The First Sunday In Lent The Gospel Matt.4.v.1. Wednesday Meditation: A Plaine Path-way To Heaven Thomas Hill 1634


GOSPEL Matt. 4:1-11 
At that time, Jesus was led by the spirit into the desert, to be tempted by the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterwards he was hungry. And the tempter coming said to him: "If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread." Who answered and said: "It is written, Not in bread alone doth man live, but in every word that proceedeth from themouth of God." Then the devil took him up into the holy city, and set him upon the pinnacle of the temple, And said to him: "If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down, for it is written: That he hath given his angels charge over thee, and in their hands shall they bear thee up, lest perhaps thou dash thy foot against a stone." Jesus said to him: "It is written again: Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God." Again the devil took him up into a very high mountain, and shewed him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them, And said to him: "All these will I give thee, if falling down thou wilt adore me." Then Jesus saith to him: "Begone, Satan: for it is written: The Lord thy God shalt thou adore, and him only shalt thou serve."
Naaman, a great Prince of the King of Syria his court, being strike with a leprosy all over his body, hearing of the fame of Heliseus the Prophet, for such cures, went to him: he appointed him to was himself in a certain river seven times, and told him he should be cured; he did it, and was cured. Sin is a leprosy, and we are all infected and, in the compass of a year, no doubt much defiled therewith: wherefore our holy mother the Church appointed this time of lent, to wash ourselves, & make us clean in the wholesome waters of fasting, prayer and alms, and other holy exercises, for the worthy celebration of Easter; and in this time of lent we may aptly be said to wash ourselves seven times, because we fast seven weeks, resting every Sunday between, which taketh it, as it were, seven several washings: as that of Naamans was, which washing of his, no doubt was a figure or type of ours, as very many other things in the old law were of the new.

WEDNESDAY

Command these stones to be made bread. 

Besides the sense of these words aforesaid, namely that the devil would have had Christ make stone bread by his only command, whereby he might have discovered himself to be God, who only with this word (Let it be,) made all things of nothing; they may import a temptation of Christ to murmur against God, by way of reproach or derision, as if he should say thus to Christ: you se how great care God hath of you, how he provideth for you here in the wilderness, after forty days and forty nights fast from any food at all; if you will eat stones you may, for here is nothing else to eat: therefore you were best to command these stone to be made bread, and feed yourself, for you see God hath no care of you.

Or he might speak it (for he is wily serpent, and will turn his wits every way as a serpent will his body) supposing that God would send his Angels to feed him (as afterwards he did) that he might not tarry the time God had appointed, and serve himself before hand, as if he had distrusted the providence of God; or might have been overcome with a gluttonous desire, to anticipate the time, though it were never so little, both which temptation either of murmuring against Gods providence, or preventing it, by unlawful means, not expecting the pleasure of God, we may be sure are temptations of the Devil, if we chance to be assailed with the like, and we must put them of with the very same word that Christ did, man doth not only live by bread, but by every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God: that is to say, not only ordinary means, but by the extraordinary providence of God, upon which we must rely, before we betake ourselves to any unlawful means of our own.

For as God by his infinite power could turn stones into bread: so did he by the same power enable Christ to live forty days without food; and so can he make us by his holy grace to live contently with a very little corporal food, yea and to prefer fasting, which is the food of the soul, the principal part of man.

And in deed there is great reason for it, if we consider ourselves not as mere bodies, as if we were brute beasts, but as consisting of soul & body, as we are men, & our soul the principal part; and this likewise is the sense of the words of Christ, aforesaid, & the more literal sense, that when we are tempted to break the fast, to say unto ourselves: We are not brute beasts to fee only our bodies, but we are men, and must feed our souls with fasting, according to the precept of the Church, as well as our bodies with corporal food.

For man which consisteth of body, and soul, must have food for both.

A man liveth not only by corporal food, but by every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God, that is to say, by obedience unto the word of God, which is the food of the soul, as well as by bread the food of the body.

And though Christ could, if he had pleased, not only have turned stones into bread, but have made the very stones remaining stones, to have fed him as well as bread: he would not for himself; but he doth it oftentimes for us, for oftentimes he turneth the hard stones of poverty, sickness, persecutions, and other calamities, and adversities into bread of comfort, and consolation, by grace in this world and promise of glory in the next; if we be obedient to his word, and therefore we must be as careful and glad to s=feed our souls, with the bread of obedience, to the word and will of God, as our bodies with material bread, or else we seem to be careful, not of the whole man, which consisteth of body and soul, but of half the man, to will the body only, and that which is the worser half, by a great deal.

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