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more immediate consideration of the lavish on him the riches of his goodresurrection state itself.
I. It is pretty generally acknow-
ness. As we read of the eastern
It will. I trust, be readily admitted, that these things are true concerning the MAN Christ Jesus: would that they were as fully believed in regard to the elect of God in general! I am persuaded that we should find this blessed expectation most influential in stirring us up to walk But worthy of our high vocation. so wonderfully is the love of God above all that we could ask or think, that the saints in every age have need to pray, that, the eyes of their understanding being enlightened, they may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints.'
For aught we know to the contrary, angels had never witnessed an example of the justice and severity of God, until the angels that rebelled were hurled down to Tartarus. But in regard to the rebellion of man, the principalities and powers in heavenly places are to behold a display of the mercy and goodness and love of God: not such a mere ordinary instance of these qualities, as shall only prove that they are connected with the nature of the deity; but such an exhibition of them as shall be worthy of Jehovah, and afford the most wonderful and exalted specimen of these attributes. To this end man is permitted to fall, and so to fall, that he becomes lower, if possible, than the angels that rebelled; being "earthly and sensual" as well as devilish," and as it were two-fold more the child of hell than his deceiver. But God will not only pardon him, and re-instate him in his former condition of happiness; but he hath determined to
It may be well however to instance two or three testimonies concerning Christ. cerning Christ. As Jesus declares that the Father hath committed all judgement to the Son, because he is the Son of Man;b so St. Paul asserts, that all things are put under him, He only excepted which did put all things under him.c In Ephesians we are told, that God hath raised him far above all prin
a 1 Sam. ii, 8. b Compare John v, rv. 22, & 27. 1 Cor. xv, 27, 28.
cipality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come, and · hath put all under his feet." Philippians again we read, "that God hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, &c."e And once more in Hebrews it is written, that God hath appointed him heir of all things;—that he is made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they; for unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come whereof we speak; but one ' in a certain place testified, saying, What is man that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man that thou visitest him? Thou madest him a little [while] lower than the angels: thou crownedst him with glory and honor, and didst set him over the works of thy hands : thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet."f Every one acquainted with Scripture must be aware, how readily these passages might be multiplied: and I trust none will be disposed to contend that they relate to the divine nature of our Lord; since it were absurd to make the circumstances, that he should be above the angels, and inherit all things, the subject of prophecy or promise in regard to his deity.
Now it is clear to my mind, from the obvious tenor of the Scriptures, that, in this exaltation and glory of the man Christ, the saints are to have a direct participation. This may be made evident, first, from a due consideration of one or two of the figures under which they are frequently spoken of in their relation
d Ephes. i, 20—22.
e Phil. ii, 9-11. 8 Ephes. i, 23.
ship to Jesus. For example, they "the body of Christ;"g and it is difficult to imagine how honor can be put upon the head, unless the members are also made immediate partakers of it. Again, they are "the bride" or spouse of Christ, whom he nourisheth and cherisheth as his own flesh, and of whose honor he is jealous.h And it is manifest, that when a man is raised to regal dignity, his wife is likewise elevated to the throne; and her lord would resent an indignity or slight offered to his consort, the same as if offered to himself. This latter figure will further serve to point out one important distinction as to the degree of glory to be respectively enjoyed by Christ and the saints: for a queen, though she share immediately in all the pre-eminence and splendor and greatness enjoyed by her husband, does nevertheless possess it subordinate to him. It becomes his by inheritance perhaps, or by conquest: it is hers rather as it is reflected on her by him. She can lay no claim to it in her own right, separate from her lord: and she enjoys it only because he has set his love upon her, and called her to come and share in his glory.
But these things are not merely to be inferred from types and figures, but are declared in more plain and absolute terms. I have shewn at page 95 of No. IV and page 175 of No. VI, that the saints are to sit down in the throne with Christ and to participate in the judgement: but mark how, in regard to some of the things spoken in the passages concerning His exaltation, the same things are said in other places in respect to the saints. Is the preeminence of Jesus above the angels argued from the circumstance, that
f See the whole of chapters i and ii. Ephes. v, 23–33.
God hath never said to one of them,
Before I quit this part of my subject I may here anticipate one particular concerning the enjoyments of the saints; which is, that their previous experience does in many respects increase their capacity for spiritual bliss, above that of the angels. According to our present
i Heb. i, 5.
apprehensions, the measure of our
j 1 John iii, 1, 2. n Ephes. ii, 6, 7.
k Heb. i, 2. 1 Rom. viii, 17. m Rev. xxi, 7. o 1 John iv, 16. p Luke vii, 47.
tors. God hath never identified himself with the nature of angels, by assuming it, as he has done ours :9 and in one word,-Christ did not DIE for them; and therefore they can only view his mercy shewn to others.
II. Having, as I trust, established the general position, that in the resurrection the condition of the saints will transcend in glory that of the angels, I pass on to the next
In my last Essay I contended, (from 1 Cor. v, 6—8 and Phil. i, 21—23,) that the souls of believers are, in the intermediate state, in the enjoyment of the presence of Christ. In what manner they see him and are with him, is not, that I am aware of, revealed: it is for us to receive. the fact itself; and for the rest, it appears to me the safest to leave it in that mystery, in which it has pleased God to envelope it. But in regard to the person of the FATHER, I think it is clearly intimated to us, that our formal introduction and presentation to him does not take place until the period of the resurrection. Though we are now said to be sons, (or rather sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty,'') yet it is only the Spirit of adoption we have as yet received, which is the pledge and earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession: the adoption itself being identified with the redemption of the body, which is also the time of the manifestation of the sons of God.s But as this is an important point in regard to the millennarian view of the advent and resurrection, I shall endeavour to illustrate it further.
When the Lord Jesus was risen
from the dead he said to Mary, "that he was not yet ascended to his Father;"t plainly intimating, as I conceive, that Hades or Paradise, from which his soul was just come, was not the abode of the Father. The same may be inferred from the words of the Apostle concerning David; viz.-" David is not ascended into the heavens :"u and the Psalmist himself defers the period of the beholding the face of God in righteousness, until when he shall "awake up with God's likeness."v It would appear also, that the saints are not publicly declared to be the sons of God, until their glorious manifestation: for it is to this period Jesus refers, when he promises, concerning him that overcometh,-" I will not 'blot out his name out of the book
of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. angels." And there are various other Scriptures directly referring the time of the saints' introduction to the royal presence (if I may so say,) and their courtly presentation to the period of the resurrection. Thus St. Paul expresses his confidence, that He which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us
also by Jesus, and shall present us with you."x In another place he connects it with the advent; praying for their increase in love, to the end He may stablish your hearts 'unblameable in holiness before
GOD, even our FATHER, at the
coming of the Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints."y Similar is the doctrine of St. Jude : Now ' unto him that is able to keep you ́ from falling, and to present you · faultless before the presence of his 'glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Saviour, be
q Hebrews ii, 16.
r 2 Cor. vi, 18.
s Compare Rom. viii, 15, 19, and 23;
2 Cor. v, 5, 6; Gal. iv, 5, 6; Ephes. i, 13, 14. t John xx, 17. u Acts ii, 34.
v Psalm xvii, 15. w Rev. iii, 5. x 2 Cor. iv, 14.
y 1 Thess. iii, 13.
'glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever, Amen." Thus am I compelled to conclude, that man, whilst in the present corruptible body and in the separate state, hath no access to that light in which God dwells; and that he does not visibly behold the glory of God until that time when it shall be announced, Behold the tabernacle of God is with men, and he I will dwell with them."at
But there is a yet greater depth in this part of our subject to be considered. Many expressions in Scripture lead to the conclusion, that the saints are not presented even to Christ until the period of the advent; and therefore, that in whatever way the saints, when absent from the body, are to be considered present with him and to behold him by sight and not by faith, it is not in that glorified nature which he will possess, when he comes as THE GREAT GOD AND OUR SAVIOUR." Thus it is written, that Christ sanctifies and cleanses the Church,
z 1 Tim. vi, 16. a Rev. xxi, 3. e 2 Cor. xi, 2.
that he may present it to HIMSELF a glorious Church, &c."b He bids his disciples pray, that they may be accounted worthy to escape the last tribulation and to stand before the SON OF MAN; as if they had not been brought into his presence previously. Similar is the promise in John's Gospel,d that He will come again and receive them to HIMSELF; which it is difficult to reconcile with the notion of each believer being at death received to Christ. Agreeably with this view the Apostle says, that he had espoused the Corinthians to one husband, that he might present them as a chaste virgin to Christ.e He declares also of the Thessalonians, that they will be "his hope and crown of rejoicing ' in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming."f And St. John exhorts the saints to abide in Christ, that when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and 'not be ashamed before him at his coming."g I pretend not to reconcile these two things, though
* There is a curious passage on this head by the ancient author of "Questions and Answers to the Orthodox," bound up in the editions of Justyn Martyr's works, and incorrectly attributed to him. Being asked, what became of those who came out of their graves after the resurrection of Jesus and went into the holy city and appeared unto many; and having stated, among other things in reply, that they went again to Hades with their bodies, in order to afford assurance to the souls there, that the resurrection of Christ was a pledge of the resurrection of all; he concludes by saying, They died not again, but continue in immortality, just as Enoch and Elijah, and are with them in paradise, still waiting a change after the manner of the resurrection of Jesus Christ; according to the words of the Apostle,-" We shall all be changed." Δι ̓ ἣν αιτιαν εδε ετελεύτησαν παλιν, αλλα μεν8σιν εν αθανασιᾳ καθαπερ ὁ Ενωχ και ὁ Ηλιας, και εισι συν αυτοις εν τῳ παραδείσῳ αναμενοντες την ηδη αιωνιαν της 75 Χρις8 ανασασεως γινονενην κατα εναλλαγήν, καθ ̓ ἦν, ως φησιν ὁ θειος αποςολος, παντες αλλαγησομεθα. Εις γαρ αθανατον τε και αφθαρτον ζωην επω γεγονε τινος ἡ αναςασις, πλην τε Σωτηρος Χρις8, διο και πρωτότοκος των νεκρων, και απαρχη των κεκοιμημένων ανηγόρευται. Question lxxxv. I give this without expressing any opinion on it, merely for the information of others.
+ Not only can no man now approach to the presence of God; but there appears to be a distinction among the angels even. For Gabriel states it to be his privilege, that he stood in the presence of God: (Luke i, 19 :) and of the angels who minister to the saints it is said, apparently by way of distinction, "In heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven." Matt. xviii, 10.
b Ephes. v, 27. f 1 Thess. ii, 19.
c Luke xxi, 36. d xiv, 3. g 1 John ii, 28.