Jerusalem, take off your dress of sorrow and distress,
put on the beauty of God’s glory for evermore,
wrap the cloak of God’s saving justice around you,
put the diadem of the Eternal One’s glory on your head,
for God means to show your splendour to every nation under heaven,
and the name God gives you forever more will be,
Peace-through-Justice, and Glory-through-Devotion. – Baruch 5:1-4 (NJB)

*   *   *

The brief book of Baruch is comprised of four sections, two in prose and two in poetry, arising during the Exile.

I love the one section header by the editors of the New Jerusalem Bible, “Wisdom, the Prerogative of Israel,” as it recognizes the unique knowledge the Jewish people have carried through history, one based on a relationship with one God and the recognition that there is an alternative human society to be established.

*   *   *

Neither must we expect Answer by Dream, nor yet by Vision, no, nor by Revelation nor Inspiration; for these (they say) are ceast many Ages past: Whom I ask, What Way then can the Creature come by Advice? Which till they can resolve me in, I shall still retain my Opinion, viz. That that inward Oracle (which is a Measure of God’s Spirit, whereby we obtain Access to him, with Answer and Direction from him in all our Concerns about which we enquire of him) undeniably is of greater Authority, both to beget living Faith, and order us therein; and a more perfect Rule to guide our Lives, than the outward Writings of the Scripture, which in many Things leave us without either Counsel or Instruction. (Elizabeth Bathurst, 1655?-1685)

 

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