11 MARCH (PREACHED 1770)
Keeping a balance
‘And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray.’ Luke 9:28
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: 2 Corinthians 12:1–10
These three disciples were appointed witnesses of his passion. They saw him in his agony, and therefore he first gave them a view of his glory. If their joy was now great, their sorrow after was proportionable. It seems the Lord generally keeps a balance in the experiences of his people. They who have the strongest comforts have the sharpest conflicts; they who have the strongest trials have the most powerful supports. Thus, as in the gathering of the manna, they that have much have nothing over, they that have little have no lack. If he gives great enlargement and consolation, he will send something to keep us humble and low; if he calls to great temptations, he will give cordials that we be not swallowed up and overmuch sorrow.
Perhaps he distinguished these three that by his example he might sanctify and authorize our Christian friendships. If we love the Lord Jesus, we are bound to love all his people and to love them with a pure heart fervently. But with respect to relationships we are not bound to treat them all alike, nor is it possible in the present state of things to do so. A suitableness in temperament, in way of life, and many occasions of connection in the course of his providence, lead us into greater nearness of affection with some than with others. And our practice herein, while we keep within Scripture bounds and do not set up our friends as idols, is unanswerably justified by the conduct our Lord observed himself. Thus he graciously suited himself to our circumstances in all respects.
Let me close with entreating each of you to consider whether you are yet in the number of Christ’s disciples—if not as one of the three, or one of the twelve, yet a sincere follower.
FOR MEDITATION: ‘Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ’ (2 Corinthians 1:3–5).
SERMON SERIES: ON THE TRANSFIGURATION, NO. 1 [4/4]