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Reading and Knowledge of holy Scripture.
ledge of ho
UNTO a Chriftian man there can be nothing either The praise more neceffary or profitable, than the knowledge of of holy holy Scripture, forasmuch as in it is contained God's true Scripture. word, fetting forth his glory, and alfo man's duty. And there is no truth nor doctrine neceffary for our juftifica- The perfection and everlasting falvation, but that is, or may be, tion of holy drawn out of that fountain and well of truth. Therefore The knowScripture. as many as be defirous to enter into the right and perfect ledge of howay unto God, muft apply their minds to know holy ly Scripture is neceffary. Scripture; without the which, they can neither fufficiently know God and his will, neither their office and duty. And as drink is pleasant to them that be dry, and meat To whom to them that be hungry; fo is the reading, hearing, fearching, and ftudying of holy Scripture, to them that ly Scripture be defirous to know God, or themfelves, and to do his is sweet and will. And their ftomachs only do loathe and abhor the pleasant. heavenly knowledge and food of God's word, that be fo enemies to drowned in worldly vanities, that they neither favour holy ScripGod, nor any godlinefs: for that is the cause why they ture. defire fuch vanities, rather than the true knowledge of God. As they that are fick of an ague, whatsoever they An apt fieat and drink, though it be never fo pleasant, yet it is as militude, bitter to them as wormwood; not for the bitterness of whom the the meat, but for the corrupt and bitter humour that is Scripture is in their own tongue and mouth: even fo is the fweetness abhorred. of God's word bitter, not of itself, but only unto them that have their minds corrupted with long cuftom of fin and love of this world. Therefore forfaking the corrupt judgment of fleshly men, which care not but for their
An exhor- carcafe; let us reverently hear and read holy Scripture, tation unto which is the food of the foul. Let us diligently fearch reading and for the well of life in the books of the New and Old Teffearching of tament, and not run to the ftinking puddles of men's trathe holy ditions, devifed by men's imagination, for our juftification Scripture. Matt. iv. and falvation. For in holy Scripture is fully contained The holy what we ought to do, and what to efchew, what to beScripture is lieve, what to love, and what to look for at God's hands doctrine for at length. In thefe books we shall find the Father from our falva- whon, the Son by whom, and the Holy Ghoft in whom, tion. all things have their being and keeping up; and these What three perfons to be but one God, and one fubftance. In may learn these books we may learn to know ourselves, how vile in the holy and miferable we be; and alfo to know God, how good he Scripture. is of himself, and how he maketh us and all creatures par
takers of his goodness. We may learn alfo in these books to know God's will and pleasure, as much as, for this prefent time, is convenient for us to know. And, as the great clerk and godly preacher, St. John Chryfoftom, faith, whatfoever is required to the falvation of man, is fully contained in the Scripture of God. He that is ignorant may there learn and have knowledge. He that is hard-hearted, and an obftinate finner, fhall there find everlafting torments, prepared of God's juftice, to make him afraid, and to mollify or foften him. He that is oppreffed with mifery in this world fhall there find relief in the promifes of everlafting life, to his great confolation and comfort. He that is wounded by the Devil unto death fhall find there medicine, whereby he may be reftored again unto health: if it fhall require to teach any truth, or reprove any falfe doctrine, to rebuke any vice, to commend any virtue, to give good counfel, to comfort or to exhort, or to do any other thing requifite for our falvation, all thofe things, faith St. Chryfoftom, we may learn plentifully of the Scripture. There is, faith Fulgentius, abundantly enough, both for men to eat, and chilHoly Scrip-dren to fuck. There is whatsoever is meet for all ages, ture mini- and for all degrees and forts of men. These books thereftereth fuffi. fore ought to be much in our hands, in our eyes, in our trine for all ears, in our mouths, but most of all in our hearts. For degrees and the Scripture of God is the heavenly meat of our fouls; Matt. iv. the hearing and keeping of it maketh us bleffed, fanctiLuke iv. fieth us, and maketh us holy; it turneth our fouls; it is a John xvii. light lantern to our feet; it is a fure, fteadfast, and everPfalm xix. lafting inftrument of falvation; it giveth wifdom to the humble and lowly hearts; it comforteth, maketh glad,