Sexagesima Sunday The Gospel Luc. 8 v.4. Monday Meditation

GOSPEL Luke 8:4-15 
At that time, when a very great multitude was gathered together and hastened out of the cities, unto him, he spoke by a similitude. "The sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell by the way side. And it was trodden down: and the fowls of the air devoured it. And other some fell upon a rock. And as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. And other some fell among thorns. And the thorns growing up with it, choked it. And other some fell upon good ground and, being sprung up, yielded fruit a hundredfold." Saying these things, he cried out: "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear." And his disciples asked him what this parable might be. To whom he said: "To you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but to the rest in parables, that 'seeing they may not see and hearing may not understand.' Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. And they by the way side are they that hear: then the devil cometh and taketh the word out of their heart, lest believing they should be saved. Now they upon the rock are they who when they hear receive the word with joy: and these have no roots: for they believe for a while and in time of temptation they fall away. And that which fell among thorns are they who have heard and, going their way, are choked with the cares and riches and pleasures of this life and yield no fruit. But that on the good ground are they who in a good and perfect heart, hearing the word, keep it and bring forth fruit in patience."

Consideration for Monday

Of those that come to Sermons,some come out of a desire to hear, & understand; some out of custom or some other end,not caring whether they understand or no.

Of the first kind were the disciples, who not understanding the parable, asked of Christ the meaning thereof. Of the second were all the rest of the multitude, who went away, as they came: for if the disciples understood it not, it is like the rest did not.

A parable is more obscure and hard to be understood, then a plain sentence, before it be expounded; but being expounded, instructeth better, because it is done by way of similitude of things more familiar & better know, and stick faster in our memory, because similitude are, as it were certain Images, and representations, which use to stick longer in our minds.

And these two things, to wit to instruct the people and to make them retain it well in mind, were the ends why Christ spake so much to the common people in parables ; and should be the end that preachers should aim at.

But as preachers oftentimes have other ends, especially vainglory in their eloquence, whether their auditory understand them or no: So be there many of their auditory, who though they understand never so well, are yet, nevertheless of the number that the Prophet David describeth, which will not understand, least they should do well, that is to say they, will not give themselves to consider deeply, least they should be watched, and their conscience trouble them, and give them no rest, until they leave their sinful life, and do well.

He that loveth his friend in deed, loveth not to hear any man speak against him; he that liveth the world and the delights thereof, loveth not to hear anything spoken against it, least it should bring him out of love with it.

There is a kind of adder called the deaf adder, not because he cannot hear; but because he will not hear, which when they stand before the mouth of the hole where he lieth, and pronounce a charm of words to make him come forth, and so to take him, and make some use of him (as ll the creatures of God, seem they never so ill,are good for one use or other of man) he perceiving by an instinct of nature where about they go, gathereth himself round together as a ball, and so warpath his ears in his body, that he cannot hear the charm: which if he did, he could not chose but come forth and so be taken.

Wherefore the Prophet David alludeth saying: The madness of them (that is to say, of sinners, that will not leave their sins) is like unto the deaf adder, who spotted his ears, that he will not hear the voice of the chamber, charm he never so wisely.

Christ knowing the multitude to be such deaf adders, as would have been never the better for his doctrine, if he had spoken in plain terms, spake to them in this obscure parable: that seeing, thy might not see (as he said here in the parable) and hearing, they might not understand; and he would not expound it, least they should understand, and increase the sin. But to his disciples who desired it, he expounded the same.

There is a law in some countries, that a thief for the first fact shall be scourged; if he steal again, his ears are cut off. If we feel ourselves to be so ill affected other the word of God, as aforesaid, let us fear God hath taken away our ears of hearing, & obeying it, for iterating our sins so often: and let us earnestly desire him to restore us to our ears again, as he did Malchus, whose ear St. Peter had cut off, that we may hear and obey his holy word, least that happen upon us, that did, (as I have by faithful relation) to one, that could not endure to hear the Sermon, but when others were hearing it, he would go forth of the Church, and walk in the Church yard, or talk, till it was ended; and when he was a dead, and the service of the dead sung for him in the Church, (as the manner of Catholics is) there appeared the Image of Christ crucified with his arms loose from the cross, stopping his ears with his hands. The people marveling at this strange apparition, the priest said; he stopped his ears art the word of God in his life time, and therefore God stopped his ears at our prayers for him, after his death.

A Plaine Path-way To Heaven Thomas Hill 1634 


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