Flavel, Fountain of Life, File 40.
( ...continued from File 39)
Sermon 40. The Ascension of Christ illustrated, and variously 
improved, being the Second Step of his Exaltation. 
John 20:17. 
Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my 
Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my 
Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. 
    In all the former sermons, we have been following Christ 
through his humiliation, from the time that he left the blessed 
bosom of the Father: and now having finished the whole course of his 
obedience on earth, and risen again from the dead; we must, in this 
discourse, follow him back again into heaven, and lodge him in that 
bosom of ineffable delight and love, which for our sakes, he so 
freely left. For it was not his end in rising from the dead, to live 
such a low animal life as this is, but to live a most glorious life, 
as an enthroned King in heaven: upon which state he was now ready to 
enter, as he tells Mary in the text, and bids her tell it to the 
disciples, "Go, tell my brethren, that I ascend to my Father," &c. 
    In the former verses you find Mary waiting at Christ's 
sepulchre, in a very pensive frame: exceedingly troubled, because 
she knew not what was become of Christ, ver. 15. In the next verse, 
Christ calls her by her name, Mary; she knowing the voice, turned 
herself, and answered, Rabboni. And as a soul transported with joy, 
rushes into his arms, as desirous to clasp and embrace him. But 
Jesus said, "Touch me not," &c. 
    In which words we have Christ's inhibition, "Touch me not:" 
Strange that Christ, who rendered himself so kind and tender to all, 
that not only admitted, but commanded Thomas to put his finger into 
his wounds, should forbid Mary to touch him, but this was not for 
want of love to Mary; for he gives another reason for it presently, 
"I am not yet ascended;" i.e. say some, the time for embracing will 
be when we are in heaven. Then and there shall be the place and 
time, we shall embrace one another for evermore. So Augustin. Or, 
thou dotest too much upon my present state, as if I had now attained 
the very "akme", culminating point of my exaltation. When as yet I 
am not ascended, so Cameron and Calvin expound it. Or lastly, Christ 
would signify hereby that it was not his will and pleasure in so 
great a juncture of things as this, to spend time now in expressing 
(this way) her affections to him; but rather to show it by hastening 
about his service. Which is 
    The second thing observable, viz. his injunction upon Mary, to 
carry the tidings of his resurrection to the disciples. In which 
injunction we have, 
    First, The persons to whom this message was sent, my brethren, 
so he calls the disciples. A sweet compellation, and full of love. 
Much like that of Joseph to his brethren, Gen. 45: 4. save only that 
there is much more tenderness in this than that; for he twits them 
in the same breath with what they had done against him: "I am Joseph 
your brother, whom ye sold;" but in this it is, "Go, tell my 
brethren," without the least mention of their cowardice or 
unkindness. And, 
    Secondly, The message itself; "Tell my brethren, I ascend to my 
Father, and your Father; to my God, and your God," "anabaino", I 
ascend. It is put in the present tense, as if he had been ascending; 
though he did not ascend in some weeks after this; but he so 
expresses it, to show what was the next part of his work, which he 
was to act in heaven for them; and how much his heart was set upon 
it, and longed to be about it, "I ascend to my Father, and your 
Father; to my God, and your God." Not our Father, or God in common; 
but mine and yours in a different manner. Yours by right of 
donation, mine in a different manner. Yours by right of dominion, 
mine (in reference to my human nature) not only by right of 
creation, though so too; but also by special covenant and 
confederation. By predestination of my manhood, to the grace of 
personal union, by designation of me, to the glorious office of 
Mediator. My Father, as I am God, by eternal generation. As man, by 
collation of the grace of union. And your Father by spiritual 
adoption and regeneration. Thus he is my God, and your God; my 
Father, and your Father. This is the substance of that comfortable 
message, sent by Mary to the pensive disciples. Hence the 
observation is, 
    Doct. That our Lord Jesus Christ, did not only rise from the 
    dead, but also ascended into heaven; there to dispatch all that 
    remained to be done for the completing the salvation of his 
    So much the apostle plainly witnesseth, Eph. 4: 10. "He that 
descended, is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens," 
i.e. all the aspectable heavens. A full and faithful account whereof 
the several evangelists have given us, Mark 16: 19. Luke 24: 51. 
This is sometimes called his going away, as John 16: 7. Sometimes 
his being exalted, Acts 2: 33. Sometimes his being made higher than 
the heavens, Heb. 7: 26. And sometimes his entering within the vail, 
Heb. 6: 19, 20. All which are but so many synonymous phrases, 
expressing his ascension, in a very pleasant variety. 
    Now for the opening this act of Christ, we will bind up the 
whole in the satisfaction of these six questions. 1. Who ascended? 
2. Whence did he ascend? 3. Whither? 4. When? 5. How? 6. and lastly, 
Why did he ascend? And these will take in what is needful for you to 
be acquainted with in this point. 
    First, Who ascended? This the apostle answers, Eph. 4: 10. "the 
same that descended," viz. Christ. And himself tells us in the text, 
"I ascend." "And though the ascension were of Christ's whole person, 
yet it was but a figurative and improper expression, with respect to 
his divine nature, but it agrees most properly to the humanity of 
Christ, which really changed places and conditions by it." And hence 
it is that it is said, John 16: 28. "I came forth from the Father, 
and am come into the world;" again, I leave the world, and go to my 
Father." He goes away, and we see him no more. As God, he is 
spiritually with us still, even to the end of the world. But as man, 
"the heavens must contain him till the restitution of all things," 
Acts 3: 21. 
    Secondly, Whence Christ ascended? 
    I answer, more generally, he is said to ascend from this world, 
to leave the world. That is the terminus a quo, John 16: 28. but 
more particularly, it was from Mount Olivet, near unto Jerusalem. 
The very place where he began his last sorrowful tragedy. There, 
where his heart began to be sadded, there is it now made glad. O, 
what a difference was there betwixt the frame Christ was in, in that 
mount before his passion, and this he is now in, at his ascension! 
    Thirdly, Whither did he ascend? 
    It is manifest it was into the third heavens: the throne of 
God, and place of the blessed; where all the saints shall be with 
him for ever. It is said to be far above a11 heavens; i.e. the 
heavens which we see, for they are but the pavement of that stately 
palace of the great King. He is gone (saith the apostle) within the 
vail, i.e. into the most holy place. And into his Father's house, 
John 14: 2. And he is also said to go to the "place where he was 
before," John 6: 62. back again to that sweet and glorious bosom of 
delight and love, from whence at his incarnation he came. 
    Fourthly, When did Christ ascend? Was it presently as soon as 
he arose from the dead? 
    No, not so, for "after his resurrection (saith Luke) he was 
seen of them forty days, speaking of the things pertaining to the 
kingdom of God." And truly the care and love of Christ to his people 
was very manifest in this his stay with them. He had ineffable glory 
prepared for him in heaven, and awaiting his coming, but he will not 
go to possess it, till he had settled all things for the good of his 
church here. For in this time he confirmed the truth of his 
resurrection, gave charge to the apostles concerning the discipline 
and order of his house or kingdom: which was but needful, since he 
intended that their Acts should be rules to future churches. So long 
it was necessary he should stay. And when he had set all things in 
order, he would stay no longer, "lest he should seem to affect a 
terrene life." And besides, he had work of great concernment to do 
for us in the other world. He desired to be no longer here, than he 
had work to do for God and souls. A good pattern for the saints. 
    Fifthly, How did Christ ascend into heaven? 
    Here it is worthy our observation, that Christ ascended as a 
public person or forerunner, in our names, and upon our accounts. So 
it is said expressly, Heb 6: 20 speaking of the most holy place 
within the vail; whither (saith he) the forerunner is for us 
entered. His entering into heaven as our forerunner implies both his 
public capacity and precedence. 
    First, His public capacity, as one that went upon our business 
to God. So he himself speaks, John 14: 2. "I go before to prepare a 
place for you". To take possession of heaven in your names. The 
forerunner has respect to others that were to come to heaven after 
him, in their several generations; for whom he has taken up 
mansions, which are kept for them against their coming. 
    Secondly, It notes precedence, he is our forerunner, but he 
himself had no forerunner. Never any entered into heaven before him, 
but such as entered in his name, and through the virtue of his name. 
He was the first that ever entered into heaven directly, 
immediately, in his own name, and upon his own account. But all the 
fathers who died before him entered in his name. To the holiest of 
them all, God would have said as Elisha to Jehoram, 2 Kings 3: 14 
Were it not that I had respect to the person of my Son, in whose 
name and right you come, I would not look upon you . You must go 
back again, heaven were no place for you. No, not for you, Abraham, 
nor for you, Moses 
    Secondly, He ascended triumphantly into heaven. To this good 
expositors refer that which in the type is spoken of David, when he 
lodged the ark in its own place, with musical instruments and 
shootings; but to Christ, in the antitype, when he was received up 
triumphantly into glory, Psal. 47: 5 "God is gone up with a shout, 
the Lord with the sound of a trumpet; sing praises to God, sing 
praises; sing praises unto our King, sing praises." 
    A cloud is prepared, as a royal chariot, to carry up the King 
of glory to his princely pavilion. "A cloud received him out of 
their sight," Luke 24: 51. And then a royal guard of mighty angels 
surrounded the chariot, if not for support, yet for greater state 
and solemnity of their Lord's ascension. And oh what jubilations of 
the blessed angels were heard in heaven! How was the whole city of 
God moved at his coming! For look as when "he brought his first 
begotten into the world, he said, let all the angels of God worship 
him," Heb. 1: 6. So at his return thither again, when he had 
finished redemption-work, there were no less demonstrations given by 
those blessed creatures of their delight and joy in it. The very 
heavens echoed and resounded on that account. Yea, the triumph is 
not ended at this day, nor ever shall. 
    It is said, Dan. 7: 13, 14. "I saw, (saith the prophet) in the 
night visions, and behold one like the Son of man came with the 
clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought 
him near to him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a 
kingdom; that all people, nations and languages should serve him." 
This vision of Daniel's was accomplished in Christ's ascension, when 
they, i.e. the angels, brought him to the Ancient of days, i.e. to 
God the Father, who, to express his welcome to Christ, gave him 
glory and a kingdom. And so it is, and ought to be expounded. The 
Father received him with open arms, rejoicing exceedingly to see him 
again in heaven; therefore God is said to "receive him up into 
glory," 1 Tim. 3: 16. For that which, with respect to Christ, is 
called ascension, is, with respect to the Father, called assumption. 
He went up, and the Father received him. Yea, received so as none 
ever was received before him, or shall be received after him. 
    Thirdly, Christ ascended munificently, shedding forth, 
abundantly, inestimable gifts upon his church at his ascension. As 
in the Roman triumphs they did spargere missilia, bestow their 
largesses upon the people: so did our Lord when he ascended; 
"wherefore he saith, when he ascended up on high, he led captivity 
captive; and gave gifts unto men." The place to which the apostle 
refers, is Psal. 68: 17, 18. where you have both the triumph and 
munificence with which Christ went up excellently set forth 
    "The chariots of God, (saith the Psalmist) are twenty thousand, 
even thousands of angels; the Lord is among them, as in Sinai, in 
the holy place. Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity 
captive, thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious 
also, that God might dwell among them." Which words, in their 
literal sense, are a celebration of that famous victory and triumph 
of David over the enemies of God, recorded 2 Sam. 8. These conquered 
enemies bring him several sorts of presents, all which he dedicated 
to the Lord. The spiritual sense is, that just so our Lord Jesus 
Christ, when he had overcome by his death on the cross, and now 
triumphed in his ascension, he takes the parts and gifts of his 
enemies, and gives them, by their conversion to the church, for its 
use and service: thus he received gifts, even for the rebellious, 
i.e. sanctifies the natural gifts and faculties of such as hated his 
people before, dedicating them to the Lord, in his people's service. 
Thus, (as one observes) Tertullian, Origin, Austin, and Jerome, came 
into Canaan, laden with Egyptian gold. Meaning they came into the 
church richly laden with natural learning and abilities. Austin was 
a Manichee, Cyprian a magician, learned Bradwardine a scornful, 
proud naturalist, who once said, when he read Paul's epistles, 
Dedignar esse parvulus; he scorned such childish things, but 
afterwards became a very useful man in the church of God. And even 
Paul himself was as fierce an enemy to the church as breathed on 
earth, till Christ gave him into his bosom by conversion, and then 
no mere man ever did the Lord and his people greater service than 
he. Men of all sorts, greater and smaller lights, have been given to 
the church. Officers of all sorts were given it by Christ. 
Extraordinary and temporary, as prophets, apostles, evangelists; 
ordinary and standing, as pastors, and teachers, which remain to 
this day, Eph. 4: 8, 9. And those stars are fixed in the church 
heaven by a most firm establishment, 1 Cor. 12: 28. Thousands now in 
heaven, and thousands on earth also, are blessing Christ at this day 
for these his ascension-gifts. 
    Fourthly, Our Lord Jesus Christ ascended most comfortably, for 
whilst he was blessing his people, he was parted from them, Luke 24: 
50, 51. Therein making good to them what is said by him, John 13: 1. 
"Having loved his own, he loved them to the end." There was a great 
deal of love manifested by Christ in this very last act of his in 
this world. The last sight they had of him in this world was a most 
sweet and encouraging one. They heard nothing from his lips but 
love, they saw nothing in his face but love, till he mounted his 
triumphant chariot, and was taken out of their sight 
    Surely these blessings at parting were sweet and rich ones. For 
the matter of them, they were the mercies which his blood had so 
lately purchased for them. And for their extent, they were not only 
intended for them who had the happiness to be upon the place with 
him from whence he ascended; but they reach us as well as them; and 
will reach the last saint that shall be upon the earth till he come 
again. For they were but representatives of the future churches, 
Matt. 28: 20. And in blessing them, he blessed us also. And by this 
we may be satisfied that Christ carried an heart full of love to his 
people away with him to heaven; since his love so abounded in the 
last act that ever he did in this world: and left such a 
demonstration of his tenderness with them at parting. 
    Fifthly, He ascended, as well as rose again by his own power. 
He was not merely passive in his ascension, but it was his own act. 
He went to heaven. Therefore it is said, Acts 1: 10. He went up, 
viz. by his own divine power. And this plainly evinceth him to be 
God, for no mere creature ever mounted itself from earth, far above 
all heavens, as Christ did. 
    Sixthly, and lastly, why did Christ ascend? 
    I answer: His ascension was necessary upon many and great 
accounts. For, 
    First, If Christ had not ascended, he could not have 
interceded, as now he does in heaven for us. And do but take away 
Christ's intercession, and you starve the hope of the saints. For 
what have we to succour ourselves with, under the daily surprises of 
sin, but this, "That if any man sin, we have an advocate [with the 
Father]" mark that, with the Father; a friend upon the place: one 
that abides there, on purpose to transact all our affairs, and as a 
surety for the peace betwixt God and us. 
    Secondly, If Christ had not ascended, you could not have 
entered into heaven when you die. For he went to "prepare a place 
for you," John 14: 2. He was, as I said before, the first that 
entered into heaven directly, and in his own name; and had he not 
done so, we would not have entered when we die, in his name. The 
Fore-runner made way for all that are coming on, in their several 
generations, after him. Nor could your bodies have ascended after 
their resurrection, but in the virtue of Christ's ascension. For he 
ascended, as was said before, in the capacity of our head and 
representative; to his Father and our Father: For us, and himself 
    Thirdly, If Christ had not ascended, he could not have been 
inaugurated, and installed in the glory he now enjoys in heaven. 
This world is not the place where perfect felicity and glory dwell. 
And then, how had the promise of the Father been made good to him? 
Or our glory, (which consists in being with, and conformed to him), 
where had it been? "Ought not Christ to suffer, and to enter into 
his glory?" Luke 24: 25. 
    Fourthly, If Christ had not ascended, how could we have been 
satisfied, that his payment on the cross made full satisfaction to 
God, and that now God has no more bills to bring in against us? How 
is it that the Spirit convinceth the world of righteousness, John 
16: 9, 10. but from Christ's going to the Father, and returning 
hither no more? which gives evidence of God's full content and 
satisfaction, both with his person and work. 
    Fifthly, How should we have enjoyed the great blessings of the 
Spirit and ordinances, if Christ had not ascended? And surely, we 
could not have been without either. If Christ had not gone away, 
"the Comforter had not come," John 16: 7. he begins where Christ had 
finished. For he takes of his, and shows it to us, John 16: 14. And 
therefore it is said, John 17: 39. "The Holy Ghost was not given, 
because Jesus was not yet glorified." He was then given as a 
sanctifying spirit, but not given in that measure, as afterwards he 
was, to furnish and qualify men with gifts for service. And indeed, 
by Christ's ascension, both his sanctifying, and his ministering 
gifts were shed forth, more commonly and more abundantly upon men. 
These fell from him when he ascended, as Elijah's mantle did from 
him, so that whatsoever good of conversion, edification, support, or 
comfort you receive from spiritual ordinances, he has shed forth 
that, which you now see and feel. It is the fruit of Christ's 
    Sixthly, and lastly, If Christ had not ascended, how had all 
the types and prophecies, that prefigured and foretold it, been 
fulfilled? "And the scriptures cannot be broken," John 10: 35. So 
that, upon all these accounts, it was expedient that he should go 
away. It was for his glory, and for our advantage. Though we lost 
the comfort of his bodily presence by it, yet if "we loved him, we 
would rejoice he went to the Father," John 14: 28. We ought to have 
rejoiced in his advancement, though it had been to our loss; but 
when it is so much for our benefit, as well as his glory, it is a 
matter of joy on both sides, that he is ascended to his Father, and 
our Father: to his God, and to our God. From the several blessings 
flowing to us out of Christ's ascension, it was that he charged his 
people not to be troubled at his leaving of them, John 14. And hence 
    Inference 1. Did Christ ascend into heaven? Is our Jesus, our 
treasure indeed there? Where then should the hearts of believers be, 
but in heaven, where their ord, their life is? Surely saints, it is 
not good that your love, and your Lord should be in two several 
countries, said one that is now with him. Up, and hasten after your 
lover, that he and you may be together. Christians, you ascended 
with him, virtually, when he ascended; you shall ascend to him, 
personally, hereafter; Oh that you would ascend to him, spiritually, 
in acts of faith, love, and desires daily. Sursum corda, up with 
your hearts, was the form used by the ancient church at the 
sacrament. How good were it, if we could say with the apostle, Phil. 
3: 20. "Our conversation is in heaven, from whence we look for the 
Saviour." An heart ascendant, is the beet evidence of your interest 
in Christ's ascension. 
    Inf. 2. Did Christ go to heaven as a forerunner? What haste 
should we make to follow him? He ran to heaven: he ran thither 
before us. Did he run to glory, and shall we linger? did he flee as 
an eagle towards heaven, and we creep like snails? Come Christians, 
"Lay aside every weight, and the sin that so easily besets you, and 
run with patience the race set before you, looking unto Jesus, Heb. 
12: 1, 2. The Captain of our salvation is entered within the gates 
of the new Jerusalem, and calls to us out of heaven to hasten to 
him; proposing the greatest encouragements to them that are 
following after him, saying, "He that overcomes shall sit with me in 
my throne, as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his 
throne," Rev. 3: 22. How tedious should it seem to us, to live so 
long at a distance from our Lord Jesus! 
    Inf. 3. Did Christ ascend so triumphantly, leading captivity 
captive? How little reason then have believers to fear their 
conquered enemies? Sin, Satan, and every enemy, were in that day led 
away in triumph, dragged at Christ's chariot wheels, brought after 
him as it were in chains. It is a lovely sight to see the necks of 
those tyrants under the foot of our Joshua. He made at that day, "an 
open show of them," Col. 2: 15. Their strength is broken for ever. 
In this he shewed himself more than a conqueror; for he conquered 
and triumphed too. Satan was then trod under his feet, and he has 
promised to tread him under our feet also, and that shortly, Rom. 
16: 20. some power our enemies yet retain, the serpent may bruise 
our heel, but Christ has crushed his head. 
    Inf. 4. Did Christ ascend so munificently, shedding forth so 
many mercies upon his people? mercies of inestimable value reserved 
on purpose to adorn that day? O then see that you abuse not those 
precious ascension-gifts of Christ, but value and improve them as 
the choicest mercies. Now, the ascension gifts, as I told you, are 
either the ordinances and officers of the church, (for he then gave 
them pastors and teachers,) or the Spirit that furnished the church 
with all its gifts. Beware you abuse not either of these. 
    First, Abuse not the ordinances and officers of Christ. This is 
a sin that no nation is plunged deeper into the guilt of, than this 
nation, and no age more than this. Surely God has written to us the 
great things of his law, and we have accounted them small things. We 
have been loose, wanton, sceptical professors for the most part, 
that have had nice and coy stomachs, that could not relish plain, 
wholesome truths, except so and so modified to our humours. For this 
the Lord has a controversy with the nation, and by a sore judgement, 
he has begun to rebuke this sin already. And I doubt not, before he 
make an end, plain truths will down with us, and we shall bless God 
for them. 
    Secondly, But in the next place, see that you abuse not the 
Spirit, whom God sent from heaven at his ascension, to supply his 
bodily absence among us, and is the great pledge of his care for, 
and tender love to his people. Now take heed that you do not vex him 
by your disobedience; nor grieve him by your unkindnesses; nor 
quench him by your sinful neglects of duty, or abuse of light. O 
deal kindly with the Spirit, and obey his voice: comply with his 
designs, and yield up yourselves to his guidance and conduct. 
Methinks, to be intreated by the love of the Spirit, Rom. 15: 30. 
should be as great an argument as to be intreated for Christ's sake. 
Now, to persuade all the saints to be tender of grieving the Spirit 
by sin, let me urge a few considerations proper to the point under 
    Consid. 1. First, He was the first and principal mercy that 
Christ received for you at his first entrance into heaven. It was 
the first thing he asked of God when he came to heaven. So he 
speaks, John 14: 16, 17. "I will pray the Father, and he shall give 
you another Comforter, that he may abide with you." No sooner had he 
set foot upon the place, but the first thing, the great thing that 
was upon his heart to ask the Father for us was, that the Spirit 
might forthwith be dispatched, and rent down to his people. So that 
the Spirit is the first-born of mercies; and deserves the first 
place in our hearts and esteem. 
    Consid. Secondly, The spirit comes not in his own name to us, 
(though, if so, he deserves a dear welcome for his own sake, and for 
the benefits we receive by him, which are inestimable,) but he comes 
to us in the name, and in the love, both of the Father, and the Son. 
As one authorised and delegated by them; bringing his credentials 
under both their hands and seals, John 15: 26. "But when the 
Comforter is come, whom I will send to you from the Father:" Mark, I 
will send him from the Father; and in John 14: 26. the Father is 
said to "send him in Christ's name." So that he is the messenger 
that comes from both these great and holy persons. And if you have 
any love for the God that made you, any kindness for the Christ that 
died for you, show it by your obedience to the Spirit that comes 
from them both and in both their names to us, and who will be both 
offended and grieved, if you grieve him. O therefore give him an 
entertainment worthy of one that comes to you in the name of the 
Lord. In the Father's name, and in the Son's name. 
    Consider. 3 Thirdly, But that is not the only consideration 
that should cause you to beware of grieving the Spirit, because he 
is sent in the name of such great and dear persons to you, but he 
deserves better entertainment than any of the saints give him, for 
his own sake, and upon his own account, and that upon a double 
score, viz. of his nature and office. 
    First, On the account of his nature; for he is God co-equal 
with the Father and Son in nature and dignity, 2 Sam. 23: 23. "The 
Spirit of the Lord spake by me, and his word was in my tongue; the 
God of Israel said; the Rock of Israel spake to me." So that you see 
he is God. The Rock of Israel. God omnipotent, for he created all 
things, (Gen. 1: 2; God omnipresent, filling all things, Psal. 139: 
7. God omniscient, who knows your hearts, Rom. 9: 1. Beware of him 
therefore, and grieve him not, for in so doing you grieve God. 
    Secondly, Upon the account of his office, and the benefits we 
receive by him. We are obliged, even on the score of gratitude and 
ingenuity, to obey him; for he is sent in the quality of an advocate 
to help us to pray; to indite our requests for us; to teach us what 
and how to ask of God, Rom. 8: 26. He comes to us as a Comforter, 
John 14: 16. And none like him. His work is to take of Christ's and 
shew it to us, i.e. to take of his death, resurrection, ascension, 
yea, of his very present intercession in heaven, and show it to us. 
He can be with us in a moment, he can, (as one well observes,) tell 
you what were the very last thoughts Christ was thinking in heaven 
about you. It was he that formed the body of Christ in the womb, and 
so prepared him to be a sacrifice for us. He filled that humanity 
with his unexampled fulness. So fitting and anointing him for the 
discharge of his office. 
    It is he that puts efficacy into the ordinances, and without 
him they would be a dead letter. It was he that blessed them to your 
conviction and conversion. For if angels had been the preachers, no 
conversion had followed without the Spirit. It is he that is the 
vinculum unionis, bond of union betwixt Christ and your souls, 
without which you could never have had interest in Christ, or 
communion with Christ. It was he that so often has helped your 
infirmities, when you knew not what to say; comforted your hearts 
when they were overwhelmed within you, and you know not what to do; 
preserved you many thousand times from sin and ruin, when you have 
been upon the slippery brink of it in temptations. It is he (in his 
sanctifying-word) that is the best evidence your souls have for 
heaven. It where endless to enumerate the mercies you have by him. 
And now, reader, dost thou not blush to think how unworthy thou hast 
treated such a friend? For which of all these his offices or 
benefits dost thou grieve and quench him? O grieve not the Holy 
Spirit whom Christ sent as soon as ever he went to heaven, in his 
Father's name, and in his own name, to perform all these offices for 
    Inf. 5. Is Christ ascended to the Father as our fore-runner? 
Then the door of salvation stands open to all believers, and by 
virtue of Christ's ascension, they also will ascend after him, far 
above all visible heavens. O my friends, what place has Christ 
prepared and taken up for you! what a splendid habitation has he 
provided for you! "God is not ashamed to be called your God; for he 
has prepared for you a city," Heb. 11: 16. In that city Christ has 
provided mansions, and resting-places for your everlasting abode, 
John 14: 2. and keeps them for you till your coming. O how august 
and glorious a dwelling is that, where sun, and moon, and stars, 
shall shine as much below your feet, as they are now above your 
heads? Yea, such is the love Christ has to the believer, that, as 
one saith, if thou only hadst been the chosen of God, Christ would 
have built that house for himself and thee. Now it is for himself, 
for thee, and for many more, who shall inherit with thee. God send 
us a joyful meeting within the vail with our Fore-runner, and 
sweeten our passage into it, with many a foresight and foretaste 
thereof. And, in the meantime, let the love of a Saviour inflame our 
hearts, so that whenever we cast a look towards that place, where 
our Fore-runner is for us entered, our souls may say, with melting 
affections, Thanks be to God for Jesus Christ; and again, Blessed be 
God for his unspeakable gift. 

(continued in file 41...)

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-09: flafn-40.txt