No. 9

Luke 9:35
And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him.
Matthew 17:5
While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased: hear ye him.

The disciples feared as they entered the cloud.  They were sinners, and they were frail; so are all the Lord's people and therefore even [when] he comes in a way of grace and mercy they feel an impression of awe on their spirits when he makes them sensible that he is near.  So Jacob cried out, How dreadful is this place, though the Lord appeared on purpose to comfort him. [1]  From this circumstance I have proposed one mark whereby to try our spirits if they are right, and our comforts if they are true.  If we have known those peculiar manifestations with which the Lord favours his own people, they have had a humbling effect; at such times we have been abased before him, and had a sense of our distance, weakness and unworthiness.
This verse reminds me of another test.  They not only saw the cloud, but they heard a voice directing them to Christ. This is a sure mark. Whatever seems extraordinary in our experience, any manifestation or comfort, that does not lead us to Jesus and tend to make him glorious in our eyes and precious to hearts may be justly suspected.  The word of God, the ordinances, the teachings of the Spirit, all concur with this voice to glorify Jesus, and if there is any spirit that does not testify of Jesus, whatever else it professes to teach, it cannot be of God.
Let us now attend to this voice from the excellent glory, which still speaketh to us also.  May the Holy Spirit impress it powerfully upon all our hearts.
1. The title, This is my Beloved Son
The Greek is emphatic with a double article – This is that Son, that beloved Son of mine – to distinguish him from all others and to show his pre-eminence and dignity.  Believers are the sons of God, not by nature but adoption.  Jesus is his own, his only beloved Son.  He is the brightness of the Father's glory, the express image of his person and the temple of his glory.  If we speak of his divine nature, he is of the same essence with the Father, equal in power and glory.  If we speak of his human nature, this is assumed into such an immediate and indissoluble union with the Divine, that in his whole person as Mediator and Head of his church reside all the characters and perfections of the Godhead.  He is the true God and eternal life.  There are mysteries in this subject which cannot be truly understood by any who are not taught of God, and cannot be fully comprehended by the most exalted creatures, for None knoweth the Son but the Father. [2]  Enough however is revealed for faith to build and feed upon.  Enough to point him out to sinners as the ground of their hope and the object of their supreme love, trust and adoration.  If you would know this great mystery of Godliness aright you must pray the Father to reveal the Son to you and in you.  According to the views you have of Jesus, in the glory of this character – The beloved Son of God – such will be your knowledge of the other great truths of the Gospel, which are derived from this and depend upon it.  Particularly:
  1.1 By this you must learn to estimate the love of God to sinners.  When St. Paul is speaking of this love, he often labours for words, though he exhausts the power of language.  His expressions are strictly true, or rather too low and faint, to do justice to the subject, upon a supposition that Jesus is that excellent and glorious person, the beloved Son of God, but upon any other scheme his language must appear excessive, hyperbolical and idolatrous.  But St. Paul's views were right, and therefore we can easily conceive why the holy angels looked down with wonder and learn the brightest discoveries of God, in his dealings with his church.  For he has so loved it, as to give his only begotten Son to redeem it from ruin.  That God is good may be easily proved from his works of creation, of providence, but his love is only to be known in Christ.  They who refuse to give Jesus the glory due to his name, can never entertain due apprehensions of the love of God.  On the other hand, if this love of God in this unspeakable gift, does not affect you with wonder and draw forth your love to him, though you may have been brought up with right notions, and may confess Christ in words, be assured you have not as yet received the true knowledge of him.
  1.2 On the knowledge of this character of Christ, depends the right knowledge of the sinfulness of sin.  Conceive of him for a moment as he stood transfigured in glory upon the mount, and attested by a voice from heaven.  And then follow him in your thoughts to those sufferings which he soon after endured.  Think of him in his agony in the garden – see him the sport of servants and soldiers, see him buffeted and spit upon – and at last hanging upon the cross, surrounded with his enemies who mocked his torments.  Would any of you being evil, treat a son, a beloved son, in this manner, or permit him to be so treated, if it was in your power to prevent it?  And can you think that the Great God would deliver up his only Son, who had always pleased him, to endure such things, without an important reason?  O sin, how exceeding sinful, when viewed in this light.  He had of his enormous love given his Son to stand for sinners, and when sin was found charged upon him, though he was the beloved Son, he was not spared.  Here let me drop a word:
    1.2.1 To you who go on in your sins
If God spared not his own Son, can you presume that he will spare you?
    1.2.2 To you that are seeking to establish your own righteousness
Are you prepared to meet this holy God, who dealt thus with his own Son?  Will you reject this atonement to trust to the work of your own hands?
    1.2.3 To believers
You know there is much evil in your natures, and many temptations and snares in the world.  See here your best preservative against sin.  The Lord help you the next time you are in danger, to remember what your sins cost Jesus.  Sure, if this had not been out of your thoughts, you would not have given way in one or another instance, the remembrance of which now fills you with shame.
  1.3 Except you conceive aright of Jesus as the beloved Son of God, all your professed dependence upon him as a Saviour, is presumption and idolatry.  You may learn from Isaiah 45:21 and 43:11, that there is but one Saviour, and that he is the Lord Jehovah. [3]  He is jealous of his glory and will not give it to another, nor could he, consistent with his honour and holiness, command all men to honour the Son as they honour the Father, if he was not the proper object of our supreme adoration and love.  Your making mention of the name of Jesus, having [been] baptised in it, and concluding your prayers with it, will not make you a Christian, except you are enlightened to receive him, as he is revealed in the Word.
  1.4 Here is comfort for believers and all who are truly seeking salvation.  That name in which you are directed to trust is above every name. He on whom your help is laid is Mighty, All-mighty.  As the beloved Son, he exercises all power in heaven and earth, and is therefore able to save unto the uttermost.
To conclude: 
What think you of Christ? [4]  If he is the beloved Son, what will be the end of those [who] despise him, live in rebellion against him, and say in their hearts, We will not have this man to reign over us? [5]

[1] Genesis 28:17 And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.
[2] Matthew 11:27 All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.
[3] Isaiah 45:21 Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the Lord? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me.
Isaiah 43:11  I, even I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no Saviour.
[4] See Newton’s hymn on Matthew 22:42 [Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The son of David.] ‘What think ye of Christ?’, Olney Hymns, Book 1 Hymn 89, beginning:
What think you of Christ? is the test
To try both your state and your scheme;
You cannot be right in the rest,
Unless you think rightly of him.
[5] Luke 19:14 But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us.

Cowper & Newton Museum, 714(16), N40

Marylynn Rouse, 06/08/2020