« PreviousContinue »
heaven upon the dark souls of these poor infidels, and enlighten them with the saving knowledge of the Great Mystery of Godli. ness : let the beams of thy Gospel break forth unto them; and work them to a sound belief in thee their God, manifested in the flesh. Fetch home into thy fold all those, that belong to thy merciful election : bring in the fulness of the Gentiles; Rom. xi. 25: gather together the outcasts of Israel; Psalm cxlvii. 2. and glorify thyself, in completing a world of believers.
And, for us, on whom the ends of the world are come; as we have been graciously called to the comfortable notice of this Mystery of Godliness, and have professed and vowed a steadfast belief in thy Name; so keep us, by thy Good Spirit, in a holy and constant avowance of all those main truths, concerning thy sacred Person, Natures, and Offices, unto our last end: for thou seest, o Blessed Jesu, that there is now such a hell of the spirits of error broken loose into the world, as if they meant to evacuate this part of the Mystery of Godliness, Christ believed on in the world. Oh, do thou, by thy mighty power, restrain and quell these pernicious heresies; and send down these wicked spirits back to their chains : so as our most holy faith may ever remain inviolable, till the day of thy glorious return.
Neither let us sit down, contented that we hold fast and believe the mere history of thy life, death, and resurrection ; without which as we cannot be saved, so with it alone we cannot: but do thou, by thy Good Spirit, work and settle in our souls, a sound, lively, ope. rative, justifying faith in thee; whereby we may not only believe on thee as a common Saviour, but believe in thee as ours; bringing thee home to our hearts, and confidently relying upon thee, for the acquittance of all our sins, and for our eternal salvation. Oh, that thou mightest be thus believed on in the world : and, if not by them, in the notion of their universality; yet, by us, who profess thy Name, to thy great glory and our everlasting comfort !
SECT. XIV. ---received up In these occurrences on the earth, Great is the Mysinto glory.-- tery of Godliness ; but the highest pitch of this great mystery, O Saviour, is, that thou, thus manifested in our flesh, wert received up into glory: even that celestial glory, which thou enjoyest in the highest heavens, sitting on the right-hand of majesty ; seen and adored, by all that blessed company of the souls of just men made perfect, and the innumerable troops of glorious angels; Heb. xii. 22, 23.
If some erroneous fancies have placed their heaven here below upon earth, ours is above; and so is thine, O Blessed Jesu, who wert taken up in glory. Thou couldest not be taken up to any earthly ascent, since thou tookest thy farewell on the top of Mount Olivet; but, from this globe of earth, thou ascendedst through the skies to that empyreal-heaven: there thou remainest in glory, in
finite and incomprehensible. The many and intentive beholders of thy last parting, did not cast their eyes down into the valley ; neither did see cause, with the fifty sons of the prophets, to seek for thee, as they would needs do for Elijah, in vallies and mountains ; 2 Kings ii. 16: they saw and worshipped thee, leisurely ascending up through the region of this lower heaven, till a cloud intercepted thee from their sight; neither then could easily be taken off, either by the interposition of that dark body, or by the interpellation of angels.
And now, O Blessed Saviour, how is my soul ravished with the meditation of thy glorious reception into thy heaven ! Surely, if the inhabitants of those celestial mansions may be capable of any increase of joy, they then both found and shewed it, when they saw and welcomed thee, entering, in thy glorified Humanity, into that thy eternal palace of blessedness; and, if there could be any higher or sweeter ditty of Hallelujah, it was then sung by the Choir of Angels and Saints. And may thy poor servants, warfaring and wandering here upon earth, even second them, in those heavenly songs of praises and gratulations: for wherein stands all our safety, hope, comfort, happiness, but in this, that thou, our Jesus, art received up into glory; and, having conquered all diverse powers, sittest on the right-hand of God the Father; crowned with honour and majesty ?
O Jesu, thou art our head, we are thy body : how can the body but participate of the glory of the head? As for thyself therefore, so for us, art thou possessed of that heavenly glory : as thou sufferedst for us, so for us thou also reignest. Let every knee therefore bow unto thee, of things in heaven, and things on earth, and things under the earth; Phil. ii. 10. O blessed be thy name for ever and ever : Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty ; for all that is in the heaven,
and in the earth is thine : thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou art exalted as head over all ; 1 Chr. xxis. 11.
And now, O Saviour, what a superabundant amends is made to thy glorified Humanity, for all thy bitter sufferings upon earth! Thine agony was extreme; but thy glory is infinite: thy cross was heavy; but thy crown transcendently glorious : thy pains were unconceivably grievous, but short; thy glory everlasting : if thou wert scorned by men, thou art now adored by angels : thou, that stoodest before the judgment seat of a Pilate, shalt come, in all heavenly magnificence, to judge both the quick and the dead : shortly, thou, which wouldest stoop to be a servant upon earth, rules and reignest for ever in heaven, as the King of Eternal Glory.
o'then, my soul, seeing thy Saviour is received up into this infinite glory, with what intention and fervour of spirit shouldest thou fix thine eyes upon that heaven, where he lives and reigns. How canst thou be but wholly taken up, with the sight and thought of that place of blessedness ? How canst thou abide to grovel any longer on this base earth, where is nothing but vanity and vexation ;
and refrain to mind the things above, where is all felicity and glory? With what longings and holy ambition shouldest thou desire to aspire to that place of eternal rest and beatitude, into which thy Saviour is ascended; and with him to partake of that glory and happiness, which he hath provided for all that love him! O Saviour, it is this clog of wretched infidelity and earthliness, that hangs heavy upon my soul; and keeps me from mounting up into thy presence, and from a comfortable fruition of thee. Oh, do thou take off this sinful weight from me, and raise up my affections and conversation unto thee : enable me constantly to enjoy thee, by a lively faith, here ; till, by thy mercy, I shall be received into glory.
DISCOVERED TO SPIRITUAL EYES,
REDUCED TO USEFUL MEDITATION. ,
IN THREE BOOKS.
BY JOSEPH, BISHOP OF NORWICH,