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On the Transfiguration.
MATTHEW xvii. I- 9.
And, after fix Days, Jefus taketh Peter, James, and John his Brother, and bringeth them up into a high Mountain apart, and was transfigured before them, and his Face did fhine as the Sun, and his Raiment was white as the Light. And behold, there appeared unto them Mofes and Elias talking with him. Then an fwered Peter, and faid unto Jefus, Lord, it is good for us to be here; if thou wilt, let us make here three Tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Mofes, and one for Elias. While he yet Spake, behold, a bright Cloud overshadowed them: And D 4
behold, a Voice out of the Cloud, which faid, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleafed; hear ye him. And, when the Difciples beard it, they fell on their Face, and were fore afraid. And Jefus came and touched them, and faid, Arife, and be not afraid. And, when they had lift up their Eyes, they faw no Man, Jave Jefus only. And, as they came down from the Mountain, Jefus charged them faying, Tell the Vifion to no Man, until the Son of Man be rifen again from the Dead.
HERE 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 Evangelifts, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, between whom there is an admirable Harmony in the Relation they give us of this wonderful Tranfaction. I have chofen to confider the Account the Evangelift Matthew gives of it, and fhall, as I go along, obferve any particular Circumftances taken Notice of by the other Evangelists, which are not here fo expreffly mentioned.
That we may have a more distinct View of this Subject, First, I fhall confider the Manner in which the Evangelifts introduce
this Account of our Saviour's Transfiguration, or what the Things were that immediately preceded it.
Secondly, I fhall confider the Defcription that is given of the Transfiguration itself, and the most remarkable Circumftances that attended it.
Thirdly, The laft Thing I fhall obferve is the Conclufion of it, and the Injunction laid by our Saviour upon his Difciples, not to discover it to any Man till after his Refurrection.
Firft, Let us confider the Manner in which the Evangelifts introduce this Account of our Saviour's Transfiguration, or what thofe Things were that immediately preceded it. And this the rather deferves to be confidered, because all the Evangelifts obferve the fame Order in their Narration of what preceded this wonderful Tranfaction. They all give us an Account of a remarkable Difcourfe he had with his Difciples, and then obferve that within a few Days after this his Transfiguration happened.
As to the Difcourfe here referred to, we are informed that after Peter had made that open and excellent Confeffion that Jefus was the Chrift the Son of the living God; and after our Saviour had declared his Approbation of it, and given an ho
nourable Testimony to Peter himself, con cerning which fee the 15th and following Verfes of the preceding Chapter; from that Time forth began Jefus to shew unto bis Difciples, how that he must go unto Jerufalem, and fuffer many Things of the Elders, and chief Priefts, and Scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third Day. Ver. 21. When Peter had fo openly declared, in the Name of all the Difciples, their Belief that he was the Chrift, he thought it neceffary plainly to let them know the grievous Sufferings he was to endure, both that they might not be furprised 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 Jews, expected a Meffiab that should appear in all the Glory and Grandeur of a mighty temporal Prince, and should advance the People of Ifrael to a Dominion over all Nations; and very probably they flattered themselves that, as they were his immediate Minifters 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 fpeak of his Sufferings and Death, which was fo contrary to all the Notions and Expectations they had formed, began to rebuke
him, faying, Be it far from thee, Lord; this fhall not be unto thee. But he received the moft fevere Reproof for it that our Lord ever gave to any of his Difciples: He faid unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan, thou art an Offence unto me: For thou favoureth not the Things that be of God, but thofe that be of Men. Ver. 22, 23. And then we are told, Ver. 24, that upon this Occafion he faid unto his Difciples, and, as the Evangelift Mark obferves, 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 his Crofs and follow me. Whereby he acquainted them, that, if they would approve themfelves to be his faithful Difciples, who fhould fhare 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 Mafter. They must be ready not only to mortify their most beloved Lufts, 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 whofoever will fave his Life fhall lofe it: And whofoever will lofe his Life, for my Sake, fhall find it. Ver. 25. (i. e. whofoever will think by denying me to preferve this prefent