Of the Incomparable Treasure of the Holy Scriptures

An Exhibit of Historic Bible-related Materials from the Collection of the Andover-Harvard Theological Library

October 1998

Because biblical studies has been at the center of the curriculum of the Harvard Divinity School since its beginning, the library has also throughout its history acquired extensively in this area. Choosing materials from the thousands available in the library for a historical exhibit such as this has been a daunting task. The themes of reading, translating, studying, interpreting, and appreciating "the incomparable treasure of the Holy Scriptures" have led to these selections.

The exhibit takes its name from the poem "Of the Incomparable Treasure of the Holy Scriptures," which appears beginning with 1578 in the preliminary matter of most Geneva Bibles.

Here is the Spring where waters flowe,
to quench our heate of sinne:

Here is the Tree where trueth doth grow,
to leade our lives therein:

Here is the Judge that stints the strife,
when mens devices faile:

Here is the Bread that feeds the life,
that death cannot assaile.

The tidings of Salvation deare,
comes to our eares from hence:

The fortresse of our Faith is here,
and shielde of our defence.

Then be not like the hogge that hath
a pearle at his desire,

And takes more pleasure of the trough
and wallowing in the mire.

Reade not this booke, in any case,
but with a single eye:

Reade not but first desire Gods grace,
to understand thereby.

Pray still in faith with this respect,
to fructifie therein,

That knowledge may bring this effect,
to mortifie thy sinne.

Then happy thou in all thy life,
what so to thee befalles:

Yea, double happie shalt thou be,
when God by death thee calles.

—Anonymous

This exhibit was originally prepared for display in October 1998 by Clifford Wunderlich, along with Russell Pollard and Charles Willard, and with the assistance of other staff in the Andover-Harvard Library, especially Doris Freitag and Timothy Driscoll, and Thomas Jenkins of the Harvard Divinity School's Office of Development and Public Affairs. Special thanks go to Pamela Matz, Curator of Exhibits in the Harvard College Library, for some last minute help in setting up the exhibit. The online version was prepared by Clifford Wunderlich. Please direct corrections, comments, etc. to him.