Page images

at the time of his appearing and kingdom, or at the general resurrection of all the unblessed dead. At the first, he gathers out of his kingdom all that offend and do iniquity among men then on earth: and,--as we were led to suppose from former Scriptures, *- some notorious persecutors of his church are then also summoned from the dead to meet their everlasting doom. All these he will judge according to their works, and he will judge the rest of the dead-not included in the first and blessed resurrection according to their works, and as their "work shall be"-in regard to the operation of his glorious Gospel-will he divide his flock that shall be on earth at the time of his appearing, when he ascends the throne of his kingdom. So his choice will be made manifest: for we must ever bear in mind " He hath saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his own purpose, and the grace which was given us in Christ before the world began."

When he is said to "appear in his own glory," it respects his manifestation in the midst of his redeemed people, as the King of saints, the "Leader of his happy followers," who are partakers of his crown and of his glory. "When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory." He is unquestionably manifested in both characters at his second coming, and the glories of each character surround him in the midst of angels and of glorified men. In his first character, as he is the "brightness of the Father's glory," and "the express image of his person,”—“ God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God," THE

[ocr errors][merged small]

MANIFESTATION OF DEITY THE VOICE HEARD OF THE INVISIBLE MIND-THE THOUGHT EXPRESSED:" in this character, no creature, holy angel, or soul of just man made perfect, can partake of his splendour and glory-nothing can be similar or like to this; but in his second character, as he appears in his own glories as sovereign Lord of creation and Redeemer of men—when, if we may so speak, he throws his glorified humanity, as an outward vesture, over the more resplendent robes of the Divine Majesty of this glory, though not holy angels, yet the redeemed from among men are to be partakers. They are "conformed to his image," and "made like unto the only begotten Son of God"—" their bodies" "fashioned like unto his glorious body;" and in this glorious state they come with him, and are manifested as "the sons of God," when he appears with his holy angels, to execute judgment and justice upon the earth.

It was on the occasion we are considering, that the blessed Jesus said to his listening disciples, Matt. xvi. 28.

[ocr errors]

Verily, I say to you, there be some standing here which shall not taste of death till they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom,"- Luke, "till they see the kingdom of God," Mark, "come with power."

This language seems to intimate that the favour of seeing the Son of Man coming in his kingdom, before they should die, was a favour destined for some particular persons, and not for all, or for the generality of his disciples; and thus the event explained his meaning to have been,

Luke, ix. 28.

"And it came to pass, about eight days after these sayings,"- Matt., Mark, "in current time, after six

days,"" he took Peter, and John, and James, and went up into a mountain,"- Mark, "an high mountain, apart by themselves-to pray." Luke, ix. 29. "And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering,"- Mark," and his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow, so as no fuller on earth can white them."― Matthew says, chap. xvii. 2. " And he was transfigured before them, and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light."

We have here, no doubt, the different words of the three spectators, as each would describe, to his fellowdisciples, the impression which the glorious vision had made upon his senses. Their divine Master, whom they had been accustomed to contemplate as a fellow mortal "in flesh and blood," and, as the prophetic Spirit had described him, disfigured with grief and sorrow : "His countenance so marred more than any man, and his form than the sons of men:" they saw him transformed on a sudden into the glorious appearance described above. In which description the spectators evidently labour for words and for comparisons, taken from things seen on earth, to convey their ideas. This was a vision of the glory of the GOD-MAN; the glory in which he will appear in his kingdom; it is "his own glory," not "his Father's glory." No attributes of vengeance and of judgment are here symbolized in the Redeemer's person. A voice from the highest heaven acknowledges the beloved Son." It is not "the glory of the holy angels;" he appears not attended by angels; but two spirits of just men made perfect, Moses and Elias, appear with him "in glory," and they are heard to discourse together of " his decease, which he was to accomplish at Jerusalem:"

Mark, ix. 4.

"And there appeared unto them Elias with

[ocr errors]

Moses, and they talked with him." Luke ix. 30." And behold, there talked with Jesus two men, which were Moses and Elias, who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease, which he should accomplish at Jerusalem. But Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep, and when they were awake they saw his glory, and the two men that stood with him:""And"— Luke, "it came to pass as they departed from him"-" Peter answered and said to Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here, and let us make here three tabernacles, one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. For he wist not what he said, for they were sore afraid."

"Peter fancied, no doubt," observes Dr. Macknight, "that Jesus had now assumed his proper dignity," "and that the kingdom was at length begun. Wherefore, in the first hurry of his thoughts, he proposed to provide some accommodation for Jesus and his august assistants," &c.

"While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them," Luke," and they feared as they entered into the cloud,"-" and, behold, a voice came 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 them, and said, be not afraid :”— Mark, “ And suddenly, when they had looked round about, they saw no man any more, save Jesus only with themselves."

Thus was fulfilled his previous assurance to his disciples, that some of them should not taste of death till they had seen him coming in his kingdom. That the apostles understood this as an exhibition of Christ coming in his kingdom, is clear from St. Peter's observations in his Second Epistle:* "For we have not followed cun

* Chap. i. 16.

ningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty: for he received 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 pleased: and this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount." And it is remarkable that St. Peter connects with this vision the general object of prophecy, for he continues: "We have also a more sure word of prophecy, whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day-star arise in your hearts."

I subjoin Dr. Macknight's observation:-" The glory with which our Lord's body was adorned in the transfiguration, exhibited a specimen of the beauty and perfection of the glorified bodies of the saints after their resurrection. This the apostle intimates, Phil. iii. 21, 'Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able to subdue all things to himself,'" &c.


Some Passages in Luke, xii., xiii., and xviii.

IN our Lord's improvement of the parable of the rich glutton, Luke xii., we have intimations of the promised kingdom, which we may not altogether pass over. He had said, "Fear not, little flock, it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom:"* and having, from

* Ver. 32.

« PreviousContinue »