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a place for us in the Heavenly Manfions. From whence in a little time he will come again, and receive us to himself, that where he is, there may we be alfo. He arose, that Death might not hold us; and he afcended, to draw us after him. And therefore,

Laftly, Both his Refurrection and Afcenfion fhould take off our Hearts from the Earth, and raise them to the things of Heaven. Chrift would not ftay any longer upon Earth than was necessary for the Work appointed him to do: he would not take up his reft here, but went from hence as foon as poffible; neither fhould we think of ftaying, or building Tabernacles here, but be ftill mounting upward upon the wings of Prayer and Meditation. Let us daily fend up our Wishes and Defires after him, that they too may be our Harbingers, to prepare a place for us. The holy Patriarchs of old look'd upon themfelves but as Pilgrims here upon Earth, and the Apoftles declar'd that their Converfation was in Heaven. Let us not then make Earth our Heaven, nor place our Felicity in any thing here below; but fet our Affections intirely upon the things above, which alone can make us happy.

In a word, let us rife and afcend with Chrift in our Souls now, that we may e'er long follow him with our Bodies alfo: which God of his infinite Mercy grant, &c.


The GOSPEL for Afcenfion-Day.

St. Mark xvi. 14, to the end.

Jefus appear'd to the Eleven as they fat at Meat, and upbraided them with their Unbelief and Hardness of Heart, because they believ'd not them which had feen him after he was rifen. And he faid unto them, Go ye into all the World, and preach the Gospel to every Creature, &c.


HE Gofpel for this Day purfues the fame Argument with the Epiftle; to wit, Chrift's rifing from the Dead, and his afcending up into Heaven to which is added here, his fitting at the right Hand of God. The two former being handled before, fhall be more lightly touch'd upon, and the latter the more largely infifted on. As for his Refurrection, that hath been evidently prov'd by his fundry Appearances to his Apostles and Difciples after his rifing from the Dead; an Account whereof we have in 1 Cor. 15. 5, 6, 7, 8.

The Beginning of this Day's Gofpel tells us, that Jefus appear'd to the Eleven as they fat at Meat, one of the twelve being then abfent, fuppos'd to be St. Thomas, to whom he made a particular Appearance after, wherein he condefcended to all that he defir'd for his Satisfaction: because he doubted whether it was the fame Body that died on the Cross, our Saviour fhew'd him the Print of the Nails, that faften'd his Hands and Feet to it, and likewife took his Hand, and thrust it into his Side, where the Soldier's Spear had pierc'd, and bid him be no longer faithless, but believing.

Here he came in to his Difciples, as they fat at meat, and perhaps ate and drank with them; for St. Luke tells us, either upon this or the like occafion, that he called for Meat: Chap. 24.43. He faid unto them, Have ye here any Meat? And they brought unto him a Piece of broil'd Fish, and of an


Honey-comb, the common Food of Fishermen; and he took it, and did eat before them. And this he did, to convince them of the Reality of his Perfon, that he had a true human Body, and not a Body of Air, as they fondly imagin'd, but that it was he himself, with whom they had formerly convers'd; being fubject to Hunger and Thirst, and fuftain'd by the fame Food and Nourishment as they were.

And having given them fuch palpable Proofs of his Perfon, as might very well remove all juft Doubts, he began to upbraid them for their Unbelief and Hardness of Heart, becaufe they believ'd not them which had feen him, after he was rifen. Of their great Backwardnefs of Belief, we read in fundry Places of the Evangelifts: St. Mark in this 16th Chap. ver. 9, 10, 11. tells us, that when Jefus was rifen early the first Day of the Week, he appear'd firft to Mary Magdalen. She being big of the News, prefently went and told his Dif ciples, who were then mourning and weeping for him: but they, when they heard he was alive, and had been seen of her, were fo far from rejoicing at the News, that they believ'd it not. After that, he appear'd in another Form to two of them, as they walk'd and went into the Country, and they went and told it unto the Refidue, neither believ'd they them: ver. 12, 13. St. Luke tells us, that when thofe pious Women that ftaid at his Crofs, and brought Spices to embalm his Body for his Burial, and had therefore the Honour of his firft Appearance; when, I fay, thofe good Women re turn'd from the Sepulcher, and told all these things to the Apofles, tis faid, their Words feenid unto them as idle Tales, and they believ'd them not; Luke 24. 11. Yea, when certain Women who had feen a Vifion of Angels which faid he was alive, related this Matter to them, they ftill perfifted in their Infidelity, and would not believe it: which made, our Saviour, here appearing to the Eleven, upbraid their Unbelief and Hardness of Heart, for not believing them. which had feen him after he was rifen, as if they were unwilling to hear of his Return to Life, or their Hearts were harden'd against receiving the Impreflion of it. St. Luke gives us an Account of the Words us'd by him in checking their Unbelief, Chap. 24. 25, &c. Then faid he unto them, Õ Fools, and flow of Heart to believe all that the Prophets have Spoken! Ought not Christ to have fuffer'd these things, and fo to enter into his Glory? Where he puts the Fault not fo much upon the Perverfenefs of their Wills, as upon the the Slowness of their Understandings; they did not fhut

their Eyes against the Light, but fuffer'd Fear and Sorrow to blear and darken them, that they could not fee: they did not look fo well as they fhould into what the Prophets had foretold of his Sufferings, and the Glory that should follow. And therefore to cure the Blindness and Backwardnefs of their Faith, he began at Mofes and all the Prophets, and expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself; ver. 27. He fhew'd them what God had decreed, and the Prophets had reveal'd concerning his Death and Refurrection; and thereby their Eyes were fo open'd, that they knew him; and their Minds fo enlightned, that they declare their Belief both of his Perfon and Doctrine: their Faith overcame their Fears, and all their Doubts were turn'd into Affurance and Extafies of Joy; yea St. Thomas, the most diffident and diftruftful of all the Company, became fo well fatisfy'd, as in the Strength of his Faith to cry out, My Lord, and my God. And indeed,

The Divine Providence feems fo to have order'd Matters, that the Teftimony of thofe, that were to publish to the World our Lord's Refurrection, might be render'd the more credible from the great Averfenefs and Difficulty themselves had at firft to admit or believe it: and St. Thomas's standing out and demanding farther Experiments, af-, ter the reft were convinc'd, ferv'd the more abundantly to eftablish the Truth of it.

When our Bleffed Saviour had by these means confirm'd their Faith and Hopes in him, he gave them a Commiffion to go into all the World, and preach the Gospel to every Creature. St. Matthew expreffes this Commiffion in these words; Go and teach, or make Difciples in all Nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy, Ghoft; Mat. 28. 19. And here, for the better executing of this Commiffion, 'tis added by St. Mark, He that believeth and is baptiz'd, shall be faved; but he that believeth' not, fhall be damn'd. Where Faith in Chrift, and Baptifm in his Name, are made the Conditions of that Salvation, which he as a Saviour hath purchas'd for them. So that without Faith 'tis impoffible to pleafe God, or fave our own Souls and without Baptifm, where it may be had by duly qualify'd and authoriz'd Perfons, 'tis impoffible to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.

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Moreover, for the better propagating the Gospel in all Places where they fhould come, he fubjoins this Encou ragement in the next words: And thefe Signs fhall follow


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them that believe, In my Name shall they caft out Devils, they fhall Speak with new Tongues, they fhall take up Serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them: They hall lay Hands on the Sick, and they shall recover, &c. The meaning whereof is, that their Commiffion fhould be back'd with a Power of doing Miracles, to gain the greater Credit and Succefs to it; for the Holy Spirit fhould be pour'd down upon them, and that should give them power over evil Spirits, and enable them to caft out Devils. Sa the Apoftles found, for they came and told our Saviour, that the Devils were fubject to them through his Name, Luke 10. 17. By the fame Spirit they should be enabled to fpeak with divers Tongues, difcovering to all Nations in their feveral Languages the wonderful Works of God; which they found foon after, as we read, Acts 2. 1,2, &c. As for taking up Serpents, our Saviour gave them power to tread on Serpents and Scorpions, and over all the power of Enemies, and nothing fhould by any means hurt them; Luke 10. 19. Of this we read in the Books of the Sybils, Occidet & Serpens, & fallax Herba Veneni occidet; that is, the Serpent fhall die, and poisonous Herbs fhall lofe their Venom, and nothing fhould harm them. For their healing the Sick, and their Power over all manner of Infirmities and Diseases, we read at large in the Acts of the Apostles.

Now these Signs are generally thought to be peculiar to the Apostles, and to belong only to the firft Times of the Gofpel, for the more fuccessful preaching and propagating of it; which having obtain'd and prevail'd every where, are therefore ceas'd long fince, with the Reafon of them: tho others will have them still remaining in the Church, as Teftimonies and Evidences of God's fpecial Favour to and Prefence with it.

After Chrift's fealing of this Commiffion, and giving his laft Meffage to his Apostles, he took his leave of them, and afcended up into Heaven: fo the Evangelift here tells us, ver. 19. So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was receiv'd up into Heaven, and fat on the Right Hand of God.

Of his being receiv'd up into Heaven, enough hath been spoken in the Epiftle for this Day; of his fitting at the right Hand of God, we are here awhile to infift on. And for the better understanding hereof, we must note,

It, That God being a Spirit, that hath no material or bodily Parts, he cannot properly be faid to have either Right Hand or Left. The Expreflion is figurative, and accommo


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