Seventh Sunday After Pentecost The Gospel Mat. 7.v.15 Saturday Meditation: A Plaine Path-way To Heaven Thomas Hill 1634
GOSPEL Matthew 7:15-21
At that time, Jesus said to His disciples: Beware of false prophets, who come to you in the clothing of sheep, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. By their fruits you shall know them. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, and the evil tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can an evil tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit shall be cut down, and shall be cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits you shall know them. Not every one that saith to Me: Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father who is in heaven, he shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.Saturday Meditation
Christ said we should know who were true or false Prophets, as we know a good or bad tree, not by the leaves, but by the fruits.And what are the leaves, & what the fruits,he expressed immediately in these words: Not everyone that sayth unto me Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven,but he that doth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Words,as if to say (Lord, Lord) are but leaves, to do the will of God is fruit,and to do the will of God is to keep the law of God, taking our direction thereby, in all our works, thoughts, and desires, having that always before the eyes of our soul.
Those that have weak sights use spectacles before their eyes: these spectacles Moses commended to the people of Israel, to use.
These words, sayth he,which I commanded thee this day (that is to say,the law of the ten commandments)shall be in thy heart,and they shall be, and move between thy eyes, that is to say, thou shalt do nothing, thou shall desire nothing until thou beholdest it, through the spectacles of the law of God, to see whether it be agreeable and consonant unto that or no, & then as the Prophet David sayth of the same.thou shalt not be confounded.
And in the manner of keeping the law of God we are to imitate them that invite their friends to a Feast,or banquet, whose care is not to please their own taste or palate, but of their guests whom they invite especially if they be great ones: so we, for as much as by our good deeds, we do as it were invite so great a Majesty as almighty God to a feast, our care must be to do those things that best please him, and not ourselves.
When King Saul had overcome king Agag in a battle between them, and was commanded of God to kill him,and to destroy,and kill all the booty he took with him,which was very great and not to reserve any thing thereof, but to account it Anathema,or accursed to God, & so he should please him best; it please Saul better to entertain God with reserving alive the principal fat kine and bullocks (as there were very goodly ones) to sacrifice unto God, in thankfulness for the victory obtained:for which, instead of acceptation thereof, he was sharply rebuked of God. and deprived of his Kingdom: a fearful example for omitting the commandment of God, or of his Church, for some voluntary devotion of our own; as for example breaking the fast of the lent, or other fasting days, upon small occasions, thinking by some kind of voluntary abstinence of our won, or other devotion, to please God as well: but howto obtain this grace, to have the law of God always before our eyes,and to perform the same,the wiseman in the Scriptures teacheth us, in these words:he that keepeth the law multiply prayer,that is to say,he that prayeth much, will be able to keep the Law; but our prayers must be directed to this end, that we may keep the law of God.
Of which the Prophet David sayth thus of himself: One thing I desired of God, & that will I still require ,that I may dwell in the house of my Lord, that is to say, in the Temple of my Lord, which is the house of prayer, all the days of my life. To what end, O holy David, doest thou desire this? He addeth immediately after, to the end I may see the will of my Lord, that is to say, see it, and obtain strength to do the same, for so his meaning is.
Lastly in these words of Christ: he that doth the will of my Father shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, we have a strong and mighty motive to incite us to do the will of God, which is this; if we do the will of God which is but in small matters, he will do the will of us in great, that is to say, in letting us enter into the kingdom of heaven; which is so great and absolute a good, that it cannot be but every mans will, & that above all other things. Who would not do the will of another in small matters, that his might do hi in greater? This is that love song which the spouse to wit a devout soul, singeth to her beloved in the Canticles of Salomon: My beloved to me, and I to him, that is to say: my beloved is mine and I am his, or if I be his, he is mine: what can be more forcible to move us to do the will of almighty God, then that thereby we make him to be ours? And if we would know whether he be ours or no, and how much he is ours, we must do as they do,that would fain behold the Sun, and being not able to behold it in it self in the heavens, for the exceeding brightness thereof, they behold it in the water, and so see a goodly creature in heaven above, by looking downward into a creature on earth beneath.
Let us look into ourselves, and we shall find there, whether God loveth us or no, and how much he loveth us. If we love him, he loveth us, and as much as we love him, he loveth us; if we convert us from our sins, and begin to love him, he converteth himself to us, and beginneth to love us: and the more and more we love him, the more and more he loveth us, saving that his love is of an infinite higher strain then ours; with a holy man, saith the Prophet David in the person of God, thou wilt be holy, and with an innocent man thou wilt be innocent, and with a perverse man thou wilt be perverse.