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There is no malice to rise against us, no misery to afflict us, no hunger, thirst, weariness, temptation to disquiet us. There, oh there, one day is better than a thousand! there is rest from our labours, peace from our enemies, freedom from our sins! how many clouds of discontentment darken the sunshine of our joy while we are here below! Væ nobis, qui vivimus plangere quæ pertulimus, dolere quæ sentimus, timere quæ expectamus! Complaint of evils past, sense of present, fear of future, have shared our lives amongst them. Then shall we be semper læti, semper satiati,

always joyful, always satisfied” with the vision of that God," in whose presence there is fulness of joy, and at whose right hand are pleasures for evermore. Shall we see that heathen Cleombrotus abandoning his life, and casting himself down from the rock, upon an uncertain noise of immortality; and shall we not Christians abandon the wicked superfluities of life, the pleasures of sin, for that life which we know more certainly than this? What stick we at, my beloved ? Is there a heaven, or is there none ? Have we a Saviour there, or have we none? We know there is a heaven, as sure as that there is an earth below us; we know we have a Saviour there, as sure as there are men that we converse with

upon earth ; we know there is happiness, as sure as we know there is misery and mutability upon earth. Oh our miserable sottishness and infidelity, if we do not contemn the best offers of the world, and lifting up our eyes and hearts to heaven, say, Bonum est

esse hîc.

“Even so, Lord Jesus, come quickly.” To him that hath purchased and prepared this glory for us, together with the Father and blessed Spirit, one incomprehensible God, be all praise for ever. Amen.

CONTEMPLATION XIV.

THE PROSECUTION OF THE TRANSFIGURATION.

BEFORE, the disciples' eyes were dazzled with glory ; now the_brightness of that glory is shaded with a cloud. Frail and feeble eyes of mortality cannot look upon an heavenly lustre. That cloud imports both majesty and obscuration. Majesty ; for it was the testimony of God's presence of old: the cloud covered. the mountain, the tabernacle, the oracle. He that makes the clouds his chariot, was in a cloud carried up into heaven. Where have we mention of any divine representation, but a cloud is one part of it? What comes nearer to heaven, either in place or resemblance ? Obscuration: for as it showed there was a majesty, and that divine, so it showed them that the view of that majesty was not for bodily eyes Like as, when some great prince walks under a canopy, that veil shows there is a great person under it, but withal restrains the eye from a free sight of his person: and if the cloud were clear, yet it shaded them. Why then was this cloud interposed betwixt that glorious vision and them, but for a check of their

bold eyes?

Had they too long gazed upon this resplendent spectacle, as their eyes had been blinded, so their hearts had perhaps grown to an over-bold familiarity. with that heavenly object; how seasonably doth the cloud intercept it! The wise God knows our need of these vicissitudes and allays. If we have a light, we must have a cloud ; if a light to cheer us, we must have a cloud to humble us. It was so in Sinai, it was so in Sion, it was so in Olivet; it shall never be but so. The natural day and night do not more duly interchange, than this light and cloud. Above, we shall have the light without the cloud, a clear vision and fruition of God without all dim and sad interpositions : below, we cannot be free from these mists and clouds of sorrow and misapprehension.

But this was a bright cloud ; there is a difference betwixt the cloud in Tabor, and that in Sinai ; this was clear, that darksome; there is darkness in the law, there is light in the grace of the gospel ; Moses was there spoken to in darkness, here he was spoken with in light. In that dark cloud there was terror, in this there was comfort ; though it was a cloud then, yet it was bright; and though it was bright, yet it was a cloud : with much light there was some shade. God would not speak to them concerning Christ, out of darkness; neither yet would he manifest himself to them in an absolute brightness : all his appearances have this mixture. What need I other instance, than in these two saints ?

Moses spake oft to God, mouth to mouth: yet not so immediately, but that there was ever somewhat drawn, as a curtain, betwixt God and him ; either fire in Horeb, or smoke in Sinai: so as his face was not more veiled from the people, than God's from him. Elias shall be spoken to by God, but in the rock and under a mantle. In vain shall we hope for any revelation from God, but in a cloud. Worldly hearts are in utter darkness, they see not so much as the least glimpse of these divine beams, not a beam of that inaccessible light: the best of his saints see him here but in a cloud, or in a glass. Happy are we, if God has honoured us with these divine representations of himself; once in his light, we shall see light.

I can easily think with what amazedness these three disciples stood compassed in that bright cloud, expecting some miraculous event of so heavenly a vision; when suddenly they might hear a voice, sounding out of that cloud, saying, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, hear him.” They need not be told whose that voice was ; the place, the matter evinced it; no angel in heaven could, or durst have said so. How gladly doth Peter afterwards recount it; for “he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is

my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, hear him.'

It was only the ear that was here taught, not the eye; as of Horeb, so of Sinai, so of Tabor, might God say, Ye saw no shape, nor image, in that day that the Lord spake unto you. He, that knows our proneness to idolatry, avoids those occasions which we might take to abuse our own fancies.

Twice hath God spoken these words to his own Son from heaven; once in his baptism, and now again in his transfiguration : here not without some oppositive comparison ; not Moses, not Elias, but “this.” Moses and Elias were servants, this a Son: Moses and Elias were sons, but of grace and choice; this is that Son, the Son by nature. Other sons are beloved as of favour and free election; this is the Beloved, as in the unity of his essence. Others are so beloved, that he is pleased with themselves; this so beloved, that in and for him he is pleased with mankind. As the relation betwixt the Father and the Son is infinite, so is the love : we measure the intention of love by the extension ; the love that rests in the person affected alone is but strait ; true love descends, like (Aaron's ointment) from the head to the skirts, to children, friends, allies. Oh incomprehensible large love of God the Father to the Son, that for his sake he is pleased with the world! Oh perfect and happy complacence! Out of Christ there is nothing but enmity betwixt God and the soul ; in him, there can be nothing but peace: when the beams are met in one centre, they do not only heat but burn. Our weak love is diffused to many ; God hath some, the world more, and therein wives, children, friends; but this infinite love of God hath all the beams of it united in one only object, the Son of his love: neither doth he love any thing but in the participation of his love,

in the derivation from it. O God, let me be found in Christ, and how canst thou but be pleased with me!

This one voice proclaims Christ at once the Son of God, the Reconciler of the world, the Doctor and Lawgiver of his church ; as the Son of God he is essentially interested in his love; as he is the Reconciler of the world, in whom God is well pleased, he doth most justly challenge our love and adherence ; as he is the Doctor and Lawgiver, he doth justly challenge our audience, our obedience. Even so, Lord, teach us to hear and obey thee as our Teacher ; to love thee and believe in thee as our Reconciler; and, as the eternal Son of thy Father, to adore thee.

The light caused wonder in the disciples, but the voice astonishment; they are fallen down upon their faces. Who can blame a mortal man to be thus affected with the voice of his Maker ? yet this word was but plausible and hortatory. O God, how shall flesh and blood be other than swallowed

up

with the horror of thy dreadful sentence of death! The lion shall

roar, who shall not be afraid ? How shall those that have slighted the sweet voice of thy invitations, call to the rocks to hide them from the terror of thy judgments!

The God of mercies pities our infirmities: I do not hear our Saviour say, Ye lay sleeping one while upon the earth, now ye lie astonished; ye could neither wake to see, nor stand to hear; now lie still and tremble: but he graciously touches and comforts them, “Arise, fear not." That voice which shall once raise them up out of the earth, might well raise them up from it ; that hand which by the least touch restored sight, limbs, life, might well restore the spirits of the dismayed. Ó Saviour, let that sovereign hand of thine touch us, when we lie in the trances of our griefs, in the bed of our securities, in the grave of our sins, and we shall arise.

They, looking up, saw no man, save Jesus alone,” and that doubtless in his wonted form ; all was now

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