The Sixth Sunday After Pentecost The Gospel Marc.8.v.1 Monday Meditation: A Plaine Path-way To Heaven Thomas Hill 1634
GOSPEL Mark 8:1-9
In those days again, when there was great multitude and they had nothing to eat; calling his disciples together, he saith to them: "I have compassion on the multitude, for behold they have now been with me three days and have nothing to eat. And if I shall send them away fasting to their home, they will faint in the way: for some of them came from afar off." And his disciples answered him: "From whence can any one fill them here with bread in the wilderness?" And he asked them: "How many loaves have ye?" Who said: "Seven." And he commanded the people to sit down on the ground. And taking the seven loaves, giving thanks, he broke and gave to his disciples for to set before them. And they set them before the people. And they had a few little fishes: and he blessed them and commanded them to be set before them. And they did eat and were filled: and they took up that which was left of the fragments, seven baskets. And they that had eaten were about four thousand. And he sent them away.Monday Meditation
It is awonder to see how exact Christ is here, in setting forth the particular circumstances of the peoples following him into the wilderness to hear him preach; as that they had followed him three days without food. forgetting themselves through the love of his doctrine; that they had tasted till they were ready to faint by the way. if he should dismiss them without food; how they came from afar, and the like, and how well he was pleased with them for it, how grateful he seemed to be unto them, as if thy had done him a great service,whereas the service they did was to themselves, and not to him, but they were rather to be grateful to him for his service to them, & for their good, as likewise we ought to be to our preachers, that teach us the doctrine of salvation; how compassionate he was upon them, so did he enumerate and number up in particular all the services St. Mary Magdalen did unto him, in the house of a certain proud Pharisee, and set them forth, and adorned them with a kind of Rhetorical figure called Antithesis, or Contraposition, comparing her services done unto him, with the pharisees omissions and leaving them undone.
Simon, sayth Christ, for so the Pharisee was called, I have to say unto thee, Seest thou this woman, pointing to Mary Magdalen standing there present, I entered into thy house and thou gavest me not water to wash my feet, but she hath washed them with the tears of her eyes: thou diddest not give me a kiss, but she hath not ceased ever since she came in to kiss my feet: Thou hast not anointed my head with oil, but she hath anointed my feet with ointment.
Oh what a comfortable thing is this, that in serving God, we serve such a one, that as he is so all-seeing that not so much as the least service we do him, either in thought, word, or deed can be hidden from him: so is he as thankful for the same, and as ready to reward it.
Thus mindful should we be to enumerate and recount in particular all and every the benefits of God towards us, and to make it a daily exercise, to maintain the fire of love, and gratitude to God for the same, then the which nothing pleaseth him better.
Thus did holy Moses egregiously perform in numbering up and setting forth to the people the land of Palestine, which God had promised to give them: Thy Lord God, sayth he to the people, shall bring thee into a good land; a land of rivers, waters, and fountains, in whose fields and mountains shall burst forth deep rivers; a land of wheat, barley, and vines; a land where there dth grow figs, pomegranate & olive-trees; a land of oil and honey, where thou shalt eat thy bread without any scarcity, and shalt enjoy abundance of all things; what could be said more.
And why did he enumerate, and reckon up all these things so exactly, and after a Rhetorical manner? he giveth the reason in these words immediately following, that when thou hast eaten, and art satisfied, thou maist bless thy Lord God, for this most good land.
Oh how good an exercise is the exact, and particular enumeration of the benefits of God, and how sweetly doth he infuse his love into our souls, while we are doing it and thereby induce us into such a spiritual land as Moses here described, to wit a state of spiritual joy, comfort, and consolation, that will make us burst forth with the Prophet David, and say: If thou (O my God) hast done such things, for me here in earth, a place of banishment and penance, what hast thou reserved for me in heaven, and what do I desire here on earth besides thee?
Thus do the good enumerate & recount all the benefits of God towards them, omitting nothing thereof, be it never so little, by means whereof God doth feed them with the bread of spiritual comfort and alacrity in his service, that they faint not, nor fail by the way, as he did these people with corporal bread, least thy should fail by the way home; but those that are not good, they make nothing of the benefits of God, but rather murmur at everything that is against their own will: so did the ungrateful people to Moses and Aaron their leaders through the desert, notwithstanding God fed them with delicate food from heaven, Manna, & quayles, fresh and fresh every day: Why have you made us said they to Moses and Aaron, to come forth of Egypt, and brought us to this most bad place (of the wilderness) which cannot be sown, which doth not bring forth figs, nor vines, nor pomegranates.
This said those ungrateful wretches, whereas they should have been so much the more thankful to God, that in a wilderness, he feed them with such delicate food, without tilling the ground the ground, or taking any pains at all, more then gathering it up; through which their ingratitude, they failed in the way to the land of Promise, God cutting them off by death for a punishment, that they never came there; and even so do they commonly fail in the service of God, which is the way to heaven, that are unmindful of the benefits of God, of whom in the person of the children of Ephraim (Ephraim signifying them that bare rich in Gods benefits & not mindful thereof) the Prophet David sayeth thus, by way of exprobration of Ephraim, bending their bows to shoot, turned their backs in the day of battle; they kept not the testament of God, nor walked in his ways; and why, because sayth he, they forgot his benefits bestowed upon them.