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III. 49 with him, when he raised Fairus's Daughter from the Dead; and afterwards these were the Persons he particularly chose to be Witnesses of his amazing Sorrows and Agonies in the Garden, at his Entrance upon his last Sufferings. Peter was, on many Accounts, one of the most eminent of all the Apostles; James and Yoon were called Boanerges, Sons of Thunder, for the Fervency of their Zeal and Efficacy of their Ministry; and it is also observable that fames' was the first of the Apostles that suffered Martyrdom for the Cause of Chrift; and that John, who was by Way of Eminency called the beloved Disciple, survived all the rest, and lived for a great Number of Years to bear Testimony to what he had heard and feen concerning
As these were the chosen Witnesses of his Transfiguration, so the Scene he chose for it was an high Mountain : He bringeth them up into a high Mountain apart. This is generally supposed to be Mount Tabor. Thither he went for the greater Convenience of Secrecy and Retirement, and he probably betook himself to some Part of that Mountain that was little frequented. St. Luke observes that he went up into a Mountain to pray. Luke ix. 28. This it was very usual for him to do, as
we find by several Paffages in the Evangelists; and therefore those of his Disciples whom he left behind were less surprised at it, and judged he was only going to pray, as he was wont to do in such retired Places. And accordingly he actually applied himself to that Exercise; for St. Luke informs us, that, as he prayed, the Fashion of his Countenance was altered. Ver. 29. What was the particular Subject of his Prayer is needless to inquire. But this may be observed in general from it, as well as from all the other Passages where we have an Account of our Saviour's Praying, that herein he hath left an excellent Example for our Imitation. If the incarnate Son of God himfelf, during his Abode here on Earth, in the Days of his Flesh, employed himself frequently in this Duty, how much more should we do so, who have so many Sins to confess and implore the Pardon of, and who, being insufficient of ourselves for that which is good, and prone to that which is evil, stand in continual Need of the Influences and Aids of the Holy Spirit, to assist us in our Duty, and succour us against Temptation ? Our blessed Lord hath consecrated and recommended Prayer, and put a Dignity upon it by his own Practice and Example. In vain do those pretend to the Character of his Disciples,
that live in the habitual Neglect of this important Duty. When he was in his greatest Sorrow and Distress at his last Sufferings, we' find him earnestly praying ; and here, when he was entering on the brightest Display of his Glory that ever he exhibited during his humbled State on Earth, we find him praying. And, whilst he was thus engaged, that Glory came upon him : As he prayed, his Countenance was altered.
Thus I have considered the first Thing I proposed, which was the Manner in which the Evangelists introduced the Account they give of our Saviour's Transfiguration, and what Things they were that immediately preceded this wonderful Event.
I proceed now, Secondly, to consider the Description that is given us of the Transfiguration itself, and the most remarkable Circumstances that attended it.
And here there are several Things that deserve to be distinctly examined. · First, The sudden and wonderful Change that passed upon our blessed Lord hiinseif, with Respect to his outward Appearance, which became amazingly resplendent and glorious.
Secondly, The Account that is here given us of some of the heavenly Inhabitants
appearing appearing with him in Glory, and conversing with him.
Thirdly, The Testimony given to our blessed Lord, by an audible Voice, from the Midst of the Cloud of Glory:
Fourthly, The Effect and Impression all this had upon Christ's Disciples that were then present,
I. The first Thing that here offereth itfelf to our Thoughts is the sudden and glorious Chạnge which passed upon our blessed Lord himself, with Respect to his outward Appearance. This is represented by the Evangelists in a Variety of Expresfions, all of which are very fignificant. St. Matthew observes that he was transfigured before them, and his Face did shine as the Sun, and his Raiment was white as the Light St. Mark, after having told us, that he was transfigured before them, adds, that his Raiment became shining, exceeding white as Snow, so as no Fuller on Earth can white them. Mark ix. 3. St. Luke expresseth it thus, that the Fashion of his Countenance was altered, and his Raiment was white and gliftering. Luke ix. 29.
First, it is in general faid, that he was tranfigured. The Word used in the Ori'. ninal signifieth a Change in the outward Form and Appearance, not in the Substance of his Body, which continued the
same that it was before. And therefore St. Luke explaineth it thus, that the Fashion, or Appearance, of his Countenance, or Perfon, was altered, or became diferent from what it had been before. This Change is described, both with Respect to his Body and to his Garmenis. And, first, as to his Body, especially his Face, for the rest of his Body was probably covered with his Garments, it is here said that his Face did Mhine as the Sun. No Expressions could give us a stronger Idea of the wonderful Splendor of his Appearance; since it is here compared to that of the Sun, the molt resplendent Body that we know in the whole Creation. We are told, that the Face of Mofes Thone, when he came down from the Mount where he had been converfing with God forty Days, so that the Ifraelites were afraid to look upon him; and therefore he put a Vail upon his Face when he talked with thein. So it pleased God to order it, to raise a greater Veneration in their Minds for that Divine Majesty, from whom Mofes had been receiving Laws, and that they might have a Regard to Mofes as his Minister, and to the Laws he delivered in his Name. Exod. xxxiv. 29, 30, 33. But we have Reason to think that that Brightness of Moses's Face was vastly inferior to the Splendor of our E 3