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for men (Ps.lxviii. 18. Eph. iv.8)"; thus did He enter into His glory, and bear our redeemed humanity,far above all heavens (Eph. iv. 10), into the very presence of God, into “that place of all places in the universe of things in situation most eminent, in quality most holy, in dignity most excellent, in glory most illustrious, the inmost sanctuary of God's temple above?." Having stated this, the Creed passes on to speak of what He does in the highest heavens. He sitteth, it says, at the right hand of God, the Father, Almighty. Now God is a Spirit (Jn. iv. 24), and hath not hands like a man. Therefore we must understand, by this sessions at God's right hand, that in the heavens our Lord now occupies the place of greatest honour, of most exalted majesty“,
i Compare also the Proper Psalms appointed for Ascension-Day, the eighth, fifteenth, twenty-first, twenty-fourth, forty-seventh, and one hundred and eighth.
Barrow's sermon on the Ascension. Compare the words of Pearson, On the Creed, Art. vi.: “whatsoever heaven is higher than all the rest which are called heavens; whatsoever sanctuary is holier than all which are called holies; whatsoever place is of greatest dignity in all those courts above, into that place did He ascend, where in the splendour of His Deity He was before He took upon Him our humanity.”
3 We must not understand His session as determining any posture of His body in the heavens, for in one place St Paul merely says, that He is at the right hand of God (Rom. viii. 34, 1 Pet. iii. 22), and St Stephen affirmed that He saw Him standing on the right hand of God (Acts vii. 56). The word signifies (i) habitation, possession, and continuance; (ii) rest and quietness; (iii) dominion, sovereignty, and majesty. Ipsum verbum sedere regni significat potestatem. Pearson On the Creed, Art. vi.
4 “Because the most honourable place amongst men is the right hand, as when Bathsheba went unto King Solomon, he sat down on his throne, and caused a seat to be set for the king's mother, and she sat on his right hand (1 Kings ii. 19, compare also Matt. xx. 21), therefore the right hand of God signifies the glorious majesty of God.” Pearson On the Creed, Art. VI.
and of most perfect bliss, and that God hath conferred upon Him all pre-eminence of dignity, power, favour, and felicity.
6. As our Priest. But we are not to conceive of the session of our Lord as though it implied a state of inactive rest. In the highest heavens He exerciseth the twofold functions, typified by Melchizedek, of Priest and King (Heb. iii. 1, vii. 21). As the Jewish high-priest entered once every year, on the great day of Atonement, into the Holy of Holies, with the blood of various victims, which he sprinkled before the mercy-seat (Lev. xvi. 15), even so as our high-priest Christ has entered into the true Holy of Holies with His own Blood (Heb. ix. 12), and pleads face to face with God the merits of His sacrifice (Rom. viii. 34). For even in that glorious world He still retains a perfect sense of our infirmities, and of all the mystery of human pain which He learnt on earth, and out of His perfect love, knowledge, and sympathy, He, as our Advocate, intercedes for us, and through His intercession our prayers ascend to and are accepted at the Throne of Grace (Heb. iv. 14, vii. 25; 1 Jn. ii. 1, 2; Rev. viii. 3).
7. As our King. And not only as our Great High Priest (Heb. i. 8, 9, iv. 14), but as King of kings and Lord of lords does He sit at the right hand of God. There with infinite power, wisdom, and providence He is guiding the destinies of the Universe, and especially of the redeemed family of man. Slowly indeed, as we count slowness?, but yet surely He is directing all things
1. "Men are impatient, and for precipitating things: but the Author of Nature appears deliberate throughout His operations, accomplishing His natural ends by slow successive steps. And there is a plan of things beforehand laid out, which, from the nature of it, requires various systems of means, as well as length of time, in order to the carrying on of its several parts into execution.” Butler's Analogy Part II. Chap. iv, and note in Fitzgerald's edition.
towards their destined end, and employing the agency of heaven and earth for the government and defence of His people. As yet, indeed, we do not see all things put under Him (Heb. ii. 8), but as He is able, so will He subdue all things unto Himself (Phil. iii. 21), and in due time the last enemy, even death (1 Cor. xv. 26), shall be destroyed, and the Victory, for which all creation waiteth, shall be finally and completely won.
THE SEVENTH ARTICLE.
From thence He shall come to judge the quick and
the dead. 1. From thence He shall come. When He was upon earth our Lord declared not only that he should ascend into heaven (Jn. vi. 62), but also that from thence He should come again. Sometimes He stated this under various images, as that of a “master returning to his household” (Mtt. xxiv. 45–51), or “a nobleman returning from a far country” (Lk. xix. 12– 27), or “a bridegroom coming for his bride” (Mtt. XXV. 1–12). Sometimes He spoke of it expressly, as when He told His disciples that He was going away to prepare a place for them, and would come again and receive them unto Himself (Jn. xiv. 2, 3); or when He declared to the Jewish rulers that hereafter they should see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven (Mtt. xxvi. 64). Thus also the angels, who appeared to the Apostles at the Ascension, distinctly stated that the same Jesus, who had been taken from them into heaven, should 80 come in like manner as they had seen Him go into heaven (Acts i. 11).
2. To judge. The second coming, however, of the Saviour will not be, like His first, “in great humility?,” but in "glorious majesty,” and with all His holy angels to execute judgment in the earth. This is His own express declaration. The Father, He saith, judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son, and hath given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Mana (Jn. V. 22, 27). Thus also St Paul said to the Athenians on Mars' hill, God hath appointed a day, in the which He will judge the world in righteousness by that Man whom He hath ordained (Acts xvii. 31; comp. Rom. ii. 16).
3. The quick and the dead. Concerning the nature of this Judgment it has been revealed to us that it will extend alike to the quick and to the dead, that is, to those who shall be alive at that Day, and to those
1 See the Collect for the First Sunday in Advent.
? Because He is the Son of Man. This remarkable title is never applied by the writers of the Gospels to the Eternal Son of God. Wherever it is applied, it is by our Lord Himself. There are only three exceptions to this rule, Acts vii. 156, Rev. i. 13, and Rev. xiv. 14. During, however, the period of His sojourn in this world, there was no title our Lord was pleased so often and so constantly to apply to Himself; for a few out of many instances compare Jn. i. 51, iii. 13; Lk. v. 24, vi. 22; Mk. ix. 31, x. 33; Mk. xiv. 62. Observe, it is not Son of a Man, but “Son of Man.” The word in the original used for man implies human being, and the expression denotes that He who was the “Son of God" from all eternity became the “Son of Man" in time, the second Adam; “It pleased not the Word or Wisdom of God to take to itself some one person amongst men, for then should one have been advanced, which was assumed, and no more; but wisdom, to the end she might save many, built her house of that nature which is common unto all, she made not this or that man her habitation, but dwelt in us." Hooker, Eccl. Pol. v. lii. 3.
8 Quick means living, moving, from the A.-S. cwic, cwuc, Germ. quick, Comp. Lev. xiii. 10; Num. xvi. 30; Ps.lv. 15; cxxiv. 3; also Chaucer's Knight's Tale, 1017:
Nat fully quyk, na fully deed, they were,
who shall have died before it arrives. I charge thee, writes St Paul to Timothy, before. God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and dead at His appearing and His kingdom (2 Tim. iv. I). Who writes St Peter of profane men, shall render an account to Him that is ready to judge both the quick and dead (1 Pet. iv. 5). For we shall not all sleep, i. e. the sleep of death, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump (1 Cor. xv. 51)...and the dead, both small and great, shall stand before the Judgment-seat of Christ (Rev. xx. 12).
4. According to their works. Moreover, this judgment will extend to the thoughts (1 Cor. iv. 5), words (Mtt. xii. 36), and actions? (Rev. xx. 13) of men. For He, before whom all nations (Mtt. xxv. 32) will be then assembled, knoweth what is in man (Jn. ii.25). He will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts (1 Cor. iv. 5). He will exact a strict account of the deeds done in the body, whether they be good or whether they be evil (2 Cor. V. 10), and on His sentence will depend issues of inconceivable moment; for they that have done evil shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal (Mtt xxv. 46).
5. The Judge, then, on this great and terrible Day will be no other than the Son of Man, whom Daniel foresaw coming with the clouds of heaven (Dan. vii. 13, 14). For though the right and power of judging
Shakespere, Hamlet, Act v. Sc. 1:
'Tis for the dead, not for the quick. See The Bible Word-Book, p. 393.
i Beside the direct testimony of the Word of God we are convinced of a future judgment (1) by our conscience, (2) by reflection on God as a just God, (3) by the consent of almost all mankind. See Pearson On the Creed, Art. VII.; Butler's Analogy, Bk. I. Ch. III.