« AnteriorContinuar »
operations of nature seemed to stand still, and all tilings were at rest, when there was no expectation of any event, then was the cry heard, then wa£ the alarm given,—Behold the bridegroom cometk, go ye out to meet him! And, indeed, my brethren, it often happens, that our last hour comes unexpected. When we are busied in some favourite scheme, when we are laying a scene of happiness which we expect will last for years, the awful voice comes, "This night thy "soul shall be required of thee." I mention not this as if I thought it one of the evils of life. If we are prepared to die, a sudden death must be the most agreeable of all. The servant who is doing his duty, will be agreeably surprised at an unexpected visit from his master. The soldier, whose arms are crowned with conquest, would be happy if his prince should suddenly come to be the witness of his victory.
Verse 7. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. Their lamps were not gone out, though they were not burning bright. They soon arose and trimmed them, to meet the bridegroom. A good man is always habitually prepared for death. Fie has an interest in the righteousness of his Redeemer, which purchased life and immortality to men ; and he is possessed of those good and holy dispositions which fit us for the inheritance of the saints in light. Such a person is ever in a state of preparation to meet with his Lord.
Verse 8. And the joolish virgins said unto the wise, Give us of your oil. Mark here, my brethren, the triumph of religion. Wicked men at the last envy the state and the happiness of the good, and desire to partake in it. There is a time coming when those who scoff at religion, and laugh at every thing that is serious, will gladly say to those humble and contrite ones whom they now despise, "Give us of "your oil." "Let us die the death of the nghte"ous; let our last end be like his." "Would to "God our souls were in your soul's place." Feeble and ineffectual wishes! which discover their misery^ but which cannot save them from it.
Verse 9- Lest there be not enough for us and you. There are no works of supererogation. After we have done all, we are unprofitable servants ; and though we, were perfect, we can assign no part of our righteousness to you: "Go to those thai sell" Go to the ordinances of Divine appointment; improve those means of grace which you formerly despised; break off your sins by repentance; who knows if it be yet too late ?-—Ccetera desunt.
Luke ix. 28—36.
28. And it came to pass, about an eight days after these sayings, he took Peter, and John, and James, and went Up into a mountain to prat/.
29. And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering.
30. And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias;
31. Who appeared in glortf, and spah e of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem.
32. But Peter and theij that were with him, were heavy with sleep : and when they were awake, they saw his glory, and the two men that stood with him.
33. And it came to pass, as they departed from him, Peter said unto Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here; and let us make three tabernacles, one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias: not knowing what he said.
34. While he thus spake, there came a cloud, andovershadoxaed them: and theyfeured as they entered into the cloud.
35. And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him.
36. And when the voice was past, Jesus Wasfoundalone: and they kept it close, and told no man in those days any of those things which they had seen.
JN these verses, we have an account of a very remarkable event. Our Saviour having foretold his Sufferings and death, in order to keep alive the faith and hopes of his disciples, who would be apt to de» spair under that mournful event, also foretold them, that some of their own number, before their departure, should behold him coming in his kingdom. *• But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing "here, which shall not taste of death till they see the "kingdom of God."
As an accomplishment of this prediction, he takes his three favourite disciples, Peter, James, and John, and having carried them to an high mountain, was transfigured before their eyes, that he might give them some idea of the glory of that kingdom to which he was afterwards to ascend. The mountain here mentioned, by tradition, is Tabor, a hill of great beauty, and, according to Josephus, very high.
Many magnificent events in the Divine dispensations, have been transacted on hills. It was on mount Sinai that God descended to give the law: It was on the hill of Moriah that,he commanded Isaac to be sacrificed: It was on the hill of Zion that he ordered the temple to be built: From the mount of Olives, Christ was wont to send up his prayers to Heaven; and on the mount Tabor he was transfigured, and appeared in glory to his disciples. This is founded upon nature. There is an air of grandeur in a lofty mountain, that loseth itself in the heavens, and casteth its shadow into distant lands, which accords with the natural greatness of the soul, and awakens a feeling that is highly favourable to devotion. The grandeur, the awfulness, the silence, and the solitude of the scene, assist sentiments of religious adoration. Remote from man, and exalted above the turbulence of the inferior world, we breathe celestial air, we feel divinity more present, and bow down and worship in the temple not made with hands. Hence men, actuated by their natural feelings, and under the impressions of religious awe, have so often been guided to erect their temples upon hills, and to consecrate to the Deity such places as those on which he had appeared, and where his footsteps were seen.
We are told, that our Saviour went up to this moun. tain to pray. Christ began all his great works with prayer to Heaven. Before he entered on his public ministry, he retired into the wilderness, and devoted forty days to contemplation and prayer. When he was about to suffer his last agony, he went and prayed in the garden. And here, when he enters upon his transfiguration, he went up to a mountain to pray. Illustrious example of piety and devotion! worthy the study and imitation of the world. If the eternal Son of God, the Mediator between God and man, who had no errors to be corrected, who had no sins to be forgiven, and who had few wants to be relieved, if he entered upon no important work without prayer to Heaven, if he spent whole nights in the fervour of devotion, shall men, shall feeble, indigent, and sinful men, dare to attempt works of importance, or rush into scenes of danger, without lifting up their eyes and hearts to Heaven, and imploring the protection and assistance of Providence? And yet it is to be dreaded that there are many persons who go under the name of Christians, who live in the constant and habitual neglect of this duty; who go out and come in, who rise up and lie down, without once bending the knee to the God of Heaven, and who, unless on this returning day, when they join in the public devotions of the Church, never acknowledge their dependance upon God. Far be such conduct from you, my brethren.
Peter, James, and John, were also chosen as the witnesses of our Saviour's agony. If they rejoiced with him on mount Tabor, they also suffered with him in the garden of Gethsemane. And indeed it seems to be one of the general laws by which this world is governed, that those who have the highest enjoyments should also have the deepest afflictions. Providence hath wisely balanced human affairs, and set the day of prosperity against the day of adversity. The most enchanting hopes give rise to the most mortifying disappointments ; the most transporting enjoyments end in the cruelest lassitude and disgust;