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The Parting Promises of the Saviour.

The Parting Promises of the Saviour.

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Published by glennpease
Friedrich, Schleiermacher 1768-1834.


(0)1 Ascension Day.)

Text : Acts i. 6-11.
Friedrich, Schleiermacher 1768-1834.


(0)1 Ascension Day.)

Text : Acts i. 6-11.

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Published by: glennpease on Jul 30, 2013
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THE PARTIG PROMISES OF THE SAVIOUR.Friedrich, Schleiermacher 1768-1834.(0)1 Ascension Day.)Text : Acts i. 6-11.THE great event that we commemorate to-day was nodoubt something very different to the disciples at thattime from what it is to us. They had hardly recoveredfrom the stunned condition into which His death had thrownthem; they had hardly come to realize calmly their pain atHis separation from them ; at least, they had certainly notyet learned to look at it in the right way, for they regardedit as the ruin of His whole work on earth — when His joyfulresurrection took them by surprise, comforting them andsetting them right. But now when He was withdrawn fromtheir eyes while they gazed up to heaven, it was more tran-quilly and wisely, and certainly with a greatly lightenedsorrow, as one looks at the close of a full and completed life,that they regarded the end of the relations in which theyhad hitherto stood with their beloved Lord and Master.For us, on the contrary, this event stands as the beginningof that relation of Christ to His people which has continuedever since then — the only relation which we know by directexperience. Hence, while we can, it is true, sympathisewith the sorrow of the disciples, we cannot feel it directlyas our own ; and it would be unnatural in us to try to Avork ourselves up into such a state of feeling, as if we missedsomething by the personal, visible presence of the Saviourbeing denied to us. But we may profitably inquire to-day423424 THE PARTIG PROMISES OF THE SAVIOUR.
 
whether we thoroughly appreciate all the good and beautyof the relation that has subsisted between the Saviour andHis people since He ascended from the earth, and enjoy it,as He intended, in all its fulness. The Saviour certainlybrought that good very thoroughly into view in the comfort-ing promises that He gave to His disciples as often as Healready in spirit saw Himself exalted to the right hand of the Father. If, in a general way, there is little or nothing,even of what Christ said to His disciples in their most inti-mate intercourse, that might not also be applied to us ; if weshare with them almost all the privileges that He bestowedon them, as well as all the duties He imposed on them ; howmuch more may we apply to ourselves what He said for thepurpose of preparing them for the position which we havein common with them. If we take all the utterances, everbecoming more clear and intelligible, concerning the spiritand manner of His kingdom ; the tender outpourings of Hisglorious love in the presaging sense of His departure ; theearnest warnings and exhortations addressed to their heartsnot yet fortified against danger ; — if we regard all this assaid to us also, whom He embraces in the same love, andfor whom He prayed, even as for those through whose wordwe believe ; — how much more may we claim a share in theelevating promises by which He sought to comfort thedisciples for their loss, and to make them fit for their newposition.These promises of the Saviour to His disciples in referenceto His complete departure from them are scattered throughHis discourses, and it would be necessary to collect themfrom many passages if we wished to study them fully and indetail. But as custom requires us to take one connectedportion of Scripture as the leading thread of our publicexpositions ; the account of the ascension, which we have just read, will serve our purpose, in so far as it reminds usdistinctly of those promises to which I wish chiefly to drawTHE PARTIG PROMISES OF THE SAVIOUR. 425
 
your attention, and which we may most directly take toourselves. For certainly when the Saviour tells the apostlesthey are to wait till they are endued with power from onhigh, and then to be His witnesses ; we cannot appropriateto ourselves what belonged specially and peculiarly to thegift at Pentecost, to which Christ here unquestionablyalludes. And indeed that power from on high was not,after all, the Spirit of God, whom Jesus had already breathedinto the apostles in the first days after His resurrection, — whom He had even earlier spoken of them as possessing,when, on their acknowledging Him as the Christ, He saidthat flesh and blood had not revealed it to them, but theFather in heaven ; for when the Father reveals anything.He does it b}^ the Holy Spirit, as it is said in another place.o man can say that Jesus is Lord but by the Holy Spirit.ow if we further reflect how, since then, many have becomeHis witnesses who had no share in the extraordinary giftof Pentecost, as we ourselves are, each in his own way ; howcan this call to be His witnesses but remind us of thatglorious promise, without which no one would be capableof fulfilling this commission — the promise which the Saviourlinked with this very commission, saying. Go, and teachall nations, and then adding. And I am with you all thedays, even to the end of the world. And the words of those who came to the apostles after the Lord was takenaway, — to what could they refer but to the promise which,during the recent days, the Lord had often expressed invarious forms, that the Son of man would return in all theglory of the Father, a Lord and King, a Judge of all living.If, then, we desire to reflect together on the promises of thedeparting Saviour, it is just those two on which we shouldfix our attention : first, that He will be with us even to theend of the days ; and second, that He will come again to judgment. But, my friends, let us deal in the same waywith these two promises ; with the one as with the other !426 THE PARTIG PROMISES OF THE SAVIOUR.

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