Sexagesima Sunday The Gospel Luc. 8 v.4. Friday Meditation: A Plaine Path-way To Heaven Thomas Hill 1634


GOSPEL Luke 8:4-15 
At that time, when a very great multitude was gathered together and hastened out of the cities, unto him, he spoke by a similitude. "The sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell by the way side. And it was trodden down: and the fowls of the air devoured it. And other some fell upon a rock. And as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. And other some fell among thorns. And the thorns growing up with it, choked it. And other some fell upon good ground and, being sprung up, yielded fruit a hundredfold." Saying these things, he cried out: "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear." And his disciples asked him what this parable might be. To whom he said: "To you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but to the rest in parables, that 'seeing they may not see and hearing may not understand.' Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. And they by the way side are they that hear: then the devil cometh and taketh the word out of their heart, lest believing they should be saved. Now they upon the rock are they who when they hear receive the word with joy: and these have no roots: for they believe for a while and in time of temptation they fall away. And that which fell among thorns are they who have heard and, going their way, are choked with the cares and riches and pleasures of this life and yield no fruit. But that on the good ground are they who in a good and perfect heart, hearing the word, keep it and bring forth fruit in patience."
Consideration for Friday

And first the ground may be a highway, or it may be a stony ground, or it may be overgrown with briers and thorns .

It is no marvel, if some mens hearts be compared to a highway, for as a highway is common to all passengers: so some men lay themselves open to all temptations and occasions of sin, what soever; shunning none, but rather seeking them: and how can the seed of the word of God chose but be trodden and trampled upon by every occasion, that it can grow up no more, then corn in a common path?

And not only that, but as a highway is a common passage for others; So their ill example is a common  highway of Scandal, for others to pass there by unto the same occasion of sin.

Likewise it is no marvel though some mens souls be compared to a stony or rocky ground,  where the seed may well grow up fresh and green fora time,but it can take no great root to, continue and come to bear fruit:but is like that corn the Prophet David speaketh of, that groweth upon the ridge of a thatched house, covered with a little work, which withereth away before it be ready to reap.

It is not a marvel, I say though some mens souls be compared to stony and rocky ground, for some mens hearts are so hardened,and obdurate with long custom of sin, that though they hear the word of God cheerfully yea with tears,and many good purposes that promise fruit:yet when they come to try themselves by reason of their long custom and habit of sin, making virtue hard and tedious unto them,they harden their hearts, and their good  purposes vanish away, as if they had never been.

These two comparisons, I say are no marvels; but that riches and pleasures should be compared to thorns, whereas these do pinch and pain us, the other please and delight us: that seems to be a great marvel: but if we consider the properties of both,we will not marvel; for as thorns prick and hurt us especially in the point and extreme parts thereof; so riches,if we set our hearts upon them,do prick us with pain in getting them, care in keeping them,sin in abusing them, fear in losing them at all times, but especially in the point of death, when we must leave them and give a straight account how we have employed them, of which point the Scripture cryeth out saying Oh death, how bitter is the remembrance of thee, to a man that hath peace or delight in his riches? Thorns will suck out the strength and heart of the ground & starve or choke the corn that is sown in the rain so the cares and solicitude of riches (which are many) will choke and starve the word of God in us, and so distract our minds, that we cannot attend to prayer and devotion.

Thorns grow in bushes and brakes, which is the habitation of Serpents, and venomous creatures: Riches is the harbor of all manner of sins and vices that may be had or maintained thereby. Again, Thorns grow in bushes and backs unto which when poor sheep come for shelter; they pull of their wool, and leave them naked: when poor folk come to rich to borrow or top down or to sell some commodity to succor their necessity; the rich pluck off their wool, by way of usury, extortion, or the like.

Finally this similitude which riches have with thorns, may be a remedy against the inconveniences aforesaid; that as thorns though they will prick and hurt us very sorely, if we shut our hands upon then, and hold them fast: yet if we hold them with open hands, be they never so sharp, they will not hurt: so riches, if we hold then over fast to ourselves, or spend them ill, they may hurt us very much: but if we hold them open hands, to the poor,and other good uses, they will not only not hurt us, but do us a great deal of good.

Let us endeavor not to be any of these three sorts of ground: but of that ground commended in the parable to be good, and most good, that is to say, not contenting ourselves with an ordinary degree of goodness, but to pair unto perfection, and to proceed from virtue to virtue, until we be perfect, and as the parable here speaketh, not to be contented to bring forth an ordinary increase, but a hundred fold, that is to say, a hundred for one.


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