2 Pet. 1:16.---' We . . . were eye-witnesses of his majesty.'

The reference is, of course, to the view which the three disciples Peter, James, and John, gained of the majesty of Christ, and of things celestial, at the scene of the Transfiguration. That scene is set forth in very simple terms by the Gospel writers, but it is one that could never fade from the memory of those who were its eye-witnesses; one not only that could never fade from memory, but that must remain for ever as a brilliant disclosure and a stimulating impulse in the experience of those who were admitted to the holy and mystic occasion.

In attempting to understand what must be the value of such an event to those who were its beholders, it is worth noting that to only three of the disciples was there allowed a share in the vision. It is a question if the other nine would have seen anything if they had been present; otherwise why should the nine have been refused participation in a privilege that would have been fraught to them with everlasting blessing and power? The question why Peter, James, and John should have been thus exceptionally favored is one that is not difficult to answer; and the answer is of more than academic interest, because it involves principles that are as relevant to those living now as it was to those who were disciples then. In matters of natural prospect we can see only those things that we are visually prepared to see. An object may have a definite existence, and a definite material existence, such as the atmosphere, for example, without the eye being able to take cognizance of it. Its invisibility is not the fault of the atmosphere, but is due to optical infirmity. It is that infirmity that gives occasion for microscopes and telescopes.

Visibility depends as much on us as it does on things, and our inability to see a thing is no kind of proof that the thing is not there. As when it is written in the 119th Psalm: 'Open thou mine eyes that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law'---which means that the wondrous things are in the law whether human eyes are open to them or closed to them. Or as when Elisha, in the anxieties of battle, was concerned that his terrified servant should realize the sufficiency of God's power and the abundance of the celestial resources, and prayed, saying, 'Lord I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha'---which indicates that the sky was thronged with forces of Divine deliverance, quite independently of the ability of the young man, or of anyone else, to observe and appreciate those forces.

The Scriptures of the New Testament and of the Old also give to us inklings of spiritual potencies which interest us and fascinate us when we read of them, but which for some reason we are not sufficiently adventurous to be disposed to actualize in our own experience. We read the Gospel rather with the idea of curiously remarking the singular and mystic events transpiring in another continent and age of the world than with the thought of finding in those events, and in the experiences that accompanied them, a criterion of what life and experience is designed in all ages and latitudes to be. There is an exceeding absence of what we might call spiritual ambition.

Most are ambitious for money, for education, for clothes and jewels, for the refinements of the table and even the arts. At the level of material things, if there is anything new to be discovered we want to discover it. If there is a North Pole we send out expeditions to find it. If there are treasures of art buried in the ruins of demolished cities and temples we organize societies and commissions for their disinterment. If there is life possibly elsewhere, we will equip to find out. About all such matters we are neither slow, dull nor indifferent. And it is only in the presence of a realm as real as any of these, but not appreciable by even the most delicate material apparatus, that the human passion of research congeals into uninquisitiveness.

If we are believers we say that our reliance is upon God. Yes, but how is our reliance upon God? Reliance may be a positive matter and have in it an impulse of effect, or it may be a mere negation and only a euphemism for slothfulness and a disposition to take things for granted. We have tracked the course of events enough to know that things of themselves do not better themselves, and we have probably discovered before this time that when the train of events is lifted upon a higher track, and taken along an upward grade, there is something involved in it besides the direct might of the Everlasting Arms.

God doubtless enters the world, but His entrance is along the line of the inspired touch that He puts upon some human soul, the celestial thrill by which He animates the spirit of some human intermediary. He tells the secrets of His own heart to some human confidant, and that confidant is able to walk forth among men with the power of a Divine vicegerent, a human finger through which God's arm puts its pressure upon men and events. And so men are taken up into the high places of the earth, shown things that eye hath not seen; told things that ear hath not heard; taken up men, and then let down angels of power and deliverance, molders of men, shapers of events, generals of history.

Unless we are prepared to sacrifice the profoundest significance of both the Old and New Testament Scriptures, we have to concede that while in all the history so recorded there may have been only one Transfiguration scene, the instances are many of celestial disclosures wherein, in one form or another, men have consciously walked upon ground that was made bright by a heavenly illumination, have consciously experienced the impulse conveyed to them by the entrance into them of suggestions borne in from Divine sources. And it is that that has constituted the certainty of their purpose and the stability of their assurance. We are taught that we walk by faith. Yes, but not by faith alone. In no range of our life's experience do we ever take anything absolutely on trust. Faith is a producing factor only according to the amount of knowledge that underlies it. It is stupid to believe except so far as we have grounds for our belief. It is in the construction of life as it is in the rearing of a building----we may project it into the air to an almost unlimited height provided we have at the bottom something which has not the tenuity of atmosphere but the solidity of rock.

And so Christ says, 'We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen,' and by that token, and only by that token, was He able to maintain a career in which there was no anxiety, no misgiving, no fluctuations of feeling or thought.

Moses could maintain himself in steadiness of demeanor and of action in the midst of all the difficulties and embarrassments of his captaincy of the Hebrew people, and he could maintain himself there for forty years because for forty days---one day for each year---he had tarried with God in the heights. Stability cannot be extemporized. Stability has got to have something under it to make it stable. Elijah, environed with peril, loaded with anxiety, could address King Ahab with a clarion note of ringing prophetic denunciation because he could say to him, 'As the Lord God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand!' Consciously charged with the secrets of the Divine mind and purpose; consciously commissioned to be authoritative vicegerency---to Elijah the black earth was made beautiful because it lay under a white sky.

That, then, is for us one of the great meanings of the Transfiguration scene. Heaven and earth close together. Things visible to every eye that has light in it. The heavens not made of brass and God not a dummy. God's touch man's qualification for historic generalship. The world managed by its prophets. Every man a prophet so far as he is able to rise into an atmosphere that is pure enough for God to breathe, that is so white and still that spiritual presence becomes manifest, and that still small voice loud enough to be heard.

We, also, may go up into the mount of vision. We, also, may hear the voice saying, 'This is my beloved Son.' We are all too commonplace, too willing to live down in the mists of the valley. The mount of vision calls us. We may dream dreams and see visions, if we will. We may hear heavenly voices, if we will. We may breathe the mountain air with God, if we will.

In Christ, timothy. maranatha

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