Twelveth Sunday After Pentecost The Gospel Luc. 10. v. 23. Sunday Meditation: A Plaine Path-way To Heaven Thomas Hill 1634
GOSPEL Luke 10:23-37
At that time, Jesus said to his disciples: "Blessed are the eyes that see the things which you see. For I say to you that many prophets and kings have desired to see the things that you see and have not seen them; and to hear the things that you hear and have not heard them." And behold a certain lawyer stood up, tempting him and saying, "Master, what must I do to possess eternal life?" But he said to him: "What is written in the law? How readest thou?" He answering, said: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart and with thy whole soul and with all thy strength and with all thy mind: and thy neighbour as thyself." And he said to him: "Thou hast answered right. This do: and thou shalt live." But he willing to justify himself, said to Jesus: "And who is my neighbour?" And Jesus answering, said: "A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell among robbers, who also stripped him and having wounded him went away, leaving him half dead. And it chanced, that a certain priest went down the same way: and seeing him, passed by. In like manner also a Levite, when he was near the place and saw him, passed by. But a certain Samaritan, being on his journey, came near him: and seeing him, was moved with compassion: And going up to him, bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine: and setting him upon his own beast, brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two pence and gave to the host and said: 'Take care of him; and whatsoever thou shalt spend over and above, I, at my return, will repay thee.' "Which of these three, in thy opinion, was neighbour to him that fell among the robbers?" But he said: "He that shewed mercy to him." And Jesus said to him: "Go, and do thou in like manner."
Blessed be the eyes that have seen &c.
Though praise be the true reward of present virtues and with all a spur unto future, from whence we have this Proverb, Virtue being praised, prospered and increase: yet must we beware to praise men for their virtue too much, least instead of exciting them to more virtue, we puff them up which pride, and cause them to loose that praise, and the reward they deserve before. A Gardener by watering young plants moderately, when they want rain, maketh them grow the better; if he watereth them too much,it may choke them, and breed worms that will destroy them: so virtue being praised moderately and discretely, increaseth it, being done the contrary way, it dieth and withered away,being eaten up with the worm of pride and vainglory.
How to do this aright, the Wise man in the Scripture teacheth us, saying: Praise not a man in his life, whereby is not meant, till after his death, for Christ praised divers in their life time even to their face: he praised the Apostles saying, Yee are the salt of the earth, the light of the world: he praised Nathaniel, and said: he was a true Israelite, in whom there was no guile: he praised St.John the Baptist exceedingly: he said of King David, he had found a man according to his heart: Job he praised and preferred before all others of his time. The meaning therefore of the Wise man in saying, Praise not a man in his life, is, that we should not praise a man in his own life, but in the life of God, in him, by whom he liveth, according to that of St. Paul: I live now not I, but Christ liveth in me, unto whom all is to be ascribed, acknowledging that all our good from God.
Perdition, O Israel, sayth the Prophet Osee in the person of God, is from thee, thy good from me: That good, sayth St.Paul,I should do I do not, and that evil I should do not, I do. St Paul after he had reckoned up many great and noble acts he had done, in the enumeration whereof he might seem to boast of himself, he corrected himself and made his Apology before hand, Not I (have done these things) but the grace of God with me. The man in the Gospel that was to render an account of his Talent,which God had committed unto him to increase, as indeed he did, said not, I have gotten Ten Talents, but thy Talents hath gotten Ten, giving the praise to the Talent of God, & consequently to God, not to himself.
This way we may praise, a man for his virtue, as much as we will, without any danger, but rather with a great deal of profit, keeping him thereby from pride, and spurring him forward to virtue, and trying him whether he hath true virtue, or no: for if he hath not true virtue, this kind of praise will not make him go forward in virtue, because a man of false or counterfeit virtue, seeketh his own praise, more then the praise of God.
Thus did Christ towards his disciples here, when he praised them saying; Blessed be the eyes, that see those things you see. A little before he thus praised them, they coming to him in great joy, saying, the devils were subject to them and were cast out by them,with great facility, he said unto them: I saw Satan descending from heaven like a flash of lightning, taxing them of pride, as if he had said,Take yee heed of the like : Rejoice not (sayeth he) that devils are subject unto you, but to have your Names written in heaven, which by Pride yee may loose, as the devils did, though they were in heaven.
He gave thanks to God his Father, that he had revealed and done such things to such little ones as they, by which word (little ones) they might gather their own unworthiness, and that it proceeded only of God.
And even in the praising of them here, saying, their eyes were blessed to see that which they saw, he told them withal, that many Kings & Prophets, to wit, far better even then they, both in desert & calling. desired to see those things which they saw, and to hear those things that they heard, & could not.
To signify unto them, it was for no desert of theirs, but the goodness of God.
Behold how wisely and carefully God did temper his praising of them,to keep them from pride and vainglory,and to leave us also a lesson how to praise others, and that when we are praised ourselves, or when we have any proud conceit of ourselves, we presently reflect our thoughts upon our own unworthiness,and demerit, rather then any worthiness or merit of ours, and so give the glory and praise unto God.