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view, was no other than glorious. How much rather do ali beholders fix their sight upon that cloud, than upon the best pi of the firmament ! Never was the sun itself gazed on with so m intention. With what long looks, with what astonished acclai tions, did these transported beholders follow thee, their Ascendi Saviour! as if they would have looked through that cloud and a heaven, that hid thee from them.
But oh, what tongue of the highest archangel of heaven c express the welcome of thee, the King of Glory, into those Ble ed Regions of Immortality ? Surely, the empyreal hearen ner resounded with so much joy: God ascended with jubilation, ai the Lord with the sound of the trumpet. It is not for us, wea and finite creatures, to wish to conceive those incomprehensibk spiritual, Divine gratulations, that the Glorious Trinity gave t the Victorious and now Glorified Human Nature. Certainly, i when he brought his only begotten Son into the world, he said, Le all the angels worship him; much more now that he ascends on high and hath led captivity captive, hath he given him a name above all names, that at the name of JESUS all knees should box And, if the holy angels did so carol at his birth, in the very entrance into that estate of humiliation and infirmity; with what triumph did they receive him now, returning from the perfect atchiere ment of man's redemption ! And, if, when his type had vanquished Goliath, and carried the head into Jerusalem, the damsels came forth to meet him with dances and timbrels; how shall we think those angelical spirits triumphed, in meeting of the great Con queror of Hell and Death! How did they sing, Lift up your heads ye gates, and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors, and the King of Glory shall come in!
Surely, as he shall come, so he went: and, behold, he shall coine with thousands of his Holy Ones : thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand thousands stood before him : from all whom, methinks, I hear that blessed applause, Worthy is the Lamb that was killed, to receive power, and riches, and visdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and praise : Praise, and honour, and glory, and power, be to him, that sitteth upon the throne, and to the Lamb for evermore.
And why dost not thou, O my soul, help to bear thy part with that happy quire of heaven? Why art not thou rapt out of my bosom with an ecstasy of joy, to see this human nature of ours exalted above all the powers of heaven; adored of Angels, Archangels, Cherubim, Seraphim, and all those mighty and glorious Spirits; and sitting there crowned with infinite Glory and Me jesty?
Although, little would it avail thee, that our nature is thus honoured, if the benefit of this Ascension did not reflect upon thee. How many are miserable enough in themselves, notwithstanding the glory of their human nature in Christ! None, but those, that are found in him, are the happier by him: who, but the members, are the better for the glory of the Head! O Saviour, how should
In the -) vitae
our weakness have ever hoped to climb into heaven, if thou hadst not gone before and made way for us? It is for us, that thou, the Forerunner, art entered in. Now, thy Church hath her wish; Draw me, and I shall run after thee. Even so, O Blessed Jesu, how ambitiously should we follow thee with the paces of love and faith, and aspire towards thy glory! Thou, that art the way, hast made the way to thyself and us; Thou didst humble thyself, and becamest obedient to the death, even to the death of the Cross. Therefore hath God also highly eralted thee ; and upon the same terms will not fail to advance us. We see thy track before us, of humility and obedience. Ob teach me to follow thee, in the roughest ways of obedience, in the bloody paths of death; that I may at last overtake thee, in those high steps of Immortality.
Amongst those millions of angels, that attended this triumphant Ascension of thine, () Saviour, some are appointed to this lower station, to comfort thy astonished disciples, in the certain assurance of thy no less glorious Return; Two men stood by them, in white apparel. They stood by them; they were not of them : they seemed men; they were angels: Men, for their familiarity; two, for more certainty of testimony ; in white, for the joy of thine Ascension.
The angels formerly celebrated thy nativity with songs; but we do not find they then appeared in white. Thou wert then to undergo much sorrow, many conflicts: it was the vale of tears, into which thou wert come down. So soon as thou wert risen, the women saw an angel in the form of a young man, clothed in white; and now, so soon as thou art ascended, Two men clothed in white stand by thy disciples: thy task was now done, thy victory atchieved ; and nothing remained but a crown, which was now set upon thy head. Justly, therefore, were those blessed angels suited with the robes of light and joy. And why should our garments be of any other colour? Why should oil be wanting to our heads, when the eyes of our faith see thee thus ascended? It is for us,
O Saviour, that thou art gone to prepare a place in those celestial mansions; it is for us, that thou sittest at the right hand of Majesty. It is a piece of thy Divine Prayer to thy Father, that those, whom he hath given thee, may be with thee.' To every bleeding soul thou sayest still, as thou didst to Peter, Whither I go, thou cunst not follow me now, but thou shalt follow me hereafter. In assured hope of this glory, why do I not rejoice; and, beforehand, walk in white with thine angels, that, at the last, I may walk with thee in white?
Little would the presence of these angels have availed, if they had not been heard, as well as seen. They stand not silent, there fore; but, directing their speech to the amazed beholders, say, Pe men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing into heaven? What a question was this? Could any of those two hundred and forty eyes have power, to turn themselves off to any other object, than that cloud, and that point of heaven, where they left their Ascended Saviour? Surely, every one of them were so fixed, that, had not VOL. II.
the speech of these angels called them off, there they had set up their rest, till the darkness of night had interposed. Pardon me, Oye Blessed Angels; had I been there with them, I should also have been unwilling to have had mine eyes pulled off from that dear prospect, and diverted unto you. Never could they have gazed so happily as now. If but some great man be advanced to honour over our heads, how apt we are to stand at a gaze; and to eye him, as some strange meteor! Let the sun but shine a little upon these dials, how are they looked at by all passengers! Yet, alas, what can earthly adrancenent make us, other than we are, dust and ashes; which, the higher it is blown, the more it is scattered! Oh how worthy is the King of Glory to command our eyes now, in the highest pitch of bis heavenly exaltation! Lord, I can never look enough at the place, where thou art; but what ege could be satisfied, with seeing the way that thou wentest!
It was not the purpose of these angels, to check the long looks of these faithful disciples after their Ascended Master: it was only a change of eyes, that they intended; of carnal, for spiritual; of the eye of sense, for the eye of faith. “ This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come, in like manier AS ye have seen him go into heaven. Look not after him, Oye weak disciples, as so departed, that ye shall see him no more. If he be gone, yet he is not lost. Those heavens, that received him, shal restore him ; neither can those blessed mansions decrease his glory. Ye have seen him ascend upon the chariot of a bright cloud; and, in the clouds of hearen ve shall see him descend again to his Last Judgment. He is gone: can it trouble you to know you have an Advocate in Heaven: Strire not now so much to exercise your bodily eres in looking after him, as the eyes of your soul in looking for him.”
Ye cannot, O ye Blessed Spirits, wish other than well to mankind. How happy a diversion of eyes and thoughts is this, that you adrise! If it be our sorrow, to part with our Saviour; yet, to part with him into heaven, it is our comfort and felicity: if his absence could be grierous, his return shall be bappy and glorious.
Even so, Lord Jesus, come quickly. In the mean while, it is not hearen, that can keep thee from me; it is not earth, that can keep me from thee. Raise thou up my soul to a life of faith with thee: let me ever enjoy thy conversation, while I espect thy R
END OF THE SECOND TOLCME.
C. WHITINGELUM, Printer, Dean Street