Fourth Sunday After Pentecost The Gospel Luc.5.v.1 Wednesday Meditation
GOSPEL Luke 5. 1-11
At that time, when the multitude pressed upon Jesus to hear the word of God, He stood by the lake of Genesareth. And He saw two ships standing by the lake; but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets; and going up into one of the ships that was Simon’s, He desired him to draw back a little from the land: and sitting He taught the multitudes out of the ship. Now when He had ceased to speak, He said to Simon: Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. And Simon, answering, said to Him: Master, we have laboured all the night, and have taken nothing, but at Thy word I will let down the net. And when they had done this, they enclosed a very great multitude of fishes; and their net broke: and they beckoned to their partners that were in the other ship, that they should come and help them; and they came, and filled both the ships, so that they were almost sinking. Which when Simon Peter saw, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying: Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord. For he was wholly astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of fishes which they had taken and so were also James and John the Sons of Zebedee, who were Simon’s partners. And Jesus saith to Simon: Fear not, from henceforth thou shalt catch men. And having brought their ships to land, leaving all things they followed him.
For this days meditation I will add unto the the two former examples three or four Similitude which like bellows may serve to kindle, in our hearts the fire of love to hear the word of God preached and declared unto us; the declaration whereof the Prophet David telleth us, doth illuminate & give understanding to little ones. If there were in some great City a great famine or dearth of corn, and there were no bread in all the city but in one bakers shop, what confluence of people would there be to that place, with what diligence and hast would they resort thither, striving who should first be served, with how much more diligence and desire, should we resort unto Churches & other places, where the word of God, the bread of our souls, is not sold, but given freely unto us only for the fetching? and if we feel no famine or hunger thereof, that is the greatest famine of all, and nearest unto starving our souls.
The Prophet Amos in the person of God promiseth unto the people as a special benefit, the famine of the word, saying: behold the days shall come, and I will send a famine upon the earth, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst of water, but a famine of the word of God: if we feel not this famine, let us pray that we may, for, it is one of the greatest benefits we can enjoy: If any man think this place of Scripture may more properly have this sense, to wit, that God did threaten the people, for their demerits to punish them with the famine or scarcity of them that should preach the word of God unto them, it comes all to one, for if it be a misery not to have it preached, it is a misery not to have a desire to hear it. Likewise, if there were in a Church a huge rich treasure, that every man might come and take what he would, what a press and throng of people would there be to take their share of that treasure.
The word of God preached unto us in the Church, is much more precious then all the earthly treasure therein, were there never so much: so sayth the Prophet David, Thy judgment O Lord, that is to say, the knowledge thereof, which is gotten by hearing it preached unto us, is to be desired above gold, and much precious stone. Soldiers when they have taken a city, they are so eager and busy every one in taking what he can of the spoils, and so bestir themselves and load themselves away with more then they are able to carry, like a company of Emmets in summer, forgetting to eat or drink though never so hungry or thirsty. Here unto doth the Prophet compare the rich spoils of hearing the word of God, saying: I will be more glad of hearing they words, then he that hath found many spoils. How busy are bees in summer to fly to every flower to suck out somewhat to make honey in their hives to live upon? The sentence and passages of the word of God are so many sweet odoriferous flowers, out of which we may make honey for our souls. Oh how sweet, sayth the Prophet David, are thy words O god, to my throat, sweeter then honey to my mouth? & in that he speaketh by way of Interrogation, he seemeth to say thus: well, the sweetness of the words or speeches of God may be felt by the palate of the soul, but not expressed with words.
Lastly in extreme cold weather how do people press to the fire to warm them? Are not my words, sayth God by the mouth of the Prophet Jeremias, as it were a fire? and the Prophet David, Thy speech O Lord is fiery, that is to say, apt to set our hearts a fire, as it did to the two disciples that went from Jerusalem to a village called Emmaus, two miles from thence, the day of Our Saviour Christ his Resurrection, when he joined himself with them in company unknown who he was, and talked with them, interpreting the Scriptures, that he was, and talked with them interpreting the Scriptures, that he was to die, and rise again, of which when he vanished out of their sight and they suspecting who he was, said to one another, was not our heart on fire, when he talked with us upon the way?
A Plaine Path-way To Heaven Thomas Hill 1634