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dure for him ; and whither should we not consent to follow him, who has borne the cross for us, and willingly expired on it for our sakes!
A sense of gratitude for past favours might bear us triumphantly through all the opposition we might be called to encounter in his cause; how much more then may we be animated by the pleasing hope that we shall another day be confessed by Christ in the presence of his Father and of his holy angels. Le us represent to ourselves that august presence, that awful day, whenever a regard to an adulterous and sinful generation would lead us to be ashamed of Christ and of his words. So shall we certainly be brought to see the kingdom of God in its glory ; and if it opens to us in the visions of the future state, we shall have no reason to be anxiously solicitous, though death should remove us from these lower regions before the gospel hath that universal triumph which the word of God encourages his church to expect.
[Here ends the first volume of the original work.]
The transfiguration of Christ. Matt. xvii. 1-13. Mark ix. 2—13.
LUKE ix. 28-36.
ND it came to pass after six days (or, including the first and last)
about eight days, after these discourses, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John, to an high mountain apart, to pray. And as he was praying, he was transfigured in their presence, and the form of his countenance was changed, so that his face shone like the sun ; and his raiment was white and dazzling; shining exceedingly white as snow, yea as the light itself, so as no fuller on earth could whiten it. And behold, there appeared to them two men talking with Jesus ; who were Moses the giver, and Elijah the restorer of the law; who appearing in glory resembling his, spake of his exit, which he was shortly to accomplish at Jerusalem. But Peter, and they that were with him, were quite overburdened with sleep; but being awakened with the splendour, they saw his glory, and the two men that were standing with him. And it came to pass that, as they were departing from him, Peter answered and said unto Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here ; and if thou pleasest, let us make three tabernacles here ; for thee one, and for Moses one, and one for Elias ; for he knew not what he said, or should say, for they were vastly terrified at this sight. And as he was speaking thus, behold there came a bright cloud and overshadowed them, and they feared when they entered into the cloud. And behold there came a voice out of the cloud which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased ; hear ye him. And when the disciples heard this voice, they fell on their faces, and were exceedingly terrified. And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Rise up and be not afraid. And on a sudden, while the voice was uttered, Jesus was found alone ; and lifting up their eyes, and looking round about, they saw no man any more,' but Jesus only with themselves. And as they came down from the mountain, Jesús charged them, that they should tell no one VOL. I.
what they had seen, unless when the Son of man was risen from the dead. And they laid hold on that word, disputing among themselves what this rising from the dead could mean. And they were silent, as to what had passed, and told no one in those days any of the things which they had now seen.
And his disciples, as they could not doubt but he was the Messiah, asked him saying, Why then do the scribes, the teachers of the law, say, that Elias must first come before the Messiah appear ?*. And Jesus replying said unto them, indeed it appears from scripture that Elijah shall first come, and regulate all things. And yet how is it also written of the Son of man himselfzt that he must suffer many things, and be contemptuously rejected ? Which implies that his forerunner al80 shi:ll be disregarded. And so the event has been. Do not therefore expiect another to appear. But I say to you that Elijah is indeed come already, as it is written of him (Is. xl. 3. Mal. iii. 1.) and they did not know him, but have treated him just as they pleased : thus likewise shall the Son of man suffer by them. Then the disciples understood that he spake to them concerning John the Baptist, who was foretold under the name of Elijah. Mal. iv. 5.
REFLECTIONS. How glorious and delightful was this view of our blessed Redeemer, which the apostles had, when he was transfigured before them, clothed, as it were, with the divine Shekinah, and shining with a lustre like that of the sun! How pleasing and how edifying must it be to them to see with him Moses and Elijah, those two eminent saints who had so many ages ago quitted our world, but whose names they had often read in the sacred records with wonder and reverence! Well might Peter say, It is good for us to be here. Well might he be contented to resign his catertainments and his hopes elsewhere, that they might prolong these delightful moments, feasting their eyes with these divine visions, and their minds with these more than human discourses. Nor can we wonder that the scene, transitory as it was, left so abiding a savour on his spirit, that in an epistle which he wrote many years after, and but a little before his death, he should single this story from a thousand others to attest it as he does, and to argue from it. (2 Pet. i. 16-19.)—But oh how much more desirable is it to stand upon mount Zion, and to behold those brighter glories which our Jesus wears in the heavenly regions ! To behold, not merely Moses and Elijah, but all the prophets, the apostles, and martyrs ; and, in a word, all the saints of God in every age, whether to us personally known or unknown, surrounding him in a radiant circle ; and not only to behold them, but to converse with them. Lord, it is good for us to be there, in our desires at least, and in our meditations, till thou pleasest to call us to that happy world, and to take us thither, where no drowsiness will cloud our eyes, where no hurry will discompose
q. d. Is this vision that we have now seen of Elijah all the coming of that prophet which was to be expected ?
7. The construction of this verse in the original is as perplexed as almost any in the N. T.
our thoughts ; but where the perfection of holiness, and of love, shall cast out every degree of terror, as well as of sorrow.
In the mean time let us reverently attend to that Saviour who appeared in this majestic form, and who comes 'recommended to us with so many testimonials of his divine authority. He was again declared by a voice from heaven to be the beloved Son of God; as such let us hear him, receiving all liis revelations with the assurance of faith, and all his commands with the obedience of love. If these sentiments govern our hearts and our lives, the thoughts of that departure from this world, which we are shortly to accomplish, will be no grief or terror to our souls.
Like our blessed Master, we may connect the views of it, and intermix discourse upon it, with the most delightful enjoyments and converse ; nay, it will serve to render them yet more pleasing. For who would not long to be made conformable to Christ, even in his sufferings and death, if it may be a means of transforming us into the resemblance of his glories !
Christ drives out an evil spirit which had withstood the attempts of his
apostles. MATT. xvii. 14-21. MARK ix. 14-29. LUKE ix. 37-43.
ND it came to pass that, on the next day, when they came down
from the mountain on which Christ had been transfigured, a great crowd of people met him. And being come to the rest of the disciples, he saw a great multitude around them, and some of the scribes disputing with them. And immediately all the multitude, seeing him, was struck with astonishment at the rays of glory which remained on his countenance*. And running to him they saluted him with great marks of respect. And he asked the scribes, What do you contend with them about ? and a certain man of the multitude, kneeling down to him, answered, and crying out with a loud voice, said, Master, I have brought thee my Son, who has a dumb spirit. O Lord, I beseech thee look upon him o for he is mine only child, and have compassion upon him, for he is lunatic, and grievously tormented : for he often falleth into the fire, and often into the water. And behold, whenever this spirit seizes him, he suddenly cries out ; and it convulses him so that he foams again at the mouth, and gnashes with his teeth, and pines away : and it is with great difficulty that the demon de parts from him, after having terribly bruised him. And I brought him to thy disciples, and spake to them concerning him, and entreated them to cast him out, and they could not accomplish it nor heal him.
Then Jesus said in reply to him, O incredulous and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you ? how long shall I endure yout? Bring thy son hither to me. And they brought him to him. And immediately as soon as he saw him, while he was yet coming, the evil spirit threw him down and convulsed him, and he fell on the ground, and rolled about foaming, till nature was almost exhausted. And [Jesus] asked his father, How long time is it that he hath been thus afflicted ? And he said, From his childhood. And it frequently has thrown him into the fire and into the water, to destroy him. But if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us and help us. And Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believem: all things are possible to him that believeth. And immediately the father of the child cried out and said, with tears, Lord, I do believe ; help my unbelief. Then Jesus, seeing that the crowd ran together, rebuked the unclean spirit, and said unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit (for it had deprived this youth of his speech and hearing) I charge thee come out of him, and enter into him no more. And the evil spirit, having cried out and thrown him into violent distortions, came out of him; and he seemed as one dead, so that many said, He is dead.
* So we read of Moses, that the skin of his face shone when he came down from the mount. Ex. xxxiv. 29. 2 Cor. iii. 7.
7 At once reproving the weakness of faith in the father and the dicsiples, as well as the perverseness of the Jewish teachers who were triumphing in their disappointment.
But Jesus, taking him by the hand, lifted him up, and he arose. And when he had thus healed the child, he delivered him to his father. And the child was well from that very hour. And they were all astonished at the mighty power of God.
And when he was come into the house, his disciples came to Jesus and asked him privately, Why could not we prevail over this demon and expel him ? And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief; for verily I say unto you, if you had faith but as a grain of mustardseed, you might say to this mo:intain, Remove from this place to that, and it should remove ; and in a word, nothing should be impossible to you. But he further said to them, This kind of demons cannot go forth by any means, unless by prayer and fasting.
REFLECTIONS. The invidious opposition which these Scribes and Pharisees made to our Lord, and the fil-natured joy they exppressed in what they imagined would disgrace his disciples, appears exceeding odious; and it shews us the fatal effects of ambition, pride, and avarice, when they possess the hearts of those who should be (as these by their office were) teachers of others. Such qualities render those in the number of the most dangerous enemies of mankind, who ought to be its most affectionate friends, and most useful benefactors. May the light of the gospel break in on their souls, and form them to a better temper!
The solicitous concern of this parent, when he saw his child under such sad symptoms of disorder, may surely remind persons in that relation, of the sentiments with which they should view those of their children, who are, in a spiritual sense, under the power of Satan : and of the importunity with which they should entreat that the hand of Christ may be stretched out for their rescue. A lively exercise of faith is greatly to be desired in this and all other applications of this nature. But alas, how often do we find the remainders of a contrary principle ! In how many instances does that compassionate exclamation of the father in this story suit us? Lord, we believe, help thou our unbelief! How
difficult is it, in the midst of so much guilt and weakness, of so much perplexity and unworthiness, to believe the promises of forgiveness and preservation, of grace and glory! Yet we may humbly hope that He, who by his grace has wrought the divine principle in our souls, will maintain it there. Only let it be our concern to oppose those corruptions which would enervate and suppress it. Perhaps there are some of them which will not be driven but by prayer and fasting, by deep humiliation, and more than ordinary solemnity and intenseness of devotion. But surely they have little regard to the peace and security of their souls who can allot only a few hasty moments to them when they have whole hours and days to bestow, not only on the labours, but even on the amusements of life.
Christ warns the disciples of his approaching sufferings. He works a
miracle for paying the tribute-money. Matt. xvii. 22, &c. MARK ix. 30-33. LUKE ix. 43-45.
he and his apostles departed from thence and passed through Galilee; and he was desirous that no one might know it, lest he should be interrupted, for while they continued in Galilee, Jesus taught his disciples. And he said unto them, Apply your ears to these sayings ; for the Son of man shall shortly be betrayed* into the hands of men, and they shall put him to death ; but after he is slain he shall rise on the third day. But they understood not this saying, and it was hid from them, so that they perceived it not. And yet they were afraid to ask him the meaning of that saying. They perceived however, that he foretold his death, and they were exceeding sorry.
And when they were come to Capernaum, the collectors of the tribute came to Peter and said, Does not your master pay the tribute to the service of the teinple † ? He says, Yes. And when he came into the house, Jesus prevented him and said, What dost thou think, Si. mon? Of whom do the kings of the earth receive custom or tribute ? of their own sons, or of strangers ? Peter says to him, Of strangers : Jesus says to him, Then the sons are freef. Nevertheless, lest we should offend them, go to the sea, and throw in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up; and when thou hast opened its mouth, thou shalt there find a Stater (a piece of Silver coin|l) take that and give them for me and thee.
* MARK, " is delivered.” What would certainly and quickly be, is often spoken of as already done.
+ A Didrachma or half shekel; which Josephus says every Jew used to pay yearly. It seems to have been a voluntary thing, which custom had established. In Nehemiah's days it was accounted so, when the sum was lower. Neh, x. 32. I g.d. I therefore, as the Son of God, might plead an exemption.
In value about 1-2 shekels, or, according to Dr. Prideaux, near 3s. of our money, though most reckon it but 2s. 6d.