Sexagesima Sunday The Gospel Luc. 8 v.4. Thursday Meditation: A Plaine Path-way To Heaven Thomas Hill 1634
GOSPEL Luke 8:4-15
At that time, when a very great multitude was gathered together and hastened out of the cities, unto him, he spoke by a similitude. "The sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell by the way side. And it was trodden down: and the fowls of the air devoured it. And other some fell upon a rock. And as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. And other some fell among thorns. And the thorns growing up with it, choked it. And other some fell upon good ground and, being sprung up, yielded fruit a hundredfold." Saying these things, he cried out: "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear." And his disciples asked him what this parable might be. To whom he said: "To you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but to the rest in parables, that 'seeing they may not see and hearing may not understand.' Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. And they by the way side are they that hear: then the devil cometh and taketh the word out of their heart, lest believing they should be saved. Now they upon the rock are they who when they hear receive the word with joy: and these have no roots: for they believe for a while and in time of temptation they fall away. And that which fell among thorns are they who have heard and, going their way, are choked with the cares and riches and pleasures of this life and yield no fruit. But that on the good ground are they who in a good and perfect heart, hearing the word, keep it and bring forth fruit in patience."
Consideration for Thursday
The fault that the seed bringeth not forth fruit, may be partly in the seed man, (not the principal, which is God) but his preachers, whom he hath ordained to sow his seed for him.
For if they did, as the seed man of corn, doeth take the seed into their hands one hand full after another, and hold it fast, and then disperse it,not out of their mouth only, but out of their hands, that is to say, first practice himself, what he preacheth to others; and not be like those pharisees, which Christ blamed in the gospel because they did not that themselves which they preached to others, which if preachers would do, doubtless their seed would bring forth a great deal more fruit, then it doeth in the world: Christ the chief seed man, (as Saint Luke writteth) began to do & say: and this must every preacher do, that will profit his hearers.
If a musician teach another to play upon a lute or viall, and say unto him, you must strike this or that string, stop this or that fret, in this or that manner,it is almost impossible for him to learn by that, just as he should, unless he show him with his finger also, yea and take his fingers in his hand, and put them where, and how they should be.
Even so is it almost impossible for a preacher to profit his hearers in virtue and good life unless he teach them by his own example, as well as by word of mouth.
Albertus Magnus saith, nothing goodeth barrame ground, so much as the blood of beasts, but most of all, as the blood of man.
The principal seed man, our blessed Savior Christ, did not only sow the whole world with his divine doctrine, and manure it with his example of life, but fatted it with his most precious blood, once upon the cross most plentifully ; and also daily in the Sacrifice of the Altar:by reason whereof the world brought forth such a plentiful crop in the primitive Church, when his blood was fresh & warm in their hearts; and hath continued ever since from age to age, though not in that fervor and devotion as then; whereupon it is that Christ said of himself, in the gospel, I am the good shepherd that give my life for my sheep he might have said, I am the good seed man,that fat my ground with mine own blood.
Oh that we had seed men, that would imitate his example,what a flourishing Church should we have?
Let us pray the Master of the field, to send such seed men into his work:but the seed men are not the only cause the seed bringeth not forth fruit: the cause is the badness of the ground, as appeareth in the exposition of the parable, which is of three sorts, as followeth in the next meditation