The Third Sunday In Lent The Gospel Luc. 11. v.14 Saturday Meditation: A Plaine Path-way To Heaven Thomas Hill 1634

GOSPEL St. Luke, 11. 14-28 
AT THAT TIME Jesus was casting out a devil, and the same was dumb. And when He had cast out the devil, the dumb spoke, and the multitudes were in admiration at it. But some of them said: He casteth out devils by Beelzebub, the prince of devils. And others, tempting, asked of Him a sign from heaven. But He, seeing their thoughts, said to them: Every kingdom divided against itself shall be brought to desolation, and house upon house shall fall. And if Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? because you say that through Beelzebub I cast out devils. Now if I cast out devils by Beelzebub, by whom do your children cast them out? Therefore, they shall be your judges. But if I by the finger of God cast out devils, doubtless the kingdom of God is come upon you. When a strong man armed keepeth his court, those things are in peace which he possesseth. But if a stronger one than he is come upon him and overcome him, he will take away all his armor wherein he trusted, and will distribute his spoils. He that is not with Me is against Me: and he that gathereth not with Me scattereth. When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through places without water, seeking rest: and not finding, he saith: I will return into my house whence I came out. And when he is come, he findeth it swept and garnished. Then he goeth and taketh with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and entering in they dwell there. And the last state of that man becomes worse than the first. And it came to pass, as He spoke these things, a certain woman from the crowd, lifting up her voice, said to Him: Blessed is the womb that bore Thee, and the paps that gave Thee suck. But he said: Yea rather, blessed are they who hear the word of God, and keep it.
Saturday

When the Jews were in captivity in Babylon, the Babylonians, insulting over them said: Come sing us a hymn of the Sons of Sion.

They answered: how can we sing a Song of our Lord, being captive in a strange country? but the devil, who is here called, a strong man armed, getteth some sinners into his possession, which is much worse then the Babylonian captivity, in that quiet and peaceable manner, as that they can sign and eat and drink and be as merry, as of they were not captive at all, neither have they any feeling thereof.

This strong man thus armed, and keeping his castle in peace, sometimes meeteth with his match and with a stronger then himself, to wit almighty God who doth rescue these captives out of his possession into their natural country of grace, there to live in true peace, and to sing the hymns and canticles of our Lord: but if in case these return back again in to the devils possession by sin, then the latter things of that man are worse then the former, and the devil holdeth himself so sure of him then, that he accounteth him his own, saying I will return again, into my own house, as is here expressed in this parable, but how doth the devil get this advantage: Truly thus. If a house be void of work, if it be swept, and adorned, it inviteth guests to come unto it, as a place delightful unto them: So if a sinner after his conversion, suffer his soul to be idle, not exercising himself in godly exercises of devotion and Service of God to profit in virtues; if his soul be pure and clean as if it were swept, that is to say, of he falsely presume that is so, and live without diligent and daily examination of his conscience, sorrowful and frequent confession of his sins and doing works of satisfaction, as if he were pure and clean enough with out them, as no man is, or as though the passion of Christ would supply all, if he adorn his soul with superfluities of worldly commodities, and delights which be occasions of sin; these things invite the devil unto it again, here he delighteth to be, this is the house he accompteth his own, hither he will resort, and never rest till he hath brought thither seven devils worse, then himself, that is to say, the seven deadly sins, and so the latter things of such a man will be far worse then the first, especially if by recidivation or relapse into former sins repented and reiteration thereof, he come to be past shaine, as commonly they do.

The hair of a mans he add if it be long, is as it were a natural veil of his face and a sign of shamefastness especially if it long and therefore in figure of shamefastness, which is a strong bridle to sin, (especially in young folks) God commanded the Nazarites in the old law, a certain religious order, never to cut the hair of they head; and to one of that order to wit Sampson, God gave him that strength in his hairs, that he easily overcame all his enemies the philistines were they never so many: yea one time he slew a number of them only with the jaw bone of an ass: but when by the treachery of Dalila his wife he lost his hair, he lost his strength: and fell miserably into the hands of his enemies: as in the scripture, is largely related.

So a sinner through the custom of sin and often relapse into the same, cometh to loose the veil of shamefastness; and in loosing that he looseth his strength to resist sins, and then the devil taketh possession of him, and abuseth him, as the Philistines abused Sampson amongst which abuses, three, were these: they pulled out his eyes, they made him drive about a horseman, they brought him forth amongst company, to make them laughter and sport: This parable of the gospel and this figure of the Nazarites hair which tend both to one purpose, namely to deter us from the custom, and recidivation into the same sins ( which recidivation even in corporal diseases Phycsians held to be most dangerous of all) and this fearful sentence, that the last things of such a one are like to be worse then the first are enough to deter any man, from falling into that miserable condition.


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