Following is an updated language (wherever possible; sometimes there just aren’t contemporary equivalents that capture the fullness of grandeur of the language used) version of the first homily in the Church of England’s First Book of Homilies. These homilies are a rich part of our church’s tradition, being standards for the church alongside the theology expressed through the liturgy of the Book of Common Prayer. This is a first installment. The rest will come shortly. If it seems familiar, Russ read this yesterday in worship:
“There cannot be anything more necessary or profitable, nothing more efficacious, to a Christian than the knowledge of Scripture: holy Scripture contains God’s true word; holy Scripture lays out God’s glory, but also human duty. There is nothing necessary for our justification before God, and eternal salvation for our souls, no point of theology or preference or opinion, besides that theology which is drawn from holy Scripture itself. It is because of holy Scripture’s value that all those who desire to enter into the way of God must apply their minds to know holy Scripture. Without knowledge of holy Scripture, people cannot sufficiently know God and his will, nor can they know their own office and duty.
”Consider that when a person is parched, a drink is especially pleasant to them; that when a person is hungry, food is especially appreciated. So too, for those who desire to know God or themselves, and to do God’s will, knowing holy Scripture by reading, hearing, searching, and studying – this is pleasant and appreciated. Yet if people are so immersed in the world and the vain things it offers, then on account of these distractions their stomachs detest the heavenly knowledge and food of God’s Word – in this, they neither hold to God nor seek after godliness in their lives. These conditions, desiring vanity and neglecting godliness, are both the cause and the result of one another.
”It is like the condition of a sick person who may eat or drink any number of things and find them lacking, not for lack in the quality of the food or drink, but for the corrupt and bitter state of their own tongue and mouth. In similar manner, the sweetness of God’s Word is not made bitter in itself, but only in those whose minds are corrupted with the bad habits and customs of sin and love of the world.”