The Mosaick of scripture

Daily Reading for March 31 • John Donne, Priest, 1631

As the Tabernacle of God was, so the Scriptures of God are of this Mosaick work: The body of the Scriptures hath in it limbs taken from other bodies; and in the word of God, are the words of other men, other authors, inlaid and inserted. But, this work is onely where the Holy Ghost is the Workman: It is not for man to insert, to inlay other words into the word of God. It is a gross piece of Mosaick work, to insert whole Apocryphal books into the Scriptures. It is a sacrilegious defacing of this Mosaick work, to take out of Moses tables, such a stone as the second Commandment; and to take out of the Lords Prayer, such a stone as is the foundation-stone, the reason of the prayer, Quia Tuum, For thine is the kingdom, &c. It is a counterfeit piece of Mosaick work, when having made up a body of their Canon-Law, of the rags and fragments torne from the body of the Fathers, they attribute to every particular sentence in that book, not that authority which that sentence had in that Father from whom it is taken, but that authority which the Canonization (as they call it) of that sentence gives it; by which Canonization, and placing it in that book, it is made equal to the word of God. . . . But when the Holy Ghost is the workman, in the true Scriptures, we have a glorious sight of this Mosaick, this various mingled work.

From a Lent sermon preached at White-hall by John Donne on February 20, 1617; found

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