John Bunyan.

The works of John Bunyan (Volume 2) online

. (page 38 of 171)
Online LibraryJohn BunyanThe works of John Bunyan (Volume 2) → online text (page 38 of 171)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands ; and
reach hither thy hand, and thrust U into my side :
and he not faithless, hut believing. ' ver. 37. As
much as if the Lord should have said, Come
Thomas, thou hast doubted of the truth of my
resurrection very much; thou sayest that thou
wilt not believe, except thou do feel with thy
fingers the print of the nails, and do thrust thy
hand into my side. Come Thomas, reach hither
thy finger, and behold my hands, and see if there
were not the nails driven through them ; and reach
hither tlT^ hands and thrust them into my side, and
feel if I have not the very hole in it still, that was
„ , , „ ., made with the spear that the

how doth the ,. , , • • i i .

Lord condescend, to soldier did thrust mto it, and be not
sl'^^n'^thenthe f la SO full of unbelief, but believe that
or one thatis weak. ^^^ resurrection is a glorious truth.
Another infallible proof, is that in Lu. xxiv. from
the 36th, to the end of the 44th verse. In ver. 30.
it is said that the Lord, (even while they were
talking) * stood in the midst of them and saith
unto them. Peace be unto you : ' But they were so
far from being at peace, that they were terrified,
and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And
Jesus said to them, ' Why are ye troubled, and
why do thoughts arise in your hearts ? ' What,
do you think that I am a spirit? Do you think
your eyes dazzle? 'Behold my hands and my
feet.' Look well upon me, and see my hands, and
the holes in them, and likewise my feet, and the
holes in them, and know that it is I myself, and
not a spirit, as you suppose. Know, that it is

1 myself, and not another. Doth your hearts
fail you? Then take hold of me with your hands,
yea, ' handle me, and see ; for a spirit hath not
flesh and bones, as ye see me have. And when
he had thus spoken he shewed them his hands and
his feet.' As if he had said. Come my disciples,
take special notice of me, do not be daunted, nor
affrighted, but consider that it is I myself. Well,
they could not believe as yet, but wondered that
such a thing as this should be : And while they
were thus wondering he will give them another
infallible proof : And ' he said unto them, have
you here any meat?' ver. 41. As if the Lord had
said. Come my disciples, I see that you are very
full of unbelief, if you have here any meat, you
shall see me eat before you all. And they gave
him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honey-
comb, ' And he took it, and did eat before them.'
Again, ver. 42. the Lord strives with another infallible
proof against their doubting, saying, ]\Iy disciples,
do you not remember what discourse you and I
had before I was crucified, how that I told you,
that all things must be fulfilled which were written
in the law of Moses, and in the prophets concern-
ing me. Mar. viii. 31; xiv. 21. Another infallible proof
was, that appearance of his at the sea of Tiberias,

where he came to them on the shore, and called
them, and provided for them a dinner, and wrought
a notable miracle while he was there with them at
that time, namely, the catching of 153 great fishes,
and yet their net break not. (Jn. xxi. read that
whole chapter, and Ac. x. 41.) Which as it was a
great miracle, so it did also show his power and
authority over his creatures. Besides his eating
and drinking with his disciples after his resurrec-
tion ; and also his preaching to them. Ac. i. 3. This
is not the least, viz. that he was with his disciples
on earth forty days, which was almost six weeks,
speaking to them the things concerning his king-
dom: which was a mighty confirmation of their
faith in his resurrection.

Fourth, I shall now briefly touch two or three
scriptures, the which hold forth his disciples' testi-
mony of his resurrection. And the first is in Ac.
X. 40, 41. In which place the Apostle speaking of
the Lord Jesus, saith, ' Him God raised up the
third day, and shewed him openly, ' yet ' Not to
all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of
God, even to us (saith the Apostle) who did eat
and drink with him after he rose from the
dead.' Again, Ac. iv.lOjandxiii. 29— 31. The words run
thus (the Apostle speaking of Jesus, saith) ' And
Avhen they had fulfilled all that was written of him,
they took him down from the tree, and laid him in
a sepulchre. But God raised him from the dead :
And he was seen many days of them which came
up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are
his witnesses unto the people. ' See 1 Co. xv. 1—8.
And thus far touching his resurrection from the

Ascension. In the next place I am to prove that
this very man, Christ Jesus, the Son of the virgin,
in his very body, the same body that was crucified,
is above the clouds and the heavens. And though
this is made light of by those men called quakers,
and other infidels of this generation: Yet I am
sure that it wiU prove true to their cost, who reject
it as erroneous and vain. But to prove it. First,
I shall prove that he is ascended. Secondly, that
he is ascended above the clouds, and the heaven.

First, that he is ascended, see Ep. iv. 8— 10.
' Wherefore (saith the Apostle) When he ascended
up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts
unto men. Now that he ascended, what is it but
that he also descended first into the lower parts of
the earth, he that descended is the same also that
ascended (again) up far above all heavens.'

Again, read Jn. xx. 17. where Christ after his
resurrection from the dead, saith to Mary Magda-
len, ' Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to
my Father:' That is, I have not yet ascended with
this my body wherewith I was crucified on the
cross. ' But go to my brethren, and say mito
them (meaning his disciples) I ascend unto my



Father and jour Father ; and to my God and your

Object. But in that place, (may some say) Ep. iv.
10. lie that descended, is said to be the same that
ascended. Now there was no human nature with
God in heaven before the workl was ; Therefore if
he be but the same that was with the Father from
all eternity, then the humanity of the Son of Mary
is not ascended into heaven.

Ans, For answer. It is clear from Jn. i. l. that the
Word or Son of God, as he was a Spirit, was with
the Father before the Avorld was. Tit. i. 2. But now,
in the fidness of time, that is, when that time that
the Father and he had concluded on, was come,
* God sent forth his Son (which was with him before
the woiid was, Jn. x¥ii. 5.) made of a woman ; ' Ga.iv.4
that is, born of a woman. ' And took upon him
the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness
of men. ' PM. ii. 6, 7. Now as he was born of a
woman, as he was in the likeness of men, so he
ascended to the right hand of his Father, in our
nature. And for this, I pray turn to Ac.i. 9— ii. and
there you shall find, that he is the same that was
born of the virgin, that very man that was crucified;
if you compare ver. 3. with ver. 9, lo, ii. you will find it
so to be. Now in ver. 9. after he had spoken many
things while they beheld, that is, Avhile his disciples
looked on him, he was taken up, that is, he was
taken up from them into heaven, as in ver. ii. and a
cloud received him out of their sight. And while
they looked up stedfastly towards heaven, as he
went up (which heaven, was not within them ; if
it had, they needed not to have looked toward the
clouds and the heaven without them) behold two
men stood by them, not in them, in white apparel,
which also said (that is, the two men, or angels
which stood by them said) Ye men of Galilee, why
stand ye gazing up into heaven? Here again, they
did not look within them, but stood gazing or look-
ing after the Lord Jesus, the Son of Mary, who
was carried away from them in a cloud, ver. 9. But
why (say the angels) do you stand gazing so much
into heaven : your master will come again after a
certain time. Mat. xxv. 19 ; Mar. xiii. 34. For, This same
Jesus, namely, which was crucified, which rose
again, and hath been with you these forty days,
which also you see go into heaven, shall so come,
(namely in a cloud) as ye have seen hhn go into
heaven. Ac.i. 3. But shall he not lose his body
before he come again? No say the angels, he
shall so come, that is, as ye have seen liim go ; in
like manner, that is, with the same body. Or else
I am sure he cannot come in the same manner, if he
lose his body before he comes again ; for he went
thither with that body. But that same Jesus that
was crucified, is he that went, or ascended up into
heaven. If you compare Luke xxiv. v. 39 to 44
with the 50th and 51st verses of the same chapter^

you may clearly find it so to be. And therefore if
he come again in like manner, he must come again
with the same body wherewith he was crucified.

Object. But you will say, The scripture saith, he
that descended is the same that ascended, which
to me (say you) implies, none but the Spirit's

Ans. For answer, we do not say, (as I said
before) that it is another that ascended, but the
very same : That is, the very same Christ, that was
with the Father from everlasting did come down
from heaven: That same Christ also that came
down from heaven did ascend up thither again ;
only, he descended without a body from heaven,
and took flesh and blood upon him from the virgin.
And though he descended without a body, yet he,
the very same Christ that descended without a
body, the same did ascend again with a body, even
that very body that he took of the virgin Mary.

See Lu. xxiv. from 39th to 51st verses. Ac. ii. 30, 31; Jn. xv. 1;

iCo.ix. 24, 25. Now let me give you a similitude, for
it is warrantable ; for both Christ and his apostles
did sometimes use them, to the end, souls might be
better informed. The similitude is this, Suppose
there come into thine house a man that is naked,
and without clothing, though he go out of thy
house again well clothed, yet the same man that
came in without clothing, is the same man also that
goes out of thy house, though very well clothed.
Even so it is in this case, The Lord Jesus came
into the womb of the virgin. Spirit, Mat. i. 18. but he
came out of the womb clothed with a body, and went
up into heaven again clothed with a body. Compare

Lu. xxiv. 39. with Ac. i. 11; and ii. 30, 31.

Now also I shall lay down some few things to
be considered, for the better clearing of it.

Consider 1. That he did say to his disciples that
he would go away from them. Jn. xiv. 3. and xvi. 7 ; Mat.
XXV. 19. Yea, saith he, I go and prepare a place
for you, and then I will, after a long time, come
again, and take you to myself, that where 1 am,
that is, whither I am going, there ye maybe also.
Now, I say, if Christ had not gone from his dis-
ciples (for that was his meaning) touching his
bodily presence ; I say, if he had not gone away
from them, in respect of his bodily presence, he
had said more than he had performed ; which is
horrible blasphemy once to assert ; which going of
his, is his going into heaven. See 1 Pe.iii. 22.

Consider 2. That there it was that he was _ to
receive the promise of the Father, Lu. xxiv. 49. which
promise was the shedding forth in an abundant
manner the blessed Holy Ghost. And for this sec
Ac. ii. 33-36. 'Therefore being by the right hand ot
God (which is in heaven) exalted, and having
received of the Father the promise of the Holy
Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see
and hear. For David is not ascended into tho



heavens : but he saith himself, the Lord said unto
my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, until I make
thy foes thy footstool. Therefore let all the house
of Israel know assuredly (for 'tis very true) that
God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have
crucified, both Lord and Christ.'

Consider 3. That if he were on earth, he could
not be a priest. He. viii. 4. Now the man Christ
Jesus is a glorious priest, He. vii. 24. in the heavens.
He. ix. 24. And therefore he is able to save to the
uttermost, all that come to God by him, seeing he
ever liveth to make intercession for them. (This
nian, vii. ver. 25. )

Consider 4. If he be not gone into heaven, both
liis own, and his Apostles' doctrine is false ; yea,
the witness of the angels also, which to think were
damnable infidelity in any man. 1 Pe. iii. 32. Ac. i. 9—11.

Consider 5. Know that he is gone into heaven,
because the scriptures say he is ; which is the very
truth of God, spoken by his holy Apostles and pro-
phets : Yea, holy men of God, spake them as they
were moved by the Holy Ghost. 9; iPe. iii. 22;

He. ix. 24.

Consider 6. If thou sayest that that man is not
gone into heaven, then thou must also conclude
that he is still in the grave ; and if so, then thou
sayest that the prophets, apostles, angels, Christ,
God, and all are liars, who have testified these
things in the scriptures for glorious truths, is. xxvi.i9;

Ac. X. 40—43 ; xiii. 30—39 ; and i. 9—11 ; Re. i. 17, 18 ; and ii. 8. And

as the Apostle saith of himself, and the rest of the
Apostles and ministers of Jesus Christ, 'And we
are found false witnesses of God ; because we have
testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he

raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.

But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become
the first fruits of them that slept. For as by man
ca^ne death, by MAN came also the resui-rection
of the dead.' i Co. xv. 15, 20— 23.

Second, Now I am to prove, that he is above
the clouds and the heavens. My meaning is, he
is above the lowest heavens. For there are three,
as appears in sco.xii. 1— 4. I knew a
slfcakfngofthe i^an in Christ, (saith Paul there)
h,giu-.ti,upiies caught up into the third heaven.
Heaven in scripture, is taken sometimes meta-
phorically, and sometimes properly. First, Meta-
phorically it is taken for the church and people of
God, as in Ke. xii. is. Second, Properly, it is taken
for the material heaven, where the sun, moon, and
stars are placed, as in Ge. i. ver. 8, 14, 15, I6. compared
together: above which heaven, Jesus the Son of
Mary is ascended. Therefore I pray you consider
with me a little.

Consider 1. That when he went into this heaven
into which he is gone, he went AWAY from his
disciples, as it is written. If I go not away, the

comforter will not come. Jn. xlv. 2, 3; Jn. xvi. 7; Ac. i. 9—11.
So that he did not go into a heaven within them in
his person and human nature. If so, he must
needs go into that heaven without, above the clouds
and the stars. Ge. 1. 8, 5, 16.

Consider 2. He was caught away in a cloud ;
yea, and was caught upwards from them, as it is
Ac. i. 9—11. and carried away into heaven ; yea, and
his disciples stood gazing or looking up after him
into heaven, which heaven must needs be that
above the clouds. (1.) If you consider the posture
of the disciples, they looked upwards after the
cloud that did take him away. (2.) Consider the
manner of his going, it was in a cloud. (3.) He
was received out of their sight, (4.) And so
received up into heaven ; which heaven must needs
be above the clouds, where God is in his special
presence. Job xxii. 12—14. But further,

Consider 3. That those believers that are alive at
this day in the body, 'are absent from the Lord,'
3 Co. V. 6. but now, if the man Christ were ascended
into that heaven within them, he would neither be
' absent from them, ' nor they from him ; but in
that he is absent from them touching his bodily
presence, and they from him touching the same,
it is evident that that heaven into which he is
ascended, must needs be without, above the clouds.

Consider 4. That that heaven into which the
man Christ is ascended, must contain him till the
time of the restitution of aU things, as in Ac. iii. 21.
into which heaven he hath been ascended above
sixteen hundred years by computation. And I
am sure there is not a saint that doth live in the
world half so long, before he fall asleep, and be
gathered to his fathers ; so that that heaven into
which he is ascended, is not within, but must needs
be that above the clouds. But

Consider 5. That he that ascended from his
disciples, was a man, with flesh and bones, not a
spirit only ; for handle me, and see, (saith he) for
a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me
have. Lu. xxiv. 39, 50, 51. Now let the adversaries show
by the sci'iptures, that there is any place in them
called heaven, that is able to contain a man of
some four or five feet long, the space of fifteen or
sixteen hundred years ; besides that : therefore, it
must needs be that heaven without, which is above
the clouds and stars.

Consider 6. That heaven into which the Lord
Jesus that man is ascended must not contain him
always ; for, saith the Apostle, i Th. iv. 16. ' The
Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a
shout, with the voice of the archangel.' So that
there is another descending from that heaven into
which he is ascended ; and his descending from
that heaven is to this end, namely, to take his
people to himself, as it is ver. 17. so that it is clear
that it is not any heaven within thee, mto which



the man Christ that was born of the Virgin Mary
is ascended, but it must needs be that heaven
without, which is above the clouds. He. xii. 22. If
thou consider, that the place into which he as-
cended, even the heaven into which he is entered,
is the same place where aU the deceased saints are
in their spirits: 'Therefore,' saith Paul, 'I desire
to depart, and to be with Cin-ist, which is far
better.' Now Paul did not in this place, rh. i. 23.
mean the enjoying of Christ only in the Spirit ;
for that he enjoyed in great measure when he
spake these words ; but he spake of a dying, and
being with Christ after this life is ended ; as is
clear if you compare the 20th to the 26th verses
together, being absent from him while he was
here in the body. 2Co. v. 6. For 'whilst we are at
home in the bodv, we are absent from the Lord.'

ConskUr 7. That that lieaven into which the man
Christ is ascended, is not into his church on earth ;
but into heaven without, above the clouds and the
stars. Jn. xvi.7;an(ixiv. 1— 3; ITi. ii. 5. And this David
doth prophesy of, Ps. xM. 5. where he saith, 'God is
gone up with a shout, the Lord with the sound of
a trumpet.' Now Christ, as God merel}^ could
not go up, being no less in one place than another;
but as God-man, or in his human nature, he went
up ; as will clearly appear, Ep. iv. 8— 10. where he
speaketh of his triumph over all the enemies of bis
people at his resurrection and ascension into hea-
ven above the clouds.

Consider 8. When Christ doth descend from
that heaven into which he is now ascended, his
saints and he will meet one another, just in the
nir, according to the scripture, 1 Tli. iv. I6, 17. 'For,'
(saith he) 'the Lord himself shall descend from
heaven with a shout, with the voice of the arch-
angel, and with the trump of God : and the dead
in Christ shall rise first : (that is, they shall come
out of their graves.) Then we which [shall be
saved] are alive (at that day) and remain shall be
caught up together with them in the clouds, to
meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be
with the Lord.'

Pray mark here a little, and see what heaven the
man Christ is ascended into, and see if it be not
the heaven without, above the sun, moon, and stars.

When Christ and his saints do meet a second
time togetlier, the one ascends and the other
descends; the one is caught up in the clouds
towards the heaven, the other descends from
heaven towards the earth, and they must needs
meet one another just in the air, that is, between
the heaven and the earth. So then, the one
coming from lieaven and the other from the earth,
and their meeting being in the air, which is be-
tween heaven and earth, is an undeniable demon-
stration, that that heaven into which the man
Christ is ascended, must needs be that heaven

VOL. u.

without, above the sun, moon, and stars, rii. iii. 20;
iTh. i. 10. And thus much touching the Son of
Mary, his ascending up into the heaven without

above the clouds. Ac. i. 9— ll;audiii. 21. and 1 Pe. iii 22.

Intercession. In the next place, now I shall
prove the intercession of the man Christ Jesus to
be in the heaven that I have been speaking of ;
though some have mocked at it, and others have
called it juggling; which names here I shall not
mention, only I shall admonish them, that they do
not blaspheme the truth and Son of God in his

I shall quote some of the scriptures that hold
out this truth, and so pass on.

First, And first of all, see Ps.xvi.4. where David pro-
phesying of the intercession of Christ, saith, 'Their
sorrows shall be multiplied that hasten after another
God, (speaking of the Avicked) their drink-ofterings
of blood will I not ofi'er, nor take up their names
into my lips.' Now, compare this Avith lie. viii. 4.
where he saith, ' if he Avere on earth, he should
not be a priest. ' And He. ix. 24. ' For Christ is not
entered into the holy places made with hands,
(meaning the temple which Solomon built) which
are the figures of the true ; but into heaA-en itself,
now to appear in the presence of God for us:'
' AA'herefore he is able iilso to save them to the
uttermost, that come unto God by him, seeing he
ever liveth to make intercession for them.' lie. vii. 25.

Second, But you will say, is there a man made
mention of here ? Yes, for the scripture saith,
' There is one God, and one mediator between God
and men, the man Christ Jesus.' iTi ii. 5. And in
that 8th to the Hebrews made mention of before ;
where the Apostle is speaking of's priestly
ofilce, as he is in the heavens, compared Avith other
priests that are on earth ; he saith ver. 3. ' For
every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and
sacrifices : wherefore (speaking of Christ) it is of
necessity that this man have somcAvhat also to
ofi'er. For if he were on eartli, he should not be a
priest, seeing that there are priests that ofi'er gifts
according to the law, ' Avhich laAV was the law of
Moses, ch. ix. from 19 to 23. Avhere also he is speaking
of the priesthood of the priests under the laAV, and
their oftering of the blood of bulls and goats (ver. 12 com-
pared with ver. 19— 21.) And of the Lord Jesus the high

priests of saints, and of his blood (ver. U compared with

ver. 24. ) Now as men under the laAv did offer up the
blood of bulls and goats, so the man Christ J esus
did offer up his own blood to his Father ; and tliis
you may clearly see, if you compare He. ix. u. Avhere
he saith, ' How much more shall the blood of
Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered
himself without spot to God, purge your consciences
from dead works to serve the living God? [with]
He. X. 12. where he saith, ' But this man (meaning
the Son of the Virgin, ch. ii. 14 compared with Mat. i. 21.)



after he had ofTercd one sacrifice for sins, for ever
sat down on the right hand of God ; ' again, He. 7.
the chapter I mentioned before, you shall find his
intercession plainly held forth, if you read ver. 23.
and so on, where the scripture saith, ' By so much
was Jesus made a sui-ety of a better testament.
And they truly were many priests (meaning the
priests under the law) because they were not suf-
fered to continue by reason of death ; ' (that is, the
high-priest under the law, could not live ever in
this world, because it was appointed to all men
once to die.) Re. ii. 8. But when he speaks of Christ
Jesus, he saith on this wise, ' But this man,
because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable
priesthood. Re. i. 18. Wherefore he (this man) is
able also to save them to the uttermost that come
unto God by him, seeing he (this man) ever liveth
to make intercession for them. And thus in brief
have I proved through the assistance of the Lord,
the intercession of the Son of Mary, which is also
the Son of God. And this concerning Christ's
priestly office, might serve also for a proof of his
being in the heaven without, above the stars. But
all men may see (unless they be blind) that these
are the truths of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of
God his Father ; and that those men that oppose
them (as the quakers do) are very violently pos-
sessed of the devil, and besides themselves ; and
have neither the truth of God, nor his Spirit in

them. 2 Ju. ix. TO. Jn. V. 38, 42.

[Christ Judge of Quick and Dead.] And now
through the assistance of the Lord, I shall come
to the last that I promised, and that is to prove,

Online LibraryJohn BunyanThe works of John Bunyan (Volume 2) → online text (page 38 of 171)