Twentieth Sunday After Pentecost The Gospel John 4.v.46-53. Sunday Meditation: A Plaine Path-way To Heaven Thomas Hill 1634

GOSPEL (St. John 4:46-53) 
He came again therefore into Cana of Galilee, where he made the water wine. And there was a certain ruler, whose son was sick at Capharnaum. He having heard that Jesus was come from Judea into Galilee, sent to him and prayed him to come down and heal his son: for he was at the point of death. Jesus therefore said to him: "Unless you see signs and wonders, you believe not." The ruler saith to him: Lord, come down before that my son die. Jesus saith to him: "Go thy way. Thy son liveth." The man believed the word which Jesus said to him and went his way. And as he was going down, his servants met him: and they brought word, saying, that his son lived. He asked therefore of them the hour wherein he grew better. And they said to him: "Yesterday at the seventh hour, the fever left him." The father therefore knew that it was at the same hour that Jesus said to him: "Thy son liveth." And himself believed, and his whole house.


No man cammeth to me, sayth Christ, unless my Father draw him; and he draweth us, as is said in another place of Scripture, with the ropes,or cords, of Adam, that is to say, as is most agreeable and convenient, not to his divine nature, but to our human nature, and condition, which we had from Adam.

As for example, for God to draw us unto him after his way, and according to his divine nature, is his love and benefits towards us, but according to our corrupt nature and condition, as we are the children of Adam, benefits oftentimes draw us from God, and therefore he must draw us sometimes by afflictions, and some by one affliction, and some by another. And these are the cords, or ropes, of Adam, he draweth us withal. 

Little ones, and such as are not over full of benefits, draw them best; those that are great ones, and over full of benefits already, afflictions draw them best.

What could draw this king so effectually to come to Christ, in his own person, (which Kings use not easily to do) as affliction, and such an affliction as the sickness & imminent death of his son, and peradventure of his only son, or at least such a son as he loved most dearly, and peradventure so dearly, that he had rather have dies himself, as many parents do.

Behold how forcibly God did draw this king unto Christ with the ropes of Adam, and though we love not to be drawn with the ropes of adversity & affliction, especially of sickness, which goeth nearest unto us of all, and we can hardly persuade ourselves it is a token of the love of God: yet we see here in this king, it was so, and of an egregious love of God towards him, being the cause of the conversion of himself to the faith of Christ, an his whole household, and no doubt of many others, though they are not here expressed.

It is hard for us to persuade ourselves, that sickness is so good a thing for us before we have it, and when we are in it, we murmur & think much that God should so afflict us; but afterwards we find by experience, that it is a great benefit unto us.

Affliction is like the rod of Moses, which when he did cast down out of his hand upon the ground, it turned to a serpent, and they were afraid of it: when he took it up into his hands, it turned to a rod again.

Affliction if we consider it before we have it in our hands, as it were a thing lying upon the ground, it is a fearful serpent, and makes us fly from it, all that we can.

If we take it up into our hands, or it be imposed upon us, it is but a rod of Gods especial favor; such a rod as the Prophet David speaketh of when he said to almighty God, of his afflictions: Thy rod, and thy staff, that is to say, thy rod of tribulation & the staff of they Grace that sustained and strengthened me to bear it with patience, did give me comfort and consolation.

Tribulation is like March-pane made in the form of a bear, or lion, or the like, fearful unto children in the form, and driving them away; but having once tasted of it, find it sweet, and cry for more.

Where the Prophet David had expostulated this point with himself, & the particulars thereof at large, worthy to be read, but to long to be set down here, he concluded thus: I though to have understood, why the good are much more afflicted then the bad; I entered into the discussion thereof, but it was to intricate a labor for me, until I entered into the Sanctuary of God, and understood it by the last things thereof, that is to say, by the good effects and comfort it wrought in mens hearts at last, by the patient enduring thereof.


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