|Henry Craik, ed. English Prose. 1916.|
Vol. III. Seventeenth Century
|The Holy Scriptures|
|By Robert Boyle (16271691)|
From Some Considerations touching the Style of the Holy Scriptures
IT is not that I think all the books that constitute the Bible of equal necessity or equal usefulness because they are of equal extraction, or that I esteem the Church would lose as much in the prophecy of Nahum as that of Isaiah, or in the book of Ruth as in the Epistle to the Romans or the gospel of John (as the fixed stars themselves, though of the same heaven, are not all of the same magnitude and lustre). But I esteem all the constituent books of Scripture necessary to the canon of it; as two eyes, two ears, and the rest of the members are all necessary to the body; without divers of which it may be, but not be so perfect, and which are all of great though not of equal usefulness. And perhaps it might, without, too, hyperbole, be said further, that as amongst the stars that shine in the firmament, though there be a disparity of greatness compared one to another, yet they are all of them lucid and celestial bodies, and the least of them far vaster than any thing on earth, so of the two Testaments that compose the Bible, though there may be some disparity in relation to themselves, yet they are both heavenly and instructive volumes, and inestimably out-valuing any the earth affords, or human pens ever traced. And I must add, that as mineralists observe that rich mines are wont to lie hid in those grounds whose surface bears no fruit trees (too much maligned by the arsenical and resembling fumes), nor is well stored with useful plants or verdure (as if God would endear those ill-favoured lands by giving them great portions), so divers passages of Holy Writ, which appear barren and unpromising to our first survey, and hold not obviously forth instructions or promises, being by a sedulous artist searched into (and the original word [Greek] used in that text of Search the Scriptures does properly enough signify the searching for hid treasure) afford, out of their penetrated bowels, rich and precious mysteries of divinity.