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day, who have been forced to pay, over and over, the self-same debt. Such is the baseness and knavery of the oppressors of the age we live in.
God, the Father of Christ, is not such a creditor: he is a just and a righteous God; and, being so, there is no ground to fear that ever he will twit in the teeth, either Christ his Son, the elect's surety, or any poor believer, with those sins which Christ once satisfied for.
This fruit is passing sweet to that soul who frequently feeds on it.
Sixthly, The glorious ascension of Christ from earth to heaven is most sweet to the true believer; and it is so on a twofold account.
1. As it proves the complete conquest and victory of Christ, the believer's head and surety, over all the enemies of God's elect; of whom it was spoken, by way of prediction, “ Thou hast ascended on high; thou hast led captivity captive," &c. Psal. Ixviii. 18. These things are prophetically spoken of Christ by way of allusion or comparison; and which are by the apostle Paul applied to Christ's glorious ascension, Ephes. iv. 8. The metaphor is taken from earthly kings and mighty potentates, who, when they had got the victory over their enemies, used to bind to their chariotwheels the chief of the enemies, dragging them along in triumph. Thus did the Lord Jesus, the surety of God's elect, when he ascended to heaven, lead devil, sin, curse of the law, world, death, grave, and hell, captive; so that they can never
more enslave or insult over any of God's elect. This is intended by Christ in John xvi. 33; “ In me ye shall have
peace; in the world ye shall have tribulation; but, be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." And the same is intended by Paul in Col. ii. 15; “ And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” This also is intended in Rev. i. 18; “I am he that liveth, and was dead, and behold I live for evermore, and have the keys of hell and of death.” The term, keys, denotes the universal power which Christ, by dying, atchieved over all the enemies of his redeemed ones. Christ's ascension from earth to heaven is
every true believer's triumph over all the powers of darkness of this world. So witnesseth the spirit of God: “ Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us,” Rom. viii. 37.
2. Christ's ascension to heaven is sweet to the true believer, on the account of the personal appearance he makes there for all the members of his mystical body.
That Christ is entered into heaven as the II pooponos or forerunner of his members, is expressly set down and affirmed for the comfort and encouragement of all true believers : “ Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an High-priest for ever, after the order of Melchizedec,” Heb. vi. 20. “For Christ is not entered into the holy places
made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us,” Heb. ix. 24. And there are three ends for which he so appears.
1. That he may represent his members spotless and blameless, in the virtue and merit of that obedience which he himself, as their representative, performed on earth, to answer the demand of the law.
It is on the account hereof that the spouse of Christ, viz. the church of true believers, is by Christ himself styled and accounted all fair and spotless : “ Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee,” Cant. iv. 7.
That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy, and without blemish,” Ephes. v. 27. “ And ye are complete in him,” &c. Coloss. ii. 10.
2. That he might enter on the possession of the purchased inheritance, which he himself purchased for his members. “Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?” Luke xxiv. 26.
prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there
ye may be also,” John xiv. 3. The believer's life and crown are in the hands and keeping of Christ, to be secured for them till they arrive at heaven, where ' he is : “ Which is the earnest of our inheritance, until the redemption of the purchased possession,
“ And if I go
unto the praise of his glory,” Ephes. i. 14. “ And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus,” Ephes. ii. 6. This is a mercy, and an inestimable privilege given by God to the elect, that the life of their souls, and all the glory and blessedness whereto God elected them in Christ his Son, are deposited by God the Father in the hands of Christ; who will never fail or betray them: on which account it is that the condition of the poorest and weakest believer living, is in a better and infinitely safer state than the first Adam and his posterity were in before the fall. The reason whereof is this: the life and salvation of the first Adam and his children depended on the obedience of a mutable agent, who might, and did fall and come short in fulfilling the condition of that covenant of works under which they acted for life. But the life and salvation of the elect are now secured in Christ, God-Man, who can as soon cease to be what he is, as he can forget, or neglect, or suffer the poorest and weakest of those committed to him by the Father to perish. And is not this a most sweet fruit? “ And I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish,” &c. John x. 28. “And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day,” John
3. That he might enter on the great and neces
sary work of intercession. Which leads to the seventh particular comprehended in the general term, works.
Seventhly, The intercession of Christ is most sweet to the true believer. There are six things in it which make it so.
1. The propriety the believer hath in it; yea, even the meanest and weakest believer hath as real a propriety therein as the strongest.“Who 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 intercession for us,” Rom. viii. 34. My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not; and if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous," i John ii. 1.
2. Whatever Christ prays for, he most certainly obtains. Of this he had experience when on the earth, before he had actually discharged the debt which he took on him for the elect: “ And Jesus lift up his eyes
and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me; and I knew that thou hearest me always,” John xi. 41, 42. “ Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications, with strong cryings and tears, unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared,” Heb. v. 7. seeing all righteousness is by him fulfilled, according to what he undertook; and he, in the merit thereof, not only ascended from earth to heaven, but even sat at the Father's right hand; what is it that the Father can deny him; especially, when