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it at least repressed their murmurings and silenced their doubts, whenever the unwelcome subject was renewed. St. Luke relates that on the very next day, when our Lord again warned them of what was about to befall him, though still perplexed and reluctant to believe, “they feared to ask him “ of that saying b." They found that there was some mysterious necessity in the case, which they dared not explore; and the high conceptions they had now formed of their Lord, withheld them from any further expresions of mistrust or offence.
But whatever contributed thus to remove the doubts of the Apostles, or to increase their fidelity and veneration towards their blessed Master, applies also, and even with greater force, to ourselves. We are now enabled, by that abundance of concurrent proofs which the sacred volume supplies, to view the whole system of Christianity in all its parts and details, to discern their wonderful connection and harmony, and thence more accurately to appreciate its value, its truth, and its importance. The mysterious significancy of the transfiguration, in particular, is wonderfully elucidated by the completion of the Law and the Prophets in the person of our Saviour, by the multiplied proofs in holy writ of his Divinity and the atonement he hath made for sin, by his resurrection and ascension, and by the assurances thence given of the resurrection of all his faithful disciples to a future state of bliss and glory. The sublime scene thus presented to the chosen Apostles, brings all these high and important subjects before us. It
b Luke ix. 45.
represents Him who left the bosom of the Father, and took our nature upon Him, as exalted far above every name that is named in heaven or in earth. It shews His mission to have been infinitely superior to any that had ever before been undertaken, and that the dispensations of former times were to give way to that more perfect one which He established; being that to which every other was but preparatory and subordinate. It encourages us to place our faith in a crucified Saviour, who, though “despised and rejected of men,” was
mighty to save .” It elevates our thoughts, our desires, our expectations, above this lower world; carrying them on to that final consummation of all things, when the faithful shall “ come unto mount Sion, and unto the
city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusa“ lem, and to an innumerable company of
c Isaiah Ixiii. 1.
angels, to the general assembly and church “ of the first-born, which are written in hea“ ven, and to God the Judge of all, and to “ the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant d.”
The truths thus shadowed out by this marvellous representation are substantiated in other parts of holy writ by express revelations, too plain and obvious to be misunderstood. They are no longer wrapped up in mystical envelopement, or in types and parables of dark and figurative signification. The full meridian light of the Gospel has rendered them visible and conspicuous to all who will open their eyes to perceive them. While, therefore, we admire and reverence those obscurer communications which were gradually made to the earlier ages of the world, and even to the Apostles themselves, as they were “ able to bear them;" let us bless God that we are enabled by this concentration of what was before scattered and diffused in separate portions, to explore the truth with less labour and with less uncertainty. In proportion, however, to these advantages will be the account we must render of our improvement under them. Fearful are the judgments denounced against those who either reject this gracious dispensation, or pervert it to an evil
d Hebr. xii. 22, 23, 24.
purpose. God grant that we may none of us fall under that sentence, of which He who will hereafter come to be our Judge hath Himself forewarned us, “ This “ is the condemnation, that light is come into 6 the world, and men have loved darkness “ rather than light, because their deeds are “ evile."
e John iii. 19.
MATTHEW viii. 28. And when he was come to the other side into the
country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by
AMONG the several kinds of miracles by which our Lord manifested his Divine power during his abode on earth, none have undergone more rigid inquiry than those which relate to the healing of persons said to have been possessed with devils. And the reason why these may be thought liable to more suspicion than others, is, perhaps, because the disease itself, as well as the removal of it, is represented to have been preternatural in its kind. The subject also is so frequently brought under our observation by the Evangelists, as one of the most prominent features in our Lord's ministry, that to form a right conception of it cannot but be deemed of great importance. Nor (as I shall endeavour to prove in this Discourse) is it attended with