Flavel, Fountain of Life, File 41.
( ...continued from File 40)
Sermon 41. The Session of Christ at God's right-hand explained and 
applied, being the third Step of his glorious Exaltation. 
Heb 1:3. 
When he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand 
of the Majesty on high; 
    Christ being returned again to his Father, having finished his 
whole work on earth, is there bid by the Father to sit down in the 
seat of honour and rest. A seat prepared for him at Gods right hand, 
that makes it honourable; and all his enemies as a footstool under 
his feet that makes it easy. How much is the state and condition of 
Jesus Christ changed in a few days! Here he groaned, wept, laboured, 
suffered, sweat, yea, sweat blood, and found no rest in this world, 
but when he comes to heaven, there he enters into rest. Sits down 
for ever in the highest and easiest throne, prepared by the Father 
for him when he had done his work. "When he had by himself purged 
our sins, he sat down," &c. 
    The scope of this epistle is to demonstrate Christ to be the 
fulness of all legal types and ceremonies, and that whatever light 
glimmered to the world through them, yet it was but as the light of 
the day-star, to the light of the sun. 
    In this chapter, Christ the subject of the epistle, is 
described; and particularly in this third verse, he is described 
three ways. 
    First, By his essential and primeval glory and dignity, he is 
"ap-augasma", the brightness at his Father's glory, the very 
splendor of glory, the very refulgency of that son of glory. "The 
primary reason of that appellation is with respect to his eternal 
and ineffable generation, light of light, as the Nicene creed 
expresses it. As a beam of light proceeding from the sun. And the 
secondary reason of it, is with respect to men," for look as the sun 
communicates its light and influence to us by its beams, which it 
projects; so does God communicate his goodness, and manifest himself 
to us, by Christ. "Yea, he is the express image, or character of his 
person. Not as the impressed image of the seal upon the wax, but as 
the engraving in the seal itself." Thus he is described by his 
essential glory. 
    Seconds, He is described by the work he wrought here on earth, 
in his humbled state, and it was a glorious work, and that wrought 
out by his own single hand, "When he had by himself purged our 
sins." A work that all the angels in heaven could not do, but Christ 
did it. 
    Thirdly, and lastly, He is described by his glory, the which 
(as a reward of that work) he now enjoys in heaven. "When he had by 
himself purged our sins, he sat down on the right hand of the 
Majesty on high," i.e. the Lord clothed him with the greatest power, 
and highest honour, that heaven itself could afford; for so much 
this phrase of "sitting down on the right hand of the Majesty" 
imports, as will appear in the explication of this point, which is 
the result of this clause, viz. 
    Doct. That when our Lord Jesus Christ has finished his work on 
    earth, he was placed in the seat of the highest honour, and 
    authority; at the right-hand of God in heaven. 
    This truth is transformingly glorious. Stephen had but a 
glimpse of Christ at his Father's right hand, and it caused "his 
face to shine, as it had been the face of an angel", Acts 7: 56. 
This, his high advancement, was foretold and promised before the 
work of redemption was taken in hand, Psal. 110: 1. "The Lord said 
unto my Lord, sit thou at my right-hand, until I make thine enemies 
thy footstool." And this promise was punctually performed to Christ, 
after his resurrection and ascension, in his supreme exaltation, far 
above all created beings, in heaven and earth, Eph. 1: 20, 21, 22. 
We shall here open two things in the doctrinal part, viz. What is 
meant by God's right hand; and what is implied in Christ's sitting 
there, with his enemies for a footstool. 
    First, What are we to understand here by God's right hand? It 
is obvious enough, that the expression is not proper, but figurative 
and borrowed. God has no hand, right or left; but it is a 
condescending expression, wherein God stoops to the creature's 
understanding, and by it he would have us understand honour, power, 
and nearness. 
    First, The right hand is the hand of honour, the upper hand, 
where we place those whom we highly esteem and honour. So Solomon 
placed his mother in a seat at his right hand, 1 Kings 2: 19. So, in 
token of honour, God sets Christ at his right hand; which, on that 
account, in the text, is called the right hand of Majesty. God has 
therein expressed more favour, delight, and honour to Jesus Christ, 
than ever he did to any creature. "To which of the angels said he at 
any time, sit thou on my right hand?" Heb. 1: 13. 
    Secondly, The right-hand is the hand of power: we call it the 
weapon hand, and the working hand. And the setting of Christ there, 
imports his exaltation to the highest authority, and most supreme 
dominion. Not that God the Father has put himself out of his 
authority, and advanced Christ above himself; no, "for in that he 
saith he has put all things under him, it is manifest that he is 
excepted which did put all things under him," 1 Cor. 15: 27. But to 
sit as an enthroned king at God's right hand, imports power, yea, 
the most sovereign and supreme power; and so Christ himself calls 
the right-hand at which he sits, Matt. 26: 64. "Hereafter ye shall 
see the Son of man sitting on the right-hand of power." 
    Thirdly, And as it signifies honour and power, so nearness in 
place, as we use to say, at one's elbow, and so it is applied to 
Christ, in Psal. 110: 5. "The Lord at thy right hand, shall strike 
through kings in the day of his wrath," i.e. the Lord, who is very 
near thee, present with thee, he shall subdue thine enemies. This 
then is what we are to understand by God's right-hand, honour, 
power, and nearness. 
    Secondly, In the next place let us see what is implied in 
Christ's sitting at God's right-hand, with his enemies for his 
footstool. And, if we attentively consider, we shall find that it 
implies and imports divers great and weighty things in it. As, 
    First, It implies the perfecting and completing of Christ's 
work, that he came into the world about. After his work was ended, 
then he sat down and rested from those labours, Heb. 10: 11, 12. 
"Every priest standeth daily ministering, and offering oftentimes 
the same sacrifices: which can never take away sins: but this man 
when he had once offered one sacrifice for sins, for ever sat down 
on the right hand of God." Here he assigns a double difference 
betwixt Christ and the Levitical priests; they stand, which is the 
posture of servants; he sits, which is the posture of a Lord. They 
stand daily, because their sacrifices cannot take away sin; he did 
his work fully, by one offering; and after that, sits or rests for 
ever in heaven. And this (as the accurate and judicious Dr. Reynolds 
observes) was excellently figured to us in the ark, which was a 
lively type of Jesus Christ, and particularly in this, it had rings 
by which it was carried up and down, till at last it rested in 
Solomon's temple, with glorious and triumphal solemnity, Psal. 132: 
8, 9. 2 Chron. 5: 13. So Christ, while he was here on earth, being 
anointed with the Holy Ghost and wisdom, went about doing good, Acts 
10: 38. and having ceased from his works, did at last enter into his 
rest, Heb. 5: 10. which is the heavenly temple, Rev. 11: 19. 
    Secondly, His sitting down at God's right hand, notes the high 
content and satisfaction of God the Father in him, and in his work. 
"The Lord said to my Lord, sit thou on my right hand;" the words are 
brought in as the words of the Father, welcoming Christ to heaven; 
and (as it were) congratulating the happy accomplishment of his most 
difficult work. And it is as if he had said," O my Son, what shall 
be done for thee this day? Thou hast finished a great work, and in 
all the parts of it acquitted thyself as an able and faithful 
servant to me; what honours shall I now bestow upon thee? The 
highest glory in heaven is not too high for thee; come sit at my 
right hand." O how well is he pleased with Christ, and what he has 
done! He delighted greatly to behold him here in his work on earth, 
and by a voice from the excellent glory he told him so, when he 
spake from heaven to him, saying, "Thou art my beloved Son, in whom 
I am well pleased," 2 Pet. 1: 17. And himself tells us, John 10: 17. 
"Therefore does my Father love me, because I lay down my life," &c. 
for it was a work that the heart of God had been set upon from 
eternity. He took infinite delight in it. 
    Thirdly, Christ's sitting down at God's right-hand in heaven, 
notes the advancement of Christ's human nature to the highest 
honour; even to be the object of adoration to angels and men. For it 
is properly his human nature that is the subject of all this honour 
and advancement; and being advanced to the right hand of Majesty, it 
is become an object of worship and adoration. Not simply, as it is 
flesh and blood, but as it is personally united to the second 
person, and enthroned in the supreme glory of heaven. 
    O here is the mystery, that flesh and blood should ever be 
advanced to the highest throne of majesty, and being there installed 
in that glory, we may now direct our worship to him as God Man; and 
to this end was his humanity so advanced, that it might be adored 
and worshipped by all. "The Father has committed all judgement to 
the Son, that all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the 
Father." And the Father will accept of no honour divided from his 
honour. Therefore it is added in the clause, "He that honoureth not 
the Son, honoureth not the Father which has sent him," John 5: 22, 
23. Hence the apostles, in the salutations of their epistles, beg 
for grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and our Lord Jesus 
Christ; and in their valedictions, they desire the grace of our Lord 
Jesus Christ to the churches. 
    Fourthly, It imports the sovereignty and supremacy of Christ 
over all. The investiture of Christ, with authority over the empire 
of both worlds: for this belongs to him that sits down upon his 
throne. When the Father said to him, Sit at my right-hand, he did 
therein deliver to him the dispensation and economy of the kingdom. 
Put the awful sceptre of government into his hand, and so the 
apostle interprets and understands it, 1 Cor. 15: 25. "He must reign 
till he have put all his enemies under his feet." And to this 
purpose, the same apostle accommodates, (if not expounds) the words 
of the Psalmist, "Thou madest him a little lower than the angels," 
i.e. in respect of his humbled state on earth, "thou crownedst him 
with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy 
hands, thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet," Heb. 
2: 7, 8. He is over the spiritual kingdom, the Church, absolute Lord 
there, Mat. 28: 18, 19, 20. He is also Lord over the providential 
kingdom, the whole world, Psal. 110: 2. And this providential 
kingdom, being subordinate to his spiritual kingdom; he orders and 
rules this, for the advantage and benefit thereof, Eph. 1: 22. 
    Fifthly, To sit at God's right-hand with his enemies for a 
footstool, implies Christ to be a conqueror over all his enemies. To 
have his enemies under his feet, notes perfect conquest and complete 
victory. As when Joshua set his foot upon the necks of the kings: So 
Tamerlane made proud Bajazet his footstool. They trampled his name, 
and his saints under their feet, and Christ will tread them under 
his feet. It is true indeed this victory is incomplete and in 
consummate; for now "we see not yet all things put under him, (saith 
the apostle) but we see Jesus crowned with glory and honour," and 
that is enough. Enough to show the power of his enemies is now 
broken; and though they make some opposition still, yet it is to no 
purpose at all; for he is so infinitely above them, that they must 
fall before him; it is not with Christ as it was with Abijah, 
against whom Jeroboam prevailed, because he was young and tender 
hearted, and could not withstand them. His incapacity and weakness 
gave the watchful enemy an advantage over him. I say, it is not so 
with Christ, he is at God's right hand. And all the power of God 
stands ready bent to strike through his enemies, as it is, Psal. 
110: 5. 
    Sixthly, Christ's sitting in heaven notes to us the great and 
wonderful change that is made upon the state and condition of 
Christ, since his ascension into heaven. Ah, it is far otherwise 
with him now, than it was in the days of his humiliation here on 
earth. Quantum mutates ab illo! Oh, what a wonderful change has 
heaven made upon him! It were good (as a worthy of ours speaks), to 
compare in our thoughts the abasement of Christ, and his exaltation 
together; as it were in columns, one over against the other. He was 
born in a stable, but now he reigns in his royal palace. Then he had 
a manger for his cradle, but now he sits on a chair of state. Then 
oxen and asses were his companions, now thousands of saints, and ten 
thousands of angels minister round about his throne. Then in 
contempt, they called him the carpenter's son, now he obtains a more 
excellent name than angels. Then he was led away into the wilderness 
to be tempted of the devil, now it is proclaimed before him, "let 
all the angels of God worship him." Then he had not a place to lay 
his head on, now he is exalted to be heir of all things. In his 
state of humiliation, "he endured the contradiction of sinners;" in 
his state of exaltation, "he is adored and admired by saints and 
angels." Then "he had no form or comeliness; and when we saw him, 
there was no beauty, why we should desire him:" Now the beauty of 
his countenance shall send forth such glorious beams, as shall 
dazzle the eyes of all the celestial inhabitants round about him, 
    O what a change is this! Here he sweated, but there he sits. 
Here he groaned, but there he triumphs. Here he lay upon the ground, 
there he sits in the throne of glory. When he came to heaven, his 
Father did as it were thus bespeak him. 
    My dear Son, what an hard travail hast thou had of it? What a 
world of woe hast thou passed through, in the strength of they love 
to me and mine elect? Thou hast been hungry, thirsty, weary, 
scourged, crucified, and reproached: Ah, what bad usage hast thou 
had in the ungrateful world! Not a day's rest for comfort since thou 
wentest out from me; by now thy suffering days are accomplished; now 
thy rest is come, rest for evermore. Henceforth sit at my 
right-hand. Henceforth thou shalt groan, weep, or bleed no more. Sit 
thou at my right hand. 
    Seventhly, Christ's sitting at God's right hand, implies the 
advancement of believers to the highest honour: For this session of 
Christ's respects them, and there he sits as our representative, in 
which regard we are made to sit with him in heavenly places, as the 
apostle speaks, Eph. 2: 6. How secure may we be (saith Tertullian) 
who do now already possess the kingdom? meaning in our Head, Christ. 
This (saith another) is all my hope, and all my confidence, namely, 
that we have a proportion in that flesh and blood at Christ, which 
is so exalted, and therefore where he reigns, we shall reign; where 
our flesh is glorified, we shall be glorified. Surely, it is matter 
of exceeding joy to believe that Christ our Head, our flesh, and 
blood, is in all this glory at his Father's right-hand. Thus we have 
opened the sense and importance of Christ's sitting at his Fathers 
right hand. Hence we infer, 
    Inference 1. Is this so great an honour to Christ, to sit 
enthroned at God's right hand? What honour then is reserved in 
heaven for those that are faithful to Christ, now on the earth? 
Christ prayed, and his prayer was heard, John 17: 24. "That we may 
be with him to behold the glory that God has given him;" and what 
heart can conceive the felicity of such a sight? It made Stephen's 
face shine as the face of an angel, when he had but a glimpse of 
Christ at his Father's right hand. "Thine eyes shall see the king in 
his beauty," Isa. 33: 17. which respected Hezekiah in the type, 
Christ in the truth. But this is not all, though this be much, to be 
spectators of Christ in his throne of glory; we shall not only see 
him in his throne, but also sit with him enthroned in glory. To 
behold him is much, but to sit with him is more. I remember it was 
the saying of a heavenly Christian, now with Christ, I should far 
rather look but through the hole of Christ's door, to see but one 
half of his fairest and most comely face, [for he looks like heaven] 
suppose I should never win to see his excellency and glory to the 
full than to enjoy the flower, the bloom, and chiefest excellency of 
the glory and riches of ten worlds. And you know how the Queen of 
the South fainted at the sight of Solomon in his glory. But this 
sight you shall have of Christ, will change you into his likeness. 
"We shall be like him (saith the apostle) for we shall see him as he 
is," 1 John 3: 2. He will place us as it were in his own throne with 
him. So runs the promise, Rev. 3: 21. "To him that overcometh, I 
will grant to sit with me in my throne; even as I also overcame, and 
am set down with my Father in his throne:" and so 2 Tim. 2: 12. "If 
we suffer with him, we shall also reign with him." The Father set 
Christ on his right hand, and Christ will set the saints on his 
right hand. So you know the sheep are placed by the angels at the 
great day, Mat. 25: and so the church, under the figure of the 
daughter of Egypt, whom Solomon married, is placed "on the king's 
right hand, in gold of Ophir," Psal. 45: This honour have all the 
saints. O amazing love! What, we set on thrones, while as good as us 
by nature howl in flames! O what manner of love is this! These 
expressions indeed do not intend that the saints shall be set in 
higher glory than Christ; or that they shall have a parity of glory 
with Christ, for in all things he must have the pre-eminence: But 
they note the great honour that Christ will put upon the saints; as 
also, that his glory shall be their glory in heaven. "As the glory 
of the husband redounds to the wife;" and again, their glory will be 
his glory, 2 Thess. 1: 10. and so it will be a social glory. O, it 
is admirable to think, whither free grace has already mounted up 
poor dust and ashes! 
    To think how nearly related now to this royal, princely Jesus! 
But how much higher are the designs of grace, that are not yet come 
to their parturient fulness, they look beyond all this that we now 
know! "Now are we the sons of God, but it does not yet appear what 
we shall be," 1 John 3: 2. Ah what reason have you to honour Christ 
on earth, who is preparing such honours for you in heaven. 
    Inf. 2. Christ Jesus thus enthroned in heaven then how 
impossible is it, that ever his interest should miscarry or sink on 
earth? The church has many subtle and potent enemies. True, but as 
Haman could not prevail against the Jews, whilst Esther their friend 
spake for them to the king, no more can they whilst our Jesus sits 
at his, and our Father's right hand. Will he suffer his enemies that 
are under his feet, to rise up and pull out his eyes, think you? 
Surely they that touch his people touch the very apple of his eye," 
Zech. 2: 8. "He must reign till his enemies are put under his feet," 
1 Cor. 15: 25. The enemy under his feet, shall not destroy the 
children in his arms. He sits in heaven on purpose to manage all to 
the advantage of his church, Eph. 1: 22. Are our enemies powerful; 
lo our King sits on the right hand of power: Are they subtle and 
deep in their contrivance; He that sits on the throne, overlooks all 
they do. Heaven overlooks hell. "He that sits in heaven beholds," 
and derides their attempts, Psal. 2: 4. He may permit his enemies to 
straiten then in one place, but it shall be for their enlargement in 
another: For it is with the church, as it is with the sea: what it 
loses in one place, it gets it another; and so really loses nothing. 
He may suffer them also to distress us in outwards, but shall be 
recompensed with inward and better mercies; and so we shall lose 
nothing by that. A footstool you know is useful to him that treads 
on it, and serves to lift him up higher; so shall Christ's enemies 
be to him and his, albeit they think not so. What singular benefits 
the oppositions of his enemies, occasion to his people; I have 
elsewhere discovered, to which I may refer my reader; and pass to 
    Inf. 3. Is Christ set down on the right hand of the Majesty in 
heaven? O with what awful reverence should we approach him in the 
duties of his worship! Away with light and low thoughts of Christ. 
Away with formal, irreverent, and careless frames in praying, 
hearing, receiving, yea, in conferring and speaking of Christ. Away 
with all deadness, and drowsiness in duties; for he is a great King 
with whom you have to do. A king, to whom the kings of the earth are 
but as little bits of clay. Lo, the angels cover their faces in his 
presence. He is an adorable Majesty. 
    When John had a vision of this enthroned King, about sixty 
veers after his ascension; such was life over-powering glory of 
Christ, as the sun when it shineth in its strength, that when he saw 
him, he fell at his fleet as dead, and died it is like he had, if 
Christ had not laid his hand on him, and said, "Fear not, I am the 
first and the last; I am he that liveth, and was dead, and behold I 
am alive for evermore," Rev. 1: 17, 18. When he appeared to Saul in 
the way to Damascus, it was in glory above the glory of the sun, 
which overpowered him also, and laid him as one dead upon the 
    O that you did but know what a glorious Lord you worship and 
serve. Who makes the very place of his feet glorious, wherever he 
comes. Surely He is greatly to be feared in the assembly of his 
saints, and to be had in reverence of all that are round about him. 
There is indeed a "parresia" boldness or free liberty of speech 
allowed to the saints, Eph. 3: 12. But no rudeness or irreverence. 
We may indeed come, as the children of a king come to the father, 
who is both their awful sovereign, and tender father; which double 
relation causes a due mixture of love, and reverence in their 
hearts, when they come before him. You may be free, but not rude, in 
his presence. Though he be your Father, Brother, Friend; yet the 
distance betwixt him and you is infinite. 
    Inference 4. If Christ be so gloriously advanced in the highest 
throne, then none need to reckon themselves dishonoured, by 
suffering the vilest things for his sake. The very chains and 
sufferings of Christ have glory in them. Hence Moses "esteemed the 
very reproaches of Christ greater riches than the treasures of 
Egypt," Heb. 11: 26. He saw an excellency in the very worst things 
of Christ, his reproaches and sufferings, as made him leap out of 
his honours and riches, into them. He did not, (as one saith) only 
endure the reproaches of Christ, but counted them treasures. To be 
reckoned among his honours and things of value. So Thuanus reports 
of Ludovicus Marsacus, a noble knight of France, when he was led 
with other martyrs, that were bound with cords, to execution; and he 
for his dignity was not bound, he cried, give me any chain too, let 
me be a knight of the same orders. Disgrace itself is honourable, 
when it is endured for the Lord of Glory. And surely there is (as 
one phraseth it) a little paradise, a young heaven, in sufferings 
for Christ. If there were nothing else in it, but that they are 
endured on his account, it would richly reward all we can endure for 
him; but if we consider how exceeding kind Christ is to them, that 
count it their glory to be abased for him; that though he be always 
kind to his people, (yet if we may so speak) he overcomes himself in 
kindness, when they suffer for him; it would make men in love with 
his reproaches. 
    Inf. 5. If Christ sat not down to rest in heaven, till he had 
finished his work on earth; then it is in vain for us to think of 
rest, till we have finished our work, as Christ also did his. 
    How willing are we to find rest here! To dream of that, which 
Christ never found in this world, nor any ever found before us. O 
think not of resting, till you have done working and done sinning. 
Your life and your labours must end together. "Write (saith the 
Spirit) blessed are the dead that die in the Lord, for they rest 
from their labours," Rev. 14: 13. Here you must have the sweat, and 
there the sweet. It is too much to have two heavens. Here you must 
be content to dwell in the tents of Cedar, hereafter you shall be 
within the curtains of Solomon. Heaven is the place of which it may 
be truly said, that there the weary be at rest. O think not of 
sitting down on this side heaven. There are four things will keep 
the saints from sitting down on earth to rest, viz. grace, 
corruption, devils and wicked men. 
    First, Grace will not suffer you to rest here. Its tendencies 
are beyond this world. It will be looking and longing for the 
blessed hope. A gracious person takes himself for a pilgrim, seeking 
a better country, and is always suspicious of danger in every place 
and state. It is still beating up the sluggish heart with such 
language as that, Mic. 2: 10. "Arise, depart, this is not thy rest, 
for it is polluted." Its further tendencies and continual 
jealousies, will keep you from sitting long still in this world. 
    Secondly, Your corruptions will keep you from rest here. They 
will continually exercise your spirits, and keep you upon your 
watch. Saints have their hands filled with work by their own hearts 
every day. Sometimes to prevent sin; and sometimes to lament it. And 
always to watch and fear, to mortify and kill it. Sin will not long 
suffer you to be quiet, Rom. 7: 21, 22, 23, 24. And if a bad heart 
will not break your rest here, then, 
    Thirdly, There is a busy devil will do it. He will find you 
work enough with his temptations and suggestions, and except you can 
sleep quietly in his arms as the wicked do, there is no rest to be 
expected. "Your adversary, the devil, goes about as a roaring lion, 
seeking whom he may devour; whom resist," 1 Pet. 5: 8. 
    Fourthly, Nor will his servants and instruments let you be 
quiet on this side heaven. *Their very name speaks their turbulent 
disposition. "My soul, (saith the holy man) is among lions, and I 
lie even among them that are set on fire, even the sons of men, 
whose teeth are spears and arrows," Psal. 57: 4. Well then, be 
content to enter into your rest, as Christ did into his. He sweat, 
then sat, and so must you. 

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