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you yield obedience to him as your Head and Husband ? Eph. 5:23; then you may be confident you are interested in the blessings of Christ's last will and testament; for can you imagine Christ will make a testament and forget his spouse? It cannot be. If he so loved the church as to give himself for her, much more what he hath purchased is settled on her. Again, are you his spiritual seed, his children by regeneration? Are you born of the Spirit ? John, 3. Do you resemble Christ in holiness ? 1 Pet. 1: 15, 16. Do you find a reverential fear of Christ impelling you to obey him in all things ? Mal. 1:6. Are you led by the Spirit of Christ ? As many as are so led, they are the sons of God.” Rom. 8:14. To conclude, Have you the spirit of adoption, enabling you to cry, Abba, Father ? Gal. 4:6; that is, helping you in a gracious manner, with reverence mixed with filial confidence, to open your heart spiritually to your Father on all occasions ? If so, you are children; and if children, doubt not but you have a rich legacy in Christ's last will and testament.
You may also discern your interest in the New Testament or covenant (for they are substantially the same thing) by the new covenant impressions made on your hearts, which are so many clear evidences of your right to the benefits it contains. Such are spiritual illuminations, Jer. 31 : 34; gracious softness and tenderness of heart, Ezek. 11:19; the awful dread and fear of God, Jer. 32: 43; the copy or transcript of his laws on your hearts in gracious correspondent principles, Jer. 31 : 33. These things speak you to be children of the covenant, on whom all these great things are settled.
2. To conclude, it is the indispensable duty of all on whom Christ hath settled such mercies, to admire and walk in his love. Admire the love of Christ. Oh how intense and ardent was the love of Jesus, who designed for you such an inheritance, with such a settlement of
it upon you! Before this love let all the saints fall down astonished, humbly professing that they owe themselves, and all they are, or shall be to eternity, to this love. And be sure you walk becoming persons for whom Christ hath done such great things. Comfort yourselves under present trials with your spiritual privileges, James, 2:5, and let all your rejoicing be in Christ, whilst others are blessing themselves in vanity.
Having finished what I designed to say of the work of redemption, as performed by Christ in his humbled state, we shall now view that blessed work as further advanced and perfected in his state of EXALTATION.
The whole of that work was not to be finished in a state of suffering and abasement on earth : the apostle makes his exaltation so necessary a part of his priesthood, that without it he could not have been a priest. "If he were on earth he should not be a priest,” Heb. 8:4; that is, if he had continued here, and had not been raised again from the dead, and taken up into glory, he could not have been a complete and perfect priest. For just as it was not enough for the sacrifice to be slain without, and his blood left there; but it must be carried within the veil, into the most holy place before the Lord, Heb. 9:7; so it was not sufficient that Christ shed his own blood on earth, except he carry it before the Lord into heaven, and there perform his intercession-work for us.
Moreover, God the Father stood engaged in a solemn covenant to reward him for his deep humiliation, with a most glorious and illustrious advancement. Isa. 49 : 5-7. And how God made this good to Christ, the apostle very clearly expresses. Phil. 2:9. Our surety could not be detained in the prison of the grave, when the
debt for which he was imprisoned was fully discharged, so that the law of God must acknowledge itself to be fully satisfied in all its claims and demands. His resurrection from the dead was, therefore, his discharge or acquittance upon full payment, which could not in justice be denied him.
And, indeed, there never was a more glorious manifestation of the name of God to the world, than was made in that work : " That every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Phil. 2:11. Oh how illustriously, yea, astonishingly, is the love of God to poor sinners displayed in Christ's exaltation! When, to show his complacency and delight in our recovery, he hath openly declared to the world, that his exalting Christ to all that glory, to which no mere creature ever was or can be raised, was bestowed upon him as a reward for that work, that most grateful work of our redemption : "Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him.” Phil. 2:9. There is an "emphatical pleonasm in that word ;” it implies super-exaltation ! A greater proof of the Father's high satisfaction in the recovery of poor sinners cannot be given. For this, therefore, God the Father shall have glory and honor ascribed to him in heaven to all eternity.
Now this singular exaltation of Jesus Christ, as it properly respects his human nature which alone is capable of advancement, for, in his Divine nature, he never ceased to be the Most High ; so it was awarded to him as a common person, and as the Head of all believers, their Representative in this as well as in his other works. God therein showing what, in due time, he intends to do with the persons of his elect, after they, in conformity to Christ, 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, Jesus Christ. And this, if you observe, the Scriptures carry,
in very clear and plain expressions, through all the degrees and steps of Christ's exaltation, namely, his resurrection, ascension, session at the right hand of God, and returning to judge the world ; of which I purpose to speak distinctly in the following discourses.
He arose from the dead as a public person: "If ye then be risen with Christ,” saith the apostle, Col. 3:1; so that the saints have communion and fellowship with him in his resurrection.
He ascended into heaven as a public person ; for so it is said in Eph. 2:6. "He hath raised us up, alted us together with Christ; "and hath made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." We sit there in our Representative. And when he shall come again to judge the world, the saints shall come with him. So it is prophesied, "The Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with thee.” Zech. 14:5. And as they come with Christ from heaven, so they shall sit on thrones with him. They shall be assessors with the Judge. 1 Cor. 6 : 2. This deserves a special remark, that all this honor is given to Christ as our Head and Representative, for thence results abundance of comfort to the people of God. Carry it therefore along with you in your thoughts, throughout the whole of Christ's advancement. Think, when you hear that Christ is risen from the dead, and is in all his glory and authority in heaven, how sure is the salvation of his redeemed. "For 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." "He is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession.” Heb. 7: 25. Think how safe the people of God in this world are, whose 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 (said ne,)
why do we tremble thus? Do we not see our Head above water ?" If he live, believers cannot die ; Because I live, ye shall live also.” John, 14 : 19.
And let no man's heart suggest a suspicion that this wonderful advancement of Christ may cause him to forget his poor people groaning here below under sin and misery. For the temper and disposition of his faithful and tender heart is not changed with his condition. He bears the same respect to us as when he dwelt among us; indeed he there lives and acts upon our account. Heb. 7: 25. 1 John, 2:1, 2.
How seasonable and comfortable will the meditations of Christ's exaltation be to thee, O believer, when sickness hath wasted thy body, withered its beauty, and God is bringing thee to the dust of death! Think, then, that that " vile body shall be conformed to the glorious body of Christ.” Phil. 3 : 21. As God hath glorified, and highly exalted his Son, "whose form was marred more than any man's,” so will he exalt thee also. I do not say, to an equality in glory with Christ, for in heaven he will be discerned and distinguished, by his peculiar glory, from all the angels and saints; as the sun is known by its excellent glory from the lesser stars. But we shall be conformed to this glorious Head, according to the proportion of members. Oh whither will love mount the believer in that day!
Having thus spoken of Christ's exalted state, to cast some general light upon it, and engage your attention to it, I shall now proceed briefly to consider this his wonderful exaltation, under the above-mentioned heads: his resurrection, ascension, session at the Father's right hand, and his return to judge the world.