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A. By the high priest's being appointed once every year to enter into the holy of holies; which 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 ;' all the Jews, believing that the tabernacle did signify this world, and the holy of holies the highest heavens. Wherefore, as the high priest did pass through the rest of the tabernacle, and with the blood of the sacrifice enter into the holy of holies, so was the Messias to offer up himself a sacrifice, to pass through all the courts of this world, and with his blood to enter into the highest heavens, the most glorious seat of the majesty of God.

Q. How was Christ's Ascension prophetically declared?

A. By the royal prophet David. Thou hast ascended up on high, thou hast led captivity captive, thou hast received gifts for men. Which words, though spoken immediately of David himself ascending in triumph up the hill whereon the temple stood, the mount Sion, after his conquest over the Philistines, yet they had also a prophetical relation to our blessed Saviour's ascension into heaven; the phrase on high, in the language of David, signifying heaven, is most properly applied to our conqueror the Messias. And thus they are understood by St. Paul to the Ephesians."

Q. Whither did our Saviour ascend ?

A. Into the heaven of heavens, the presence of God; where his human nature is seated far above all angels and archangels, all principalities and powers ; even at the right hand of God.

8

Heb. ix. 11, 12.

• Psal. Ixviii. 18.

Ff

Ephes. iv. 8.

Q. What mean you by his sitting at the right hand of God?

A. The advancement of his human nature to the height of dignity and authority in the presence of God; the right hand being esteemed the place of greatest honour and favour. Or it may import his sitting in his human shape on the right hand of that bright throne, or resplendent glory, which visibly accompanies and manifests some extraordinary presence of God; the usual symbol of his power and majesty, which was probably what St. Stephen seems to have seen, when he beheld the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.

Q. What are we obliged to believe concerning our Saviour's Ascension?

A. That the only-begotten 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.

Q. What benefit do we particularly receive from Christ's exaltation in heaven?

A. The great advantage of his intercession for us at the right hand of God, where he is a perpetual patron and advocate in our behalf, to plead our cause, to solicit our concernments, to represent our wants, and to offer up our prayers and requests to God, by virtue of his meritorious sacrifice. So that the true penitent may expect forgiveness; the weak, but sincere Christian, strength and assistance, having so powerful a mediator

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with the Father. Those that suffer, and are persecuted, may depend upon their high priest for comfort and suppport, since he is touched with a sense of our infirmities. And all may come boldly to the throne of grace, to obtain mercy and help in time of need, be. cause our prayers are offered to God by so powerful and prevalent a hand.

Q. What reason may there be given why our Saviour did not ascend in the sight of the Jews for their conviction ?

A. It was only absolutely necessary, that they who were to preach the gospel should have the utmost evidence of those matters of fact they attested. God's design was to bring the world to salvation by the exercise of faith, which is an act of assent upon the testimony of another, with which sight is inconsistent. And it is to be doubted, whether they, who ascribed our Saviour's miracles to the power of the devil,' and suborned the soldiers to say, upon his resurrection, that his disciples stole him away, would not have called his ascension if they had seen it, a phantasm and vain apparation.

Q. What influence ought the Ascension of our Saviour to have upon us?

A. It ought to confirm our faith, to strengthen our hope, and to raise our affections to things above.

Q. How does the Ascension confirm our faith ?

A. Because it gives us a further proof of our Saviour's divine mission, and that he was a true prophet sent from God; it being evidence beyond exception, that God would never have so highly rewarded him, and visibly have taken him into heaven, if he had not been sent

m

m

Heb. iv. 15, 16.

| Mat. ix. 34.

xxviii. 12 13.

into the world by him, and had not approved of the message he delivered to us. Neither can we doubt of his return to judge the world, our Saviour having declared himself appointed by God, judge of quick and dead." And the angels having confirmed the same, nothing being more credible than the saying of one whom God has so visibly taken to himself.

Q. How does the Ascension strengthen our hope?

A. By seeing our own nature thus advanced, we are assured that dust and ashes may thither ascend; and the blessed Jesus being our head, as members of his body we may expect admission into that heavenly court, where he sits in glory, since we have his word, that can never fail, that he is gone to prepare a place for us. Besides, our Saviour's exaltation dispels all those fears the weakness of our nature may suggest to us, because he hath an absolute disposal of all those graces which are necessary to attain eternal happiness.

Q. How does the Ascension exalt our affections ?

A. By putting us in mind that our treasure is above, and that therefore we ought not to set our affections upon things that are below. That heaven is the true and only happiness of a Christian, and that our great design in this world ought to be, to fit and prepare ourselves for the enjoyment of it. That our constant endeavours ought to tend towards the qualifying ourselves to be received into our Saviour's presence, to whom we have the greatest obligations of duty and gratitude. That by trampling upon our sins, and subduing the lusts of the flesh, we may make our conversation correspond to our Saviour's condition, that where the eyes of the Apostles were forced to leave him, thither our thoughts may follow him.

Acts x. 42.

THE PRAYERS.

FOR HEAVENLY MINDEDNESS.

GRANT, I beseech thee Almighty God, that like as I do believe thy only-begotten Son our Lord Jesus Christ to have ascended into the heavens, so may I also in heart and mind thither ascend, and with him continually dwell, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.

FOR THE COMFORT OF THE HOLY GHOST. O GOD, the King of Glory, who hast exalted thy only Son Jesus Christ with great triumph unto thy kingdom in heaven; we beseech thee leave us not comfortless, but send to us thy Holy Ghost to comfort us, and exalt us unto the same place whither our Saviour is gone before, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.

THANKSGIVING FOR THE ASCENSION.

It is very meet, right and my bounden duty, that I should at all times, and in all places, give thanks unto thee, O Lord, holy Father, Almighty and Everlasting God; through thy most dearly beloved Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who, after his most glorious resurrection, manifestly appeared to his Apostles; and, in their sight, ascended

up into heaven to prepare a place for us ; that where he is, thither we might also ascend, and reign with him in glory. Therefore with angels and archangels, and all the company of heaven, I laud and magnify thy glorious name, evermore praising thee, and

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