Eighteenth Sunday After Pentecost The Gospel Matt. 9. v. 1. Wednesday Meditation: A Plaine Path-way To Heaven Thomas Hill 1634

GOSPEL Matt. 9:1-8 
At that time, Jesus entering into a boat, passed over the water and came into his own city. And behold they brought to him one sick of the palsy lying in a bed. And Jesus, seeing their faith, said to the man sick of the palsy: "Be of good heart, son, thy sins are forgiven thee." And behold some of the scribes said within themselves: "He blasphemeth." And Jesus seeing their thoughts, said: "Why do you think evil in your hearts? Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins are forgiven thee: or to say, Arise, and walk? But that you may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins," (then said he to the man sick of the palsy,) "Arise, take up thy bed, and go into thy house." And he arose, and went into his house. And the multitude seeing it, feared, and glorified God that gave such power to men. 


This palsy-man according to the relation of St. Mark, being not able to go, four men out of their pity and charity, brought him unto Christ, as it may be thought upon their shoulders in his bed, or Couch, as they use to carry a dead body in a beare to be buried, & finding so great a press of people in the house with Jesus, that they could not bring him min, they went up to the top of the house, and untiled it, and so let him down in the midst of them before Christ: a Spectacle worthy to be respected of Christ, and admired of the company; & therefore Christ seeing their faith saith to him, and charity to the sick man, cured him with his word, and sent him away, so sound, that he that was brought thither in his bed, upon the shoulders of others, being not able to go nor stir his limbs, was able to go away of himself, and to carry his bed upon his shoulders!

Because Christ cured this man, body & soul by his word, and so great a press of people were gathered about him, that there was no access unto him, as there useth to be about a preacher, to hear the word of God, that is able to cure our spiritual diseases, we will apply this meditation unto that.

Of all the things that represent Christ here curing the sick, & having so great a press of people about him that one can hardly approach near, is a Preacher in the pulpit with the Church full of people, endeavoring by hi Sermon to cure all manner of spiritual diseases; And to make us press in to hear him, as these people did here to Christ, and to help others to do the like, as those men did that carried the palsy-man, especially such as are under our charge, as children, servants, & the like.

This consideration may put us on that is we had no other spiritual disease to be cured thereby, yet the not hearing of the word of God at the mouth of a preacher, who being lawfully sent by the Catholic Church doth represent the person of God, is a great disease of itself, and the mother of all other diseases, that being, though not the cure, yet the instruction and knowledge how to prevent, and cure all spiritual diseases: in so much that Christ saith of it, he that heareth the word of God, is of God, and he that heareth not the word of God, is not of God, as if he should reduce the whole sum of our salvation thereunto.

Yea God did threaten the Jews for thei sin, as the greatest punishment he could inflict upon them, the scarcity of preaching the word of God.

And although it may seem that our own reading and study may suffice, (as it is indeed very good) yet nothing so effectual as preaching, because God hath ordained the office of preaching to that end, and he giveth not the Office, but he giveth also the grace to work the effect, if the fault be not ours: so that as St. Paul saith of faith, how can they believe unless they hear, how can they hear but by a preacher, lawfully sent? so may we say of goof life, How can they live well, unless they hear, and he instructed? How can they hear, but by a preacher lawfully sent, unto whom God giveth a special grace in that behalf? This being so, and the hearing of the preacher so easy a matter, or rather pleasing to our understanding, which is naturally delighted with knowledge, and recreated with eloquence, which oftentimes is intermixed, besides the credit of being reputed to be the especial children of God, as they are that resort unto sermons, according to the testimony of Christ aforesaid.

Who would not press in to hear them, and even to untile the house to come in, that is to say, to set all impediments apart: only this is to be understood of such Preachers as are sent by the authority of the Catholic Church.

As for other Preachers that run, and are not sent by the Catholic Church, as the Scripture describes them, and warneth us that such will come, especially towards the latter end of the world, as by likely hood now it is, and that craftily in the outward show of sheep, being inwardly ravening wolves, they do not cure, but infect our souls with heresy and false doctrine, and such we must not hear, but shun them, as the pestilence of the soul.

And although these words of Christ, (he that heareth the word of God, is of God) have not this sense, that the hearers only of the word of God, are of God, but the hearers & doers thereof, as St. Paul telleth us; yet because we cannot do it, unless we first hear it, it is altogether necessary to hear it, if we will be of God, that is to say the children of God, and learn to be like God our heavenly Father in perfection, whereunto Christ exhorteth us saying: Be yee perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect, and then we may hope, with this palsy-man and the rest of the press of people, to be instructed, and cured of all our spiritual diseases, & inpediments, though not presently, as Christ cured them by way of miracle, yet in time with frequentation thereof.

Let us therefore humbly accuse ourselves of our negligence, and coldness therein, if we find ourselves faulty, and study to amend the same, if we covet to be the children of God.


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