« PoprzedniaDalej »
his throne of glory, with all his holy angels! Never surely, can the imagination conceive any thing more affectionate and endearing, than by such a palpable demonstration of himself, in the presence of his saints, taken from both the Old Testament and from the New; to shew, and so many ages before his final coming, under what character he would then come; that the church from that time to the final consummation of all things, might live in the faith and expectation of it; and have their minds familiarized by the constant contemplation of his grace as shewn on the mount of transfiguration; with the pleasing hope of the same Lord Jesus Christ coming with the same heart of love to his people in the mount of glory. True, indeed, the manifestation of our Christ on this occasion, was but transient and momentary; for the present state of our nature could bear no more. It must have borne down and overwhelmed the very being of the apostles, while in a body of flesh, had the Son of God put forth all his brightness, even as God and man in one; and as he will be revealed at the last day. But it should be remembered, that then the spirits being disembodied spirits, will be prepared for his appearing. And even when the bodies of his saints at the resurrection morning, shall be raised by the Lord's own personal power, glorified bodies, to join their spirits; both will be alike ripened to the seeing Christ as he is, for to dwell with him for ever. Still as a transient glimpse only of his glory, it became as was most blessedly intended it should, a foreview and a foretaste of the sure coming of our most glorious Christ, and of the very character in which he will appear, when he comes to be glorified in his saints, and admired in all that believe." Such was the opening of this divine manifestation of our Lord. It was a transfiguration, as this Scripture expresses it; "his
face did shine as the sun." The apostle Paul, in his account of Christ's appearing to him, expresseth it, that it was a respledency of glory, " above the brightness of the sun." (Acts xxvi. 13.) And indeed it made him blind for three days. And the transfiguration itself is what will prove in some degree a foreview to us, as our faculties are capable of apprehending. For it was not a mere outward glory upon the face of Christ, as in the instance of Moses, the skin of whose face shone from long communion with God, (Exod. xxxiv. 29, 30.) but it was the GODHEAD shining from within. The glory of his divine nature, for the special comfort of his people, shining for a momentary glimpse to them through his human nature; and thereby confirming that precious Scripture, that"in him dwelleth all the fulness of the GODHEAD bodily." (Colos. ii. 9.) Hence, when we read, as in this Scripture, that "he was transfigured before them, and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light," we apprehend, that Christ was só completely glorious to the view of those that were with him in the mount, that through his garments, the Divine lustre of his person shone with such brightness, though but for a moment's manifestation, by way of specimen to the church because they could bear it no longer; and that in an infinitely higher degree, and for an everlasting continuance he will shine; because the whole church shall then be fitted to behold him, when he shall come in the clouds of heaven. Then, as the Scripture beautifully expresseth it, "the moon shall be confounded and the sun ashamed;" both looking pale and eclipsed, from the glory of our most glorious Christ their maker; "when the Lord of hosts shall reign in Zion and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously." (Isa. xxiv. 23.)
I only detain the reader with a short observation more on those verses at the introduction of our sub
ject, which though not of equal importance with the former, nevertheless is of too interesting a nature in relation to the church, for her improvement arising out of it, to be passed over in silence: I mean that our most gracious Lord should make choice of those three men, Peter, James, and John, from the whole college of apostles, to be eye-witnesses of his Divine Majesty, in this mount of transfiguration. And it is farther remarkable, that the Lord of life and glory should again have chosen those three men to be with him in his agony in Gethsemane. (Matt. xxvi. 37.) Having prepared them by such a foreview of his glory in the mount; they of all men were best prepared to behold his humiliation in the garden. And the reader will profit in the view of both dispensations, if the Lord gives grace to a spiritual apprehension of the subject. I believe that the Lord's people, for the most part, will discover in their whole life of faith through the wilderness, (if they look deeper than the mere surface of things as they pass on,) that when at any time the Lord hath made more than an ordinary discovery of his love, he is thereby the better preparing them for what is to succeed in seasons of sorrow, or any other afflictions. That trial, be it of what kind it may, comes with less force which hath been preceded by remarkable out-pourings of the Spirit. And the child of God certainly feels more confidence, if called to a tribulated path, when, like Jacob and Israel of old, the Lord's voice is heard before the dispensation, saying, "Fear not; for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name, thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee: for I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour." (Isa. xliii. 1-3.)
"And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses, and Elias talking with him.
"Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here if thou wilt, let us here make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias." (Matt. xvii. 3, 4.)
NOTES AND OBSERVATIONS.
THERE is somewhat very striking in what is said of those men on this occasion. The Lord was pleased. to bring from the invisible world those ancient servants of the Old Testament church, Moses and Elias, to be witnesses of this manifestation of his glory; as well as from the present world, Peter, James, and John, of the New; that as both were alike interested in the same event, and all will ultimately meet together when the whole comes to be consummated; they might behold, and be made everlastingly happy in the contemplation of the Divine glory. All these representatives of the church, (for such they were,) might thus be made the Lord's witnesses together then, as they will hereafter; and thus prove the church of our most glorious Christ to be one alike in Christ, according to the Lord's own statement: "My dove, my undefiled is but one; she is the only one of her mother, she is the choice one of her that bare her." (Song vi. 9.)
But how was it that Peter and his companions knew the persons of Moses and Elias? The former had been dead nearly fifteen hundred years, and the latter not less than nine. And yet it appears by the apostles calling them so familiarly by name, that they were well known to them. Probably the same gra
cious Lord which indulged his servants with the vision, gave with it a suitable apprehension concerning it of all that was necessary to be known by them. The evangelist Luke, in his relation of this solemn scene, tells the church, not only that those Old Testament saints talked with the Lord Jesus, but also states what was the purport of their conversation. He saith, that "they appeared in glory, and spake of Christ's decease, which he should accomplish at Jerusalem." (Luke ix. 31.) Whether the apostles apprehended the subject of those men's discourse, so as from thence to gather who they were; or whether it was the Lord the Holy Ghost, when causing this record to be made, guided the evangelist's pen to give the church the information, I venture not to speak. But it will not be a violence to this sweet Scripture, (for it is a very sweet one) if we pause over it; and looking up to the Almighty Teacher for his interpretation, humbly offer one or two observations upon it.
And First-When we read, as in this Scripture, that those men, Moses and Elias, "appeared in glory," it may serve to teach us how the church will be adorned in all her members, with the glory of the Lord, when Jesus shall bring home his spouse, washed from all her sins in his own blood, and clothed in his righteousness.
And Secondly:-When, as in the instance of those men talking so familiarly with our Lord, we behold the blessed state into which, from union with Christ, his people are brought into communion with Christ, we gather this farther instruction; namely, how sure it is that in that upper and brighter world to which we are going, the whole body of the Lord's people will not only be brought into the open vision of the Lord, to see him as he is, and dwell with him for ever, but participate in all that belongs to Christ, as the Head