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Now, the highest mark of dignity which the eastern monarchs conferred on the person, whom they esteemed and favoured most, was, placing him, on occasions of solemnity, at their right hand; the second in honour was next to the royal person, on the other side; and the rest of the court succeeded in the same order. Thus, when the mother of king Solomon came to petition for Adonijah, the Scripture informs us, "he sat down on the throne, "and caused a seat to be set for her, and she sat 66 on his right hand." And when the sons of Zebedee had, by mistake, imagined the kingdom of our Saviour to be like one of this world, their petition was, "that they might sit, one on his

right hand, the other on his left, in his king"dom."4 Sometimes the posture of standing is mentioned; as Psal. xiv. 9. "on thy right hand "did stand the queen, in gold of Ophir." And, when the court of heaven, attending on their Sovereign, is described" I saw (saith the

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prophet) the Lord sitting on his throne; and all "the host of heaven standing by him, on his right "hand, and on his left."5 When, therefore, our blessed Lord is represented by St. Stephen to stand, or in Psalm 110, and frequently in the New Testament, to sit at the right hand of God; we are to conceive by it, not that he is confined to this or that posture or place; but that he is raised, in respect of his human nature, to a rank and station above all creatures; possessed of the fullest happiness, the highest honour, and the most sovereign authority: authority, that in which Daniel foretels his being invested; "I saw, and behold, one, like the Son of Man, came with the clouds "of heaven; and came to the Ancient of Days, "and they brought him near before him, and there

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(4) Matt. xx. 21. (5) 1 Kings xxii. 18.

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(3) 1 Kings ii. 19.

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was given him dominion and glory, and a king"dom, that all people, nations and languages, "should serve him: his dominion is an everlast"ing dominion, which shall not pass away; and "his kingdom, that which shall not be destroyed-"a The fulfilling of which prophecy is thus recorded by the Apostle: "God raised him from the dead, "and set him at his own right hand in the hea"venly places, far above all principality and power, and might and dominion, and every name "that is named, not only in this world, but also "in that which is to come :"7"that at the name "of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under "the earth" "aud he must reign, till he hath "put all enemies under his feet." Sitting at God's right hand implies this pre-eminence: "for "to which of the angels saith God, at any time, "sit on my right hand, until I make thine ene"mies thy footstool :"1

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Indeed, "all power, both in heaven and in earth, "was given to our Saviour, before his ascension: but not till afterwards, was his title to it publicly recognised, and possession of it solemnly taken by him which, in other words, is "sitting down at "the right hand of God.”

But let us consider, not only the nature of our Saviour's exaltation, but what principally concern us, the benefits of it to mankind, which are three: his sending the Holy Spirit to abide for ever with his Church-his interceding for it with the Father-his powerful protection of it against its enemies.

1. His sending the Holy Spirit. This was reserved, with great wisdom, till after his ascension: both because it was then most needed, to comfort

(6) Dan. vii. 13, 14.
(8) Phil. ii. 10.
(1) Heb. i. 13.

(7) Eph. i. 20, 21.
(9) 1 Cor. xv. 25.
(2) Matt. xxviii. 18.

his disciples under the loss of his personal presence; and also, because it afforded a new evidence of his divine power, that, far from being in a worse condition by his departure, they were endued with higher degrees of mi aculous gifts, than ever they had been before. St. John, therefore, upon our Saviour's promising the Spirit to them who should believe on him, observes, that "the

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Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not "yet glorified." And St. Peter, on the day when it was bestowed, saith, "Therefore, being "by the right hand of God exalted, and having "received, of the Father, the promise of the Holy "Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now "see and hear." The miraculous gifts of the Holy Ghost, indeed, being no longer necessary, ceased many ages ago: but his sanctifying graces, a much more important blessing, which we shall always need, continue still, and constitute his present share in the work of our redemption : agreeably to the assurance which our blessed Lord gave of another Comforter to abide with us, and "dwell in us for ever."5

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2. His intercession with the Father. For his | oblation of himself being accepted, as the foundation of a new covenant of mercy and favour; we have now an advocate in heaven sure to prevail : an High Priest, that can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; having been tempted "in all points as we are, 996 ever appearing for us in the presence of God; and efficaciously pleading the pardon which he hath purchased, for all who repent of and forsake their sins. "Who, then, is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died; yea, rather, that is risen again; who is even at "the right hand of God; who also maketh inter❝cession for us."7

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-(8) John vii. 39. (4) Acts ii. 33. (6) Heb. iv. 15.

(5) John xiv. 16, 17.

(7) Rom. viii. 34.

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3. His protection of his Church against all its enemies, spiritual and temporal. The attempts of the former he defeats, by the above-mentioned methods, the influence of his Spirit to preserve us from sin, and the efficacy of his intercession, to procure us pardon on the most equitable terms, whenever we fall into it. As for the latter: upon the first opposers of his Church, the Jewish and Roman persecutors, his vindictive power hath been most remarkably exercised and the succeeding adversaries of religion, in every age, have served, and shall serve, only for a trial of "the faith and patience of the saints:" generally, without prevailing to their harm even here; and always being subservient to their happiness hereafter till at length the appointed time shall come, when "the kingdoms of this world shall become the king"doms of the Lord and his Christ," and having reigned on this earth, till its period arrives, he shall resign up to God his kingdom of grace, its end being accomplished; and reign over his saints, in that of glory, for ever and ever: fully performing that valuable promise, "To him that overcometh " will I grant to sit with me in my throne: even as I also overcame, and am set down with my "Father in his throne."1

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These things being so, instead of amusing ourselves with the speculative consideration of his ascension, and the reason of it, we should learn, from his departure, to prepare for his return. To this was the attention of those, who saw it, directed by the angels. "Ye men of Galilee, why "stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you, shall so come, in like manner as ye have seen him go "into heaven." ." The present Article of our Creed

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(8) Rev. xiii. 10.
(1) Rev. iii. 24.

(9) Rev. x. 15.
(2) Acts i. 11.

is, that "he sitteth at the right hand of God." The next is, that "from thence he shall come to "judge the quick and the dead." And what should this very close connexion teach us, but that we all be careful to behave in such manner, that we may be ready to "meet our Lord"3 at his coming, and enter with him "into his joy?" He hath descended upon earth to procure us a right to future happiness; and instruct us how to obtain it: he is now ascended up into heaven, "to "prepare a place for us;" there, seated in glory, he invites us to him. What then remains, but that we fix "our hearts where our treasure is?"6 and "set our affections on those things that are "above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of "God "7 But in vain do we rejoice in a glorified Saviour, unless we become "his friends, by doing "what he commands us;' "8 in vain do we lift up our eyes and our wishes to this happy abode; un less, by resembling him now in purity and holiness, we qualify ourselves to partake, hereafter, the resemblance of his glory."Who shall ascend into "the hill of the Lord? Or who shall stand in "his holy place? Even he that leadeth an uncorrupt life, and doth the thing which is right, and "speaketh the truth from his heart. He that hath "used no deceit in his tongue, nor done evil to "his neighbour, and hath not slandered his neigh"bour. He that setteth not by himself, but is lowly in his own eyes. In whose eyes a vile person is contemned: but he honoureth them "that fear the Lord. He that hath clean hands "and a pure heart, and hath not lift up his soul "unto vanity. He shall receive the blessing from "the Lord, and righteousness from the God of "his salvation."9

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(3) 1 Thes. iv. 17.
(5) John xiv. 2.
(7) Col. iii. 1.

(4) Matt. xxv. 21.
(6) Matt. vi. 21.
(8) John xv. 14.
(9) Psal. xv. and xxiv.

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