The Fourth Sunday in Advent The Gospel Luke 3. V. 1. Wednesday 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 Wednesday
When God had created, Adam, he said, it is not good for man to be alone, let us make him a helper like himself. Upon which passage Saint John Chrysostom writes thus: wherefore says thou, o Lord, it is not good for a man to be alone? it seems best to be so, Why did thou give him such a helper, whom thou knew before would be to him an enticement to sin? Yet thou say well o Lord: it is we that mistake thy gifts.
Thou has rather there were many, though evil, that thou may show they mercy, and pardon them: then only one just man to praise, and glorify thee.
So we see by experience, that the society of women, however necessary for this mortal life is, oftentimes hurtful, and pernicious to ourselves.
And were it not that God would show mercy in many, it is better for man to be alone.
So doubtless it is better for our souls health to be alone in a wilderness among beasts, then in company among men in the world unless it be in houses of religions persons, where every one endeavor to better each other, and all live as in a wilderness, which cause men retire thither, to live in greater security, because in the world for the most part company is an enticement unto sin.
No creature so hurtful to a man, as man himself; and therefore a holy father living in his hermitage was wont to say, the he never went into the company of men, but he returned less a man, that is less perfect, then before.
Beſides the shunning of the occasions of sin; the sweetness of a solitary life in contemplation is such, that many would be loath to leave this life, only least they would lose this sweetness of contemplation : but that they know they are to go to a better place of more perfect contemplation.
This then made Saint John to go into the wilderness to live there a solitary life, this solitary life made him by gods grace so holy a man, that the people esteemed him to be the Messias or Savior of the world.
This sweet contentment would have kept him always in that solitary habitation; had not the word of our Lord come unto him, as the gospel says, to go forth, and preach unto the people to prepare the ways of Chriſt.
Wherefore considering the security, and sweet content of a retired contemplative life, so great in comparison of the practical or active life, which is buried in the careful, and cumberful affairs of the world: I cannot blame the olive tree nor the fig tree, nor the vine, for refusing to leave their fatness, their sweetness, their wine, to be King over other trees; unless necessity of charity or obedience commanded; Nor Saint Martha for emulating the quiet of contemplation in her sister Saint Mary.
And if any man say (as now a days some do) that it is an inhumane thing 'not to love society: Christ answers, saying to a contemplative soul whom he calleth his spouse; I will lead her into solitude, or to a retired wilderness, and there will I speak unto her hart.
For a contemplative man is never less alone, then when he is so alone, that no worldly company hinders him from conversing with God and his Angels, and Saints, which is the best, and sweetest society of all.