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tion, in which he expressly compares Christ's glory and majesty on the Mount, to that which he will display in his final advent; and considers the former as an emblem, an earnest, and a proof of the latter.

It is, then, evident, I think, from the foregoing observations, that the scene upon the mountain was a symbo lical representation of Christ's coming in glory to judge the world, and of the rewards which shall then be given to the righteous, topics which had been touched upon in Christ's discourse with his disciples six days before; and that one great object of this expressive action, as well as of that conversation, was to reconcile the minds of his disciples to the sufferings which both he and they were to undergo, by showing that they were preparatory and subservient to his future glory, and their future rewards.

The other great purpose of the action on the Mount was, I apprehend, to signify, in a figurative manner, the cessation of the Jewish and the commencement of the Christian dispensation.

It appears to have been one prevailing prejudice among the disciples, that the whole Mosaical law, the ceremonial as well as the moral, was to continue in full force under the Gospel; and that the authority of Moses and the prophets was not, in any respect, to give way on the establishment of Christianity, but to be placed on an equal footing with that of Christ.

To correct this erroneous opinion, no less than to vanquish their prepossessions against the sufferings of Christ (as already explained), was the scene of the transfiguration presented to the three chosen disciples, Peter, James, and John.

There are several remarkable circumstances attending that event, which lead us to this conclusion.

Moses and Elias must certainly be allowed to be very natural and proper representatives of the law and the prophets.

When the three disciples saw these illustrious persons conversing familiarly with Jesus, it probably confirmed them in their opinion, that they were to be considered as of equal dignity and authority with him; and under this impression, Peter immediately addressed himself to Jesus, and said, "Lord, it is good for us to be here; and, if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles, one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias." The full meaning of which exclamation was, "What greater

happiness, Lord, can we experience than to continue here in the presence of three such great and excellent persons! Here, then, let us for ever remain! Here let us erect three tents, for thee, for Moses, and Elias, that you may all make this the constant place of your abode, and that we may always continue under the protection and government, and UNITED EMPIRE of our three illustrious lords and masters, whose sovereign laws and commands we are equally bound to obey!'

The answer to this extraordinary proposal was instantly given both by action and by words. "While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and, behold, a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased: HEAR YE


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The CLOUD is the well-known token of the Divine presence under the law: many instances of it occur in the Old Testament, but more particularly at the giving of the law on Mount Sinai. On the mountain where our Saviour was transfigured, a new law was declared to have taken place; and therefore God again appears in a cloud. But there is one remarkable difference between these two manifestations of the Divine presence. On Mount Sinai the cloud was dark and thick: "and there were thunders and lightnings, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud, and all the people that were in the camp trembled." At the transfiguration, on the contrary, the cloud was bright, the whole scene was luminous and transporting, and nothing was heard but the mild paternal voice of the Almighty expressing his delight in his beloved Son. These striking differences in the two appearances evidently point out the different tempers of the two dispensations; of which the former, from its severity, was more calculated to excite terror; the latter, from its gentleness, to inspire love.

This circumstance alone, therefore, indicated a happy change in the Divine economy; but the gracious words which issued from the cloud most clearly explained the meaning of what was passing before the eyes of the disciples," This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased: HEAR YE HIM." "This is my Son, not as Moses and all the prophets were, my servants. HIM, and him only, you are now to hear. He is from henceforth

*Exod. xix, 16.

to be your lord, your legislator, and your king. The evangelical law being established, the ceremonial law must cease, and MOSES and the PROPHETS must give way to CHRIST. With this declaration, the conclusion of the whole scene on the mountain perfectly harmonizes. Moses and Elias instantly disappear, and, "when the disciples lift up their eyes, they see no man, save Jesus only." The former objects of their veneration are no more. Christ remains alone their unrivalled and undisputed sovereign.

In support of this interpretation it may be farther observed, that there was reason to expect, about that time, some such declaration as this respecting the cessation of the Mosaical law. For St. Luke informs us, that thelaw and the prophets were until John;" that is, they were to continue in force till John the Baptist had (as our Lord expresses it) restored all things; had preached these great doctrines of repentance and redemption by the blood of Christ, by which men were restored to a right state of mind, and the favour of God; till he had thus prepared the way for the Messiah, and publicly announced the kingdom of God; and then they were to be superseded by the Christian dispensation. Accordingly, not long after the death of John, the scene of the transfiguration took place; and this great revolution, this substitution of a new system for the old one, was made known, in that remarkable manner, to the three disciples. This secondary meaning, here assigned to the vision on the Mount, will assist us in explaining an injunction of our Lord to his disciples, for which, though other reasons have been assigned, yet they are not, I think, altogether satisfactory.

In the ninth verse we are told, that, as they came down from the Mount, Jesus charged the disciples, say. ing, "Tell the vision to no man, till the Son of Man be risen again from the dead."

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If the only intent of the transfiguration had been to represent, by an expressive action, our Lord's resurrection and exaltation, and a future day of retribution, it is not easy to assign a sufficient reason why this injunction of secrecy, till after his resurrection, should have been given, because he had already foretold his resurrection to his disciples*, and he also apprised them, before his death, of his coming in glory to judge the worldt. It

• Matt. xvi, 21.


+ Matt. xxv.

does not, therefore, appear, how the publication of the vision on the Mount could have been attended with any other consequence, than that of confirming what Jesus had already made known.

But if we suppose that one purpose of the transfiguration was to typify the abolition of the ceremonial law, and the establishment of the evangelical, a plain reason presents itself for this command of keeping it for some time private, for it was one of those truths which the first converts were not able to bear. Great numbers of them, though they firmly believed in Christ, yet no less firmly believed, that the Mosaical dispensation was still in full force. This prejudice, it is well known, continued several years after our Lord's resurrection. Mention is made" of several thousand Jews who believed, and yet were all zealous of the law." And it was the suspicion, that St. Paul had forsaken, and taught others to forsake Moses, which brought his life into the most imminent danger, and actually occasioned his imprisonment. No wonder, then, that a transaction, which was designed to prefigure this very doctrine that St. Paul was charged with, and that was so offensive to the Jewish converts in general, should be thought unfit by our Lord to be publicly divulged till some time, perhaps a considerable time, after his resurrection.

From the whole, then, of the preceding observations, it appears, that the transfiguration of Christ was one of those emblematical actions, or figurative representations, of which so many instances have been pointed out, and at the same time very distinctly explained, and elegantly illustrated, by some of our best divines.

The things represented by this significant transaction were,

First, The future glory of Christ, a general resurrection, and a future retribution.

Secondly, The abrogation of the Mosaical, and the establishment of the evangelical dispensation.

And the immediate purpose of these representations was, as I before observed, to correct two inveterate prejudices which prevailed among the disciples, and the Jewish converts in general.

Of these, one was the extreme offence they took at any mention of the death and sufferings of Christ, which they conceived to be utterly inconsistent with his dignity.

The other was, their persuasion that the ceremonial law was not done away by the Gospel, but that they were to exist together in full force, and to have an equal obedience paid to them by all the disciples of Christ.

But though the removal of these prejudices was, as I conceive, the primary and immediate design of the transfiguration, yet there are also purposes of great utility to all Christians in general, in every age, which it might be, and probably was, intended to answer.

In the first place, it affords one more additional proof of the divine mission of Christ, and the divine authority of his religion.

It is one of the few occasions on which God himself was pleased, as it were, personally to interpose, and to make an open declaration from heaven in favour of his Son; "this is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased: HEAR YE HIM.' "Two other instances, only, of this kind occur in the Gospels, one at our Saviour's baptism, the other on his praying to his Father to save him from the sufferings that awaited him.

Now these signs from heaven may be considered as a distinct species of evidence, different both from miracles and prophecies, frequently and earnestly wished for by the Jews, but not granted to them, nor vouchsafed to any one, but very sparingly, and on great and solemn


But besides this awful testimony to the divine origin of our religion in general, a particular attestation was (as we have seen) given on the Mount to two of its principal doctrines, A GENERAL RESURRECTION, and A DAY OF RETRIBUTION. The visible and illustrious representation of these in the glorified appearance of Christ, and Moses, and Elias, has been already explained, and is appealed to by St. Peter, who saw it, as one convincing proof among others, that "he had not followed cunningly devised fables," when he made known "the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. And, indeed, since these two doctrines, A RESURRECTION, and A DAY OF JUDGMENT, are two of the most essential and fundamental articles of our faith; and since it was one of the chief purposes of the Christian revelation "to bring life and immortality to light," no wonder that God should graciously condescend to confirm these great truths to us in so many various ways; by words and by actions, by prophecies, by miracles, and by celestial


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