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mercy of God.
and it is more than possible that an evil agent was working upon this ignorance, or self-love, or both,
How many times while reading it do we feel ourselves constrained to pray, "From all blindness of heart; from pride, vain-glory, and hypocrisy; from envy, hatred, and malice, and all uncharitableness, Good Lord deliver us!" It is better to be quickened to such prayers for
and was beginning to employ Peter in presenting some powerful temptation to the blessed Jesus, with a view to divert him, if possible from his great and glorious work. ourselves, than to indulge in a self--Some there are who say to Christ, complacent or censorious spirit, when in his Gospel, the same thing, in we read of the doings of the elders, effect, as that which St. Peter said and chief-priests, and scribes. to him in person. They will not believe that Christ saves men by his death and sufferings; that the innocent Jesus became a substitute for the guilty;-that his death was, in the true sense of the expression, a sacrifice and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world. They say, That be far from thee, Lord! But let us rather say "Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world!" "Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift!”— Observe the manner in which Jesus received the Apostle's observation;
He turned and said unto Peter, get thee behind me, Satan; thou art an offence unto me. We may learn, from our Saviour's example on this occasion, that no regard for men's persons should induce us to deceive or flattter them by giving a false and smooth name to their sins, or by withholding faithful rebuke when their conduct deserves it.-But what was the advice which our Lord thus indignantly rejected? It was counsel to spare himself. He would not for a moment listen to such proposal, or entertain such a thought. He was too earnestly intent upon the great work of man's redemption,
Then Peter took him,-caught up his words and took him to task,-and began to rebuke him. Evil counsel is sometimes conveyed to us by the agency of our best friends. We should consider not only who gives us advice, but what is the advice given, -how far it is consistent with the known will of God concerning us.
The weakness and disgrace of Peter on this occasion, recorded immediately after our Saviour's declaration in his favour, appears as if designed by the Holy Spirit to serve as a corrective and refutation of the extravagant honour assigned to him by unscriptural ages and sections of the church. Let us beware of giving to men any share of that honour, or ascribing to them any measure of that authority, which belongs only to to Christ himself. The words of St. Peter were plausible; we find him
Saying, Be it far from thee, Lord; this shall not be unto thee.-Perhaps this was the dictate of ignorance, combined with a sincere affection for his master; perhaps it was, more or less, the expression of his own selflove, and a desire to share with Christ in temporal prosperity and glory;
too zealously desirous of fulfilling the task which had been assigned to him,-too hearty in his concurrence with the will of the Father, to be induced even to listen to a word of contrary tendency. How great and persevering was the Redeemer's love! How clear his perception of the value of men's souls, and of the blessings of redemption !
Then said Jesus unto his disciples,-with a view to correct their self-will, and desire of self-indulgence and self-exaltation,-If any man will i. e. be willing to come after me, to be, and to be regarded as my true disciple and follower,-let him deny himself.—We must not set up or obey our own will and pleasure in opposition to God's will, or even without reference to it, but, on the contrary, obey his will in preference to our own, consult his demands, rather than our own pleasure, and submit to the teaching of his wisdom rather than lean to our own understanding.-And take up his cross. We must patiently submit to those sufferings which God in his providence may lay upon us, and endure in the spirit of meekness whatever may be contrary to our own inclinations or desires; not, indeed, make the cross for ourselves, but take it up-bear it -with humility and patience, when it is prepared for us, and this not only in case of the more great and grievous calamities to which we may be exposed, but with regard to the daily vexations, burdens, and provocations of common life.-And follow me. It is a great encourage
ment to contemplate the blessed Redeemer going before us in the way of duty and of suffering. Let us cheerfully resolve, in dependance upon divine grace, to "take his easy yoke and light burden upon us, to follow him in lowliness, patience, and charity, and be ordered by the governance of his Holy Spirit; seeking always his glory, and serving him daily in our vocation with thanksgiving."
For whosoever will save his life, whosoever is so bent upon the possession and enjoyment of things present and temporal, upon the safety and gratification of self, as to be ready to sacrifice every other consideration to this objectshall lose it, he will fail to attain the very end which he has so anxiously in view, namely, his own happiness and welfare. Our happiness is really to be found in God alone, through Christ; to him we must go, for he only has the words of eternal life. And whosoever will lose his life for my sake,— whoever regards the will of his God and Saviour as supreme, and is ready to treat every thing as subordinate to the obtaining of his favour, renouncing, if need be, even his apparent interest and present gratification, rather than violate a command, or neglect plain and positive duty,-shall find it,—this man shall indeed obtain a “blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.”— How powerful an argument to constrain us to the holy love of God, and devoted obedience to his blessed
will! For, as our blessed Lord emphatically asks, What is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? We should say that a man would be no gainer who should lose his life in endeavouring to obtain the necessaries or comforts of his earthly existence. But how much worse will be the condition of him, who shall forfeit his everlasting happiness and well-being in consequence of his love and pursuit of inferior things! Eternal woe in return for momentary pleasure,who can describe the folly of this exchange, or the loss incurred by those who shall have made it ! -It seems impossible to do more than repeat these solemn words of the great friend and Saviour of our souls without weakening their force. Let them sink deeply into our hearts; and may their sanctifying influence be present with us whenever we may be tempted to set our affections on things below, or to turn aside from the path of holy and devoted obedience into the ways of vanity and sin. And, in order that the consideration thus suggested to our minds may have something like its due right, let us not fail to connect with it the remembrance of that great day which will fix
eternal state, will effectually declare our wisdom or our folly, our gain or our loss,-and will decide our happiness or misery For the Son of Man the once suffering but now glorified
Jesus, "shall come in the glory of his 3 And, behold, there appear
Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works."
Thou Judge of quick and dead,
With holy joy or guilty dread,
To pray and wait the hour,
To judge the human race,
Oh! may we still be found
And waiting for the trumpet's sound
CHAP. XVII. 1—13. The Transfiguration of Christ. AND "after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart,
2 And was transfigured before them; and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.
talking with him.
ed unto them Moses and Elias unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise "shall also the Son of man suffer of them.
4 Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.
13 "Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist.
a Mark ix. 2. Luke ix. 28.-b 2 Pet. i 17.-c ch. iii. 17. Mark i. 11. Luke iii. 22.-d Is. xlii. 1.-e Deut. xviii. 15. 19. Acts. iii. 22. 23.- 2 Pet. i. 18.-g Dan. viii. 18; & ix. 21; & x. 10. 18.- ch. xvi. 20. Mark viii. 30; ix. 9. i Mal. iv. 5. ch. xi. 14. Mark 9. k Mal.
ix. 12. 13.-m ch xiv. 3. 10.-n ch. xvi. 21.-o ch. xi. 14.
5 'While he yet spake, behold, Luke i. 16. 17, Acts ili. 21.- ch. xi. 14. Mark 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. 6'And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid.
7 And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and
be not afraid.
8 And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only.
9 And as they came down from the mountain, "Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead. 10 And his disciples asked him, saying, 'Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come?
11 And Jesus answered and said, Elias truly shall first come, and 'restore all things.
12 'But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but "have done
We have here an account of one of the most remark
able of the circumstances connected with our Saviour's eventful history, -a circumstance in every way capable of exciting our lively interest, and of making a deep impression upon our memories and hearts. The same narrative (in substance), is found in Mark ix. 2-10, and Luke
You can have little difficulty in understanding the terms in which this history is conveyed; although neither your ideas, nor any explanation which I may give, can equal the majesty and glory of the scene described. There are, however, one or two particulars to which I will call your attention, before we proceed to a consideration of the practical and devotional lessons to be derived from this passage of the sacred record.
St. Matthew and St. Mark fix the date of this event at six days after the foregoing; but St. Luke speaks of it as having taken place "about an eight days" after. There is no real difference in this note of time;-six being the number of clear days intervening, and eight
including the two on which the se- all things. And yet all things were veral events occurred. not restored. Why not? Not because Elias was wanting on his part, but because the Jews were wanting on theirs. Thus also St. Paul says, (Rom. viii. 30,) Whom God called, them he justified,-and glorified; and yet many have been called, who will not be eventually glorified. Why not? Not because God is wanting on his part, for he has arranged his dispensations in accordance with his declared design, and he has done his part in bringing these men to glory. But they have been wanting on their part; and therefore they come short of the glory which has been prepared for them. This mode of speech is frequent in Scripture, and should be carefully considered:-a word des cribing the performance of an act is used to denote the design and operation of an agent, expressing strongly the certainty of that design, and the reality of that operation, but not necessarily implying that the design is fulfilled, or that the operation takes effect. Elias restored all things; and yet all things were not restored. God glorified certain men; and yet they were not glorified. Through faith you are saved; and yet through unbelief you may be lost.
The sacred narrative does not give us any information respecting the precise locality of this transaction. Some suppose that the "high mountain " was Mount Tabor; others think that more probably it was Mount Hermon; but nothing has been made known to us on this head, and therefore we may rest satisfied that there is nothing which it is needful for us to know. Contented ignorance, in which Scripture leaves us, is far better than vain knowledge, which tradition is always ready to supply.
The prophecy of Malachi concerning the coming of Elijah is here expounded as having received its fulfilment in the ministry of John the Baptist;-who came in "the spirit and power of Elias" (Luke i. 17.) By his 'restoring all things' is meant his effecting a general reformation, and preparing the people for the coming of Christ. This he did, as far as the execution of his office was concerned; but if the reformation and preparation was not universally and effectually made, that was the fault of the unbelieving and impenitent Jews who did not properly attend to his preaching. Scripture often speaks of a thing as done, when God designs it, and orders his dispensations for the accomplishment of it, although, in point of fact, the event never takes place. "Elias shall first come, and shall restore all things." That was punctually fulfilled: Elias did come, and, so far as in him lay, did restore
READER. Jesus taketh Peter and James and John his brother.—
It pleased our blessed Lord to choose these three disciples as witnesses of his extraordinary glory