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Commentary from 
Rivingtons, London, 1884
There is not any very early historical notice of Ascension Day, but St. Chrysostom has a homily on the day; St. Augustine mentions it in one of his Epistles, and also in a Sermon [261], in which he says, "We celebrate this day the solemnity of the Ascension."  St. Gregory of Nyssa ha also left a homily on the day.  St. Augustine calls this one of the festivals which are supposed to have been instituted by the Apostles themselves [Ep. liv. al. cxviii. ad. Januar.], so that it must have been generally observed in his time: and Proclus, Archbishop of Constantinople, in the same age, speaks of it [Orat. iii] as one of the days which the Lord has made, reverently considering that the great acts of our Lord so far consecrated the days on which they occurred that no further appointment was needed for their separation from common days.  Its name has never varied, althought popular appellations have, of course, been attached to it on account of some observances connected with the day.  But even these have been very few, and are not worth notice, "Holy Thursday" being the only vernacular name that has been generally adopted. 

During the Paschal Quinquagesima no festivals have vigils or fasting eves except Ascension Day and Whitsunday, the whole period being regarded as one of spiritual joy in the Resurrection. 

The ritual provisions of the Prayer Book for this day show plainly that it is regarded in the system of our Church as one of the very highest class of solemn days set apart in honour of our Lord.  The Proper Lessons and Psalms at Mattins and Evensong, and the Proper Preface in the Communion Service, place it on the same footing as Christmas Day, Easter, or Whitsunday; and there is no day in the year which is so well illustrated by these as that of Ascension.  It could hardly have been otherwise, for the act which is commemorated on this day was one which crowned and consummated the work of the Redeemer's Person, and opened the gate of everlasting life to those whom He had redeemed. 

The facts of the Ascension are commemorated in the Epistle and Gospel.  In the first lessons at Mattins and Evensong we see the ascended Lord in His everlasting Kingdom, and the type of His Ascension, Elijah, going up to heaven in a whirlwind.  But the fulness of the day's meaning must be looked for in the Psalms, where, as so often, the interpretation of the Gospels was given by God beforehand to the Church.  And in these the Church also celebrates the eternal Victory of the King of Glory, Who had been made a little lower than the angels in the humiliation of His earthly life, that He might be crowned with the glory and worship of all created things, when seated, still in His human nature, on the throne of Heaven.  The festival concludes the yearly commemoration of our Blessed Lord's life and work: which thus leads upwards from the cradle at Bethlehem, exhibiting before God and man the various stages of His redeeming work, and following Him step by step until we stand with the disciples gazing up after Him as He goes within the everlasting doors.  And thus this half-yearly cycle of days presents the holy Jesus to our devotions as perfect Man and perfect God, the perfection of His manhood confirmed in the sorrows of Good Friday, the perfection of His Divine Nature in the triumph of Easter and the Ascension.