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in discharging him acknowledged full satisfaction made for us. “Who then shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth, who is he that condemneth? Itis Christ that died, yea rather that is risen again.” (Rom. viii. 33, 34.)
Thirdly, It was necessary to pronounce the resurrection of Christ, as an Article of our faith, that thereby we might ground, confirm, strengthen, and declare our hope. For “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, according to his abundant mercy, hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, unto an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled.” (1 Pet. i. 3, 4.) By the resurrection of Christ his Father hath been said to have begotten him; and therefore by the same he hath begotten us, who are called brethren and coheirs with Christ. “ For if when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more being reconciled we shall be saved by his life.” (Rom. v. 10.) He laid down his life, but it was for us; and being to take up his own, he took up ours. We are the members of that body, of which Christ is the Head; if the Head be risen, the members cannot be far behind. He is the “first-born from the dead,” (Col. i. 18.) and we “the sons of the resurrection.” The Spirit of Christ abiding in us maketh us members of Christ, and by the same Spirit we bave a full right and title to rise with our Head. “ For if the Spirit of him, that raised up Jesus from the dead, dwell in us, he that raised up Christ from the dead, shall also quicken our mortal bodies by his Spirit, that dwelleth in us.” (Rom. viii. 11.) Thus the resurrection of Christ is the cause of our resurrection by a double causality, as an efficient, and as an exemplary cause. As an efficient cause, in regard our Saviour by and upon his resurrection hath obtained power and right to raise all the dead; “For as in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1 Cor. xv. 22.) As an exemplary cause, in regard that all the saints of God sball rise after the similitude and in conformity to the resurrection of Christ; “For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.” (Rom. vi. 5.) He “shall change our vile bodies, that they may
be fashioned like unto his glorious body:" (Phil. iii. 21.) that " as we have borne the image of the earthy, we may also bear the image of the heavenly.” (1 Cor. xv. 49.) This is the great hope of a Christian, that Christ rising from the dead hath obtained the power, and is become the pattern, of his resurrection. “The breaker is come up before them; they have broken up and have passed through the gate, and are gone out by it, and their king shall pass before them, and the Lord on the head of them.” (Micah ii. 13.)
Fourthly, It is necessary to profess our faith in Christ risen from the dead, that his resurrection may effectually work its proper operation in our lives. For as it is efficient and ex
emplary to our bodies, so it is also to our souls. “When we were dead in sins, God quickened us together with Christ.” (Eph. ii. 5.) And, “as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we should walk in newness of life.” (Rom. vi. 4.) To continue among the graves of sin, while Christ is risen, is to incur that reprehension of the angel, "Why seek ye the living among the dead ?” (Luke xxiv. 5.) To walk in any habitual sin, is either to deny that sin is death, or Christ is risen from the dead. “Let then the dead bury their dead,” (Matt. viii. 22.) but let not any Christian bury him, who rose from death, that he might live. “Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light." (Eph. v. 14.) There must be a spiritual resurrection of the soul, before there can be a comfortable resurrection of the body. “Blessed and holy is he that bath part in this first resurrection; on such the second death hath no power.” (Rev. xx. 6.)
Having thus explained the manner of Christ's resurrection, and the necessity of our faith in him risen from the dead, we may easily give such a brief account, as any. Christian may understand, what it is he should intend, when he makes profession of this part of the CREED; for he is conceived to acknowledge thus much: I freely and fully assent unto this as a truth of infinite certainty and absolute necessity, that the eternal Son of God, who was crucified and died for our sins, did not long continue in the state of death, but by his infinite power did revive and raise himself, by reuniting the same soul which was separated to the same body which was buried, and so rose the same man: and this he did the third day from his death; so that dying on Friday the sixth day of the week, the day of the preparation of the sabbath, and resting in the grave the sabbath-day, on the morning of the first day of the week he returned unto life again, and thereby consecrated the weekly revolution of that first day to a religious observation until his coming again. And thus I believe the THIRD DAY HE ROSE AGAIN FROM THE DEAD.
He ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of
God the Father Almighty. This Article hath received no variation, but only in the addition of the name of God, and the attribute Almighty; the ancients using it briefly thus,* He ascended into heaven, sitteth
Adscendit in coelos, sedet ad §. 30. S. August. in Enchirid. §. 14. dexteram Patris.' Ruffin. in Symb. Maximus Taurinens. Hom, de expos.
at the right hand of the Father. It containeth two distinct parts; one transient, the other permanent; one as the way, the other as the end: the first is Christ's ascension, the second is bis session.
In the ascension of Christ these words of the CREED propound to us three considerations and no more: the first of the person, He; the second of the action, ascended; the third of the termination, into heaven. Now the person being perfectly the same, which we have considered in the precedent Articles, he will afford no different speculation but only in conjunction with this particular action. Wherefore I conceive these three things necessary and sufficient for the illustration of Christ's ascension: First, To shew that the promised Messias was to ascend into heaven; Secondly, To prove that our Jesus, whom we believe to be the true Messias, did really and truly ascend thither : Thirdly, To declare what that heaven is, unto which he did ascend.
That the promised Messias should ascend into heaven, hath been represented typically, and declared prophetically. The high-priest under the Law was an express type of the Messias and his priestly office; the atonement which he made, was the representation of the propitiation in Christ for the sin of the world : for the making this atonement, the high-priest was appointed once every year to enter into the Holy of Holies, and no oftener. For the Lord said unto Moses, Speak upto Aaron thy brother, that he come not at all times into the holy place within the veil before the mercy-seat, which is upon the ark, that he die not.” (Lev. xvi. 2.) None entered into that holy place but the high-priest alone; and he himself could enter thither but once in the year, and thereby shewed that the “high-priest of the good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, was to enter into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.” (Heb. ix. 11, 12.) The Jews did all believe that the Ta. bernacle did signify this world,* and the Holy of Holies the Symb. Chrysologus Serm. in Symbol. * Εί τις της σκηνής κατανοήσειε την 56–62. Auctor Expos. Symb. ad Ca- rñtiv, kai toũ iepéws idg TNV otoliv, rá techumenos, §. 6. Venantius Fortuna- te oreún og tepi riiv ispovpylav xpóuetus, The Latin and Greek MSS. set Ga• tóV te vouodérny Eupnoel Ježov åvforth by the Archbishop of Armagh. δρα, και ματαίως ημάς υπό των άλλων St. Augustin de Fide et Symb. Ş. 14. rås Blaopnuias árovovras: écaora yao hath it: • Sedet ad dexteram Dei Pa- τούτων είς απομίμησιν και διατύπωσιν tris :' to which was afterwards added των όλων, εί τις αφθόνως εθέλοι και μετά omnipotentis. Sedet ad dexteram Dci συνέσεως σκοπεϊν, ευρήσει γεγονότα. την Patris omnipotentis.' Euseb. Gallican. Tɛ yùp oknviv zprákovra anxūv oủoav De Symbolo, Hom. i. & ii. ap. Biblioth. είμας εις τρία, και δύο μέρη πάσιν ανείς Patr. Lat. t. v. par. i. p. 552. seqq. Tois iepeãowv, őOTEP Béßnlov tiva kai Koc«Sedet ad dexteram Dei Patris omni- νον τόπον, την γήν και την θάλασσαν potentis.' Etherius Uxam. and Auctur åtoonuaival' kai yùp taūra nãoív éotiv Sermonum de Tempore, serm. 131. al. émißara' tnv dè rpírny pioīpav uóvą tre242. §. 2. The Greek and Latin MSS. préypape To Oeq, dià tò vai ròv oúpavov in Bene't College Library.
ανεπίβατον είναι ανθρώπους. Joseph.
highest heavens; wherefore as the high-priest did slay the sacrifice, and with the blood thereof did pass through the rest of the Tabernacle, and with that blood did enter into the Holy of Holies; so was the Messias here to offer up himself, and, being slain, to pass through all the courts of this world below, and with his blood to enter into the highest heavens, the most glorious seat of the majesty of God. Thus Christ's ascension was represented typically.
The same ascension was also declared prophetically, as we read in the prophet David, “Thou hast ascended up on high, thou hast led captivity captive, thou hast received gifts for men:” (Psal. Ixviii. 18.)* which phrase on high, in the language of David, signifying heaven, could be applied properly to no other conqueror but the Messias: not to Moses, not to David, not to Joshua, nor to any but the Christ; who was to conquer sin, and death, and hell, and, triumphing over them, to ascend unto the highest heavens, and thence to send the precious and glorious gifts of the Spirit unto the sons of men. The prophecy of Micah did foretell as much, even in the opinion and confession of the Jews themselves, by those words, Antiq. Jud. I. iii. c. 8. Wbere it is to yopo xnpho thou hast ascended the be observed, that the place wbich St. firmament:'and it addeth immediately Paul calls thcfirst tabernacle, Josephus X23 W 0 thou prophet Moses: terms Béßndov riva kai KolvÒV Tónov, yet there is a plain contradiction in a common and profane place, as repre- that interpretation; for if it were senting this world in which we live, meant of Moses, it cannot be the firmaand our life and conversation here: as ment; if it were the firmament, it canthe apostle seems to speak, Heb. ix. 1. 'not be understood of Moses, for he Είχε μεν ούν και η πρώτη σκηνή δικαιώ- never ascended tlither. ματα λατρείας τό τε άγιον κοσμικόν. . + This Breaker-up is by the confesFor äylov KOOLIKÒV, sunctum seculare, or sion of the Jews the title of the Mes
, . So the author of Sepher Abdomus sancta munduna, may well be chath Ruchal, in his description of the that part of the tabernacle, which re- coming of the Messias, maketh use of presented this world, and therefore this place. And the same appeared termed common and profane in re- farther by that saying of Moses Hadspect of that more holy part, which dershan in Bereshith Rabba, ,79923 represented heaven.
) • : understood of the Messias, by rea- The plantation from below is Abraham; son of that high place to which no the plantation from above is Messias, as other çonqueror ascended. For that it is written, T'he breaker is come up beDies in the language of the pro- fore them, &c. So he on Gen. xl. 9. phet, is attributed to God, as Psal. Again the same Bereshith Rabba, Gen.
. that is, in the language of the Chaldee paraphrase, 311 72W 'as, return shall we rejoice? when the feet of the to the house of thy majesty; and Psal.
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Ty, usque ad excelsum; the ow8When? when the captives Chaldee again, xoina ow my. In shall ascend from hell, and Shechinah the same manner in this place, naby in the head, as it is written (Mic. ii. 13.) D175 thou hast ascended on high, Their King shall puss before them, and the Chaldee paraphrase translateth the Lord in the head of them.
מלמטה זה אברהמ נטעה מלמעלה זה משיח שנ" עלה הפרץלפניהסוגו': This place must necessarily be
“ The breaker is come up before them : they have broken up and have passed through the gate, and are gone out by it; and their king shall pass before them, and the Lord at the head of them.” (ii. 13.) And thus Christ's ascension was declared prophetically as well as typically; which was our first consideration.
Secondly, Whatsoever was thus represented and foretold of the promised Messias, was truly and really performed by our Jesus. That only-begotten and eternal Son of God, who by his Divinity was present in the heavens while he was on earth, did, by a local translation of his human nature, really and truly ascend from this earth below on which he lived, into the heavens above, or rather above all the heavens, in the same body and the soul with which he lived and died and rose again.
The ascent of Christ into heaven was not metaphorical or figurative, as if there were no more to be understood by it, but only that he obtained a more heavenly and glorious state or condition after his resurrection. For whatsoever alteration was made in the body of Christ when he rose, whatsoever glorious qualities it was invested with thereby, that was not his ascension, as appeareth by those words which he spake to Mary, " Touch me not, for I am not yet ascended to my Father.” (John xx. 17.) Although he had said before to Nicodemus, “No man ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven;" (John iii. 13.) which words imply that he had then ascended; yet even those concern not this ascension. For that was therefore only true, because the Son of man, not yet conceived in the Virgin's womb, was not in heaven, and after his conception by virtue of the hypostatical union was in heaven; from whence, speaking after the manner of men, he might well say, that he had ascended into heaven; because whatsoever was first on earth and then in heaven, we say ascended into heaven. Wherefore, beside that grounded upon the hypostatical union, beside that glorious condition upon bis resurrection, there was yet another, and that more proper ascension : for after he had both those ways ascended, it was still true that he had not yet ascended to his Father.
Now this kind of ascension, by which Christ bad not yet ascended when he spake to Mary after his resurrection, was after to be performed; for at the same time he said unto Mary, “ Go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father.” (John xx. 17.) And when this ascension was performed, it appeared manifestly to be a true local translation of the Son of man, as man, from these parts of the world below into the heavens above, by which that body, which was before locally present here on earth, and was not so then present in heaven, became substantially present in heaven, and no longer locally present in earth. For when he had spoken unto the disciples, “and blessed them,”