The Sixth Sunday After Pentecost The Gospel Marc.8.v.1 Thursday 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.Thursday Meditation
Though Charity be a virtue that extendeth herself to all, even to our enemies, for the love of God: yet it is according to a certain Order,with wisdom and discretion; so doth Solomon the wise make wisdom to speak of herself, saying: God hath ordered his Charity in me, that is to say, in wisdom; or, as I said, according to wisdom, and discretion: and St. Paul shows how in general it is to be done: Do good unto all (saith he) but especially to them of the household of faith, to wit of the Catholic faith.
This order would he have to be observed in the works of charity.
And to those also that be of the household of faith, there is an order to be observed, according to every ones necessity, condition, quality, estate, proximity, or nearness unto us, and especially of their goodness and virtue, such ae are followers of Christ in life, and conversation, as these people were of Christ in the wilderness to hear his doctrine, and in want as they were, and especially professors of his faith, as we have many in prisons particularly priests, Christ did good unto all, wrought miracles unto all, but especially unto those that followed him here into the wilderness, to hear his doctrine, whom he could have fed miraculously the first day, but he tarries three days, that they might show themselves more worthy of it, by their long following of him, and he his greater respect unt them, as to reward them with such an admirable example.
And as there is this order to be observed in Charity, according to the degrees and respects aforesaid, whereof Christ in some sort gave us here an example; So is there an order to be observed in our manner of life, every one according to his degree & condition, whereof he seemeth here by another circumstance, to insinuate another example, which is this: he commanded the multitude to sit down upon the earth, or upon the ground, or grass: No doubt, but Christ being the God of all order, did cause them to sit down in order, every one according to his rank & degree, and though this be incredible, that such a multitude of people could do so of themselves, upon the sudden: yet Christ by way of miracle could as easily do it, as multiply the five loaves of bread to suffice such a multitude, & leave more then the principal, and so it should seem he did.
Now forasmuch, as to sit, signifieth to rest, or to be quiet, and settled, and those people did sit every one in his own proper order and degree, it may be said they did rest quietly, and content themselves every one in their own proper order, rank, and degree.
Few men now a days will sit down, and rest in their own proper order, rank and degree.
The laboring man would live like a Farmer, or Yeoman; the Yeoman like a gentleman, the gentleman like a knight, the knight like a Lord, the Lord like a Prince &c. of this disorder as from a perpetual fountain, whereof the head is pride and ambition, floweth envy, emulation, riotous and excessive expenses, living and dying in other mens debt, ranking of tenants, oppression of poor, & almost half the sins & inconveniences in the world & maketh in a word, the world another Hell, where there is nothing but disorder and confusion, saving that in hell the disorder is everlasting, as Hell i, but in this life it is not everlasting, but little lasting, as our life is, but leadeth unto that which is everlasting: and in that men know it is not everlasting, but little lasting, and uncertain how soon it will have an end, and then a most certain judgment & punishment fro all manner of disorder, it were enough to make them, if they did consider well thereof, to live in order that little time they are to live in this life that they may come to heaven, where there is everlasting orderly happiness, and happy order, and therefore Christ cause these people to sit down in order, to teach us to live every man in his order & degree: and they sat down upon the ground or the earth upon the ground, to teach us humility the firm ground of all virtue, and especially of making every man to live in his own proper rank & order; upon the earth to out us in mind of our death, whereunto after death we are to be committed, and therefore aptly signifieth the same; and upon the grass, to signify the uncertainty and brevity of our life, which flourisheth today, and tomorrow is cast into the furnace to be burned all which are sufficient instructions to make every man sit down, that is to say, to live in his own proper order, rank & degree, & where only we shall find quiet and content.
And the like is to be said of religious persons, of whom there be divers & different degrees, and ranks, if any be exorbitant, and aspire above their place.
Lastly not only these observations of the peoples sitting down upon the ground, of sitting upon earth, or the grass, whereof the first may teach us humility, the second put us in mind of death, the third of the uncertainty & brevity of our life, three strong curbs & motives to make every one to live within his own proper order rank & degree, but the peoples very eating, and our blessed Saviours words, That unless they should eat they would faint by the way, may serve to put us in mind of our death, because if we did not eat, we should die, and consequently we may take occasion very aptly to put ourselves on mind of our death as often as we eat, and remembrance of death may admonish us to live within our rank & order, least after death the contrary bring us to a place, Where there is no order, but everlasting horror and confusion.
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