Twenty Second Sunday After Pentecost The Gospel Matt.22.v.15.Saturday Meditation: A Plaine Path-way To Heaven Thomas Hill 1634

GOSPEL Matt. 22:15-21 
At that time, the Pharisees went and took counsel how they might ensnare him in his talk. And they send to him their disciples, with the Herodians, saying, "Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, and carest not for any one: for thou regardest not the person of men. Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?" But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, "Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites? Shew me the tribute money." And they brought unto him a penny. And he saith unto them, "Whose is this image and superscription?" They say unto him, "Caesar’s." Then saith he unto them, "Render therefore unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s." 


Saturday. As we are to take great heed, that we do not flatter others, for the evils that ensue thereof to ourselves and them, as hath been said before: so must we take no less heed, that we admit not to be flattered ourselves, but rather to be angry with them that flatter us, and reprehend them as Christ did here, calling them hypocrites that praised him so palpably to his face & this we must do for the danger that ensued hereof to ourselves, and the natural delight we have to be flattered and praised of others.

It is reported of Alexander the Great, that if he heard a Trumpet, he could not hold but draw his ſword as if he were to fight; and many delight ſo in dauncing, that if they hear instruments of muſicke, or min- ſtralſy, they cannot chooſe but daunce. The Scripture saith, The pipe and psaltery make sweet melody, but a faire tongue is sweeter then both. 

We are so delighted with our own praise, that if we hear the flatterer pipe out our praise, we cannot choose but dance after his pipe, and especially great persons that have many occasions of pride, many flatterers, and few to tell: them of their faults; but they may repress themselves with this saying of S. Paul which he spake to this purpose and especially to great persons: What hast thou that thou hast not received of God? if thou hast, why does thou glory as if thou hadst not? We may also consider that as when we look in a glass, we look not in it to see the glass, but those things that are represented therein ; so we must look upon ourselves not to see ourselves, but the gifts of God represented in us, and when we are praised to diverte the praise: from us as we can so did Christ for our example oftentimes, but once wonderfull finely.

When a woman seeing his great cures and wondrous works, cried out aloud, and praised him to his face before a multitude of people in these words: Blessed be the womb that bare thee, and the teats that gave thee sucke, he diverted his praise another way, and said, Yea, and they also are Blessed, that hear the word of God and keep it. 

In that Christ called for a piece of Coin, to ask whose image and inscription it had, that he might express himself the better in his answer, and did not take of his own, which would have done as well, we may infer his poverty to be such as he had none to shew, as one time to pay tribute he had not, but was to make S. Peter cast out his hook for fish, and taking a fish with a piece of money in its mouth, to pay it for Tribute as aforeſaid; and Mat. 17.3. Peter followed his steps, who when a poore cripple begged an almes of him as he was going into the Temple, he had nothing to give him, and so he said, as though he did a little glory in following his Masters steps. 

Hereby Christ commended unto us the virtue of Poverty, and the affectation thereof by his example, who might have been rich, and had what; but it pleased him best to be voluntarily poor for our example, that we might be free from all care and sollicitude of worldly things which breed great distractions of mind and sometimes steal away our heart from God ere we be aware; and therefore the Scripture admonished us. that if riches increase, we set not our hearts upon them: For though involuntary poverty breedeth great unquietnes and discontent, yet voluntary poverty breedeth much tranquility and peace of mind,  & peace of mind breedeth wisdom.
We are made wise, saith the Philosopher, by sitting, that is to say, by being quiet and at rest, as they seem to be that sit: the Philosopher meant worldly wisdom, but it is true also, & most true of heavenly wisdom, which made the Prophet Esdras say thus: Our prayer is unto our Lord God, to give us poverty in his holy place, that our God may illuminate our eyes, to wit in heavenly things, as if riches did obscure and darken our eyes. 

He prayeth for poverty, but meaneth peace, and so some translations have it, because poverty breedeth peace, and peace illumination of our minds, with heavenly wisdom, and therefore Religious persons who give themselves to heavenly philosophy & contemplation, chose poverty for their Spouse, that upon her they may beget heavenly perfection, yea, and all secular persons that be rich, shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven by the testimony of Christ himself unless they be poor in spirit, that is to say in affection and will, or at least indifferently affected to either. 

This poverty is very necessary unto preachers, which if they have, they will be easily such, as those that came to Christ here to entrap him, did by way of flattery, but yet most truly attribute tribute vnto him ; namely they will sincerely and plainly teach the way of God in verity, without flattery, partiality, fear of any man, or care of any reward more then at the hands of God, and that is it that maketh the poor Capuchin Friars to be such, & to be so accompted. 


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