The Crown of Thorns : a token for the sorrowing

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And Peter answered and said to Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles, one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. MARK ix. 5.

Caught up in glory and in rapture, the Apostle seems to have forgotten the world from which he had ascended, and to which he still belonged, and to have craved permanent shelter and extatic communion within the mystic splendors that brightened the Mount of Transfiguration. But it was true, not only as to the confusion of his faculties, but the purport of his desire, that "he knew not what he said." For even "while he yet spake," the cloud overshadowed them, the heavenly forms vanished, they found themselves with Jesus alone, and an awful Voice summoned them from contemplation to duty,—from vision to work.

Peter knew not what he said. He would have converted the means into an end. He and his fellow-disciples had been called to follow Christ not that they might see visions, but had been permitted to see visions that they might follow Christ. Just previous to that celestial interview, Jesus had announced to them his own painful doom, and had swept away their conceit of Messianic glories involved with earthly pomp and dominion, by his declaration of the self-denial, the shame, and the suffering, which lay in the path of those who really espoused his cause and entered into his kingdom. They needed such a revelation as this, then, upon the Mount of Transfiguration, to support them under the stroke which had shaken their earthly delusion, and let in glimpses of the sadder truth. It was well that they should behold the leaders of the old dispensation confirming and ministering to the greatness of the new, and the religion which was to go down into the dark places of the earth made manifest in its authority and its source from Heaven. It was well that they should see their Master glorified, that they might be strengthened to see him crucified. It was well that Moses and Elias stood at the font, when they were about to be baptized into their apostleship of suffering, and labor, and helping finish the work which these glorious elders helped begin. But that great work still lay before them, and to rest here would be to stop upon the threshold;—to have kept the vision would have thwarted the purpose. Upon a far higher summit, and at a far distant time—with fields of toil and tracts of blood between—would that which was meant as an inspiration for their souls become fixed for their sight, and tabernacles that should never perish enclose a glory that should never pass away.

You may have anticipated the lessons for ourselves which I propose to draw from this unconsidered request of Peter. At least, you will readily perceive that it does contain suggestions applicable to our daily life. For I proceed, at once, to ask you if it is not a fact that often we would like to remain where, and to have what, is not best for us? Do not illustrations of this simple thought occur easily to your minds?...