The Fourth Sunday in Advent The Gospel Luke 3. V. 1. Tuesday Meditation: A Plaine Path-way To Heaven Thomas Hill 1634
Luke 3. V. 1.GOSPEL
IN the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar Pontius Pilate being Procurator of Jewrie , Herode Tetrarch of Galilee, and Philippe his brother Terrarch of Ituria, and the country of Tracbonia, and Lisania Tetrarch of Abilina: under the high Priests Annas, and Caiphas; the word of our Lord was made unto John the son of Zachary: and he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the Baptism of penance to forgiveness of sines: as it is Doritter in the book of the Speeches of Esau the Prophet: A voice of one crying in the wilderness, prepare ye Way of our Lord, make straight his paths. Every valley shall be filled up, and every hill, and mountain shall be laid low, and those things that be crooked shall be made straight, and rough waves, shall be made plain; and all flesh shall behold the saving one of God.
Consideration for Tuesday
Preachers ought not only teach and instruct, and (as occasion requires) to speak men fair, and commend them for their well-doing, as Saint Paul oftentimes did, whereby the people is best pleased, and the preacher, (as the saying is) best eased: but he must also, when need requires, rebuke them sharply , though it displease them never so much.
So teach St. Paul his scholar Timothy a Bishop, whose office is to preach, writing thus unto him: Teach instruct, argue, rebuke, in all patience; that is to say, not only do this with patience, in a quiet, and temperate manner, when you do rebuke your auditors: also beare patiently all that comes of it, which is commonly anger, and displeasure of those who are reprehended.
When Elias the Prophet was to be taken up unto the heaven in a fiery chariot, he acquainted Helisæus the Prophet, his disciple with it before hand, who being very sorry for his masters departure, Elias to comfort him, bid him ask what he would, and he would give it him, in toº ken of his love, Now Helisæus knowing that Elias was endowed with a double,&free Spirit not only of fair, & gentle teaching, & instructions of the people: but also of sharp, and vehement reprehending them for their sins; and seeing also how neceſſary this double Spirit was unto preachers, (as the prophets in those days were:) left all other demands, and asked only this double Spirit of his master.
Elias answered him he had asked a hard thing: notwithstanding, if he could see him, ascend to heavenwards he should have his demand.
Elias beheld him rapt into the air, and was taken thereof, called upon him as he ascended; and so was his request granted.
Elias casting him down his mantle or cloak, which he spreading upon the river Jordan which he was to pass, sailed over it miraculously as it had been in a boat.
This double Spirit of Elias had Saint John Baptist: for he did not only teach , and instruct the people fairly, and gently to prepare the way of Christ: but he also rebuked them sharply that deserved, calling them the brood of vipers, crying out upon. them, and saying, O generation of vipers, who hath taught you to fly from the vengeance that is to come?
And to King Herod himself to his face, it is not lawful for thee to have thy brothers wife in his lifetime.
For the office to prepare the way of our Lord, is as well to rebuke as to entreat; He was not as a reed or straw that wagged, and turned on every side with every blast of favor or fear; And such would all preachers be, whose office is to prepare the ways of our Lord.
But chis double Spirit is a hard thing to obtain as Elias said unto Helisæus: for a preacher to speak men fair, to lead them on with sweet benedictions, and soft admonitions, is an easy pleasant, comfortable, and commodious way, and therefore most do use it: but to reprehend, to rebuke, to pronounce Gods vengeance, and wrath against sins, is a harsh, and unpleasant thing to the hearer, and dangerous to the preacher himſelf, and therefore few do use it; and those that use it well and in time, and place, have the double Spirit of Elias, of Elisæus, of St. John Baptist,which all good preachers ought to desire of God.