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and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: Lukexxiv.52
And were continually in the temple, praising Lukexxiv. and blessing God. Amen.
And they went forth, and preached every Mark xvi. 20. d Heb. ii. 4. where, the Lord working with them, dand con
firming the word with signs following. Amen.
St. John's Conclusion to the Gospel History of Jesus Christ.
JOHN xx. 30, 31. xxi. 25. And many other signs truly did Jesus in the John sx. 30. presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book;
but the first border of this tract (which also bore the name of Bethany) was distant but one mile, or a single Sabbath day's journey.
Our Saviour led out his disciples, when he was about to ascend, to the very first region or tract of Mount Olivet, which was called Bethany, and was distant from the city a Sabbath day's journey. And so far also from the city itself did that tract extend itself which was called Bethphage : and when he was come to that place where the bounds of Bethphage and Bethany met, and touched one another, he then ascended; in that very place where he got upon the ass when he rode into Jerusalem, Mark xi. 1. Whereas, therefore, Josephus saith " that Mount Olivet was but five furlongs from the city," he means the first brink and border of it. But our Evangelist must be understood of the place where Christ ascended, where the name of Olivet began, as it was distinguished from Bethphage. 44 ON THE VISIBLE ASCENSION IN EACH OF THE THREE DISPENSATIONS.
It has been supposed by Grotius, that the Gospel of St. John was originally terminated at the end of the 23d verse of chapter xx. and the remainder of the Gospel was added by the Church at Ephesus. This opinion, however, is rejected 'by Wetstein, Michaelis, and Whitby.
It is remarkable, that in each of the three dispensations a visible ascension of the body has taken place,—some holy personage has been visibly taken up into heaven. In the first of these periods, between the Creation and the Deluge, Enoch was translated : “ He was not,” says the Scriptures, “ he did not die ;" for “ he walked with God, and God took him." During the second period, from the Deluge to the Advent of our Saviour, Elijah was visibly taken up into heaven : “ It came to pass as he and Elisha still went on and talked, that behold there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.” During the third period, which has continued nearly two thousand years, in which we and the whole Christian Church now live, and which will be concluded only by the day of judgment, Christ, our Lord, while in the act of blessing his disciples—" and
John xx, 31.
John xxi. 25.
But these are written, that ye might believe Galllee. that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which if they should be written every one, I' suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.' Amen.
while they beheld, was taken up, and a cloud received him out of their sight.” He ascended into heaven, and he now sitteth, till he shall again come to judge the living and the dead, at the right hand of God. Whatever were the sundry ways and divers manners in which God, by his prophets, appealed to the Jewish world ; whatever reception we ourselves may give to the precepts and the sanctions of his Evangelists and Apostles, who have more especially written for the Christian dispensation, this is undeniable, that God, in every age, has made most abundant provision to demonstrate to all the certainty of another life, and another state of being. In the great mercy of our Almighty Creator, this solemn truth has been enforced by three visible ascensions into heaven, an earnest to the world of the certainty of that great day, when all the Church of God, from the days of Adam, till the sounding of the trumpet of the Archangel, shall assemble before the judgment seat of Christ. As surely as Enoch, and Elijah, and our Lord Jesus Christ ascended into heaven, so also shall we ascend from our graves, to give an account of the deeds done in the body, whether they be good or bad.
Where is now the body of Christ, which ascended in a visible and tangible shape ? Wherever body exists, it must exist in reference to place, and heaven cannot therefore be merely a state or condition. There must be, then, in some part of the universe of God, a place in which the glory of the Deity is more immediately and peculiarly manifest, where the body of Christ now is, the real “ holy of holies.” There is the seat of that happiness which is peculiarly prepared and destined for the faithful followers of Christ. There is the abode of angels; there are the spirits of the just made perfect; there is God, the Judge of all. To that place, and to the state and condition of happiness which is enjoyed there, every son of man may arrive, to whom the invitation of divine mercy has been extended. There is our home, here is our pilgrimage. There is our Father; here we are pilgrims and strangers. There is the Son of God, our Brother, and our Friend; here we live among fallen creatures, a cold and selfish world. There is peace, and repose, and rest ; here is vexation, turbulence, and sorrow. Frail indeed is the veil of mortality which separates us from that holy mansion of God our Father; and poor and contemptible are the toys and follies that bind us to earth, and prevent us from anticipating, with serene and rational confidence, the summons to the invisible world, that most assuredly awaits us. He that numbers the very hairs of our head, in whose book all our members are written, will not leave us nor forsake us in the grave. He shall separate our corrupted and mouldering bodies from the confused mass of atoms, by which they may be surrounded, with as much faithfulness and truth as the
loadstone will draw to itself the smallest filing of steel, from the innumerable grains of sand by which it may be encompassed. Why then should it seem a thing impossible to you that Christ should raise the dead? The voice of inspiration has declared, Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. And the earth shall cast out the dead.” (Isa. xxvi. 19.) And that same glorified body which the disciples saw ascend, shall at the last day descend, and conduct us from the grave and gate of death to the glorious home of holiness and purity, to the new Jerusalem, the city of the living God.
END OF VOL. 1.
· Printed by R. GILBERT, St. John's-square, London,