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ter, and its purpose no where distinctly unfolded. Being, however, circumstantially narrated by three of the Evangelists, and adverted to in the Epistles both of St. John and St. Peter, we cannot doubt its importance in the estimation of the sacred writers; nor can it be either an unworthy or a presumptuous endeavour on our part, to search for such elucidation of its intent, both with regard to the Apostles themselves and to all succeeding generations of believers, as may be gathered from the transaction itself, from the circumstances by which it was preceded and followed, or from its apparent tendency to illustrate the nature and character of the Christian dispensation.
The Evangelists concur in stating that this extraordinary event took place within a few days after a remarkable conversation between our Lord and the Apostles. "Jesus asked " his disciples, Whom do men say that I am? "And they answered, John the Baptist: but some say, Elias, and others, one of the Pro
phets. And he saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Peter answereth "and saith unto him, Thou art the CHRIST. "And he charged them that they should tell
no man of him. And he began to teach
"them, that the Son of Man must suffer
many things, and be rejected of the Elders,
" and of the chief Priests, and Scribes, and be
killed, and after three days rise again. And "he spake that saying openly. And Peter "took him, and began to rebuke him. But "when he had turned and looked on his dis❝ciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee "behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not "the things that be of God, but the things "that be of men. And when he had called
the people unto him, with his disciples also,
"He said unto them, Whosoever will come "after me, let him deny himself, and take up "his cross, and follow me. For whosoever "will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and "the Gospel's, the same shall save it. For "what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain "the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or “what shall a man give in exchange for "his soul? Whosoever, therefore, shall be "ashamed of me and of my words in this "adulterous and sinful generation, of him "also shall the Son of Man be ashamed, "when he cometh in the glory of his Fa"ther with the holy angels. And he said "unto them, Verily, I say unto you, that "there be some of them that stand here, "which shall not taste of death, till they
"have seen the kingdom of God come with "power b."
In this conversation we are made acquainted with the views the disciples had taken of our Lord's personal character and office. We discover the prejudices floating in their minds, which rendered those views indistinct, and in some respects erroneous. We see also the gracious endeavour of their heavenly Master gradually to remove these prejudices, and to prepare them for the reception of truths which they could not yet contemplate with a steadfast eye.
Although this was at an advanced period of his ministry, it does not appear that our Lord had hitherto expressly foretold his sufferings. The Apostles had witnessed so many of his wonderful deeds, and had heard so many of his wonderful discourses, that they were evidently impressed with a thorough conviction that he was "that Prophet "that should come into the world;" the great Deliverer foretold by Moses and the Prophets. To the question, therefore, “Whom
say ye that I am?" the answer was returned with undoubting confidence, “Thou "art the CHRIST." But they were little aware, that in making this confession they virtually
b Mark viii. 27-38. and ix. 1.
pledged themselves to faith in a suffering Messiah, in a crucified Redeemer, in One who "must suffer many things, and be re"jected and killed." Their thoughts were bent upon a triumphant chief, overpowering all opposition, and leading captive every enemy to his pretensions. How this was to be effected by his humiliation and death, was the hardest lesson they had yet to learn. Yet no lesson was so necessary to the purpose for which they were called to be his disciples, none so indispensable even to the confirmation of their faith in him, when once their understandings should be opened to perceive that "thus it was written, and thus it be"hoved Christ to suffer " Our Lord, therefore, seizes the opportunity of their confessing him as the Christ, to begin teaching them this painful truth; and severe was the rebuke which Peter received for taking offence at it. Nor was the subject dismissed without an affecting admonition to the surrounding hearers, as well as to the chosen disciples, on the necessity of being prepared to follow him, and manfully to own him for their Saviour, notwithstanding these discouragements, and even under the prospect of losing their own lives, for his sake and the Gospel's.
< Luke xxiv. 46.
We may well conceive the effect of so repulsive a stroke upon the minds of men hitherto elate with expectations of worldly preeminence. But no sooner was this mistaken ardour repressed, than expectations, nay, assurances of an higher kind were forthwith imparted. Verily, I say unto you, "that there be some of them that stand here, "which shall not taste of death, till they “have seen the kingdom of God come with "power." Here was a promise that, at no very distant period, occasion should be given of joy and triumph, such as should satisfy them that not even the most splendid predictions of him had been unfulfilled. In what acceptation the disciples themselves then understood this assurance is not recorded. It seems, however, thenceforth to have prevented any unbecoming expressions of distrust or doubt as to the necessity or expediency of his sufferings, whenever our Lord again adverted to the subject. And we may conceive that the predictions of his resurrection, which usually accompanied these warnings of his death and suffering, contributed still to uphold them in some ulterior views of his temporal kingdom.
Bearing in mind these several circumstances, we may now more confidently pro