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reach till past the visible boundary of the sky; as we intently watch the ship that conveys away one dearer to us than all beside, straining our eyes after it, till it fades away in the dim distance; flashing upon us one final moment, and then for ever lost to view. There we leave Him sitting on the right hand of God; the post of honour, the attitude of triumph and of repose. And now to the Disciples, who watched Him as he went up from Olivet, still looking stedfastly toward Heaven, there appeared (as we learn from the same Evangelist's more detailed account in his Acts of the Apostles) two Angels, 2 " which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into Heaven ? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into Heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into Heaven.” So to the actual fact of His Ascension is linked the promise and the prospect of His second Advent. Meanwhile “He ever liveth to make intercession for us." It is noteworthy that our Saviour's Ascension, no less than His Nativity, was attended by Angels. Angels assisted at His birth at Bethlehem, and Angels escorted His Ascent from Olivet. Angels addressed the Shepherds that first Christmas Day, as Angels this Holy Thursday consoled the Apostles. Angels were there when He came down from Heaven, and Angels when, as on this day, He returned to Heaven. Angels attended when He came forth from the Father into the world; Angels again when He left the world and went unto the Father. And as we have no sooner lost a friend than we begin to think of His return, whether he will ever come back to us again; and if so, whether he will be the same as before—shall we recognize Him? Will he still care for us? Shall we still be dear to him ?—therefore the Angel speaks of Him as “this same Jesus." 3 Learn then from the Angel's word •
i St. Mark xvi. 19; Ps. cx. 1. The application of this Psalm to our Lord is claimed by Himself (St. Matt. xxii. 43, 44) and in the Ep. to the Hebrews,
20. See also Heb. i. 3; ii. 1. 2 Acts i. 10, 11.
3“ As the Son of God He came down: as the Son of Man He went
up. If as the Son of Man, then there is hope that the sons of men may do the like.”—Bp. Andrewes.
“ Therefore He went thither before us, as the first-fruits before those that follow; and we hope to follow Him, as coming late to the same perfection.”—Bp. Pearson.
that Jesus when He returns to judgment will be the same. Not only the same in person, but the same in character. If we wish to know what He will be, we have only to call to mind what he was. If we would know how He will deal with us when he comes in the clouds of heaven, let us consider how He would have dealt with us when He was visibly on earth. If then He would not have connived at our secret wickedness, neither will He now. If then He pitied the penitent, so is His heart full of heavenly pity still. If then He set His face against all falseness, against everything mean and selfish and sensual, and favoured all that was true and pure and faithful and loving,—so will it be, so will He deal with us, when He comes again, at His second Advent, to judge the world.
THE SAME SUBJECT-continued.
St. Luke xxiv. 52, 53,
And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: and were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen.
So having worshipped as God, Him with whom they had consorted as man, they returned to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives. The Angels' words had turned their mourning into joy. What they first did on their return, the Evangelist further tells us in his other treatise. “They went up into the upper room ;” the same room possibly in which the last Supper had been celebrated; the same in which their Lord had appeared to them after His resurrection. There the eleven “continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the Mother of Jesus, and with His brethren.” After this they were frequently found in the Temple, praising God, and proclaiming His saving name. And when the Spirit at
So in the original. Acts i. 13. ? Acts iii, 1, 11; v. 12, 42.
Pentecost was poured out upon them, “they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the Word with signs following."1 Each of the four Evangelists adds to his testimony the “ Amen ” of affirmation. Like the four rivers that gladdened Eden of old, watering that primæval Paradise, they here unite. This is the final chord of their fourfold harmony. What they have written, each and all, is the truth of God. All this is so. Let our hearts and lives answer, Amen!
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