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fhadows of death, secure these three good things, and there is no fear ; a good God, a good cause, and a good conscience.
1, Secure the presence of a reconciled God in Chrift: It was the faith of this, that made David fo bold here in the text: Though I walk through the valley, &c. His promise is sure “ I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee,” &c. “When thou passeft through the waters, I will be with thee,” &c. Let faith fasten on his word, and say, “ This God is my God for ever and ever, and he shall be my guide even unto death.”
2dly, Secure a good cause. It is a miserable heartless thing for a man to suffer as an evil-doer, to suffer as a busy body in other men’s matters ; but to suffer for Christ, for the doctrine, discipline, worship, and government of his house, to suffer for his members, or for cleaving unto the least of his truths, is comfortable and creditable; and we are to “account it all joy when we fall into divers temptations” and trials on this account, even though but the least hoof of divine truth be concerned; for better heaven and earth were unhinged, than one jot or title of the truth of God be suffered to fall to the ground. 3dly, Secure a good conscience to bear you company;
for this is like a bird in the bosom, that makes the countenance glad, even when storms blow hard from without. " This is our rejoicing, the testimony of our conscience,” &c. And, in order to your having a good conscience, get it sprinkled with the blood of the Lamb, and keep at the greatest distance from every thing that may defile it, even though it should offend the whole world in so doing.
7. Keep your eyes fixed upon Jesus as our glorious pattern, and see him within the veil, with the spoils of hell in his hand, Heb. xii. 2. “ Let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus," &c. View him as the renowned Captain of salvation, coming from Edom. Eye him,
If, As our Redeemer that has satisfied justice for us. So did Job; "I know that my Redeemer liveth, &c. This put him in case to look death and the grave in the face.
2dly, Eye him as your Leader, and the Captain of salvation made perfect through sufferings. He did wade a sea of blood and wrath, and he is now on the other side, crying, “ Fear not; for I was dead, and am alive."
3dly, Eye him as your head of influence, and wait for supplies of grace from him ; for he will not be wanting to give out life and strength to his members, as he has service for them, &c.
Lastly, Eye him as a head of government, having all power in heaven and in earth in his hand, for the benefit of his myltical body; for this will make you sing in the midst of tribulation, saying, “ I'he Lord liveth, and blefled be my rock: and let the God of my salvation be exalted.
The Lord fhall reign for ever, even thy God, o Zion, unto all generations. Selah."
THE SOLEMNITY OF CHRIST'S ASCENSION TO
THE THRONE OF GLORY.
BEING THE SUBSTANCE OF TWO SERMONS,
PREACHED AT THE CELEBRATION OF THE LORD'S SUPPER AT
ABERNETHY, APRIL 28. 1734.
Psal. xlvii. 5.-God is gone up with a fhout, the Lord with the
found of a trumpet.
THE FIRST SERMON ON THIS TEXT.
fion of that great folemnity, of carrying up the ark from the house of Obed-edom unto the city of Zion; the history of which we have, 2 Sam. vi. and i Chron. xiii. 6. But as Zion was a type of the church, and the ark a type of Christ; so this has plainly a respect unto the ascension of Christ unto heaven, and, as a consequence and fruit thereof, to the spreading and enlargement of his kingdom in all parts and nations of the world.
The psalm begins with an exhortation to praise, ver. 1. "O clap your hands, all ye people, shout unto God with the voice of triumph.” The party exhorted is, “ all ye people ;” not only all the tribes of Israel, but all the ends of the earth, are concerned in this common Saviour and his salvation, and therefore all are exhorted to join in this triumph, of celebrating the glory of our Redeemer. And they are exhorted to elap their hands, and thout with the voice of triumph, like men in a transport that cannot contain themselves. Clapping of the hands, and shouting upon any solemn occasion, is a token of approbation. Every soul that hears of Christ, should
approve of the device of Infinite Wisdom through him : “ This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation," &c. A token of joy and pleasure. Christ is the joy and pleasure of his Father and he is also the joy of all the redeemed, they are jun “gladded with his countenance,” as the expression is, Pial. xxi. 6. A token of admiration and wonder. God ma. nifested in the flesh, is the wonder of angels, and the admiration of all the faints, both in the church militant and triumphant.
Now follows fome considerations to induce and engage all people to praise and gratitude.
1. Our Redeemer is to be praised, because of the awful majesty of God that is in him: "The Lord most high is terrible.” But, say you, is this matter of praise ? Antw. It is great mat. ter of praise that our Redeemer is none other than the most high God, who strikes terror upon the powers of hell ; he comes to bruise the head of the serpent, and through death to destroy him that had the power of death; he is terrible to all the wicked enemies of his church and people; for "he cutteth off the spirits of princes, and is terrible to the kings of the earth.” Is it not matter of praise unto the church, to have this God for our God, for our everlasting friend?
2. He is a sovereign Lord, and his dominion is universal; “ he is a great King over all the earth.” His kingdom is fo extensive, that it reaches from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth, according to the promise made to him by his Father, "I will give him the Heathen for his inhe. ritance,” &c.
3. He is to be praised for the honour and victory that he gives unto all his ransomed: “He will (ver. 3.) subdue the people under us, and the nations under our feet ;" i. e. through him we shall be conquerors, yea,
conquerors ;" in him we shall “rule the nations with a rod of iron,” according to what we have, Psal. cxlix.
4. He is to be praised for the pleasant portion and goodly heritage that he bestows upon all his true lsrael: ver. 4." He shall choose our inheritance for us, the excellency of Jacob whom he loved ;" i. e. he will order every thing in our lot in the world, to his glory and our good; and, which is best of all, he himself will be our portion for ever, when flesh and heart fails; and this is "an inheritance that is incorruptible, undefiled, und which fadeth not away.”
5. He is to be praised upon the account of his triumphant ascension to heaven in our nature, the views of which just fill the church here with transport of wonder and prajse : ver. 5. 6.7. God is gone up with a pout, &c.
It is the first part of ver 5. that I design to infift upon, God is gone up with a fout. Where notice,
1. The glorious and awful name and character of our Redeemer; he is God; i. e. God, not absolutely or effentially considered, for in this respect he cannot properly be said to go up, or come down: but it is God in our nature, in the person of the Son, God manifested in the flesh; that God who is the object of all praise and adoration, ver. 6.; that God who is “ King over all the earth,” ver. 7; that God who“ reigneth over the heathen,” and who " sitteth upon the throne of his holiness,” ver. 8.; “ the God of Abraham, to whom all the thields of the earth do belong;” it is that same God that is gone up with a shout. Who dares to wear that great name, but only he who is in the form of God, and thinks it no robbery to be equal with God? Among other winds that are blowing at this day in the valley of vision, the wind of blasphemy againīt a glorious Trinity, and particularly blasphemy against our glorious Emmanuel, blows very hard. I fear there are more in this land, that are carried of with the wind of that detestable Arian heresy, than we are aware of; and therefore it concerns all that love the Lord Jesus, to think and speak honour. ably of him, and to be established in the faith of his supreme and self-existent Deity; you see here how honourably the church speaks of him, with a view to his ascending in our nature, God is gone up with a fhout, the Lord (or JEHOVAH) with the found of a trumpet.
2. Notice his ascension and exaltation ; he is gone up. This plainly alludes unto the carrying up of the ark to the hill of Zion, which was done with great folemnity; the ark being the instituted token of God's special presence among them; its being carried from the house of Obed-edom, where it had remained in obfcurity, to the high hill of Zion, did typify the ascension of Christ unto mount Zion, the heavenly Jeru(alem above, from this lowed world, where his divine glory had þeen eclipsed for about three and thirty years.
3. In the words we have the folemnity of Christ's ascenGon; he is gone up with a fhout, and with the found of a trumpet. When the ark was carried up unto mount Zion, David danced before it, and the priests blew with their trumpets, and the people huzzaed and thouted for joy. Indeed, when Chrift ascended into heaven, we do not read of any such shouting or founding among the inhabitants of this lower world; but there was a great and glorious folemnity among angels, and the spirits of just men made perfect. The pfalmift speaks of the folemnity of Christ's ascension among the inhabitants of the invisible world, Psal. lxviii. “ The chariots of God are twenty
thousand, even thousands of angels: the Lord is in the midst of them as in Sinai. Thou hast afcended up on high,” &c. And it is thought by the judicious Owen, that in the 5th chapter of the Revelation, it is the solemnity of Christ's ascension to the throne of glory that is spoken of, ver. 11.-14. “ I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne : and the number," &c. Oh! Sirs, we generally think little of Christ's ascension; and indeed it made little noise here below: but it made a great noise in the other world, and will make heaven to ring with shouts of praise through an endless eternity. But I do not infist further upon the explication of the words.
Observe, “That the ascension of Christ unto heaven, or his ascension unto the throne of glory, is great natter of joy and triumph both in the church militant and triumphant,” (viz.) Here it is told us as matter of praise and triumph, even to us who are yet in a militant state, that God, in our nature, is gone up with a bout, and the Lord with the found of a trumpet ; and therefore the exhortation follows, “ Sing praises to God, fing praises : sing praises unto our King, fing praises.” We are called to join in the solemnity. O rejoice in an exalted Christ, “ye righteous: and thout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.”
Here, through grace, I would,
I. confirm the truth of the doctrine, that God in our nature is afcended.
II. I would inquire what is supposed or implied in that expression of his ascension, he is gone up.
III. I would speak a little of the solemnity of his up-going, implied in his going up with a fhout, and with the found of a trumpet.
IV. I would niake it evident, that his going up is indeed a matter of joy and triumph unto all that believe it, whether in the visible or invisible world, in the church militant or triumphant.
V. Make some application of the whole.
1. The first thing is, to prove the truth of this doctrine. And there are two things to be proved. . That Christ is gone up or ascended. 2. That this is matter of triumph and joy to the church militant and triumphant.
As to the first of these, that Christ is actually ascended, or that God is gone up in our nature.
1. This was typified under the Old Testament by the ark, which continued in a wandering uncertain condition,
as to the