The Second Sunday in Advent The Gospel Math. 11 v.2. FRIDAY Meditation: A Plaine Path-way To Heaven Thomas Hill 1634
Gospel St. Matthew, 11. 2-10.
At that time, when John had heard in prison the works of Christ, sending two of his disciples, he said to Him: Art thou He that art to come, or look we for another? And Jesus making answer, said to them: Go and relate to John what you have heard and seen. The blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead rise again, the poor have the gospel preached to them: and blessed is he that shall not be scandalized in Me. And when they went their way, Jesus began to say to the multitudes concerning John: What went you out into the desert to see? A reed shaken with the wind? But what went you out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Behold they that are clothed in soft garments are in the houses of kings. But what went you out to see? A prophet? Yea I tell you, and more than a prophet. For this is he of whom it is written: Behold I send My angel before Thy face, who shall prepare Thy way before Thee.
What went you out to see a reed, moved every way with the wind? No; Saint John was not such a one.
He was not moved from his sincerity of serving Christ his Lord, & master, neither by the applause of the people, nor by the greatness of Herod, nor by the affliction of imprisonment: but stood constant, and unmovable in his duty.
Not like a reed: but like the tree of which the Prophet David speaketh in the first Psalm.
For it seems that Christ our Lord, by deeming St. John to be a waving reed; would insinuate unto the hearers that he was rather like that tree, which David their describeth: though chiefly representing Christ himself, yet next unto him most properly painting out St. John unto us, in these words.
Blessed is the man that hath not gone in the council of the wicked, nor stood in the way of sinners, nor sat in the chair of pestilence: that is, neither sinneth himself, nor approveth or feareth to reprehend sin in others, be they never so great persons, when charity, and discretion tells, they should be reprehended.
As St. John, of irrepressible life, as being sanctified from his mothers womb: & not sparing to admonish Herod himself of his scandalous incest.
But his delight is in the law of our Lord, & meditating it, day, and night: in gorgeous apparel, nor i courtly conversations, but in performing the will of God.
And therefore shall be like a tree planted by pleasant brooks of water which will bring forth its fruit in due season: & its leaves shall not wither; and all that this man doeth shall prosper.
So was it with Saint John, sanctified so soon as he was conceived, and so timely planted by the well spring of grace that from his infancy he went to the wilderness, to avoid least occasion of sin, which come from much company keeping, and there delighted himself in meditation of Gods law, & pleasure, which was unto him as a sliver river of spiritual water to refresh his soul that thereby nourished brought forth such fruits of virtue, & holiness, that the Jews themselves honored hum so much, as to esteem almost their Messias: which honor yet he refused, and testified it belonged to Christ our Lord.
So that his leaves, that is, the words of his preaching of Christ, and reprehending sin, withered not in vain, nor were blown away with the wind of favor or persecution; but prospered so much, as to deserve no lesser judge to commend, and reward them, then Christ himself.
But the wicked are not so: not like this fruitful tree; but like a wind-shaken reed; or n(to go on with our Psalmist;) like dust, which the wind driveth from the face of the earth, who therefore shall not rise up in judgement, nor in the council of the just.
That is, they shall be so light, and inconstant, even in their fairest actions, that as dry dust, they shall be blown away with every blast of vanity, of fear, of delight, of worldly conversation.
And as he that carieth dust in an uncovered vessel against a stormy wind; shall not only find the dust to be all blown into his own eyes, that the shall not be able to see the way he goes in: so the wicked, blinded with the dust of worldly vanities, can neither rise from their sins, nor truly prosper in their actions; their own judgment condemning them in their conscience, and making them unfit to advise others; and all their intentions, and even good motions, for the most part blown away, or turned against their own perplexed consciences, that they know not how to dispose of themselves to any true contentment.