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The latter Part of the Hiftory of CHRIST, as recorded by the EVANGELIST s.
CHRIST goes up to a Mountain, where he is transfigured, and difcourfes with his Difciples concerning the Expectation the Jews had of Elijah. Mat. XVII. 1,--13. Mark IX. 2,---13. Luke IX. 28,---36.
MARK IX. 2.
Mark IX. 2.
ND it came to pass after fix Days, [or] Sect. 90. you include the first and laft, about eight Days after thefe Difcourfes, which were related in the Two laft Sections, Jefus took with him thofe Three Difciples whom he honoured with fomething of a peculiar Intimacy, (compare Mark v. 37. and Mat. xxvi. 37.) namely, Peter, and James, and his Brother John, and brought them up privately, to an high Mountain apart from the People (a), whither he retired to pray; intend
(a) An high Mountain apart from the People.] Jerom (Epift. 17, 18.) tells us, that there was in his Days an antient Tradition, that this was Mount Tabor, which lay in the Tribe of Zebulon. Its ftanding apart, (as Mr. Maundrell obferves that it does, Travels, pag. 112.) is to be fure no Argument to prove it; for that Expreffion only fignifies, that it was a private Retirement, which it might have been, had it made Part of a Ridge of Mountains. However, as this happened at the Distance of fix Days, there feems to be but little Probability in Mr. Fleming's Conjecture, that fince Chrift was juft before near Cafarea Philippi, this must be the Mountain in that Neighbourhood, on which one of Jeroboam's Calves had been worshipped; over which he thinks it a Kind of Triumph, that the Shekinah was thus gloriously manifested, where it had been fo long affronted by Idolatry. See Fleming's Chriftology, Vol. i. pag. 40.
CHRIST is transfigured on a Mountain,
Sect. 90. ing, as he often did, to spend the Night in that holy Exercife (b).
Luke IX. 29.
Mark IX. 4.
Luke IX. 31.
And as he was praying, it came to pass, that be was fuddenly in a moft glorious Manner tranffigured in their Prefence; and the Form of his Countenance was changed (c), [fo that] his Face fhone with a Brightnefs like that of the Sun; and his whole Body was clothed with fuch a Lustre, as fhone thro' bis Raiment, infomuch that the Appearance of it was all white and dazzling (d), Jhining fo exceedingly, that it feemed as white as Snow, [yea] as refplendent as the Light itself, to fo great a Degree as no Fuller on Earth could whiten it. Such a Glory did GoD confer on his Son, as an Earneft of that in which he was finally to appear; and he permitted these his Servants to fee it, that they might not be offended at thofe Scenes of deep Abasement, in which they were fhortly to behold him. (Compare Mat. xxvi. 37Sect. 182.)
And behold, there appeared to them, at the fame Time that they faw their Lord in this fplendid Form, Two Men, that were talking with Jefus in a Language and Accent which the Three Apoftles heard and understood, who were known to be Mofes the great Giver, and Elijah the zealous Reftorer of the Law. These were the Perfons whom they faw with Chrift, in whofe Honour their refpective Ministrations terminated, who appearing to their View in Forms of Glory, fomewhat refembling that which he now wore himfelf, pake of his Exit, or Departure out of the prefent Life and State, which he was fhortly after,. even at the enfuing Paffover, to accomplish at Je
LUKE IX. 29. And as transfigured before them, he prayed, [MAR. he was and] the Fashion of his Countenance was altered, [o that his Face did fhine as the Sun;] and his Raiment was white and gliftering, [MAR. fhining exceeding white as Snow,] [or as the Fuller on Earth can white. them.] [MAT. XVII. 2. MARK IX.—2, 3.1
Light,] [MA R. fo as no
MARK IX. 4. And [be-hold,] there appeared unto talking with Jefus, [LUK. which were Mofes and Elias] [MA T. XVII. 3. LUKE IX. 30.].
them [LUK. Two Men].
LUKE IX. 31. Who ap-peared in Glory, and fpake thould accomplish at Jerufalem.
of his Deceafe which he
(b) To fpend the Night in that holy Exercife.] This appears from Luke ix. 37. where we read of their coming down from the Hill on the next Day. See pag. 8.
(c) The Form of his Countenance was changed.] This was fo ftriking a Circumftance, that Eunapius (Vit. Fambl. pag. 22.) relates a Story of Jamblichus, which feems evidently to be borrowed from this; as many Things which Philoftratus tells us of Apollonius Tyanaus, feein alfo to have been borrowed from other Hiftories recorded of Chrift by the Evangelifts.
(d) White and dazzling.] The Words Euros aspal may literally be rendered, white as Lightning; but as this Claufe ftands here connected with parallel Paffages in the other Evangelifts, I chofe to render it dazzling, that fome proper Gradation might be obferved, which would otherwife have been destroyed.
where Mofes and Elijah appear, and fpeak of his Death.
32 But Peter and they that were with him, were heavy with Sleep: and when they were awake, they faw his Glory, and the Two Men
that flood with him.
33-And it came to pafs, as they departed from him, Peter [anfwered and ] faid unto Jefus, Mafter, it is good for us to be here; and [if thou wilt] let us make [here] thee, and one for Mofes, and one for Elias: [MAT. XVII. 4. MARK IX. 5.]
three Tabernacles, one for
rufalem (e); fuggefting and enlarging on fuch Sect. 90.
But Peter, and they that were with him, i. e. Luke IX.
(e) Spake of his Exit, which he was shortly to accomplish at Jerufalem.] Dr. Hammond and Le Clerc feem greatly mistaken, in referring this to Chrift's Victory over the impenitent Jews in the Destruction of Jerufalem by the Romans; for tho' the Word odos does fometimes fignify a Military Expedition, (fee Elfner. Obferv. Vol. i. pag. 219.) yet it is plainly ufed for Death, or a Departure out of the World, 2 Pet. i. 15. and Wifd. iii. 2. which fuits. much better here with the Construction, e Iepσλμ.
(f) Heard the Conclufion of their Conference, &c.] It might not, perhaps, have been proper, they should have heard the whole of it: GoD might intend to reveal fome of those Things to them by the Spirit, and the Knowledge of others might be reserved to the Discoveries of the Heavenly State.
(g) Let us make three Tents here.] Mr. Fleming thinks, it is as if he had faid, "Lord, "let this Mountain be to Ifrael now, what Sinai was to our Fathers: Hold, as it were, thy "Court here; and let the People refort hither, to learn thy Will, and pay their Homage "to thee, attended by these thy glorified Servants." (See Fleming's Chriftology, Vol. i. p. 46.) But this feems too great a Refinement, and too deep a Scheme. I rather chufe to interpret them, as Words of rapturous Surprize, intended merely to exprefs the Pleasure they had, in what they faw and heard. The Propofal was, as St. Mark obferves, very improper; but perhaps few, in fuch an aftonishing Circumftance, could have been perfectly Mafters of themfelves.The Tents, they propofed to build, muft be only flight Huts, or Bowers; and there is no Reafon at all to fuppofe, they meant any fumptuous Tabernacles, like that of Mofes in the Wilderness: And that no fuch Idea might accidentally be raised, I chose to ufe the Word Tents,