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Over against all these difficulties they were to place the blessing. Wherever they might be, or in however distressing a situation, they were to recollect, carefully consider, and never forget that their Master lifted up his hands and blessed them at Bethany. A suitable remembrance of that happy event could not fail to produce great effects, and support, and encourage their hearts. Jacob never forgot his signal attainment in Bethel. Moses to his dying hour remembered the great sight which he when the bush burned, and was not consumed; and long after spake of God as his dweller in the bush. Sure, the disciples would never forget the last interview they had with their gracious Master; and every proper recollection would make them go from strength to strength unwearied. Indeed all who have been admitted to intimate fellowship, and have got the blessing, should neither forget time nor place. Reflecting on such happy seasons would greatly tend to support them in their most disconsolate and tried hours.

It is far from being intended, by what has been now said, to insinuate that the Lord's people may depend upon grace already received. A suitable remembrance of former attainments, instead of this, has a quite opposite tendency. It leads them directly to the fountain, from which they have formerly been so richly supplied. They recollect the kind reception they met with, and know that giving does not impoverish God, and that with him is infinite fulness.

5. Once more, they had certain knowledge, not only where their Master was gone, but of the design of his departure. As we have said, it was necessary that they should know where he was gone, as they were to be his witnesses both to Jews and Gentiles. They were to bear testimony in the most solemn manner, and seal it with their blood, and therefore it was absolutely requisite that their knowledge should be clear and distinct, especially as his ascension was of infinite moment, and the eternal salvation of immortal souls greatly depended upon it.

As Christ had often instructed them concerning the design of his coming into this world, so at Bethany he informed them about the design of his departure. He descended to make his soul an offering for sin, and purchase salvation: he ascended to plead the value and efficacy of his blood, and bestow the blessings which he had procured. In this world he opened the channel for divine influences, and he ascended that they might flow out abundantly upon his church. Instead of his care about Zion being lessened when he left this world, he went to glory to manage all her concerns. all her concerns. He sits in heaven, and laughs at the designs of enemies, and takes special notice of the wants of all his members, who "are set as a seal upon his heart and arm." In his exalted state he is the great administrator of the covenant. Wherever he has vessels of mercy he sends the means of grace, and makes them efficacious. These things he greatly opened up to them before he left them; and still more when he performed the promise

of his Father, and sent the Holy Spirit. Their knowledge of them prior to the effusion of the Holy Ghost, is evident from their tarrying at Jerusalem in firm faith that they should be endowed with power from on high: how fully they knew them afterward, and with what undaunted courage they declared them, is evident from Peter's answer to the Jews, when examined about the good deed done to the impotent man-by what means he was made whole; "Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved." And from that remarkable address of Peter and the other apostles to the Jewish council, Acts v. 29-33. "Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew, and hanged on a tree: him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him. When they heard that they were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them." It now remains to show that,

III. The disciples had strong cONSOLATION and unspeakable JOY.

Their attainments tended greatly to comfort their hearts, and joy was the native effect of them all. When their doubts and fears were removed, their graces increased, and the blessing bestowed, they could not but rejoice; but their joy would be more full when they considered that,

1. Christ had overcome all opposition, and was exalted to glory. His enemies prosecuted him with unrelenting malice, till at last they crucified him. In their Master's honour and happiness the disciples were deeply interested; and at his death sorrow filled their hearts. He often said he would see them again, and their hearts should rejoice; and so it was. He triumphed over sin and Satan, death and the grave, wicked men and devils; and before the eyes of the disciples ascended unto glory. Every thing pertaining to his victory and triumph was comforting to them. The unfeigned love they had to him, independent of any happiness of their own, would have turned their sorrows into gladness: but their everlasting all depended upon him. Had he continued in the grave, they would have been miserable and disconsolate in this world; and their hope would have perished for ever. We may easily conceive how great their joy would be when Christ triumphed over all his enemies, from the joy which they had when they were sent out to preach and work miracles, and they "returned again with joy, saying,


Lord, even the devils are subject to us through thy And he said unto them, Notwithstanding, in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven." (Luke x. 17, 20.) It doubtless must be an unfailing source of comfort to any person, in whatever situation, to know that his name is written in the Lamb's book of life; and never could this be known with more certainty, clearness, and precision, than by the disciples, when Christ lifted up his hands and blessed them. Scarcely could any trial or difficulty bring them afterward to doubt either about their Master's glory, or their own interest in him. Then they would understand the gracious words which he spake to them before his death, John xvi. 22. “And ye now, therefore, have sorrow; but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you." Their measure of comfort might not always be the same; but from that day they had ground of strong consolation.

2. Zion's greatest trials were over. The darkest hour the church ever saw, was when her Lord and Master hung on the cross. This, with peculiar emphasis and propriety, was called "the hour and power of darkness." Men and devils could do no more. Their malice seemed to get full vent. The powers of darkness appeared wholly to prevail against the head, and they greatly prevailed against the members: when he hung on the cross, their hope was nearly cut off. They felt an inward darkness corresponding to the outward which was over all the land. While Satan was doing his utmost against the

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