Septuagesima Sunday The Gospel Mat. 20 v.1. Friday Meditation: A Plaine Path-way To Heaven Thomas Hill 1634


GOSPEL Matt. 20:1-16 
At that time, Jesus spoke to His disciples this parable:"The kingdom of heaven is like to an householder, who went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard. And having agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And going out about the third hour, he saw others standing in the marketplace idle. And he said to them: 'Go you also into my vineyard, and I will give you what shall be just.' And they went their way. And again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did in like manner. But about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing, and he saith to them: 'Why stand you here all the day idle?' They say to him: 'Because no man hath hired us.' He saith to them: 'Go ye also into my vineyard.' And when evening was come, the lord of the vineyard saith to his steward: 'Call the labourers and pay them their hire, beginning from the last even to the first.' When therefore they were come that came about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny. But when the first also came, they thought that they should receive more: And they also received every man a penny. And receiving it they murmured against the master of the house, Saying: 'These last have worked but one hour. and thou hast made them equal to us, that have borne the burden of the day and the heats.' But he answering said to one of them: 'friend, I do thee no wrong: didst thou not agree with me for a penny? Take what is thine, and go thy way: I will also give to this last even as to thee. Or, is it not lawful for me to do what I will? Is thy eye evil, because I am good?' So shall the last be first and the first last. For many are called but few chosen."

This Sunday being three weeks before lent, the Church invite us to labor in Gods vineyard this Lent, and to that purpose appointed this gospel to be read, and peculiar name, to witt, Septuagesima Sunday because it is seventy days before Easter,and the next, Sexagesima as being Sixty days; & the next Quinquagesima being fifty days before Easter, which serve to prepare us for the worthy keeping of Lent.

Consideration for Friday

The Master of the vineyard went forth at certain times of the day and hired laborers, he blamed them for being idle, they answered, no man had hired them.

It is not here meant, that God doeth call us to labor in his vineyard, but at certain times, and therefore we may sometimes excuse ourselves of our idleness, as if we were not called: For (what so ever it is for the calling of infidels to the faith) the calling of Christians unto good life and keeping the commandments of God, is all their life long, even from the time we come first to years of discretion,and therefore, the parable saith, the Master went forth to hire laborers in the very beginning of the morning.

Those that are Catholics in belief , are called of Christ to labor in the vineyard of the Church, by good life two ways. The one by example for them to follow, the other by grace making them able, and willing to follow.

The exemplar is this: That Christ was crucified for our redemption, not that we have no more to do therein, but to lay all upon his back; but that we should therefore crucify ourselves after his example, that is to say: our flesh, and the concupiscence, and appetites thereof, that fight and rebel against the spirit, as all sins,and sinful appetites do: which if we do we shall have for our hire, everlasting salvation.

The other is the God motions, and inspirations we have from God to do this, and the strength, and power to put them in execution.

By the first of these two we are always called as often as we will call it to mind, the prophet Isaiah saying unto us in the name of Christ, I have stretched out my hands,to wit upon the cross, all the day long,inviting you to come unto me by working your salvation, as St Paul termeth it, stretching forth my hands to bid you come, and my arms to embrace you when you come.

Neither doeth there want reason for us to do this work, nor for Christ to exact it; not for us to do it because we are so well hired: nor for Christ to exact it, because having bought us, and that at so high a rate, we are his servants by right, and ought to do him the best service we can, and as St.Paul saith to live to him, not to ourselves.

By the second we have always good motions to do the work and service of God, and grace sufficient to put them in execution, offered unto us sufficient I say, but bit efficacious that depend of our own correspondence and cooperation with that grace, which is sufficient in itself to make it efficacious unto us.

But this were do sometimes at another, sometimes not till the last, sometimes not at all.

And so these hours or times have their denomination, not from the sufficient calling of God (which is continual, as aforesaid) from our correspondence there unto, which is sometimes at one time, sometimes at another.

Wherefore whensoever we are idle in this business, not answering to the calling of God, we cannot excuse ourselves, and say we are not hired, (as the workmen in the parable did) but we are to be blamed very much, especially if we defer the time till the last.

In regard whereof the Master of the vineyard blamed them that were called at the third hour, which was reasonable early, saying, why stand you here idle? but them that he hired at the last hour he blamed more sharply, saying, why stand ye here idle all the day?

Do you not know the danger of it? for though you be called by the danger, and expectation of death: yet you know not whether you shall have more grace to answer unto that, then to your former callings, and then most miserably you lose your calling forever: or if you do chance to harken unto it, is like to be merely out of fear, more then love of God; and whether fear will serve the turn or no, it is much to be feared.

Of the good thief which suffered with Christ, (which was a good their indeed because be stole away the kingdom of heaven) St. Augustine saith thus. There was one of the two thieves saved at the last cast, that suffered with Christ, that none should despair: and but one, that non should presume.


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