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I. fome distant periodo. The direct import seems to be this: “ some of those standing here shall, before their death, be favoured with a sight of the kingdom of God; but the rest shall not, in this life, be spectators of such an appearance.” Clearer terms were not used, nor the names mentioned of the chosen Three, who were to be thus honoured, lest the others should be moved with envy; and for the same reason probably, they were charged to tell the vision to no man, till the Son of man was risen from the dead; when the descent of the Holy Spirit, which was quickly to ensue, would enlighten their minds, and fubdue their prejudices.
• Hæc autem locutio non guftabunt mortem donec videant mihi videtur proverbialis, et denotare rem certò et proximo tempore futuram. Lamy in loc.- “ That inevitable stroke, which may fall any day and which never is far off, thall not happen, before, &c." This seems to be confirmed by what we read Luke ii. 26. of Sinec ; to whom it was revealed “ that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Chrift." Neither the age of this devout person nor the time of this revelation to him is mentioned ; but the whole tenor of the story evidently suggests this interpretation : " That old as he was, and though, in the ordinary course of providence, there was but a step between him and death; ftill, nevertheless, he should live to behold the promised Messiah.” Had he not already reached, if not passed, the usual term of human life, instead of “Nunc dimittis,” the more natural wih would have been, that he might live to be a hearer of the heavenly discourses, and spectator of the miracles of the glorious child, of whose birth it had pleased God to forewara him.
O mihi tam longæ maneat pars ultima vitæ,
risen p St. Peter, mentioning this appearance, speaks of it as a manifestation of “power,” of “ majesty, of “honour," and of “ glory.” See 2 Pet. i. 16-18. He seems also to allude to it in his first Ep. c. v. 1.
In the mean time, this promise, graciously subjoined to the preceding predictions of calamnities and perils, was a source of consolation, as its accomplishment evinced, and an assurance that their Lord was able to reward, as well as to punish, to the uttermost. It was evidently a display both of power and of glory”. The great Lawgiver of Israel, and the Restorer of the law, the man Moses, with whom the Lord spake face to face, and the prophet Elijah, who was caught up to heaven in a fiery chariot; these personages, whom the Lord of old so highly honoured, now appeared as the servants of the Son of man, and talked with him. Of a future state God had never left nien without sufficient evi. dence. The respective translations of Enoch and Elijah were proofs of this, in times when proof was most wanted, among the sons of riot before the flood, and when idolatry pre
vailed most in Israel. But when the Son of God assumed our nature, heaven, as it were, came down upon mount Tabor, and glorified humanity was made visible to eyes of flesh. In Moses. were represented the generations of the dead, and in Elias, who died not, those who shall be alive at the last day. When Moses on mount Sinai talked with God, his countenance was so bright that the Israelites could not steadfastly behold it .
behold it 9. When St. Stephen was arraigned before the Sanhedrim, they “ saw his face as it had been the face of an angel".” If such is the effect of God's blessed countenance, whenever he vouchsafes a glimpse of it in this life; what shall be the radiance, how ineffable the bliss, when we Thall behold him face to face, and enjoy him for evermore!
9 2 Cor. ii. 7. with Exod. xxxiv. 29, 30. It is in like man. ner supposed by some, and with great probability, that the countenance of our Lord fhone, when he descended from the mount. See Dr. Townson on the Gospels, p.8. n. *. and Whitby and Doddridge on Mark ix. 15. to whom he refers.
I A&ts vi. 15.
s See 1 Cor. xiii. 2 Cor. iii. 18. In support of the above interpretation of Matt, xvi. 28. another argument might have been offered; which, as it was necessary not to lengthen the sermon, I shall beg leave to face here. Our blessed Sa. viour, on one or other occasion, foretold to his disciples almost all the greater events of his life and his death. Is it likely then, that the Transfiguration, which whether we con.
Another advent of the Son of man is men. tioned by St. Matthew, previously to that which we have been considering ; but it relates, I apprehend, to a subsequent period. When our Lord sent forth the twelve to preach the kingdom of God, he not only gave them ample instructions for that purpofe, but likewise forewarned them of the dangers that awaited them, on this as well as on future occafions, in his service. For the prefent he permitted, or rather enjoined them, when persecuted in one city, to flee to another ; and he was pleased to add this as a reason: “ For verily I say unto you, ye fhall
fider it simply in itself, or as the attestation of God to his be loved Son, is undoubtedly the most august appearance recorded of the ministry of our Lord; is it likely, that this manifestation of his glory should have been left without its proper prediction, to happen as if it had been unforeseen? This, I imagine, will hardly be fupposed; and yet if the transfiguration is not alluded to in the passage before us, I think it is not at all foretold in the Gospels. Whether the words wete, or, which is more probable, were not understood by the apostles at the time, is not material; for they did not understand the much plainer prophecies of their Lord concerning his death, but fancied them, as it seems, to have fome figurative signifi. cation. It was sufficient therefore if the prediction was expressed in such a manner, that either the event itself, or the subsequent illumination of the Holy Spirit, should lead them to the true intention of the Speaker ; and that, it is hoped, has been shewn, with some probability, to have been his then approaching Transfiguration.
not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be comet.'
It may help us perhaps to ascertain the true meaning of this passage, if we see, first of all, to what it does not belong; and it cannot be referred to the destruction of Jerusalem. Several, indeed, of the preceding verses have respect to events, which happened some time after our Lord's ascension; when, as it is there foretold, the apostles and others were
brought before governors and kings,- for a testimony against them and the gentiles "." But the words under confideration will not admit of fo remote a reference.
The truth is, some of the admonitions, contained in this discourse of our blessed Lord, appear to have been delivered by him again, on another occasion. These particulars therefore St. Matthew has recorded here, when first they fell from the heavenly speaker; but St. Mark has inserted them in a series of predictions, with which, in point of time, they were more nearly connected, when they were repeated in the account of the approaching diffolution of the Jewish state.
* Matt. x. 23.
* Compare, in the original, Matt. x, 17-22. with Mark xii. 9. 11-13. The 21st and 22d verses of St. Matthew are, both B3