“Of the word of the Lord. The circumstance of the person sending, the efficient, and author, as of other prophecies, so of this; he comes not unsent, he spoke not of himself, he came not without the Lord, but from him. So he affirmeth, and truly, to get more reverence, credit, and authority with them. And that it was thus from the Lord, and so canonical, the testimonies of Christ and his apostles, alleging him divers times for confirmation of doctrine and reformation of manners, proveth it; but he addeth ‘the word of the Lord,’ not only to shew that he had but the word, — the rod and execution would come after, God making his word good,—but, as some think, to shew that he had not a free embassage, but that he was to deliver it in certain and set prescribed words. Sometime, when prophets were more frequent and perpetual in the church, and God spoke to them by dreams or by visions and apparitions, they had divers kinds of words, and had liberty for divers manners of speaking and delivery; but our prophet was such a messenger, that the commandment he had received and was credited with he must deliver in so many words, and the same he received them in ; and so he doth, for in the whole he never useth his own person, but the Lord only, as chap. i. 2, and ii. 1, and hi. 1, and iv. 1. Here we might observe that the writers of the Scriptures are not the authors, but God himself, of which Rev. ii. 7. But one particular may we herein observe, this following: This prophecy is the very word of the Lord. It is of divine, not human authority, which is not only here affirmed, but, lest it should be doubtful, it hath the testimony of the New Testament: the 3d chap. ver. 1, hath testimony, Mark i. 2; and chap. iv. 2 hath testimony, Luke i. 78; and chap. i. 2, 3, Rom. ix. 23.
Reason 1. Because this was written by a prophet, for, as all the Old Testament was written by the prophets, so whatsoever was written by them was and is canonical Scripture; therefore, 2 Peter i. 19, Luke xvi. 39, Heb. i. 1, Eph. ii. 20. Now all men hold Malachi for a prophet, the last among the Jews till the coming of John Baptist.
Reason 2. Because the church of the Jews, the only church of God, did receive this, and so acknowledged it as the word of God. That they did so appears Mat. xvii. 10, and the apostles and the evangelists alleging of it, for it is a far more impious and heinous thing to take away scripture than corruptly to interpret them, or to add scripture if it were not of it.
Use 1. I take instructions from hence, entering the opening and expounding of this prophecy, how I ought to labour with my own heart, and to seek from the Lord assistance and grace to handle this as his word, not carelessly, handling the word and work of God negligently, taking his name in vain, coming to speak out of it without due preparation and constant study and speaking; so talk as of the word of God, 1 Peter iv. 11; not handling it with vanity, and affectation ; not making merchandise and playing the huckster with it; delivering it with a sincere affection, dealing faithfully with it as a faithful dispenser, giving to everyone his portion where and to whom the Spirit of God hath set them down,—to priest and people, to old and to young, to married and unmarried, to the good and profane,—without fear and flattery, or any other sinister affections, remembering that this in the first is in the whole, and to every verse, it is the word of the Lord, fearing to corrupt as well as to add, lest as it is Prov. xxx. 5, ‘Add not to his words lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar;’ remembering that of Luke xii. 42, that I may be a faithful and wise steward;”
Richard Stock (1568/69-1626), “A Commentary upon the Prophecy of Malachi” (1651), Nichol’s Series of Commentaries, Thomas Smith, ed., (Edinburg: James Nichol, 1865), 11-12.
2 thoughts on “Richard Stock’s (1568/69-1626) Commentary on Malachi and “set prescribed words””
Keep up the good work, brothers.
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Thank you, sir.