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regenerated child of God, the most profound reverence and godly fear; "that we may know the things which are freely given to us of God,” (1 Cor. ii. 12.) Of such magnitude is the study of the transfiguration in the mount of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord (if it be his blessed will) do both by writer and reader as he did by Moses at the bush, give grace, that as we enter the sacred enclosure, we may "put off the shoe from off the feet, for the place on which we stand is holy ground," And, while at every step we take, we behold with unceasing solemnity this great sight, which the Lord has made known unto us; we may feel his gracious and enlightening presence with us, "the savour of whose name is as ointment poured forth."
And here, as we approach in imagination the hallowed spot, let it be observed what "a cloud of witnesses" the sacred record itself hath to endear it to our regard. The Lord was pleased to bring back from the other world, (which will be more particularly noticed when we enter into that part of the subject,) two men to be present with the apostles as spectators and witnesses of this glorious manifestation of the Lord in the mount. And so infinitely important was it considered by the Holy Ghost to the church, that he has caused three of the Evangelists to record minutely the wonderful event. We have it here by Matthew; again by Mark, ix. 2; and again by Luke, ix. 28. And the fourth Evangelist, John, who was present at the transaction, although he hath not as circumstantially related the history itself as the former have done; yet to shew how much his mind was occupied in the contemplation of it, both at the opening of his gospel, and also of his epistle, makes the glory of Christ's person the datum of all that followed through both. In the one he saith, "And the word was made flesh, and dwelt among us; and we beheld his glory (the
glory as of the only begotten of the Father) full of grace and truth." (John i. 14.) And in the other, he opens in those blessed words: "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled of the Word of Life: (for the Life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested unto us.) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you that your joy may be full," (John i. 1-4.) And Peter no less, who was one of those highly favoured servants of our Lord, whom Jesus took with him for this purpose into the mount: when in the prospect of his death approaching, though an interval of full thirty years had passed from the time of the transfiguration of Christ; yet the aged apostle found his soul so warmed in the recollection of it, that he brake out in the most animated manner language could express; shewing thereby what an abiding savour had all along, from the first, been upon his mind, and which had never left him, " For," said he, " we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eye witnesses of his majesty. 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. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.' (2 Pet. i. 16, 17, 18.) The apostle James hath not left any record of his upon the occasion to the church; nor indeed of any other writing. But this was because he could not. At a very early date after the
church was formed, Herod killed him with the sword, (Acts xii. 2.) But what is deficient in the want of James's testimony to Christ's transfiguration, is amply compensated by these other witnesses the Lord raised up in the church to his personal glory, as he appeared to them after his ascension. The Lord Jesus shewed himself from heaven to Stephen, just at his martyrdom, Acts vii. 55. To Paul at his conversion, Acts xxvi. 13-15. And again to John in his banishment, Rev. i. 10-18.
I pause here, to request the reader not to overlook the special and personal grace of the Lord Jesus, which in every instance was intended thereby, for the perpetual comfort of his people in all ages subsequent to these events. Indeed, I would beg of him to note it down in the most durable memorandums of his heart, in order to raise from it many a sweet instruction, as occasion may arise, for his own refreshment through life. Depend upon it, that all the manifestations which the Lord Jesus made of himself, to any of his people, and especially before the close of Scripture, had this blessed object in view from them; namely, that when Scripture went no farther in the history of our Lord, because no farther was needful, the Lord's people should call to mind those precious love tokens of Jesus, to one and to another; and in that calling to mind should take to themselves the comfort of all; that what the Lord then did openly, was meant as a sample of what the Lord is always doing privately; because the love of his heart to all his people is alike the same, and in every generation. And beyond a doubt, the Lord's spiritual dealings and the discoveries of himself are as much carried on in the present hour as of old, when they were for the establishment of the church more openly made; and will continue so until the whole church of God is brought home to heaven. And the certainty
of this blessed truth (for most blessed it is) is founded on our Lord's own words. For, speaking to his disciples on the subject, and through them to the whole church in all ages to follow, just before his sufferings, he said, "Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more: but ye see me; and because I live, ye shall live also." (John xiv. 19.) So that this sight of Christ, which is a spiritual sight and apprehension of him, belongs to the Lord's people in common; and which becomes a decided mark of distinction from all carnal persons, whether among the
professors or the profane.
If happily the reader be of the household of faith, he will do well to follow the advice which Paul gave to Timothy upon a similar occasion: "Meditate,"
said the old saint, "upon these things; give thyself wholly to them, that thy profiting may appear to all.” (1 Tim. iv. 15.) The Lord's people, and especially the little ones, are too apt to think that holy men of old possessed advantages which the faithful in modern times do not enjoy. But this is a mistake. In all periods of the church the Lord's love is the same. And the manifestations of his love are the same, in being equally blessed, however more privately administered. We have all the benefit of their ministry in those records left behind them by the gracious ordination of God the Holy Ghost. And there is a sense in which we have more advantages than they had; namely, in that we have seen many of the prophecies fulfilled, which they only delivered. And our Lord's promise brings unceasing consolation on this and every other ground:-" The time cometh," said Jesus, "when I shall no more speak to you in proverbs, but I shall shew you plainly of the Father." (John xvi. 2.) Blessed be our most glorious Christ, every redeemed and regenerated child, taught of God, knoweth this in his own heart, and to his own
soul's joy. The Son of God hath shewed, and doth shew, plainly of the Father. And the sweet and gracious effect is as the Lord of life and glory promised: "At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you."
As we enter the holy mount of our Lord's transfiguration, and in idea are contemplating the wonders there displayed; we shall do well to call to remembrance, how the Lord had previously prepared the minds of his disciples for the expectation of this glorious scene; and more especially what the Lord Jesus taught them to apprehend of the revelation itself, as a sample of his second coming. "Verily I say unto you," said Christ," There be some standing here which shall not taste of death till they see the Son of man coming in his glory.” (Mat xvi. 28.)
This is a great point for us to regard, as we approach to the contemplation of this glorious manifestation of our most glorious Christ, in the days of his flesh. By the Son of man coming in his glory," implied his own personal glory; and his own personal glory, as God and man in one. Not the essential glory of the divine nature, which the Son of God, as God, hath in common with the Father and the Holy Ghost. "For no man hath seen God at any time." (John i. 18.) And in the essence of his being, "no man hath seen nor can see." (1 Tim. vi. 16.) But the very appellation here given to Christ: yea, taken by Christ himself, "the Son of man," limits the revelation here made of Christ, to his mediatorial glory.
And we shall do well to consider also, as we approach the contemplation of this glorious scene in our spiritual imagination, what a gracious act it was, in our most gracious God and Saviour, to make such a blessed display of himself, in this compound of God and man, in one person; and in the very way and manner in which he will appear when he comes upon