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On the Transfiguration.
DISCOU RSE III,
Matthew xvii, i ■ g.
And, after fix Days, Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his Brother, and bringeth them up into a high Mountain apart, and was transfigured before them, and bis Face did Jhine as the Sun, and his Raiment was white as the Light. And behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him. Then an
fwered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here; if thou wilt, let us make here three Tabernacles; one
for thee, and one for Moses, and one for
Elias. While he yet spake, behold, a
bright Cloud overshadowed them: And
D 4 beholdt
behold, 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 it, they fell on their Face, and were fore afraid. And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid. And, when they had lift up their Eyes, they saw no Man, save Jesus only. And, as they came down from the Mountain, Jesus charged them faying, 'Tell the Vision to no Man, until the Son of Man be risen again from the Dead*
THERE is scarce any Thing in the whole Account given us of our Saviour's Life, that is more remarkable than his Transfiguration in the Mount. Accordingly there is a particular Notice taken of it by three of the Evangelists', Matthew, Mark, ■ and Luke, between whom there is an admirable Harmony in the Relation they give us of this wonderful Transaction. I have chosen to consider the Account the Evangelist Matthew gives of it, and shall, as I go along, observe any particular Circumstances taken Notice of by the other Evangelists, which are not here so expressly mentioned.
That we may have a more distinct View of this Subject, First, I shall consider the Manner in which the Evangelists introduce
this Account of our Saviour's Transfiguration, or what the Things were that immediately preceded it.
Secondly, I shall consider the Description that is given of the Transfiguration itself, and the most remarkable Circumstances that attended it.
Thirdly, The last Thing I shall observe is the Conclusion of it, and the Injunction laid by our Saviour upon his Disciples, not to discover it to any Man till after his Resurrection.
First, Let us consider the Manner in which the Evangelists introduce this Account of Our Saviour's Transfiguration, or what those Things were that immediately preceded it. And this the rather deserves to be considered, because all the Evangelists observe the same Order in their Narration of what preceded this wonderful Transaction. They all give us an Account of a remarkable Discourse he had with his Disciples, and then observe that within a few Days after this his Transfiguration happened.
As to the Discourse here referred to, we are informed that after Peter had made that open and excellent Confession that Jesus was the Christ the Son of the living God; and after our Saviour had declared his Approbation of it, and given an honourable Iiourable Testimony to Peter himself, concerning which see the 15 th and following Verses of the preceding Chapter; from that Time forth began Jesus to Jhew^ unto his Disciples, how that he mufl go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many Things of the Elders, and chief Priejls, and Scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third Day. Ver. 21. When Peter had so openly declared, in the Name of all the Disciples, their Belief that he was the Christ, he thought it necessary plainly to let them know the grievous Sufferings he was to endure, both that they might not be surprised when it actually happened, and to correct the wrong Notions he knew they entertained of the Nature of his Kingdom. They, as well as the other sews, expected a MeJJiah that should appear in all the Glory and Grandeur of a mighty temporal Prince, and should advance the People of Israel to a Dominion over all Nations; and very probably they flattered themselves that, as they were his immediate Ministers and Attendants, they should have no small Share in his Favour, and perhaps be raised to great Dignities in his Kingdom. Accordingly Peter, upon hearing our Saviour speak of his Sufferings and Death, which was so contrary to all the Notions and Expectations they had formed, began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord; this /ball not be unto thee. But he received the most severe Reproof for it that our Lord ever gave to any of his Disciples: He said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan* thou art an Offence unto me: For thou savour etb not the Things that be of God, but those that be of Men. Ver. 22, 23. And then we are told, Ver. 24, that upon this Occasion he said unto his Disciples, and, as the Evangelist Mark observes, Mark viii. 34, he called the People unto him and said it to them all: If any Man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up bit Cross and follow me. Whereby he acquainted them, that, if they would approve themselves to be his faithful Disciples, who mould share in the Benefits of his Kingdom, they must not expect mighty temporal Advantages, but rather prepare for the greatest Sufferings, in Conformity to the Example of him their great Lord and Master. They must be ready not only to mortify their most beloved Lusts, but to renounce their dearest worldly Interests, and even to lay down their Lives, if called to it', for his Sake. But then, that this might not discourage them, he adds, For •whosoever will save bis Life shall lose it .* And whosoever will lose his Life, for my Sake, shall find it. Ver. 25. si. e. whosoever will think by denying me to preserve this present