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A PROFITABLE TREATISE CONTAINING A DIRECTION
for the reading and understanding of the holy Scriptures by:
Master Richard Greenham.
Those things which God hath joined together, no man may sever asunder. Therefore, preaching and reading of the holy Scriptures being of God joined together in the work of our salvation, may not be severed asunder. In all sciences, arts and trades, teachers and masters are requisite ordinarily for the sound learning and practicing of them: we must be persuaded much more, that it is necessary to have guides to go before us in the way to salvation. That preaching is the most principal means to increase and beget faith and repentance in God’s people, must be granted, Deut 18:18; Deut 33:10; Lev 10:11; Mal 2:6-7; 2 Chron 36:15; Isa 50:4-5, 7-8; Isa 53:1; Isa 55:10-11; Isa 57:19; Isa 58:1; Isa 61:1; Isa 62:1,6-7; Matt 13:3; Matt 28:19-20; Eph 4:11-14; Rom 10:14-15; 1 Cor 1:21; 1 Pet 1:23, 25. And where this ordinary means of salvation faileth, the people for the most part perish: Prov 29:18; Hos 4:6; 2 Chron 15:13; Isa 56:9; Matt 15:14; Luke 11:52. But that the reading of the Scriptures publicly in the Church of God, and privately by ourselves, is a special and ordinary means, if not to beget, yet to increase faith in us. It is likewise proved, Deut 6:6; Deut 11:18; Ps 1:2; John 5:39; Matt 14:15; Rom 15:14; 2 Pet 1:19; Neh 8:8; Acts 13:15; Acts 15:21. The manifold fruit which comes of the reading of the Scriptures proves the same.
Reading rather establisheth, than derogateth from preaching: for none can be profitable hearers of preaching, that have not been trained up in reading the Scriptures, or hearing them read. Many inconveniences come from the neglect of reading, as that the people cannot tell when a sentence is alleged out of the canonical Scriptures, when out of the Apocrypha, when out of the Scriptures, when out of other writers, that they cannot discern when he speaketh his own, or a sentence of the Scripture.
Again reading helpeth men’s judgments, memories and affections, but especially it serveth for the confirmation of our faith: which may be proved by the example of the men of Berea, Acts 17:13; it serveth to discern the spirits of men, 1 John 4 to make sounder confession of our faith, to stop the mouths of our adversaries, and to answer the temptations of Satan and the wicked.
But because men sin, not only in neglect of hearing and reading, but also in hearing and reading amiss: therefore the properties of reverent and faithful reading and hearing are to be set down, which are these that follow: they be eight in number.
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