The Third Sunday in Advent The Gospel John 1. 19-28. Monday Meditation: A Plaine Path-way To Heaven Thomas Hill 1634

John 1. 19-28 GOSPEL 
At that time the Jews sent from Jerusalem priests and Levites to John, to ask him: Who art thou? And he confessed, and did not deny; and he confessed: I am not the Christ. And they asked him: What then? Art thou Elias? And he said: I am not. Art thou the Prophet? And he answered: No. They said therefore unto him: Who art thou, that we may give an answer to them that sent us? What sayest thou of thyself? He said: I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the Prophet Isaias. And they that were sent were of the Pharisees. And they asked him, and said to him: Why then dost thou baptize; if thou be not Christ, nor Elias, nor the Prophet? John answered them, saying: I baptize with water: but there hath stood one in the midst of you, whom you know not. The same is He that shall come after me, who is preferred before me: the latchet of whose shoe I am not worthy to loose. These things were done in Bethania, beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

Consideration for Monday

The light of a candle in a transparent lantern, will shine through, though it be carefully and closely shut up: that the wind blow it not out, or wast away the candle. Such is the nature of true virtue: conceal it as much as we can, yet will it shine and appear; and if we do not endeavor truly to conceal it, the wind of pride and vain glory will blow out the merit thereof, or at least wast it very much. Saint John, (as the scripture testifies of him) was a lantern burning and bright shinning: but he lived for the most part in the wilderness, to conceal and shut up the light of his virtue.

He would not carry his treasure openly upon the highway, least thieves should come and rob him, which are those temptations of pride vainglory and self love. He would not be like him that should carry ashes in an uncovered vessel against the wind: which the wind doth not only blow away, but also bloweth them into the bearers eyes, that he cannot see his way.

And yet did the light of Saint Johns virtue shine clearly to the world, in so much that they thought him worthy to be esteemed Christ the Messias of the world.

Our blessed savior Christ did forbid whom he had miraculously healed, to manifest it, or publish it to others: but the more he forbade them, the more did they divulge abroad the miracle.

So that we need not fear, but our virtues will be sufficiently known for our good and our neighbors profit, soon enough, if we be truly virtuous, but we must fear, and in any sort avoid to be publishers of them ourselves. least so doing, we lessen, not only the merit thereof with God, but also the praise and commendations thereof with men.

Fire is best preserved, when it is closest raked up in ashes; so our virtues in humility. And if they chance not to be known of others, until after our death; yet even then will they do great good unto others, and less harm unto our selves.

Our blessed savior took but three of his disciples with him, to be spectators of his glorious transfiguration: and them too he commanded not to speak thereof, till after his resurrection. An example given us to imitate, that we should endeavor to hide our virtues given us by Gods grace, & not greedily seek to let other men be witnesses of them, but only when Gods honor demented it.

Another lesson may we learn out of St. Johns wilderness that if he, who was sanctified in his mothers womb, lest all worldly affairs, and conversation, and retired into the desert, to converse himself in the grace which he had received, & to attend to prayer, and contemplation: How much more reason have we, sinful, and frail creatures, especially admit so many pastimes, and occasions of sin; sometimes to withdraw ourselves, and retire into our solitude of our private chamber, or Church, to refresh, and corroborate our souls in the love, and service of God by devote meditation, and prayer.

By that retirement of his into the wilderness, saint John gained so high a degree of humility and lowliness expressed in this gospel: and by this of ours we may arrive unto some good degree of humility, and other virtues, represented in the Incarnation, and nativity of our Savior Christ Jesus, and in the carriage of our blessed Lady his holy mother, to which in our prayer we may easily frame to apply ourselves.


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