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which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God., If we be dead, and our life hid with Christ in God, we must set our affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” (Col. iji. 1. 3.2.) Christ is ascended into heaven to teach us, that we are strangers and pilgrims here, as all our fathers were, and that another country belongs unto us : from whence we
as strangers and pilgrims should learn to abstain from fleshly lusts;” (1 Pet. ii. 11.) and not “mind earthly things;" as knowing that we are citizens of heaven, “from whence we look for our Saviour, the Lord Jesus,”(Phil. iii. 19, 20.) yea. “ fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God." (Eph. ii. 19.) We should trample upon our sins, and subdue the Ìusts of the flesh, that our conversation may be correspondent to our Saviour's condition, that where the eyes of the apostles were forced to leave him, thither our thoughts may follow him.
Fourthly, The ascension of Christ is a necessary Article of the Creed in respect of those great effects, which immediately were to follow it, and did absolutely depend upon it. The blessed apostles had never preached the Gospel, had they not been endued with power from above; but none of that power had they received, if the Holy Ghost in a miraculous manner had not descended : and the Holy Ghost had not come down, except our Saviour had ascended first. For he himself, when he was to depart from his disciples, grounded the necessity of his departure upon the certainty of this truth, saying, If I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you: but if I depart, I will send him unto you.” (John xvi. 7.) Now if all the infallibility of those truths, which we as Christians believe, depend upon the certain information which the apostles had, and those apostles appear to be no way infallible till the cloven tongues had sat upon them, it was first absolutely necessary that the Holy Ghost should so descend. Again, being it was impossible that the Spirit of God in that manner should come down until the Son of God had ascended into heaven; being it was not fit that the second advocate should officiate on earth, till the first advocate had entered upon his office in heaven: therefore in respect of this great work the Son of God must necessarily ascend, and in reference to that neces. sity we may well be obliged to confess that ascension.
Upon these considerations we may easily conclude what every Christian is obliged to confess in those words of our CREED, he ascended into heaven; for thereby he is understood to express thus much: I am fully persuaded, that the onlybegotten and eternal Son of God, after he rose from the dead, did with the same soul and body with which he rose, by a true and local translation convey himself from the earth on which he lived, through all the regions of the air, through all the celestial orbs, until he came unto the heaven of heavens, the most glorious presence of the majesty of God. And thus I believe in Jesus Christ, who ASCENDED INTO HEAVEN.
And sitteth on the right hand of God the
Father Almighty. The second part of the Article containeth two particulars ; the session of the Son, and the description of the Father: the first sheweth, that Christ upon his ascension is set down at the right hand of God; the second assureth us that the God, at whose right hand Christ is set down, is the Father Almighty.
For the explication of Christ's session, three things will be necessary: First, To prove that the promised Messias was to sit at the right hand of God; Secondly, To shew that our Jesus, whom we believe to be the true Messias, is set down at the right hand of God; Thirdly, To find what is the importance of that phrase, and in what propriety of expression it belongs to Christ.
That the promised Messias was to sit at the right hand of God, was both pretypified and foretold. Joseph, who was betrayed and sold by his brethren, was an express type of Christ; and though in many things he represented the Messias, yet in none more than in this, that being taken out of the prison he was exalted to the supreme power of Egypt. For thus Pharaoh spake to Joseph, “Thou shalt be over my house, and according to thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou. And Pharaoh took off the ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph's hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck: and he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had, and they cried before him, Bow the knee; and he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt.” (Gen. xli. 40. 42, 43.) Thus Joseph had the execution of all the regal power committed unto him, all edicts and commands were given out by him, the managing of all affairs was through his hands, only the authority by which he moved remained in Pharaoh still. This was a clear representation of the Son of man, who, by his sitting on the right hand of God, obtained power to rule and govern all things both in heaven and earth (especially as the ruler of his house, that is, the Church), with express command that all things both in heaven and earth, and under the earth, should bow down before him: but all this is in the name of the Father; to whom the throne is still reserved, in whom the original authority still remains. And thus the session of the Messias was pretypified.
The same was also expressly foretold, not only in the sense, but in the phrase." “The Lord said unto my Lord (sạith the prophet David), Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.” (Psal. cx. I.) The Jews have endeavoured to avoid this prophecy, but with no success : some make the person to whom God speaks to be
Ezechias, * some Abraham,t some Zorobabel, others David; others the people of Israel :9 and because the prophecy cannot belong to him who made the Psalm, therefore they which attribute the prediction to Abraham, tell us the Psalm was penned by his steward Eliezer :||: they which expound it of David, say that one of his musicians was the author of it.
But first it is most certain that David was the penman of this Psalm; the title speaks as much, which is, “A Psalm of David :' from whence it followeth that the prediction did not belong to him, because it was spoken to his Lord. Nor could it indeed belong to any of the rest, which the Jews imagine, because peither Abraham, nor Ezechias, nor Zorobabel, ** could be the Lord of David, much less the people of Israel (to whom some of the Jews referred it), who were not the lords but the subjects of that David. Besides, he which is said to "sit at the right hand of God," is also said to be a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedecb :" (Psal. cx. 4. Heb. v. 6.) but neither Abraham, nor Ezechias, nor any, which the Jews have mentioned, was ever any priest of God.tt Again our Saviour urged this Scripture against the
• This Justin Martyr testifies of του Ζοροβάβελ ενταύθα είρηται, ουδε the Jews in his age: Και τούτον τον περί του Δαβίδ: ουδείς γαρ αυτών ιερωψαλμόν ότι εις τον Εζεκίαν τον Βασιλέα σύνη τετίμηται. In Psal. cix. p. 32ο. εξηγείσθαι τολμάτε, ουκ αγνοώ, επείπον. . 9 'Αλλά και έτερά τινα λέγουσι τούDialog. cum Tryphone, p. 250. And twv włótepa, tepi roõ laoõ déyovtes out of him Tertullian citing this raïra eipnofal. Ibid. et paulo post : Psalm : Sed necesse est ad meam Πώς δε ή τώ Δαβίδ, ή το Ζοροβάβελ, ή gententiam pertinere, defendam eas rõ laq raõta åppódelev. Ibid. p. 321. Scripturas, quas et Judæi nobis avo || To which purpose saith St. Cbrycare conantur. Dicunt denique hunc sostom, concerning the Jews of his Psalmum in Ezechiam cecinisse, time: Ti yáp paolv ärlo rálv; ori o quia is sederit ad dextram templi, παίς του Αβραάμ ταύτα λέγει περί του et hostes ejus averterit Deus et ab- Kvpiov roll avroở. Ibid. p: 320. sumpserit.' Adv. Marcion. I. v. c. 9. 1 As for that objection which is
+ So St. Chrysostom, speaking of made by Aben Ezra, that it is not the the Jews: Tíva oủv ékeĪVOL Tòv Néyovtá Psalm of David, but penned for and φασι; τον θεόν τον δε ακούοντας τον in the honour of David, because the 'Appaan• črepoi dè ròV Zopoßaßen, kai title is 7975 ngin as if it were a ärlo črepov. In Psal. cix. p. 320. Psalm for David, not of David: it is So Catena Græcu: Oi dè 'Iovdañol, Tò ye- by no means to be admitted, because λοιότερον, εις τον 'Αβραάμ ειρήσθαι λέ- it unay not only very well signify a γουσι καθήσθαι εκ δεξιών του Θεού. Psalm male by David, but if it do And this exposition is now followed not, there is no title which shew's any by Simon Jarchi and Lipmannus; Psalm to be his, and some of them Jarcbi acknowledging it to he, ao- we are sure are: bis.' ,
*** Τί ούν, είπέ μοι, Ζοροβάβελ Κύριος ONS DOSTO 25BN 5N) 1558 του Δαβίδ ; και πώς αν έχοι λόγον, ός
και αυτός αντί μεγάλης τιμής κέκληται. . This is the exposition of the Chrysost. in Psal. cix. p. 320. later Rabbins, as of Aben Ezra and tt This is the argument which the David Kimchi, who attribute the sub- fathers used against the Jews; as Jusject of the Psalm to David. And vot tin Martyr, in opposition to their only they, but the ancienter Rabbios prétence of Ezechias: 'Iepeùs CÈ Öry since or Saviour's time, as appeareth ούτε γέγονεν Εζεκίας ούτε εστίν αιώνιος hy.those words of St. Chrysostüm : 'Ispeùs Tóû OsoŨ, ovoè upes ávtetrtiv Και τα έπιόντα δε δηλοί, ότι ουδέν περί τολμήσετε. Dial.cum Tryphone, p. 250.
רבותינו דרשוהו באברהם ,cient
Pharisees, " saying, What think ye of Christ ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The son of David." He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand till I make thine enemies thy footstool? If David then call him Lord, how is he his son ? and no man was able to answer him a word.” (Matt. xxii. 42–46.) From whence it is evident that the Jews of old, even the Pharisees, the most accurate and skilful amongst them, did interpret this Psalm of the Messias; for if they had conceived the prophecy belonged either to Abraham, or David, or any of the rest since mentioned by the Jews, they might very well, and questionless would have answered our Saviour, that this belonged not to the son of David. It was therefore the general opinion of the Church of the Jews before our Saviour, and of divers Rabbins since his death, * that this prediction did concern the kingdom of Christ. And thus the session of the Messias at the right hand of God was not only represented typically, but foretold prophetically: which is our first consideration.
Secondly, We affirm that our Jesus, whom we worship as the true Messias, according unto that particular prediction, when he ascended up on high, did sit down at the right hand of God. His ascension was the way to his session, and his session the end of his ascension; as the evangelist expresseth it, “ He was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God;" (Mark xvi. 19.) or as the apostle, God "raised Christ from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places.” (Eph. i. 20.) There could be no such session without an ascension; and “David 'is not ascended into the heavens; but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, until I make thy foes thy footstool. Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly,” (Acts ii. 34-36.) let all the blind and wilful Jews be convinced of this truth, that God hath not set at his own right hand, either Abraham or David, either Ezechias or Zorobabel, but “ hath made that same Jesus whom they have crucified both Lord and Christ.” (Acts ii. 36.)
This was an honour never given, never promised, to any man but the Messias : the glorious spirits stand about the
: hic , . ævum. Nec sacerdos autem Ezechias, R. Joden in the name of Rabbi Chama nec in ævuin, etsi fuisset. Secundum said, that in the time to come: God ordinem, inquit Melchisedech. Quid should place Messias the King at his Ezechias ad Melchisedech Altissimi right hand, as it is written, (Psal. cx. sacerdotem, et quidem non circum- 1.) “The Lord said unto my Lord, cisum ? Adv. Marcion, I. v. c. 9. and Sit thou at my right hand.” So Moses so St. Chrysostom in the words be- Haddarsan on Gen. xviii. Hereafter forcmentioned.
God holy and blessed shall set the King • As in the Midrash Tillim, Psal. Messias 13995 on his right hand, as it is xviii. 36. Xon "owa gotta "IX written, (Psal. cx.) The Lord said, &c.
לעתיר הבה" מושיב מלך המשיח and from hin
' Tertullian : Quod et לימינו שנ"נאס יי' לאדני שב לימיני: in ipso hie accedit
throne of God, but never any of them sat down at the right hand of God. “For to which of his angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool ?” (Heb. i. 13.) But Christ was so assured of this honour, that before the council of the chief priests and the elders of the people, when he foresaw his death contrived, and his cross prepared, even then he expressed the confidence of his expectation, saying, “Hereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand of the power of God.” (Luke xxii. 69.) And thus our Jesus, whom we worship as the true and promised Messias, “is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God.” (1 Pet. iii. 22.) Which was our second consideration.
Our next inquiry is, what may be the utmost importance of that phrase, and how it is applicable unto Christ. The phrase consists of two parts, and both to be taken metaphorically: First therefore, we must consider what is the right hand of God, in the language of the Scriptures; Secondly, what it is to sit down at that right hand. God being a spirit can have no material or corporeal parts; and consequently as he hath no body, so in a proper sense can have no hands at all:* but because God is pleased to descend to our capacity, and not only to speak by the mouths of men, but also after the manner of men, he expresseth that which is in him, by some analogy with that which belongs to us. The hands of man are those organical parts which are most active, and executive of our power; by those the strength of our body is expressed, and most of our natural and artificial actions are performed by them. From whence the power of God, and the exertion and execution of that power, is signified by the hand of God. Moreover being, by a general custom of the world, the right band is more used than the left, and by that general use acquireth a greater firmitude and strength, therefore the right hand of God signifieth the exceeding great and infinite power of God.
Again, because the most honourable place amongst men is the right hand, (as when Bathsheba went unto King Solomon, he “sat down on his throne, and caused a seat to be set for the
• 'Credimus etiam quod sedet ad la. Manus est quæ cibum ori minidexteram Dei Patris. Nec ideo ta- strat: manus est quæ præclaris enitet men quasi humana forma circumscri• factis, quæ conciliatrix divinæ gratiæ ptum esse Deum Patrem arbitrandum sacris infertur altaribus, per quam est, ut de illo cogitantibus dextrum offerimus et sumimus sacramenta coeaut sinistrum latus animo occurrat. Jestia : manus est quæ operatur paS. August. de Fide et Symb. §. 14. riter atque dispensat divina mysteria,
+'Succedunt brachia et validilacer- cujus vocabulo non dedignatus est se torum tori, validæ ad operandum ma- Dei Filium declarari, dicente David, nus, et proceribus digitis habiles ad Dextra Domini exaltavit me: tenendum. Hinc aptior usus operan- nus est quæ fecit omnia, sicut dixit di, hinc scribendi elegantia, et ille Deus omnipotens, Nonne manus mea calamus scribæ velociter scribentis, fecit hæc?' S. Ambros. Hexaem. I. vi. quo divinæ vocis exprimuntur oracu- c. 9.