« ElőzőTovább »
introduction (for to those which acknowledge their sin and misery, God sheweth his mercy and salvation) may be said to agree with the Gospel in the effect. For otherwise, if we sever the Law from subordination to the Gospel, the effects are very different; the one sheweth the way of righteousness by works, the other by faith ; the Law woundeth, the Gospel healeth; the Law terrifieth, the Gospel allureth ; Moses accuseth, Christ defendeth; Moses condemneth, Christ pardoneth. The Old restraineth the hand, the New the mind. * Data est Lex quæ non sanaret,” (saith St. AuGUSTINE) " sed quæ ægrotantes probaret." The Law was given not to help, but to discover sickness. And St. CHRYSOSTOM, "Data est Lex, ut “ se homo inveniret, non ut morbus sanaretur, sed “ut medicus quæreretur.” The Law was given that man might find and know his own imperfection, not that his disease' was thereby holpen, but that he might then seek out the Physician. For Christ came to save the world, which the Law had condemned. And, as Moses was but a servant, and Christ a son, so the greatest benefit was reserved to be brought by the worthiest person, saith Cyril: for this Law made nothing perfect, but was an introduction of a better hope.
SIR WALTER RALÉGH.
IN the first age of the world, God gave laws unto our fathers, and by reason of the number of their days, their memories served instead of books; whereof the manifold imperfections and defects being known to God, he mercifully relieved the same, by often putting them in mind of that whereof it behoved them to be specially mindful. In which respect, we see how many times one thing hath been iterated into sundry even of the best and wisest amongst them. After that the lives of men were shortened, means more durable to preserve the laws of God from oblivion and corruption, grew in use, not without precise direction from God himself. First, therefore, of Moses it is said, that he wrote all the words of God, Exod. xxiv. 4; not by his own private motion and device; for God taketh this act to himself, I have written, Hos. viii. 12. Furthermore, were not the Prophets following commanded also to do the like? Unto the holy Evangelist St. John, how often express charge is given, Scribe, write these things, Apoc. i. 11. xiv. 13. Concerning the rest of our Lord's disciples, the words of St. Augus. tine are “ Quiequid ille de suis factis et dictis nos “ legere voluit, hoc scribendum illis tanquam suis “ manibus imperavit."
THE several books of Scripture having had each some several occasion and particular purpose, which caused them to be written; the contents thereof are according to the exigencies of that special eud whereunto they are intended. Hereupon it groweth that every book of Holy Scrip
ture doth take out of all kinds of truth, natural,* historical,+ foreign, 1 supernatural, ll so much as the matter handled requireth. Now, forasmuch as there have been reasons alleged sufficient to conclude, that all things necessary unto salvation must be made known, and that God himself hath therefore revealed his will, because otherwise men could not have known so much as is necessary; his surceasing to speak to the world, since the publishing of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the delivery of the same in writing, is unto us
manifest token that the way of salvation is now sufficiently opened, and, that we need no other means for our full instruction than God hath already furnished us withal.
The main drift of the whole New Testament is that which St. John setteth down as the purpose of his own history: These things are written that ye might believe that Jesus is Christ the Son of God, and that in believing ye might have life through his name, John xxiii. 31. The drift of the Old, that which the Apostle mentioneth to Timothy: The Holy Scriptures are able to make thee wise unto salvation, 2 Tim. ïï. 15. So that the general end, both of Old and New, is one;
the difference between them consisting in this, that the Old did make wise by teaching salvation through Christ that should come; the New, by teaching that Christ the Saviour is come;
* Ephes. V. 29. † 2 Tim. üi & Titus i. 12. || Pet. ii. 4.
and that Jesus, whom the Jews did crucify, ảnd whom God did raise again from the dead, is he.
Hoofin. THERE is in Scripture therefore no defect, but that any man, what place or calling soever he hold in the Church of God, may have thereby the light of his natural understanding so perfected, that the one being relieved by the other, there can want no part of needful instruction unto any good work which God himself requireth, be it natural or supernatural, belonging simply unto men, as men; or unto men as they are united in whatsoever kind of society. It sufficeth, therefore, that natüre and Scripturë do serve in such full sort, that they both jointly, and not severally, either of them, be so complete, that, unto everlasting felicity, we need not the knowledge of any thing more than those two may easily furnish our minds with on all sides.
IBID. THÉ end of the Word of God is to save, and therefore we term it the Word of Life. for all men to be saved, is by the knowledge of that truth which the Word hath taught. And sith eternal life is a thing of itself communicable to all, it beloved that the Word of God, the necesa sary mean thereunto, be so likewise. Wherefore the Word of Life hath been always a treasure, though precious, yet easy, as well to attain as to find ; lest any man desirous of life should perish through the difficulty of the way.
The way SITH God, who knoweth and discloseth best the rich treasures of his own wisdom, hath, by delivering his word, made choice of the Scriptures, as the most effectual means whereby those trea. sures might be imparted unto the world, it followeth, that to man's understanding the Scripture must needs be, even of itself, intended as a full and perfect discovery, sufficient to imprint in us the lively character of all things necessarily required for the attainment of eternal life.*
THE pre-eminence of the Scriptures in their instruction of mankind in the knowledge of God, and his duty to God, appears partly in these considerations :
1. The knowledge the Scriptures give in these things, is more easy to be attained; because it sets down these truths plainly, that the most ordinary capacity may understand : whereas the knowledge of these things by the light of nature, is more difficult, requires much observation, and industry, and attention, deducing and drawing,
These opinions of “the judicious Hooker," an eminent minister of the Church of England, may be considered a sufficient answer to those of her clergy in the present day, who are apprehensive of great dangers arising to the country from: the numerous Bible Societies lately established ; on account of their circulating the Holy Scriptures unaccompanied by the Prayer Book !
See DR. MARSH's ENQUIRY, and other Pamphlets
an the above Subject, recently published.