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his ministering spirits, waiting his orders, to do service to his mystical body yet upon earth.
3. To whom is he gone up. You have an answer unto this, in his words to Mary, John xx. 17. where he gives her a commission; “ Go tell my brethren, that I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God." He had from all eternity lodged in his Father's bosom ; he had been by him as one brought up with him ; he was daily his de light, rejoicing always before him : and, Oh! what an infinite satisfaction would it be to him to return to his Father, to be poffessed of that glory that he had with him before the world was !
4. Consider through what region, and through whose territorics he went up. He went up through the region of the air, the territories of the devil, whose principal residence is in the air, therefore called “the prince of the power of the air.” And, Oh! how did it gall and torment that proud spirit, and all his apoftate legions, to see the Captain of our fal. vation return in triumph through his kingdom, from the field of battle, carrying the spoils of the enemy along with him, every one of them
obliged to bow at the found of the name of Jefus!
5. Consider his levee or retinue that attended him when he went up. This seems to be pointed at, Pfal. Ixviii. 17: chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels : the Lord is in the midst of them as in Sinai :" and then it follows, " Thou hast ascended up on high.” Angels are called “ the chariots of God;" his chariots of war, which he makes use of against his enemies; his chariots of conveyance, by which he transports his favourites into his house of many mansions, as we see in the case of Elijah and Lazarus; his chariots of state, that attend him in his folemn appearances. When he descended upon mount Sinai, at the delivery of the law, he was accompanied with myriads of angels; and now, after he had fulfilled and magnified the law, and made it honourable, as our surety, he returns to glory with these my? riads of angels attending him, “ The Lord is in the midst of them, as in Sinai.” O what a splendid train attended our Redeemer, when he went up in the invisible world of spirits !
Psal. xlvii. 5. God is gone up with a fout, the Lord with the
found of a trumpet
THE SECOND SERMON ON THIS TEXT.
FTER a short recapitulation of the preceding heads, I
go on in discourfing the folemnity of Christ's ascension to the throne of glory in our nature.
And therefore, 6. We may here consider the spoils and trophies he carried along with him when he went up; “for, when he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive.”
1st, then, The head of the old serpent was among the spoils of Christ's victory, which he carried along with him. Our glorious and renowned Deliverer, he encountered Goliath, and flew him with his own sword; through death he destroyed him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; he brake the head of leviathan in the waters, and gave him to be meat to them that inhabit the wilderness. Christ's victory over principalities and powers on the cross, is a sweet banquet to believers travelling through the wilderness of this world.
adly, The keys of the grave are among the spoils Christ carried with him when he went up with a shout : “ Fear not: for I have the keys of hell and of death," Rev. i. 18. Christ descended into the grave, and came out of it again, carrying the gates of the grave (like Sampson) away with him; and
proclaims to all his friends, “I have ransomed you from the power of the grave; I have redeemed them from death: 0 death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruc
3dly, The debt-bond that we were owing to justice, retired and cancelled, is among the trophies of Christ's vi&tory that he carried with him when he went up with a thout. Col. ii. 14. there we read of a hand-writing that was against us, and contrary to us." What was it, but just the curse of the broken law, which we had all signed in our first father Adam, when he
By this all the race of Adam were bound to lie under the wrath and curse of God for ever. Well, Christ took this out of the way: by the nails of his cross the bond was cancelled and retired, for "he hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us ;'' and this retired bond is among the trophics of his victory.
gave his consent unto the covenant of works?
4thly, When he went up with a shout, he carried along with him the broken law, repaired, yea, magnified, and made honourable, by his obedience unto the death. Christ was made under the law, io redeem them that were under the law; and we may suppose, that when Christ ascended, he made a report to his Father, that, according to his orders, he had fulfilled the whole commands of the law, and so maintained the honour of the justice, holiness, and sovereignty of God. O Father, would he say, here is the holy law, which was broken by the lin of many, repaired, yea, magnified, and made honourable; and thereupon the Lord declares himself well pleased for his righteousness fake : upon which the whole redeemed company cry with a loud voice, “Sing praises to God, ling praises : fing praises unto our King, sing praises.”
5thly, When Christ afcended with a fhout, he carried not only the keys of death, but the keys of the house of David along with him that is, an absolute dominion, sovereignty, and headship over his church, and over all creatures for the church's fake : Il. xxii. 22.“ The key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder : so he thall open, and none shall shut, and he shall Thut, and none thall open.” The key was the badge of authority and sovereignty; this is committed to an exalted Chrift, it is a jewel of his crown; and it ill becomes either parliaments or aifemblies to enact laws which do not bear the kamp of his authority upon them. Thus you see some things that Christ carried with him when he ascended,
7. With respect to the folemnity of Christ's ascenfion, we may consider that he went up with a shout. And here,
A, You may alk, Who were they that gave the thout? We read of nothing but a deep and silent gazing after him, as he went up from this lower world, Acts i.9.-11.; where then was the inouting? Anw. The shouting was not in the church militant, but in the church triumphant, among an innumerable coinpany of angels, and the spirits of juft men made perfect: these tons of God thouted for joy, when they taw their giorious head of redemption and confirmation coming in personally among them, with his venture dipt in blood, and his name written on his thigh and veiture, " The King of kings, and the Lord of lords;" a riame above every name that can be named, whether in this world, cr that which is to come.
When a victorious general, after a long absence, and great dangers, returns back to the army, the whole army will welcome him with a thout; to the armies which were in heaven, clothed with tine licn, white and clean, when they saw the Son of
God coming in among them, wearing the nature of man with all the enGgns of glory and victory, shining with the brightness of his Father's glory and majesty ; we may eatily think that they would make heaven to ring with their Hallelujahs and fhouts.
2dly, You may ask, What kind of shouts were among that triumphant company, when the Lord Jesus went up to his throne and kingdom ? Answ. We may easily suppose that it
(1.) A shout of approbation. Every one of the ransomed, all the angels, they would approve of his conduct in the management of the great undertaking of redemption. O! says the Father, I am well pleased with him; and, in token thereof, I set him at my right hand of Majesty on high : and then the whole triumphant company would cry, Amen, Hallelujah, for he has done all things well.
(2.) A shout of joy and gladness was heard when Christ ascended. There is joy in heaven among the angels when but one new member is added to his mystical body; how much more, when Christ himself in person entered the upper regions of glory? How would they cry one to another then, as Rev. xix. 7: “ Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him : for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his bride hath made herself ready?”
(3.) A shout of praise and gratitude. Every harp would be tuned, and every tongue loosed, to cry, as Rev. v. 9.
" Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the feals thereof: for thou wast slain, and haft redeemed us to God by thy blood, and haft made us kings and priests unto our God:” and so everyone cafts down their crowns at his feet, saving,"Worthy art thou to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.”
(4.) A shout of admiration and adoration was heard among the triumphant company, when Christ went up. The dazzling beams of our Redeemer's glory, obliges the angels to cover their faces with their wings, when they see him upon his throne, high and listed up, crying, “ Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God of hofts, the whole earth is full of his glory.” When Israel saw the glory of Christ shining in the destruction of Pharaoh and his host, they were struck with wonder, faying, " Who is a God like unto thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?" How much more would the ransomed in glory ling this song, when they saw all the enemies of our salvation drowned in the sea of divine wrath? Hence it follows, (5.) That there was a shout of victory and triumph heard among the heavenly crowd, when Christ went up, like that, Exod. xv. 1. 3. “ The Lord has triumphed gloriously.-The Lord is a man of war: the Lord is his name.
And ver. 6.7. « Thy right hand, O Lord, is become glorious in power: thy right hand, O Lord, hath dashed in pieces the enemy. And in the greatness of thine excellency thou hast overthrown them that rose up against thee: thou senteft forth thy wrath, which consumed them as stubble.”. Thus you see that God in our nature went up with a fhout, the Lord with the found of a trumpet.
IV. The fourth thing in the method was, to foew what there is in the afcenfon of Chrif that affords such ground of triumph. Here I will name a few things that may make us, even in a militant state, to fall a shouting with the church triumphant in heaven. Here then let us consider in what capacity and upon what business he is gone up; for he is not gone up to heaven as other saints when they die, and depart to glory, in a private capacity; no, but he went up in a public capacity, in the name of his whole mystical body. More particularly,
1. God is gone up with a shout, as our forerunner, to open the way to glory, and to make a report of what was done in the days of his humiliation upon this earth: Heb. vi. 20. “ Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, who is made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchizedeck." As a forerunner he rids the
follow him by faith into the holiest, and may follow him at death without fear of that last enemy, Rev, i. 17;
And as a forerunner he goes before to tell tidings, that the law is fulfilled, justice satisfied, and every thing agreed upon in the council of peace for the redemption of lolt finners actually accomplished. as I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do,' John xvii.
“ Shout for joy then, all ye that are upright in heart."
2. He has gone up as a victorious general, to receive a triumph after the battle. When man finned, he fell under the power of Satan the god of this world, and he was carrying all Adam's posterity away, as so many prisoners in chains; and when that queition was put, “Shall the lawful captive be delivered, shall the prey be taken from the terrible ?" angels and men were concluding that it was impossible, because not only was the enemy powerful, but he had the justice and faithfulness of God engaged in the penalty of the broken covenant of works on his fide. Well, but says the glorious Redeemer, Emmanuel, the Son of God, “Even the lawful captive shall be delivered, the prey shall be taken from the terrible; and I