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TREATISE OF THE HOLY SCRIPTURES:
GATHERED OUT OF CERTAIN SERMONS
PREACHED AT SALISBURY, ANNO DOMINI 1570 ;
BY JOHN JEWELL,
BISHOP OF SALISBURY.
TREATISE OF THE HOLY SCRIPTURES.
Among all his creatures in heaven or earth, God hath not made any like unto the sun in the firmament, the beams whereof are beautiful and pleasant, and do give comfort in all places to all things. It rejoiceth the whole, and relieveth the sick ; it causeth birds to sing, fishes to play, cattle to stir, worms to creep, grass to grow, and trees to bring fruit; it reneweth the face of the whole earth.-Yet a blind man hath no pleasure in the beauty thereof, because he is blind, and cannot see it; yet a dead man hath no warmth by the heat thereof, because he is dead, and feeleth it not.
Adam was placed in Paradise in perfect estate, and in the company of God's angels ; God walked and did talk with him. He heard the voice, and beheld the presence of God. The rivers yielded waters abundantly, the trees brought him the fruit of life. He had plenty without travail ; he had pleasures, joy, and his heart's desire.—But Adam was unthankful; he knew not God, the worker of his happiness ; he knew not the place in which he was; he knew not his own estate and blessed. ness; therefore the wrath of the LORD grew against him; he fell into the snares of the devil, he became mortal, and returned to dust.
What nation in all the world so happy as Israel ? They were delivered by a mighty hand out of Egypt, from the tyranny of Pharaoh, from service and vilainy.a Their children were no more slain before their faces. They passed through the bottom of the sea, as upon dry land. When they were hungry, “ there went forth
. (Vilainy: from the old word Vilain, equivalent to Vassal :state of vassalage, or bond-service.)
a wind from the LORD, and brought them quails from
,"b and manna was given them from heaven to eat; when they thirsted, the rocks opened and poured out water, that they and their beasts might drink. In battle they were mighty and strong, no power was able to stand against them. • The LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light.". When they called upon the Lord, he heard them. When they trusted in him, they were not confounded.But they grew unmindful of these mercies, and murmured against the LORD, and against his servants; therefore GOD raught [reached] forth his hand against them. “He sware in his wrath that they should not enter into his rest." He sent his angel, and destroyed them in the wilderness.
Even so fareth it with all such which regard not the word of their salvation ; because they “have ears and hear not, nor will understand with their hearts,” e the fury of the Lord shall be kindled against them. The prophet saith in the name of God to Israel, “ I have sent unto them all my servants the Prophets, yet they would not hear me, nor incline their ear.' And : “ Behold, I sow my law in you, that it may bring forth fruit in you. But our fathers which received the law kept it not; neither observed thine ordinances, neither did the fruit of thy law appear. For they that received it perished, because they kept not the thing that was sown in them.”g Samuel telleth Saul : 66 Thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD hath rejected thee."" Again, Jeremiah saith, “How do ye say we are wise, and the law of the LORD is with us? They have rejected the word of the Lord, and what wisdom is in them ?”i Again, “ Unto whom shall I speak, and admonish, that they may hear? Behold, their ears are uncircumcised, and they cannot hearken; behold, the word of the LORD is unto them as a reproach, they have no delight in it. I will cause a plague to come upon this people, even the fruit of their own imaginations ; because they have not taken heed unto my words, nor to my law, but cast it off.”
b Num. xi. 31. é Ex. xiii. 21. d Ps. xcv. 11. e Isa. vi. 9, 10. Matt. xiii. 13.
f Jer. vii. 25. $ 2 Esdr. ix. 31. [We must not be astonished to find sentences from the apocryphal writings thus quoted occasionally, as if possessed of Scriptural authority: They had been too long invested with the sacredness of the canonical character to be at once laid completely aside. Even those, like JEWELL, who most strenuously contended for the utter rejection of the false claims of these books to the authority of inspiration, when their attention was directed to the subject; were nevertheless likely to mingle them (as in the present instance) with the true Scriptures, when quoting by memory. They had leurned them together, and could not always separate them at the moment of their recurral to the mind.)
h 1 Sam. xv, 26,
After this sort doth God show the cause why his word taketh not place in us-because we are wilful, and will not hear it, nor let the fruit thereof appear, but reject it, and make it a reproach, and cast it away from us : and therefore it is that the LORD doth cast us away ; that we are unwise ; that we please ourselves with our own devices, and follow our own imaginations, and perish, because we have not understanding, to hear the instruction of the LORD's word, but like ignorant men disallow it, and cast it behind the back.
The consideration thereof moveth me to say somewhat of the Holy SCRIPTURES, which are the bright sun of God; which bring light unto our ways, and comfort to all parts of our life, and salvation to our souls ; in which is made known unto us our estate, and the mercy of God in Christ our Saviour witnessed.
That we may the better see the path which we have to walk in; my meaning is, truly, and plainly, and shortly,
to show you,
What authority and majesty the word of God beareth;
Then, What profit we may reap by it; also, how needful it is, that we be well instructed in the Holy Scriptures; and what pleasure and delectation a Christian conscience
find in them; And lastly, Whether they be dark and doubtful, or plain and easy for your understanding :
That when we know the majesty and authority of the Word, and what comfort and profit God giveth us by it, we deprive not ourselves thereof by our unthankfulness, nor close up our eyes that we see it not; but hear it in
i Jer. viii. 9.
k Jer. vi. 10.