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my comeliness which I had put upon thee, saith the Lord God." (Ezek. xvi. 14.) The highest saint in glory is no more so than he is beheld in Christ. The whole church, in one aggregate of numbers, is but as so many cyphers without Christ. It is this Mighty One, at the head, gives both entity and importance to the whole church of God. So infinitely blessed and gracious was this voice from heaven of our most blessed God and Father to the person and character of our most glorious Christ, when he said; "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him."
I detain the reader here, and take him by the hand, to withdraw with him for a moment from the contemplating our most glorious Christ under views so bright and dazzling, to retire into the inquiry both of his bosom, and my own; that as the church is so graciously accepted in Christ, as the beloved, what apprehension we have each for himself, of our being "accepted in the Beloved?" If the acceptation of the church is solely in Christ, and the whole body, and every individual of that body, are all as they are and were from all eternity, chosen in him, adopted in him, accepted in him, have grace in him; (2 Tim. i. 9.) and eternal life in him; (1 John v. 11.) then it will follow, that both our persons and our prayers; all communion and fellowship; a daily access to the throne, and boldness to enter into the holiest now by faith, and into heaven itself hereafter in glory, can only be as we are in Him. The great and momentous question therefore is; as God beholds the church in Christ, and is well pleased in the view, and proclaims his perfect approbation of the same; are we well pleased in beholding Christ as God beholds him; and find a perfect confidence in him for acceptance in a full assurance of faith, in that he who is God's beloved, is our beloved; and he with whom God is well
pleased, we are well pleased? If so, our most glorious Christ is not only in our view the "altogether lovely and the chiefest among ten thousand; " but we behold him in his divine character as God and man Mediator; the visible Jehovah; the Executor and Administrator of all the purposes, designs, councils; yea, and the thoughts of God, in all the departments of nature, providence, grace and glory. As such we know him in his gracious administration to us. We contemplate him in all his relative manifestations, what he is in himself, in his greatness, and fulness, and completeness, and suitability to our persons, as we are in him; what he hath done for us; what he is for ever doing for us; and what he will do for us to all eternity. We feel moreover a pleasure of an inexpressibly sweet and endearing kind, from the relation in which we stand to him. For while he is the beloved Son of God, he fills up all that is near and dear to us in every connection of the charities of life. He is our Head and Husband; our Redeemer, Brother, Friend; yea, if possible, yet more personal; "for we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones." (Eph. v. 30.) If the Lord Jesus Christ be all this and more in our view; then have we a well-grounded assurance and a good hope through grace, that when he shall come in all his glory to make a renewed manifestation of himself in still brighter displays of majesty than in the mount of transfiguration; "we shall have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming." (1 John ii. 28.) And the exultation of our souls will be in words like the prophet: “Lo, this is our God, we have waited for him, and he will save us this is the Lord, we have waited for him, we will be glad, and rejoice in his salvation." (Isa. xxv. 9.) But while we look forward with those delightful hopes from a spiritual knowledge of Christ, and an assured interest in Christ; what a sad prospect
doth the present day of a Christ despising generation manifest all around! Surely, the horizon of what is called the church, never lowered with a more gloomy aspect! What multitudes are there who live as "without God, and without Christ in the world!" Into what house or family can we direct our search for the discovery of the true followers of our most glorious Christ? But I turn from the cheerless contemplation. It may serve however for use both to the writer and reader, if the Lord by his grace so favour the prospect of the evil beheld in the present day around, as to induce the closer scrutiny into our own hearts. And as the Lord saith, that at such times," he will search Jerusalem with candles, and punish the men that are settled on their lees;" (Zeph. i. 12.) we should do well to look into our most secret chambers; and as we walk through ourselves, pause at every corner, that nothing may secrete itself under the form of godliness." And conscious that the Lord alone is competent to the discovery, I would for myself, say in the words of the Lord in Scripture: "Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlast ́ing." (Psalm cxxxix. 23, 24.)
I cannot forbear recalling to the reader's attention, (what I only just glanced at before in the history,) the very interesting view this scene of our Lord's transfiguration had upon the mind of the apostle Peter. Nothing can afford a higher attestation of the importance of the thing itself, than that the Holy Ghost, at the close of Peter's ministry, should warm his soul with the recollection of it; and cause him to leave behind him for the perpetual consolation of the church in all ages, his dying sentiments on the subject. The manner in which he introduced it is particularly striking; and the cause which he had in view in relating it to the church, both shew for what intent
God the Holy Ghost was pleased to direct the apostle's pen to commit it into the Scripture record, Knowing (said he) that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me. Moreover, I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease, to have these things always in remembrance." And then we are very blessedly shewn the view Peter himself had of the gracious condescension of our most glorious Christ, in the transfiguration of himself in the mount; and the Lord's intention that all his church should be acquainted with it: "For we have not (said he) 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. 16-18.)
Let the reader be told that a period of more than thirty years had passed between the scene of glory and the apostle's now rehearsing the particulars of it with such delight and joy. Let the reader farther observe the sense the apostle had in his own soul of the infinite glories of Christ's person; and the infinite interest which the Lord's people have both in his person and in his salvation. Here are no cunningly devised fables," no arts, no contrivances to amuse men with shadowy representations. Here was the open display of Christ's glory; and we that were with him in the holy mount were eye-witnesses of his majesty. Oh! the blessedness of the thing itself! The infinite condescension of our most gracious Christ; and his infinite goodness in causing such records to be made of his glory.
And let the reader not overlook one sweet part în
this great volume of grace and mercy, I mean the apostle's own personal enjoyment of it. For, beside the overwhelming testimony the whole body of the church derive from it, we must, to do justice to the divine goodness, mark also the Lord's special favour to Peter. The Lord would have Peter before his death brought back to the recollection of it in full streams of refreshment. The scene shall be as lively in his memory as if no time had intervened. The Lord caused it to be as a flood tide in his mind; and caused it to rise above all the high-water marks of all other ebbings or flowings in the man's memory. And such bringings to remembrance," (as some of the Psalms in their titles render it,) were not unfrequent in the lives of holy men of old, when dying. Jacob had the remembrance of his Bethel manifestation when dying, though so many years had fled from the one time to the other. (Gen. xlviii. 3.) And Moses, when blessing Israel, could not forget to mention the good will of the Lord to him in the bush. (Deut. xxxii. 16.) And let the reader stand assured that the instances in later ages, yea, and even to the present hour, are not uncommon in the church of our most glorious Christ. However time may have worn furrows upon the memory in other things, in those past manifestations of the Lord to his people, the tablet appears brightened up upon many occasions as though the engraving had been just made; and especially in dying moments, neither the cold clammy sweat of the face, nor the pale quivering state of the lips, can prevent the saint of God from rejoicing in the recollection of past manifestations, and the sure expectation of and rejoicing in hope.
I only add a prayer, that the glorious Person whose grace was so great upon this occasion in the mount, may grant to all his people to be heart-witnesses of his presence here, till we come to be eyewitnesses of his Majesty in heaven.