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to procure a gracious audience and a favourable answer to our prayers, and the acceptance of our services. Finally, he ascended to the enjoyinent and exercise of the unlimited sovereignty of the universe; and in the exercise of his kingly prerogative, he dispenses the blessings of grace and salvation to those who, in believing prayer, seek them; and exerts his power for the defence and protection of those who own bim as their Lord and Master, and entrust their cause into his hands. What ground of confidence and rejoicing does not this supply to the people of God! Their Advocate and Saviour guides the affairs of the universe, controls all events, holds in his hand all beings and all worlds, and subordinates all things in his providence to the promotion of their welfare.
“ All must meet, and work, and end,
As shall please their heavenly friend.”
To this source of consolation he often directs them in his Word. He calls them to follow him in thought within the veil; to regard him seated at the Father's right hand; to be mindful of his supremacy, and of the purposes for which he has been invested with it. “ Fear not,” he says, “ I am He that liveth and was dead, and behold I am alive for evermore, and have the keys of Hell and of Death.”
Of those who had ever tabernacled on our earth, two alone had ascended to glory before bim-Enoch and Elijah. Their ascension, however, was far different in its character and its consequences from that of the Saviour. They ascended as private individuals: their fate affected not others. Their translation was a token of Heaven's approval of their piety and faithfulness; they had been wise for themselves; and when they rested from their labours, their works followed them. But that which was personal to them, did not draw after it any consequences involving the fate of others. Christ, on the other hand, ascended in a public character and capacity-as the Head and Representative of his people as the
first-born of many brethren-as the first-fruits of them that sleep. His ascension, then, was not only a personal triumph; it was the pledge of the triumph of his people. Whither he has gone, they shall at last follow him ; till all are gathered together in their Father's house—the whole family in heaven. To this feature in the character of his ascension, he solicits the special attention of his disciples, in the message which he transmitted to his disciples by Mary. “ Go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God.” In ascending, he recognized them as his brethren-heirs with him of heaven's glory. He ascended as their elder brother Christ; he ascended to their Father and their God, to provide for them a place in the house of many mansions, into which he might at last welcome them.
1. The impression which remains upon your hearts from the contemplation of your Saviour's ascension to glory, ought, doubtless, to be the same with that into which the feelings of the disciples subsided, who witnessed his ascension. Their feelings were mingled and conflicting, but the sentiment which predominated in their minds, and which was the most permament, was that of satisfaction and rejoicing. They knew from experience the comfort and benefit to be derived from the Saviour's sympathy, society, and instructions on earth; and, therefore, they could not but feel the pain of separation. Yet such had been the happy effect of the Saviour's conversations with them, during the forty days he abode on earth after his resurrection, in enlightening their minds, in enlarging their views, and teaching them the designs of heaven, that after they had followed his ascending flight with their lingering and wistful gaze, when the cloud received him out of their sight, they “ returned unto Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God." If such, then, was the impression which remained on their minds from witnessing their Saviour's ascension,-if sentiments of joy, humble thankfulness, and devout adoration pervaded their breast, as the natural fruit of that event which yet parted them from a Saviour seen in the flesh, much more ought the Saviour's ascension now to be contemplated with satisfaction by all Christians, and to awaken rejoicing in their minds. That to which the disciples looked forward, we can look back upon. The Spirit has been given; the promises of Christ have been verified in the experience of the early disciples, and of the universal church. There has failed not ought of any good thing which he has spoken concerning Israel-all has come to pass. The Saviour has not ascended in vain. And well may they rejoice who share in the benefits of his exaltation ; who in it contemplate the pledge of their own future translation to glory.
2. The ascension of the Saviour to glory should persuade to heavenly-mindedness.
Believers must be conformed to the image of God's Son. What happened to the Saviour outwardly is the emblem of the spiritual changes wrought upon his people. They die with him unto sin; they rise with him to newness of life; they aspire with him to the heavenly glory. “Theirs the
. cross, the grave, the skies.” “ If ye, then, be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God.” How powerful an influence must have been exerted on the minds of the disciples in leading their thoughts upwards and onwards to the heavenly glory, by the thought, that he who had been on earth their Guide, Deliverer, and Friend, with whom they had lived in daily converse, in whom they had beheld the Father's glory full of grace and truth, was now seated at the Father's right hand! Amid the vicissitudes of their pilgrimage, and to the last hour of life, their most delightful employment would be to follow Jesus in imagination to those mansions of glory, whither he had gone to prepare a place
for them. This would lift both their thoughts and their hearts above the world, cause their desires to tend heavenwards, and lead them to have their conversation in heaven, whence they looked for the Saviour again to return. And ought we not in this to imitate their example? to follow Christ to heaven-to set our affections on things above ?
• There our best friends, our kindred dwell,
There Christ our Saviour reigns.”
HEAVEN A STATE OF REST, AND THE NECESSITY
OF LABOURING FOR ITS ATTAINMENT.
BY THE REV. JAMES JEFFREY, MUSSELBURGA.
HEBREWS iv. 11.
If we inquire into the cause of that activity which most men, from their first entrance into the world, display, we shall find that it is resolvable into the desire of obtaining some real or imaginary advantage. It is not the mere pleasure of labouring which induces men daily to sweat their brows, and to weary their limbs; it is the assurance that thereby they are earning an object of which they either need or wish the possession. Were the hope of such a recompence destroyedin other words, were toil wholly unproductive, and exertion crowned with no adequate reward, the energies, both of body and of mind, would be completely paralyzed; and man, instead of being, as he now is, the restless, busy aspirant after future good, would be smitten with an indolence and torpidity which rendered existence, not an enjoyment, but a burden. So, however, has it been ordered by the Wise Disposer of events, that whosoever would live must labour, and that the well.directed employment of corporeal and intellectual power shall issue in the achievement of beneficial results. To patient, persevering industry, therefore, the peasant is induced