« AnteriorContinuar »
Lord, and ahall not find it," verse 21.
"They shall stumble at noon-day, as at the twilight; they shall grope for the wall like the blind, and truth shall fall in their streets." Isai. lix.
For how shall they be saved unless they call on the name of the Lord? "How shall they call on him, in whom they have not believed? how shall they believe in him, of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? and how shall they preach except they be sent ?" (Rom. x. 14. 15.) Chrysostom therefore saith, Neither can it be, I say it cannot be, that any man shall attain to salvation, except he be always occupied in spiritual reading.' The wise man saith (Prov. xxix. 18.) "Where there is no prophecy, the people decay."
not opened, when there exhort, and comfort the
When the Scriptures are is none that can edify, and people by the word of God, they must needs perish; for they know not the way in which they should walk; they know not whom to hono ur, nor upon whose name they should call; they know neither what to believe, nor what to do. Hell hath enlarged itself, and hath opened his mouth without measure; and they that are wilful and ignorant, and the children of darkness, go down into it.
They become thrall and captives unto Satan; their heart is bound up; they understand nothing; their eyes are shut up, they can see nothing; their ears are stopped up, they can hear nothing; they are carried away as a prey into hell, because they have not the knowledge of God.
So doth Christ tell the Sadducees, (Matt. xxii. 29.) "Ye are deceived, because you know not the Scrip
tures, nor the power of God." Thus he teacheth, that error is the child of ignorance. The cause why you are so deceived is, because you know not the Scriptures; you have hated the light, and loved darkness; you have neither known the Father nor me. He that knoweth not the truth of God, knoweth not God.
Chrysostom saith, heard the Scriptures. Again he saith, 'This inspiration; he would
Herein, in this case, there is no plea of ignorance. Ignorance will not excuse us. 'Thou wilt say, I have not This is no excuse, but a sin.' is the working of the devil's not suffer us to see the treasure, lest we should get the riches; therefore he counselleth us that it utterly availeth us nothing to hear the laws of God, lest that upon the hearing he may see our doing follow.'
Gregory saith, 'Whoso know not the things that pertain unto the Lord be not known of the Lord.' Origen also, giveth reason of this practice of Satan : 'Unto the devils it is a torment above all kinds of torment, and a pain above all pains, if they see any man reading the word of God, and with fervent study searching the knowledge of God's law, and the mysteries and secrets of the Scriptures. Herein standeth all the flame of the devils; in this fire they are tormented; for they are seized and possessed of all them that remain in ignorance.'
Carneades, a philosopher, was wont to say of his master and reader, Chrysippus, If it had not been for Chrysippus, I never had been any body; he was my master and teacher; he made me learned; whatsoever I have, I have it of him. How much better
may we use the like words of the Scripture, and say, unless it were for the word of God our wisdom were nothing, and our knowledge were nothing. Whatsoever we have, we have it by the word. Without it our prayer were no prayer; without it, our sacraments were no sacraments; our faith were no faith; our conscience were no conscience; our Church were no Church. Take away the light of the sun, and what remaineth but darkness? Heaven and earth are darkened. No man can see his way, or discern the things about him; even so if the word of God be taken away, what remaineth, but miserable confusion and deadly ignorance?
When the Philistines had shorn the hairs of Sampson, they fell upon him, took him, bound him, and plucked out his eyes; they danced about him, and made scorn and games of him. We are Sampson; the strength of our hairs is the knowledge of the will of God; it is laid up in our heads, in the highest and principal part of us; if that be shorn off, if we be kept from hearing, reading, and understanding of the word of God, then will error, superstition, and all wickedness get the upper hand, and fall upon us, and bind us, and pluck out our eyes, and make scorn of us, and utterly destroy us.
and mice, and A woman was part upon her
When the people of Jerusalem were besieged, and wanted food to eat, they fed on rats many unwholesome and filthy things. driven for want of meat to do a cruel own child; she took her own babe, which was the fruit of her own body, killed it, cut it in pieces, dressed it, and fed upon it: a loathsome meat, especially for a mother to eat her own child. But she was dri
ven to it by extremity and hunger; it was so cruel a thing to lack wherewith life might be preserved.
Even so fared it with us and our fathers, after it pleased God to take away the gospel, and to send a famine of hearing the word of the Lord. We were driven to eat those things which were loathsome and horrible to behold; we were driven to feed upon our own children, even the fantasies and vanities of our heart. There was no substance in them, they could not feed us.
In this case were the children of Israel, when they grew weary of the word of God, and left the ordinances sent down unto them. God had no pleasure n them, their prayers and sacrifice were not accepted. "I cannot suffer (saith the Lord, Isa. i. 14.) your new moons, nor Sabbaths, nor solemn days. Who hath required this of your hands?"
In such case were the Scribes and Pharisees, when they forsook to be guided by the word of God, and took away the key of knowledge; they fed upon their own devices, they neglected the commandments and will of God, and followed their own traditions ; therefore Christ reproved them, (Matth. xv. 7-9." O ye hypocrites, Isaiah prophesied well of you, saying, This people draweth near unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far off from me. But in vain they worship me, teaching for doctrines men's precepts."
Therefore if we seek to know the sacraments of the Church what they are; if we would be instructed in the sacrament of baptism, or in the sacrament of the body and blood of Christ; if we would learn to know our Creator, and to put the difference between
the Creator and a creature; if we desire to know what this present life is, and what is that life which is to come; if we would believe in God, and call upon the name of God, and do worship unto God; if we would be settled in perfect zeal and true knowledge; if we would have an upright conscience towards God; if we would know which is the true Church of God, it is very needful that we hear the word of God. There is no other word that teacheth us the way unto salvation.