THIRD SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST THE GOSPEL LUC.15.V.1. MONDAY MEDITATION: A PLAINE PATH-WAY TO HEAVEN THOMAS HILL 1634
Such a one was our Saviour Christ, ome to me, saith he, all ye that labor, to wit with any misery and affliction, & are loaded therewith, and I will ease you. Of whom wise Salomon in the spirit of prophecy or prediction said thus: Come, thou shalt be crowned with the head of Amana, with the top of Sanir, and Hermon, with the dens of Lions. and with the mountains of Leopards.
With the head of Amana, that is to say. with the heads and principal ring leaders of heinous offenders, such as David an Adulterer of Bersabee, & murderer of Urias her husband, St. Paul a cruel persecutor of the primitive Church, and the like.
With the dens of Lions, that is to say, thieves, robbers, murderers & the like, such as the good thief was that was crucified with Christ: with the mountains of Leopards, that is to say, such as were eminent and principal in the sins of voluptuousness, and carnal pleasures as St. Mary of Egypt, & the like.
Of all these, is there made a crown, wherewithal Christ is crowned, as the Prince or captain of all such, not that he is of any such condition himself, being Purity itself; but that he is the receiver of such, and their Saviour, and Master if they will convert themselves unto him, and follow him: and the greater and more egregious sinners they are, the mre is God glorified by them, for it is a greater work for God to justify, or make just a sinner, then to glorify one that is already just, there being a far greater distance between sin & grace, then between grace and glory: and as it is a greater glory to God, so is it a greater benefit & glory to themselves, in regard of both which, Christ saith here in the Gospel; There is more joy in heaven for the conversion of one sinner, then for ninety nine just persons that never fell away into mortal sin, for such are called just in the Scripture, though they fall into smaller sins which we call venial, every day, according to that of Salomon, The just man falleth seven times a day, that is to say, falleth into venial sins, & yet remain just, so he fall not into mortal.
There is more joy in heaven for the conversion of one sinner, then ninety nine just ones in the sense aforesaid, not only as we rejoice more at the finding of a thing lost, then we did before in the possession of it, or when we received it first, being a new and greater joy created of the loss; but in regard of the great fervour that such do oftentimes rise, in comparison of them that stand, whose coldness and remisseness is commonly so great, that they did but barely, and as much as they can do, to stand.
Such proved all those sinners aforesaid, David, Paul, Matthew, Mary of Egypt, and divers others, verifying that of St. Paul in themselves, where sin did abound, there grace did superabound.
Wherefore though sin be so fearful and hateful a thing, that we are not only bound to procure remission of such a monster immediately after we have committed ir, but also not so much as once to think of it, with a deliberate complacence and delight thereof after it is remitted, being like the dangerous serpent called a Basilisk, whose very looking on a man doth kill him: yet may sinners take great comfort and joy, not that they are sinners, but that they have been sinners and are converted and become haters of sin; because they are not only saved, and found again which were lost, but oftentimes advanced to a high degree of glory in heaven, which is to the greater honor of God, who is so much the more honored, by how much the more his servants are honored, and consequently do cause greater joy in heaven: & if they should not be advanced to a higher degree of glory then ordinary, yet penitent sinners Christ doth so much honor as to account them the chief ornament of his crown, vs aforesaid; telling them in the Gospel, He came to call sinners to repentance and not the just: that is to say, Although the perfection of a few just ones, he forebearth to punish whole Cities of sinners: yet he preferred the salvation of one sinner, before the perfection of ninety nine just ones: and this is another reason and the chiefest why there is more joy in heaven for one sinner converted, then ninety nine just.
But how hard and doubtful a thing it is to attain unto repentance, at least after a long custom f sin, shalbe shown in the meditation ensuring.