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pointed it, referring the words in the regeneration . to that which went before, thus; Ye which have followed me in the regeneration : whereas they should be joined to the following words, thus: Ye which have followed me, εν τη παλιγγενεσία in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, &c. In the regeneration; what is that? Not in baptism, nor in the regeneration or renewing of the Spirit, as some have fancied; for neither of these significations will make good sense in this place; but in the resurrection, which will be indeed a manoyyevedia, a regeneration, or second generation of men to life, after that life which they had in their first generation was extinguished. Which second generation, or production of men to life, is more properly the work of God, as being effected solely by his divine power, without the concurrence of any second causes; whereas in our first generation into the world our parents were instruments. Hence those words of the Psalmist concerning Christ, Psalm ii. 7. Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee, are said by St. Paul to be then fulfilled in him, when God raised him from the dead, Acts xiii. 32, 33. The promise which was made unto the fathers, God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second Psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee. And hence also, all the godly are said at the resurrection to become the children of God, eo nomine, upon the very account of their being then raised by God to a blessed immortal life, Luke xx. 36. They are called the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.

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Well then! In or at the regeneration, or resurrection, when Christ shall sit in the throne of his glory, as the Judge of men and angels, it is promised to the twelve apostles, that they also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Concerning the full sense of which words, though there is some dispute, yet this is generally agreed among interpreters, and it is most evident from the context, that they express some singular and eminent glory, which the apostles should receive in the world to come, as the reward of their singular and eminent self-denial, in devoting themselves to Christ's Gospel. And though every saint shall in his degree be enthroned in the heavenly glory; yet here are twelve thrones of judicature and preeminence, answering to the twelve apostles then in being. Indeed Judas, one of the twelve, afterward fell from his office, and so lost his throne too. But this was through his own default, and our blessed Lord failed not in his promise. But the cursed traitor, by his horrid violation of the condition of it, forfeited his right therein. There being twelve apostles at that time to whom our Saviour spake these words, he saith they should sit upon twelve thrones ; as if Judas also should have his throne to sit on; not that he thought the wretch should ever attain that throne, (for he knew him from the beginning to be a devil,) but because, if Judas had continued in the faithful discharge of his office, as the other apostles did, he should have had his throne, as the other apostles had theirs, as St. Chrysostom well observes ; for Christ speaks of his apostles, secundum præsentem justitiam, “ according to their

present righteousness,” and not so much of their persons, as of their state and office.

As if he should have said, The office of apostles, as it is an office of the highest service, labour, and difficulty, so it hath the highest reward propounded to it; insomuch that they who well perform it, shall be advanced to the most eminent thrones of glory in the life to come, and be nearest to myself the King of glory. For, to sit upon thrones, judging (or governing, or being over) the twelve tribes of Israel, is a metaphorical expression, taken (as Grotius well observes upon the place) from the ancient state of the kingdom of Israel, in which o punápxas the princes, or heads of the tribes, came nearest in dignity to the king's majesty, and in the public assemblies sat next to the royal throne in chairs of state made of ivory. So that it is manifest, Christ here promiseth his apostles an eminent degree of glory and dignity in his heavenly kingdom. And hence the language is different, which our Saviour useth, concerning the reward of those who should afterwards imitate the apostles, and follow them in their active and passive virtue, though haud æquis passibus, “ at a very humble distance.” For of those in the next verse he saith, that they should receive an hundredfold, (a very ample and liberal reward of their self-denial, in whatsoever instance expressed,) and inherit everlasting life; but he doth not say, as of the apostles, that they shall sit upon thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

The next place we shall cite will give light to the former, and speaks more clearly to our present purpose. It is to be found in the very next chapter,

the twentieth chapter of the same Gospel of St. Matthew, where we read, ver. 20, 21. that the mother of the sons of Zebedee, James and John, came with her two sons to Christ with this petition, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom. She had heard from her sons, that the apostles in general had a promise of a more eminent dignity in Christ's kingdom, like that of the princes or heads of the tribes in the kingdom of Israel, as hath been already noted. But she knew that even among the apostles themselves there would be degrees of dignity; as in the ancient kingdom of Israel, the two first places belonged to the princes of the tribes of Judah and Joseph; these two first places therefore she asks for her two sons in the kingdom of Christ. To sit at the right hand of a king, according to the eastern custom, is the very next place of dignity to the king himself. Hence Solomon sitting on his royal throne commanded his mother to be set on his right hand, 1 Kings ii. 19. consequently the third place of dignity in the kingdom is described by sitting at the king's left hand; for accordingly as any man was greater in the kingdom, so in the public assemblies he sat nearer to the king. To this petition of Salome, our blessed Lord having first by the way given a check to her vanity, and her erroneous opinion about his kingdom, at length, ver. 23. he thus more directly answers, To sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father. Christ speaks as man in the state of humiliation, referring all things of his kingdom (according to his manner) to his Father, from whom he received it. But as to our present purpose: our Saviour denies not that there shall be a right-hand and a left-hand place, as a first and second place of dignity, and consequently a third place, and so downwards, in his heavenly kingdom, yea, he plainly asserts, that there shall be such degrees of honour therein; but he only teacheth, that those places and degrees shall be distributed according to the pleasure of his father, who best knows who are fittest for them; and that this pleasure of God was not yet to be made known, either to Salome and her sons, or to any of the sons of men ; but the discovery of it to be reserved to the revelation of the righteous judgment of God at the last day. , So that this text very manifestly confirms the proposition ; especially if we add the words of our Saviour presently afterwards in the same chapter, spoken upon the same occasion, ver. 26, 27. Whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister : and whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant. For hence St. Jerom thus argues against Jovinian, “ If we shall be equal in

' “ heaven, we in vain humble ourselves here, that we

may be greater there b.” Indeed our Saviour in these words most plainly acknowledgeth, that there shall be some greater, some lesser, some first or chief, some inferior in his heavenly kingdom; and he shews that the only way to attain a preeminence hereafter, is by the lowest humility here, and by condescending to the meanest for their spiritual good and advantage.


b Si omnes in cælo æquales futuri sumus, frustra nos hic humiliamus, ut ibi possimus esse majores. Lib. II. contr. Jovin.

C. 18.

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