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But though the removal of these prejudices was, as I conceive, the primary and immedia ate design of the transfiguration, yet there are
great utility to all Christians in general in every age, which it might be, and probably was intended to answer. - In the first place it affords one more additional proof of the divine mission of Christ, and the divine authority of his religion.
It is one of the few occasions on which God himself was pleased, as it were personally ta interpose, and to make an open declaration from heaven in favour of his Son." This is
my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased : hear ye him.” Two other instances only of this kind occur in the Gospels; one at our Saviour's baptism, the other on his praying to his Father to save him from the sufferings that awaited him.
Now these signs from heaven may be considered as a distinct species of evidence, different both from miracles and prophecies, frer quently and earnestly wished for by the Jews, but not granted to them, nor vouchsafed to any one, but very sparingly, and on great and solemn occasions.
But besides this awful testimony to the divine origin of our religion in general, a particular attestation was (as we have seen) given on the mount to two of its principal doctrinesy A GENERAL RESURRECTION, and a DAY OF RETRIBUTION. The visible and illustrious representation of these in the glorified appearanco of Christ, and Moses, and Elias, has been already explained, andisappealed to by St. Peter, who saw it, as one convincing proof, anong others, that“ he had not followed cunningly de vised fables," when he made known “ the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” And, indeed, since these two doctrines, a RESURRECTION, and a DAY OF JUDGMENT, are two of the most essential and fundamental articles of our faith ; and since it was one of the chief purposes of the Christian revelation " to bring life and immortality to light," no wonder that God should graciously condescend to confirm these great truths to us in so many various ways; by words and by actions, by prophecies, by miracles, and by celestial visions.
els HE subject of this Lecture is a part of
the eighteenth chapter of St. Matthew. It is evident that the disciples of our Lord were, for a considerable time, possessed with the imagination which prevailed universally among the Jews respecting their Messiah, that their Master's kingdom was to be a temporal one; that he was at some time, or other to become a prince of great power and splendouro and that they of course should enjoy the largest share of his favour, and be placed in situations of
distinction and great emolument. And this delusion had taken such strong hold upon their minds, that although our Lord took frequent. opportunities of combating their error, and made use of
every means in his power to undeceive them, yet they still persisted in maintaining their favourite opinion; and in the beginning of this chapter they came to Jesus, saying, who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? It appears, from the parallel passage in St. Mark, that they had been disputing by the who should be the greatest. Our Lord knowing this, and finding that all he had said on this subject had produced no effect upon them, determined to try whether a different mode of conveying his sentiments to them might not strike their minds more forcibly. He therefore had recourse (as in the case of the transfiguration) to what may be called a visible kind of language. He took a little child, and placing him before them, bid them contemplate the innocence and simplicity, the meekness and humility which marked its countenance; and then assured them, that unless they were converted, and became as little children; that is, unless a total change took place in the temper and disposition of their minds, unless they became As unambitious and unaspiring, as meek, as humble and contented, as little concerned
about worldly honours and distinctions, as the child before them, they could not enter into the kingdom of heaven; they could never be considered as true objects of Christ's kingdom here, or be capable of inheriting the rewards of heaven hereafter. In the eye of God, true humility is a most sublimé virtue; and whoever shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the king: dom of heaven. Our Lord then goes on to say, “Whosoever receiveth one such little child in my name, receiveth me.” That is, it is men of humble minds and meek disposit tions, whom I most highly prize, and whom I most strongly recommend to the notice, the kindness, the protection of all those who are friends to me and my religion; and so dear are men of this description to me, that I make their interests my own, and I shall consider every man who receives, and assists, and encourages them on my account, and for my sakepas receiving me. But if, instead of res ceiving and protecting these my humble dist ciples, any one should dare to injure them, be must expect the severest marks of my disa pleasure. "Whoso shall offend one of these betle ones which believe in me, it were better