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main points. There is no material variation, and not the least contradiction between them. But, as is very natural, where different persons relate the same fact (and as indeed must generally happen where the story is not concerted among them) a few particulars are taken notice of by some which are passed over in silence by others. St. Matthew's account of it is as follows : :
And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into a high mountain apart, and was transfigured before them; and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. And behold there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him. Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here ; if thou wilt, let us make three tabernacles, one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. While he yet spake, behold 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. And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid. And Jesus came and touched D 2
them, and said, arise, and be not afraid. And when they had lifted up their eyes they saw no man save Jesus only. And as they came down from the mount, Jesus charged them, saying, tell the vision to no man until the Son of man be risen again from the dead. .. . :
" And his disciples asked him, saying, why then say the scribes that Elias must first come? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias shall truly first come, and restore all things. But I say unto you, that Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto: him whatsoever they listed: likewise also shall the Son of man suffer of them. Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist."
Such is the history. which the evangelist gives us of the transfiguration; and on the very first view of it, every one must see that a transaction of so uncommon and splendid a nature could not be intended merely to surprize and amuse the disciples. There must have been some great object in view; some end to be obtained, worthy of the magnificent apparatus made use of to accomplish it. : Now there were, I conceive (besides some collateral and subordinate designs) two principal and important purposes, which were meant to be answered by this illustrious scene. :: The first was, to set before the eyes of the disciples a visible and figurative representation of Christ's coming in glory to judge the world, and to rewurd, with everlasting: felicity, all his faithful servants.
In order to prove this, and at the same time to bring to the reader's view those circumstances which preceded, and in some degree gave occasion to this celestial vision, it will be necessary to look back to the chapter immediately before that in which the transfiguration is related. .. .
In the 21st verse of the sixteenth chapter we find, that Jesus then, for the first time, thought fit to give some intimations to his disciples of the strange and extraordinary scenes he was soon to pass through; his sufferings, his death, and his resurrection ; things of which, before this declaration, they seem not to have had the smallest conception or suspicion.. i ...“ From that time forth began Jesus to shew to his disciples how that he must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the ondagi... ...,D3,
elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and raised again the third day*.”
This information, so perfectly new and unexpected to the disciples, and so destructive of all the fond hopes they had hitherto indulged, overwhelmed them with astonishment and grief. And St. Peter, whose natural warmth and eagerness of temper generally led him both to feel such mortifications moré sensibly, and to express his feelings more promptly and more forcibly, than any of the rest, was so shocked at what he had just heard, that “ he took Jesus, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord; this shall not be unto thee.” Our Saviour, who saw every thing that passed in his mind, and perceived, probably, that this expostulation took its rise more from disappointed interest and ambition than from a generous concern for his master's credit and honour, gave him an immediate and severe reproof. “ Get thee behind me, Satan, for thou art an offence to me ; for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men."
He then proceeded to shew, not only that he himself must suffer persecution, but that
* Matth. xvi. 21.
all those who would at that time come after him, and share with him the arduous and dangerous task of sowing the first seeds of the Gospel, “ must deny themselves, and take up their cross and follow him.” But then, to support them under those severe injunctions, he cheers them immediately with a brighter scene of things, and with a prospect of his future glory, and their future recompence. “ The Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels, and then shall he reward every man according to his works.” And he adds, “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.” The meaning of these last words I shall enquire into hereafter. But the evident tendency of the whole passage is to prepare the minds of his disciples for the cruel treatment which both he and they were to undergo, and at the same time to raise their drooping spirits, by setting before their eyes his own exaltation, and their glorious rewards in another life. . -. This discourse, however, he probably found had not sufficiently subdued their prejudices, · D 4...