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absent from it, thitherward our hearts tend, even while our bodies are remote from it, and if we are journeying towards it, our minds move faster than our feet, and love adds speed to our motion.
This is verified in the experience of those, who love God as their Father, Christ as their elder brother and friend, and glorified saints as their common brethren and “ fellow heirs of the fs grace of life.”
Now, as love to Christ is inseparable from faith in Him, it is supposed by our church that all who recite her creed and join in her collects are ascending in heart and mind heavenwards. Let the reader consider if her charitable hope of himself be founded.' But though the tendency of the believing soul be heavenwards, yet is there need to pray for an acceleration of motion; for corruption, like a heavy load, weighs us down to earth; guilt, like a dark cloud, hides the object of our love from view; worldly things distract our attention; and death interposes a tremendous barrier between us and our eternal home. Under these circumstances we cannot be too earnest in praying that “ Almighty God “ would cause us in heart and mind to ascend As heavenwards.” Our comfort in praying for this blessing is built on the Omnipotence of · Him from whom we implore it.
We solicit further grace that with Christ so we may continually dwell”-that, while we continue on earth, our hearts and minds may have their settled abode in heaven, being “surely “ fixed there where true joys are to be found,”! and that shortly we may locally be removed thither both in soul and body. O ravishing thought! May it transport and immovably rivet our hearts to Christ, whose presence and love constityte the very essence of heaven,
Reader, dost thou believe that Christ is ascended into heaven? If thy belief of this doctrine be “ the faith of God's elect,” thou hast the witness of its truth in thine own bosom. The desires which prevail there are evidences of it. The virtue of Christ's ascension accompanies - the power of His resurrection.” Does our collect express the fervent desire of your soul? If it do not, you cannot join in the sensibilities of the church on earth, and surely are not prepared to conçur in the worship of the church above; you are uninterested in the triumphs of our glorified Leader; you have no share in the largesses which at His ascension He bestowed on His church; you are in an unpardoned and unsanctified state; and, consequently, have no title to His kingdom nor qualification for it.
But some of the sincere followers of Christ, who win heart and mind ascend" after Him, follow Him trembling, as if the victory were not won nor the spoils secured. Let them consider the plenary declarations of Scripture on the subject, and the experience of the saints, especially of those who have “ fought the good “ fight and finished their course.” Hark, the Captain of your salvation calls to you from His exalted throne, points to His vanquished enemies, and in the words of Joshua thus addresses you: “ Come near, and put your feet upon - their necks. Fear not, nor be dismayed, be “ strong and of good courage; for thus shall the “ Lord do to all your enemies against whom ye “ fight.” Listen, trembling saint, to the sounds which earth reverberates to the skies; “ God is “ gone up with a shout, the Lord with the “ sound of a trumpet.” “ He hath led captivity “ captive." And let thy feeble yoice be mingled
with the triumphant strain, whilst thou art making thy way through hosts of enemies to the place of thine eternal abode.
The benefits which the ascending Saviour bestows, are designed for sinners, “ yea, for the “ rebellious.” He “is exalted to be a Prince “ and a Saviour, to give repentance and remis“ sion of sins.” Let none therefore be discouraged who are really desirous of an interest in Him. But let them “ seek, and they shall find” that He is able to save to the uttermost all " that come unto God by Him.”
But if these pages should meet the eyes of any persons who feel no relentings of heart, no desire after the pardoning and sanctifying grace of Christ, let them, like the rulers of Israel, on the accession of Jehu to the throne of Israel, be “ exceedingly afraid ;" for if the powers « of 66 darkness stood not before Him, how shall 6 they stand?" If His enemies, who "s will s6 not that He should reign over them," do not s kiss the Son,” submit to His sceptre, and Is take His yoke upon them;" verily they will shortly “ call on the rocks and mountains to fall “ on them and hide them from the face of Him 66 that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath' or of the Lamb!” For when the great day of His wrath is come, who shall be able to stand ?
SUNDAY AFTER ASCENSION-DAY.
O God, the King of glory, who hast exalted thine only Son Jesus Christ with great triumph into thy kingdom in heaven ; we beseech thee leave us not comfortless, but send to us thine Holy Ghost to comfort us, and exalt us unto the same place whither our Saviour Christ is gone before; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.
M HE tender concern which our blessed Lord
Ji manifested for His dear disciples previous to His ascension into heaven, displays the ardor of that love with which He loved them. When He apprized them that He was speedily to be removed from them, He entered into their distressing feelings on the occasion with most anxious sympathy, and provided for their support and consolation by the most affectionate and comprehensive promises. “I will not,” says He, “ leave you comfortless; I will come “ unto you.”
If it should be asked in what manner this promise is to be understood, since our Lord's personal presence was to be withdrawn from His church till “ the time of the restitution of so all things," an answer to the inquiry may be given in His own words: “I will pray the “ Father, and He shall give you another Com“ forter that He may abide with you for ever; 56 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world “ cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, s neither knoweth Him; but ye know Him, «« for He dwelleth with you and shall be in you. “ I will not leave you comfortless, I will come “ unto you." The change of persons here observable is to be explained by the union which subsists between the persons of the Godhead, in consequence of which the acts of each are attributed to the other. ii . i n i ,
It may further be inquired whether this promise was confined to the twelve Apostles in their personal capacity, or whether it is to be extended to all the members of the Christian church unto the end of time. : Here again our Lord's own words will supply a solution of the difficulty. For He says, Lo, I am with you " always, even to the end of the world;'z which must undeniably relate to the Apostles in their official capacity as représentatives of the uni. versal church which was to be built on them as its foundation, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief comer-stone. For the Apostles personally considered, when they had served their ģeneration by the will of God, fell aslécp, and ceased' to need the promised consolation ; but there are disciples of our Lord who still sojourn in the wilderness, and therefore still need Divine support and help. It is certain that our church understands the promise in this extensive sense, for thereon our collect for this day is founded.
Our present collect consists of a preface and, a prayer: The preface recites that act of Divine mercy which has been commemorated in the church during the preceding week, the assumption of our Lord Jesus Christ to the kingdom in heaven-And the prayer implores the comniunication of the Holy Ghost, in the character of Comforter, as the promised result of that assumption.