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with the just. Here the righteous, most beautiful with the brightness of virtue, stand serene in their looks, and full of hope, at the bar of God, a glad company; whilst the wicked, con founded at the remembrance of their lives, and terrified with the thought of what is come, hang down their heads, inwardly cursing the day of their birth, and wishing a thousand and a thousand rimes, that the rocks would fall on them, and the mountains cover them. But in vain. For there is no escaping, nor appealing from this tribunal. Behold, with mercy shining in his countenance, and mild majesty, the King invites the righteous to take possession of the kingdom prepared for them from the creation of the world. But with angry frowns he drives the wicked away into punishment that shall have no end, no refreshment, no alleviation. Everlasting punishment! O the rejoicing! O the lamenting! The triumphant shouting of ascending saints, caught up in the clouds to be ever with the Lord! The horror, the despair, the hideous shriekings of the damned, when they see hell gaping, hear the devils roating, and feel the unspeakable torment of an awakened conscience. Now they bitterly cry for death, but death flies from them. Now they envy the righteous, and gladly would be such, but all too late !--Lo, the Son of God bows his head, the signal for his servants, the heavens and the earth to depart, their work being at an end. See! with a terrible thundering noise the heavens pass away, the elements melt with fervent heat, and the earth, and all the works that be there. in, are burnt up. The frame of nature dissolves! Earth, seas, skies, all vanish together, making way for the new heaven and the new earth. It appears! The happy land of promise, formed by the hand of God, large, beautiful, and pleasant, a fit habitation for his favourite people, and long expected by them as their country. Here all the righteous, great and small, are assembled, making one vast blessed society, even the kingdom and city of God. Here God manifests himself in a peculiar manner to his servants, and wipes away all tears from off their faces, and adorns them with the beauties of immortality, glorious to behold. Here they drink fulness of joys, from the chrystal river proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb, and eat of the tree of life. And there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain. But every one happy in himself, imparts the blessing to his fellows; for mutual love warms every breast, love like that which subsists between the Father and the Son, mutual conference on the sublimest subjects refreshes every spirit with the divine repasts of wisdom, and joys flowing from the tenderest friendships, fixed on the stable foundation of an inmoveable virtue, gladden every heart. All the seryants of God serve him in perfect holiness, see his face, feel transports of joy, and by the reflection of his glory, shine as the
sun in the firmament for ever and ever. And there shall be no night there, and they need no candle, neither the light of the. sun, for the Lord God giveth them light, and they reign for ever and ever, Happy day! happy place! and happy people! O blest hope of joining that glorious society! All the servants of God shall serve him, and see his face: Serve God, and see his face! What an immensity of felicity is here! Imagination faints with the fatigue of stretching itself, to comprehend the vast, the unmeasurable thought !
Jesus fitly inculcated the necessity of self-denial, from the consideration of a judgment to come, the most awful and important event in the whole compass of our duration, and which the word of God directs us to believe will be attended with such circumstances as those just now described. His intention was, that we should fortify ourselves by this reflection, that it is eligible to endure a little now, when that little will preserve us from enduring unspeakably more hereafter, and lead us to the possession of intia nite and endless joys. Wherefore, if our great Master should ever honour any of us so far as to call us forth to suffer for him, let us do it bravely, and be true to God, to religion, and to our own souls ; having our eye always steadily fixed on the bright crown, the white robes, the triumphant palms, by which the valiant and illustrious band of martyrs are distinguished from all the other inhabitants of the abodes above. But because the doctrine of Christ's being constituted universal Judge, might appear to the disciples incredible at that time, on account of his humiliation, he told them, that some of them should not taste of death, till they saw him coming in his kingdom, and by that had not only a proof of his being the Judge, but an example of the judgment he was to execute. Mark ix. l. And he said unto them, Matt. xvi. 28. Verily I say unto you, there be some standing here which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man * coming in his kingdom, (Luke, till they see the kingdom of God, Mark, come with power.) Do not doubt that there shall be a day of judgment, when I shall come clothed with divine Majesty, and attended by millions of angels, to render unto men according as their actions in this life have been good or bad. There are some here present that shall not die, till they see a faint repre
* Ver. 28. Coming in bis kingdom.] Raphelius would have the verse thus translated : Shall not taste of death, till they shall see the Son of man going into lis kingdom: (rexouceyor sy on Saoiaua aut). For he understands it of the disciples, beholding Christ's ascension into heaven, where he took possession of his mediatorial kingdom, and which without doubt was a very proper proof of his coming again to judge the world. That the word sexi significs to go, as well as to come, Raphelius proves from Acts xxviii. 14. Lake ii. 44. See on Matt. xvi. 5.63. And the use of av for es, he supports by John v. 4. Luke xxiii. 42. Nevertheless, the common translation is more natural and just, is appears from the parallel passages.
sentation of the glory in which I will come, and an eminent example of this my power exercised on the men of the present age. Accordingly, the disciples saw their Master coming in his kingdom, when they were witnesses of his transfiguration, resurrection, and ascension; had the miraculous gifts of the Spirit 2011ferred upon them; and lived to see Jerusalem, with the Jewish state destroyed, and the gospel propagated through the greatest part of the then known world.
V LXXII. Jesus is transfigured upon an high mountain in the
country of Cæsarea Philippi, and foretells his own sufferings and resurrection a third time. See $ 70, 73. Matt. xvii. 1,-13. Mark ix. 2.-13. Luke ix. 28,—36.
About six days, if we reckon exclusively, and about eight days, if we reckon inclusively, after our Lord had accepted the title of Messiah, happening to be with his disciples and the mula titude in the country of Cæsarea Philippi, he left them in the plain, and went up into an exceeding high mountain, with Peter the most zealous, James the most active, (see $ 37.) and John the most beloved disciple. In this solitude, while Jesus was praying with the three, he was transfigured. Luke ix. 28. * And it cume to pass, abont on eight days after these sayings, (Matth. Mark, after six days) he took Peter, and John, and James, and + went up into a mountain (Mark, an high mountain apart by
themselves) * themselves to prayi Luke ix. 29. And to the prayed, the faa " "shion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white
* Luke 28. And it came to pass about an eight days after these sagirgs.] What I uke calls cight days, is by Mathew and dark termed six days. The like differences are to be met with in profane histurians. For instance, Suetonius Gaiba, c. 17. tells us that Piso belore he was murdered, had lived six days in the character of Cesar; and Piso himscit in his speech to the " soldiers mentions the same space of time: Sextus dies agitur commilitones ex quo, &c., “it is now the sixth day since I was adopted Cesar."' Tacit. Hisi. lib. i. cap, 29. Neve theless, the same Tacitus in the 48th chapter of his first book, tells us that he was Cesar only four days. And chapter 19th of the same book, that there were only four days between bris being creared César and his veath. See on Matt. xii. 40. 48.
+ Ibid. Went up into a mountain.) Tradition has generally conferred the honour fine transtiguration on mount Tabor, famed in ancient history for the victory which Laborah and Barak gained over Sisera, general of Jabir, king of Canaan, Midges iv. 14. Keland, in his Palæst. Illustrat. lib. 1. cap 51, observes, that this tradition took its rise from Mark ix, 2. where it is said that Jesus carried Peter, James, and John (515 ogos v ar xat'sger plores) into an high mountain apart by themsdves. It seems the words xat' idley, were thought to describe the position of the mountain. And because Tabor is very high, and stands in the plain of Esdraelon, at a distance from other hills, they thought it could not be said of no other mountain so properly, that it is an high mountain by itself. Hence the tracnion of our Lord's bring transfigured on | abcr might arise ; especially as this mountain is rot only bich, but verdant also and woody, and of a bra iful regular form, according to the account given of it, by Adampanus, a writer of the seventh ( tuy, De loc, sacris, lib. xi. Nevertheless, the
erder order of the history determines the transfiguration to some mountain not far from Cesaréa Philippi, rather than to Tabor, which was situated in the south of Galilee. For after the transfguiation, when Jesus had cured an epileptic boy, it is said, Mark ix. 30. that they deparied and passed througb Galiler, (T4587029v0rto dice tns Caninaias) and then came to Capernaum. Now, it is not very protable that the evangelist would in this manner have narrated our Lord's journey from the mount of transfiguration to CaperDaum, if that mountain had been in Galilee, the region in which Capernaum stood; especially if, as the continuators of Chemnitius's Harmowy affirm, the word naguEEVEG3al signifies celeriter, latenter, et quasi in cursus transire. Yet upon the faith of the tradition mentioned above, the Christians l'éry tariy hult a monastery and church on the top of Tabor, which • Adamnanus says, spreads liself into an ample plain surrounded with a wood. The church was dedicated to Jesus, and his two attendants, Moses and Elias. And frein 2 Pet. i. 18. they called the mountain itself, Age mons, the holy mountain.
and glistering, (Mark, And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as show; 50 as 'no fuller on earth enn white them.) Mat. thew'says, xvii. 2. And he was * transfigured before them, and his face aid shine as the sun, and his raiment was white ds the "ligħt. In 'the transfiguration, the face of Jesus became radiant and dazzling; for it shone like the sun in its unclouded meridian clearness, and so was incomparably more glorious than the face of Moses at the giving of the law. “At the same time 'his gar"ments acquired a snowy whiteness, far beyond any thing that human att could produce; a whiteness bright as light, and sweetly Tefulgent, but in a degree inferior to the radiancy of his counte
hance. Thus for a little while, during his state of humiliation, - the Son of God permitted the glory of his divinity to break
forth, as it were, and shine through the veil of his 'humana na'ture, with which it was covered. Moreover, to 'heighten the
grandeur and soleninity of the scene, Moses, the great lawgiver
of the Jews, and Elijah, who had been a 'most zealous defender ; of the law, appeared in the beauties of immortality, wherewith
the blest above are adorned. Mark ix. 4. And there appeared unto them Elias with Moses; and they were talking with him. · Luke ix. 30. And behold there talked with Jesus two men, which were Moses and Elias. 31. Who appeared in glory, and spoke of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem. 32. But Peter, and they that were with him, were heavy with sleep; and * when they were awake, they saw his glory, and the two men that *stood with him. It seems the three disciples were so unlucky as not to see ihe transfiguration begin; for happening to fall asleep in the time of prayer, they lost that pleasure, together with a great part of the conversation which the wisest lawgiver, and most zealous prophet that ever lived, had with the only begotten Son of God, during his residence on earth. In general, however, they heard as much as mucie them understand, that the subject they talked of was his meritorious sufferings and death, by which he was to redeem the world, a subject that had given great of. fence to the disciples, and above all to Peter, a few days before this. Probably the streams of light which issued from Christ's body, especially his countenance, and the voices of Moses and Elias talking with him, made such an impression on the senses of the disciples, though buried in sleep, that they awaked. Lifting up their eyes, therefore, the three must have been amazed beyond measure, when they beheld their Master in the ntajesty of his transfigured state, and his illustrious attendants, .whom they might know to be Moses and Elias, by revelation, or by what they said, or by the appellations which Jesus gave them in speaking to thm. Peter, particularly, being both afraid and glad at the glorious sight, was in the utmost confusion. Nevertheless, the forwardness of his disposition prompted him to say something; he spake, not knowing will what he said. Mark ix. 5. And (Luks, it came to pass as they departed from him) Peter answered and said to Jesus, Master, (Mati. Lord) it is good for us to be here, and let us make here three tabernacles, (Matt. If thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles) one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. 6. For he wist not what to say, (Luke, not knowing what he said) for they were sore afraid. The apostles, both before and after the transfigura. tion, were with their Master in many delightful spots of the country, heard many ravishing sermons, and saw many wonderful miracles; yet in no place, and on no occasion but this, were they ever heard to say, “ It is good for us to be here." Peter fancied no doubt, that Jesus had now assumed his proper dignity, that Elias was come according to Malachi's prediction, and that the kingdom was at length begun. Wherefore, in the first hurry of his thoughts, he proposed to provide some accommodation for Jesus and his august assistants, intending perhaps to bring the rest of the disciples, with the multitude from the plain below, to behold his matchless glory. He thought this was better for his Master than to be killed at Jerusalem, concerning which, Jesus had been talking with the messengers from heaven, and the design of which, Peter could not comprehend. But, Matt. xvii. 5. While he yet spake, * behold a bright cloud overshadowed them :
* Ver. 3 Transfigured.] The word PLETELO Pwta, in Matthew, implies either that there was a transformation made in the substance of his body, according to the import of the word in Ovid, and other writers, (see Phil. iii. 21.) or that the outward appearance only of his body was altered, as seems most probable, from the manner in which Luke has expressed it.