Page images

he was

wonderful change in his state and condition since his ascension. Ah, it is far otherwise with him now than it was in the days of his humiliation here on earth. It were good, as a worthy of ours says, (Case, in his Mount Pisgah,) to compare in our thoughts the abasement of Christ, and his exaltation, as it were in columns, one over against the other. He was born in a stable, but now he reigns in his royal palace. Then he had a manger for his cradle, but now he sits on a chair of state. Then, in contempt, they called him the carpenter's son ; now he obtains a more excellent name than angels. Then


away into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil; now it is proclaimed, "Let all the angels of God worship him.” Then he had not where to lay his head; now he is exalted to be Heir of all things. In his state of humiliation "he endured the contradiction of sinners ;” in his state of exaltation " he is adored and admired by saints and angels.” Then "he had no form or comeliness; and when we saw him, there was no beauty, that we should desire him:" now the beauty of his countenance sends forth such glorious beams as may dazzle the eyes

of the celestial inhabitants round about him. 7. Christ's sitting at God's right hand implies the advancement of believers to the highest honor : for this session of Christ respects them, and he sits there as our Representative, in which respect we are made to "sit with him in heavenly places.” Eph. 2:6. How secure may we be (saith Tertullian) who do now in Christ, our Head, already possess the kingdom! Surely it is matter of exceeding joy that Christ our Head, our flesh and blood, possesses all this glory at his Father's right hand.

INFERENCE 1. Is Christ so honored, to sit enthroned at God's right hand ? What honor is reserved in heaven for those that are faithful to Christ, now on earth! Christ prayed, and his prayer was heard, that we may be with him to behold the glory that God hath given him, John,

17: 24; and what heart can conceive the felicity of such a sight? " Thine eyes shall see the king in his beauty." Isa. 33: 17. But this is not all: though it be much, to be spectators of Christ on his throne of glory; we shall not only see him on his throne, but also sit with him enthroned in glory. The sight you shall then have of; Christ will change you into his likeness." We shall be like him, (saith the apostle,) for we shall see him as he is.” 1 John, 3 : 2. He will place us, as it were, in his own throne with him. So runs the promise, "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my

throne; even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne,” Rev. 3 : 21; and so 2 Tim. 2: 12, "If we suffer we shall also reign with him.” The Father set Christ on his right hand, and Christ will set the saints on his right hand. So, you know, the sheep are placed by the angels at the great day, Matt. 25; and so the church, under the figure of the daughter of Egypt, is placed "on the king's right hand, in gold of Ophir.” Psalm 45. This honor have all the saints. Oh what manner of love is this ! These expressions indeed do not im. ply that the saints shall have a parity of glory with Christ, for in all things he must have the pre-eminence: but they show the great honor Christ will give to the saints; as also, that his glory shall be their glory in heaven; as the glory of the husband redounds to the wife ; and again, their glory will be his glory, 2 Thess. 1: 10, and so it will be a social glory. Oh, it is admirable to think to what free grace hath already exalted poor dust and ashes ! to think how near the saints are now to this royal, princely Jesus! But how much higher are the designs of grace not yet fulfilled. They transcend all that we now know! "Now are we the sons of God, but it doth not yet appear what we shall be.” 1 John, 3 : 2. Ah what reason have you to honor Christ on earth, who is preparing such honor for you in heaven!

2. Is Christ thus enthroned in heaven? Then how impossible is it that ever his interest should fail on earth! The church has many subtle and potent enemies; but as Haman could not prevail against the Jews whilst Esther their friend spake for them to the king, no more can they whilst our Jesus sits at his and our Father's right hand. Surely they that touch his people touch the very "apple of his eye.” Zech. 2: 8. "He must reign till he hath put all enemies under his feet.” 1 Cor. 15 : 25. The enemy under his feet shall not destroy the children in his arms. He sits in heaven on purpose to manage all to the advantage of his church. Eph. 1: 22. Are our enemies powerful? Lo, our King sits on the right hand of power. Are they subtle and deep in their contrivance? He that sits on the throne overlooks all they do. " He that sits in heaven” beholds and derides their attempts. Psalm 2 : 4. He may permit his enemies to straiten them in one place, but it shall be for their enlargement in another. For it is with the church as with the sea; what it loses in one place it gets in another, and so really loses nothing. He may suffer them also to distress us in outward things, but we shall be recompensed with inward and better mercies ; and so we shall lose nothing. A footstool, you know, is useful to him that treads on it, and serves to lift him up higher; so shall Christ's enemies be to him and his, albeit they think not so. What singular benefits the opposition of his enemies occasions to his people, I have elsewhere shown. (See his Saint Indeed.)

3. Is Christ set down on the right hand of the Majesty in heaven? Oh with what reverence should we approach him in the duties of his worship! Away with light and low thoughts of Christ. Away with formal, irreverent, and careless frames in praying, hearing, yea, in conversing and speaking of Christ. Away with all deadness and drowsiness in duties; for he is a great


! 1

King with whom you have to do; a King, to whom the kings of the earth are but as bits of clay. Lo, the angels cover their faces in his presence. He is an adorable Majesty.

When John had a vision of this enthroned King, about sixty years after his ascension, such was the overpowering glory of Christ, as the sun when it shineth in its strength, that when he saw him he fell at his feet as dead, till Christ laid his hand on him and said, "Fear not; I am the first and the last ; I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore.” Rev. 1: 17, 18. When he appeared to Saul in the way to Damascus, it was in glory above the glory of the sun, which overpowered him also, and laid him as one dead upon the ground.

Oh that you did but know what a glorious Lord you worship and serve, who makes the very place of his feet glorious wherever he comes. Surely he " is greatly to be feared in the assembly of his saints, and to be had in reverence of all that are round about him.” There is indeed a boldness or liberty of speech allowed to the saints, Eph. 3: 12; but no rudeness or irreverence. We may indeed come, as the children of a king come to their father, who is both their awful Sovereign and tender Father; which double relation causes a due mixture of love and reverence in their hearts when they come before him. Though he be your Father, Brother, Friend, yet the distance between him and you is infinite.

4. If Christ be so gloriously advanced in the highest throne, then none are dishonored by suffering the vilest things for his sake. The very chains and sufferings of Christ have glory in them. Hence Moscs "esteemed the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt." Heb. 11:26. He not only endured the reproaches of Christ, but counted them treasures, to be reckoned among his honors and things of value. Disgrace itself is honorable, when it is endured for the Lord of glory. And surely there is (as one says) a little paradise, a young heaven, in sufferings for Christ. If there were nothing else but that they are endured for him, it would richly reward all we can suffer; but if we consider how kind Christ is to them that count it their glory to be abased for him; that though he be always kind to his people, he (if we may so speak) overcometh himself in kindness when they suffer for him; it will almost make us in love with his reproaches.

5. If Christ sat not down to rest in heaven till he had finished his work on earth; then let us not think of rest till we have finished our work. How willing are we to find rest here! to dream of that, which Christ never sound in this world, nor any ever found before us! Oh think not of resting till you have done working and done sinning. Your life and your labors must end together." Write, (saith the Spirit,) Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord, for they rest from their labors.” Rev. 14 : 13. Here you must be content to dwell in the tents of Kedar; hereafter you shall be within the curtains of Solomon. Heaven is the place of which it may be truly said, that there the weary be at rest.” Oh think not of resting on this side heaven.

Grace will not suffer you to rest here. Its tendencies are beyond this world. It will be looking and longing for the blessed hope. A gracious person regards himself as a pilgrim seeking a better country, and is sus. picious of danger in every place and state. Grace is still rousing up the sluggish heart with the language, " Arise, depart, this is not thy rest, for it is polluted.” Micah, 2:10. Its further tendencies and continual jealousies will keep you from long sitting still in this world.

Your corruptions also will keep you from rest here. They will continually exercise your spirits, and keep you upon your watch. Saints have their hands filled

« PreviousContinue »