Twenty Third Sunday After Pentecost The Gospel Matt. 9. v. 18 THURSDAY 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.
When this Prince of the Synagogue came to Jesus, he was in very earnest talk with St. John the Baptist his disciples, that came to him to be resolved of a question concerning fasting, and as he was talking and discoursing with them of that matter, (as the first words of the Gospel are) he arose up abruptly, and made no stay, but went his was with the Prince, to raise his daughter from death: where we may learn, that sometimes as reason & discretion requireth, we must not stick to omit one good work for another, or to leave on good work unperfitted fro another that is more necessary, or expedient, as Christ here did omit to make an end of his discourse, to go with this Prince, and especially if it be before obedience, which oftentimes out of our corrupt nature we are more loath to do, then to do things of our own voluntary; but in these cases we must tell ourselves, obedience is better than sacrifice.
Isaac bare the bundle of wood that his Father laid upon his back obediently, wherewith he was to be sacrificed to God, and would have been obedient even unto death, if it had been the will of God, as Christ was to his heavenly Father of whom Isaac was a lively figure.
There be many religious and others that will exercise themselves willingly of their own voluntary, in fasting, prayer, watchings, silence, and other holy works exceedingly, but being commanded by their Prelates and Superiors, they maunder, murmurer, and grudge thereat as fast: these carry not the burden of a wood of Isaac, laid upon him by his Father Abraham, to be sacrificed to God, but a burden which they impose upon themselves, wherein they do not sacrifice themselves to God, but to their own will.
Christ going to this Prince, meeting with a woman upon the way sick of a desperate bloody flux, which she had been holden withal a dozen years, & spent all her substance upon Physicians in vain, healed her of her disease, upon the way as he went.
He was always doing good, whether it were in the City or Country, house of high-way, or wheresoever, to teach us to do good at all times, & in all places, which St. Paul calleth, making hast in our journey towards heaven, and that we be not idle in the business of our Salvation, but like unto the good woman, whom Salomon describeth, and amongst her other commendations commendeth especially for this, (which was indeed the cause of all her other commendations) that she did not eat her bread idle, and the cause that she did not eat her bread idle, as is said in the words immediately following was, that she considered the paths of her house, that is to say, the paths & ways of her Soul, which he that considereth well, shall find them so many, and divers, and so intricate, that he shall never nee to be idle, but think the time little enough for so great & weighty business: My soul, sayth the Prophet David, is always in my hands, and therefore I do not forget thy law, that is to say, I do always consider the ways and paths of my soul, and that maketh me not to be idle, but always exercised in studying how to keep they laws.
Thus we will leave the Prince of the Synagogue a joyfully and thankful man for the life of his daughter, with a new life also of faith bestowed upon himself the greatest joy of all, and come to the woman with the bloody flux, the strange cure of whom, was no doubt a great motive to dispose him thereunto, and for that purpose God Ordained the same, as he doth all things for the best, to them that be lovers of him.