TWENTIETH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST THE GOSPEL JOHN 4.V.46-53. WEDNESDAY 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.WEDNESDAY MEDITATION
Paul writing to the Colossians commending their virtue and perfection which they had, or he would have had them to have, said thus: Ye are dead, and your life is hidden with Christ, in God.
When we would know whether one be dead or no, we feel his pulse, & finding no motion thereof we absolutely know he is dead.
To know whether a man be absolutely dead or no, in S. Paules sense, that is to say, dead to the world, and alive to Christ in God, the only way is to feel his pulse.
The pulse is the appetite and desire of honour, riches, health, pleasure, their own will, and the like.
If they be touched & crossed in any of these, and not moved or disturbed, then they are dead to the world, and their life hidden with Christ, who was Zz 3 dead dead in that faſhion, or with Chriſt,that is to ſay, out of the loue of Chriſt. And amongst all other touches, none goeth nearer unto vs , eſpecially great perſons, then to be rebuked & told their faults.
Whosoever is severely rebuked and admonished of his faults, though by his Superior spiritual, or temporal, unto whom it appertaineth sometimes so to do, ( I say not, if he take it thankfully & courteously as a thing for his own good, as he should do, but) if he be not moved to anger & indignation, but patient and quiet, he is dead to the world & his life hidden with Christ; and we may say of such a one, as the Scripture saith of one, That goeth not after gold, nor trusteth in the treasures of riches, who is he, and we will praise him, for he hath done marvelous things in his life?
The Prophet Eſay had two prophecies to deliver unto King Ezechias.
The one he knew was good, & pleasing unto him, to wit, that the king of Assyria his powerful adversary that came to besiege him, should not enter into his City, nor so much as shoot an arrow into it.
This prophecy, knowing it would be grateful unto him, whosoeuer told him of it, he sent by another.
The other was a reprehenſion for his ostentation of his Plate, Treasure, & riches, shewing it to the servants of the king of Babylon; and that for his punishment, the Army of the king of Babylon should come and spoil him of all. This reprehension and prophecy he knew would be ungrateful unto him, and none durst deliver it so boldly as himself, not caring for his anger & indignation against him.
These great ones, that are ſo much moued at their iust reprehension and telling them their faults, are not of the number of them that S.Paul saith are dead to the world and their life hidden with Christ, nor are not easily brought unto it, their pride and greatness being such, that they love not to be told of their faults, and the weakenes and basenes of them that should reprehend them, and tell them their own, is such that they dare not, as the Prophet Esay did, and a great deal of zeale & courage is required thereunto.
Wherefore we are to pray, that forasmuch as great ones are so far from being dead to the world in this behalf, and their life hidden with Christ, that God would vouchsafe to send such as have so much life, and courage as to reprehend them, and tell them their own when need is; and withall, to be so dead to the world and their life so hidden with Christ in God, that their pulse of impatience will not be moved though they be neuer so angry with them, though they terrify and threaten them neuer so much; yea though they put them to death.
Such a one was the Prophet Helias, who when the wicked King Achab, being incensed against him for reprehending him for his wickedness, said unto him: “Art thou he that disturbs Israel? he stoutly answered him again: It is thou, and thy Fathers house..that disturbs Israel because thou has left the commandments of God, and followest Balaam.
Even, so Christ here, though this king came to him in commanding fashion, & importuned him again and again, in all hast, as though he should have waited upon him, and Christ might have feared he would have taken a displeasure against him, for that he would needes go to the Centurions house to heal his servant, though the Centurion would not have had him come but sent one of his diſciples, but would not come to his house, to cure his Sonne: yet Christ would not yield unto him never the more, because it was for his greater good not to have his will; neither was Christ moved at him though he reprehended him, but immediatſy after he had reprehended him for his incredulity, gave him these comfortable words, Thy son liveth.
These examples should preachers and Pastors of men's souls endeavour to imitate, as pretious presidents of their profession.