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A Voice from Heaven declares him to be the Son of GOD.

Sect. 90. them mayeft lodge here in a more convenient

Mark IX. 6.

Luke IX.



what to fay, for they were fore afraid. [LUKB IX.-33·1

Manner. This was indeed a wild Kind of MARK IX. 6. For he
Propofal, ill fuiting the State of thefe glorified
wift not [LUK. what he said,
Spirits, or the Subject of their late Difcourfe: But
it is the lefs to be wondered at, confidering the
great Surprize in which Peter was; for he knew
not what be faid, [or] fhould fay; for fuch was
the Effect it had on him, and the Two other
Difciples then present with him, that they were
vaftly terrified at the Majefty of this unparallelled
Sight, which broke out upon them at once in so
unexpected a Manner.

And as he was speaking thus, behold, there came
a bright Cloud, which in a moft furprizing Man-
ner spread itself over the Top of the Mountain,
and overshadowed them all. And they feared, and
were feized with a Kind of religious Horror, when
they entered into the Cloud, and faw it diffused on
35 every Side of them. And behold, an ever-me-
morable Circumstance then happened; for there
came a moft awful Voice out of the Cloud, as the
facred Symbol of GOD's immediate Prefence, which
faid, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well
pleafed (b); hear ye him therefore with the hum-
bleft Submiffion and Obedience, as the Object of
my dearest Complacency, and your fureft Guide
to Duty and Happiness, far fuperior to the greatest
of your Prophets.

Mat. XVII.


And when the Difciples heard [this Voice,] they fell proftrate on their Faces to the Ground with the humbleft Reverence, and were exceedingly terrified by this tremendous Manifestation of the 7 present Deity. And Jefus, knowing their Confufion, came and touched them, and faid, Rife up, and be not afraid; infufing into them, at the fame Moment, a fecret Strength and Fortitude of Mind. (Compare Dan. x. 10, 19.)

we may


LUKE IX. 34. While he thus fpake, [behold,] there came a [bright] Cloud, and overshadowed them: and they feared, as they entred into the Cloud. [MAT. XVII. 5.-MARK IX.


35 And [behold,] there came a Voice cut of the Cloud, [which faid,] This is my beloved Son, [in whom am well pleased,] hear [ye] him. [MAT. XVII.-5. MARK IX.-7.]


MAT. XVII. 6. And when the Difciples heard it, they fell on their Face, and were fore afraid.

7 And Jefus came and rife, and be not afraid. touched them, and faid, A

(b) In whom I am well pleased.] Tho' neither Mark nor Luke have given us thefe Words, be fure that they were really fpoken, as we have the concurrent Teftimony both of Matthew, and Peter, who has thus quoted them, 2 Pet. i. 17. Some have thought their being omitted by Mark, an Intimation, that Peter did not review that Gospel with any great Accuracy, fuppofing it was (as Clemens Alexandrinus reports,) put into his Hands. -Perhaps the Command that is added to hear him, may refer to that folemn Charge to bear the great Prophet, Deut. xviii. 15.


He charges his Difciples to conceal it till he was rifen.

MARK IX. 8. And fud

denly [LUK. when the found alone: and] when they had [lift up their Eyes, and] looked round about, they faw no Man any more, fave Jefus only with themfelves. [MAT. XVII. 8. LUKE ix. 36.-]

Voice was paft, Jefus was

9 And as they came down from the Mountain, [Jefus] charged them, that they fhould tell no Man what Things they had feen, till the Son of Man were rifen

from the Dead. [MAT. XVII. 9.]

10 And they kept that Saying with themfelves, queftioning one with another what the rifing from the Dead fhould mean [And they kept it clofe, and told no Man in those Days any of thofe Things which they had feen.] [LUKE IX.—36.]

MAT. XVII. 10. And his Difciples asked him, fay

ing, Why then fay the Scribes, that Elias muft firft come? [MARK IX. 11.]

11 And Jefus answered and faid unto them, Elias truly

And on a fudden, while the Heavenly Voice was
uttered, Jefus was found alone, Mofes and Elijah
difappearing in a Moment; [and] the Disciples
lifting up their Eyes, upon the kind Encourage-
ment that he had given them, [and] looking round
about them for the Perfons they had feen but just
before, faw
before, faw no Man any more, but Jefus only with
themfelves, who now again appearing in his usual
Form, graciously entered into Conversation with
them in the fame condefcending Manner he was
used to do.

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Mark IX. 8.

And as they came down from the Mountain, in 9
which this wonderful Tranfaction had paffed, Jefus
ftrictly charged them, that they should tell no one
what they had feen, unless it were when the Son of
Man was risen from the Dead; left till that glo-
rious Evidence was given of his Divine Miffion,
this Story fhould appear as an idle Dream, or an
incredible Tale. And when he fpake of rifing 10
from the Dead, they laid hold on that Word (i),
difputing among themselves what this rifing from the
Dead could mean; for as often, and as plainly, as
Chrift had declared it to them, they could not
perfuade themselves to understand it in a literal
Senfe. However, in Obedience to the Charge he
gave them, they were filent as to what had paffed,
and told no one in thofe Days any of the Things they
had now Jeen and heard.


And his Difciples, as they could not doubt but Mat. XVII.. he was the Meffiah, took that Opportunity of informing themfelves, as to a Scruple which had long lain on their Minds, and asked him, faying, Why then do the Scribes, the Teachers of our Nation, and profeffed Students of the Law, fay, that Elijah muft firft come before the Meffiah appear? Is this Vifion, that we have now feen, all the Coming of that Prophet, which was to be expected?

And Jefus replying faid unto them, This is in I deed foretold, and it is very fure, that Elijah fhall


(i) They laid hold on that Word.] So I think Tov xov expalnoav may moft literally be rendered; the Verb often fignifying to lay hold on, and in Confequence of that, refolutely to re tain; but never, that I can recollect, to keep a Secret. Compare Mat. ix. 25. xiv. 3. Mark xii. 12. and Rev. xx. 2.I think the Words apos saules, fhould be joined with rules as they are with the fame Word, Mark i. 27. ix. 16. Luke xxii. 23. and As ix. 29.

(k) Shall


Mat. XVII,

He difcourfes with them of the Coming of Elijah.

Sect. 90. first come to make Way for the Meffiah, and regulate all Things (k), by preaching Repentance and Reformation: And yet how little is the Influence that this will have upon a wicked and ungrateful Generation? and how is it written of the Son of Man himself (1), the illuftrious Perfon Elijah is to introduce? It is plainly foretold, that he muft fuffer many Things, and be contemptuously rejected; which evidently implies, that his Forerunner alfo fhall be difregarded, and his Preaching 12 flighted. And the Event, you know, has been answerable to it: Do not therefore expect another to appear, but obferve what I now fay to you, while I affure you that Elijah is indeed come already, as it is written of him (m) in various Paffages of Scripture; (fee Ifa. xl. 3. and Mal. iii. 1.) and they who pretended fo eagerly to expect him, did not know and acknowledge him, but have treated him in the most arbitrary and cruel Manner, even just as they pleafed, without any Regard to Piety, Juftice, or Humanity: And thus likewife fhall the Son of Man quickly fuffer by them, and with the utmost Enmity and Malice fhall be perfecuted by a hardened People, who will fhew no more Regard to him, than to Elijah his Herald.


truly fhall first come, and it is written of the Son of reftore all Things, [and how Man, that he muft fuffer many Things, and be fet at nought.] [MARK IX. 12.]

12 But I fay unto you,

that Elias is (indeed] come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they lifted, [as it is written of him:] likewife hall alfo the Son of Man fuffer of them. [MARK IX. 13.]

13 Then the Disciples understood, that he spake unto

Then the Difciples understood, that he spake to them concerning John the Baptift, who was fore- them of John the Baptift. told under the Name of Elijah, as the Meffiah was under that of David. (Compare Mal. iv. 5. and Ezek. xxxiv. 23, 24.)

(k) Shall first come, and regulate all Things.] It is plain, that amoxalasne here, (as amer xalasaois, Acts iii. 21.) cannot, as it generally does, fignify reftoring Things to their former State, but only in the general, reducing them to Order. It is ftrange, Tertullian (de Refur. cap. 35.) fhould infer from hence, that Elijah the Prophet is to come before Christ's fecond Appearance. Grotius has well confuted that wild Notion, in his Annotations, in loc.

(1) And yet how is it written of the Son of Man himself?] The Conftruction of this Verfe in the Original, is as perplexed, as almost any in the New Teftament. The Pruffian Teftament, which is followed by the late English Verfion, renders it roundly, and elegantly enough: "It is true, faid he, that Elias muft firft come to reftore all Things, and that it is foretold "of him, as well as of the Son of Man, that he should have much to fuffer, and be rejected "with Contempt." But this is not ftrictly agreeable to the Original, nor can I find the Martyrdom of John the Baptift any where foretold in the Old Teftament: I chuse therefore to render this Claufe, as a Question.- -That was fometimes fignifies [and yet,] evidently appears from John v. 40. Luke ix. 45. Mat. xxiii. 37. and other Places.


(m) Elijah is indeed come already, as it is written of him.] For the Reafon affigned in the preceding Note, I chufe to connect these two Clauses, and conclude that the Words which lie between, both in the Original, and in our Translation, are to be included in a Parenthesis. IMPROV E

Reflections on the Transfiguration of CHRIST.





Mat, xvii. 2.

W glorious and delightful was this View of our Bleffed Redeemer, Sect. which the Apostles had, when he was transfigured before them, clothed, as it were, with the Divine Shekinah, and fhining with a Lustre like that of the Sun! How pleafing, and how edifying, muft it be to them, to fee with him Mofes and Elijah, thofe Two eminent Saints, who Ver. 3. had fo many Ages ago quitted our World, but whofe Names they had often read in the Sacred Records with Wonder and Reverence!

Well might Peter say, It is good for us to be here. Well might he be Ver. 4. contented to refign his Entertainments and his Hopes elsewhere, that they might prolong these delightful Moments, feafting their Eyes with these Divine Vifions, and their Minds with these more than Human Difcourfes. Nor can we wonder that the Scene, tranfitory as it was, left so abiding a Savour on his Spirits, that in an Epiftle which he wrote many Years after, and but a little before his Death, he should fingle this Story from a thoufand others, to atteft it as he does, and to argue from it. (Compare 2 Pet. i. 16,-18.) But oh how much more defirable is it, to ftand upon Mount Zion, and to behold those brighter Glories, which our Jefus wears in the Heavenly Regions! To behold, not merely Mofes and Elijah, but all the Prophets, the Apostles, and Martyrs, and in a Word, all the Saints of GOD in every Age, whether to us perfonally known or unknown, furrounding him in a radiant Circle; and not only to behold them, but to converfe with them. Lord, it is good for us to be there, in our Defires at leaft, and in our Meditations; till thou pleaseft to call us to that happy World, and to take us thither, where no Drowsiness will cloud our Eyes, Luke ix. 32. where no Hurry will difcompofe our Thoughts; but where the Perfection Mark ix. 6. of Holiness, and of Love, fhall caft out every Degree of Terror, as well

as of Sorrow.

In the mean 'Time, let us reverently attend to that Saviour, who ap peared in this Majestic Form, and who comes recommended to us with fo many Testimonials of his Divine Authority. He was again declared by Mat:xvii. 5. a Voice from Heaven, to be the beloved Son of GOD; as fuch let us hear him, receiving all his Revelations with the Affurance of Faith, and all his Commands with the Obedience of Love. If thefe Sentiments govern our Hearts and our Lives, the Thoughts of that Departure from this World, which we are fhortly to accomplish, will be no Grief, or Terror to our Luke ix. 31. Souls. Like our bleffed Mafter, we may connect the Views of it, and intermix Discourse upon it, with the most delightful Enjoyments and Converse; nay, it will ferve to render them yet more pleafing. For who would not long, to be made conformable to Chrift, even in his Sufferings. and Death, if it may be a Means of transforming us into the Refemblance of his Glories!




Sect. 91.

Luke IX.


On the next Day, the People, when they faw him, were amazed.


CHRIST defcending from the Mountain on which he was transfigured, drives out an Evil Spirit, which had obftinately withstood the Attempts of his Apoftles. Mat. XVII. 14,---21. Mark IX. 14,---29. Luke IX. 37,---43.—



HUS did our Lord difcourfe with his Three Difciples concerning John the Baptift, as the promised Elijah, after he had been transfigured in fo glorious a Manner in their Prefence: And it came to pass, that on the next Day, when they came down from the Mountain, on which the Night had been fo delightfully spent, a great Mark IX. Croud Croud of People met him. And being come to $4. the Difciples, and particularly to the rest of the Apostles, who, knowing their Master was on the Hill, waited for him in the adjacent Valley, be faw a great Multitude around them, and among the reft, fome of the Scribes and Pharifees, who were difputing with them, and endeavoured to take the Opportunity of their Master's Abfence, to expofe and diftress them.


And immediately, as foon as he came near them, all the Multitude feeing him was ftruck into Aftonishment, at those unusual Rays of Majefty and Glory, which yet remained on his Countenance (a);


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(a) Was firuck into Aftonishment, &c.] It is ftrange, that fo few Criticks should have faid any Thing, concerning the Reason of the Multitude's being thus aftonished. It could not be, as Dr. Clarke fuppofes, his coming down from the Mountain fo quickly after he went up ; for they were gathered round it, in Expectation of his Defcent; and I do not remember, that he ever continued more than one Night in fuch a Retirement. Nor is it easy to imagine, the Multitude were under any Apprehenfion, after he had been no longer absent, that they never fhould be able to find him again. I therefore follow Dr. Whitby's natural Conjecture in his Paraphrafe, which is agreeable to what we read of Mofes, that the Skin of his Face fhone, when he came down from the Mount. (Compare Exod. xxxiv. 29, 30. and 2 Cor. iii. 7.) One would indeed have expected that Luke, who has mentioned the Luftre on Stephen's Countenance, when pleading his Caufe before the Sanhedrim, (Acts vi. 15.) fhould have taken fome Notice of the Fact here fuppofed: But it is obfervable, Mark tells the Story before us, far more circumftantially than either of the other Evangelifts; which, by the Way, is another moft convincing Proof, that his Gofpel was not (as Mr. Whifton fuppofes,) an Abridgment of Matthew.

(b) He

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