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A16120 An exposition touching al the bokes of holie Scripture, and their excellencie 1553 (1553) STC 3033.5; ESTC S120619 39,647 110

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v.c.lxx yeres Genesis The first booke declareth the beginnyng and causes of all thinges speciallie the creation of man how it was frō the beginnyng how he fell and was restored again how all men came of one and being dispersed through the world by enormeous faultes angred God and caused the fludde to come vpon them Againe how thei that were saued in the same gaue the beginnyng to all kingdomes last of Abraham Isaac and Iacob holie Prophetes whiche liued before the lawe written in tables the liues condicions maners religion notable dedes and saiynges be discribed and how thei descended out of the lande of Chanaan into Egipt For these and other good men this first boke of Moses was called of some The booke of iuste men Yet with vs and our elders hath their naming preuailed whiche called it Genesis doubtlesse of the generation and beginnyng of al thinges at which Moses beginneth his booke The seconde boke declareth how the Israelites oppressed in Egipt by Pharao Exodus deliuered by their capitain Moses were ledde into desert through the redde sea how thei fought against the Amalechites were fedde with breade that rained downe from heauen how at the commaundemēt of God thei did create a Magistrate and at the last receiued lawes also describyng settyng out and commaundyng true religion holie maners rites ceremonies and finallie al due and good ordre in the cōmune wealthe Here also is touched a little their shamefull offence that thei did in worshippyng the golden calfe And of their commyng out of Egipte whereof it principallie treateth this booke is called Exodus Leuiticus Vnto this ioigneth Leuiticus so called of the Leuitical ministeries which it teacheth It sheweth sundry kindes of sacrifices vowes pollucions infections general clēsyng of sinnes lawful vnlawful mariages like other It speaketh a little of ciuill Gouernaunce but speciallie of holie rites or customes and as we might saie the bishoppes or canon lawes Here maie we see how vertuous and learned priestes ought to be All the misteries of the gospel the priesthode sacrifice of Christ his vertue power yea and our whole redēptiō couertlie wrapped in figures is here throughlie conteined ¶ The fourth booke is called Numeri peraduēture of this Numeri that in it the people of Israel are nūbred It declareth the actes from the second yere of their going out of Egipt euē vnto the death of Moses In it be many notable exāples of sondrie cōmocions rufflinges emōg rebellious people There is shewed what euill ende sedicious persones come vnto what maruellous chaunces happen to the rulers them selues Moses of all menne moste constant and pacient suffred vntollerable thinges dooen to him bothe by his owne people and other foreins to and yet he him selfe is not fautlesse neither Many thinges are in this boke which perteine to religion and ciuil gouernaūce speciallie this That bishoppes ought not to flie from intermedlyng wyth matiers of the cōmon weale nor a ciuil officer to passe little vpon religion Almost at the ende be described great battailes and certaine lawes are declared at large in the great plaine of Moab The fift and last booke is called Deuteronomium Deuterono or seconde lawe and as you woulde saie The lawe expouned now the second time This is added of Moses vnto the other afore as a briefe of all heauenlie Philosophie In it is conteined all that euer serueth to liue wel and vertuouslie The briefenesse thereof is moche commended and set by and is a plaine commentarie of the ten commaundementes This Booke the Lorde woulde haue still in the handes of his people wherin he hath so ordred all matiers as to all degrees and ages thei maie be moste mete and conuenient Iosue The booke of Iosue declareth principallie the trueth of Goddes promise How after the death of Moses the people of Israel by the leadyng of Iosue of whom the booke hath his name as of the chiefe persone were brought into the lande of promise the princes and people of the Cananites vainquished destroied in punishment for their great sinnes It hath a goodlie description of the holie Lande and sheweth vnto vs an example of a verie good Prince and obedient people It conteineth the historie of .xxvi. yeres or therabout Iudges The Booke of Iudges taketh his name of the Iudges of Israel whose actes and gouernaunce it declareth And countyng Iosue him selfe there were emong the people thirtene Iudges not as Kinges and Monarches but pastours presidentes and consuls of free people Here is set out a fre state with many chaunges victories slaughters Oppressions Deliueries iudgementes and commocions Also the mutabilitie of the commons alwaies ready to the worst diuerse heauie chaūces the fight betwixt religion and supersticion is here declared It is a mirrour of that weale publique where is no head officer but euerie man foloweth what liketh him best it sheweth what euil end that to moche libertie cometh vnto Thē ensueth ciuill battail and destruction within theim selues The historie is of .cccxxxvi. yeares accountyng hereunto the time of Iosue and .xxiiij. yeres out of the ministration of Helie Ruthe The little booke of Ruth toke the name of the chiefe person It treateth of no high matier but sheweth how after harde happes and greuous tēptations cometh a merie ende and that vertue is rewarded if we cōtinue stil in goodnesse and refuse not honest labour It hath a rehearsall of Dauids or rather of Messias kinred very profitable for that that foloweth and the vnderstandyng of the promise of God This historie perteineth to the times of the Iudges After this folowe .ij. bokes of Samuel Samuel and Kinges and .ii. bookes of kinges a woorke of many and sondrie matiers very profitable and full of learnyng By moste notable examples in them be declared and confirmed the lawes and promises of GOD. Out of theim also are made the Psalmes and homelies of the Prophetes To be shorte emong the best goodliest cunningest and moste necessarie bookes of the Scripture these be not the laste The booke of Iudges sheweth a state of gouernaunce where the people or rather the chiefe emong them dooe beare rule The Historie of Samuel of the Kinges setteth out in his colours a Monarchie or one highe gouernour describing not onely what a King is but the facions also of al his Courte and Kingdome bee it good or eiuell Here maie you finde how lawes be chaunged religion kept or neglected notable examples also of Vertue and vice of trueth falshod prudence iustice of princes and priestes bothe good and badde But who is hable in fewe woordes to comprehēde the great varietie profite of matiers in these bokes The first chieflie describeth the gouernaunce of Samuel and Saul The seconde of Dauid the third painteth out the glorie of Solomō how mightie kingdomes decaie except thei be mainteined by feruent loue of Godlinesse religiō vertue and concorde So in the
latter parte is shewed how the Kinges of the Israelites and Iewes wounded and killed eche other how to their great cost and charge theie hiered the Egiptianes and Assyrians to aide theim and thereby gaue occasione to inuade the Kingdome of Israel as it is declared in the fowerth booke Where also you maie see a litle before their captiuitie how greate miserie thei were in vnder Ieconias in the yere after the making of the worlde three thousande fower hundred and thirtie For the Historie of Samuel comprehendeth an hundred euen the twentie latter yeres of Heli. Fowertie of Samuel and Saul as it is in the Actes and fowertie of Dauid The two bookes of the Kinges vnto the Captiuitie haue fower hundred twentie and sixe yeres and sixe Monethes To whiche if you put the yeres of the Historie of Moyses and Iudges you shall finde thre thousand fower hundred and thirtie yeres Adde hereunto the seuenty of the Captiuitie in Babilone and you shall haue from the twentie of HELI fower hundred ninetie and thre yeres and sixe monethes But into the numbre of seuentie yeres you muste put the litle booke of Hester It seemeth Hester those thinges written of her to haue been dooen vnder Astiages vnto whome the myghtie Monarche Euilmerodach sōne to the most victorious Nabuchodonozer peraduēter had geuē rule vpon those people whom the first chap. of Hester speketh of The same mā as far as wee can gesse by the ninthe of Daniel by likelihod was called Assuerus a worde of Regall dignitie his proper name being Astiages euen the very same that by the mothers side was graundfather to Darius not Darius the sonne of Histaspis but of that auncient Median surnamed of Zenophon Cyaparis which caried awaie Daniel with him into Medea euē thē also possessing ii.c.xx great Lordships For .vii whiche his father Assuerus as it is said in the firste Chapiter of Hester possessed were come vnto the Persians vnto whom at the last the remnaunt also were subiect after the death of Darius the Mede whose Daughter Cyrus hadde maried beyng Victour Lorde and Kinge of Babilon Mede and Persia But howsoeuer it be in this booke is described the courtlie life foolishe madde and pernicious There all thinges are gaie and gallaunt menne liue at pleasure and by riotous excesse lose al thei haue Many heauie chaunces great pensifenesse perill and heinous treason is there also The proude and rebellious quene Vasthi is compared with the lowelie and obedient Hester Aman is a paterne of an ambicious vniust and cruell tiraunte from base lowe degre enhaunsed into the toppe of highe dignitie and foorthwith caste downe headlong ending his life on the gallowes an example to vs of vnstable fortune and what thei shall come to that geue cruell counsail But Mardocheus representeth a vertuous lord standing on a sure ground through his wisedome sauing himselfe and his people and by his prudente counsail doing moche good to other foreine Princes As the litle Volume of Ruth so this also taketh his name of the chiefe persone Now folowe the Bookes whiche Esdras declare what happened to the people of GOD after their deliuerance Esdras euen at the firste preacheth the trueth of Goddes promise In captiuitie thei crie to the Lorde and be heard Seuentie yeres expired by fauour of king Cyrus thei retourne into Iewrie with Golde and riche giftes to be put in the Temple being made vp again Thei set vp an altare and hast them to building but the worke was let two and fowertie yeres At last vnder Darius the yōger the Temple was finished Then came Esdras renewed the Lawes corrected the faultes of the people and prelates After him came Nehemias Nehemias and walled the Citie eased the people from hard Exactions burdennes and vsuries by witte and Wisedome holpe the Citizeines and amended that was amisse The Souldioures of Antichriste and their Craftes whereby the buildinge might not go forwardes is here plainly set out and how ware men should be to ouercome thenemies of the people of GOD. This Historie conteineth thre score and tenne yeres From the first of Cyrus vnto the twentie of Darius are coumpted eight and fiftie yeres From thence vnto the two and thirtie are .xij in whiche the walles were made vp There remaineth the Chronicles whiche the Grekes and Latines diuide into two bookes called Paralipomenon Chronicles For some thinges passed ouer in the former Historie of the Kinges bee here rehearsed and spoken of more largelie Yet sure it is that these be not the Chronicles of Iuda and Israel whiche many times bee mentioned in the Bookes of Kinges Doubtlesse those wer most copious commentaries of the actes of the kinges of Iuda and Israel now being lost through wastful time Some thinke these to be a briefe of this excellente historie namely of the Kinges of Iuda Thei profite moste to the exposition of the Prophetes Thus hitherto haue we rehearsed all the bokes of the diuine historie whiche from the beginning of the worlde vnto the building vp againe of the Citie of Ierusalē that is to the two and thirtie yere of Darius is thre M. iiii C. lxxxviij yeres and vi monethes So many shal he finde whosoeuer wil diligently reade ouer the holie Historie for we made this accoumpte by the yeres of the Patriarches iudges Dukes and Kinges Neither maketh it any matier that Iosephus Eusebius and many other folowe an other accoumpt We haue folowed the holy writers yea and the trueth it self Now to the other bokes of holie Scripture Iob teacheth to beare paciently the crosse of aduersitie Iob and that not by triflyng preceptes of Philosophie but by wonderful consideration of Goddes prouidence First of al is the historie it self how there was a certeine good and iust man broughte to greate aduersitie and what shoulde bee the merueilous meaning of God in this case After the mater is discussed by a gret disputatiō last of all foloweth the croune triumph of the victour And in this boke is shewed more syncere philosophie then in al the bokes that euer al the philosophers wrote of the which none hath tought any thīg purely in this matier The Epicures cal vs frō the crosse to delectacion pleasure The Peripatetiques counte sickenesse pouertie reproche and disworshippe emong the greatest eiuilles that can be Certeine Stoiqnes doe counsaile men that be in daūgier either to breake their owne neckes either to hang or kil them selues or by some other violente death to shift frō their peine And other teache other thinges more foolishe The booke of Psalmes is an heauenly worke Psalmes treating diuers matiers and is both profitable and pleasaunte It pleased God whiche touched briefly al Sciences to speake a litle of Musique also and handle it purely if perchaunce thereby men might be driuen from vncleane and wanton songes So whatsoeuer cunning and holie sōges Dauid and of his nacion other wisemen Poetes prestes haue writtē of diuerse matiers at diuerse
be the decrees of GOD and for euer to abide in theim and for theim if the matier so require gladlie to leaue their liues Hitherto be the woordes of Iosephus And I moche allowe this Iudgemente of his touching the bookes of Diuinitie Whiche Ciprianus or Ruffinus for so thinketh Cassianus in the Seuenthe booke of the onely begotten wel nighe folowing in thexposicion of the Crede maketh soche an order of the holie bookes as hath semed alwaies vnto me best and plainest He setteth together al the Historicall bookes then the writinges of the prophetes almoste in this wise The order of Ciprian or Ruffinus Firste he putteth the fiue bookes of Moses next the Prophetes called of some the former Prophetes that is the booke of Iosue of Iudges of Ruth twoo of Samuel and two of Kinges To these streightwaies he ioigneth the other bookes of Histories two of Paralipomenon Hester and twoo of Esdras After these he setteth the Prophetes whiche we call the greater Esaie Ieremie Ezechiel and Daniel To thē he ioigneth the Bookes of the twelue lesser whose names are rehearsed afore Last of al he setteth the other excellent Bookes replenished with all kinde of heauenlie doctrine The booke of Iob the Psalmes and thre bookes of Solomon within this nūbre both certein plaine he includeth al the Canonicall Bookes of the olde Testament Neither didde the Bishoppe of the moste auncient Churche of Sardis nor that excellent learned man Origenes doctour of the Apostolicall Schole at Alexandria reken vp any moe vnto Melitus Of that one Eusebius maketh mencion in the fowerth booke and fiue and twentie chapiter Ecclesiasticae Historiae and of that other in the sixth boke eightenth Chapitre Yet in placing them thei vse not all one order as after the diuersitie of examplers and wil of the Scriueners you maie finde I doubte not these holy Bookes otherwise ordred also one setting that before whiche an other placeth behinde moued not somoche by reason as by wil and pleasure But a wise reader will not passe greatly hereupon knowing that wee ought principally to regarde not the order but the matier Neither woulde I my selfe haue stande so long herein hadde I not wiste some menne so earnestly to require and loke for soche an exacte and curious handeling of this matier The newe Testamente is finished in seuen and twentie bookes For the Euangelicalle Historie is sette foorth bothe in fower Bookes Numbre and order of the bookes of the newe Testament and by fower Writers The Actes of the Apostles are conteined in one Booke The Epistles of Saincte Paule bee coumpted fowertene To the Romaines one To the Corinthians twoo To the Galathianes Ephesianes Phillipianes and Collossians one a piece To the Thessaloniās twoo As many to Timothie one to Tite one to Philemon and one to the Hebrues After these folowe seuen Epistles Canonicall One of Iames twoo of Peter three of Ihon the Apostle and one of Iudas Laste is the Apocalyps made and published by Ihō the Apostle By these bookes the Canon of the newe Testamente to bee fully perfeicte all the auncient Writers and the holiest Doctours with one consent dooe testifie and agree Saincte Hierome in those his prefaces Augustine in his seconde Booke and eighte Chapitre De Doctrina christiana Ciprian also in thexposicion of the Crede Origene varieth nothing from theim saue that hee sheweth certeine Bookes to bee in this Canon of whiche some menne haue somewhat doubted As for the Epistle of Paule to the Hebrues I saie saieth he As it hath been taught mee of mine Elders that it is Paules vndoubtedlie and that all our forefathers haue so taken it Thus saieth Eusebius in the sixte boke the eighteenthe Chapitre De Ecclesiastica Historia And he also folowing Origene writeth thus To assigne and marke out all the Canon of the newe Testamente first lette vs ioigne together the fowersquare heauenly Chariotte of all the Gospelles Eusebeus touching the bookes of the new Testament Couple to theim the Actes of the Apostles and after the Epistles of Paule whiche be plainly knowen to be fowertene had in aucthoritie Yet am I not ignoraunte the Latines to bee in doubte touchīg the Epistle to the Hebrewes Then set the first epistle of Ihō the first of Peter also Of these neuer was there any doubte at all There hath been of the Apocalyps of the Epistle of Iames of Iude of the seconde of Peter of the seconde and thirde of Ihon whether thei were his that was the Euangeliste or els some others of that name These be the woordes of Eusebius in his thirde booke the thirde and fiue and twentie Chapiters But I haue proued elswhere that the aucthoritie of holie scripture is not appaired by the doubting of some seing it is not confirmed ratified and established by Depositions and opiniones of Menne but approoued to bee infalliblie true by the moste sure Sentence and approbation of almightie and euerlastyng GOD. In the librarie of the churche of Tigurie there is in the vpper part of the college a verie olde and true exampler of the Bible written by hande which placeth firste the .vij. Epistles Canonical euen in the same ordre that thei stande with vs. The epistle of Iames stādeth first Peter next Iohn after thē Iude and the .xiiij. Epistles of Paule last of whiche that to the Hebrues standeth hindemoste In that exampler the Euangelistes are set first the Actes folowe nexte last after al the Epistles is sette the Apocalyps And thus moche haue we spoken touchyng the numbre ordre and distinction of the bokes of the moste sacred Bible Now come we to the argumentes and briefe expositions of eche booke seuerallie of either Testament Moses Moses as a golden cōduit and firste father by whom the heauenlie doctrine is translated from Godde to man comprehending all vertue and true wisedome in fiue bookes hath taught thesame and whatsoeuer he hath described from the creacion of the worlde vntill his owne time with soche diligence trueth and vprightnesse that he semeth none otherwise to haue set it out then he had receiued from aboue and by the secrete inspiration of the holie ghost As for the lawe it selfe as it was deliuered him from god so did he publishe send it abroade Wherunto he ioigned the actes of .xl. yeres whiche space Israel wādred in desert him self being a great part of those thinges that there were dooen and seen These bookes conteine the historie of two thousande fiue hundred and seuentie yeares wherof the Genesis hath .ij. M. .iij.c .xc. For frō Adam to the fludde are M. vi.c.lvi yeres From the fludde vnto Abrahams going out of Chaldee ccc.lxiij From thence vnto the death of Ioseph .cc.xc. In Exodus be the rest of their afflictiōs and the actes of their going out in the first yere The other .iii. bokes make vp the space of xl yeres in whiche thei wandred in desert and al this put together maketh ij M.
olde and newe testament For that teachyng wherby our religiō was taught our forefathers in types and figures is called the olde testament but that which without figures describeth and sheweth vnto vs Christe the perfectiō of the lawe is called the newe testament not therfore newe because the olde fathers knewe not Christe but by conferryng settyng it together with the olde and because a new people euē the cōgregation of gentiles is receiued into this league through Christ preachyng of the gospel And hereby now you maie the better perceiue howe the bible is called the olde new testamēt For the selfe written bookes of the bibles are no more the newe testament it selfe then the tables writinges testamentarie or of leagues are the testamēt or league it selfe and yet of all men be thei called the testamēt league Thus of the thing that thei doo describe thei take this name Because then that in the former bokes of the Bibles be declared preceptes promises factes rites traditions and diuers waies wherby God hath instructed ledde mankinde in his testament in his league true religiō therfore Olde testamēt saie I thei called it the old testament And because the latter bookes declare vnto vs how in Christ al thinges are fulfilled made new in dede restored again how also a newe people gathered together of the Iewes gentils is ioigned into one bodie in faith charitie worship God in Christ New testamēt therfore were these bookes called the newe testamēt Touchyng the title purpose of our heuēlie philosophie thus moche haue we spokē in general After wil we brieflie expoune what matier is cōteined in ech boke seuerallie But first wil I speake somewhat of placyng the bokes of the olde and new testament and how thei stande in ordre S. Hierome in the preface to the bokes of kinges Daniel The numbre and ordre of the bookes of the olde Testament sheweth that the olde testamēt is diuided by the Hebrues into the lawe the prophetes holie bookes writtē by holie men called in greke Hagiographa So he nūbreth of the lawe .v. bokes Genesis Exod. Leuiti Numeri The first ordre Deutero this he maketh the first ordre In the seconde whiche he calleth of prophetes The seconde ordre he putteth .viij. bookes Iosue Iudges wherunto he ioigneth the little boke of Ruth Samuel Malachim Esaie Ieremie with his lamētations Ezechiel and the .xij. prophetes He also hath noted that these .xii. prophetes be not nūbred of the Hebrues and the .lxx. interpretours in al one ordre and the interpretours to reken thus Oseas Amos Micheas Ioel Abdias Ionas Nahū Abacuk Sophonias Haggeus zacharias Malachias The Hebrues to folow this ordre Oseas Ioel Amos Abdias Ionas Micheas Nahum Abacuk Sophonias Haggeus zacharias Malachias The bookes called Hagiographa he rehearseth .ix. Hagiographa Iob the Psalmes whiche is comprehēded in .v. particions and one volume the Parables of Solomon his Ecclesiastes the Canticles the booke of Daniel the Chronicles Esdras to whiche is ioigned Nehemias and the boke of Ester Al these put together he thinketh of tholde law to be gathered xxii bokes He warneth vs yet that there be some which count the booke of Ruth and the Lamentations of Ieremie emong Hagiographa and set theim in this ordre First the boke of Paralipomenon whiche with vs is diuided into two bokes then the Psalmes the Prouerbes of Solomon nexte after theim Iob. Ruth foloweth him Ecclesiastes hath the sixte place the Lamētacions of Hieremie the seuenth the Canticles the eight Esther the ninthe Daniel the tenthe Esdras and his cōpaniō Nehemias the last The holie writinges whiche be next in aucthority to the bokes of the first seconde order those by likelihod thei called Hagiographae as first writtē made by holie men the other ascribe thei to God himself affirming him and not man to be the maker of theim Bullingers minde touching these bookes To speake freely as I thinke I doe not see why by as good reason God maie not bee accoumpted to be the maker of these bookes aswel as of thother and why thei of the firste and seconde order maie not in likewise be called Hagiographa Saincte Peter speaking of all the Prophetes aswell of Dauid Daniel and Solomom as of other No prophecie in the Scripture saieth he hath any priuate interpretacion ii Peter i For the holie Scripture came neuer by the wil of man but holie men of GOD spake as thei were moued by the holie Ghoste Verely that these bee of equall auctoritie with the other it is proued partly by many Argumentes and especially by this that the LORDE Iesus and the Apostles in teaching and confirming true and sounde Religione vsed aswell the Testymonies of the Psalmes of Daniel and other bookes emong those called Hagiographa As of Moses Esaie and other There bee some whiche of the matiers that the bookes treate of In other diuision diuide all the Olde Testamente into fower partes Into the Lawe Histories Preceptes of Wisedome and Prophetes Of the Lawe thei recken fiue Bookes whiche bee well knowen to all menne Thirtene of Histories Iosue Iudicum Ruth fower of the Kinges two of Paralipomenon Esdras Nehemias Hesther and Iob. Of wisedome the count those three moste excellente of Solomon the wiseste of all mortall Menne Into the Prophetes thei putte the Psalmes the fower greate Prophetes and the twelue lesser I wil not kepe from you the Iudgemente of Iosephus touching the bokes of the Olde Testamente The iudgemente of Iosephus touching these bookes disputing against Appion There bee not with vs saieth he innumerable volumes discording one with an other emong theimselues But there be onely twoo and twentte bookes whiche conteine the iuste order of al times whiche also are rightlie beleued to bee written throughe the inspiration of GODDE Of them fiue bee called the Bookes of MOYSES conteinyng Lawes of liuyng the firste Creacione of Manne and his ofspringe vntill the death of Moyses himselfe And from that time vnto Artaxerxes whiche emong the Persians reigned after Xerxes the Prophetes and soche as liued at those daies haue writtē in thirtene bokes the actes that were dooen The other fower teache Hymnes praises to god wardes preceptes rules of liuyng From Artaxerxes vntill our time all thinges bee written whiche yeat neither are woorthie so greate credite nor so to bee estemed as are the firste matiers Euen for this verelie that the Prophetes folowed not still in one course one after other nor throughly be knowen what thei were To these woordes streight waies he addeth whiche greately setteth foorth the aucthoritie of the Scriptures Hereby therefore it is plaine saieth he how reuerently we vse our scriptures For in so many hundred yeres comming and going neuer durst any man put to take awaie nor chaunge anything but into all men of our nation is this faieth in maner graffed To beleue all these to
times all those woulde the most holie God shewe to the worlde at ones in this boke The psalmes conteine the praises of god and godlinesse many exaumples also of calling vpon him of praiyng complaining thankes geuing and earneste repenting Other bokes there be written of dedes and saiynges bothe good and badde and of sondry duties that men should dooe But in this you maie learne all facions of all kindes of life and how the seruauntes of God ought to behaue them selues whatsoeuer chaūceth vnto thē This woord Psalme signifieth a song and this title The booke of Psalmes is to saie The bokes of songes Touchyng Solomon Solomon thou readest in the thirde booke of kinges fourth chapter Solomon spake .iii. M. Prouerbes and his songes were M.v. But all those we haue not He hadde in his court to his familiars holie and learned menne whiche through the prouidence of God gathered of al thinges the beste and asmoche as was mete for vs haue written the same in .iij. bookes The first is called Prouerbes Prouerbes or sētences short in dede but wittie swete seruyng generallie to many thinges and many men In these he sheweth good and euil trueth fashode what is to be desired and what to be eschued addyng here and there diuerse godlie exhortatiōs Some emong the Grecians haue defined a Prouerbe to be a briefe darke saiyng profitable to mans life or worthie to be marked for some propre noueltie therin as saieth Erasmus Ecclesiastes The seconde boke is called Ecclesiastes Ecclesia is a Greke woorde and signifieth people called out to heare matiers of the common wealth Ecclesiastes is he that speaketh or reasoneth openly before them So in this booke is imagined a great multitude of people to stande together contendyng emong thē selues of the Highest good thing and Solomon the preacher to come forthe and condemne all their sentences saiyng Vanitie of vanities and all thinges vanitie For in the firste part of the Booke he entreateth that famous questiō Summum bonum Vvhat is that highest good thing whiche in dede is to be ioigned with God and to haue the fruition of him for euer Wherfore he replieth against them whiche saie it is in knowledge of many thinges in pleasure in glorie in excellencie or richesse Where also he sheweth how these thinges may be well vsed In the later chapiters he teacheth how we may iudge of good euil of thinges to be desired and eschued that by soche sentences as he had before in the Prouerbes The thirde is the booke of Canticles Canticles whiche is altogether allegorical For in figuratiue speache it teacheth what how good a thing it is to becoupled with God the highest good thing god is imagined to be the husband and the faiethfull soulle the spouse Moche rehearsal is of loue embracing kissyng wel fauorednesse and beaultie Wherby is drawen out the nature pleasure and strength of loue and ioignyng together with God For it pleased his goodnesse thus pretely to talke and attemper him selfe to our affection seing to man nothing is more swete nor of greater strēgth then Loue. Let no man therfore conceiue with him selfe any foule wanton or filthie thing All that is here is holie chaste and honest It is called The song of songes and as you woulde saie the moste excellente Songe for that is the signification and strengthe of the Hebrues doublyng So thei saie The holie of Holiest that is the holiest of all Prophetes Now folowe the bokes oracions sermons Homelies or declarations of the Prophetes These were diuine Poets and oratours holie preachers priestes chosen men masters of liuyng and vertuous maners euē soche as in holinesse of life in feruentnesse of spirite in constaunce of minde finally in most Godlie and effectuous eloquēce were aboue all other moste excellent and marueilous And in that time or middle age many to haue florished it is plaine emong whom were Samuel Helias Nathan Heliseus Micheas the sonne of Iemla whose sermons we haue not wholie but so farre foorth as their saiynges and doinges are described in the holie historie yet as moche as is necessarie and enoughe for vs we haue receiued as it were by hande from one to another that is .xvi. orations of those that were moste excellent All thei direct all their saiynges and dooynges to the cōmon marke of the Bible Partlie thei write histories partlie oratiōs Entēte of the Prophetes In histories thei shewe examples of liuing faith and vertue of the might of God his trueth and goodnesse In their orations thei teache what is the nature disposition of God what his will is what thinges he is pleased withal how we shoulde serue him in faieth veritie iustice holinesse and charitie Thei exhort dehorte and coumfort Thei greuously rebuke sinne especiallie breaking of leagues idolatrie falshode murther periurie guile deceipt vsurie oppression iniurie fornication riot adulterie and soche other enormities Thei call vs by all meanes to repentaunce Thei set before vs the promises and benefites of God thei threaten his anger greuous punishmēt Again of Christ the sede of Abraham verie God and man of his blessynges redemptiō iustification kingdome and all the misterie therof of the callyng also of the Gentiles puttyng awaie of the Iewes holinesse and glorie of the Churche thei talke and commune so plainlie that a man woulde thinke thei wrote an Euangelical historie of thinges that were past and not of thinges to come And this is the common entent of all these holie prophetes of whose bookes seuerallie I will now speake a little Esaie Esaie one brought vp in the liberall sciences did prophecie at the least .lxx. yeres For he florished vnder Osea Iothan Achas Ezechia and Manasses Howbeit though we take nothyng of the kingdome of Osea and Manasses the Empire of the other kinges lasted lxi yeres In the .v. first chapters he blameth the corrupt state of his time calling them to repentaunce Then telleth he a Vision that was shewed vnto him in the time of Iothā After that he setteth the Orations whiche he made in the time of Achas He sheweth also to other forein nacions what should happen to them Moreouer he diligentlie describeth the notable battail of the Assyrians a very great battail wonderfull in dede and what sermons he made before the king and the people or euer this battaile beganne And from the .xl. Chapter he prophecieth deliueraunce by king Cyrus from the captiuitie of Babilon comfortyng the people of God in their affliction defending alwaies true religion and improuyng false At the last from the .xlix. chapter vnto the ende of the booke he prophecieth of Christ and the church so plainelie that Hierome thought him rather to be called an Euangelist then a Prophet For saieth he so euidentlie dothe he set out all the misteries of Christe and the churche that a mā woulde thinke him to prophecie not of thinges to come but to write an historie of thinges
paste The same Hierome in the preface of his first boke vpon the cōmentaries of Esai saith thus Let no mā thinke that I can briefely prehende the argument of this volume touchyng all the holie misteries of the Lorde as well howe Emanuel borne of a Virgine did noble woorkes and miracles as that being dead and buried he rose againe to saue all nacions of the worlde What should I speake of his Logike or of his Philosophie natural and moral What soeuer is of holie Scripture what soeuer the tongue of man is hable to vtter and witte to comprehende in this booke it is included These be the wordes of S. Hierome Ieremie The Prophete Ieremie in his writyng is not so faire and pleasaunt as Esaie but more homelie and nere the capacitie of the common people yet in sentence as good He was borne in a little strete called Anathoi .iii. miles frō the Citie him selfe a Priest and of the kinred of priestes sāctified in his mothers wombe He prophecieth being yet a verie yong man as he saith him self he began in the .xiii. yere of Iosias and ceassed not by the space of .xl. yeares after the citie was destroyed Yea for his plaine preachyng and free mouthe he was stoned to death and so gaue vp his spirite to the Lord. He rebuked the sinnes vsed in his time idolatrie falsehode couetousnesse fraude crueltie riote He moued them to repentaunce and amendment He taught diligentlie faieth in God and shewed theim how to liue He spake also of their captiuitie and comforted the sorie shewyng aforehande the destruction that should come to the nacions borderers He wrote also a lamentation wherin he bewaileth the ouerthrowe of that noble citie and royall kingdome Yeat in that kinde of writing appeare merueilous tokens of the iustice and goodnesse of God Ezechiel Ezechiel he also coming of Priestes was taken prisoner with Ieconias and caried into Babilon Where he taught the same thinges that holie Ieremie did in Iudea Euery where after the office of a prophete he putteth in his writinges common places of Christe He also prophecieth against Tire and other nacions threatning vnto theim the iudgement iust punishment of God He stādeth moche in declaring the building vp again of the tēple newe citie Doubtlesse propouning vnto vs the Misteries of the churche wrapped vp in couerture Daniel being yeat but a very young man was led awaie into Babilon with Ieconias Daniel This man described vnto vs very elegātly certein profitable goodly histories of his time the fight of true false wisedome of religion also supersticiō He liued vntil the time of Cyrus King of Persia being then .lxxx. yeres olde He was a man of so great wisedome that of him rose this Prouerbe Wiser then Daniel whiche Ezechiel vsed in his .xxviij. Chapiter Of al wisemen he was called Polyhistor that is one that knewe many thinges For like as he rehearseth vp the fatall chaunces of all kingdomes so in a brief historie or prophecie rather in fewe woordes he comprehendeth and finisheth that whiche the cōning and curious writers of the Gentiles coulde not telle in many bookes how to beginne Onely he openeth vnto vs truely the matiers of the Babylonians Persians Macedonians and Romaines and declareth of Christ the euerlasting kingdome How Antichriste also shall rise vp what mischief he shall woorke before at last he be destroied He sheweth the destruction both of the Citie and of the whole worlde the daie of iudgement the rising againe of the bodies and life euerlasting The lesser prophetes After folow the .xij. prophetes whom we cal the lesser not for the smalnesse of the matier woorke or learning but for their breuitie and because in gretnesse length and copie thei bee vnlike to the other .iiii. whom thei call the greater Oseas standeth firste sine of wit Oseas and vtterance but somewhat brief and therfore obscure He prophecieth most against the tenne Tribes or Kingdome of Israel Sometime he toucheth a litle the Tribe of Iuda He rebuketh the faultes of the priestes princes and people sinne and Idolatrie vpholding religiō and goodnesse He warneth them to repent least thei all perishe and sheweth that all nacions shal be called Ioel semeth to haue prophecied in the time of Ezechias he Esaie together Ioel after the destruction of the tenne tribes He moueth the kingdom of Iuda to repentaunce He setteth out the horrible daie of the Lorde and their miserie to come whiche yeat might be auoided by amending their liues Yeat after he saieth it shal be better with theim and sheweth the signes of loue in the churche of whiche Peter is an interpreter in chactes Amos neither a Prophete nor the sonne of a Prophete not brought vp in any the liberall sciences Amos was but a rude homely vnlerned mā yet in few sharp wordes he preached to the tenne tribes still calling vpon repentaunce as the other Prophetes did And against the nacions that were borderers he spake very grauely touching their sinnes and the iust punishment of GOD. He was sore greued against the religious of the Ieroboams and the wanton liuing of the priestes He prophecied also of the calling of the Gentiles He liued and taughte when the younger Ieroboam reigned in Israel and King Osias in Iuda or Ierusalem Abdias reasoneth against Idumea in the time of Achas King of Israel Abdias and though he bee the shortest of all the prophetes yeat dooeth he comprehende in a summe al the chief pointes of true religion namely that god is to be worshipped and that in loue and charitie dooyng to our brother no wrong at all For the lorde will reuenge it He declareth saluation to be in Sion euen in Christe and his faithful churche He telleth the Idumeans aforehande that thei shoulde be destroied with the causes why and that nothing maie deliuer theim from the harmes hanging ouer their heddes Ionas beareth the figure of Christ diyng and rising again Ionas Wherof the lord himself maketh menciō in Math. He hath set out in a pure and fine Historie the propretie nature and disposicion of god how mightie how good iust he is being god of the gentiles also how vain the counsailes of men be which are taken against the lord what true repentaunce is how weake man is and that the proude fleshe reasone and deuise of man woulde kepe her estimation and be highly set by yea though it wer to the great hurt of other He liued vnder Ieroboam king of Israel being bothe a prophete an Apostle of the Gentiles Yet prophecied he to his owne nacion also as it is written in the fowerth boke of Kinges Micheas semeth to haue been the folower of Esaie Micheas verely thei liued both at one time and had bothe al one supporter euen Ezechias a right verteous king He cried out principallie against the .ij. tribes and then against the .x. He thretneth vnto theim vtter destructiō for
example occupieth him selfe in his house rulyng equallie his wife his sonne and his familie Besides this he maketh his testament he instructeth his soonne moste perfectlie he prouideth for his posteritie he sheweth him selfe thākeful bothe to God and manne and in euerie point dooeth the office of a good housholder But TOBIE the younger his Soonne shewyng how children should loue their parentes first loueth and feareth God obeieth reuerentlie his fathers commaundementes being paineful diligēt curteous sobre chaste and fearyng God in all thinges In this boke is the honestie of mariage solemnelie sette out how vertuouslie it shoulde be made and kept how euil it frameth if we come not to it with the feare of God It sheweth that the readiest waie to put all euil out of an housholde is to studie to be vertuous and that the troubles of good mē shal haue a good ende the wicked to perishe for euer with many other good thinges like to these Iudith The historie of Iudith as of Tobie hauyng the name of the chiefe person setteth out the cruel tyrānie of the wicked their pride disdeigne and most vnthriftie ryot presumyng yet neuerthelesse verie great thinges of their owne strength So the maiestie the power the valeantnesse the gorgeous pompe passyng the pride of the Persians whiche was in Holofernes lieutenant of the kinges armie is here liuely painted Contrarie to him is sette a lowlie Widowe weake and fraile but verteous and chaste fighting against