Section of Sermon by Henry


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Section of Sermon by Henry


Bible; Scribes; Jews; Sermons; Christianity


This is the first two pages of a sermon written by Henry. It focuses on Ezra 7:10. He writes about how the Jewish religious life and worship were transformed by the ministry of Ezra. He mentions many Biblical figures, including Apostle Paul, David, and Judah. He concludes by emphasizing the importance of the Bible in all aspects of life.


Noyes, Henry Varnum


Loose, The College of Wooster, Special Collections, Noyes Collection






Council on Library and Information Resources Hidden Special Collections Grant




eng (English)





Text Item Type Metadata


Ezra 7:10 (1
[u]For Ezra prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord and to do it and to teach [?to?]
Israel statutes and judgements[/u]
Such is the short, simple, but very comprehension and very im-
pressive description of the character and work of [u]Ezra[/u] that pre-eminently distinguished Old Testament
divine. "He set his heart to search the law of Jehovah, and to keep it, and to teach in Israel
statutes and judgements---. Ezra has sometimes been styled a [u]second[/u] Moses. He was the
second founder of the Jewish common wealth. He stood at the head of what may not
improperly be called the second period of the Old Dispensation. This period, of about five hun-
dred years, was separated from the first period - the thousand years bEfore - by the long
and bitter captivity of seventy years in Babylon. That captivity had overtaken the Jews on
account of their repeated sins and especially the sin of idolatry. bitter long discipline and
sincere repentance they are allowed at last to go back to the land of their fathers. But Judah
[u]after[/u] the captivity was in, some respects, widely different from Judah [u]before[/u] the captivity.
As a political power the glory of the kingdom of the house of David had departed forever. The
people came back to rebuild their ruined temple, and then [illegible] again the city's broken
down walls under the auspices of [u]Gentile[/u] Kings who thus became for the time, [illegible]
fathers "to the church. Henceforward they remained the [?prey?] of foreign [?rulers?] and
of internal [?contending?] factions, until at last the Roman legion, like an [?overwhelming?]
avalanche, crushed out the last remains of the nation's life and made it sa-
cred city the tomb of more than 1000,000 of its [?stirred?] and slaughtered
people. But we wish to refer particularly to the changes which took place in
the [u]religious[/u] life and worship of the people. These were great and important
(1st) The nation never relapsed, as so often before, into idolatry. The captivity had ac-
complished this good result. Jewish worship was forever after the worship of the
one living and true God. (2d) Miracles and prophecy ceased the oracles [?were?]
dumb. No prophet raised his voice in Israel from the time when [illegible] closed
testimony with a promise, until that, prophet whom he promised should come was
heard "crying in the wilderness. Prepare ye the way of the Lord make his paths straight"
(3d) Their worship became a more spiritual service. A long stop was taken towards
that worship, not dependent on time or place, which the Saviour described when
he said to the Samaritan woman "The hour cometh when we shall neither
in this mountain not yet at Jerusalem worship the Father. The hour
cometh when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in Spirit and
in truth." Some [u]visible objects[/u] of the old temple worship to which doubtless great
importance had been attached were removed. The [u]sacred tfire[/u], first kindle from [--illegible--]
heaven and then kept constantly burning on the old altar, for a thousand years
was never kinded again. The [u]Urim and the Themmim[/u], by means of which,
in times of perplexity, Gods will had been so often revealed was present no longer
The [u]Shekinah[/u] that visible wonderful glory of Jehovah's presence which the high
priest had so often seen within the holy of holies appeared no more. The [u]mercy [?seat?][/u] was
gone. The [u]ark of the covenant, with all that it contained[/u] = the original copy of the book
of the law written by Moses, the blooming rod of Aaron, the golden pot of manna and above
all those two stone tables written on both sides by the finger of God -- All these
things had been taken away never to be replaced. It was as though God was
bringing his people [u][?nearer?][/u] to [u]himself[/u] was teaching them without the intervention of
[u]visible objects[/u] to lift their thoughts and prayers [u]direct[/u] to the unseen but always
present Jehovah --- In the same line of this development was the
general establishment of the [u]Synagogue worship[/u] the beginning, the [?germ?], the
pattern, the foundation of that public worship which is held in al Chris-
tian lands to day. This arose not un-naturally out of the captivity. Cut off
from the observance of their great religious festivals and from the grandeur
of the temple service, [?there?] were still multitudes of doubt. Jews whose
hearts turned with [?unutterable?] longing to Zion and to God. And they doubt
less sometimes met together in little companies to talk of those things that [?long?]
nearest to their hearts. "By the rivers of Babylon there we sat down, yea
we wept when we remembered Zion." On such occasions, it is hardly possi-
ble, but that they would, sometimes at least, read from those copies of the [?law?]
that they still had among them, and lift up their hearts together in prayer to Him
who alone was able to deliver them. This they became prepared for that simple
form of service, which was established after their return to their own land, when
in all the cities and villaged, [?unpretending?] buildings were erected, where on
each returning Sabbath Jewish worshippers met to often prayers, to hear Moses
and the prophets read, and to receive instruction from the lips of those ap-
pointed to teach, and also from others who might be moved to give either
instruction or exhortation --
Another, and the last blessing wish I shall mention: as
following the captivity was that the Jews had what they never had upon a [u]standard [?version?][/u]
of the Bible, for general circulation and especially for the public worship of the
synagogues. It is true that the looks of [Note: page folded rendering most of it illegible] [illegible] had [illegible] [?existence?] and to those
had been added the writings of David and Solomon and words of the prophets, but these
writings had not yet been collected and arranged as a sacred canon, and there
is no evidence that they had been in general circulation. We know from what is [?recorded?]
in the 22d chapter of 2d Kings that a short time before the captivity they must have
[--been in general circulation, and especially for the public worship of the synagogues,
It is true that the--] been very scarce, for it is then stated that Hilkiah the high priest
in repairing the temple found the book of the law and that he and the King - that
good King Josiah who did that which was right in the sight of the Lord and walked in
all the way of David his father - were both surprised and greatly alarmed for [?Shappar]
the Scribe read the book before the King who [illegible] his clothes and said "Go ye Engine
of the Lord for me, and for the peoples and for all Judah concerning the words of this
book that is found: for great is the wrath of the Lord that is kindled
against us, because our fathers have not hearkened into the words of this book

to do according unto all that which is written concerning us. One of the important
Events which followed close upon the captivity was the establishment of this canon
of the Old Testament Scriptures and their general circulation.
I have mentioned then great changes which took place
in the Jewish religious life and worship because they are so closely connected with,
are in [?fast?] [illegible] of the ministry of Ezra. He was God's chosen instrument to
collate [?resin?], arrange and give to the people a [u]Standard Bible[/u] - the Law, the
Prophets and the Psalms. The public reading of these Sacred Scriptures made nec-
essary the building of Synagogues and the constant Sabbath worship in the
Synagogues was, no doubt, what kept alive in the hearts of the people a undying
hatred to idolatrous worship to which they had been in [?farmers?] ages so prone.
Thus did Ezra's influence prolong itself through the following ages even until
now and will continue to be felt as long as the Bible is anywhere read; as
long as the public worship of Jehovah is anywhere [illegible].
This rich Enduring influence of Ezra's ministry will justify us
in holding him up as a patter for God's ministers in every age. And in doing
this we need only to point to thou these characteristics mentioned in the text
which, when they exist, will always give commanding influence
He was an indefatigable student of the Bible. "He set his heart
to search the law of Jehovah".---
We discover that this was his character from incidental remarks
and the titles given him as well as from direct statement. He is called "a
ready scribe in the law of Moses". By a "scribe" was meant among the Jews a person
skilled in the Law, a teach, an interpreter, an expounder. Ezra was not only a [u]scribe[/u]
but a [u]ready[/u] scribe, one who by long and careful study had the Scriptures so at command
that he was always ready to expound them with profit to the [?hearer?]. He is also called
[u]the scribe[/u] as being the well known expounder of the Law. Even in the Persian
court this was his reputation. The king Artaxerxes in authorizing him to go
up to Jerusalem, for the purpose of Establishing the Jewish commonwealth, which
since the first company went up more than 80 years before had been much of the
time in a very unsettled state, gave him his commission under this remarkable
title. "The Scribe of the law of the God of Heaven". And it is recorder that the commission
was given unto Ezra the priest the scribe, even a scribe of the [?words?] of the commandments
of the Lord and of his statutes to Israel. We know the purpose of his own heart as he
entered upon the duties of this commission from the text which is his own de-
claration "For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it,
and to teach in Israel statutes and judgements." His purpose was recisely
like that of the Apostle Paul when he said "This one thing I do" or when he
said "For I determined not to know anything among you save Jesus Christ
and him crucified ---- no minister can make a mistake in
copying the example of Ezra, in this respect - setting the law of God always
before him - considering himself as [?placed?] in the high office which he holds
not for the purpose of promulgating any peculiar news of his [?own?], not for the
purpose of entertaining his congregations, not for the purpose of giving [u]instruc-
tion[/u] even, in regard to what is outside of his one great object and
duty of earnestly + faithfully declaring the whole [illegible] of God. ---- [u]Gods law[/u]
will therefore his study - his [u]unwritten law[/u] as far as possible, revealed in the
depths of every man's heart, revealed in the mighty works of God, that uni-
verse which his hands have made, and those constant operations of nature
when the majesty of his [?givings?] are continually seen and the thunder of his
power are heard. But his special study will be Gods [u]written[/u] law, rightly [?supposing?]
in giving a written revelation to man [?is?] made [illegible] that which is [u]most[/u]
important and necessary for him to know. And the more he studies the Sacred
word the more he desires to study it. He finds its doctrines the very food and
life of his own soul. He sees also how its revelations of possible forgivveness
end of infinite sympathy and love meet the deepest felt wants of a suffer-
ing humanity that is still groaning in pain and crying out for deliverance,
The more he [illegible] its records of ancient history, its sublime pioetry, its already
fulfilled, and yet to be fulfilled prophecies, its watchless parables, its solemn warn-
ings and its glorious promises, the deeper bEcomes his conviction that no other
book can be compared to this. It is to him the Book of Books - his companion
in solitude, his comfort in sorrow, his relief in pain, his guide in perplexity, his
hoarded treasure of all wisdom and knowledge. In the language of
a writer who was himself a profound student and expounder of the Bible
and who has already gone to realize the fulfillment of its blessed promises
"I would offer a plea for the Bible as a Book of universal knowledge:
a book of prose and poetry - of history and biography - of travels and epistles - of
law and gospel - of philosophy and proverbs and parables and psalms - of
natural history and natural philosophy, and political economoy, and [?jurisprudence?]
and mental and moral science - a Book not only for the Sabbath but for the [?week?] -
not only for the soul but for the body - not only for eternity but for time - not only for the
closet but for the common walks of life. I would present it as a hand book for all
our need - such as might have been expected from its Divine Author - where the
very [illegible] are replete with profoundest truth, in all its departments - a Book not
only for perusal but for study - when like gold, this truth must often be dug for, as
in the mines, or at least must be separated and sifted as it glistens at your
feet, showing itself and proving its Divine nature by the lustre with which its
particles gleam out among all other elements. All along its stream of history

Original Format



Noyes, Henry Varnum, “Section of Sermon by Henry,” Letters from Harriet Noyes: Missionaries and Women's Education in Nineteenth Century China, accessed May 19, 2022,

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