Peter Martyr On Law And Gospel (Revised)

There be some which divide the holy Scriptures into four parts, and describe some books as well of the Old Testament as of the New to laws, some to histories, some to prophecies, and other some again to wisdom. But it is not meet to divide the books of the holy Scriptures from one another, because that in the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, in which they appoint laws to be contained, are found almost as many histories as laws. Besides that in the books which they assign to prophets, laws of living uprightly are sometimes written and clearly expounded. Neither can we properly separate the books of Solomon and other of the kind (which they will have proper to wisdom) from laws and prophecies. For there are in them sentences here and there written, which serving for the instruction of life, have also without controversy the nature of laws. Further for the that in them are very many secrets opened unto the church by the inspiration of the Spirit of God, they pour undoubtedly into the attentive hearers, oracles of things to come, It may easily be granted, that all these things which they make mention of, are found in the holy books: I mean the precepts of living, notable histories, prophecies of things to come, and also most wise sentences and sayings: but in such […], that in manner in every book they are set forth unto us dispersedly, neither yet would I that these holy books should be divided from one another by these ends and limits.

I would rather think as the learned […] do also judge, that whatsoever things are contained in the holy scriptures should be referred unto to principal heads, the law I mean and the gospel. For everywhere are declared unto us either the precepts of God of upright living, as when we are reproved to have strayed from them by reason of weakness or else of malice, gospel is lay forth before us, wherein by Christ that thing wherein we have offended is pardoned and the strength and power of the Holy Spirit promises us, to restore us again to the image of God, which we had lost.

—Peter Martyr Vermigli, The Commentary of Master Peter Martyr Vermigli upon the Book of Judges, in Most fruitful and learned commentaries of Dr. Peter Martyr Vermigli Florentine….(London, 1564), fol. 1. (HT: Dan Borvan). Spelling modernized.

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