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God protects those near him like a loving mother hen

3 min • Digitized on August 30, 2021

From A Dialogue of Comfort Against Tribulation, page 112
By St. Thomas More

Then goeth the verse farther, and saith unto such a faithful man, et sub pennis ejus sperabis,—thy hope shall be under his feathers; that is, to wit, for the good hope thou hast in his help, he will take thee so near him into his protection, that as the hen, to keep her young chickens from the kite, nestleth them together under her own wings: so fro the devil’s claws, the ravenous kite of this dark air, the God of heaven will gather his faithful trusting folk near unto his own sides, and set them in surety very well and warm under the covering of his own heavenly wings.

And of this defence and protection our Saviour spake himself unto the Jews (as mention is made in the Gospel of St. Matthew), to whom he said in this wise: Hierusalem, Hierusalem, quæ occidis prophetas, et lapidas eos qui ad te missi sunt, quoties volui congregare te sicut gallina congregat pullos suos sub alas, et noluisti?—That is to say,—Hierusalem, Hierusalem, that killest the prophets, and stonest to death them that are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thee together, as the hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and thou wouldest not?

Here are words, cousin Vincent, words of no little comfort unto every Christian man: by which we may see, with how tender affection God of his great goodness longeth to gather under the protection of his wings, and how often like a loving hen he clocketh home unto him even those chickens of his that wilfully walk abroad in the kite’s danger, and will not come at his clocking, but ever the more he clocketh for them, the farther they go from him.

And, therefore, can we not doubt, if we will follow him, and with faithful hope come run unto him, but that he shall in all matter of temptation take us near unto him, and set us even under his wings, and then are we safe, if we will tarry there.

For against our will can there no power pull us thence, nor hurt our souls there. Pone me (saith the prophet) juxta te, et cujusvis manus pugnet contra me,—Set me near unto thee, and fight against me whose hand that will.

And to shew the great safeguard and surety that we shall have, while we sit under his heavenly feathers, the prophet saith yet a great deal farther: In velamento alarum tuarum exultatio, that is, to wit, that we shall not only (when we sit by his sweet side under his holy wing) sit in safeguard; but that we shall also under the covering of his heavenly wings, with great exultation rejoice.

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