet.u.n.n0 settled mansion, no certain estate; but indeed being i. 17. strangers, fojournets, and'pilgrims upon earth. Our woAi'rsuf/.a, our politic capacity, relates to heaven, or we are Phil. iii. no. citizens thereof, faith St. Paul; we are fellow-citizens of Heb.xii.ll. the faints, and domestics of God; are proselytes to mount nt,n*.t,i.i- Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the metropolis of Coios.i. is. (he faints, the heavenly Jerusalem; we are translated into I Thqs. ii. ine kingdom of God's beloved Son, are called into his kingColos. i. j. dom and glory, have our hope laid up for us in heaven, are dead to this world, and our life is hid with Christ in God:

Gal. vi. 14
ii. 90.
Col. iii. 3.

'Cluisti ascenfio nostra eft provectio; et quo præceffit gloria capitis, to spes vocatur et corporis. Leo P.

k Quemadmodum Chriftus nobis arrhabonem Spiritus reliquit, ita et 3 nobis arrhabonem carnis accepit, et veiit in ccelum pignus totius summæ illuc quandoque redigendæ. Tertull. dt Rtfurr, c. 51.

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