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ciency for any thing that is good, I will put only one question to every man's own heart, and let him honestly apply the answer. Supposing that God should promise (not as he did to Abraham, that if fifty, forty, thirty, twenty, nay, even ten good persons could be found in a place, he would not destroy it for their sake, but) that he would extend his mercy to this wonderful condition, viz. that if a single person could be found, since Adam's fall, that had done a single action that was free from blemish, and that, for that ONE pure deed, he would rescue men and angels from the torments prepared for both ; do you think that the ransom could be found among the sons of men? It is most certain it could not; all, under such condition, if it depended on such a stake, must surely perish. If our purest deeds are so contaminated by a degenerated nature, as to require pardon, how can we do any thing of ourselves alone, that is worthy to be rewarded ? The absolute necessity indeed of a good life in the qualified acceptation of the phrase), we must uphold—but the MERIT of it we must RENOUNCE. Only one Son of man hath merited, but he was also the Son op God. On him we rely to blot out all our transgressions, to qualify all our best exertions of holy praise and humble service, and to supply us with continual grace to help in time of need. No; most holy and gracious Father! we do not presume to expect reward, as due to any thing we have done, but as in compliance with thy commands, and through the influence of thy good Spirit ; but we crave thy mercy for the manifold deficiencies of our very best performances, thy needful forgiveness for the things we have left UNDONE.
After this view of our state by nature, the blessing of a Redeemer will hardly be disputed. The necessity of our faith, that Christ is risen from the dead, is supported by the comfort every real Christian will receive in the certainty of the fact. To Him, therefore, who died, and is alive again, who bore the image of the earthly body, that we might bear the image of the heavenly, to be renewed in us here, and continued to us for ever: to him be all praise and dominion in heaven and earth. AMEN,
SIXTH ARTICLE OF THE BELIEF:
“ He ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the
right hand of God, the Father Almighty.”
PSALM LXVIII. 18. Thou hast ascended on high ; thou hast led cap
tivity captive; thou hast received gifts for men, yea, for the rebellious also, that the
Lord God might dwell These words of the holy Psalmist, my brethren, are prophetic of our blessed Saviour's ascension ; which last glorious act of his official character on earth, composes the substance of that article of our Creed which I purpose to explain to you at this time. Christ the Messiah is here likened, in his ascension into heaven, to an earthly monarch, in triumph after victory, distributing gifts and favours to his people. I do not know a more suitable text by which the actual belief, and the blessed effects of it, are better represented. Every state of our blessed Master's history from his miraculous conception to his glorious ascension, demands humble admiration and grateful praise. Every period of his life increases in comfort to the fallen creature: the foregoing stages of his character, indeed, are mixed with sorrowful circumstances ; but this last appearance to his diseiples unfolds the beginning of his glorious state. When the self-convicted and desponding sinner reflects upon his Lord's ascension, his soul emerges out of that mist of darkness that overshadowed it ; he revives in hope-he encourages a faith, that He who died even for the ungodly, will feed him with some of the crumbs of his grace' ; by which his present perishing condition shall be so strengthened, as to prepare him for the reception of those further gracious gifts he hath obtained for men. But before I enter minutely into an examination of these divine blessings, it will be more proper first to take a closer view of what this article proposes to our faith.
If all the former particulars relating to the holy Jesus were judged of such essential worth as to occasion signs and prophecies to be registered in the book of God concerning them, we may
be well assured the reward of all his sufferings would not remain unnoticed in the shadowing of things to come, which the wisdom of God's appointment had caused to be delivered by the patriarchs and prophets, for the
opening our eyes, and strengthening our hearts in the true faith of his salvation.
I cannot adopt a plainer method, therefore, of administering to your instruction upon this article, than desiring your attention to what is written in Scripture concerning this blessed event. The chief objects that are necessary and sufficient for our present consideration are these three :
First, to show that the promised Messiah was to ascend into heaven:
Secondly, to prove that our Jesus, whom we believe to be the true Messiah, did really ascend thither: and,
Thirdly, to say something of the place particularly described by HEAVEN, in this article.
The fact of his ascension was represented by types, signs, or figures, like all the other circumstances that were to happen to him, as has been already explained to you: it was likewise declared by prophecies equally pointed and clear in their application. The high priest, under the Jewish law, was an express type or sign of the Messiah, as to his priestly office. The atonement which he made, set forth the propitiation Christ was to make for the sins of the world. We must observe, that to give this weight, and fix the mind on the value of the fact this type was intended to represent, the high priest was appointed to enter into the