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two illustrious personages, whom he was pleased to exempt from the common lot of humanity, and admit into the Celestial City, by a new, and, till then, untrodden path. Their way led not across the dark valley of the shadow of death; they entered Canaan without passing the banks of Jordan's stormy waters. God was pleased to translate the bodies of Enoch and Elijah to heaven, without an execution of the sentence "dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return." This was assuredly a high mark of favour; but we are in this verse presented with an event, in comparison with which, the cases of Enoch and Elijah sink into insignificance. It is a description of the return of a great and mighty conqueror, who, surrounded by the trophies of his victories, appears at court to receive the thanks and rewards his services so well deserve. And who is this mighty conqueror? It is Jesus! See him surrounded by the little band of faithful followers, on whom he bestows his parting blessing; having bidden them an affectionate farewell, he, with conscious majesty, mounts the air, and soars beyond the eagle's path, through the vast extent of space. Though he goes forth unattended, it is not long a secret that the victorious Saviour is on his way to the heavenly kingdom; for the myriads of spirits,
who are anxiously watching his motions, no sooner observe that he bends his course toward the Celestial City, but they instantly proclaim the joyful news to its inhabitants; who, with holy impatience, are all anxious to fly on the wings of love and adoration to meet and welcome this illustrious Conqueror back to the realms of bliss. Wide are thrown the golden gates, and as they open, ten thousand voices are heard chaunting in chorus; "Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord, strong and mighty; the Lord, mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord of Hosts, he is the King of glory." Forth from heaven's portals there issued a goodly band, singing as they advance to meet and welcome their victorious King, whom they convey in celestial triumph to the presence of the eternal Father; seated on his throne of glory, he receives, with ineffable delight and joy, this, his only-begotten, always well-beloved, but now still more endeared Son, the Glorious Deliverer of the children of men. Great was the joy of that illustrious day, when the eternal Son of God,
entered the city of the new Jerusalem, as the victorious Conqueror of sin, death, and hell, whom he led as captives to adorn his triumph, for, "having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them, and ascended on high, leading captivity captive." Then the eternal hills resounded to the melodious sound of ten thousand times ten thousand voices, who sing aloud, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing." Then all in heaven said, "Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, for ever, and ever." The spirits of the redeemed vie with elect angels, in testifying their love, reverence, and gratitude to the God of their salvation. They knew, if the eternal Son of God had not become their surety, not one of Adam's race could ever have entered the realms of bliss.* But in the eternal council of peace, he did covenant and promise, in the fulness of time, to become a sacrifice, and God who knew him to be faithful, did, on the credit of that promise, save all the Old Testament saints.† Jesus had now fulfilled
that engagement; paid the full price of their redemp→ tion; "blotted out the hand-writing of ordinances that was against them, taking it away by nailing it to his cross." What wonder, if his return was hailed with rapturous delight; his presence could not fail of adding fresh joy to the happy spirits of the redeemed in glory. Yes! Jesus has "ascended on high, he has led captivity captive, and received gifts for men." It is as the God-Man, it is in his human nature, that he is said to receive gifts; for, as God, all is his in common with the Father. It is in the office of Mediator, that he has "all power given him in heaven and on earth." It is as God-Man, that the Father set him "at his right hand, in the heavenly places; far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come; and hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church.”` He is made the great Almoner of heaven, and he disposes of his gifts to the children of earth. He has received freely, and he gives freely,
showers of ascension gifts, on the day of Pentecost. He then, as the apostle quotes the words, "gave gifts to men, yea, to the rebellious also, that the Lord God
might dwell among them." But while we view Christ as glorified, let us not fail to connect the scenes of Gethsemane and Calvary. The new song in heaven, to which their golden harps are ever tuned, is to the praise of him "who was slain, and has redeemed us to God by his blood, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and has made us unto our God kings and priests for ever."
And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions: and also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.Joel ii. 28, 29.
THAT part of the prophet Joel from which this verse is selected, is highly interesting; and although not strictly prophetical of the person of the Messiah, yet it is so closely connected that it cannot be severed without injury to the whole. In fact, it serves as a test, whereby we may prove if Jesus be in truth that Messiah, of whom "Moses and the prophets did write." The "afterward" here noticed, alludes to