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with him; and under this impression, Peter immediately addressed himself to Jesus, and said, Lord, it is good for us to be here; and if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles, one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.” The 'full meaning of which exclamation was, “ What greater happiness, Lord, can we experience than to continue here in the presence of three such great and excel·lent persons! Here then let us for ever remain! Here let us erect three tents, for thee, for Moses, and Elias, that you may all make this the constant place of your abode, and that we may always continue under the protection and government, and UNITED EMPIRE of our three illustrious lords and masters, whose sovereign laws and commands we are equally bound to obey!”
The answer to this extraordinary proposal was instantly given both by action and by words. “While he yeț spake, behold a bright cloud overshadowed them; and, behold, a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased: HEAR YE HIM.”
The CLOUD is the well-known token of the divine presence under the law: many instances of it occur in the Old Testament, but more particularly at the giving of the law on Mount Sinai. - On the mountain where our Saviour was transfigured, a new law was declared to have taken place; and therefore God again appears in a cloud, But there is one re
. markable difference betwen these two manifestations of the divine presence. On Mount Sinai the cloud was dark and thick : " and there were thunders and lightnings, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud, and all the people that were in the camp trembled *.” At the transfiguration, on the contrary, the cloud was bright, the whole scene was luminous and transporting, and nothing was heard but the mild paternal voice of the Almighty expressing his delight in his beloved Son. These striking differences in the two appearances, evidently point out the different tempers of the two dispensations ; of which, the former, from its severity, was more calculated to excite terror; the latter, from its gentleness, to inspire love.
appearances * Exod. xix. 16,
This circumstance alone, therefore, indicated a happy, change in the divine @economy; but the gracious words which issued from the cloud most clearly explained the meaning of what was passing before the eyes of the disciples, “ This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased: HEAR YE HIM.” “ This is my
, Son, not as Moses and all the prophets were, my, servants. Him, and him anly, you are now to hear. He is from henceforth to be your lord, your legislator, and your king. The evangelical law being established, the ceremonial : law must cease; and Moses and the PROPHETS must give way to CHRIST.” With this declarațion, the conclusion of the whole scene : on the mountain perfectly harmonizes. Moses and Elias instantly disr appear, and when the disciples lift up “
their eyes, they see no man saye Jesus only.” The former objects of their veneration are no more. Christ remains alone their unrivalled and undisputed sovereign.
In support of this interpretation it may be further observed, that there was reason to expect about that time, some such declaration as this respecting the cessation of the Mosaical law. For St. Luke informs us, that the “ law, and the
prophets were until John;" that is, they were to continue in force till John the Baptist had (as our Lord expresses it) restored all things, had preached those great doctrines of repentance and redemption by the blood of Christ, by which men were restored to a right state of mind, and the favour of God; till he had thus prepared the way for the Messiah, and publicly announced the kingdom of God; and then they were to be superseded by the Christian dispensation. Accordingly; not long after the death of John, the scene of the transfiguration took place; and this great revolution, this substitution of a new system for the old one, was made knowil in that remarkable manner to the three disciples. This secondary meaning here assigned to the vision on the Mount, will assist us in explaining an injunction of our Lord to his disciples, for which, though other reasons have been assigned, yet they are not, I think, altogether satisfactory.
In the 9th verse we are told, that as they came down from the Mount, Jesus charged the disciples, saying,
66 Tell the vision to no man, till the Son of man be risen again from the dead."
If the only intent of the transfiguration had been to represent, by an expressive action, our Lord's resurrection and exó altation, and a future day of retribution, it is not easy to assign a sufficient reason why this injunction of secrecy, till after his resurrection, should have been given; because he had already foretold his resurrection to his disciples *, and he also apprised them, before his death, of his coming in glory to judge the worldt: It
* Chap. xvi. 21.
+ Chap. xxv.