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sation was. St. Luke gives us this useful piece of information; he says, that “they spake of our Lord's decease, which he should accomplish at Jerusalem.” The very mention of Christ's sufferings and death by such men as Moses and Elias, without any marks of surprise or dissatisfaction, was of itself sufficient to occasion a great change in the sentiments of the disciples respecting those sufferings, and to soften those prejudices of theirs against them, the removal of which seems to have been one of the more immediate objects of the transfiguration. But if we suppose further (what is far from being improbable) that in the course of the conversation several interesting particulars respecting our Saviour's crucifixion were brought under discussion; if they entered at any length into that important subject, the great work of our redemption; if they touched upon the nature, the cause, and the consequences of it; the pardon of sin, the restitution to God's favour, the triumph over death, and the gift of eternal life; if they showed that the sufferings of Christ were prefigured in the law, and foretold by the prophets; it is easy to see, that topics such as these must tend still further to open the eyes, and remove the prepossessions of his disciples; and the more so, because they would seem to arise incidentally in a discourse between other persons casually overheard; which having no appearance of design or professed opposition in it, would be apt to make a deeper impression on their minds than a direct and open attack upon their prejudices. But the circumstance which would, probably, be most effectual in correcting the erroneous ideas of his disciples on this head, was the act of the transfiguration itself, the astonishing change it produced in the whole of our Lord's external appearance. From the expressions made use of by the several evangelists, this change appears to have been a very illustrious one. They inform us, that, “as our Saviour prayed, the the fashion of his countenance was changed; his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment became exceeding white and glistering ; as white as snow, as white as the light, so as no fuller on earth could whiten it.” Now Christ having assumed this splendid and glorious appearance at the very time when Moses and Elias were conversing with him on his sufferings, it was a visible and striking proof to his disciples, that those sufferings were not, as they imagined, any real discredit and disgrace to him, but were perfectly consistent with the dignity of his character, and the highest state of glory to which he Could be exalted. But further still ; Jesus had (in the conversation mentioned in the preceding chapter) told his disciples, that the Son
of man should come in the glory of his
Father, with his holy angels, to judge the world. The scene on the Mount therefore which so soon followed that conversation, was probably meant to convey to them some idea and some evidence of his
Vol. II. E. coming
coming in glory at the great day of judgment, of which his transfiguration was, perhaps, as just a picture and exempli
fication as human sight could bear. It is, indeed, described in nearly the same terms that St. John in the Revelation applies to the Son of man in his state of glory in heaven. “He was clothed (says he) with a garment down to the foot. His head and his hair were white like wool, white as snow; and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.” It is remarkable, that St. Luke calls his appearance, after being transfigured, his glory. St. John, who was likewise present at this appearance, gives it the same name. “We beheld his glory, as of the only begotten of the Father.” And St. Peter, who was another witness to this transaction on the Mount, refers to it by a similar expression. “For he received (says that Apostle) 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 4. pleased.” pleased”.” There can hardly therefore remain any doubt, but that the glory which Christ received from the Father, on the mountain, was meant to be a representation of his coming in the glory of his Father, with his holy angels, at the end of the world; which is one of the topics touched upon in the preceding chapter. Another thing there mentioned was our Saviour's resurrection. Of this, indeed, there is no direct symbol in the transfiguration: but it is evidently implied in that transaction ; because Jesus is there represented in his glorified, celestial state, which being in the natural order of time subsequent to his resurrection, that event must naturally be supposed to have previously taken place. But though this great event is only indirectly alluded to here, yet those most important doctrines which are founded upon it, a general resurrection, and a day of retribution, are expressly represented in the transfiguration.