Nineteenth Sunday After Pentecost The Gospel Matt. 22.v.1.Friday Meditation: A Plaine Path-way To Heaven Thomas Hill 1634

GOSPEL Matt. 22:1-14 
At that time, Jesus spoke to the chief priests and the Pharisees in parables, saying: "The kingdom of heaven is likened to a king, who made a marriage for his son; and he sent his servants, to call them that were invited to the marriage, and they would not come. Again he sent other servants, saying: Tell them that were invited: Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come ye to the marraige. But they neglected; and went their way, one to his farm, and another to his merchandise; and the rest laid hands on his servants, and having treated them contumeliously, put them to death. But when the king had heard of it, he was angry; and sending his armies, he destroyed those murderers,and burnt their city. Then he saith to his servants: The marraige indeed is ready, but they that were invited were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as you shall find, call to the marraige. And his servants going forth into the ways, gathered together all that they found, both bad and good; and the marraige was filled with guests. And the king went in to see the guests, and he saw there a man who had not on a wedding garment: and he saith to him: Friend, how camest thou in hither, not having on a wedding garment? but he was silent. Then the king said to the waiters: Bind his hands and feet, and cast him into the exterior darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen."

Friday Meditation

Whereas I affirm in the former meditation, that none that came to the wedding feast of the faith of the Catholic church, which us here called the kingdom of heaven, is excluded from the kingdom of haven indeed, but such as wanted their wedding garment of charity, to wit such as die in mortal sin without the Sacrament of Penance, and the holy Eucharist in deed or desire, which I suppose were but a few; and in the latter end of this Gospel these words, Many are called but few are chosen (or saved) seem to contradict what I affirmed: Therefore I will explicate the meaning of these words, whereupon the contradiction will be none.

The meaning then of these words is this: that whereas the Apostles and disciples of Christ preached the Gospel throughout all the world, according to the Commission & Commandment of Christ, and consequently all the world in a manner, was called unto this weeding feast of the Catholic faith, yet those that came to it, and received it, were few in comparison of the rest that did not, to wit, Muslims, Jews, Infidels, Heretics, Schismatics and the like; and so in this sense, which is the true literal sense, they are said to be few in comparison of the whole world, not is themselves, for the number of them that are saved, as was revealed to St. John the Evangelist in a vision, Is so great that they could not be numbered; but if we make the comparison between them, that are called and do come to the wedding of the Catholic faith, who are properly said to be called, there are few of them, but are elected and saved, that is to say, few but die with the Sacrament of penance and holy Eucharist, in deed or desire, as appeareth by this parable where amongst all the rest that came to the wedding, who no doubt were many, only one wanted his garment.

Neither doth this doctrine though very comfortable, tend to liberty, or is prejudicial to good life. For suppose, but one amongst all the rest, were to be dammed: yet the matter is of that importance, that as the Apostles when Christ told them, one of them should betray him, the fact being so foul and fearful, everyone fearing it might be he, asked Christ, whether it were he? so the damnation of a soul being so fearful a matter, everyone should fear least it might be he, and do what they were able to avoid it, and to make their election, as St. Peter counsaileth us, certain by good works: and this to do the punishment of this poor man that wanted his wedding garment, amy move us much.

He was cast into the fire like a log, or block of wood in Christmas time, and could stir no more to help himself then a block, being bound hand and foot, never to be consumed, but ever to burn for all eternity as long as God is God; and as if the torment of extreme heat were not sufficient, there was joined unto it the torment of extreme cold, as it were to twist them both together, as we use to twist two threads together, if one be not strong enough, the heat being so extreme that it pressed out tears out of the eyes, and the cold so extreme that it caused gnashing or chattering of the teeth, both in one: neither had the fire his natural light to comfort him, but extreme darkness to increase his torment; & being before openly rebuked, was so confounded that he had not a word to say for himself, which was no small  affliction unto him.

These punishments being but literally understood, are enough, I say, to make a man fear, if there were but one in all the Catholic Church to be damned, that he might be the man; and therefore to do his uttermost to make his election and salvation sure by good works: but much more if we consider them according to their figurative or Metaphorical signification, to wit, as the torments of hell, our fair, or heat, or cold, or darkness being but shadows of them, nor the sensible feeling of a body but a flea biting to the feeling of the soul, nor our shame and confusion here, any thing comparable to that there, when we being accused before all the face of the world in the presence of God & his Angels, what great things we have lost in heaven, for what little things here,we shall be so confounded, that we would which the mountains would fall upon us, and hide us, till our judgment were past, and burst out into these words of job, alluding hereunto, who shall hide me or protect me in hell, till the fury, and confusion of Gods judgement be past?


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