Twentieth Sunday After Pentecost The Gospel John 4.v.46-53. Monday 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.MONDAY MEDITATION
The manner of them that came to Chriſt to receive any Cure, or benefit at his hands, was to come to him with great reverence and reſpect. A certain leprous man coming to him to be cured, adored him.
The woman of Chanaan came Matt. to him, & with great reverence adoring him, said, Lord help me.
The mother of the sons of Zebedee coming to ask some thing of him, being her kinsman according to the flesh, adored him, and diuers other used to do the the like; yea those that had received health of him when they saw him again, did the like.
The young man born blind, being restored to his sight, when he met with Christ afterwards, fell down and adored him: the odd leaper of the Ten, whereof nine returned not to give thanks to Christ, did the like; but this little King forsooth, came to Christ in a commanding and imperious fashion: he came unto him without any reverence or adoration, or humble entreaty, saying unto him: My ſonne is sick at Capharnaum, come down, and cure him; as if he had come to a very inferior person in comparison of his greatness: and when Christ rebuked him, saying, Unless ye see signs and miracles yet will not believe, he repeated the same words again, saying: come and cure him before he die, thinking much to be rebuked or denied, or delayed, but rather to be attended upon at a beck, as great persons use to be.
This is the style of great men, as if he had represented their persons, euen with their spiritualſ Fathers & Prelates of the Church, whose persons Christ doth here represent.
Upon this man it had beneſit that Christ should have added another affliction to the former, to make him know himſelfe how he was to come to Chriſt, as well as the sickness of his sonne, to make him come unto him; and commonly God doth so to them that he loveth though he did not so here.
That which God intended by affliction, is to make us see ourselves, prosperity being apt to make us blind with pryde, and divers other vices , attending upon it, as it did this little king. When we are in prosperity, others will see vs. and observe vs, but we see nor ourselves.
When we are in adversity, others will not see us, but we see ourselves, Tobias and Jonathan were both fallen blind: God cured the one with Gaule, to wit, the Gaule of a fish, the other with honey; great mens blindness in not seeing or knowing themselves, is hardly cured but with the Gaule of affliction, whereof in King Nabuchodonosor we have most notable example, being ordained of God no doubt, amongst other good ends to that purpose.
When the Noble Prophet Daniel interpreted his dream, that he should for his pride and other sinnes be deprived of his Kingdom, and come to great misery, commanded or required by the king to interpret the same, (otherwise to tell a King his faults, or foretell his downfall were death, he used these sweet words unto him; O king be pleased to take my counsaile, Redeem thy sins with almes & thine iniquities with mercies to the poor, peradventure God will pardon the thy sins.
These sweet words, this honey was so far from curing him of the blindness of his pride, and elation of mind, that he swelled in pride so much the more, and vaunted himself, saying: Is not this Babylon that great City which I have built me for the seat of my kingdom, in the strength of my fortitude, and glory of my greatness? as if no power was able to destroy So great a City, which as S. Jerome writeth was two and thirty leagues about: & behold while he was speaking these words a voice was heard from heaven, I say unto thee King Nabachodonoſor, Thy kingdom shall go from thee, and thou shalt be cast out from among the society of men, and thy dwelling shall be with Cattell, and wild beasts.
Thou shall eat grass like a beast, and seven times, that is to say seven years, shalbe changed over thee, until thou know that the high God doth rule the kingdoms of men, and to whom he pleaseth, he will give them.
When he had done this penance (for he did it, being changed immediately into an Oxe) my great king came to see himself, and returning to his owne shape again pronounced these fervent words, with a great deal of humility & submission to God: I Nabachodonoſor do now praise, magnify, and glorify the king of heaven, for all his works are right , and all his ways just.
Behold how this great King being blind with pride and arrogance, could not be cured by the honey of the Prophet Daniel's sweet and mild Counsaile, but by the gaule of affliction he was cured, & peradventure no less afflićtion then this would have served.
Pride is a tumor, swelling, or elation, of the mind, the Herbe Isope is very good for the curing of swelling of the body; & as it is good for the swelling of the body, so is it a Symbol of Humility, or Humiliation, which cureth the swelling of the soule, and therefore at our entrance into the Church , we sprinkle ourselves with holy water, and say out of the Prophet Damid, Sprinkle me O Lord with Isope & shall be clean, wash me from my ſinnes and l shall be whiter than snow.
Afflićtion & Crosses is the Isope wherewith God doth sprinkle our soules. As I haue set downe a notable example how afflićtion doth cure our blindness, and make us see and know ourselves; so I will add another, to show, how quickly we forget ourselves again when it is past, unless we be remembered with the like ever now and then.
The Example is this: Pharaoh King of the ample and goodly Country of Egypt, would by no fair means, dismiss the people of Israel, out of four hundred years captivity and bondage; being punished he and all his kingdom, he promiſed Moses to dismiss them, the punishment being past, he would not, and so he did twelve several times, being no longer in a good mind then the punishment was upon him; when the punishment ceased, he ceased his good purpose I would to God this were not our case too much.