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John with him, and ascended a very high inountain, generally understood to be mount Tabor.
George. In what place did this mountain stand ?
Aunt. In the plains of Galilee. While our Lord was at prayer, his countenance was changed, his face shone as the sun in its brightness, and his raiment was white as the light; and there appeared Moses and Elias, clothed with the brightness and majesty of a glorified state, freely conversing with him.
George. I should like very much to know the subject of their conversation.
Aunt. Then, my dear, your curiosity may be gratified, for the evangelist informs us, that they spake of the decease of our Lord, which he should accomplish at Jerusalem.
Maria, What did the disciples say to this discourse?
Aunt. It does not appear that they heard it, as we are told they were heavy with sleep; but, if we consider the nature of this heaviness in all its circumstances, it does not seem to have been a common slumber, but rather the effect of that sudden display of glory, which, for a while, overpowered their senses, so that their feeble frames sunk under the pressure; soinething similar to what we meet with in Dan. viii. 18. and x. 8, 9. When recovered from this stupor, they were exceedingly surprised; and Peter, scarcely knowing what he said, begged of his Master that they might abide in that place, and build three tabernacles, or tents; one for our Lord, the other two for Moses and Elias; but, while he was thus talking, a bright cloud encompassed
then, and a voice from thence cried, This is my beloved Son; hear ye him. The apostles were now seized with greater consternation than ever, and fell on their faces, being sore afraid.
Lucy. But this was not like the tremendous display of the majesty and glory of God from mount Sinai, at the giving of the law, nor the thick darkness by which the Lord took possession of the temple.
Aunt. This luminous cloud denoted the introduction of a clearer and more encouraging discovery of the divine glory by the gospel; but, as fallen creatures, we can no more bear the bright displays • of the majesty of God than his tremendous frowns.
George. How long did the apostles continue thus affrighted ?
Aunt. Till their divine and compassionate Master touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid. And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only. As they came down from the mountain, our Lord charged them not to mention what they had seen, till after he was risen from the dead.
In the prospect of that important event, which was now drawing near, our Lord stedfastly set his face to go up to Jerusalem, and sent messengers before him to a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him : the province of Samaria (as you may see in the map) lying exactly between Galilee in the north, and Judea in the south, of the land of Canaan. But the Samaritans, perceiving his design of going up to Jerusalem, refused him admittance; so great was the animosity between the two nations.
Two of the disciples, James and John, were so exasperated at this, that they begged permission of our Lord, to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, as Elijah had done to the fifty men that were sent to apprehend him. Our Lord, so far from approving of their supposed zeal for his honour, turned and rebuked 'them, saying, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye arè of: for the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them.
Lucy. I heard a discourse lately from those very words. The minister observed, how careful we should be in examining our motives, lest we should fancy ourselves actuated by a concern for the cause of God and truth, when, in fact, we were under the prevailing influence of bigotry, resentment, and illwill.
Aunt. We may also learn from this occurrence, not to suffer ourselves to be prejudiced against religion, on account of the misconduct of any of its professors, since we see the very best, if left to themselves, are too ready to manifest a temper and disposition, directly opposite to that spirit of meekness, benevolence, and charity, which true religion inculcates.
As our Lord was passing through the midst of Samaria and Galilee, in his way to Jerusalem, he was met by ten men, who were afflicted with the leprosy. And they cried with a loud voice, saying, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.
Our Lord immediately commanded them to go and shew themselves to the priests. And, as they went, they were cleansed. One of them perceiving that he was healed, turped back, and glorified God with a loud voice, casting bimself at the feet of Jesus, and giving him thanks : and he was a Samaritan. Our Lord particularly noticed this circumstance, in order to lessen the prejudices of the Jews against the Samaritans, with which the disciples themselves appear to have been too deeply tinctured. About this time, our Lord thought fit to make a second choice of disciples : the first was of twelve, according to the number of patriarchs and tribes; this was of seventy, according to the number of the elders, or senators of Israel.
Lucy. Are their names recorded ?
Aunt. Some of them you may find in the Acts, but most of them are unknown. These seventy were sent out, two and two, as the apostles bad been.
The feast of tabernacles now approaching, which always continued eight days, the people were in expectation of our Lord's being at Jerusalem at this feast. Different opinions, it seems, were entertained concerning him; some said he was a good man, others affirmed that he deceived the people. Our Lord did not think proper to appear till the fourth or fifth day of the feast; he then went into the temple and taught, to the great surprise of the Jews, who were much astonished at his wisdom, seeing he had not had the advantages of a liberal education : but his discourse made a great impression on the people, and brought many to believe on him. The pharisees and chief priests, hearing this, sent officers to take him. Then said Jesus unto them, Yet a little while am I with you, and then I go unto Him that sent me : ye shall seek me, and shall not find me. By this they understood he designed to leave Judea, and go to the Gentiles.
Maria. Did our Lord leave Jerusalem?
Aunt. No: we find him on the last and great day of the feast, (when they perforined the solemn ceremony of offering and pouring out the water) in the temple, thus addressing them: If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink: he that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living waters. See Prov. xviii. 4.
Maria. I do not understand the words of our Lord; what do they mean?
Aunt. They evidently refer to the abundant graces which should be poured out on the souls of believers, by the Holy Ghost, after his entrance into glory. The people still continued divided about him, and some would have taken him, but were overawed.
George. But where were the officers who were sent for that purpose?
Aunt. They were so charmed with our Lord's discourse, that they returned, declaring, That never man spake like this man. The pharisees replied, What, are ye deceived also have any of the rulers · believed on him? Nicodemus, who had formerly. conversed with Jesus by night, and still continued his secret disciple, being one of them, gave his opinion, that, according to their law, they could not judge any man unheard. They answered, Art thou of Galilee? search and look ; for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet. Upon this, the assembly broke up. A little before our Saviour left the city, the seventy returned with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto `us. Our Lord told them