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of an immortal being, and that this world has nothing else worth striving for or living for.
Again, the transfiguration of Christ consists in a clearer exhibition of our duties, and a more powerful incitement to the faithful discharge of them. It is with our duties as we have just seen it to be with the truths of religion. We know that we are moral beings, that we have moral obligations—we know what we owe, and to whom. But what avails this knowledge, nay more, what avails it that we confess to ourselves that our only happiness lies in the faithful discharge of these obligations This belief is compatible, and is often known to co-exist with an almost total indifference to the great principles and the tremendous fact which it implies. Nothing in human nature is more wonderful than our capacity of disregarding that which most nearly concerns us, the things most essential to our happiness in time and eternity. It would seem incredible if it were not a matter of constant experience. If something similar were told us of the inhabitants of some distant landif it were told us that there were countries where men are accustomed to build houses costly and laborious as if to endure forever, in such situations that they were annually swept away, when a different location, requiring no greater trouble, would ensure them permanence, we should count it fable; and yet the same thing is true of ourselves. A perception of our obligations and of the connection which exists between duty and happiness, is not sufficient, we need that conviction which no reasoning can create, that stimulus which no argument can supply. Such a conviction and such a stimulus are given us in those moments of spiritual exaltation, when our duties are not only exhibited to us, but exhibited in transfigured form, so that they no longer seem wearisome and painful but easy and pleasant-not only leading to happiness, but constituting happiness, the only happiness which seems to be worth pursuing. The way of righteousness is then revealed to us anew as the way of life and the path of peace—we are made to hunger and to thirst for it as the highest good, as an infinite good-sufficient for the life that now is and for every period of our being.
Lastly, Christ is transfigured to us in our destiny. There are moments when that destiny is overcast, when the future has no charm for our imagination and no consolations for our hearts. There are moments when the whole scheme of life seems inextricably involved, and every purpose of our being is wrapped in thick darkness. The present is an intolerable burden and the future an undefined looking for of disappointment and woe. We wish not to live, and the thought of living
forever fills us with loathing and dread, our hearts shrink with dismay from the awful responsibility of life, we are ready to fold our hands in despair, and to wish that we had never been born. Again there are moments gloriously contrasting with these seasons of gloom-bright moments of hope and rapturous expectation, when the cloud has passed away from our destiny, and not only so, but visions are vouchsafed to us-visions of blessedness to come, which raise us as far above the ordinary level of human joys as those seasons had depressed
The future and all that awaits us throughout its whole immeasurable extent, our earthly and our immortal destination is exhibited in fresh and glowing colors, drawn from our relations to God and eternity. Life is presented to us more in that softened light which a pure faith can shed around all that God has willed, and the soul which we had thought almost to have lost in sin and sorrow is given us anew from the hands of our redeemer—an inestimable dower--a priceless gem inlaid with heavenly hopes and studded thick with the signs and tokens of everlasting promise. We feel that simply to be, is happiness enough; that in giving us existence God had given every thing which we could desire or need.
These then are the elements which make up that spiritual transfiguration of which, like the favored disciples of old, we are sometimes permitted to partake in the course of our earthly service. The great central truths of religion, which are Christ himself speaking to us from his invisible kingdom, and with him Moses and Elias—the law of duty, and prophecies of glory and immortality--all combine to form one radiant image, one undevided impression-all unite to illustrate the glory of God and the destiny of man. These are points in our pilgrimage when we feel with the Apostles that it is good to be there, and we would fain build tabernacles to fix and perpetuate the fleeting visions which have there ministered to us. This may not be. These visions are fleeting as they are rarelent but for a moment to warm and to cheer us; yet, if we seek to avail ourselves of the new life and renovated vigor with which they have inspired us, if we link with them resolutions of holy living and purposes of unceasing progress, which shall stand by us, and work with us in every trial, these moments will not have visited us in vain. The glory may pass away, the cloud may again overshadow us, but out of the cloud we shall hear the voice of God, still reminding us of the heavenly vision and saying, “ This is my Beloved Son, hear ye
Christian! if ever you have been thus visited, if ever you
have been carried up to the mount of vision, if ever Christ has been transfigured before you, if ever you have gazed upon that face shining. as the sun, and that form clothed in garments white as the light, let it not be said that you have come down unaltered and unstrengthened in purpose or in deed. Forget not the excellent glory which was shown you in that high and holy place. Remember the things which you saw, and the voice which
heard. Let them be for a sign and for a covenant between your soul and God-a pledge of his love, an earnest of his kingdom, and an unfading memorial of the high calling with which he has called you.
JESUS PRA Y ED.
As the doctrine of the Divine Unity is written as with a sunbeam on almost every page of the sacred scriptures, it appears, at first view, surprising that in the nineteenth century, when these scriptures are so much read, we should have to contend with a doctrine such as that of the Trinity, which, when not reduced to a term totally devoid of meaning, is a direct infringement of the doctrine of the Divine Unity. But when we look more closely at this matter, and inquire into the causes of it, much of our surprise vanishes. St. Paul represents somewhere (a) the Jews, as having a veil cast over their understanding, which prevented them from comprehending the scriptures. Now the pains which are taken to instil into the minds of children, a belief in the doctrine of the Trinity, and to persuade them that their eternal salvation depends on a perseverance in that belief, throws a veil over their mental vision, by which, through their whole lives, the most obvious truths of scripture remain hidden from them. I can in no other way account for the fact, that very
intelligent men, who read the scriptures daily, should so often overlook the plainest and most obvious meaning of a passage.
Thus one of this class of men cited to me one day, John v. 26, “ For as the Father has life in himself, so has he given to the Son to have life in himself,” in proof of the self-existence
(a) 2d Cor. iii. 14.
of Christ; and another cited Matt. xxviii. 18, “ All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth,” in proof of Christ's being the omnipotent God. The first overlooked, that in this passage the question is not respecting self-existence, but relates solely to the power of conferring or restoring life to others; and both had entirely overlooked the express declaration of our Saviour, that the power of which he speaks was given to him, or they had not reflected upon the obvious inference, that a being, who thus acted by derived power, could not possibly be the supreme God. But it is not of these passages that I intend to speak.
We read in sundry places in scripture, that our Saviour prayed for himself and others. Thus we read, Luke vi. 12, “ He (Jesus,) went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.” Luke xxii. 32, “But I have prayed for thee." Luke xxiii. 34, “ Then said Jesus Father forgive them, for they know not what they do." Luke xxiii. 46, “Father into thy hand I commend my spirit.”
Now, if it were not for the blinding effects of preconceived systems, all would feel, that these passages are conclusive evidence, that the being who uttered these prayers was a subordinate and dependent one. Let me ask : What is prayer? Is it not the appeal of one being to another for assistance? Prayer arises from a feeling of wants which we cannot ourselves supply, and is an appeal to the benevolence of God to supply those wants. Prayer therefore is, and can only be, the act of a finite dependent being. Can the Almighty have wants, or can Omnipotence want the means of effecting its own purposes? To whom can He appeal for assistance? But Jesus prayed. Jesus had therefore wants which he could not himself supply: Jesus prayed for Peter. He felt therefore, that it was not in his power to grant himself to Peter, that assistance of which he stood in need. Jesus prays that his murderers may be forgiven. But why pray to obtain for them that forgiveness from his Father, if he himself could have granted it to them, being the supreme God?
Trinatarians are sensible, that from the fact that our Saviour prayed, there arises a very strong objection to the doctrine of his supreme divinity, and hence they have endeavored to do away this objection by two contradictory assumptions. Some of them say, that he merely prayed to set an example to his disciples and to us; while others maintain, that being both God and man, it was only as man that he prayed.
As to the first of these assertions, it might perhaps be enough in order to refute it, to refer to the fact, that Jesus prayed
when alone, and when therefore his example could not operate on his disciples. But this assertion involves a matter of deeper moment. If it has any meaning, it imports that our Saviour did not actually pray, but merely assumed the outward appearance of praying; that his devotional acts were not the elevation of the soul to God, but like those of the Pharisees, made to be seen of men. A shudder comes over me while I thus analyze this assertion. Surely those who made it have never felt their hearts melt, and their tears flow, at the moral sublimity of the prayer on the cross—“ Father forgive them, they know not what they do."
As to the second assertion, that has nothing in it revolting to our feelings, but it rests on one impossibility, and it involves another. It rests on the supposition, that two perfectly distinct intelligent beings, the one the supreme God, and the other a feeble man, have been so united as to form but one person, one being, while yet the God ceases not to be God, nor the
The impossibility involved in this assertion is, that an intelligent being should perform an act in which one part of his intellectual nature should participate, and another part not. Besides, if it was only the human nature of our Saviour that prayed, and not his divine nature, we might have expected that the prayers of the former would uniformly have been directed to that person of the Trinity with which it was so intimately connected. But they never were so. On the contrary, all his prayers are directed to his Father in heaven, and it does not appear that he knew of any other object of worship.
From the foregoing facts I am irresistibly led to the conclusion, that our blessed Saviour, however highly exalted, was still a finite, subordinate being, dependent with us on the same God. As to the inference to be drawn from the fact that our Saviour worshipped the Father only, that may form the subject of another essay.