Mark 9* The transfiguration. (1-13) An evil spirit cast out. (14-29)The apostles reproved. (30-40) Pain to be preferred to sin.(41-50)1-13 Here is a prediction of the near approach Christ'skingdom. A glimpse of that kingdom was given in thetransfiguration of Christ. It is good to be away from the world,and alone with Christ: and how good to be with Christ glorifiedin heaven with all the saints! But when it is well with us, weare apt not to care for others, and in the fulness of ourenjoyments, we forget the many wants of our brethren. God ownsJesus, and accepts him as his beloved Son, and is ready toaccept us in him. Therefore we must own and accept him as ourbeloved Saviour, and must give up ourselves to be ruled by him.Christ does not leave the soul, when joys and comforts leave it.Jesus explained to the disciples the prophecy about Elias. Thiswas very suitable to the ill usage of John Baptist. 14-29 The father of the suffering youth reflected on the wantof power in the disciples; but Christ will have him reckon thedisappointment to the want of faith. Very much is promised toour believing. If thou canst believe, it is possible that thyhard heart may be softened, thy spiritual diseases may be cured;and, weak as thou art, thou mayest be able to hold out to theend. Those that complain of unbelief, must look up to Christ forgrace to help them against it, and his grace will be sufficientfor them. Whom Christ cures, he cures effectually. But Satan isunwilling to be driven from those that have been long hisslaves, and, when he cannot deceive or destroy the sinner, hewill cause him all the terror that he can. The disciples mustnot think to do their work always with the same ease; someservices call for more than ordinary pains. 30-40 The time of Christ's suffering drew nigh. Had he beendelivered into the hands of devils, and they had done this, ithad not been so strange; but that men should thus shamefullytreat the Son of man, who came to redeem and save them, iswonderful. Still observe that when Christ spake of his death, healways spake of his resurrection, which took the reproach of itfrom himself, and should have taken the grief of it from hisdisciples. Many remain ignorant because they are ashamed toinquire. Alas! that while the Saviour teaches so plainly thethings which belong to his love and grace, men are so blindedthat they understand not his sayings. We shall be called toaccount about our discourses, and to account for our disputes,especially about being greater than others. Those who are mosthumble and self-denying, most resemble Christ, and shall be mosttenderly owned by him. This Jesus taught them by a sign; whoevershall receive one like this child, receives me. Many have beenlike the disciples, ready to silence men who have success inpreaching to sinners repentance in Christ's name, because theyfollow not with them. Our Lord blamed the apostles, remindingthem that he who wrought miracles in his name would not belikely to hurt his cause. If sinners are brought to repent, tobelieve in the Saviour, and to live sober, righteous, and godlylives, we then see that the Lord works by the preacher. 41-50 It is repeatedly said of the wicked, Their worm diethnot, as well as, The fire is never quenched. Doubtless, remorseof conscience and keen self-reflection are this never-dyingworm. Surely it is beyond compare better to undergo all possiblepain, hardship, and self-denial here, and to be happy for everhereafter, than to enjoy all kinds of worldly pleasure for aseason, and to be miserable for ever. Like the sacrifices, wemust be salted with salt; our corrupt affections must be subduedand mortified by the Holy Spirit. Those that have the salt ofgrace, must show they have a living principle of grace in theirhearts, which works out corrupt dispositions in the soul thatwould offend God, or our own consciences.
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