Twenty Third Sunday After Pentecost The Gospel Matt. 9. v. 18 Monday Meditation: A Plaine Path-way To Heaven Thomas Hill 1634

GOSPEL Matt. 9:18-26 
At that time, as Jesus was speaking these things unto them, behold a certain ruler came up, and adored him, saying: "Lord, my daughter is even now dead; but come, lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live." And Jesus rising up followed him, with his disciples. And behold a woman who was troubled with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment. For she said within herself: "If I shall touch only his garment, I shall be healed." But Jesus turning and seeing her, said: "Be of good heart, daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole." And the woman was made whole from that hour. And when Jesus was come into the house of the ruler, and saw the minstrels and the multitude making a rout, He said: "Give place, for the girl is not dead, but sleepeth." And they laughed him to scorn. And when the multitude was put forth, he went in, and took her by the hand. And the maid arose. And the fame hereof went abroad into all that country.


The high Priest, or chief Bishop of all the Jews Church, did reside in the holy City of Jerusalem, where the holy Temple was, out of which it was not lawful to offer sacrifice: but they had houses which they called Synagogues, in divers other Cities, where the people assembled together to public prayer, and praising of God, and to be instructed in the law by the priests & Levites, and especially by the Scribes and Pharisees, which were as religious men amongst them. 

Such a Synagogue there was in the City of Capharnaum, and this man that came to Jesus, for his daughter, was the chief Master or principal of the Synagogue, and therefore in great estimation with the people, calling him Prince of the Synagogue, and he was of the Pharisees, and therefore much the more esteemed. This man being so eminent, and Jesus (if we consider his external show, and parentage in their opinion, thinking him to be no more but a poor Carpenters son) being so mean, came to him for his Daughter, adoring him, and (as S. Mark relateth it) prostrating himself at his feet, which honor and reverence men use not to do, even to Kings and Emperors; yet this honor and reverence did this Prince of the Synagogue unto poor Jesus, & he did it not privately in a house or Corner, but in the sight of a multitude that were then present, unto whom Christ did preach.

What was the cause that brought him to Christ in this humble and lowly manner, and to come himself in person, which great men use not to do, but rather to send their servants? Doubtless it was the Calamity and affliction he felt for the death of his daughter, without which he would never have done it, especially the Pharisees bearing emulation towards Christ.

Hereby we may see the benefit of crosses and afflictions in this world. A child will cry if his parent take a knife out of his hand, least he should hurt himself, not knowing the good is done him thereby. Health, riches, honor, beauty, potency, and the like, is unto us like a knife in a child's hand, which when God our heavenly parent taketh away (for none else can take them away without his permission and providence, for our greater good) we not knowing the good is done us thereby, and being dull to believe it, lament and grieve thereat; but we should rather rejoice, (for bare patience is to base and degenerous a thing for the children of God) because it is not only for our own spiritual good, and to try our confidence in our heavenly Father; but also for the good of others, as it was said of Tobias, that God made him blind, that he might be an example of patience to posterity, as Job was; and as the same Tobias said to the Jews that were in captivity under the King of Babylon, he being a Jew and concaptive with them: O ye children of Israel (that is to say of them that should always see God, for so the word (Israel) doth signify) confess unto our Lord & praise him, for therefore he dispersed you amongst the Gentiles that know him not, that you should show his miraculous works, and make them know there is no other omnipotent God but he. 

Neither are our afflictions always void of temporal good, though that be to base a motive for us to entertain them. Such was the famine of the land of Chanaan to the Patriarch Jacob who dwelt therein, and was afflicted therewith,whereby he found his beloved Son Joseph to be alive, and Governor of Egypt under King Pharao, whom he thought to be dead and devoured of wild beasts: So was Job his impoverishment rewarded with double what he lost, and Tobias received his sight again by the ministry of an Angel, to his great deal of merit at the hands of God, and good example to others: and surely it is a wonderful goodness of God that he will be so gracious unto us, as to turn our punishments such as are our afflictions for our sins, into favors. 

Though there were Masters and Princes of the Synagogues amongst the Jews in every City, yet had they but one chief Priest, of high Bishop of all their Church, and he was resident in the holy City of Jerusalem the chief City of all. This doubtless was a figure of one chief Bishop of all the Catholic or universal Church, and that his Residence should be in the holy City of Rome the chief City of Europe, saving that out of the temple of Jerusalem the Jews could not sacrifice; but our sacrifice as the Prophet Malachy foretold of the pure and immaculate lamb of God upon the altar, (for no other sacrifice have we that is pure) is offered everywhere from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof. Let us give thanks to God for ordaining us such an honorable and sovereign means, to preserve unity of faith & religion in his Church, which all other Sects of Religion want, and for want thereof run like Sampson's foxes everyone his several ways, following his own head, being tied only by the tails, to impugn ours.  


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