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"in that word," our English is too flat, to deliver out the ele gancy of the original, it is fuper-exaltation. The Syriac, renders it," he hath multiplied his fublimity." The Arabic," he hath "heightned him with an height." Juftin, "he hath famous"ly exalted him." Higher he cannot raife him, a greater argument of his high fatisfaction and content, in the recovery of poor finners, cannot be given. For this, therefore, God the Father, fhall have glory and honour afcribed to him in heaven, to all ternity.
Now this fingular exaltation of Jefus Chrift, as it properly refpects his human nature, which alone is capable of advancement; for, in refpect of his divine nature, he never ceased to be the Moft High. So it was done to him as a common perfon, and as the head of all believers, their reprefentative in this, as well as in his other works. God therein fhewing what, in due time, he intends to do with the persons of his elect, after they, in conformity to Chrift, have suffered a while. Whatever God the Father intendeth to do in us, or for us, he hath first done it to the person of our Representative, Jefus Chrift. And this, if you obferve, the fcriptures carry in very clear and plain expreffions, through all the degrees and steps of Chrift's exaltation, viz. his refurrection, afcenfion, feffion at the right-hand of God, and returning to judge the world. Of which I purpose to speak diftinctly in the following fermons.
He arofe from the dead, as a common perfon, Col. iii. 1. “If "ye then be rifen with Chrift," faith the apoftie; fo that the faints have communion and fellowship with him in his refurrection.
He afcended into heaven, as a common person, for fo it is faid in Eph. ii. 6. " He hath raised us up," or exalted us together with Chrift. He fits at God's right-hand, as a common person, for fo it follows in the next claufe, "and hath made us fit toge"ther in heavenly places in Chrift Jefus." We fit there in our Reprefentative. And when he fhall come again to judge the world, the faints fhall come with him. So it is prophefied, Zech. xiv. 5. “The Lord my God shall come, and all the faints with "thee." And as they shall come with Christ from heaven, fo they fhall fit on thrones with him, judging by way of fuffrage. They fhall be affeffors with the Judge, 1 Cor. vi. 2. This deferves a special remark, that all this honour is given to Chrift, as our Head and Representative, for thence refults abundance of
figniter extulit, Juftin. M. Secundum eandem naturam dicitur exaltatus, fecundam quam humiliatas fuit. Zanch.
comfort to the people of God. Carry it therefore along with you in your thoughts, throughout the whole of Chrift's advancement. Think when you shall hear that Christ is risen from the dead, and is in all that glory and authority in heaven, how fure the falvation of his redeemed is. "For if when we were enemies, we were "reconciled to God, by the death of his Son; much more, being "reconciled, we fhall be faved by his life." Surely, it cannot be fuppofed, but he is able to fave to the uttermoft, all them that come to God by him; seeing he ever lives to make interceffion,” Heb. vii. 25. Think how fate the people of God in this world are, whofe Head is in heaven. It was a comfortable expression of one of the fathers, encouraging himself and others with this truth in a dark day; "Come, (faid he,) why do we tremble thus, "Do we not see our head above water +?" If he live, believers cannot die, John xiv. 19. “Because I live, ye fhall live also.”
And let no man's heart fuggeft a fufpicious thought to him, that this wonderful advancement of Chrift, may cause him to forget his poor people, groaning here below under fin and mifery. For the temper and difpofition of his faithful and tender heart, is not changed with his condition. He bears the fame respect to us, as when he dwelt among us. For indeed he there lives and acts upon our account, Heb. vii. 25. 1 John ii. 1, 2. And how feasonable and comfortable will the meditations of Christ's exaltation be to thee, O believer, when fickness hath wafted thy body, withered its beauty, and God is bringing thee to the duft of death! Ah! think then, that that "vile body "shall be conformed to the glorious body of Chrift,” Phil. iii. As God hath glorified, and highly exalted his Son, "whose "form was marred more than any man's;" fo will he exalt thee alfo. I do not fay, to a parity, or equality, in glory with Chrift, for, in heaven he will be difcerned and diftinguished, by his peculiar glory, from all the angels and faints; as the fun is known by its excellent glory from the leffer stars. But we shall be conformed to this glorious Head, according to the proportion of members. O whither will love mount the believer in that day!
Having spoken thus much of Chrift's exalted ftate, to caft fome general light upon it, and engage your attentions to it, I fhall now, according to the degrees of this his wonderful exaltation, briefly open it, under the fore-mentioned heads, viz. his refurrection, afcenfion, feffion at the Father's right-hand, and his return to judge the world.
+ Nonne videmus caput noftrum fuper aquas. Greg.
Wherein the Refurrection of CHRIST, with its Influences upon the Saints Refurrection, is clearly opened, and comfortably applied, being the firft Step of his Exaltation.
MATTH. XXVIII. 6. He is not here; for he is rifen, as he faid: come, fee the place where the Lord lay.
E have finished the doctrine of Christ's humiliation, whereing the Sun of righteousness appeared to you, as a fetting fun, gone out of fight; but as the fun when it is gone down to us, begins a new day in another part of the world; fo Chrift, having finished his courfe and work in this world, rifes again, and that, in order to the acting another glorious part of his work in the world above. In his death, he was upon the matter totally eclipfed; but in his refurrection, he begins to recover his light and glory again. God never intended, that the darling of his foul fhould be loft in an obfcure fepulchre. An angel defcends from heaven, to roll away the ftone, and, with it, the reproach of his death. And to be the heavenly herald, to proclaim his refurrection to the two Mary's, whose love to Christ had, at this time, drawn them to visit the fepulchre, where they lately left him.
At this time (the Lord being newly rifen) the keepers were trembling, and become as dead men. So great was the terrible majefty, and awful folemnity, attending Chrift's refurrection: but, to encourage thefe good fouls, the angel prevents them with thefe good tidings; "He is not here; for he is rifen, as " he said: come, fee the place where the Lord lay :" q. d. Be not troubled, though you have not the end you came for, one fight more of your dear, though dead, Jesus; yet you have not loft your labour; for, to your eternal comfort, I tell you, “he *is rifen, as he said." And to put it out of doubt, come hither and fatisfy yourselves, "See the place where the Lord lay."
In which words, we have both a declaration, and confirmation of the refurrection of Chrift from the dead.
Firft, A declaration of it by the angel, both negatively and affirmatively. Negatively, He is not here. Here indeed you laid him, here you left him, and here you thought to find him as you left him; but you are happily mistaken, He is not here.
However, this giving them no fatisfaction, fo he might continue dead still, though removed to another place, as indeed they fufpected he was, John xx. 13. Therefore his refurrection is declared pofitively and affirmatively; He is rifen; nyeps, the * word imports, the active power or felf-quickening principle, by which Chrift raised himself from the state of the dead. Which Luke takes notice of alfo, Acts i. 3. where he faith, Hebewed, or prefented, himfelf alive after his paffion. It was the divine. nature, or Godhead of Chrift, which revived and raised the manhood.
Secondly, Here is alfo a plain confirmation of Chrift's refurrection, and that, firft, From Chrift's own prediction, He is rifen, as he faid. He foretold that, which I declare to be now fulfilled. Let it not therefore feem incredible to you. Secondly, by their own fight, "Come, fee the place where the "Lord lay." The grave hath loft its gueft; it is now empty; death hath loft its prey. It received, but could not retain him. "Come, fee the place where the Lord lay." Thus the refurrection of Chrift is declared, and confirmed. Hence our obfervation is,
Doct. That our Lord Jefus Chrift, by the almighty power of his own Godhead, revived, and rofe from the dead; to the terror and confternation of his enemies, and the unspeakable confolation of believers.
That our Lord Jefus Chrift, though laid, was not loft in the grave; but the third day revived and rofe again, is a truth confirmed to us by many infallible proofs, as Luke witneffeth, Acts i. 3. We have teftimonies of it, both from heaven and earth, and both infallible. From heaven, we have the teftimony of angels, and to the teftimony of an angel all credit is due; for angels are holy creatures, and cannot deceive us. gel tells the two Marys, in the text, "He is rifen." We have teftimonies of it from men, holy men, who where eye-witnesses of this truth, to whom he fhewed himself alive by the space of forty days after his refurrection, by no lefs than † nine folemn apparitions to them. Sometimes five hundred brethren faw him
* The argument whereby we prove that Christ raised himself by his own power, is drawn from the very activity of his refurrection: Chriftus nyepe, i. e. Chrift arofe, Matth. xxviii. 6. wapenosy sav Tov Carta, A&ts i. 3. Maccov. loc. Com. p. 874.
+ John xx. 14. Mark xvi. 12. 1 Cor. xv. 3. John vii. 26. Jolı
1 Cor. xv. 6, 7Luke xxiv. 36.
at once, 1 Cor. xv. 6. These were holy perfons, who durst not deceive, and who confirmed their teftimony with their blood. So that no point of religion is of more confeffed truth, and infallible certainty than this before us.
And bleffed be God it is fo. For if it were not, then were "the gospel in vain," 1 Cor. xv. 14. seeing it hangs the whole weights of our faith, hope, and falvation, upon Chrift as rifen from the dead t. If this were not fo, then would the holy, and divinely inspired apostles be found falfe-witnesses, 1 Cor. XV. 15. For they all, with one mouth, conftantly, and to the death affirmed it. If Chrift be not rifen, "then are believers
yet in their fins," I Cor. xv. 17. For our juftification is truly afcribed to the refurrection of Chrift, Rom. iv. 25. Whilst Christ was dying, and continued in the state of the dead, the price of our redemption was all that while but in paying, the payment was compleated, when he revived and rofe again. Therefore for Chrift to have continued always in the state of the dead, had been never to have compleatly fatisfied; hence the whole force and weight of our juftification depends upon his refurrection. Nay, had not Chrift rifen, "the dead had
perished," I Cor. xv. 17. Even the dead who died in the faith of Chrift, and of whofe falvation there now remains no ground to doubt. Moreover,
Had he not revived, and rifen from the dead, how could all the types that prefigured it have been fatisfied? Surely they must have stood as infignificant things in the fcriptures, and fo must all the predictions of his refurrection, by which it was fo plainly foretold. See Matth. xii. 40. Luke xxiv. 46. Pfal. xvi. 10. 1 Cor. xv. 4.
To conclude. Had he not rifen from the dead, how could he have been inftalled in that glory whereof he is now poffeffed in heaven, and which was promifed him before the world was, upon the account of his death and fufferings? For to this "end Chrift both died, and rofe and revived, that he might "be Lord both of the dead and living," Rom. xiv. 9. And that, in this state of dominion and glorious advancement, he might powerfully apply the virtues and benefits of his blood to us, which elfe had been as a precious cordial fpilt upon the ground.
Our deliverance, was in his death, put in motion; or, as they fay, in fieri, i. e. begun; but was finished in Iris refurrection, whence it is, that our juftification or absolution from debt is juftly by the apostle afcribed not to his death but refurrection, &c. cov. loc. Com. p. 869.