Eighteenth Sunday After Pentecost The Gospel Matt. 9. v. 1. Sunday Meditation: A Plaine Path-way To Heaven Thomas Hill 1634

GOSPEL Matt. 9:1-8 
At that time, Jesus entering into a boat, passed over the water and came into his own city. And behold they brought to him one sick of the palsy lying in a bed. And Jesus, seeing their faith, said to the man sick of the palsy: "Be of good heart, son, thy sins are forgiven thee." And behold some of the scribes said within themselves: "He blasphemeth." And Jesus seeing their thoughts, said: "Why do you think evil in your hearts? Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins are forgiven thee: or to say, Arise, and walk? But that you may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins," (then said he to the man sick of the palsy,) "Arise, take up thy bed, and go into thy house." And he arose, and went into his house. And the multitude seeing it, feared, and glorified God that gave such power to men. 


This palsy-man according to the relation of St. Mark was brought unto Jesus, in his bed by four men, and according to the relation of St. Luke, there being in the house where Jesus was, so great a press of people that they could not bring him in, they opened the Tiles of the house, and let him down that was, into the presence of Christ.

As Christ did cure this palsy -man of his corporal disease, so did he go about the cure some of the Scribes, who were learned men amongst the Jews, of their mental disease, thinking it was blasphemy for Christ to forgive sins: and he did it both by word, and deed.

By word thus in effect: If it be as proper and peculiar unto God, to do miracles, as to forgive sins, & none can do miracles but God, or in the power of God, as none can deny, especially learned men as you are; if you see me do so great and apparent a miracle as to cure this palsy-man that cannot stir, but is brought hither in his bed by four men, and that upon the sudden, with one word of my mouth; you ought to believe that I am God, or do it in the power of God: If not, it is you that blaspheme and not I; but you shall see me cure this palsy-man in this manner, therefore you blaspheme. And moreover, I make this argument or demonstration, not to your words, for you said not in words, I blasphemed, but to your secret thoughts, whereby also you might the rather think me to be God, or to be sent into the world by the power and authority of God.

Christ having said thus, cured the palsy man, and thereby made good that part of his argument in fact, to cure the Scribes of their incredulity;& surely they had reason to be satisfied, and to do, as the common people did, in the latter end of the Gospel, to fear, least they had blasphemed, and to believe in Christ, praising and magnifying God that had given power unto men, as well to forgive sins here on earth, as to do miracles, the one being no more blasphemy then the other, but to the greater honor of God: it being a far greater honor to a King to give power to others, then to retain it in himself, so they hold their power dependently of him, and execute it in his name, and authority, as holy men do miracles, or priests forgive sins in the Sacrament of Penance.

This argument is so evident, that any man will grant it, supposing that such  a power were given: but many in these days, deny that any such power is given. To These I answer with St. Paul, that forasmuch as this point, is as clear and evident as the other, out of divers places of holy Scripture, If any man will be yet contentious, we have no such custom, nor the Church, who is the interpreter of the Scripture: and thus the common people took the words of Christ, but the Scribes were not so happy, they were obstinate; for being learned men and honored for such of the people, though peradventure they were convinced in their understanding and judgment, yet would they not yield and acknowledge Christ, because as St. John said of the like, they loved the honor of men, more then the honor of God: and how can they, sayth he, believe, who do take glory of one another, and do not seek the glory which is from God alone?

Lastly we may observe that, although it was Christ that did forgive the palsy man his sins: yet he would no say, I forgive thee thy sins, but, thy sins are forgiven thee, because he would provoke the Scribes as little advantage against him as might be, as also to give them example of modesty in their speeches, & of shunning words of vainglory and ostentation, where unto they being proved, were much given.

The Scribes on the other side, though Christ did not say I forgive thee thy sins; yet they would understand him so, doing, as many use to do, infer more of a mans words, then they do sound, to take advantage thereof, or to make the worst thereof. Also by reason the Scribes said, Christ blasphemed, we may learn, why it is blasphemy for a man, to take upon him, without authority from God, to forgive sins? It is because all sin though against our neighbor, is a wrong and contumely unto God, and whosoever forgive another mans wrong, without his leave, maketh himself the party offended, or superior unto him; which being done to God, he maketh himself God, or superior unto God, which can be no less then blasphemy; but being done by the authority of God, is an honor to God.

We will likewise consider, the errors of those that brought this palsy-man to Christ; in untiling the house, they might have hurt some body with the fall of tiles, besides it was somewhat rude, and might be troublesome to Christ, & the company: but these were good errors of fervent charity, and if we commit the like, God will easily pardon them, and reward our good work, not according to our errors, but according to the fervor of our charity, wherewithal it was done.


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