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blasted by the disappearing of the two inessengers from heaven, und vchold a voice came out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, hear ye him. The voice, as Dr. Macknight well remarks, uttering these words just as Moses and Elias disappeared, intimated that men were no longer to hcarken unto them, speaking in the law ; but, for the future, were to obey Jesus, because Moses and Elias, though both eminent in their stations, were only servants ; whereas, this was God's beloved Son. Besides, the thing uttered by the voice, hear ye him, plainly alluding to Deut. xviii. 15, signified, that Jesus was the prophet of whom Moses spake in that passage, “ The Lord tliy God will raise up unto thee a prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken. When the three disciples heard the voice coming from the clonds, loud as thunder, and full of divine majesty, such as mortal cars were unaccustomed to hear, they fell flat to the ground, on their faces, being in a great panic ; an effect which visions of this kind commonly had on the prophets and holy men that were favoured with thein. In this condition the disciples continued, till Jesus came to them, raised them up, and dispelled their fears.

jesus and bis disciples having been in the mountain all night, the transfiguration may be supposed to have happened either in the day-time or in the night. That it evas night, is probable from the disciples falling asleep while Jesus prayed, a circumstance which could not well happen by day to all three at once, and in the open

air. Next morning, as they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus charged the apostles to conceal what they had seen. He had good reasons for this conduct. Ho kview that the world, and even his own disciples, were not yet capable of comprehending the design of his transfiguration, nor of the appearing of Moses and Elias ; and that, if this transaction had been published before his resurrection, it might have appeared incredible, because hitherto nothing but afflictions and persecutions had attended him. The disciples obeyed the injunction, though they were at a loss to understand what the rising from the dead should mean, and questioned much among themselves respecting this matter. Being also surprised at the sudden disappearance of Elijah, they enquired of their Master why the scribes asserted that Elias must first come. Our Lord did not deny the necessity of Elijah’s coming before Messiah, according to Malachi's prediction, but assured his disciples that he was already.come, and described the treatment he had met with from the nation in such a manner, as to make them understand that he was speaking of John the Baptist. At the same time, he told them, that though the Baptist's ministry was excellently calculated for producing all the effects which were ascribed to it by the prophets, they needed not be surprized to find that it had not had all the success which might have been expected from it, and that the Baptist had met with much opposition and persecution ; for that the person and preaching of the Messiah should meet with the same treatment. By considering attentively these particulars, they understood that he meant John the Baptist.

As Jesus came down to the plain with his disciples, he saw the nine surrounded by a great multitude, and the scribes disputing with them. Probably, the multitude had remained there all night, waiting till Jesus siiould return. When the people looked on him as he was coming, they were greatly ainazed ; and, running to him, they saluted him with particular reverence. It seeins, that as Moses's face shone several hours after he had been with God on the mount, so something of the glory of the transfiguration remaining in our Lord's countenance, and on his raiment, might astonish the multitude, and attract their veneration. When the salutations of The multitude were over, Jesus asked the scribes what was the subject of their debate with his disciples. (Mark ix. 17, 18.] And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit. And wheresoever he taketh him he teareth hint, and he foameth and gnasheth with his teeth, and he pineth away ; and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out, and they could not. From the man's givirg this narrative in answer to what Jesus said to the scribes, what question ye with them? it appears, that the scribes had been disputing with the disciples about the cure of this youth, which they unsuccessfully attempted. Perhaps their want of success had given the scribes occasion to boast, that a devil was found, which neither the disciples nor their Master was able to cast out. But the disciples affirming that this devil, however obstinate, was not able to withstand their Master, the debate was drawn out to some length. As Jesus had already given so many unquestionable demonstrations of his power, that the behaviour of the scribes in this, as in every other instance, discovered the most crimical infidelity, and fully justified the epithets which he gave them when he said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? Then, turning to the father of the youth, he said, Bring thy son hither. Immediately on his being brought, the evil spirit, by whom he was possessed, cast him to the ground, and filled him with the most violent agitation. This was permitted, no doubt, to try the faith of the father, and demonstrate the greatness of Christ's power. The poor man, beholding the wretched condition of his son, simply related the story of his sufferings, and begged of Christ that, if he were able, he would afford him relicf. Jesus said unto him, in allusion to the expressions of diffidence which he uttered, if thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. The father hearing this, cried out, with tears, that he believed, and besought Jesus to supply, by his goodness and pity, whatever deficiency he might find in his faith. But the vehemence with which he spake, occasioned by the greatness of his grief, bringing the crowd about them, Jesus, to prevent farther disturbance, immediately ordered the unclean spirit to depart from the youth, and never trouble him more. This command was instantly obeyed ; for the devil came out of the youth, making a hideous bowling, and convulsing him to such a degree, that he lay senseless and without motion, as one dead, till Jesus took him by the hand, instantly brought him to life, and then delivered him to his father perfectl, restored.

It is remarkable, that, on this occasion, the nine disciples remained quite silent Hefore the multitude. They were ashamed, perhaps, and vexed, lest, through some fault of their own, they had lost the power of miracles, formerly conferred on them. But when they came with Jesus to their lodging, they asked the reason why they could not cast out that particular demon. And Jesiis said unto them, because of your unbelief. Knowing that you doubted whether I was able to make you cast out this devil, I ordered it so that he would not go out at your command, for a reproof of the weakness of your faith. It seems, the disciples had attempted to fast liim out. In the mean time, to encourage them, Jesus described the efficacy of the faith of miracles. For verily I say unto you, if ye have faith as a grain of mu stard-seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, remove hence to yonder place, and 87 shall remore, and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Ye shall, by that faith, be able to accomplish the most difficult things in all cases, where the glory of God and The good of his church are concerned. Howbeit, this kind (of denion) goeth wit vitt

by prayer and fusting, these exercises contributing to increase the degree of faith.

CHAPTER IX,

From the TRANSFIGURATION, TO THE FEAST OF DedicaTION.

Christ teaches his disciples humility by the example of a little child---corrccrsation re

specting one that cast out devils in his name--- how many passovers there were in the ministry of Christ---he goes to the feast of tabernacles---dismisses the woman taken in adultery, and cures the man who was born blind--is refused lodging in Samaria--, some offer to follow him---seventy disciples are sent forth, perform their office, and return rejoicing in their success---the good Samaritan---Christ's visit to Bethany--goes to the feast of dedication--- finds the man that had been born blind---is the good Shepherd---discourses with the Jews in Solomon's porch---retires beyond Jordan.

Soon after this conversation had been held, our Lord journeyed with his disciples from Cæsarea Philippi to Galilee; and, as they were travelling, again informed them concerning his death and resurrection, a prediction which filled them with dismay. Having arrived, Peter, at whose house he lodged, was called upon to pay the tribute of a half shekel, or fifteen pence of our money, which was levied either for the service of the temple, or, as Beza thinks, for that of the Romans. They demanded the tribute for Jesus from Peter, either because the house in which Jesus lived was his, or because they observed him to be of a more forward disposition than the rest, or because none of them were with him at that time but Peter. Peter told the collectors that his Master would pay the tribute, and consequently made a sort of promise to procure it for them. Yet, when he considered the miatter more maturely, he was afraid to speak to the Messiah concerning his paying taxes on any pretence whatsoever. In the mean time, Jesus, kuowing both what had happened and what Peter was thinking, saver him the pain of introducing the discourse, saying, what thinkest thou Sinon ? of whom clo the kings of the earth take custom or tribute ? of their own children or of strangers ? Peter saith unto him, of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, then are the children free ; insinuating, that because he was himself the Son of the great King, to whom heaven, earth, and sea, with all things in them, belong, he was not obliged to pay tribute, as holding any thing by a derived right from any king whatever. Or if

, as is more probable, the contribution was made for the service and reparation of the temple, his meaning was, that, being the Son of him to whom the tribute was paid, he could justly have excused himself. Nevertheless, that he might not give offence, he sent Peter to the lake with a line and a hook, telling him, that in the mouth of the first fish that came up he should find a Grecian picce of money, called a slater, equal in value to four drachmas, or one shekel of Jewish money, the sum required for them two. The grief which our Lord's followers felt in consequence of the intimations he had given of his sufferings had now so far subsided, that a day or two aster, as they were travelling to Capernaum, some of them, forming a separate company, fell into a violent dispute respecting the chief posts in their Master's kingdom. This debate Jesus overheard ; and though he said nothing to them at the time, yet, after the receivers of the didrachmas were gone, he did not fail to ask them what it was they had been contending about on the road. But they held their peace. and called the twelve, and saith unto them, if any man desire to be first, the same shak be last of all, and servant of all. The disposition which he shall indulge in wishing for distinction in my kingdom, will render it necessary that he should occupy only the lowest situations in it, as it respects offices ; and will prevent him from being distinguished by any abundant share of the influences of my spirit. Further to check these foolish emulations, he placed a little child in the midst of his disciples, and said, Verily I say unto you, except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shah not enter into the kingdom of heaven': so far shall ye be from becoming the greatest in my kingdom, that ye shall not so much as enter into it at all, unless ye be like little children, free from pride, covetousness, and ambition; and resemble them in humility, sincerity, and docility, and in disengagement of affection from the things of the present life, which fire the ambition of grown men. But he inculcated hunnility more especially by this argument, that iť leads one directly to that greatness which the disciples were ignorantly aspiring after. {Mat, xviii. 4.] Whosoever, therefore, shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven : whosoever rests satisfied with the province which God has assigned him, whatever it may he ; aud meekly receives all the divine instructions, though contrary to his own inclinations, and prefers others ; in honour, such a person is really the greatest in my kingdom. Next, to shew how acceptable a grace humility is, he took the child up in bis arms, and declared that kindness to such as humbled themselves like little children is, in reality, kindness shewed to him, especially if it be done out of obedience to his command. [Luke ix. 48 ] And he said unto them, whosoerer shall receive this child in my name : whosoever sheweth kindness even to the least of my disciples ; whosoever encourages and assists such because he belongs to me ; receiveth me. And whosoever shall receive me, receiveth him that sent me ; for he that is least among you all, in respect of humbling himself to do good offices, the same shall be great. In this manner did Jesus recommend to his followers a perpetual spiritual infancy, consisting in an holy simplicity, mcek docility, and unfeigned humility.

John now informed his Master, that having seen some one casting out devils in his name, he had forbidden him. Without enquiring whether this might be one of the Baptist's disciples, or a Jewish cxorcist, Jesus said, forbid him not ; for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name that can lightly speak evil of ine: be the person who he will, he must have a high notion of my power, since he sees the devils go out at mentioning my name. Besides, he that is not against us is on our part : you should consider that, in the present circumstances, every one who does not oppose and persecute is a friend ; and that the ejection of demons in my name will advance my reputation and promote my interest, although those who cast them out should have no intention to do either : nay, though the devils which are cast out should intend the contrary. Farther to shew the apostles that they had been in the wrong to discourage this person, who must have entertained a great veneration for their Master, and was in a fair way to become his follower, he told them, that the lowest degree of respect which any one shewed him, though in was but the giving a cup of cold water to bir thirsty disciple, is acceptable to kiin, and shall not lose its reward. And whosoevei

shall offend, or, as Dr. Campbell more correctly translates it, shall ensnare one of these little ones that believe in me ; whosoever shall make one of these little ones to stumble, so the Greek word properly signifies ; whosoever shall tempt them to sin, it is better for him that a mill-stone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea. Hence he inferred, that it is better to deny one's self the greatest earthly satisfactions, and to part with every thing most precious, represented by the figures of a hand, a foot, an eye, than by these things to cause the weakest of his friends to stumble, as some of the disciples had lately done. The amputation of our hands and feet, and the digging out of our eyes when they cause us to offend, import, also, that we should deny ourselves such use of our senses and members as may lead us to sin. Thus the Aand and the eye are to be turned away from those alluring objects which raise in us lust and ambition. The foot must be restrained from carrying us into evil company, unlawful diversions, and forbidden pleasures. Nor can we complain of these injunctions as severe, since by tempting others to sin, as well as by sinning ourselves, we are exposed to the eternal punishments of hell. For every one shall be salter with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt. Salt is good ; but if the sait have lost his saltness, wherewith will ye season it ? Havc salt in yourselves. The argument stands thus : that ye, my apostles, do purify yourselves, is absolutely necessary, not only on account of your own future well-being, but for the sake of mankind, who are to be salted by you; for the fire that is seasoned with piety and virtue by your doctrine and example, and so put in a fit condition for being offered unto God, in opposition to the condition of the wicked, who, being an abhorring unto all flesh, must De consumed by the worm that never dies, and the fire that is not quenched. The necessity of men's being thus seasoned with grace in order to their becoming acceptable sacrifices unto God, you may learn from its being typically represented under the law, by the priests saltiug the sacrifices for the fire of the altar with salt. Having, therefore, this high honour of salting mankind for the altar of heaven conferred on you, it is fit that ye contain in yourselves the spiritual salt of all the graces, and particularly the holy salt of love and peace, in order that you may be, as much as possible, free from the rottenness of ambition, and pride, and contention, and every evil work. [Mark ix. 50.] Have ye salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another.

other. Take ħeed that ye despise not one of these little ones: for I say unto you, that in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father, which is in heaven.

Some suppose that our Lord here means that every particular saint has a guardian angel assigned bim; others, that he refers only in general to that care which i exercised by the ministering spirits that are sent forth to minister to them that are nsirs of salvation. He concluded by telling them, that the Son of man was come to seek and to save that which is lost ; and, by delivering the parable of the lost sheep, which its owner found after much painful searching, he eminently displayed the immense care which the Almighty has taken with respect to the preservation of the least of his people. | Having thus spoken to the persons offending, he addressed his discourse to the persons offended, shewing them in what manner they ought to behave towards an offending brother : first of all, his fault is to be represented to him privately, in order that he may be thus brought to a sense of his sins, and so saved from the guilt of unrepented transgression. But if this gentle method has not the desired effect, two or more grave persons shall concur in the rebuke, that he may be convinced he is in the wrong If he still remains obstinate, his offence is to be told to the church, or the particular congregation of the faithful to which he belongs ; whose sentence being deciared, will shew him that, in the judgment of all good men, the other has don :: his duty, and that he is to blame. Lastly, if this does not make an impression upo)

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