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In the sixteenth chapter of St. Matthew, Christ tells his disciples, that when “he comes in the glory of his Father, with the holy angels, he will reward every man according to his works”:” from whence it necessarily follows, that every man who is dead shall rise from the grave. And in confirmation of both these truths, there are two just and righteous men, Moses and Elias who had many years before departed out of the world, brought back to it again, and represented (as we shall see hereafter) in a state of glory. That they actually appeared in their own proper persons, there is not the least reason to doubt. Grotius even goes so far as to affirm, that their bodies were reserved for this very purpose. But there is no necessity and no ground for this imagination. For though, indeed, the sepulchre of Moses was not known, yet his body was actually buried in a valley in the land of Moab, and therefore must have seen corruption; and as the whole transaction
WaS * Ver, 27.
was miraculous, it was just as easy to Omnipotence to restore life and form to a body mouldered into dust, as to reanimate a body that was preserved uncorrupted and entire ; and, indeed, was a much exacter emblem of our own resurrection. We may, however, readily admit, what some learned men have justly observed, that Elias, having been carried up into heaven without undergoing death, he was here a proper representative of those who should be found alive at the day of judgment, as Moses is of those who had died, and are raised to life again. And his appearance a second time on earth, after he had been so many ages dead and buried, must have been a convincing proof to the disciples (had they duly attended to it) of the possibility of
a resurrection. And what is no less important, the manner in which both Moses and Elias appeared on this occasion, afforded the disciples an ocular demonstration of a day of retribution, agreeably to what their E 3 Divine
Divine Master had a few days before told them, that he would reward every man according to his works. For as we are informed, that both Moses and Elias appeared also in glory; a glory somewhat similar, we may suppose, though far inferior, to that with which Christ was invested; like him they were probably clothed in raiments of unusual whiteness and splendour; and the fashion of their countenances might also be changed to something more bright and illustrious. Now this would be a just representation of the glorified state of saints in heaven, of those who had been rewarded according to their works. For we find those holy men, who have passed victoriously through their Christian warfare, described by St.John as clothed in white raiments*; and by St. Matthew, as shining forth like the sun in the kingdom of their Father+. The glory of Christ therefore on the mountain, was a symbol of his exaltation to be the judge of the earth; and the glory * Rev. iii. 5. - ‘i Matt. xiii. 43.
glory of Moses and Elias, was an emblem of the rewards given to the righteous in heaven. When all these circumstances are put together, they throw considerable light over the concluding part of Christ's conversation, which has not yet been noticed. 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 *. This has commonly been supposed to refer to the signal manifestation of Christ's power in the destruction of Jerusalem. But we know of no one of Christ's disciples that survived this event, except St. John ; and our Saviour here speaks of more than one. But besides this, in the 27th verse of this chapter, we are told that the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father, to reward every man according to his works. This, undoubtedly, relates to Christ's final advent to judge the
world. * Matthew xvi. 28.-St. Mark says, “Till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power.”—St. Luke, “Till they see the kingdom of God.”
world. When, therefore, it immediately follows in the very next verse, Verily, I say unto you, that there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom; is it not most natural, is it not almost necessary to understand these similar expressions as relating to the same great event? But did Christ then mean to say here that some of his disciples should live to the day of judgment P Most assuredly not. He meant only to intimate that a few of them should, before their death, be favoured with a representation of the glorious appearance of Christ and his saints on that awful day. And this illustrious scene was actually displayed to three of them, about six days after, in the transfiguration on the mountain. Indeed St. Peter himself, who was present at the transfiguration, plainly alludes to it, in a manner which powerfully confirms this opinion. “We have not,” says he, “followed cunningly devised fables, when we - made