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access to a throne of grace is now made manifest; for the risen Saviour is also ascended into the heavens to appear in the presence of God for us; and "he is able to save to the uttermost all them that
come to God by him; seeing he ever liveth to "make intercession for them."
The resurrection of Christ assures us, that “all (C power in heaven and earth are given to him ;" and that "he is made Head over all things to his, "church." "He both died, and rose again, and "revived, that he might be the Lord both of the living and the dead.” Angels, principalities, "and powers are made subject to him; "he has "the keys of death and hell." "He is King of "kings and Lord of lords:" all nature obeys him: all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are laid up in him; he has unsearchable riches, and invincible power: the fulness of the Spirit resides in him: "All the fulness of the Godhead dwells
"in him bodily." "He is become the Author of "eternal salvation to all them that obey him:" and "he must reign till all his enemies are made "his footstool."-It is therefore no light matter that we are considering. "Yet," saith JEHOVAH, "I have set my King upon my holy hill of Zion."Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish." Every individual must either bow to the sceptre of his grace, or be broken in pieces by the iron rod of his omnipotent indignation.'
'2 Thes. i. 8-10.
We are also taught that true Christians are conformed to Christ, in his death, resurrection, and ascension. By motives and grace derived from their crucified and risen Redeemer, they die to their former hopes, pleasures, and pursuits: their sensibility to temporal things is deadened: carnal self-love, the main-spring of their activity in past times, is broken: " "They are crucified with "Christ; nevertheless they live; yet not they, but "Christ liveth in them." They "know him and "the power of his resurrection :" new principles, feelings, and actuating motives are communicated. "They account themselves dead indeed unto sin, "but alive unto God;" "They live no longer to "themselves, but to him that died for them and "L rose again :" ""they are risen with Christ, and "seek those things which are above." "Their "conversation is in heaven;" and in proportion to the degree of their faith and grace, they ascend and reign with Christ, in the nature of their joys and the temper of their hearts. Thus they are prepared, whenever they leave this world, to share that "fulness of joy, and those pleasures, which are at God's right hand for evermore."
As our risen Redeemer ever liveth and reigneth in heaven, to manage all the concerns of his people, and make all ready for their reception; we may adopt with exulting joy the apostle's words: "If when we were enemies we were reconciled to "God by the death of his Son; much more being
"reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.'" "Who "shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? "it is God that justifieth, who is he that con"demueth? it is Christ that died, yea, rather, is "risen again; who is even at the right hand of "God; who also maketh intercession for us.-"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ ?*" Surely our Friend, who died, and rose again for us, will take care that none shall pluck us out of his hands, and will come at death to "receive us to himself, that where he is, there we may be "also."
Finally, as Christ is risen from the dead, he "is "become the First-fruits of them that slept.""The hour cometh, when all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good to the resurrection of life and they that have done evil to the re"surrection of damnation." At that awful period, he will ascend his tribunal, finally to separate his people from his enemies: and "these shall
go away into everlasting punishment, but the "righteous into life eternal." The bodies of the wicked will be rendered incorruptible, and capable of enduring the vengeance reserved for them, "where their worm dieth not, and their fire is not
quenched." And those of the righteous will be raised spiritual and immortal, and fitted to participate the holy joys of heaven. "The Saviour,
v. 10. 2 Rom. viii. 33-35. 3 Mark, ix. 48-50.
"the Lord Jesus, shall change our vile body, that "it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, "according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself." In this prospect, the believer, when strong in faith, may adopt the apostle's words and say, "O Death, "where is thy sting? O Grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin, and the strength "of sin is the law: but thanks be unto God, who "giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus "Christ."
III. We conclude with a few hints by way of application.
It may be useful, especially to young persons, to contemplate the prevailing scepticism and infidelity of the age, in connexion with the subject we have been considering. God hath vouchsafed us a revelation of himself, and of his will concerning us, authenticated in the most unanswerable manner, most beneficial in its nature and tendency, and exactly suited to our circumstances: yet this revelation is opposed, reviled, or ridiculed, by numbers who pretend to virtue; and affirm that unbelief, at most, can only be a harmless error, neither very criminal nor dangerous.--But the scripture speaks a very different language. We read of "an evil heart of unbelief, in departing
▪ Phil. iii. 20, 21.
"from the living God." Our Lord says, "How can
ye believe who seek honour one of another?""Light is come into the world, and men love "darkness rather than light, because their deeds,
are evil." Unbelief therefore is the offspring of ambition, love of sin, and dislike to God and holiness. It rejects the remedy, which everlasting wisdom and mercy have provided for our miseries; it makes God a liar; it despises his grace, and defies his power and justice; and is therefore inseparably connected with eternal damnation."Let no man deceive you with vain words." Men oppose the scripture because it opposes their favourite pursuits; and denounces an awful sentence against all who do not humbly repent, believe the gospel, and become the faithful subjects of the holy Jesus. They do not in reality need more evidence; but a more unprejudiced, teachable, and spiritual mind. "If they believe not "Moses and the prophets," or the apostles and evangelists; "neither would they be persuaded "though one rose from the dead." Beseech the Lord therefore to remove from you 'all hard
ness of heart, and contempt of his word and ' commandment;' "to open your understandings "that you may understand the scriptures ;" and
to give you repentance to the acknowledging "of the truth; that you may recover yourselves "out of the snare of the devil, who takes sinners "captive at his will."