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I believe that Christ rose from the grave, that I might rise from sin, and that he is ascended into heaven that I may come unto him.
As Christ came from heaven to earth, so I believe be went from earth to heaven, and all for the accomplishment of my salvation; that after he had lived a most holy life, he died a most cruel death; that he was apprehended, arraigned, accused, and condemned, by such as could not pronounce the 54sentence against him, did not himself, at the same time, vouchsafe them breath to do it; and that he came into the world to take away the sins of it, to bring sinners to the joys of life, was himself by those very sinners brought into the pangs of death. But yet, as it was not in the power of death long to detain the Lord of life; so, though the worms had power to send him to the grave, yet I believe they had not power or time to feed upon him there; for he rose again from the dead the third day: he lay three days. that I might believe he was not alive, but dead; he rose the third day, that I might believe he is not (lead, but lives; he descended down to hell, that be might make full satisfaction to God’s justice for my sins; but he is now ascended up into heaven, that he might make intercession to God’s mercy for my soul; thither I believe he is gone, and there I believe he is, not as a private person, but as the head and Saviour of his church. And under this capacity, as I believe that Christ is there for me, so I am there in him: ‘For where the head is, there must the members he also;’ that is, I am as really there in him, my representative now, as I shall be in my proper person hereafter; and he is as really preparing my mansion for me there, as I am preparing myself for that mansion here. Nay, I believe, that he is not only preparing a mansion for rue in heaven, but that himself is likewise preparing me for this mansion upon earth, continually sending down and issuing forth from himself fresh supplies and influences of his grace and Spirit; and all to qualify me for his service, and ‘make me meet to be partaker of his inheritance with the saints in light.’
Which inheritance, I believe, he doth so much 55 desire his Father to bestow upon me, as he claims it for me; himself having purchased it with the price of his own blood. And as he hath purchased the inheritance itself, so likewise the way unto it for me; and, therefore, sues out for the pardon of those sins, and subduing those corruptions which would make me unworthy of it; and for the conveyance of those graces to me, whereby I may walk directly to it; not only saying to his Father, concerning me, as Paul said to Philemon, concerning Onesimus, ‘If this thy servant oweth thee any thing, set it upon my account; I will repay it.’ But what is this thy servant oweth thee, see, it is set upon my score already, and I have paid it; what punishments he is indebted to thee, for all the offences he hath committed against thee, behold I have borne them already; see, how I have been ‘wounded for his transgressions, and bruised for his iniquities; the chastisement of his peace was upon me; with my stripes therefore let him be healed.’9595 Isa. liii. 5. And thus, as he once shed his blood for me amongst men, he now pleads it for me before God; and that not only for the washing out the guilt of my transgressions, but likewise for the washing away the filth of my corruptions; himself having purchased the donation of the Spirit from the Father, he there claims the communication of it unto me.
And that he hath thus undertaken to plead my cause for me, I have it under his own hand and seal; himself by his Spirit assuring me, that if ‘I sin, I have an advocate with the Father, even Jesus Christ the righteous.’9696 1 John, ii. 1. So that I believe, he is not so much my solicitor at the mercy-seat, as my advocate 56at the judgment-seat of God, there pleading my right and title to the crown of glory, and to every step of the way that I must go through the kingdom of grace unto it. In a word, I believe that Christ, upon promise and engagement to pay such a price for it in time, did purchase this inheritance for me from eternity; whereupon I was even then immediately chosen and elected into it; and had, by this means, a place in heaven before I had any being upon earth; and when the time appointed, by covenant, was come, I believe Christ, according to his promise, paid the purchase-money, even laid down his life for me; and then forthwith went up and took possession of this my kingdom, not for himself, but for me as my proxy and representative: so that whilst I am in my infancy, under age, I am in possession, though I have not as yet the enjoyment of this my inheritance; but that is reserved for me till I come at age. And howsoever, though I do not enjoy the whole as yet, my Father allows me as much of it as he sees convenient, so much grace and so much comfort as he thinks best; which are as a pledge of what he has laid up for me in his kingdom which is above.56
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