By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Lectures on Bible Revision
Author: Newth, Samuel
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Lectures on Bible Revision" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.


  With an Appendix




  [_All rights reserved._]


The following work is especially intended for Sunday-school and
Bible-class teachers, and for such others as from any cause may be unable
to consult many books or to read lengthened treatises. It has seemed to me
to be of great importance that those who are engaged in the responsible
service of teaching the young, and to whom the Bible is the constant
source of appeal, should be able both to take up an intelligent position
in regard to the new revision of the English Scriptures, and to meet the
various enquiries that will be made respecting it by those about them. I
have therefore endeavoured to provide for their use, in a compendious
form, a survey of the general argument for revision, and of the facts
which exhibit the present duty of Christian men in relation thereto. In
the execution of this purpose it has been necessary to direct attention to
the chief stages in the growth of the English Bible, but this has been
done only so far as seemed to be requisite for the illustration of the
main argument. Those who may desire to study this part of the subject more
at length are referred to the full and interesting volumes of Dr. Eadie,
or to the convenient manuals published by Dr. Moulton and by Dr.
Stoughton. Such as may wish to investigate more minutely the internal
history of the Authorized Version will find Dr. Westcott’s _General View
of the History of the English Bible_ a most trustworthy and invaluable

In the Appendix I have brought together the prologues or prefaces to the
chief historical editions of the English Bible. Some of these are not of
easy access to ordinary readers, while all are of deep and lasting
interest. They will abundantly repay a careful perusal. The reader will
thereby, more readily than in any other way, come into personal contact
with the noble men to whose self-denying labours our country and the world
are so deeply indebted; will learn what was the spirit which animated
them, and what were the aims and methods of their toil; and, in addition
to much wise instruction respecting the study of the word of God, will
learn how the deepest love and reverence for the Bible are not only
tolerant of changes in its outward form, but will indeed imperatively
demand them whenever needed for the more faithful exhibition of the truth
it enshrines.

It has formed no part of my purpose either to exhibit or to justify the
changes which have been made in the revision in which I have had the
honour and the responsibility of sharing. The former will best be learnt
from the perusal of the Revised Version itself; the latter it would be
unbecoming in me to undertake. The ultimate decision respecting them must
rest upon the concurrent judgment of the wisest and most learned; and they
who are the most competent to judge will be the least hasty in giving
judgment, for they best know how difficult and delicate is the
translator’s task, and how manifold, and sometimes how subtle, are the
various considerations which determine his rendering. Nor indeed would any
such attempt be possible within the limits I have here assigned to myself.
To be properly done it would require an appeal to special learning which
I have no right to assume in my readers, and to habits of scholarly
investigation which I may not presuppose. To the bulk of my readers the
one justification for the changes they will discover in the Revised New
Testament must practically rest in the fact that those who have for more
than ten years conscientiously and diligently laboured in this matter, and
who have with such anxious care revised and re-revised their work, have
been constrained to the conclusion that in this way they would most
faithfully and clearly present the sense of the sacred Word. May He whose
word it is graciously accept their service, and deign to use it for His

  _April 26, 1881_.



  LECTURE I. SUBSTANCE AND FORM                                          1

  LECTURE II. THE GROWTH OF THE ENGLISH BIBLE                           11



  LECTURE V. REVISION A RECURRING NECESSITY                             51

              THE REVISION OF 1611                                      61

               KNOWN                                                    79

                THE PAST TWO CENTURIES                                  91

  LECTURE IX. THE REVISION OF 1881                                     105



  (B.) TYNDALE’S PROLOGUES                                             137

  (C.) COVERDALE’S PROLOGUE TO HIS BIBLE OF 1535                       160

  (D.) PREFACE TO THE GENEVAN BIBLE. 1560                              172

  (E.) PREFACE TO THE BISHOPS’ BIBLE. 1568                             177

  (F.) PREFACE TO THE REVISION OF 1611                                 199

  (G.) THE REVISERS OF 1568                                            235

  (H.) THE REVISERS OF 1611                                            237




There are probably devout persons not a few in whose minds the mere
suggestion of a Revision of the Scriptures arouses a feeling of mingled
pain and surprise. In that Bible which they received from their fathers in
the trustful confidence of childhood, they have heard the voice of God
speaking to their souls. Not from any testimony given to them by others,
but from their own lengthened and varied experience of it, they know it to
be the Father’s gift unto His children. It has quickened, guided, and
strengthened them, as no human words had ever done, answering the deepest
cravings of their nature, stimulating them to endeavours after a nobler
life, and enkindling within them the confidence of a sure and blessed
hope. That it is from heaven, and not from men, they know, not because of
what has been told them, but from what they themselves have seen and
learnt; and they need no further evidence of its inspiration than the fact
that it has opened their eyes to a knowledge of themselves, and to a
perception of the loveliness of Christ. That any should dare to meddle
with a book so precious and so honoured, seems to them a sacrilegious act,
and a Revision of the Holy Scriptures is to them a presumptuous attempt to
improve upon the handiwork of God.

In this feeling there is much with which every Christian man will warmly
sympathize; but there is in it also something that calls for correction
and instruction. There is need here, as elsewhere, of careful thought and
self-discipline, lest, by confounding things that differ, we transfer our
reverence for what is God-given and divine to what is only human, and
therefore fallible. A little consideration will suffice to show that, in
such a matter as this, it is peculiarly important to distinguish between
substance and form, between what is essential and permanent and what is
accidental and variable. By the substance of the Bible we mean the
statements which, in various ways and diverse manners, it presents to our
thoughts; the precepts and the promises, the histories and the prophecies,
the doctrines and the prayers, the truths about God and about man, through
which our minds are instructed, our consciences enlightened, and our
hearts established by grace. By the form of the Bible, we mean the signs
or sounds by which the various statements contained in the Bible are
presented to us, and which are, as it were, the channel through which the
truths it teaches are conveyed to our minds. It will be obvious upon the
least consideration, that the kind and degree of reverence which it is
right to entertain towards the form of Scripture, is very different from
that which it behoves us to cherish for the substance of Scripture.
Respecting the latter, it is fitting to watch with all jealousy that no
man add unto it or take from it; it is precious for its own sake. Not so,
however, with the former; its worth is not in itself, but only in that
which it enshrines. The two sentences--

“This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ
Jesus came into the world to save sinners,”

“Gwir yw’r gair ac yn haeddu pob derbyniad, ddyfod Crist Iesu i’r byd i
gadw pechaduriaid,”

are very different in form, whether judged by the eye or the ear, and yet
the truth conveyed by the former to an Englishman, or by the latter to a
Welshman, is essentially the same. And although one who had learnt to
prize that truth under either of the forms here given would naturally
cherish also the very words by which it had been taught him, his reverence
for the truth would impel him to adopt the other form in preference
whenever that might be the better instrument for conveying it to another.
Changes, therefore, in the form of Scripture may be lawful and right.

Moreover, as a matter of history, the form of Scripture has, from the very
beginning, been passing through a continued succession of changes, and
with this fact it is most important that the Bible student should
familiarize himself. These changes may be arranged under two general

One class of changes has arisen out of the perishable nature of the
documents, of which the Bible at the first consisted.

It is scarcely needful to state that we do not now possess the original
copies of any of the books of the Old or the New Testament. Even while
these were still in existence it was necessary to transcribe them in order
that many persons in many places might possess and read them. In the work
of transcription, however careful the transcriber might have been, errors
of various kinds necessarily arose; some from mistaking one letter for
another; some from failure of memory, if the scribe were writing from
dictation; and some from occasional oversight, if he were writing from a
copy before him; some from momentary lapses of attention, when his hand
wrote on without his guidance; and some from an attempt to correct a real
or fancied error in the work of his predecessor. If any of my readers will
make an experiment by copying a passage of some length from any printed
book, and then hand over his manuscript to a friend with a request to copy
it, and afterwards pass on the copy so made to a third, and so on in
succession through a list of ten or a dozen persons, each copying the
manuscript of the one before him in the list, he will, on comparing the
last with the printed book, have a vivid and interesting illustration of
the number and kind of variations that arise in the process of
transcription. In the case, therefore, of even very early copies of any of
the books of the Scriptures, some sort of revision would become necessary,
and the deeper the reverence for the book, the more obligatory would the
duty of making such a revision be felt to be, and the more earnestly and
readily would it be undertaken. So long as the original copies were in
existence and accessible this work of revision would be comparatively easy
and simple. It would call only for the ability to make careful and patient
comparison. But when the originals could no longer be appealed to, and
when, moreover, successive transcription had gone on through many
generations, the work would become much more complex and difficult,
calling for much knowledge and much persevering research, for a mind
skilled in the appreciation of evidence, and able to judge calmly between
conflicting testimony. At the same time, the need for revision would to
some extent be greater than before. I say to some extent, because the
natural multiplication of errors arising from successive transcription
through many centuries, has in the case of the Scriptures been very
largely checked. The special reverence felt for this book beyond other
books led to the exercise of special care in the preparation of Biblical
manuscripts, and special precautions were taken to guard them as far as
possible from any variation. Owing to these and other causes a larger
measure of uniformity is found in the later than in the earlier
manuscripts now extant.

A second class of changes in the form of the Scriptures has arisen from
the natural growth and development of language.

The earliest Bible of which we have any historical knowledge was in the
form of a roll, made probably of skins, containing the five books of
Moses, and written in the Hebrew language. This was described as “the Book
of the Law of the Lord given by Moses” (2 Chron. xxxiv. 14); more briefly
as “the Book of the Law of Moses” (Joshua viii. 31; 2 Kings xiv. 6; Neh.
viii. 1), or as “the Book of the Law of God” (Neh. viii. 8); and more
briefly still as “the Book of the Law” (2 Kings xxii. 8), or as “the Book
of Moses.” (Ezra vi. 18; Mark xii. 26.) Two other collections of sacred
books were subsequently added, known respectively as the Prophets and the
Holy Writings, the former comprising Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings,
Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the twelve minor prophets; the latter
comprising the Psalms, Proverbs, Job, the Song of Solomon, Ruth,
Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Chronicles. It is
in this order, we may note in passing, that the books of the Old Testament
are still arranged in our Hebrew Bibles.

Before the completion of the canon of the Old Testament the language of
the Jews began to exhibit evidences of change, and through their
intercourse with the various peoples of Mesopotamia (or Aram) the later
books show a distinct tendency towards Aramaic forms and idioms. This
tendency, already apparent at the time of the return from the Captivity,
was accelerated by the political events which followed. During the hundred
and eighty years and more which intervened between the Restoration of the
Temple, B.C. 516, and the overthrow of Darius Codomannus, B.C. 331, Judæa
was a portion of that province of the Persian empire, in which the Aramaic
was the prevalent dialect. The ancient Hebrew gradually ceased to be the
language of the Jews in common life, and, before the time of our Lord, had
been supplanted by the language of their Eastern neighbours.

With the decline of the Hebrew language there arose amongst the Jews the
class of men known as Scribes, whose primary function was that of
preparing copies of the Scriptures, and of guarding the sacred text from
the intrusion of errors. Owing to their great zeal for the preservation of
the letter of Scripture, and to their natural tendency to hold fast to the
honour and influence which their special knowledge and skill gave to
them, they did not, when Hebrew ceased to be intelligible to the common
people, set themselves to the task of giving them the Bible in a form
which they could understand; but, magnifying their office overmuch,
assumed the position of authoritative teachers and expounders of the Law.
Scholars might still study for themselves the ancient Bible, but for the
people at large the form which the Scriptures now practically assumed was
that of the spoken utterances of the Scribes.

How imperfect and unsatisfactory this must have been is obvious; and the
more so as these teachers did not content themselves with simply rendering
the ancient text into a familiar form, but intermingled with it a mass of
human traditions that obscured and sometimes contradicted its meaning. It
would have been a great gain for the people of Judæa if their regard for
the outward form of their Scriptures had been less extreme and more
enlightened, and if competent men amongst them had ventured so to revise
the ancient books that their fellow countrymen might read in their own
tongue the wonderful works and words of God.

This wiser course was adopted in that larger Judæa which lay outside of
Palestine. The Jews scattered through Asia Minor, Syria, and Egypt, and
other parts of the empire of Alexander and his successors, were less
rigidly conservative than were the residents of Judæa, and for their use a
translation into Greek was made in the latter part of the third century
before Christ. This is the version known as the Septuagint.[1] It is
probable, both on general grounds and from internal evidence, that the
Pentateuch was the portion first translated, and that subsequently, though
after no very long interval of time, the other portions were translated
also. It is quite certain that the whole was in circulation in the middle
of the second century before Christ. Various tales respecting the origin
of this translation got spread abroad.[2] These are largely due to the
vivid imagination of their authors. They may, however, be taken as
evidence of the high esteem in which this version was held; and we shall
probably not err in concluding from them that Alexandria was the city in
which it originated. During, then, the two centuries that preceded the
Advent, the Bible, as used by the great majority of its readers in various
parts of the world, had assumed an entirely different form from that in
which it at first appeared. It was in Greek, and not in Hebrew, and it
included several additional works; those, namely, which are now called
collectively the Apocrypha. The use of this translation amongst the
extra-Palestinian Jews contributed largely to the spread of Christianity;
and to many amongst the earliest Christian churches, and for many
generations, it was still the form under which they studied the books of
the Old Testament.

At the time of our Lord and His Apostles, Greek was the language which
most widely prevailed through the Roman Empire. It was the ordinary
language of intercourse amongst all the peoples that had formerly been
subjugated by Grecian arms, and was read and spoken by many in Rome
itself. It was in this language, and not in the sacred language of the
ancient Church, that the books of the New Testament were written; and the
lesson was thereby emphatically taught us that the Bible was for man, and
not man for the Bible; that the form was subordinate to the substance, and
should be so modified, as occasions occur, that it may best minister to
the spiritual wants of mankind.

As years passed on Christianity spread into the rural parts of the
districts already occupied, where Greek was but little known, and into new
regions beyond, where that language had never prevailed. This called for
further changes in the form of Scripture, and in the second century of our
era both the Old and New Testaments were translated for the use of the
numerous Christians in Northern and Eastern Syria into that form of
Aramaic which is known as Syriac. This language--the Syro-Aramaic--differs
by dialectic peculiarities from the Palestinian Aramaic. In its earliest
forms, however, we have probably the nearest representation we can now
hope to obtain of the native language of the people amongst whom our Lord
lived and laboured.

About the same time also the Scriptures began to be translated into Latin
for the use of the Churches of North Africa, and there is good reason for
believing that in the last quarter of the second century the entire
Scriptures in Latin were largely circulated throughout that region. This
was what is termed the Old Latin version. It was the Bible as possessed
and used by Tertullian and Cyprian, and subsequently, in a revised form,
by Augustine. In the Old Testament this version was made, not from Hebrew,
but from the Greek of the Septuagint, and so was but the translation of a

From Africa this Bible passed into Italy. Here a certain rudeness of
style, arising from its provincial origin, awakened ere long a desire to
secure a version that should be at once more accurate and more grateful to
Italian ears. Various attempts at a revision of the Latin were
consequently made. One of these, known as the Itala, or the Italic
version, is highly commended by Augustine. In the year A.D. 383, Damasus,
the then Bishop of Rome, troubled by the manifold variations that existed
between different copies of the Latin Scriptures then in circulation,
used his influence with one of the greatest scholars of the age, Eusebius
Hieronymus, to undertake the laborious and responsible task of a thorough
revision of the Latin text. Hieronymus, or, as he is commonly termed,
Jerome, at once set himself to the task, and his revised New Testament
appeared in A.D. 385. He also once and again revised the Old Latin version
of the Book of Psalms, and subsequently the remaining books of the Old
Testament, carefully comparing them with the Greek of the Septuagint, from
which they had been derived. In A.D. 389, when in his sixtieth year, he
entered upon the further task of a new translation of the books of the Old
Testament from the original Hebrew, and completed it in the year A.D. 404.
Out of the various labours of Jerome arose the Bible which is commonly
known as the Vulgate. Jerome’s translation of the Old Testament from the
Hebrew was not made at the instance of any ecclesiastical authority, and
the old prejudice in favour of the Septuagint led many still to cling to
the earlier version. Only very gradually did the new translation make its
way; and not until the time of Gregory the Great, at the close of the
sixth century, did it receive the explicit sanction of the head of the
Roman Church.[3] In the case of the Psalter, the old translation was never

The Vulgate is thus a composite work. It contains (1) Jerome’s translation
from the Hebrew of all the books of the Old Testament, except the Psalms;
(2) Jerome’s revision of the Old Latin version of the Psalms, that version
being, as stated above, made from the Septuagint; (3) the Old Latin
version of the Apocrypha unrevised, save in the books of Judith and
Tobit; (4) Jerome’s revised New Testament, which in the Gospels was very
careful and complete, and might almost be termed a new translation, though
he himself repudiated any such claim.

During many centuries the Vulgate was the only form in which the Bible was
accessible to the people of Western Europe, and it was the Bible from
which in turn the earliest Bibles of our own and other countries were
immediately derived. It will thus be seen that the history of the Bible
has from the beginning been a history of revision. Only so could they who
loved the Bible fulfil the trust committed to them; only so could the
Bible be a Bible for mankind.



The English Bible, more than any other of the forms in which the
Scriptures have been used by Christian men, has been a growth. It is not
the production of one man, or of one epoch. It has come down to us through
a long series of transformations, and it is the result of the continuous
endeavours of a succession of earnest labourers to give to their
fellow-countrymen a faithful representation of the word of God.

At what date, and by whom, the Scriptures were first set forth in a form
which was intelligible to the people of this country is not known. In the
earliest period respecting which we have any clear information, the Latin
Vulgate was the Bible of the clergy and of public worship. Some portions
only were rendered into the language of the common people. Few of them
probably were able to read, and this may explain why it was that the
Psalms were especially selected for translation. They could be more
readily committed to memory, and be more easily wedded to music. But
whatever the reason, the Psalter is the earliest English Bible of which we
have any definite knowledge. It was translated quite early in the eighth
century, both by Aldhelm, sometime Abbot of Malmesbury, but at his death,
in A.D. 709,[4] Bishop of Sherborne, and by Guthlac,[5] the hermit of
Croyland, who died A.D. 714.[6] A few years later, A.D. 735, the Venerable
Bede translated the gospel of John, dying, as related in the touching
narrative of his disciple Cuthbert, in the very act of completing it. In
the following century King Alfred greatly encouraged the work of
translation, and it is to this period that we are probably to attribute
those Anglo-Saxon gospels which have come down to us.[7] Towards the close
of the tenth century, or early in the eleventh, the first seven books of
the Old Testament were partly translated and partly epitomised by Ælfric,
Archbishop of Canterbury. A verse from each of these two last-mentioned
works will show of what sort was the form of these early English Bibles,
and will at the same time illustrate one of the causes which from time to
time have rendered the task of revision an imperative duty.

The Anglo-Saxon gospel presents Matthew v. 3 thus:

“Eadige sind ða gastlican þearfan, forðam hyra ys heofena rice.”

And in Ælfric’s Heptateuch, Genesis xliii. 29 reads:

“Ða josep geseah his gemeddredan broþor beniamin þa cwaeþ he, is þis se
cnapa þe ge me foresaedon and eft he cwaeþ god gemilt sige þe sunu min.”

In the course of time our language gradually changed from the form
exhibited in these quotations to that seen in the writings of Chaucer and
Wycliffe. During the earlier part of this transition period the Old
English (Anglo-Saxon) Scriptures continued in use; but towards the middle
part they seem to have become partially unintelligible, and attempts were
consequently made to give the Scriptures to the people in the new form of
language then prevalent, and which is known as the Early English. It has
been asserted that the entire Scriptures were issued in this form; but for
this there is no satisfactory evidence. We have certain knowledge only of
a poetical version of the Psalms (the “Ormulum”), written about the close
of the twelfth century; of a poetical narration of the principal events
recorded in Genesis and Exodus, written about the middle of the thirteenth
century; and of two prose verses of the Psalms, both belonging to the
early part of the fourteenth century, one by William de Schorham, vicar of
Chart-Sutton, in Kent, and the other by Richard Rolle, of Hampole, near
Doncaster. In the version of the former the first two verses of Psalm i.
are thus given:

“Blessed be the man that ȝed nouȝt in the counseil of wicked: ne stode
nouȝt in the waie of sinȝeres, ne sat nouȝt in fals jugement. Ac hijs
wylle was in the wylle of oure Lord; and he schal thenche in hijs lawe
both daȝe and nyȝt.”

The year 1382 is the earliest date at which it can with any confidence be
affirmed that the entire Scriptures existed in the English language.[8]
During several years previous to this date Wycliffe and his associates
had in various ways been working towards the accomplishment of this
result. But it was with some measure of secrecy, as of men who apprehended
danger from the attempt. This renders it difficult to determine with
precision the date when the work was completed, and what was the part
which each of the joint labourers had in the common task. It is beyond
controversy that the chief place of honour is due to John Wycliffe. His
name is so closely and constantly associated with this Bible by those who
refer to it in the times immediately succeeding, as to put it beyond all
doubt that it is to his influence our country is mainly indebted for this
unspeakable boon. The translation of the New Testament was probably in
whole or in large part the work of Wycliffe himself. That of the Old
Testament, down to the twentieth verse of the third chapter of Baruch, is
credibly assigned, upon the authority of a MS. in the Bodleian library, to
Nicholas de Hereford, one of the leaders of the Lollard party in Oxford.
It is probable that this Bible was somewhat hurriedly completed, and that
either the translators were prevented by circumstances from reviewing
their work before issuing it, or, with the natural eagerness of men
engaged in a first attempt, they did not allow themselves time for doing
so. Possibly also they may themselves have regarded it but as a sort of
first draft of their work, and the variations they had found to exist in
their copies of the Vulgate had revealed to them the need of further
labour before they could satisfactorily complete the task they had

Wycliffe died in December, 1384; but either before his death, or shortly
afterward, a revision of this work was commenced by one of his most
intimate friends, John Purvey, who, having resided with Wycliffe during
the latter part of his life, may be reasonably credited with acting herein
under a full knowledge of the wishes and aims of his honoured teacher.

The course pursued by Purvey, as described by himself in his prologue,[9]
is interesting and instructive, setting forth, as it does, most distinctly
the main lines upon which any work of Biblical revision must proceed. His
first step was to collect old copies of the Vulgate, and the works of
learned men who had expounded and translated the same; and then, by
examination and comparison, to remove as far as he could the errors which
in various ways had crept into the Latin text. His second step was to
study afresh the text so revised, and endeavour to arrive at a correct
apprehension of its general meaning. His third was to consult the best
authorities within his reach for the explanation of obscure terms, and of
specially difficult passages. His fourth was to translate as clearly as
possible, and then submit the same to the joint correction of competent
persons; or, to use his own words, “to translate as clearly as he could to
the sentence, and to have many good fellows, and cunning, at the
correcting of the translation.” By the co-operation of this band of
skilful helpers the work was completed about the year 1388, and copies of
it were rapidly multiplied.[10] It became, in fact, the accepted form of
the Wycliffite version.

By a comparison of the two verses of Psalm i., given above, with the forms
in which they appeared in the two Wycliffe Bibles, the reader will be able
in some degree to estimate the growth of our language, and will also
understand how painstaking and reverent was the care taken by these
“faithful men” that in this sacred work they might offer of their very

In the earlier Wycliffe version the verses read thus:

“Blisful the man that went not awei in the counseil of unpitouse, and in
the wei off sinful stod not, and in the chaȝer of pestilence sat not. But
in the lawe of the Lord his wil; and in the lawe of hym he shal sweteli
thenke dai and nyȝt.”

In Purvey’s revised version they read:

“Blessid _is_ the man that ȝede not in the councel of wickid men; and
stood not in the weie of synneris, and sat not in the chaier of
pestilence. But his wille _is_ in the lawe of the Lord; and he schal
bithenke in the lawe of hym dai and nyȝt.”

This Bible, so long as it remained in use as the Bible of English people,
existed, it should be remembered, only in a manuscript form.[11] The chief
point, however, to be noticed here is, that with all its excellences, and
unspeakable as was its worth, it was but the translation of a translation.
Neither Wycliffe nor his associates had access to the Hebrew original of
the Old Testament; and although some copies of the Greek New Testament
were then to be found in England, there is no reason to believe that
Purvey or his friends were able to make any use of them. They were,
indeed, aware that the Latin of the common text did not always faithfully
represent the Hebrew; but their knowledge of this fact was second-hand,
gathered chiefly from the commentaries of Nicholas de Lyra, a writer
whose works were held in high repute by Bible students in that age. They
did not, therefore, venture to correct these places, but contented
themselves with noting in the margin, “What the Ebru hath, and how it is
undurstondun.” This, Purvey states, he has done most frequently in the
Psalter, which “of alle oure bokis discordith most fro Ebru.”

       *       *       *       *       *

The third stage in the growth of the English Scriptures is brought before
us by the interesting series of printed Bibles that issued from the
printing press in the reign of Henry VIII.

After the death of Wycliffe the efforts of the Popish party to crush the
Lollards had increased in violence, and various enactments were passed
proscribing the use of the Bible which bore his name. An act, passed in
the second parliament of Henry V., went still further, and declared that
all who read the Scriptures in their native tongue should forfeit land,
cattle, life, and goods, they and their heirs for ever. Notwithstanding
these repressive measures, copies of the Wycliffe Bible were still made
and read in secret. This could be done only with great risk and
difficulty, and none but persons of some wealth could afford the expense
of a complete copy. Those in humbler positions deemed themselves happy if
they could secure a single book, or even a few leaves. Moreover, through
the growing changes of the language, many passages were becoming very
obscure to ordinary readers. During the hundred years which followed after
the issuing of the law just referred to, two important events had
happened; namely, the invention of printing,[12] and the German
Reformation. Both of these had a large influence in stimulating the
friends of the Bible to new efforts in revising it for popular use.

The leader of this movement in our own country was William Tyndale, who,
in the year 1525, printed on the Continent, whither he had been driven by
the opposition which beset him at home, the first edition of his New
Testament, translated from the Greek. A second and revised edition,
“dylygently corrected and compared with the Greke,” was printed at
Antwerp, and published in November, 1534; and a third and final edition
was published in the early part of 1535, in the May of which year he was
arrested and committed to the castle of Vilvorde, near Brussels. Of other
parts of the Scriptures Tyndale was able to publish only the Pentateuch
(1530 or 1531) and the book of Jonah (1534). On the sixth day of October,
1536, he was led to the stake. He was there strangled and his body burnt.

Just twelve months before the martyrdom of Tyndale, the first printed
edition of the entire Scriptures in the English language was issued from
the press of Jacob van Meteren, at Antwerp. The privilege and honour of
accomplishing this memorable work belongs to Miles Coverdale, at that time
a poor scholar, dependent upon the patronage of Thomas Cromwell and
others, though subsequently, for a short period in the reign of Edward
VI., Bishop of Exeter. The first edition of his Bible was “prynted in the
year of our Lord MDXXXV., and fynished the fourthe day of October.”
Coverdale had been moved to the undertaking by his own deep sense of the
needs of his country, and by the earnest appeals addressed to him by
others. Through his modesty of disposition, and his lowly estimate of his
own abilities, he would have declined the task, but the urgency of his
friends prevailed. The expenses also of the preparation and publication of
the work were met by the liberality of some of them. In his prologue he
says, “It was neither my labour nor desire to have this work put in my
hand; nevertheless it grieved me that other nations should be more
plenteously provided for with the Scripture in their mother tongue than
we; therefore, when I was instantly required, though I could not do as
well as I would, I thought it my duty to do my best, and that with a good
will;”[13] and in the dedication to the king, prefixed to some of the
copies, he says, “As the Holy Ghost moved other men to do the cost hereof,
so was I boldened in God to labour in the same.” According to the
statement on the title-page this was not a translation made from the
original texts,[14] but was faithfully and truly translated out of the
“Douche and Latyn in to Englishe.” In the dedication he states that he
had, “with a clear conscience purely and faithfully translated this out of
five sundry interpreters,” and in his prologue he explains further, that
to help him in his work he had used “sundry translations, not only in
Latin, but also of the Dutch interpreters;” and he is careful, further, to
explain that he did not “set forth this special translation” “as a
reprover and despiser of other men’s translations,” but “lowly and
faithfully have I followed mine interpreters, and that under correction.”
The five interpreters to whom Coverdale thus refers were probably the
Vulgate, the Latin version of Pagninus, Luther’s translation, the Zurich
Bible, and Tyndale’s New Testament and Pentateuch. Though the volume was
dedicated to the king, and though Coverdale was backed by powerful
patrons, this Bible was not published with a royal license. No direct
attempt, however, was made to suppress it. In the following year (1536) it
was virtually condemned by the members of Convocation, who prayed the king
that he would “grant unto his subjects of the laity the reading of the
Bible in the English tongue, and that a new translation of it be made for
that end and purpose.” But notwithstanding this two new editions of
Coverdale’s Bible were printed in London in 1537, and on the title-page of
both of these there appeared the words, “Set forth with the kynge’s moost
gracious licence.”

In the same year, 1537, and probably in the earlier part of it, there was
issued in London another Bible, which also bore upon its title-page the
inscription, “Set forth with the kinge’s most gracyous lycence.”[15] This
Bible, commonly known as Matthew’s Bible, was, it is now generally
believed, prepared for the press by John Rogers, who suffered martyrdom at
Smithfield, under the Marian persecution. In the New Testament and
Pentateuch he agrees substantially with Tyndale’s version. Of the other
books of the Old Testament, a portion is obviously taken from Coverdale,
the remaining part, Joshua to Chronicles, has been thought with good
reason to be the work of Tyndale. It is known that Tyndale, after the
publication of his Pentateuch, continued to labour at the translation of
the Old Testament. In a letter written during his imprisonment he prays to
be allowed to have his Hebrew Bible, and his Hebrew grammar and
dictionary; and it is by no means unlikely that the results of his
studies were committed to the care of Rogers. If this surmise be correct,
then this Bible may be viewed as a compilation, two-thirds of it being due
to Tyndale, and one-third to Coverdale. A sufficient reason for the
adoption of the assumed name of Thomas Matthew is thus supplied, since
Rogers could not claim the work as his own, and Tyndale’s name would have
arrayed against it the opposition both of the king and of the Romish

Both of the last mentioned Bibles were open to certain obvious objections.
Coverdale’s, in that it was derived from German and Latin versions; and
Matthew’s, in that it was in part only made from the original texts.
Matthew’s also was accompanied by a considerable number of critical and
explanatory notes, many of which were of a decided anti-papal cast.
Accordingly, at the instigation and under the patronage of Thomas
Cromwell, Coverdale set himself to revise his former work with the aid of
the valuable contribution supplied to him in Matthew’s Bible. The printing
of this new Bible was completed in April, 1539, and from the circumstance
that it was printed in the largest folio then used, 15 inches by 9, it
was, and is, commonly described as the Great Bible. In the title-page it
is declared to be “truly translated, after the veryte of the Hebrue and
Greke textes by ye dylygent studye of dyuerse excellent learned men,
expert in the forsayde tonges.”[16] By this, it is now tolerably certain,
we are to understand, not that several living scholars took part with
Coverdale in the preparation of the volume, but that he availed himself of
the published writings of men skilled in the ancient languages, who had
translated and expounded the Hebrew and Greek texts of the Scriptures. His
chief guides were Sebastian Munster for the Old Testament, and Erasmus for
the New. The Bible appeared without notes, and had no dedication.[17]

In the same year (1539) there appeared also the Bible[18] edited by
Richard Taverner, formerly of Cardinal College (now Christ Church),
Oxford, afterwards of the Inner Temple, and more recently Clerk of the
Signet to the King.[19] It may be briefly described as a revised edition
of Matthew’s Bible. Taverner had some reputation as a Greek scholar, but
his work is very unequally executed, and before the formidable competition
of the Great Bible it soon sank into obscurity. After its first year of
issue this Bible seems to have been only once reprinted in its entirety;
namely, in 1549.[20]

Not content with what he had already done, Coverdale persevered in the
revision and re-revision of his work. A second edition was issued in
April, 1540, to which was prefixed a prologue by Cranmer,[21] and its
title contained the words, “This is the Byble apoynted to the use of the
churches.” Two other editions appeared in the same year, and three in the
following year.[22] (The edition of April, 1540, seems, however, to have
been regarded as a sort of standard edition.) This Bible was the Bible
read in churches in the reign of Edward VI., and in the early part of the
reign of Elizabeth.

Hence it will be seen that of the four principal Bibles published in the
reign of Henry VIII., namely, Tyndale’s New Testament and Pentateuch,
Coverdale’s Bible, Matthew’s Bible, and the Great Bible, the last three
form a group of closely related versions, of which Tyndale’s is the common
parent, and the rest successively derived therefrom. And it is very
noteworthy that these Bibles are mainly the result of the patient and
devoted labours of two men only. The work done by such men as Rogers and
Taverner, however important, is altogether of a subordinate kind. William
Tyndale and Miles Coverdale stand apart, and above all others, as the men
who, in those days of religious awakening and of conflict with the papal
tyranny, gave the Bible to our countrymen in a form that could reach at
once their understanding and their heart. Remembering this, and
remembering also in what difficult circumstances the work was done, the
wonder is far less that room was left for improvement, and that further
revision was felt by themselves and others to be an imperative duty, than
that so much was accomplished, and so well, by the indomitable and
self-denying labours of these noble men.



The accession of Elizabeth, November 17th, 1558, conveniently marks the
date of a fourth stage in the growth of the English Bible. The former
translations and revisions had been done in troublous times, in the midst
of harassing opposition, and under circumstances which forbade the full
use of such aids as the scholarship of the times could furnish. The
versions now to be mentioned were carried on in open day, and with free
access to all that was then available for the correction and explanation
of the original texts.

       *       *       *       *       *

Amongst the many earnest men driven into exile by the Marian persecution
was William Whittingham, some time Fellow of All Souls’, Oxford, and
subsequently Dean of Durham.[23] Along with others he found a refuge,
first at Frankfort, and afterwards at Geneva. On the 10th day of June,
1557, there was published, in the last mentioned city, a small volume,
16mo, entitled “The Newe Testament of our Lord Jesus Christ. Conferred
diligently with the Greke, and best approved translations. With the
arguments aswel before the chapters, as for every Boke and Epistle, also
diversities of readings, and moste proffitable annotations of all harde
places; whereunto is added a copious Table.” This translation, there is
reason to believe, was the work of Whittingham alone. It may be noted, in
passing, that it was the first English New Testament which contained the
now familiar division into verses, and the first also to indicate by
_italics_ the words added by the translator in order to convey more fully
or more clearly the sense of the original.

Three years afterwards (1560) there was published in the same city, “The
Bible and Holy Scriptures conteyned in the Olde and Newe Testament.
Translated according to the Ebrue and Greeke, and conferred with the best
translations in divers languages. With moste profitable annotations upon
all the hard places, and other things of great importance as may appeare
in the epistle to the reader.” This is the celebrated Genevan version,
which for nearly a century onward was the form of Bible most largely
circulated in this country. It differed in several respects from its
predecessors. It was a convenient quarto instead of a cumbrous folio. It
was printed in Roman letters instead of the heavy Gothic or black letters.
It marked by a different type all words inserted for the completion of the
sense, and the chapters were divided into verses. But what was of more
importance, it was, as stated in the title, compared throughout with the
original texts. Both in the Old and New Testaments it largely reproduces
the words of Tyndale. Sometimes it gives a preference to the version of
Coverdale; but often it departs from both in order to give a more exact
rendering of the Hebrew or the Greek. It seems that several of the Genevan
refugees consecrated their enforced leisure to “this great and wonderful
work,” as they justly term it, moved thereto by the twofold consideration
that, owing to “imperfect knowledge of the tongues,” the previous
“translations required greatly to be perused and reformed,” and that
“great opportunities and occasions” for doing this work were presented to
them in the “so many godly and learned men” into whose society they had
now been brought.

The names of Miles Coverdale, Christopher Goodman, Anthony Gilby, Thomas
Sampson, William Cole, and William Whittingham are given as those who,
with some others, joined in this undertaking. On the accession of
Elizabeth most of the exiles returned home, conveying with them, for
presentation to the Queen, the Book of Psalms as a specimen of the work on
which they were engaged.[24]

Wittingham only, with one or two others, remained behind for a year and a
half in order to complete the work. According to the statement given in
the address to the reader, the entire period spent upon the preparation of
this version was a little more than two years. It will hence be seen that
whatever may have been the part taken in the work by Coverdale and others,
by far the chief share in it devolved upon Whittingham and the one or two
referred to, who were probably Gilby and Sampson. How weighty was the
obligation which in the view of these self-denying men rested upon them to
give the word of God to their country in the form that would best and most
truly present it, and with what reverent care they laboured to attain
unto this, is shown by the fact that although Whittingham had so recently
published his version of the New Testament, he is not content with a
simple reproduction of this, but subjects it to a thorough and very
careful revision. A comparison of the introduction to Luke’s gospel as it
appears in the Genevan Bible of 1560 with the same passage in
Whittingham’s version of 1557 will help our readers in some measure to
realize the nature and extent of this revision.

In the earlier version the passages read thus:

    “For asmuch as many have taken in hand to write the historie of those
    thynges, wherof we are fully certified, even as they declared them
    unto us, which from y{e} begynnyng saw them their selves, and were
    ministers at the doyng: It seemed good also to me (moste noble
    Theophilus) as sone as I had learned perfectly all thynges from the
    beginnyng, to wryte unto thee therof from poynt to poynt: That thou
    mightest acknowlage the trueth of those thinges where in thou hast
    bene broght up.”

In the version of 1560 the same passage is given thus:

    “For as much as many have taken in hande to set foorth the storie of
    those thinges whereof we are fully persuaded. As they have delivered
    them unto us, which from the beginning saw them theirselves, and were
    ministers of the worde, It seemed good also to me (most noble
    Theophilus), as sone as I had searched out perfectly all things from
    the beginnyng, to write unto thee thereof from point to point, That
    thou mightest acknowledge the certaintie of these things, whereof thou
    hast bene instructed.”

It will be seen that in this short passage the changes made from the
earlier form of the work are as many as ten in number. As this, however,
may be deemed a somewhat exceptional passage, let us take an ordinary
chapter in the Gospels, presenting no special difficulty, as for instance
Matt. xvii. A collation of the two versions will show that in this chapter
of twenty-seven verses the revision of 1560 departs from Whittingham’s
earlier work in no fewer than forty places.[25] Thus persevering was the
endeavour of these faithful men to do their very best, and with what
success may to some extent be seen in the fact that of these forty
changes twenty-six were confirmed in after years by the judgment of King
James’ translators.

“So earnestly,” says Strype[26] in his _Life of Archbishop Parker_, “did
the people of the nation thirst in those days after the knowledge of the
Scriptures, that that first impression was soon sold off.” So earnestly
also did the translators seek to perfect their work, that about the
beginning of March, 1565, they had finished a careful review and
correction of their translation in preparing for a fresh issue.

Popular as was the Genevan Bible amongst the mass of the English people,
the decidedly puritanic cast of its annotations stood in the way of its
universal acceptance, while its manifest superiority as a translation to
the Great Bible made it almost an impossibility that the latter could be
maintained in its place of pre-eminence as the Bible appointed by
authority to be read in churches. Steps were accordingly taken by Matthew
Parker, Archbishop of Canterbury, to prepare a Bible, by the aid of
“diverse learned fellow-bishops,” that would accord with the
ecclesiastical sympathies of the party to which he belonged.[27] He
distributed portions to twelve of his episcopal brethren, and to other
Church dignitaries;[28] one portion he took under his own charge. The
completed work was presented to Elizabeth within a few weeks of the
completion of the tenth year of her reign, October 5th, 1568.

The rules laid down by Parker for the guidance of his colleagues were
these: 1. “To follow the common English translation used in the churches,
and not to recede from it but where it varieth manifestly from the Hebrew
or Greek original. 2. To use sections and divisions in the texts as
Pagnine[29] in his translation useth; and for the verity of the Hebrew, to
follow the said Pagnine and Munster specially, and generally others
learned in the tongues. 3. To make no bitter notes upon any text, or yet
to set down any determination in places of controversy. 4. To note such
chapters and places as contain matter of genealogies, or other such places
not edifying, with some strike or note, that the reader may eschew them in
his public reading. 5. That all such words as sound in the old translation
to any offence of lightness or obscenity be expressed with more convenient
terms and phrases.” From the first of these rules it is clear that the
work then undertaken was intended to be a revision of the Great Bible.
Some of the revisers seem to have observed this rule in a most rigid
manner, and have followed the Great Bible so closely as to retain its
words, even in places which had been more correctly rendered in the
Genevan. There appears to have been no co-operative action on the part of
the several revisers, and to this cause we may attribute much of the
irregularity that attaches to the execution of their work. In many
respects they laid themselves open to adverse criticism, and a paper was
sent to Parker by Thomas Lawrence, Head Master of Shrewsbury School, and
an eminent Greek scholar, entitled, _Notes of Errors in the Translation of
the New Testament out of the Greek_.[30] He points out fifteen passages in
which the words are not “aptlye translated,” eight in which “words and
pieces of sentences” are “omytted,” two in which superfluous words are
inserted, two in which, owing to mistranslation, an “error in doctrine” is
involved, and two in which the moods and tenses of verbs are changed.
These passages, except one from the Colossians, are all taken from the
Gospels; and we may hence not unreasonably infer that the writer intended
the passages named to be regarded, not as an exhaustive list, but as
illustrations simply of the kind of defects which called for correction.
Moved, as would seem, by these criticisms, Parker set on foot a revision
of his former volume; and in 1572 this Bible was, as his biographer
expresses it,[31] “a second time by his means” “printed with Corrections
and Amendments and other improvements, more than the former Editions.”

Although this Bible received the sanction of Convocation, and every
Archbishop and Bishop was ordered to have a copy in his hall or
dining-room for the use of his servants and of strangers; and although
some editions bear on their title-page the words, “Set forth by
Aucthoritie” (meaning thereby the authority of Convocation), it never came
into anything like general use, nor did it even establish itself as the
Bible exclusively read in churches. The Genevan Bible was still used by
many of the clergy in their sermons and in their published works; and in
1587, though nineteen years had then passed since its first publication,
we find Archbishop Whitgift complaining that divers parish churches and
chapels of ease had either no Bible at all, or those only which were not
of the translation authorized by the Synods of Bishops. Between 1568,
when this Bible was first published, and 1608, when the last New Testament
of this version was issued, there were sent forth altogether twenty
editions of the Bishops’ Bible and eleven of the New Testament. In the
same period there were published seventy-nine editions of the Genevan
Bible, and thirty of the Genevan New Testament.[32]

Besides the Genevan and the Bishops’, another Bible made its appearance
(so far, at least, as the New Testament was concerned) in the reign of
Elizabeth. In the year 1582 there was printed at Rheims a translation of
the New Testament,[33] made by certain scholars connected with the English
seminary for the training of Catholic priests, formerly established at
Douai, in Flanders. The translators, in their preface, candidly confess
that they did not publish from any conviction “that the Holy Scriptures
should alwaies be in our mother tonge,” or that they ought “to be read
indifferently of all,” but because they had compassion to see their
“beloved countrie men with extreme danger of their soules, to use only
such prophane translations;” viz., as the Protestant Bibles previously
referred to, “and erroneous men’s mere phantasies, for the pure and
beloved word of truth;” and because, also, they were “moved thereunto by
the desires of many devout persons,” and whom they hoped to induce to lay
aside the “impure versions” they had hitherto been compelled to employ.
Quite apart from the polemical purpose thus distinctly avowed, this
translation was a retrograde movement. It did not profess to translate the
original texts, but only the “vulgar Latin;” and the translators justify
their procedure by this plea, amongst others, that “the holy Council of
Trent ... hath declared and defined this onely of al other Latin
translations to be authentical, and so onely to be used and taken in
publike lessons, disputations, preachings, and expositions, and that no
man presume upon any pretence to reject or refuse the same.”

In the accomplishment of their work the Rhemish translators have very
faithfully observed the rule which they laid down for themselves, to be
“very precise and religious in folowing our copie, the old vulgar approved
Latin; not only in sense ... but sometime in the very wordes also, and
phrases;” that is to say, they have given a very literal and exact
translation of the Vulgate, in many parts extremely Latinized in its
diction. A considerable number of words they virtually left untranslated,
boldly venturing to transfer the unfamiliar, and in many cases
unintelligible, vocables into their English text. Some of these Latinized
words have obtained a permanent place in our language, but the larger
number have failed to commend themselves.[34]

Such then were the chief forms through which, at the close of the
sixteenth century, the English Bible had passed. The devout and earnest
scholars who from time to time sought to “open the Scriptures” to their
fellow-countrymen were for the most part moved by a burning desire to give
to God of their very best. They grudged no labour to render their work
more complete. They allowed no spirit of self-satisfaction to blind them
to a perception of defects. They were too humble and too well convinced of
the greatness and manifoldness of their work to fancy that they had
reached perfection, but were persevering and self-denying in their
endeavours to attain unto it. And they have left behind them for us to
follow a noble example of patient continuance in well doing.

How in their hands the English Bible has grown, from the first attempt to
set it forth in the language of our country to the form in which we are
most familiar with it, can be fully learnt only by a careful comparison of
the successive revisions to which it has been subjected. To aid my readers
in forming some approximate idea of it I append Psalm xxiii., as it
appears in the principal Bibles which have been mentioned in this and the
preceding lecture.

1. WYCLIFFE’S, 1382. (?)

The Lord gouerneth me, and no thing to me shal lacke; in the place of
leswe[35] where he me ful sette. Ouer watir of fulfilling he nurshide me;
my soule he conuertide. He broȝte doun me upon the sties of riȝtwisnesse;
for his name. For whi and if I shal go in the myddel of the shadewe of
deth; I shal not dreden euelis, for thou art with me. Thi ȝerde and thi
staf; tho han confortid me. Thou hast maad redi in thi siȝte a bord; aȝen
hem that trublyn me. Thou hast myche fattid in oile myn hed; and my chalis
makende ful drunken, hou riȝt cler it is. And thi mercy shal vnderfolewe
me; alle the daȝis of my lif. And that I dwelle in the hous of the Lord;
in to the lengthe of daȝis.

2. PURVEY’S, 1388. (?)

The Lord gouerneth me, and no thing schal faile to me; in the place of
pasture there he hath set me. He nurschide me on the watir of
refreischyng; he conuertide my soule. He ledde me forth on the pathis of
riȝtfulnesse; for his name. For whi thouȝ Y schal go in the myddis of
schadewe of deeth; Y schal not drede yuels, for thou art with me. Thi
ȝerde and thi staf; tho han coumfortid me. Thou hast maad redi a boord in
my siyt; aȝens hem that troblen me. Thou hast maad fat myn heed with oyle;
and my cuppe, fillinge greetli, is ful cleer. And thi merci schal sue me;
in alle the daies of my lijf. And that Y dwelle in the hows of the Lord;
in to the lengthe of daies.

3. COVERDALE’S, 1535.

The Lorde is my shepherde, I can want nothinge. He fedeth me in a greene
pasture; and ledeth me to a fresh water. He quickeneth my soule, and
bringeth me forth in the waye of rightuousness for his name’s sake. Though
I shulde walke now in the valley of the shadowe of death, yet I feare no
euell, for thou art with me; thy staffe and thy shepehoke comforte me.
Thou preparest a table before me agaynst mine enemies; thou anoyntest my
heade with oyle, and fyllest my cuppe full. Oh let thy louying kyndnes and
mercy folowe me all the dayes off my life that I maye dwell in the house
off the Lord for euer.

4. GREAT BIBLE, 1539.

The Lorde is my shepherde, therefore can I lacke nothing. He shal fede me
in a grene pasture and lead me forth besyde the waters of cōforte. He shal
conuerte my soule and bring me forth in the pathes of righteousnes for his
name’s sake. Yea, though I walke thorow y{e} valleye of y{e} shadow of
death, I wyl feare no euell, for thou art w{t} me: thy rod and thy staff
confort me.

Thou shalt prepare a table before me, agaynst them that trouble me: thou
hast annointed my head w{t} oyle, and my cup shal be ful. But (_thy_)
louing kyndnes and mercy shal folowe me all the dayes of my lyfe: and I
wyll dwel in the house of the Lord for euer.

5. GENEVAN, 1560.

1. The Lord _is_ my shepheard, I shall not want.

2. Hee maketh mee to rest in greene pasture, _and_ leadeth me by the still

3. He restoreth my soule, _and_ leadeth me in the paths of righteousnesse
for his Names sake.

4. Yea, though I should walke through the valley of the shadow of death, I
will feare no euill, for thou art with me: thy rodde and thy staffe, they
comfort me.

5. Thou doest prepare a table before me in the sight of mine adversaries:
thou doest anoynt mine head with oyle, _and_ my cup runneth over.

6. Doubtlesse kindnesse and mercy shall follow mee all the dayes of my
life, and I shall remaine a long season in the house of the Lord.

6. BISHOPS, 1568.

1. God is my shephearde, therefore I can lacke nothyng: he wyll cause me
to repose myselfe in pasture full of grasse, and he wyll leade me vnto
calme waters.

2. He wyll conuerte my soule; he wyll bring me foorth into the pathes of
righteousnesse for his name sake.

3. Yea, though I walke through the valley of the shadowe of death, I wyll
feare no euyll; for thou art with me, thy rodde and thy staffe be the
thynges that do comfort me.

4. Thou wylt prepare a table before me in the presence of myne
aduersaries; thou has annoynted my head with oyle, and my cup shalbe
brymme full.

5. Truely felicitie and mercie shal folowe me all the dayes of my lyfe:
and I wyll dwell in the house of God for a long tyme.

7. DOUAI, 1610.

1. The Psalme of Dauid.

2. Our Lord ruleth one, and nothing shal be wanting to me: in place of
pasture there he hath placed me.

3. Upon the water of refection he hath brought me vp: he hath conuerted my

He hath conducted me upon the pathes of iustice for his name.

4. For, although I shal walke in the middes of the shadow of death, I will
not feare euils: because thou art with me, Thy rod and thy staffe, they
haue comforted me.

5. Thou hast prepared in my sight a table, against them; that truble me.

Thou hast fatted my head with oyle; and my chalice inebriating how goodlie
is it!

6. And thy mercie shal folow me al the dayes of my life; And that I may
dwel in the house of our Lord, in longitude of dayes.



At the accession of James I. the GENEVAN BIBLE and the BISHOPS’ BIBLE
were, as we have seen, the Bibles in current use, the latter being the
Bible upheld by ecclesiastical authority, the former the favourite Bible
of the people at large. The Book of Psalms also in the version of the
Great Bible survived, as it still does, in the psalter of the Prayer Book,
and probably in some few parish churches old and worn copies of the Great
Bible still maintained their place.

The state of religious parties at that date rendered it almost an
impossibility that either of the two first-named versions should become
universally accepted. The close connection of the Genevan Bible with the
Puritan party, and the decidedly puritanic cast of some of its notes,
created an insuperable prejudice against it in the minds of the more
zealous advocates of Episcopal authority; while the inferiority[36] of the
Bishops’ Bible as a version effectually barred its claim to an exclusive
use. The need, then, for a new version was obvious, and a desire for it
was probably felt by many of all parties.

Public expression was first given to this desire on the second day of the
Hampton Court Conference, January 16, 1604, by Dr. John Rainolds,[37] the
leading representative of the Puritans in that assembly. It was not
brought forward as one of the matters which he had been deputed to lay
before the Conference; it seems rather to have been mentioned by him
incidentally in connection with certain suggested reforms in the Prayer
Book. “He moved his Majesty that there might be a new translation of the
Bible, because those which were allowed in the reign of King Henry VIII.
and Edward VI. were corrupt, and not answerable to the Truth of the
Original,”[38] referring in illustration to the renderings given of Gal.
iv. 25,[39] Ps. cv. 28,[40] and Ps. cvi. 30.[41] It is somewhat curious
that no direct reference was made to the Bishops’ Bible; the reason,
probably, was that this Bible was not one of those which had been
“allowed” by royal authority. Of the three mistranslations quoted by
Rainolds, the first only is found in the Bishops’ Bible; the other two
occur in the Prayer Book Psalter.

The suggestion of Rainolds met with no opposition. The king himself
expressed his approval of it, not, however, without an ignorant and
disingenuous fling at the Genevan version; and “presently after,” say the
translators in their preface, the king “gave order for this translation”
to be made. In the course of a few months a scheme for the execution of
the work was matured, and in a letter to Dr. Richard Bancroft, then Bishop
of London, the king informed him that he had appointed fifty-four learned
men to undertake the translation. He even seems to have contemplated the
possibility of securing the co-operation of all the biblical scholars of
the country; and in a letter to Bancroft, dated July 22, 1604, directed
him “to move the bishops to inform themselves of all such learned men
within their several dioceses as, having especial skill in the Hebrew and
Greek tongues, have taken pains in their private studies of the Scriptures
for the clearing of any obscurities, either in the Hebrew or the Greek, or
touching any difficulties, or mistakings in the former English
translation, which we have now commanded to be thoroughly viewed and
amended; and thereupon to write unto them, earnestly charging them, and
signifying our pleasure therein, that they send such their observations to
Mr. Lively, our Hebrew reader in Cambridge, or to Dr. Harding, our Hebrew
reader in Oxford, or to Dr. Andrewes, Dean of Westminster, to be imparted
to the rest of their several companies; that so our said intended
translation may have the help and furtherance of all our principal learned
men within this our kingdom.”[42] Directions to a similar effect were sent
also to the Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge, who was empowered in the king’s
name to associate with those already appointed any “fitt men” he might be
acquainted with; and we may infer that a corresponding communication was
sent to Oxford.

To what extent this comprehensive scheme was carried out we have no means
of determining. The names of the fifty-four learned men referred to are
not given, and we are consequently left in uncertainty whether those who
ultimately engaged in the work[43] were all men included in that list, or
whether other scholars, chosen by the universities or recommended by the
bishops, formed part of the number.

The rules laid down for the guidance of the translators were as follows:

1. The ordinary Bible read in the church, commonly called the Bishops’
Bible, to be followed, and as little altered as the Truth of the Original
will permit.

2. The Names of the Prophets and the Holy Writers, with the other Names of
the Text to be retained, as nigh as may be, accordingly as they were
vulgarly used.

3. The old Ecclesiastical Words to be kept; viz., the word _Church_ not to
be translated _Congregation_, &c.

4. When a Word hath divers significations, that to be kept which hath been
most commonly used by the most of the Ancient Fathers, being agreeable to
the Propriety of the Place, and the Analogy of the Faith.

5. The division of the Chapters to be altered, either not at all, or as
little as may be, if necessity so require.

6. No Marginal Notes at all to be affixed, but only for the explanation of
the Hebrew or Greek Words, which cannot without some circumlocution, so
briefly and fitly be exprest in the Text.

7. Such Quotations of Places to be marginally set down, as shall serve for
the fit reference of one Scripture to another.

8. Every particular Man of each Company, to take the same Chapter or
Chapters, and having translated or amended them severally by himself,
where he thinketh good, all to meet together, confer what they have done,
and agree for their parts what shall stand.

9. As any one Company hath despatched any one Book in this manner, they
shall send it to the rest, to be considered of seriously and judiciously,
for his Majesty is very careful in this point.

10. If any Company, upon the review of the Book so sent, doubt or differ
upon any Place, to send them word thereof; Note the place, and withal send
the Reasons; to which if they consent not, the difference to be compounded
at the General Meeting, which is to be of the chief Persons of each
Company at the end of the Work.

11. When any Place of special obscurity is doubted of, Letters to be
directed, by Authority, to send to any Learned Man in the Land, for his
judgment of such a Place.

12. Letters to be sent from every Bishop, to the rest of his Clergy,
admonishing them of this Translation in hand; and to move and charge, as
many as being skilful in the Tongues; and having taken pains in that kind,
to send his particular Observations to the Company, either at Westminster,
Cambridg, or Oxford.

13. The Directors in each Company to be the Deans of Westminster and
Chester for that place; and the King’s Professors in the Hebrew or Greek
in either University.

14. These Translations to be used, when they agree better with the Text
than the Bishops’ Bible; viz., _Tindall’s_, _Matthew’s_, _Coverdale’s_,
_Whitchurch’s_,[44] _Geneva_.

15. Besides the said Directors before mentioned, three or four of the most
Ancient and Grave Divines, in either of the Universities not employed in
Translating, to be assigned by the Vice-Chancellor upon conference with
the rest of the Heads, to be Overseers of the Translations as well Hebrew
as Greek, for the better observation of the 4th rule above specified.[45]

Besides these rules, some others of a more definite nature seem to have
been adopted by the translators themselves. At the Synod of Dort, held in
the years 1618 and 1619, the question of preparing a new Dutch translation
came under consideration, and for the guidance of its deliberations upon
this point the English Delegates[46] were requested to give an account of
the procedure observed in the translation recently made in England. In a
matter of such grave importance the Delegates felt that they ought not to
give any off-hand statement, and accordingly, after careful consideration,
prepared a written account, which was presented to the Synod on its
seventh Session, November 20th, 1618. In this account eight rules are
given, the first three of which embody the substance of the first, sixth,
and seventh of the rules given above. The others direct:

That where the Hebrew or Greek admits of a twofold rendering, one is to be
given in the text, and the other noted in the margin; and in like manner
where an important various reading is found in approved authorities.

That in the translation of the books of Tobit and Judith, where the text
of the old Latin Vulgate greatly differs from that of the Greek, the
latter text should be followed.

That all words introduced for the purpose of completing the sense are to
be distinguished by a difference of type.

That new tables of contents should be prefixed to each book, and new
summaries to each chapter.

And lastly, that a complete list of Genealogies[47] and a description of
the Holy Land should be added to the work.[48]

From various causes, which cannot now be discovered, a period of three
years elapsed before the revisers commenced their labours. One reason may
have been that no provision was made for meeting the necessary costs of
the undertaking. With a cheap liberality the king directed Bancroft to
write to the bishops, asking them, as benefices became vacant, to give him
the opportunity of bestowing them upon the translators as a reward for
their service; and as to current expenses, the king, while professing with
much effusiveness his readiness to bear them, cleverly evaded the
responsibility by stating that some of “my lords, as things now go, did
hold it inconvenient.”[49]

The revision was completed, as the revisers themselves tell us, in “twice
seven times seventy-two days and more;” that is to say, in about two years
and three-quarters; and if to this be added the nine months spent in a
final revision and preparation for the press, we have then only a period
of three years and a half. The new Bible was published in 1611; the work,
therefore, could not have been commenced before 1607.

Although the men who engaged in this important undertaking are called
“translators,” their work was essentially that of revision. This is
clearly shown both by the rules laid down for their guidance, and by the
statement of the translators themselves, who say in their preface, “Truly,
good Christian reader, wee never thought from the beginning that wee
should need to make a new translation, nor yet to make of a bad one a good
one,” “but to make a good one better, or out of many good ones, one
principall good one, not justly to bee excepted against; that hath beene
our indeavour, that our marke.”[50]

Further, this revision was a more extensive and thorough revision than any
which had been heretofore undertaken. In former revisions, either the work
had been done by the solitary labours of one or two, or when a fair number
of competent men were engaged in it no sufficient provision had been made
for combined action, and but few opportunities had been given for mutual
conference. In this revision a larger number of scholars were engaged than
upon any former, and the arrangements were such as secured that upon no
part of the Bible should the labour of fewer than seven persons be
expended. The revisers were divided into six companies, two of which met
at Westminster, two at Cambridge, and two at Oxford. The books of the Old
Testament, from Genesis to 2 Kings inclusive, were assigned to the first
Westminster company, consisting of ten members; from 1 Chronicles to Song
of Solomon, to the first Cambridge company, consisting of eight members;
and from Isaiah to Malachi, to the first Oxford company, consisting of
seven members. The Apocryphal books were assigned to the second Cambridge
company, which also consisted of seven members. Of the books of the New
Testament, the Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, and the Apocalypse were
given to the second Oxford company, in which as many as ten members were
at different times associated; the Epistles were entrusted to the seven
scholars forming the second Westminster company.[51]

The portions assigned to each company were not again subdivided amongst
its members; but, in accordance with the eighth rule, “every particular
man of each company” translated and amended by himself each successive
portion, and the company met from time to time to confer upon what they
had done, and to agree upon what should stand.[52] Of the mode of
procedure followed at the meetings of the several companies, we have no
other information than the brief statement given by Selden in his _Table
Talk_--that “one read the translation, the rest holding in their hands
some Bible, either of the learned tongues, or French, Spanish, Italian,
&c. If they found any fault they spoke; if not, he read on.”

One interesting and touching picture of the translators at work, which
however seems to have escaped the notice[53] of all writers upon the
history of the English Bible, is given us by Dr. Daniel Featley in his
account of the _Life and Death of John Rainolds_, and which is probably
the substance, if not the very words, of the oration delivered by him at
the funeral of the latter, when, on account of the large number of
mourners, “the Chapell being not capable of the fourth part of the
Funerall troupe,” a desk was set up in the quadrangle of Corpus Christi
College, and a brief history of Rainolds’ life, “with the manner of his
death,” was thence delivered to the assembled company. Dr. Rainolds was
one of the Oxford scholars to whom the difficult task was assigned of
revising the prophetical books of the Old Testament; and Featley tells us
that “for his great skill in the originall Languages,” the other members
of the company, “Doctor Smith, afterward Bishop of Gloster; Doctor
Harding, President of Magdalens; Doctor Kilbie, Rector of Lincolne
Colledge; Dr. Bret, and others, imployed in that worke by his Majesty, had
recourse” to him “once a weeke, and in his Lodgings perfected their
Notes; and though in the midst of this Worke, the gout first tooke him,
and after a consumption, of which he dyed; yet in a great part of his
sicknesse the meeting held at his Lodging, and he lying on his Pallet,
assisted them, and in a manner in the very translation of the booke of
life, was translated to a better life.”[54] Rainolds died May 21st, 1607.

In the discharge of their responsible task the translators made use of all
the aids accessible to them for the perfecting of their work. Not only did
they bring to it a large amount of Hebrew and Greek scholarship, and the
results of their personal study of the original Scriptures, they were
careful to avail themselves also of the investigations of others who had
laboured in the same field. Translations and commentaries in the Chaldee,
Hebrew, Syriac, Greek, Latin, Spanish, French, Italian, and Dutch
languages were laid under contribution. “Neither,” they add, “did we
disdaine to revise that which wee had done, and to bring back to the
anvill that which wee had hammered; but having and using as great helpes
as were needfull, and fearing no reproch for slownesse, nor coveting
praise for expedition, wee have at length, through the good hand of the
Lord upon us, brought the worke to that passe that you see.”

When the several companies had completed their labours there was needed
some general supervision of the work before it finally issued from the
press. There is no evidence that the six companies ever met in one body
(though possibly the two companies in each of the three centres may have
had some communication with each other); but having spent almost three
years upon the revision, “at the end whereof,” says the writer of the
life of John Bois,[55] “the whole work being finished, and three copies of
the whole Bible sent from Cambridge, Oxford, and Westminster to London, a
new choice was to be made of six in all, two out of every company,[56] to
review the whole work, and extract one copy out of all these to be
committed to the press, for the dispatch of which business Mr. Downes and
Mr. Bois were sent for up to London, where,[57] meeting their four
fellow-labourers, they went daily to Stationers’ Hall, and in
three-quarters of a year fulfilled their task, all which time they had
from the Company of Stationers thirty shillings[58] each per week duly
paid them, though they had nothing before but the self-rewarding,
ingenious industry.”[59] “Last of all Bilson, Bishop of Winchester, and
Dr. Miles Smith, again reviewed the whole work, and prefixed arguments to
the several books.”

And thus at length, as Thomas Fuller quaintly puts it, “after long
expectation, and great desire, the new translation of the Bible (most
beautifully printed) by a select and competent number of Divines appointed
for the purpose, not being too many, lest one should trouble another,
and yet many, lest in any things might haply escape them. Who, neither
coveting praise for expedition, nor fearing reproach for slackness (seeing
in a business of moment none deserve blame for convenient slowness), had
expended almost three years in a work, not only examining the channels by
the fountain, translations with the original, which was absolutely
necessary, but also comparing channels with channels, which was abundantly
useful.” “These, with Jacob, rolled away the stone from the mouth of the
Well of Life, so that now Rachel’s weak women may freely come, both to
drink themselves, and to water the flocks of their families at the



On the title-page of the first edition of King James’s Bible there
appeared as now the legend, “Appointed to be read in Churches.” Whence
this originated is unknown; it is even uncertain what meaning is to be
attached to the words. Some contend[61] that they mean nothing more than
that the book contained the directions in accordance with which the
Scriptures were “appointed” to be read in public worship, such as are now
given in the Book of Common Prayer. But, however this may be, there is no
evidence that this Bible was ever formally sanctioned, either by the king,
or by Parliament, or by Convocation. The king, as we have seen, encouraged
the making of the revision, but that the revision when made was, by any
public act on his part, invested with any special authority, is a fancy
altogether unsupported by fact. Its designation as the Authorized
Version has been due simply to common parlance; the claim which that
designation seems to assert is absolutely baseless.

It was not in virtue of any privileges conferred upon it by those in
authority, but by its intrinsic excellence, that this version made its way
into general use, and at length supplanted all previous versions. Its
chief, if not only, competitor was the Genevan. So strong was the
attachment of many to the latter that two editions of it, one a folio and
the other a quarto, were published by the king’s printer in the very year
in which the new version was issued, and during at least five years after
that date[62] various other editions were issued from the same source.
After 1616 the Genevan ceased to be printed in England, but the demand for
it still continuing, various editions were printed on the Continent, and
thence introduced into this country. A folio edition, printed at
Amsterdam, bears so late a date as 1644. In 1649, in order to win the
favour of those who still clung to their old favourite, an edition of the
new version was issued with the Genevan notes. After this date the
revision of 1611 may be said to have gained for itself universal
recognition, and for more than 230 years it has been the accepted and
cherished Bible of almost all English-speaking people.

We should, however, form a very erroneous opinion both of the spirit and
of the learning of King James’s translators, if we were to suppose that
they would have claimed finality for their work. They were too well
acquainted with the state of the original texts not to know what need
there was for further research after the most ancient and trustworthy
authorities. They were too keenly sensitive to the difficulties of
translation not to feel that they must often have failed to convey the
exact meaning of the words they were attempting to render. They were too
conscious of the merits of their predecessors, and of the extent to which
they had profited by their labours, to hesitate to acknowledge that others
might in like manner profit by what they themselves had done. And they
were too loyal in their reverence for the Scriptures, and too devoutly
anxious that every imperfection should be removed from the form in which
they were given to their fellow-countrymen, to offer any discouragement to
those who should seek to remove the blemishes that might still remain.
They would strongly have deprecated any attempt to find in their labours a
plea against further improvement; and they would have emphatically
proclaimed that the best expression of thankfulness for their services,
and of respect for themselves, was in the imitation of their example, and
in the promotion of further efforts for the perfecting of the book they so
profoundly loved.

In the case of such a book as the Bible, however perfect the translation
which may at any time be made, the duty of revision is one of recurring
obligation. The necessity for it is inevitable, and this from two causes
in constant operation. (1) By the imperfection that attaches to all kinds
of human labour various departures from the standard form became gradually
introduced in the process of reproduction; and (2) by the natural growth
of language, and the attendant changes in the meaning of terms, that which
at one time was a faithful rendering becomes at another obscure or

No long time elapsed before blemishes arose in the version of 1611 from
the first of these causes, and, to use the language of the translators
themselves, their translation needed “to be maturely considered and
examined, that being rubbed and polished it might shine as gold more
brightly.” The invention of printing, although it has largely diminished
the liability to error in the multiplication of copies, has not, as
everyone knows who has had occasion to minutely examine printed works,
altogether removed them. Various typographical errors soon made their
appearance in the printed copies of the Bible, and these became repeated
and multiplied in successive editions, until at length no inconsiderable
number of variations, sometimes amounting to several thousands, could be
traced between different copies. Most of these it is true were unimportant
variations, but some of them were of a more serious nature. The following
instances will serve to illustrate this. The dates attached are the dates
of the editions in which the errors may be found:

Exod. xx. 14. “Thou shalt commit adultery,” _for_ “Thou shalt not.” 1631,
Lond., 8vo.[63]

Numb. xxv. 18. “They vex you with their wives,” _for_ “their wiles.” 1638,
Lond., 12mo.

Numb. xxvi. 10. “The fire devoured two thousand and fifty men,” _for_ “two
hundred and fifty.” 1638, Lond., 12mo.

Deut. xxiv. 3. “If the latter husband ate her,” _for_ “hate her.” 1682,

2 Sam. xxiii. 20. “He slew two lions like men,” _for_ “two lion-like men.”
1638, Lond., 12mo.

Job xxix. 3. “By his light I shined through darkness,” _for_ “I walked
through.” 1613, Lond.

Isaiah xxix. 13. “Their fear toward me is taught by the people of men,”
_for_ “by the precept of men.” 1638, Lond., 12mo.

Jer. iv. 17. “Because she hath been religious against me,” _for_ “hath
been rebellious.” 1637, Edin., 8vo.

Jer. xviii. 21. “Deliver up their children to the swine,” _for_ “to the
famine.” 1682, Lond.

Ezek. xxiii. 7. “With all their idols she delighted herself,” _for_ “she
defiled herself.” 1613, Lond.

Matt. xxvi. 36. “Then cometh Judas with them unto a place called
Gethsemane,” _for_ “Then cometh Jesus.” 1611, Lond.

Acts vi. 3. “Look ye out among you seven men of honest report ... whom ye
may appoint,” _for_ “whom we may appoint.” 1638, Camb. fo.[64]

1 Cor. v. 1. “And such fornication as is not so much as not among the
Gentiles,” _for_ “not so much as named.” 1629, Lond., fo.[65]

1 Cor. vi. 9. “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall inherit the kingdom
of God?” _for_ “shall not inherit.” 1653, Lond., 32mo.

2 Tim. iv. 16. “I pray God that it may be laid to their charge,” _for_
“may not be laid.” 1613, Lond.

Titus i. 14. “Now giving heed to Jewish fables,” _for_ “not giving heed.”
1636 Edin., 8vo.

James v. 4. “The Lord of Sabbath,” _for_ “Sabaoth.” 1640, Lond., 8vo.

1 John i. 4. “That our joy may be full,” _for_ “that your joy.” 1769, Oxf.

These facts will serve to show how soon some kind of revision became
needful, and that a true reverence for Scripture is shown, not by
opposition to revision, but by a desire, and even demand, that it should
be undertaken. This necessity became all the more imperative in the case
of the revision of 1611, because there existed no standard copy to which
appeal could in all cases be made as evidence of the conclusions reached
by the translators. It is a curious and remarkable fact, that two
editions, differing in several respects, were issued by the king’s
printer, Robert Barker, in 1611, and competent judges are not agreed as to
which of these two priority in time belongs. Nor even if this point were
satisfactorily settled, would it suffice to reproduce that one of the two
texts which might be proved to be the earlier. For excellent as was the
main work done by the translators, the final revision and the oversight of
the sheets as they passed through the press were not so thorough as was to
be desired. In the most carefully prepared edition of this revision that
has ever been issued, viz., the Cambridge Paragraph Bible, edited by Dr.
Scrivener, the learned and laborious editor has seen it right to depart
from the printed text of 1611 in more than nine hundred places.[66] It
will be manifest that such corrections, whenever called for, ought not to
be made in any haphazard way, and that it is in the interest of all that
careful revisions of the printed texts should from time to time be made,
and that they should be made by men thoroughly competent for the task.

       *       *       *       *       *

The second cause to which reference has been made is, of course, much
slower in its operation, but though slow it is certain; and sooner or
later every version, whensoever and by whomsoever made, must call for
revision, because of the changes to which all language is subject. Words
which were once in common use pass altogether out of currency, and are
utterly unintelligible save to a learned few. Other words change their
meaning, and give to the sentences in which they occur a different and
sometimes an alien sense to that which they formerly conveyed. Others
again, while retaining fundamentally their original sense, become limited
in their range of application, and when used in other connections than
those to which they are thus confined by custom, become grotesque and
disturb the mind of the reader by the strange associations which they

How many words found in our Bibles have, since 1611, passed out of general
use the following list will show. Most of these are wholly without
meaning, even to an educated reader; a few survive as local
provincialisms, and a few also are still employed in the technical
vocabulary of certain arts or professions. All are out of place in a book
intended for universal use.

    _Assay._ Deut. iv. 34; Job iv. 2; Acts ix. 26, &c.

    _Attent._ 2 Chron. vi. 40.

    _Bestead._ Isa. viii. 21.

    _Blain._ Exod. ix. 9, 10.

    _Bolled._ Exod. ix. 31.

    [_Brickle._ Wisd. xv. 13.]

    _Brigandine._ Jer. xlvi. 4; li. 3.

    _Bruit._ Jer. x. 22; Nah. iii. 19.

    _Calamus._ Exod. xxx. 23; Cant. iv. 14; Exek. xxvii. 19.

    _Camphire._ Cant. i. 14; iv. 13.

    _Causey._ 1 Chron. xxvi. 18.

    _Chanel-bone._ Job xxxi. 22, _marg._

    _Chapiter._ Exod. xxxvi. 38, &c.

    _Chapman._ 2 Chron. ix. 14.

    _Chaws._ Ezek. xxix. 4.

    [_Cithern._ 1 Macc. iv. 54.]

    _Cockatrice._ Isa. xi. 8, &c.

    _Collops._ Job xv. 27.

    _Confection._ Exod. xxx. 35.

    _Coney._ Lev. xi. 5, &c.

    _To Convent._ Jer. xlix. 19, _marg._

    _Cotes._ 2 Chron. xxxii. 28.

    _To Couch._ Dent, xxxiii. 13.

    _Countervail._ Esth. vii. 4.

    _Daysman._ Job ix. 33.

    [_Dehort._ 1 Macc. ix. 9.]

    _Delicates._ Jer. li. 34.

    _Dredge._ Job xxiv. 6, _marg._

    _Dure._ Matt. xiii. 21.

    _Earing._ Gen. xlv. 6.

    _Endirons._ Ezek. xl. 43, _marg._

    _Flue-net._ Hab. i. 15, _marg._

    _Gier eagle._ Lev. xi. 18.

    _Gorget._ 1 Sam. xvii. 6, _marg._

    _Habergeon._ Exod. xxviii. 32; xxxix. 23, &c.

    _Helve._ Deut. xix. 5.

    _Hough._ Josh. xi. 6, 9.

    _Implead._ Acts xix. 38.

    _Jewry._ Dan. v. 13; John vii. 1.

    _Knop._ Exod. xxv. 31, &c.

    _Leasing._ Ps. iv. 2; v. 6.

    _Makebate._ 2 Tim. iii. 3, _marg._

    _Muffler._ Isa. iii. 19.

    _Neesing._ Job xli. 18.

    _Ossifrage._ Lev. xi. 13.

    _Ouches._ Exod. xxviii. 11, &c.

    _Pilled._ Gen. xxx. 37.

    _Prelation._ 1 Cor. xiii., _heading_.

    _Purtenance._ Exod. xii. 9.

    _Ravin._ Gen. xlix. 27.

    _Rereward._ Num. x. 25, &c.

    _Scall._ Lev. xiii. 30.

    _Scrabble._ 1 Sam. xxi. 13.

    _A Settle._ Ezek. xliii. 14, &c.

    _Silverling._ Isa. vii. 23.

    _Sith._ Ezek. xxxv. 6.

    _Tabering._ Nah. ii. 7.

    _Tache._ Exod. xxvi. 6.

    _Throughaired._ Jer. xxii. 14, _marg._

    _Thrum._ Isa. xxxviii. 12, _marg._

    _Viol._ Isa. v. 12.

    _Wimple._ Isa. iii. 22.

A still larger number of words or phrases, though still finding a place in
our current speech, have wholly or partially changed their meanings.
Amongst these are the following:

    _All to brake._ Judges ix. 5.

    _Base._ 1 Cor. i. 28; 2 Cor. x. 1.

    _Botch._ Exod. ix. 9.

    _Bought of a sling._ 1 Sam. xxv. 29, _marg._

    _Bravery._ Isa. iii. 18.

    _Bray._ Prov. xxvii. 27.

    _By and by._ Matt. xiii. 21; Luke xxi. 9.

    _Captivate._ 2 Chron. xxviii.; Jer. xxxix., _headings_.

    _Careful._ Dan. iii. 16; Phil. iv. 6.

    _Carriage._ Judges xviii. 21; Acts xxi. 15.

    _Cast about._ Jer. xli. 14.

    _Chafed._ 2 Sam. xvii. 8.

    _Champaign._ Deut. xi. 30.

    _Charger._ Matt. xiv. 8; Mark vi. 25.

    _Charity._ 1 Cor. xiii. 1, &c.

    _Churl._ Isa. xxxii. 5, 7.

    _Cieling._ 1 Kings vi. 15.

    _Clouted._ Josh. ix. 5.

    _Cockle._ Job xxxi. 40.

    _Comfort._ Job ix. 27.

    _Confectionary._ 1 Sam. viii. 13.

    _Contain._ 1 Cor. vii. 9.

    _Conversation._ Gal. i. 18; Phil. iii. 20; Heb. xiii. 5.

    _Convince._ Jno. viii. 48; Jas. ii. 9.

    _Cunning._ Ps. cxxxvii. 5.

    _Curious._ Exod. xxviii. 8; xxix. 5.

    _Damnation._ 1 Cor. xi. 29.

    _Delicately._ Lam. iv. 5; Luke vii. 25.

    _Discover._ Ps. xxix. 9; Mic. i. 6; Hab. iii. 13.

    _Doctrine._ Mark iv. 2.

    _Duke._ Gen. xxxvi. 15.

    _Ensign._ Num. ii. 2; Isa. v. 26.

    _Fast._ Ruth ii. 8, 21.

    _Fetch a compass._ Acts xxviii. 13.

    _Flood._ Josh. xxiv. 2, 3, &c.

    _Footman._ Jer. xii. 5.

    _Fret._ Lev. xiii. 55.

    _Grudge._ Ps. lix. 15.

    _Hale._ Luke xii. 58; Acts viii. 3.

    _Harness._ 1 Kings xx. 11; xxii. 34.

    _Indite._ Ps. xlv. 1.

    _Jangling._ 1 Tim. i. 6.

    _Kerchief._ Ezek. xiii. 18, 21.

    _Lace._ Exod. xxviii. 28.

    _Latchet._ Isa. v. 27; Mark i. 7.

    _Let._ Exod. v. 24; Isa. xliii. 13; Rom. i. 13; 2 Thess. ii. 7.

    _Lewd._ Acts xvii. 5.

    _Lewdness._ Acts xviii. 14.

    _Man-of-War._ Exod. xv. 3, &c.

    _Maul._ Prov. xxv. 18.

    _Minister._ Josh. i. 1; 1 Kings x. 5; Luke iv. 20.

    _Napkin._ Luke xix. 20; John xi. 44; xx. 7.

    _Naughtiness._ 1 Sam. xvii. 28; Prov. xi. 6; James i. 21.

    _Naughty._ Prov. vi. 12.

    _Nephew._ Judges xii. 14; 1 Tim. v. 4.

    _Observe._ Mark vi. 20.

    _Occupy._ Exod. xxxviii. 24; Judg. xvi. 11; Ezek. xxvii. 9; Luke xix.

    _Painfulness._ 2 Cor. xi. 27.

    _Palestine._ Exod. xv. 14; Isa. xiv. 29.

    _Pap._ Luke xi. 27; Rev. i. 13.

    _Parcel._ Gen. xxxix. 19; Josh. xxiv. 32; Ruth iv. 3; John iv. 5.

    _Peep._ Isa. viii. 19; x. 14.

    _Poll._ Num. i. 2, &c.

    _Pommel._ 2 Chron. ix. 12.

    _Port._ Neh. ii. 13.

    _Prefer._ Esth. ii. 9; Dan. vi. 3; John i. 25.

    _Presently._ Matt. xxvi. 53; Phil. ii. 23.

    _Prevent._ Ps. lix. 10; cxix. 147; 1 Thess. iv. 15.

    _Proper._ Acts i. 19; 1 Cor. vii. 7; Heb. xi. 32.

    _Prophesy._ 1 Cor. xi. 5; xiv. 3, 4.

    _Publican._ Matt. v. 46, &c.

    _Purchase._ 1 Tim. iii. 13.

    _Ranges._ Lev. xi. 35.

    _Refrain._ Prov. x. 19.

    _Riot._ Titus i. 6; 1 Peter iv. 4; 2 Peter ii. 13.

    _Rioting._ Rom. xiii. 13.

    _Riotous._ Prov. xxiii. 20; Luke xv. 13.

    _Road._ 1 Sam. xxvii. 10.

    _Scrip._ 1 Sam. xvii. 40; Matt. x. 10, &c.

    _Secure._ Judges viii. 11; xviii. 7, 10; Job xi. 18; xii. 6; Matt.
    xxviii. 14.

    _Set to._ John iii. 32.

    _Shroud._ Ezek. xxxi. 3.

    _Sod._ Gen. xxv. 29.

    _Sottish._ Jer. iv. 22.

    _Table._ Hab. ii. 2; Luke i. 63; 2 Cor. iii. 3.

    _Target._ 1 Sam. xvii. 6; 1 Kings x. 16.

    _Tire._ Isa. iii. 18; Ezek. xxiv. 17, 23.

    _Tired._ 2 Kings ix. 30.

    _Turtle._ Cant. ii. 12.

    _Vagabond._ Gen. iv. 12; Ps. cix. 10; Acts xix. 13.

    _Venison._ Gen. xxv. 28.

    _Wealth._ 2 Chron. i. 12; Ps. cxii. 3; 1 Cor. x. 24.

    _Witty._ Prov. viii. 22.

If, in reading these passages, we attach to the words here mentioned the
meaning that they ordinarily bear, the resulting sense will in each case
be very different from that intended to be conveyed by the translators. In
some of the passages the sense thus given will be so manifestly
inappropriate that the reader is necessarily driven to seek for some
explanation; but in others of them no such feeling may be awakened, and
the reader is undesignedly betrayed into error. Through no fault of the
translators, but by the inevitable law of change in language, the words
which once served as stepping-stones, by whose aid the reader could rise
to a clearer perception of the truth of God, have become stumbling-blocks
in his path, and cause him to wander from the way. Respect, therefore, for
the translators, as well as loyalty to the Scripture, constrain the demand
that these rough places be made plain.



The two reasons for further revision which were illustrated in the last
lecture are, as will have been seen, of universal application, and must
sooner or later apply to every version of the Scriptures, however perfect
that version may have been when it was first made. But whatever the skill
with which King James’s translators fulfilled their labours (and it is
universally acknowledged to be worthy of the highest praise), it would be
a vain fancy to imagine that theirs was a perfect work. They themselves
would never have claimed such an honour for it, and already in their own
day some of their renderings were called in question by competent men.
Even if they had never failed in applying the means at their command for
the interpretation of the Hebrew and Greek originals, they knew that the
knowledge then possessed of these ancient tongues was far from complete,
and that by further study and advancing research it would be possible to
attain to a more accurate and extensive acquaintance with them.

The progress made in the knowledge of Greek and Hebrew during the last two
centuries has, in fact, been such as the revisers of 1611 could have
little anticipated. A long list might easily be drawn up of eminent
scholars who have given themselves to the investigation of the grammar of
the two sacred languages, and of others who have laboured in illustrating
the meaning of their terms. In the case of Hebrew, large additions to our
knowledge, both of its grammar and its vocabulary, have been won from a
source almost entirely unexplored in former times; namely, the study of
Arabic and other cognate languages; and in the case both of Hebrew and
Greek, much has been gained by the labours of those who have given
themselves to the investigation of the general principles of language, and
to the study of the relations which different languages sustain to each
other. The knowledge of Hebrew and Greek thus attained has been from time
to time applied by a still larger number of eminent men to the elucidation
of the several books of the Bible, and an immense amount of valuable
material for their interpretation has thus been stored up. The meaning of
obscure and difficult passages has been elaborately and independently
discussed by men of different nationalities, and of different types of
theological opinion, and in this way the sense of many passages formerly
misunderstood has been satisfactorily determined. And such being the case,
it is clearly the incumbent duty of all who truly reverence the Scriptures
to desire that these imperfections and obscurities shall be removed, and
the more so that some of these erroneous renderings have been used by the
opponents of the Bible as their weapons of attack.

That the reader may be able to form some definite judgment upon the matter
here presented to him, his attention is called to the following selection
of passages from different parts of the Bible, in which it will now be
generally acknowledged by competent judges that the translators of 1611
have failed to give a faithful representation of the meaning of the
original texts:

Gen. iv. 15 is rendered, in the version of 1611, as in previous versions:
“And the Lord set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him,”
and no small amount of ingenuity has been wasted in the endeavour to
decide what this supposed mark upon the body of Cain might be. The
rendering moreover altogether misrepresented the import of the passage.
The “mark” or “sign” was not something intended for the warning of others,
but was given to remove the fears of Cain himself, expressed in verses 13,
14: “The Lord set a sign for Cain [to assure him] that whoever found him
would not kill him.”

Gen. xx. 16. Here Abimelech is made to say to Sarah, “Behold, I have given
thy brother a thousand _pieces_ of silver; behold, he is to thee a
covering of the eyes, with all that are with thee, and with all _other_;
thus she was reproved,” a statement which is both misleading and obscure.
It was not Abraham, but the present of money, that was to be for Sarah a
covering of the eyes, that is, a testimony to her virtue, and by this act
of the king she was not reproved for her conduct, but was cleared in her
character. The latter part should be rendered, “Behold, it shall be to
thee a covering of the eyes ... and thus she was righted.”

Exod. xvi. 15. “And when the children of Israel saw _it_, they said one to
another, It is manna, for they wist not what it was.” To the ordinary
reader this seems to involve a contradiction; but the stumbling-block is
at once removed by the more faithful rendering, “They said one to another,
What is it? for they wist not what it was.” Further on, in verse 31, it is
stated that from this cry, “What is it?” the bread from heaven thus given
to them was called Manna, or more correctly Man (the Hebrew word for

Josh. vi. 4. “And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets
of rams’ horns.” This is a very unfortunate rendering; for not only are
rams’ horns solid, and so also unsuitable for wind instruments, but also
it is only by the merest fancy that any reference to rams can be brought
in at all. The word rendered “rams” is “jubilee,” the same as that given
to the great Year of Release. It denotes either some kind of trumpet, and
is so used Exod. xix. 13, or the sound or signal given by a trumpet. The
Year of Release derives its name, the Year of Jubilee, from the solemn
sounding of trumpets throughout the land with which it was inaugurated.
The original term should here be kept, and the verse should read, “And
seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of jubilee.”[67]

Judges v. 7. “_The inhabitants of_ the villages ceased, they ceased in
Israel, until that I Deborah arose, that I arose a mother in Israel.” Here
the translators first of all misunderstood the word which they have
rendered “villages,” and were then driven to introduce the words “the
inhabitants of,” for which, as the italics show, there was nothing in the
Hebrew. The picture really drawn in the verse is not that of the
depopulation of the country, but of the defenceless and disorganized
condition of the people through the absence of judges or rulers. The
Septuagint gives the true sense: “The rulers ceased, they ceased in

Judges xv. 19. “But God clave an hollow place that _was_ in the jaw, and
there came water thereout.” A strange misrepresentation of the meaning of
the original. The hollow place was not in the jaw-bone with which Sampson
had slain the Philistines, but in some cliff in the neighbourhood, and
which derived its name, Ramath-lehi, or more briefly Lehi, from this
memorable exploit. The words should be rendered, “But God clave the hollow
place which is in Lehi.”

1 Sam. ix. 20. “And as for thine asses that were lost three days ago, set
not thy mind on them, for they are found. And on whom _is_ all the desire
of Israel? _Is it_ not on thee and on all thy father’s house?” A needless
difficulty is here created by suggesting that already the hearts of the
people had been set upon Saul for their future king, whereas his future
elevation to that office was as yet known to Samuel only. This is removed
by the right rendering: “Whose are all the desirable things of Israel? Are
they not for thee, and for thy father’s house.”[69]

2 Sam. v. 6. “Except thou take away the blind and the lame thou shalt not
come in hither;” a statement to which the reader finds it difficult to
attach any appropriate sense. The verse is correctly rendered by
Coverdale, who reads, “Thou shalt not come hither, but the blynde and lame
shall dryve thee awaie.”

2 Sam. xiv. 14. “For we must needs die, and _are_ as water spilt on the
ground, which cannot be gathered up again; neither doth God respect _any_
person: yet doth he devise means, that his banished be not expelled from
him.” The statement that God doth not respect _any_ person, however true
in itself, has here no relation to the context. The natural meaning of the
original words is very different, “God doth not take away life,” that is,
as shown by what immediately follows, does not at once and without mercy
inflict punishment as soon as guilt is incurred, but “deviseth means,” &c.

2 Kings viii. 13. “And Hazael said, But what, is thy servant a dog, that
he should do this great thing?” Thus read, the words imply that Hazael
shrank indignantly from the actions described in the preceding verse;
whereas the sense of the passage is that he viewed himself as too
insignificant a person to do what he clearly regarded as a great exploit.
“But what is thy servant, the [or this] dog, that he should do this great

1 Chron. xvi. 7. “Then on that day David delivered first _this psalm_ to
thank the Lord into the hand of Asaph and his brethren.” This conveys the
impression that the psalm which follows is the first psalm that David
published, whereas the statement is that on this memorable day--the day
on which David brought up the ark from the house of Obed-edom--he formally
appointed Asaph and his brethren to the office of superintending the
service of praise. (Compare verse 37.) “Then on that day David first gave
the praising of the Lord into the hand of Asaph and his brethren.”[70]

Job iv. 6. “Is not _this_ thy fear, thy confidence, thy hope, and the
uprightness of thy ways?” By the insertion of “_this_,” a wrong complexion
is given to the passage. Eliphaz, in reference to Job’s fainting under his
sufferings, calls attention to the confidence he had formerly professed on
the ground of his fear of God and of the uprightness of his conduct; and
so indirectly suggests that Job’s piety and uprightness had been unreal.
“Is not thy fear [_i.e._ thy fear of God, thy piety] thy confidence; and
thy hope, _is it not_ even the integrity of thy ways?”

Job xix. 26. “And _though_ after my skin _worms_ destroy this _body_, yet
in my flesh shall I see God.” As the italics show, the original contains
nothing corresponding to the words “though,” “worms,” and “body.” Their
insertion does not indeed change radically the meaning of the verse, but
they weaken its force, and in a measure alter its imagery. The picture
presented by the original is a very vivid one. The patriarch, pointing to
his body wasting away under disease, says, “After my skin is destroyed
thus, yet from my flesh shall I see God.”

Job xxiv. 16. “In the dark they dig through houses, _which_ they had
marked for themselves in the daytime; they know not the light.” Here the
meaning of the second clause has been altogether missed, and the whole
passage is thereby greatly obscured. The writer is describing the deeds of
those who rebel against the light and love the darkness: as with the
murderer (_v._ 14) and the adulterer (_v._ 15), so is it with the robber.
“In the dark they dig through houses; in the daytime they shut themselves
up; they know not the light.”

Job xxxi. 35. “Oh that one would hear me! behold, my desire _is_, _that_
the Almighty would answer me, and _that_ mine adversary had written a
book.” Job, having asserted his innocence, expresses his strong desire
that the charges against him might be brought for decision before the
divine tribunal. He, on his part, is quite prepared for the trial; there,
he says, is his statement, signed and sealed; let the adversary in like
manner present his indictment; he would then be sure of a triumphant
issue. “Oh that I had one who would hear me! Behold my mark! May the
Almighty answer me, and that I had the accusation that my adversary had
written. Surely, I would carry it on my shoulder, I would bind it as
chaplets upon me.”

Ps. xvi. 2, 3. “_Thou art_ my Lord; my goodness _extendeth_ not to thee.
_But_ to the saints that _are_ in the earth, and _to_ the excellent, in
whom is all my delight.” Every reader of this psalm must have felt how
obscure, if not unintelligible, are these words. A more faithful rendering
gives a clear and appropriate sense, “Thou art my Lord, I have no good
above thee. As for the saints on the earth, and the excellent, in them is
all my delight.”[71]

Ps. xlii. 4. “When I remember these _things_, I pour out my soul in me,
for I had gone with the multitude. I went with them to the house of God.”
The words of the Psalmist are not, as this rendering makes them to be, a
mere statement of what happens whenever he remembers the sorrows of the
past, and the mockery of his adversaries. They are a declaration of his
purpose to remember, with lively emotion and gratitude, the privileges and
mercies with which he had been blessed. “I will remember these things
[_i.e._ the things he is about to mention], and I will pour out my soul
within me, how I passed along with the multitude, how I went with them [or
how I led them] to the house of God.”

Ps. xlix. 5. “Wherefore should I fear in the days of evil, _when_ the
iniquity of my heels shall compass me about?” This, though seemingly an
exact rendering of the Hebrew, wholly misleads the English reader. The
phrase, “iniquity of my heels,” can only suggest to him the iniquity which
the man himself has committed, a sense which is altogether unsuited to the
passage. The Psalmist would never say that his own personal transgressions
were not to him a ground of fear. The word, which in Hebrew means “heel,”
is that also which, by a slight modification, forms the name of the
patriarch Jacob, the “Heeler,” or supplanter of his brother. In the
opinion of many scholars, the simple form here used admits of the same
meaning, and they render, “when the iniquity of my supplanters [or the
iniquity of those who plot against me] compasseth me about.” Whatever be
the true explanation of the Hebrew phrase, it is quite certain that it is
the iniquity of others, and not of the speaker, which is referred to. Some
change, therefore, in the rendering is clearly called for.

Ps. xci. 9, 10. “Because thou hast made the Lord, _which is_ my refuge,
_even_ the Most High, thy habitation; there shall no evil befall thee,”
&c. The earlier English translations, the Bishops’, the Genevan, the Great
Bible, and Wycliffe’s, have all kept nearer to the original than this. The
most ancient version of all, the Septuagint, renders it correctly. The
psalm is one of those which are intended to be sung by two singers, or two
companies of singers, responding one to the other, and hence arises the
frequent change of person that occurs in it. In the first clause of this
verse we have one of the singers chanting, “For thou, O Lord, art my
refuge.” In the second clause we have the response of the other singer,
“Thou hast made the Most High thy habitation; there shall no evil befall
thee,” &c., down to end of verse 13.

Eccl. iv. 14. “For out of prison he cometh to reign; whereas, also, _he
that is_ born in his kingdom _becometh_ poor.” The meaning attached by the
Revisers of 1611 to the second clause seems to be, that the old and
foolish king referred to in the previous verse, who was “born in his
kingdom,” that is, who succeeded to the kingly power by inheritance,
becomes, through his obstinacy, a poor man. This sense can only be got
from the words by much straining, and has led to the introduction of the
word “becometh,” which represents nothing in the original.[72] The correct
rendering gives a plain and suitable sense: “For from the house of
prisoners he goeth forth to reign, although in his kingdom [namely, the
kingdom over which he now rules] he was born poor.”

Isa. lxiii. 19. “We are _thine_: thou never barest rule over them; they
were not called by thy name.” The sense of this passage is entirely
changed by the introduction of the word “thine.” The verse is the
penitential acknowledgment of the depressed condition into which the
nation had fallen in consequence of its sins. They are no longer as the
chosen inheritance (v. 17), they are as an alien people. The Genevan
translators give the true sense of the passage, “We have been [better, We
are become] as they over whom thou never barest rule, and upon whom thy
name was not called.”

Jer. iv. 1, 2. “If thou wilt return, O Israel, saith the Lord, return unto
me: and if thou wilt put away thine abominations out of my sight, then
shalt thou not remove. And thou shalt swear, The Lord liveth, in truth, in
judgment, and in righteousness; and the nations shall bless themselves in
him, and in him shall they glory.” This as it stands is hopelessly
obscure. The passage is an emphatic announcement of the blessings that
would come to the nations from the penitent return of Israel to its
faithful allegiance. If Israel will return, will put away all its
abominations, and no longer swearing by idols, as if they were the highest
objects of reverence, should make in truth and uprightness their appeals
to Jehovah, then the nations would share in the blessedness of the
kingdom. “If thou wilt return, O Israel, saith the Lord, wilt return unto
me, and if thou wilt put away thine abominations out of my sight, and wilt
not go astray, and wilt swear, ‘The Lord liveth’ in truth, in judgment,
and in righteousness, then the nations shall bless themselves in him,” &c.

Ezek. x. 14. “And every one had four faces: the first face was the face of
a cherub, and the second face was the face of a man, and the third the
face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle.” This conveys a wrong
impression. The prophet is describing, not as he is here represented, the
four faces of all the cherubim, but one face only of each. The Bishops’
Bible gives the true sense by rendering, “Every one of them had four
faces, so that the face of the first was the face of a cherub, and the
face of the second was the face of a man, and of the third the face of a
lion, and of the fourth the face of an eagle.”

Ezek. xxii. 15, 16. “And I will scatter thee among the heathen, and
disperse thee in the countries, and will consume thy filthiness out of
thee. And thou shalt take thine inheritance in thyself in the sight of the
heathen, and thou shalt know that I am the Lord.” The dark phrase, “thou
shalt take thine inheritance in thyself,” is commonly explained to mean,
that whereas aforetime they were God’s inheritance, they shall now be left
to find their inheritance by themselves. A more lucid and more suitable
meaning is given to the words by the rendering adopted by most modern
commentators, “thou shalt be profaned through thyself in the sight of the

Dan. iii. 25. “Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire,
and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of
God.” It is clearly misleading to attribute to Nebuchadnezzar any such
exalted conception as that which we attach to the phrase, “the Son of
God,” and so to render the clause misrepresents the original. The correct
translation is “one like to a son of the gods.” A similar error occurs in
vii. 13, where “one like the Son of man,” should be “one like a son of

Hos. vi. 3. “Then shall we know, _if_ we follow on to know the Lord;” thus
making the prophet to declare that the attainment of knowledge is
dependent upon our perseverance in the search after it. This is an
important truth, but is not the meaning of the verse, which is simply an
emphatic exhortation to know God and to persevere in knowing Him. “Yea,
let us know, let us follow on to know, the Lord.”

Hosea xiii. 14. “O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy
destruction.” Though there is some difference of opinion respecting the
right rendering of the earlier part of this verse, all are agreed that
these should be rendered as they are quoted in 1 Cor. xv. 55, “Where are
thy plagues, O death? Where is thy destruction, O grave?”

Matt. vi. 16. The rendering “they disfigure their faces, that they may
appear unto men to fast,” misleads the reader by conveying the impression
that the Pharisees were endeavouring to obtain credit under false
pretences--were seeming to fast when not doing so in reality; whereas the
conduct condemned is that of parading, and calling public attention to,
their religious observances. “They disfigure their faces, that they may be
seen of men that they are fasting.”[73] So also in verse 18.

Matt. xi. 2. “Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ,
he sent two of his disciples.” Here the true force of the passage is
missed. “Christ,” as used by us, is a proper name, designating the person,
and not simply the office of our Lord. It was not because John had heard
of certain works done by Jesus of Nazareth that he sent his disciples to
Him, but because he recognized in the accounts which were brought to him
deeds characteristic of the Christ, the promised Messiah. “When John heard
in the prison the works of the Christ.”

Matt. xv. 3. “Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your
tradition?” The commandment of God might indeed be transgressed by
compliance with the traditions of men, but this is not the meaning of our
Lord’s words. The Pharisees had asked why the disciples did not observe
the traditions of the elders respecting washing. Our Lord justifies them
by calling attention to the wrong doing of those who so exalted these
outward observations, in themselves mere matters of indifference, as on
their account to make void the commandments of God. “Why do ye also
transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?”[74]

Mark vi. 20. “For Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and an
holy, and observed him.” This erroneous rendering has come down through
Tyndale, the Great Bible, and the Genevan, the last of these, however,
giving it in the less obscure form, “and did him reverence.” The passage
is rightly given by Wycliffe, “and kept him;” _i.e._ kept him in safety.

Luke i. 59. “And they called him Zacharias.” The form employed in the
Greek expresses that the action here spoken of was attempted only, not
completed, “they would have called him Zacharias.”

Luke xxi. 19. “In your patience possess ye your souls,” a translation
which altogether misses the meaning. The clause is not an exhortation to
the maintenance of a calm composure in trouble, but is an exhortation to
the acquirement of a higher and nobler life through the brave endurance of
suffering. “In your patience win ye your lives.” In the better texts this
is given in the form of an assurance: “In your patience ye shall win your

Luke xxiii. 15. “No, nor yet Herod: for I sent you to him; and lo, nothing
worthy of death is done unto him.” Words unto which an intelligible sense
can be put only by straining them to mean that nothing had been done to
our Lord to show that in the judgment of Herod He was worthy of death. All
obscurity is removed by the more faithful rendering, “nothing worthy of
death hath been done by him.”

John iv. 27. “And upon this came his disciples, and marvelled that he
talked with the woman.” The surprise of the disciples was not occasioned
by the fact that our Lord was conversing with this particular woman; they
were surprised that He should talk with any woman. The correct rendering
is, as given by the Rheims, “and they marueiled that he talked with a

John v. 35. “He was a burning and a shining light.” Though this, by
frequent quotation, has passed into a sort of proverbial phrase, it is a
most unfortunate rendering, and gives an entirely wrong impression of the
meaning of the passage. As thus read it sets forth the pre-eminence of
John, whereas its true import is to emphasize the subordinate nature of
his office and work. Christ, as stated in the first chapter of this
Gospel, was “the Light.” In comparison with Him, John was only a lamp
which, in order that it may give light, must first be kindled from some
other source. “He was the lamp which is kindled and [so] shineth.”

John xv. 3. “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto
you,” thus representing the word to be the instrument through which the
cleansing was wrought. But though this be true, it is not the truth here
set forth. It was not “through,” but “on account of” the word, _i.e._
because of its virtue and its cleansing power, that they were clean.
Here, again, Wycliffe is free from the error into which all the later
translators (except the Rheims) have fallen. He renders, “Now ye ben clene
for the word that I haue spokun to you.”

Acts ii. 23. “Ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and
slain.” The ordinary reader naturally takes the “wicked hands” to be the
hands of the Jews, whereas the reference is to the Romans, through whose
agency the Jews brought about the crucifixion of Christ, “and by the hands
of lawless men, ye crucified and slew.” Wycliffe, Tyndale, Coverdale, the
Genevan, the Bishops, and the Rheims, all render this clause correctly.

Acts xi. 17. “Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as _he did_
unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ.” This is incorrect, and
suggests a false contrast between “us” and “them,” as if the latter were
not believers. Faith in Christ is the ground upon which, in the case of
both parties, the gifts referred to were received. The verse is thus given
by Tyndale: “For as moche then as God gave them lyke gyftes, as he dyd
unto vs when we beleved on the Lorde Iesus Christ.”

Acts xxvi. 23. “That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first
that should rise from the dead, and should show light unto the people, and
to the Gentiles.” This both needlessly suggests a difficulty to many
readers, and altogether conceals one main point of the passage; namely,
that the resurrection of Christ was the great source from which
illumination would come both to Jews and to Gentiles, “and that He first
by _His_ resurrection from the dead should proclaim light to the people
and to the Gentiles.”

Rom. ix. 3. “For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my
brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh.” Such a wish it is impossible
that the Apostle could have entertained. His words are the expression of
his strong affection for his fellow-countrymen. “I could have wished,”
&c.; _i.e._ if such a wish had been right or possible.

Rom. xiii. 11. “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to
awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we
believed.” This is ambiguous English, and though a very careful reader
might gather the true sense from this rendering, it is very liable to be
taken as if meaning that our salvation is nearer than we anticipated; nor
is the ambiguity removed by the Genevan, which reads, “nearer than when we
believed it.” The reference is to the time of their first exercise of
faith in Christ, “nearer than when we _first_ believed.”

1 Cor. i. 21. “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom
knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them
that believe.” This rendering has been a fertile source of error, as if
preaching was in itself, or as viewed by the Corinthians, an inappropriate
means for the diffusion of the Gospel, a thought altogether at variance
with the tone of the context, and with the facts of history. The Greeks
were, of all the peoples of antiquity, the least disposed to think lightly
of oratory, and the whole tenor of the passage shows that their tendency
was to overrate, not underrate, the power of speech. What was foolishness
to them was not the act of preaching, but the doctrine preached--salvation
through a crucified Christ. The Rheims here clearly enough gives the true
sense, “it pleased God by the folishnes of the preaching to saue them that

1 Cor. ix. 5. “Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well
as other apostles?” This mode of speech implies that some only of the
other apostles were married. What the Greek states is that all or most of
them were. Here again the Rheims correctly renders, “as also the rest of
the Apostles.”

2 Cor. v. 14. “Because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were
all dead,” thus seeming to imply that the death of Christ upon the cross
is a proof that all men were in a state of spiritual death; whereas the
conclusion which the Apostle draws from the death of Christ is, that all
who truly believe in Him die to their old fleshly sinful life, “because
we thus judge, that if one died for all, then all died.”

Eph. iii 10. “To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in
heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God.”
It would only be after much careful consideration that the reader of these
words would discover that they cannot mean that the manifold wisdom of God
is to be known _by_ the Church. What the Apostle really states is, that it
was in the Divine purpose that through the Church the manifold wisdom of
God was to be made known to the angelic powers. Of all the ancient
versions the Rheims, though here, as usual, disfigured by its offensive
Latinisms, most clearly expresses the sense of the verse; its rendering
is, “that the manifold wisdom of God may be notified to the Princes and
Potentates in the celestials by the Church.”

Phil. iv. 3. “And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women
which laboured with me in the gospel.” This leaves it quite uncertain who
are the women referred to, whereas in the original it is plain that they
are the two women previously referred to, Euodia, and Syntyche; and the
reason why it is urged that assistance should be given to them, is that
they had bravely shared with Paul in the toil and conflict of the
Christian service. “Help them, for they have laboured with me in the

1 Tim. iv. 15. “Meditate upon these things.” This wholly fails to express
the apostle’s meaning. His exhortation goes beyond the region of thought;
it passes into the sphere of active life, and he urges Timothy to give
himself to the diligent practice of the several departments of labour
previously referred to. Of the old translators, Tyndale gives it
correctly, “These thynges exercyse.”

1 Tim. vi. 2. “And they that have believing masters, let them not despise
_them_, because they are brethren; but rather do them service, because
they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit.” The last clause
of this passage has, in all probability, grievously puzzled many a reader;
but with the fuller knowledge of the Greek syntax now possessed, all
obscurity passes away. No scholar would now hesitate in rendering, “do
them service because they who partake of the benefit are faithful and

1 Tim. vi. 5. “Supposing that gain is godliness.” Here again an
unnecessary difficulty is introduced; for it is hard to see how any sane
person could consider “gain” to be “godliness.” On the other hand, it is
unhappily no uncommon experience to meet with persons who treat religion
as a means of worldly advantage, and it is to such the Apostle refers. The
correct rendering is, “supposing that godliness is gain.”[76]

Heb. iv. 2. “For unto us was the gospel preached as well as unto them,” a
rendering which at once raises the objection that “the Gospel,” in the
sense which ordinary readers attach to the term, was not preached to the
Israelites in the wilderness; nor does any reference to “the Gospel” occur
in the immediate context, but simply to the promise of entering into a
rest. The plain sense of the passage is, “unto us were good tidings
preached as well as unto them.”

Heb. viii. 5. “Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things.”
The introduction of the preposition “unto” almost entirely obliterates the
meaning of the clause; namely, that the Mosaic priesthood were the
ministers, not of the true sanctuary, but of that which is only its copy
and shadow. The Rheims correctly renders, “that serve the examplar and
shadow of heavenly things.”

Heb. xiii. 7, 8. “Whose faith follow, considering the end of their
conversation: Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever.”
Here there is a double error; first, the connection of the last clause
with the preceding, as if it were intended to affirm that Christ was the
end of the conversation of their faithful pastors; and secondly, the wrong
sense thus given to the word “end,” which here denotes the “outcome” or
issue. The Hebrew Christians are urged to imitate the faith of their
pastors, considering the blessed issue of their Christian cause. Then
follows, as an independent statement, the assertion of the
unchangeableness of Christ, which, though not altogether disconnected in
thought with what precedes, stands in still closer connection with what
follows: “Considering the issue of their way of life, imitate their faith.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever.”

Such are some of the passages from which it may be said, that through the
emphatic unanimity of Biblical scholars all obscurity and doubt have been
removed. Their true meaning may now be affirmed with a confidence that
closely borders upon moral certainty. Through numerous commentaries and
other expository works, these results of scholarship are made widely
known, and they whose duty it is to expound these passages to others are
constrained to point out the imperfection that attaches to the renderings
given in the English Bible now ordinarily used. It is obviously a most
undesirable thing that the teacher or preacher should be placed under such
a necessity. It is not at all times easy so to discharge the duty as that
he shall give no offence even to educated hearers; while the simple-minded
and unlearned are painfully perplexed; and, unprepared as they are to
estimate the limits of possible error, seem to themselves to be launched
upon a boundless sea of uncertainty. Revision, therefore, becomes
imperative, both for the sake of removing acknowledged blemishes, and also
for reassuring the anxious that they are trusting to a faithful guide, and
for showing to them how little, comparatively, there is in their beloved
Book that needs to be changed.



Another, and distinct, class of reasons for the further revision of the
English Bible, arises from the more abundant material now possessed for
the determination of the original text of Scripture than was within the
reach of the Revisers of 1611.

Even if these honoured men had perfectly fulfilled their work, and had
never erred in their interpretation of the sacred books, the result of
their labours would still be open to correction because of the less
perfect form of the texts which they set themselves to translate. The
exact words used by the inspired writers are, as was stated in the first
lecture, not now to be found in any one book or manuscript. They have to
be gathered from varied sources, by long and careful labour, demanding
much skill and learning. These sources, moreover, are so numerous that the
investigation of them can be accomplished only by a large division of
labour, no one life being long enough for the task, and no one scholar
having knowledge enough to complete it alone. Nevertheless, it is well
that our sources are thus extensive. Had one copy only of the books of the
Old and New Testament come down to us, then, indeed, we should have been
freed from the necessity of this manifold and laborious research, but
unless this were the original copy itself, we should have had no means
whereby to detect and to remove the errors which had crept in from the
human imperfections of the transcribers. And though none of these errata
might in any serious degree have affected the great truths which the Bible
conveys to us, or have diminished our estimate of its surpassing worth,
they would have been as blots upon its pages which our love and reverence
for it would long to see removed. The greater the number and variety of
our resources, the greater is our ability, by the examination and
comparison of their differences, to remove these blemishes; and the
greater also is the confidence we are able to feel in the absolute
correctness of those far more numerous and extensive passages in which our
authorities agree. And hence, though the toil imposed upon us is so
largely multiplied thereby, we cannot but rejoice in the number and extent
of our authorities, and we gather therefrom a fresh illustration of the
saying, that “in all labour there is profit.”

The sources, whence our knowledge of the original texts is chiefly
derived, are three in number: (1) Manuscripts containing one or more of
the books of Scripture; (2) Ancient Versions of the Bible; and (3)
Quotations of Scriptural passages found in the works of early Christian

       *       *       *       *       *

Respecting our Manuscript Authorities, the first fact claiming emphatic
notice is, that while in the case of the classic poets, philosophers and
historians, the extant manuscript copies are numbered by tens and
sometimes even by units, those of the Scriptures are numbered by hundreds.
Of the New Testament alone nearly eighteen hundred manuscripts have been
catalogued and more or less carefully examined. Of these 685 are
manuscripts of the Gospels, 248 contain the Acts and Catholic Epistles,
298 the Pauline Epistles, and 110 the Apocalypse; 428 are Lectionaries or
service books of the Greek church, 347 of which contain passages from the
Gospels and 81 passages from the Acts and the Epistles. Thus while our
knowledge of the interesting narratives of Herodotus is dependent upon
five or six authorities only, and the history of Livy upon eight or nine
only (and none of these contain the whole even of the portions
extant),[77] our knowledge of the life and words of our Lord is drawn from
over a thousand manuscript authorities, and of which the larger part
contain the whole of the four Gospels.

In antiquity again the manuscripts of the New Testament far surpass those
of classical authors. Few, if any, of the latter are older than the ninth
or tenth century, while of the former we have copies belonging to the
fourth and fifth centuries. The oldest manuscripts are written in capital
letters, and on this account are called uncial[78] manuscripts, or briefly
uncials. Later manuscripts are written in a smaller character, and in a
style approaching to what we call a running hand, and are hence named
cursives. Of uncial manuscripts, containing portions of the New Testament,
one hundred and fifty-eight have been examined and catalogued. Some of the
most valuable of these have been published under the superintendence of
careful editors. Others have been thoroughly examined, and their
variations so faithfully noted and recorded, that a private student is,
for most practical purposes, placed in the same position as the possessor
of the manuscript itself. This work is technically described as
_collation_, and the amount of painstaking labour spent upon the collation
of Biblical manuscripts during the past two hundred years, and especially
in the last forty or fifty years, is simply enormous. To one who has never
examined a document written many centuries ago it is difficult to convey
any adequate notion of the amount of time and labour involved in the
collation even of a single manuscript. The unusual and varying forms of
the letters, the indistinctness of the characters, the various
contractions employed by the scribe, and, as is the case with our most
ancient documents, the non-separation of word from word, and the absence
of stops, render the mere task of deciphering the manuscript very
difficult and painfully wearying to the eyes.[79] Much watchful attention
is also demanded, as well as a good knowledge of the language, in making
the proper separation of the words, and in judging aright of any
peculiarities of spelling that may attach to the writer. In making the
collation of any Biblical manuscript--say of the New Testament--the course
generally pursued is as follows: The collator procures a printed copy of
the Greek text, commonly of some well-known edition, and in the margin of
this he marks all the variations of the manuscripts from the printed text
before him, whether of omission, addition, or otherwise, including even
variations in spelling. He also marks carefully where each line and page
of the manuscript begins and ends, what corrections or alterations have
been made in it, whether these were made by the original writer or by a
later hand; and where several handwritings may be detected, he specifies
and distinguishes these. All this is done with so much minuteness that it
would be possible for the collator to reproduce the original manuscript in
every respect save in the shape of the letters and the appearance of the
parchment or paper.

Of the uncial manuscripts of the New Testament, the most ancient and
important are the SINAITIC,[80] written in the fourth century, and now
deposited in the Imperial Library of St. Petersburg; the VATICAN,[81]
also of the fourth century, and preserved in the Vatican Library at Rome;
the ALEXANDRINE,[82] of the fifth century, now in the British Museum; the
EPHRAEM CODEX,[83] of the fifth century, in the National Library at Paris;
BEZA’S CODEX,[84] of the sixth century, in the University Library,
Cambridge; and the CLAROMONTANE,[85] also of the sixth century, which
formerly belonged to Beza, but is now in the National Library at Paris. As
will be seen presently, only two of these most ancient manuscripts were
available for the preparation of the text from which the translators of
1611 made their revision. The Alexandrine was not brought to light until
1628, when it was presented to Charles I. by Cyril Lucar, patriarch of
Constantinople. Although the Ephraem Codex was brought to Europe in the
early part of the sixteenth century, it was not known to contain a portion
of the New Testament until towards the close of the seventeenth century,
and was not collated until the year 1716. The Sinaitic was discovered by
Dr. Tischendorf, in the Convent of St. Catherine on Mount Sinai, so
recently as February 4th, 1859. And the Vatican, though deposited in the
Library at Rome in the fifteenth century, was, during a long time, so
jealously guarded by the Roman authorities, that little use could be made
of it. Now, however, all these six important manuscripts have been edited
and published, some in the ordinary style of printing, and some in _quasi
fac-simile_. At the present time, by the application of the processes of
photography, an exact copy of the Alexandrine is in course of preparation,
and the New Testament portion has been successfully completed.

In these and other ways, by the laborious efforts of many English and
Continental scholars, an immense amount of material for the determination
of the sacred text has been gathered together and safely garnered; and
knowledge which aforetime could be attained only by slow and wearisome
effort, by many long journeys to distant places, and by much personal
search amongst the books and papers stored away in national and other
libraries, can now be attained with comparative ease by the solitary
student in his study. At the time when King James’s translators entered
upon their work a small fraction only of this mass of material was
available, and even that fraction was but imperfectly used. The means were
not then possessed for correctly judging of the relative value of the
several documents, nor had experience given the skill to discriminate
wisely between varying testimony.

The translators of 1611 have left on record no statement respecting the
Greek text from which they translated, but as far as can be gathered from
internal evidence they contented themselves with accepting the forms of it
which they found ready at hand. Of these the two then held in highest
repute were those connected with the names of Theodore Beza and Robert
Stephen. These, in their turn, were based upon the two primary editions of
the printed text, the Complutensian and Erasmus’s, editions which were
made quite independently of each other. The Complutensian was the first
printed, though not the first published.[86] It formed the fifth volume of
the splendid Polyglot prepared under the munificent patronage of Cardinal
Ximenes, at Alcala, in Spain, from the Latin name of which city
(Complutum) it derives its designation, and was completed January 10th,
1514. It is not now known from what manuscripts the text of this edition
was derived, but it may be confidently affirmed that none of our most
ancient authorities were used. They were probably not many in number, and
were all what in this connection is termed modern; that is to say, not
earlier than the tenth century. The first _published_ edition of the
Greek New Testament was that edited by the celebrated Erasmus, and sent
forth from the press of Froben, in Basle, February 24th, 1516. This was
derived from six manuscripts, five of which are now in the public library
of Basle, and one[87] in the library of the Prince of
Oettingen-Wallerstein. Of these one, and the most valuable, contained the
whole of the New Testament except the Apocalypse, but of this Erasmus made
but little use. Of the rest, one contained the Gospels only, two the Acts
and the Epistles only, one the Epistles of Paul only, and one the
Apocalypse only. It will thus be seen that in the Gospels the text given
by Erasmus rested almost entirely upon the authority of a single
manuscript; in the Acts and Catholic Epistles upon that of two only; in
the Epistles of Paul upon three; and in the Apocalypse upon one only, and
that an imperfect one. The last six verses were wanting, and these Erasmus
supplied by translating them into Greek from the Latin of the Vulgate. The
work too was hastily done. The proposal to undertake it was made to
Erasmus April 17th, 1515, so that less than ten months were given to the
preparation of the volume, and this, too, at a time when Erasmus was
busied with other engagements; an unseemly haste that we may probably
ascribe to the publishers’ eager desire to get the start of the
Complutensian. Revised editions were published in 1519 and 1522, in the
preparation of which the aid of a few additional manuscripts was obtained.
These, again, were further revised by the aid of the Complutensian, which
then became available, in an edition which Erasmus published in 1527.

The next stage in the history of the printed text of the Greek New
Testament is marked by the publication at Paris, in 1550, of the handsome
folio of the celebrated and learned printer, Robert Stephen.[88] He tells
us in his preface that in the preparation of this edition he made use of
the Complutensian and of fifteen manuscripts. Two of these were ancient,
one that is now known as Beza’s Codex, which had been collated for him by
a friend in Italy, and another, a manuscript in the National Library of
Paris, written in the eighth or ninth century, and containing the four
Gospels;[89] the rest were modern, and all were but imperfectly

After the death of Robert Stephen (1559)[91] the work of revision was
carried on by Theodore Beza, who, like the former, had embraced the
Protestant cause, and like him also had found a home in Geneva. His first
edition was published in this city in 1565, a second in 1582, a third in
1589, and a fourth in 1598. In the preparation of these he had in his
possession the collations made for Robert Stephen, and, in addition, the
ancient manuscript of the Gospels and Acts which now bears his name; and
for the Pauline Epistles, the equally ancient Claromontane. Beza’s
strength, however, lay rather in the interpretation, than in the
criticism, of the text, and he made but a slight use of the materials
within his reach.

It will thus be seen how small, comparatively, was the manuscript
authority for the text used by King James’s translators. In the main they
follow the text of Beza; sometimes, however, they give the preference to
Stephen’s; in some few places they differ from both. By what principles
they were guided in their choice we do not know. They do not appear to
have set on foot any independent examination of authorities, and when they
forsake their two guides they commonly follow in the wake of some of the
earlier English versions.

But, as already stated, manuscripts are not the only source whence we
derive our knowledge of the original texts. Translations of the Scriptures
were made at an early date; some at an earlier date than that of the
oldest manuscripts now extant. Two of these were referred to in the first
lecture; namely, the old Latin and the old Syriac, both of which belong to
the second century, and give, therefore, most important testimony as to
the words of Scripture at that early period. Next to these in point of age
may be placed the two Egyptian versions, one in the language of Lower
Egypt, and called the Memphitic (or Coptic), and the other in that of
Upper Egypt, and called the Thebaic (or Sahidic). In the opinion of
competent judges, some portions, at least, of the Scriptures must have
been translated into these dialects before the close of the second
century; in their completed form these versions may be referred to the
earlier part of the third century. A Gothic version of the Scriptures was
made in the fourth century by Ulphilas, who was Bishop of the Moeso-Goths
348-388; and of this some valuable portions are still extant. Two other
ancient versions, the Armenian (cent. 5), and the Æthiopic (cents. 6 and
7), though of inferior importance, are not without value. During recent
years a large amount of labour has been spent, first, in securing as
accurate a knowledge as possible of the text of these various versions,
and then in investigating the evidence they supply respecting the original
texts from which they were severally made. From this source much valuable
material has been obtained supplementary to that furnished by Biblical

The works of early Christian writers contain, as might be expected, large
quotations of Scripture passages. Some of these works are elaborate
expositions of various books of the Old and New Testament, and others are
controversial writings in which there is a frequent necessity for
appealing to Scriptural authorities. Although not a few of the writings of
the earliest Christian authors have perished, we have still a
considerable collection of writings belonging to the second and third
centuries, whose pages supply us with valuable evidence concerning the
text of the New Testament, of a date earlier than the oldest of our
manuscripts. We have also a still larger collection of writings belonging
to the same age as that of our most ancient manuscripts, and from them are
able to gather a further mass of testimony in confirmation or correction
of that given by these venerable documents.

The writings of Irenæus, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, and Origen,
belonging to the latter part of the second century, and the beginning of
the third, contain a large body of quotations from the Gospels and
Epistles. The works of Origen alone may, with scarcely any exaggeration,
be said to be equivalent to an additional manuscript of the New Testament.
He died about A.D. 253 or 254, and during his entire life gave himself
with a most indomitable perseverance to Biblical studies. In addition to
an elaborate revision of the Greek text of the Septuagint, upon which he
spent eight and twenty years, but of which unhappily some fragments only
have reached us, he composed expositions or homilies upon the larger part
of the books of the Old and New Testaments. Of these some very
considerable portions have come down to us, and as his expositions on the
Old Testament abound in quotations from the New, the number of passages
from the latter found in his writings is very large.

Of writers belonging to the fourth century we have commentaries in Greek
by Chrysostom and Didymus, and in Latin by Hilary of Rome, and Jerome;
and, in addition, extensive theological treatises, involving numerous
appeals to the Scriptures, by Athanasius, Ambrose, Basil, Epiphanius, and
the two Gregorys.

In the following century we have the Greek commentaries of Theodore of
Mopsuestia and Theodoret; the commentary of Pelagius on the Epistles of
Paul; and the voluminous writings of Augustine, including commentaries on
the Psalms, the Sermon on the Mount, John’s Gospel and Epistles, and
Paul’s Epistles to the Romans and Galatians, together with a large number
of Homilies on various parts of Scripture. These numerous writings form a
mine of wealth to the Biblical critic; but it is a mine that has only been
diligently worked in comparatively recent years. Much wearisome toil has
been necessary in bringing to light its treasures, and these were either
overlooked or neglected by the earlier editors of the Greek New Testament.

It may perhaps be thought that, inasmuch as the documents from which these
Christian writings are obtained are themselves of a later date, the
testimony they give to the text of Scripture is of no higher worth than
that of Biblical manuscripts of the same age. The scribes, it may be said,
would be influenced by the form of text then current, and in copying these
writings would naturally, when Scripture quotations occurred, give them in
the form with which they were familiar. To some extent this may have been
the case, and the testimony of these writings is of less weight when they
simply reflect the form of text which prevailed at the date when they were
copied. But then, on the other hand, their testimony is for the same
reason proportionally the stronger whenever they do not agree with the
current form, but give a different reading. Moreover it must be remembered
that in many cases the authors comment minutely upon the Scripture text,
and that here their testimony is quite unaffected by any tendency on the
part of the copyist to use a familiar form, the comment itself showing
beyond all doubt what was the form of the text which the author was
expounding. In all such places the testimony of these early writers is
especially valuable.

From this mere outline of the manifold researches which scholars have made
during the years that have passed since the Revision of 1611 was issued,
some notion may be gathered of the extent to which our resources for the
satisfactory determination of the sacred text have been multiplied. It
will hence be seen how great is the confidence with which we are thereby
enabled to affirm the verbal correctness of that far larger portion of the
text in which our numerous and varied authorities are all agreed, and with
what confidence also we can place our finger upon certain blemishes, and
say that here an error has crept in through the inadvertence, or
carelessness, or ignorance of the transcriber. If then there were no other
reasons for the revision of the English Bible, this alone would be a
sufficient ground for it. When it is in the power of any one to say that
there are passages in our common Bibles which, as there given, are found
in no Greek manuscript whatever, as is the case in Acts ix., the latter
part of verse 5, and the beginning of verse 6; 1 Peter iii. 20; Heb. xi.
13; and Rev. ii. 20; and when there are other passages, respecting which
the evidence is greatly preponderating, that they ought to have no place
in the text, as is the case with Matt. vi. 13; Matt. xvii. 21; Matt.
xxiii. 35 (last clause); Mark xv. 28; Luke xi. 2, 4 (the last clause of
each verse); John v. 3 (last clause), and 4; Acts viii. 37; Acts xv. 34;
Acts xxviii. 29; Rom. xi. 6 (last clause); 1 Cor. vi. 20 (last clause); 1
Cor. x. 28 (last clause); Gal. iii. 1 (second clause); Heb. xii. 20; and 1
John v., from “in heaven,” verse 7, to “in earth,” verse 8. When these
things can be said, and can be truly said, then all true lovers of the
Bible will earnestly demand that they be forthwith removed.



It has not been left to the present generation to be the first to
recognize the force of the various considerations presented in the
previous lectures. The duty of providing for a further revision of the
English Bible has been handed down as a solemn trust from generation to
generation. Every new discovery made of Biblical manuscripts, and every
fresh field of research opened up, has at once made the need of revision
more apparent, and given intensity to the desire that it should be
undertaken; and, in their turn, this quickened desire and this increase of
material have prompted to renewed efforts in obtaining all possible
subsidiary helps. In this way it has come to pass that the whole period
which has elapsed since the publication of the Revision of 1611 has been
in effect a time of preparation for another and further revision, and
here, as elsewhere, the divine law of human discipline has been verified,
that every work accomplished is but the starting-point for fresh

In this work of preparation four distinct stages may be clearly traced:
the first, that of unfriendly criticism; the second, that of premature
attempts at correction; the third, that of diligent research and patient
investigation; and the fourth, that of widespread conviction of the
desirableness of further revision, and the discussion of the plans by
which it may best be accomplished.

From the very first the new version had to undergo an ordeal of
criticism, springing sometimes from personal pique, sometimes from party
prejudice, sometimes from a one-sided attachment to a favourite doctrine,
the evidence for which seemed to be obscured by the rendering given to
certain passages. Almost immediately upon the publication of the volume, a
violent attack was made upon it by Hugh Broughton, who, though a man of
immense erudition, and one of the best Hebraists of the day, was of so
overbearing a temper that his offer to aid in the revision had been
declined. Broughton declared that the version was so ill done that it bred
in him a sadness which would grieve him whilst he breathed. “Tell his
Majesty,” he passionately said, “that I had rather be rent in pieces with
wild horses than any such translation by my consent should be urged on
poor churches.”

In the sharp controversies of the Commonwealth period the slight
indications given by the version of a certain ecclesiastical bias were
unduly exaggerated. Charges of a direct prelatic influence were freely
made, and various rumours were circulated, as if upon good authority, that
Archbishop Bancroft had taken upon himself to introduce alterations in
opposition to the judgment, and even the protest of the translators.
Influenced probably by the feeling thus awakened, though not sharing it,
Dr. John Lightfoot, in a sermon preached before the Long Parliament on
August 26th, 1645,[92] expressed the hope that they would find some time
among their serious employments to think of a “review and survey of the
translation of the Bible.” “And certainly,” he added, “it would not be the
least advantage that you might do to the three nations, if they, by your
care and means, might come to understand the proper and genuine reading of
the Scriptures by an exact, vigorous, and lively translation.”

In 1653 the charge that the New Testament “had been looked over by some
Prelates, to bring it to speak the Prelatical language,” was formally
repeated in the preamble of a Bill brought before the Long Parliament,
which proposed the appointment of a committee “to search and observe
wherein that last translation appears to be wronged by the Prelates or
printers or others.”[93] In 1659 a folio volume of 805 pages, entitled,
“An Essay toward the Amendment of the Last English Translation of the
Bible, or a Proof by many instances that the last Translation of the Bible
into English may be improved,” was published by Dr. Robert Gell, “Minister
of the Parish of St. Mary, Alder-Mary, London.” Dr. Gell was a man who
stoutly maintained the doctrine that it is “possible and attainable
through the grace of God and His Holy Spirit that men may be without sin,”
and his book is an elaborate attempt to show that this doctrine “was
frequently delivered in holy Scripture, though industriously obscured by
our translators.” An attack of another kind was made a quarter of a
century later, by a Roman Catholic writer named Thomas Ward, who,
repeating many of the charges made against the earlier English versions by
Gregory Martin, one of the authors of the Rhemish version, charged the
translators with corrupting the Holy Scriptures by false and partial
translations, for the purpose of gaining unfair advantage in the
controversy with the Church of Rome.[94]

These hostile criticisms, though made in a spirit of partisanship and
marred by much uncharitableness and unfairness, were nevertheless of
service. They forced upon all, though in a rude and unpleasant way, the
recognition of the fact that the new version, with all its excellences,
was still the work of fallible men; and despite their passion and their
hard words, they did undoubtedly hit some blots that here and there
disfigured the sacred page. To this extent they served to prepare the way
for further revision.

A second stage in the process of preparation is seen in the various
attempts which have been made to produce a version which should remove
acknowledged blemishes, and more faithfully convey the meaning of the holy
Word. Some of these have been based upon a well-conceived plan, and have
sought to accomplish the desired end by the united efforts of a band of
fellow-labourers; others have been the work of individual scholars, and
were for the most part of a tentative character, intended simply to show
what ought to be attempted, and how it might be done; others, again, have
been the unwise labours of men who worked upon false principles, and with
insufficient knowledge; but all have in their own way helped on the work,
the former two classes by their felicitous renderings of some passages,
and the light they have thrown upon the meaning of others, and the last
mentioned class by their clear demonstration of what a translation of the
Scriptures ought certainly not to be.

The first[95] serious attempt at a further revision was made by the Rev.
Henry Jessey, M.A., pastor of that greatly persecuted Congregational
Church in Southwark, which had been gathered by Henry Jacob in 1616. In
the time of the Commonwealth proposals were made by Jessey, that “godly
and able men” should be appointed by “public authority” “to review and
amend the defects in our translation.” Pending their appointment, he set
himself to secure the co-operation of a number of learned men, at home and
abroad, writing to them in the following fashion: “There being a strange
desire in many that love the truth, to have a more pure, proper
translation of the originals than hitherto; and I being moved and inclined
to it, and desirous to promote it with all possible speed and exactness,
do make my request (now in my actual entrance on Genesis) that as you love
the truth as it is in Jesus, and the edification of saints, you with
others (in like manner solicited), will take share and do each a part in
the work, which being finished will be fruit to your account.” Of the
names of his fellow-workers the only one recorded is that of Mr. John Row,
Hebrew professor at Aberdeen, “who took exceeding pains herein,” and who
drew up the scheme in accordance with which the work was carried on.
Jessey’s proposal received at least so much of support from “public
authority,” that he was one of the committee whose appointment was
recommended to the House of Commons in 1653. The result is thus quaintly
told by Jessey’s biographer:[96] “Thus thorow his perswasions many persons
excelling in knowledge, integrity, and holiness, did buckle to this great
Worke of bettering the Translation of the Bible, but their names are
thought fit at present to be concealed to prevent undue Reflections upon
their persons; but may come to light (if that work shall ever come to be
made publick), and unto each of them was one particular book or more
allotted, according as they had leisure, or as the bent of their Genius,
advantages of Books or Studies lay, which when supervised by all the rest,
dayes of assembling together were to have been set apart, to seek the Lord
for His further direction, and for conference with each other touching the
matter then under consideration. In process of time this whole work was
almost compleated, and stayed for nothing but the appointment of
Commissioners to examine it, and warrant its publication.” The death of
Cromwell, and the political events which followed, prevented the
realization of Jessey’s hopes. It had been with him the work of many years
of his life, and his soul was so engaged in it that he frequently uttered
the prayer, “O that I might see this done before I die.”

The ecclesiastical events arising out of the Act of Uniformity (1662) will
sufficiently account for the absence of any efforts of revision during the
latter part of the seventeenth century. In the earlier part of the
following century there appeared one of those ill-advised attempts, whose
chief use is to serve as a beacon of warning, in the Greek and English New
Testament, published A.D. 1729, by W. Mace, M.D.[97] In his translation
this author allowed himself to employ an unpleasantly free style of
rendering, and deemed it fitting to substitute the colloquial style of the
day for the dignified simplicity of the version he undertook to amend.

Towards the latter part of the century a considerable number of well-meant
endeavours at revision were made by devout and scholarly men.

In 1764 “A new and literal Translation of the Old and New Testament, with
notes, critical and explanatory,” was published by Anthony Purver, a
member of the Society of Friends.

In 1770 there was issued “The New Testament, or New Covenant of our Lord
and Saviour Jesus Christ, translated from the Greek according to the
present idiom of the English tongue, with notes and references,” by John
Worsley, of Hertford, whose aim, as stated in his preface, was to bring
his translation nearer to the original, and “to make the present form of
expression more suitable to our present language,” adding, with a laudable
desire to repudiate all sympathy with those who forced the Scripture to
say what, according to their own fancies, it ought to say, “I have no
design to countenance any particular opinions or sentiments. I have
weighed, as it were, every word in a balance, even to the minutest
particle, begging the gracious aid of the Divine Spirit to lead me into
the true and proper meaning, that I might give a just and exact
translation of this great and precious charter of man’s salvation.”[98]

In 1781 Gilbert Wakefield, late Fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge, but
then classical tutor of the Warrington Academy, published “a new
translation of the First Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Thessalonians,
offered to the public as a specimen of an intended version of the whole
New Testament, with a preface containing a brief account of the Author’s
plan.” This was followed in 1782 by a new translation of the Gospel of
Matthew, and in 1791 by a translation of the whole of the New

In 1786 a Roman Catholic clergyman (the Rev. Alexander Geddes, LL.D.)
issued a prospectus of “a New Translation of the Holy Bible from corrected
texts of the originals, compared with the Ancient Versions.” This
prospectus was very favourably received by many of the leading Biblical
scholars of the day, especially by the great Hebraist, Dr. Benjamin
Kennicott, Canon of Christchurch, and by Dr. Robert Lowth, Bishop of
London, and was followed in 1788 by formal proposals for printing the book
by subscription. The first volume appeared in 1792, with the title “The
Holy Bible, or the Books accounted sacred by Jews and Christians;
otherwise called the Books of the Old and New Covenants, faithfully
translated from corrected texts of the Originals, with various readings,
explanatory notes, and critical remarks.” Two other volumes were
afterwards published; but the death of the author, in 1801, prevented the
completion of the work.[100]

In 1796 Dr. William Newcome, Archbishop of Armagh, published “An attempt
towards revising our English Translation of the Greek Scriptures, or the
New Covenant of Jesus Christ; and towards illustrating the sense by
philological and explanatory notes.”

Passing over some other works less worthy of notice, a scholarly attempt
was made in 1836 by Grenville Penn to introduce into the English version
some of the results which had then been attained by the critical
examination of ancient authorities. This work bore the title, “The Book of
the New Covenant of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, being a critical
revision of the text and translation of the English version of the New
Testament, with the aid of most ancient manuscripts, unknown to the age in
which that version was last put forth by authority.”

It is not to be supposed that any of these translations were published
with the expectation of securing so large a measure of favour as to
supersede the current version. Their primary purpose was to aid the
private study of the Bible; but they have been of great service also in
keeping the general question of revision before the notice of thoughtful
persons, and they have each in their measure contributed to a more exact
knowledge of the Scriptures.

The failure of the earlier of these attempts at revision arose in part
from the imperfect state of the texts upon which they were based. This
soon became obvious, and Biblical scholars saw that for some time to come
their labours must be spent rather in laying the foundation for a future
revision than in attempting it themselves, and this in three distinct
departments. The first of these was the collection, as described in the
last lecture, of the material supplied by ancient manuscripts, and by
early versions and quotations. In this department a long succession of
faithful men have laboured, amongst whom may be mentioned Brian Walton,
who in 1657 published his famous Polyglot Bible in six folio volumes,
giving in addition to the original Hebrew and Greek, the Samaritan
Pentateuch, the Septuagint, Latin, Syriac, Arabic, Æthiopic, and Persian
versions; Dr. John Mill, whose New Testament was published in 1770, and of
whom it has been justly said that “his services to Bible criticism surpass
in extent and value those rendered by any other except one or two men yet
living;”[101] Dr. Richard Bentley, who, having himself collated the
Alexandrine and other ancient MSS., and by various agencies amassed a
large store of critical material, published in 1720 his “Proposals for
Printing” revised texts both of the Greek New Testament and the Latin
Vulgate; Dr. Kennicott, who in 1760 aroused public attention to the
importance of collating all Hebrew MSS. made before the invention of
printing, and who personally, or through the aid of others, collated more
than six hundred Hebrew MSS., and sixteen MSS. of the Samaritan
Pentateuch; John Bernard de Rossi, professor of Oriental languages in the
University of Parma, who in 1784-8 published the results of the collation
of seven hundred and thirty-one MSS., and of three hundred editions of the
Hebrew Scriptures; and, to come to more recent times, Dr. Constantine
Tischendorf, Dr. Samuel Prideaux Tregelles, and Dr. Frederick Henry
Scrivener, whose names are to be held in the highest honour, as of men who
have rendered invaluable service to their own and future generations in
the exhausting and self-denying work of the collation of Biblical MSS.,
and through whose care and accuracy the means of obtaining an exact
knowledge of a large number of most precious documents have been placed
within easy reach of all.

The second department of labour is the application of the material thus
collected to the correction of the text. Here again a vast amount of
patient work has been done, and out of the successive labours of a long
series of critics much valuable experience has been gained and the best
methods gradually learnt. Amongst those who have thus laboured in the
criticism of the text of the New Testament may be mentioned the names of
Bengel, Wettstein, Griesbach, Scholz, Tischendorf, Lachmann, Alford,
Tregelles, Westcott, and Hort; and of that of the Old Testament, Buxtorf,
Leusden, Van der Hooght, Michaelis, Houbigant, Kennicott, and Jahn.

The third department is that which is concerned with the investigation of
the meaning of the sacred writers; and how much has been done in this will
be manifest to any one who makes the attempt to reckon up the long series
of commentaries, English and Continental, on the books of the Holy
Scriptures, published since the Revision of 1611, commencing with the
Annotations of the eminent Nonconformist, Henry Ainsworth, on the
Pentateuch, Psalms, and Song of Solomon, 1627, down to the recent
commentaries on Galatians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon, by Dr.
J. B. Lightfoot, the present Bishop of Durham. The attempt to make this
enumeration will deepen the desire that the light which has been shed upon
the Bible by this long succession of its learned and earnest students
should now be employed for the guidance and help of the ordinary readers
of its pages.

To such desire emphatic expression has been given in various ways through
full two generations, with an ever increasing intensity, and by
representative men amongst all Christian communities.

So early in the present century as the year 1809, Dr. John Pye Smith,
President of the Congregational College at Homerton, thus wrote: “That
such blemishes should disfigure that translation of the best and most
important of volumes, which has been and still is more read by thousands
of the pious than any other version, ancient or modern; that they should
be acknowledged by all competent judges to exist; that they should have
been so long and often complained of; and yet that there has been no great
public act, from high and unimpeachable authority, for removing them, we
are constrained to view as a disgrace to our national literature. We do
not wish to see our common version, now become venerable by age and
prescription, superseded by another entirely _new_; every desirable
purpose would be satisfactorily attained by a _faithful_ and
_well-conducted revision_.”[102]

In the following year (1810) Dr. Herbert Marsh, then Margaret Professor of
Divinity at Cambridge, and subsequently Bishop of Peterborough, in the
first edition of his _Lectures_ wrote: “It is probable that our authorised
version is as faithful a representation of the original Scriptures as
_could_ have been formed at _that period_. But when we consider the
immense accession that has _since_ been made, both to our critical and
philological apparatus;” “when we consider that the most important sources
of intelligence for the _interpretation_ of the original Scriptures were
_likewise_ opened after that period, we cannot possibly pretend that our
authorised version does not require _amendment_.”[103]

In 1816 Thomas Wemyss, a learned layman, who had devoted himself to
Biblical studies, called attention, under the title of _Biblical
Gleanings_, to a number of passages which were generally allowed to be
mistranslated; and in 1819 Sir James Bland Burges published _Reasons in
favour of a New Translation of the Scriptures_.

During a few years after this, the subject remained in abeyance, but in
1832 there was published, at Cambridge, a calm and scholarly pamphlet,
entitled _Hints on an Improved Translation of the New Testament_, by the
Rev. James Scholefield, A.M., Regius Professor of Greek in the University
of Cambridge. A second edition was issued in 1836, and a third, with an
appendix, in 1849.

Through these and other publications a widely-spread conviction was
produced that the work ought at length to be attempted, and in the years
1855-57 the question was in a very emphatic form brought under public
notice. In the _Edinburgh Review_ of October, 1855, in a notice of a
certain Paragraph Bible then recently published, there appeared the
following words: “Surely it is high time for a further revision. It is
now almost 250 years since the last was made. During that long period
neither the researches of the clergy nor the intelligence of the laity
have remained stationary. We have become desirous of knowing more, and
they have acquired more to teach us. Vast stores of Biblical information
have been accumulating since the days of James I., by which, not merely
the rendering of the Common Version, but the purity of the Sacred Text
itself, might be improved. And it is essential to the interests of
religion that that information should be fully, freely, and in an
authoritative form, disseminated abroad by a careful correction of our
received version of the Sacred Scriptures.”

In the following year, 1856, the Rev. William Selwyn, Canon of Ely, and
Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity at Cambridge, sent forth his _Notes on
the proposed Amendment of the Authorized Version of the Holy Scriptures_,
in which he states: “I do not hesitate to avow my firm persuasion that
there are at least one thousand passages of the English Bible that might
be amended without any change in the general texture and justly reverenced
language of the version.”

In July of the same year an address to the Crown was moved in the House of
Commons by Mr. Heywood, member for North Lancashire, praying that Her
Majesty would appoint a Royal Commission of learned men to consider of
such amendments of the authorized version of the Bible as had been already
proposed, and to receive suggestions from all persons who might be willing
to offer them, and to report the amendments which they might be prepared
to recommend.

In the January of the following year a resolution in support of revision
was proposed at the general meeting of the Society for Promoting Christian
Knowledge, by the Rev. G. F. Biber, LL.D., who subsequently published the
substance of his speech in support of this resolution, under the title, _A
Plea for an Edition of the Authorized Version of Holy Scripture with
explanatory and emendatory marginal readings_. Pamphlets also were
published the same year by Dr. Beard and by Dr. Henry Burgess; but, what
it is more important to note, in that year there was published the first
of a series of works which were intended to show by example the kind of
work which the wiser advocates of revision desired to see undertaken. This
was _The Gospel according to John, after the Authorized Version, newly
compared with the original Greek, and revised by five clergymen--John
Barrow, D.D.; George Moberly, D.C.L.; Henry Alford, B.D.; William G.
Humphry, B.D.; Charles J. Ellicott, M.A._ In that same year also Dr.
Trench, then Dean of Westminster (now Archbishop of Dublin), published his
work _On the Authorized Version of the New Testament_; and in 1863 Dr.
Plumptre, in the _Dictionary of the Bible_, reiterated the statement, “The
work ought not to be delayed much longer.”

In the spring of 1870 the desirableness of a fresh revision of the English
Bible was advocated--by Dr. J. B. Lightfoot in a paper read before a
meeting of clergy; by the writer of these lectures in a paper read before
the annual meeting of the Congregational Union of England and Wales; by
the _British Quarterly Review_ in its January number; and, finally, by the
_Quarterly Review_ in its April number.

A weighty sentence from the last-mentioned writer will be a fitting
conclusion to the present lecture. “It is positive unfaithfulness on the
part of those who have ability and opportunity to decline the task. The
Word of God, just because it is God’s Word, ought to be presented to every
reader in a state as pure and perfect as human learning, skill, and taste
can make it. The higher our veneration for it the more anxious ought we to
be to free it from every blemish, however small and unimportant. But
nothing in truth can be unimportant which dims the light of Divine



To the general consensus of opinion described in the last lecture
practical expression was first given by the action of the Convocation of
Canterbury, in the early part of 1870.

On February 10, 1870, a resolution was moved in the Upper House of
Convocation by Dr. Wilberforce, Bishop of Winchester, and seconded by Dr.
Ellicott, Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol, “That a Committee of both
Houses be appointed, with power to confer with any committee that may be
appointed by the Convocation of the Northern Province, to report upon the
desirableness of a revision of the Authorized Version of the New
Testament, whether by marginal notes or otherwise, in all those passages
where plain and clear errors, whether in the Greek Text originally adopted
by the translators, or in the translation made from the same, shall, on
due investigation, be found to exist.” On the motion of Dr. Ollivant,
Bishop of Llandaff, seconded by Dr. Thirlwall, Bishop of St. Davids, it
was agreed to enlarge this resolution so as to include the Old Testament
also, and the resolution as so amended was ultimately adopted.

This resolution was communicated to the Lower House on the following day
(February 11), where it was accepted without a division.

The joint Committee appointed in accordance with this resolution consisted
of seven Bishops and fourteen Members of the Lower House.[104] This
Committee met on March 24th, and agreed to the following report:[105]

    I. “That it is desirable that a Revision of the Authorized Version of
    the Holy Scriptures be undertaken.”

    II. “That the Revision be so conducted as to comprise both Marginal
    renderings, and such emendations as it may be found necessary to
    insert in the text of the Authorized Version.”

    III. “That in the above Resolutions we do not contemplate any new
    translation of the Bible, or any alteration of the language except
    where, in the judgment of the most competent Scholars, such change is

    IV. “That in such necessary changes, the style of the language
    employed in the existing Version be closely followed.”

    V. “That it is desirable that Convocation should nominate a body of
    its own Members to undertake the work of Revision, who shall be at
    liberty to invite the co-operation of any eminent for scholarship, to
    whatever nation or religious body they may belong.”

This Report was presented to the Upper House on May 3rd, where its
adoption was moved by Bishop Wilberforce, and seconded by Bishop
Thirlwall, and carried unanimously.

Bishop Wilberforce then moved, and Bishop Thirlwall seconded, “That a
Committee be now appointed to consider and Report to Convocation a scheme
of revision on the principles laid down in the Report now adopted, and
that the Bishops of Winchester, St. Davids, Llandaff, Gloucester and
Bristol, Salisbury, Ely, Lincoln, and Bath and Wells, be members of the
Committee. That the Committee be empowered to invite the co-operation of
those whom they may judge fit from their Biblical Scholarship to aid them
in their work.” This also was carried unanimously.

In the Lower House the above given Report of the joint Committee was
presented on May 5th, when its adoption was moved by Canon Selwyn,[106]
and seconded by Archdeacon Allen. In the discussion which followed two
attempts were made to overthrow the principle embodied in the fifth
resolution, and to confine the revision to Scholars in communion with the
Church of England. Both of these were unsuccessful, and the adoption of
the Report was carried, with two dissentients only. On the following day,
May 6th, the House completed its action by agreeing to the suggestion of
the Upper House, that on this occasion it should waive its privilege of
appointing on joint Committees twice as many as were appointed by the
Upper House, and should appoint eight Members only to co-operate with the
eight Bishops mentioned above. The Members selected were Dr. Bickersteth
the Prolocutor, Dean Alford, Dean Stanley, Canon Blakesley, Canon Selwyn,
Archdeacon Rose, Dr. Jebb, and Dr. Kay.

The first meeting of this second joint Committee was held on May 25th. It
was then agreed that the Committee should separate into two Companies--one
for the revision of the Old Testament, and one for that of the New. Of the
Members of Committee belonging to the Upper House five were assigned to
the former Company and three to the latter. The Members belonging to the
Lower House were divided equally between the two Companies. At the same
meeting the Committee selected the Scholars who should be invited to join
the Companies, and also decided upon the general rules that should guide
their procedure. These were:

    1. “To introduce as few alterations as possible into the Text of the
    Authorized Version consistently with faithfulness.”

    2. “To limit as far as possible the expression of such alterations to
    the language of the Authorized and earlier English versions.”

    3. “Each Company to go twice over the portion to be revised, once
    provisionally, the second time finally, and on principles of voting as
    hereinafter is provided.”

    4. “That the Text to be adopted be that for which the evidence is
    decidedly preponderating; and that when the Text so adopted differs
    from that from which the Authorized Version was made, the alteration
    be indicated in the margin.”

    5. “To make or retain no change in the Text on the second and final
    revision by each Company, except _two-thirds_ of those present approve
    of the same, but on the first revision to decide by simple

    6. “In every case of proposed alteration that may have given rise to
    discussion, to defer the voting thereupon till the next Meeting,
    whensoever the same shall be required by one-third of those present at
    the Meeting, such intended vote to be announced in the notice for the
    next Meeting.”

    7. “To revise the headings of chapters, pages, paragraphs, italics,
    and punctuation.”

    8. “To refer on the part of each Company, when considered desirable,
    to Divines, Scholars, and Literary Men, whether at home or abroad, for
    their opinions.”

To these it was added, that the work of each Company be communicated to
the other as it is completed, in order that there may be as little
deviation from uniformity in language as possible.

Of the Scholars invited to join the Companies four[107] declined for
various reasons, and one[108] was prevented by illness from taking part in
the work. The two Companies when formed consisted of the following


    Dr. W. L. Alexander, Professor of Theology in the Congregational
    Theological Hall, Edinburgh.

    Dr. E. H. Browne, Bishop of Ely.[109]

    Mr. O. T. Chenery, Lord Almoner’s Professor of Arabic, Oxford.

    Dr. A. B. Davidson, Professor of Hebrew, Free Church College,

    Dr. Benjamin Davies, Professor of Hebrew, Baptist College, Regent’s

    Dr. P. Fairbairn, Principal of Free Church College, Glasgow.

    Dr. F. Field.

    Dr. Ginsburg.

    Dr. F. W. Gotch, Principal of the Baptist College, Bristol.

    Rev. B. Harrison, Archdeacon of Maidstone.

    Dr. A. C. Hervey, Bishop of Bath and Wells.

    Dr. J. Jebb, Canon of Hereford.

    Dr. W. Kay, late Principal of Bishop’s College, Calcutta.

    Dr. Stanley Leathes, Professor of Hebrew, King’s College, London.

    Rev. J. McGill, Professor of Oriental Languages, St. Andrews.

    Dr. A. Ollivant, Bishop of Llandaff.

    Dr. R Payne Smith, Regius Professor of Divinity, Oxford.[110]

    Dr. J. J. S. Perowne, Professor of Hebrew, St. Davids College,

    Rev. E. H. Plumptre,[112] Professor of New Testament Exegesis, King’s
    College, London.

    Dr. H. J. Rose, Archdeacon of Bedford.

    Dr. W. Selwyn, Canon of Ely, and Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity,

    Dr. Connop Thirlwall, Bishop of St. Davids.

    Dr. Christopher Wordsworth, Bishop of Lincoln.

    Mr. W. A. Wright, Librarian[113] of Trinity College, Cambridge.


    Dr. H. Alford, Dean of Canterbury.

    Dr. J. Angus, Principal of the Baptist College, Regent’s Park.

    Dr. E. H. Bickersteth, Prolocutor of the Lower House of

    Dr. J. W. Blakesley, Canon of Canterbury.[115]

    Dr. J. Eadie, Professor of Biblical Literature and Exegesis to the
    United Presbyterian Church, Scotland.

    Dr. C. J. Ellicott, Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol.

    Rev. F. J. A. Hort.[116]

    Rev. W. G. Humphry, Prebendary of St. Paul’s.

    Dr. B. H. Kennedy, Canon of Ely, and Regius Professor of Greek,

    Dr. W. Lee, Archdeacon of Dublin.

    Dr. J. B. Lightfoot.[117]

    Dr. W. Milligan, Professor of Divinity, Aberdeen.

    Dr. G. Moberly, Bishop of Salisbury.

    Rev. W. F. Moulton, Professor of Classics, Wesleyan College,

    Rev. Samuel Newth, Professor of Classics, New College, London.[119]

    Dr. A. Roberts.[120]

    Dr. R. Scott, Master of Balliol College, Oxford.[121]

    Rev. F. H. Scrivener.[122]

    Dr. G. Vance Smith.[123]

    Dr. A. P. Stanley, Dean of Westminster.

    Dr. R. C. Trench, Archbishop of Dublin.

    Dr. C. J. Vaughan, Master of the Temple.[124]

    Dr. B. F. Westcott, Canon of Peterborough.[125]

    Dr. S. Wilberforce, Bishop of Winchester.

To these lists some changes have, from various causes, been made in the
course of the last ten years, both in the way of addition, and in the way
of removal.

       *       *       *       *       *

To the Old Testament Company thirteen members have been added--

    Mr. R. N. Bensley, Hebrew Lecturer, Caius College, Cambridge.

    Rev. J. Birrill, Professor of Oriental Languages, St Andrews,

    Dr. F. Chance.

    Rev. T. K. Cheyne, Hebrew Lecturer, Balliol College, Oxford.

    Dr. G. Douglas, Professor of Hebrew, Free Church College, Glasgow.

    Mr. S. R Driver, Tutor of New College, Oxford.

    Rev. C. J. Elliott.

    Rev. J. D. Geden, Professor of Hebrew, Wesleyan College, Didsbury.

    Rev. J. R. Lumby, Fellow of St. Catherine’s College, Cambridge.[126]

    Rev. A. H. Sayce, Tutor of Queen’s College, Oxford.

    Rev. W. Robertson Smith, Professor of Hebrew, Free Church College,

    Dr. D. H. Weir, Professor of Oriental Languages, Glasgow.

    Dr. W. Wright, Professor of Arabic, Cambridge.

During the same period it has lost ten members, seven by death: Professor
Davies, Professor Fairbairn, Professor McGill, Archdeacon Rose, Canon
Selwyn, Bishop Thirlwall, Professor Weir; and three by resignation--Canon
Jebb, Professor Plumptre, and Bishop Wordsworth.

       *       *       *       *       *

The New Testament Company has undergone less change. Four members have
been added--

    Dr. David Brown, Professor of Divinity, Free Church College, Aberdeen.

    Dr. C. Merivale, Dean of Ely.

    Rev. Edwin Palmer, Professor of Latin, Oxford.[127]

    Dr. Charles Wordsworth, Bishop of St. Andrews.

Four also have been removed--Dean Alford, Dr. Eadie, and Bishop
Wilberforce by death, Dean Merivale by resignation.

       *       *       *       *       *

The first chairman of the Old Testament Company was Bishop Thirlwall. Upon
his resignation of the office in 1871 Dr. Harold Browne, then Bishop of
Ely, now Bishop of Winchester, was appointed to succeed him, and has
continued to hold the office until now. Dr. Ellicott, Bishop of
Gloucester and Bristol, has from the first presided over the New
Testament Company.

The Old Testament Company appointed one of their own number, Mr. Aldis
Wright, to act as their secretary, taking the minutes of their
proceedings, and conducting all needful correspondence. The New Testament
Company deemed it better to assign this office to one who was not himself
burthened with the responsibilities of the revision, and they were happily
able to secure the efficient services of the Rev. John Troutbeck, M.A.,
one of the Minor Canons of Westminster Abbey.

It will be seen that of the sixty-five English scholars who have taken
part in this work forty-one have been members of the Church of England,
and twenty-four members of other churches. Of the latter number two
represent the Episcopal Church of Ireland, one the Episcopal Church of
Scotland, four the Baptists, three the Congregationalists, five the Free
Church of Scotland, five the Established Church of Scotland, one the
United Presbyterians, one the Unitarians, and two the Wesleyan Methodists.

It is on many grounds a matter for thankfulness that they who took the
initiative in the formation of the two Companies were able to secure so
wide a representation of the various religious communities of our country,
and men belonging to different schools of religious thought. For while no
one can reasonably suppose that in the present day any body of Scholars
would consciously allow themselves in the translation of the Scriptures to
be swayed by any theological bias, there is, as all know, such a thing as
unconscious bias; and it was greatly to be desired that no such suspicion
should be raised against this Revision as for a long time obtained in
reference to the Revision of 1611. It was also to be desired that no
ground should exist that would give an excuse for any to say that through
the bias of theological prepossessions the interpretations given by some
to important passages of Scripture were unconsciously ignored, and that,
had such interpretations been brought under the consideration of the
Revisers, they must, as honest scholars, have accepted them. Such a ground
of objection has happily been excluded by the constitution of the two
Companies. The varieties of theological opinion found amongst the Revisers
have been an efficient protection against any lapse of the kind referred
to, and it may safely be affirmed that no interpretation of any important
doctrinal passage for which any respectable amount of authority could be
claimed has failed to come under notice, or to receive a careful

The advantage resulting from this varied representation in the membership
of the two Companies has been still further extended by the arrangements
which have secured the co-operation of a considerable number of American
Scholars. Shortly after the formation of the two Companies steps were
taken for enlisting such co-operation; and after some correspondence with
representative men in America, the Rev. Dr. Philip Schaff, of New York,
was requested to act on behalf of the English Companies in selecting and
inviting American Scholars. In October, 1871, it was reported to the New
Testament Company that Dr. Schaff had verbally informed the secretary that
the American Revisers were prepared to enter upon their work. Various
causes of delay, however, intervened, and it was not until July 17th,
1872, that the communication was made that the American Companies were
duly constituted. These Companies held their first meeting on the 4th of
October in that year. The following is the list of their Members.


    Professor T. J. Conant, Baptist, Brooklyn, New York.

    Professor G. E. Day, Congregationalist, New Haven, Conn.

    Professor J. De Witt, Reformed Church, New Brunswick, N.J.

    Professor W. H. Green, Presbyterian, Princeton, N.J.

    Professor G. E. Hare, Episcopalian, Philadelphia, Pa.

    Professor C. P. Krauth, Lutheran, Philadelphia, Pa.

    Professor Joseph Packard, Episcopalian, Fairfax, Va.

    Professor C. E. Stowe, Congregationalist, Cambridge, Mass.

    Professor J. Strong, Methodist, Madison, N.J.

    Professor C. V. Van Dyke,[128] Beirût, Syria.

    Professor T. Lewis, Reformed Church, Schenectady, N.J.

In all eleven members.


    Professor Ezra Abbot, Unitarian, Cambridge, Mass.

    Dr. G. R. Crooks, Methodist, New York.

    Professor H. B. Hackett, Baptist, Rochester, N.Y.

    Professor J. Hadley, Congregationalist, New Haven, Conn.

    Professor C. Hodge, Presbyterian, Princeton, N.J.

    Professor A. C. Kendrick, Baptist, Rochester, N.Y.

    Dr. Alfred Lee, Bishop of Delaware.

    Professor M. B. Riddle, Reformed Church, Hartford, Conn.

    Professor Philip Schaff, Presbyterian, New York.

    Professor C. Short, Episcopalian, New York.

    Professor H. B. Smith, Presbyterian, New York.

    Professor J. H. Thayer, Congregationalist, Andover, Mass.

    Professor W. F. Warren, Methodist, Boston, Mass.

    Dr. E. A. Washburn, Episcopalian, New York.

    Dr. T. D. Woolsey, Congregationalist, New Haven, Conn.

In all fifteen members.

Four Members have since been added to the Old Testament Company; namely:

    Professor C. A. Aiken, Presbyterian, Princeton, N.J.

    Dr. T. W. Chambers, Reformed Church, New York.

    Professor C. M. Mead, Congregationalist, Andover, Mass.

    Professor H. Osgood, Baptist, Rochester, N.Y.

One Member, Professor T. Lewis, has been removed by death.

Four Members have been added to the New Testament Company:

    Dr. J. K. Burr, Methodist, Trenton, N.Y.

    Dr. T. Chase, Baptist, President of Haverford College, Pa.

    Dr. H. Crosby, Baptist, Chancellor of New York University.

    Professor Timothy Dwight, Congregationalist, New Haven, Conn.

Four also have been removed by death, Dr. Hackett, Dr. Hadley, Dr. C.
Hodge, Dr. H. B. Smith; and two by resignation, Dr. Crooks and Dr. Warren.

       *       *       *       *       *

It hence results that altogether ninety-nine Scholars have, to a greater
or less extent, taken part in the work of this revision, forty-nine of
whom have been members of the Episcopalian Churches of England, Scotland,
Ireland, and America, and fifty members of other Christian Churches. This
fact is in itself full of interest and significance. Upon no previous
revision have so many Scholars been engaged. In no previous revision has
the co-operation of those who were engaged upon it been so equally
diffused over all the parts of the work. In no previous revision have
those who took the lead in originating it, and carrying it forward, shown
so large a measure of Christian confidence in Scholars who were outside of
their own communion. In no previous revision have such effective
precautions been created by the very composition of the body of Revisers,
against accidental oversight, or against any lurking bias that might arise
from natural tendencies or from ecclesiastical prepossessions. On these
accounts alone, if on no other, this revision may be fairly said to
possess peculiar claims upon the confidence of all thoughtful and devout
readers of the Bible.

The New Testament Company assembled for the first time on Wednesday, June
22nd, 1870. They met in the Chapel of Henry VII., and there united in the
celebration of the Lord’s Supper. After this act of worship and holy
communion they formally entered upon the task assigned to them. The Old
Testament Company held their first meeting on June 30th.

By the kindness of the Dean of Westminster, the New Testament Company was
permitted to hold its meetings in the Jerusalem Chamber. This room,
originally the parlour of the Abbot’s Palace, is associated with many
interesting events of English history. It was to this spot that Henry IV.
was conveyed when seized with his last illness; and here, on March 20th,
1413, he died. It was here, in the days of the Long Parliament, that the
celebrated Assembly of Divines, driven by the cold from Henry VII.’s
Chapel, held its sixty-sixth session, on Monday, October 2nd, 1643; and
here thenceforward it continued to meet until its closing session (the
1163rd), on February 22nd, 1649. Here were prepared the famed Westminster
Confession of Faith, and the Longer and Shorter Catechisms so highly
prized by the Presbyterian Churches of Scotland, and during many
generations by the Independents of England. Here also, just fifty years
later, assembled the memorable Commission appointed by William III., at
the suggestion of the Dean of Canterbury (Dr. Tillotson), to devise a
basis for a scheme of comprehension in a revision of the Prayer Book. In
this room the New Testament Company have held the larger number of their
sessions. Upon the few occasions on which it was not available the Company
has most frequently met in the Dean of Westminster’s library. Twice it has
held its monthly session in the College Hall, twice in the Chapter
Library, and once in Queen Anne’s Bounty Office.

The Jerusalem Chamber is an oblong room, somewhat narrow for its length,
measuring about forty feet from north to south, and about twenty from east
to west. Down the centre of the room there extends a long table; and on
this table, in the middle of its eastern side, is placed the desk of the
Chairman, Bishop Ellicott. Facing the Chairman, and on the opposite side
of the room, is a small table for the use of the Secretary. The members
of the Company took their places round the table without any
pre-arrangement, but just as each might find a seat most ready at hand.
The force of habit, however, soon prevailed, and most of the members sat
constantly in the place which accident or choice had assigned to them. On
the Chairman’s right sat the Prolocutor, Dr. Bickersteth, and on his left,
during the sixteen meetings he was spared to attend, sat the late Dean of
Canterbury, Dr. Alford, who, to the great sorrow of the Company, was so
early taken away from their midst. Between the Prolocutor and the northern
end of the table were the places usually occupied by the Bishop of
Salisbury, the Bishop of St. Andrews, Dean Blakesley, and Mr. Humphry.
Between the Chairman and the southern end were the places of the
Archbishop of Dublin, Dr. Brown, Dr. Vaughan, Dr. Eadie, and Canon
Westcott. Between the Secretary’s table and the northern end of the long
table were the seats of Canon Kennedy, Dr. Angus, Archdeacon Palmer, and
Dr. Hort; and between the Secretary’s table and the southern end were
those of Dr. Vance Smith, Dr. Scrivener, Dr. Lightfoot, Dean Scott, and
Dr. Newth. At the northern end of the table were the places of Archdeacon
Lee and Dean Stanley; and at the southern end those of Dr. Moulton and Dr.

As the general rules under which the revision was to be carried out had
been carefully prepared, no need existed for any lengthened discussion of
preliminary arrangements, and the Company upon its first meeting was able
to enter at once upon its work. The members of the Company had previously
been supplied with sheets, each containing a column of the printed text of
the Authorized Version, with a wide margin on either side for suggested
emendations--the left hand margin being intended for changes in the Greek
text, and the right hand margin for those which related to the English
rendering. Upon these sheets each member had entered the result of his own
private study of the prescribed portion, and thus came prepared with
well-considered suggestions to submit for the judgment of the Company. The
portion prescribed for the first session was Matt. i. to iv. This portion
opening with the genealogy, the question of the spelling of proper names
at once presented itself for decision. It was felt that, by the twofold
forms so often given in the Authorized Version to the names of persons and
places, a needless difficulty was set in the way of the simple reader of
the Bible; and it was agreed that, while preserving in every case the
familiar forms of names which had become thoroughly Englished, such as
John, James, Timothy, Jacob, Solomon, &c., all Old Testament proper names
quoted in the New should follow the Hebrew rather than the Greek or Latin,
and so appear under the same form in both Testaments.

This question being thus settled, the Company proceeded to the actual
details of the revision, and in a surprisingly short time settled down to
an established method of procedure. So little need arose for any change in
this respect that the account of any one ordinary meeting will serve as a
description of all. The Company assembles at eleven a.m. The meeting is
opened by prayer, the Chairman reading three collects from the Prayer
Book, and closing with the Lord’s Prayer. The minutes of the last meeting
are then read and confirmed. Any correspondence or other business that may
require consideration is next dealt with. These matters being settled, the
Chairman invites the Company to proceed with the revision, and reads a
short passage as given in the Authorised Version. The question is then
asked whether any _textual_ changes are proposed; that is, any readings
that differ from the Greek text as presented in the edition published by
Robert Stephen in 1550. If any change is proposed, the evidence for and
against is briefly stated, and the proposal considered. The duty of
stating this evidence is, by tacit consent, devolved upon two members of
the Company, who, from their previous studies, are specially entitled to
speak with authority upon such questions--Dr. Scrivener and Dr. Hort--and
who come prepared to enumerate particularly the authorities on either
side. Dr. Scrivener opens up the matter by stating the facts of the case,
and by giving his judgment upon the bearing of the evidence. Dr. Hort
follows, and mentions any additional matters that may call for notice, and
if differing from Dr. Scrivener’s estimate of the weight of the evidence,
gives his reasons, and states his own view. After discussion, the vote of
the Company is taken, and the proposed reading accepted or rejected. The
text being thus settled, the Chairman asks for proposals on the rendering.
Any member who has any suggestion on his paper then mentions it, and this
is taken into consideration, unless some other member state that he has a
proposal which refers to an earlier clause of the passage, in which case
his proposal is taken first. The reasons for the proposed emendation are
then stated; briefly, if it be an obvious correction, and one which it is
likely that many members have noted down; if it be one less obvious, or
less likely to commend itself at first sight, the grounds upon which it is
based are stated more at length. Free discussion then follows, and after
this the vote of the Company is taken. Succeeding suggestions are
similarly dealt with, and then the passage, as amended, is read by the
Chairman, or by the Secretary. The meeting lasts until six p.m., an
interval of half-an-hour having been allowed for luncheon. The Company
meets every month, excepting only in the months of August and September,
for a session of four consecutive days.

At a very early period of their labours it became clearly manifest to the
Company that they could only do their work satisfactorily by doing it very
thoroughly, and that no question in any way affecting the sense or the
rendering could be passed over because of its seeming unimportance.
Questions, whether of text or translation, which appeared, when regarded
in relation only to the passage under review, to be too minute to be
worthy of serious attention, became oftentimes invested with a grave
importance when other, and especially parallel, passages were considered;
and thus proposed changes, which might otherwise have been dismissed as
unnecessary, claimed for themselves a careful examination. As a necessary
result of this determination to make the revision as complete as might be
in their power, the progress made in the work was but slow, and at the end
of the ninth day of meeting not more than 153 verses had been revised, an
average of only seventeen verses a day. Thereupon several members of the
Company became alarmed at the probable length of time over which the
revision would extend, and on the tenth day of meeting resolutions were
submitted, that, “with a view to swifter progress, the Company be divided
into two sections, of which one shall proceed with the Gospels and the
other with the Epistles,” and “that on the last day of each monthly series
of meetings the whole Company meet together to review the work done by the
two separate sections.” To these resolutions a full consideration was
given, and with the result of producing an almost unanimous conviction
that such a division of the Company was undesirable. It was felt that the
weight of authority attaching to this Revision, would, with many persons,
be largely dependent upon the fact that it represented the united judgment
of a considerable number of scholars, and that the proposed division of
the Company would consequently tend to lessen the claims of the work to
the confidence of the public. It was found, too, that it would not be
possible to make any satisfactory division of the Company; and from the
varied qualifications of the members, each felt that it would be a
palpable loss to be deprived of the co-operation of any of the rest. It
was also exceedingly doubtful whether any saving of time would be secured
by the proposed arrangement. The review by the entire Company of the work
done by the separate divisions would, in very many cases, reopen
discussion; and questions which had been decided, perhaps unanimously,
after lengthened debate, would be debated afresh, and that, too, by those
who were less familiar with all the bearings of the question, and on
whose account it would be necessary to give lengthened explanations, and
sometimes to retrace other ground also. The resolutions were consequently
withdrawn, and the conviction became general amongst the members of the
Company that they had no other alternative than to face the probability of
a much longer period of labour than any one amongst them had at first
anticipated, and to accept the full responsibilities of the work which had
been laid upon them.

After this the work steadily proceeded, and various general questions
having been decided as they arose, the rate of progress became more rapid;
but even then the average did not rise above thirty-five verses a day.

In accordance with the rules under which the Company was acting, all
proposals made at the first revision were decided by simple majorities;
but at the second revision no change from the Authorized Version could be
accepted unless it were carried by a majority of two to one. Though here
and there this rule stood in the way of a change which a decided majority
of the Company were of opinion was right, its action upon the whole was
very salutary.

At the second revision also the suggestions of the American Revisers came
to the help of the Company. From time to time, as each successive portion
of the first revision was completed, it had been forwarded to America. The
American Revisers subjected this to a careful scrutiny, and in their turn
forwarded to England their criticisms thereupon. Where they approved the
changes provisionally made nothing was said; where they differed they
indicated their dissent, and submitted their own suggestions. In like
manner, in passages where no change had been made, they either signified
their assent by silence, or expressed their judgment by independent

The first revision of the Gospel of Matthew was completed on the
thirty-sixth day of meeting, May 24th, 1871; that of Mark on the
fifty-third day, November 16th, 1871; that of Luke on the eighty-first
day, June 22nd, 1872; and that of John on the one hundred and third day,
February 19th, 1873. The first revision of the Acts and the Catholic
Epistles was completed on the one hundred and fifty-second meeting, April
23rd, 1874. Before proceeding to the first revision of the remaining books
it was deemed desirable to undertake the second revision of the Gospels,
and this was completed on the one hundred and eighty-fourth meeting,
February 25th, 1875. The first revision of the Pauline Epistles was then
commenced, and was completed on the two hundred and sixty-second meeting,
February 27th, 1877. The first revision of the Apocalypse was completed on
the two hundred and seventy-third meeting, April 20th, 1877.

It will thus appear that the first revision engaged the Company during two
hundred and forty-one meetings; that is to say, during sixty monthly
sessions, or six years of labour. The attendance during this important
period of the work maintained so high an average as 16·8.

It had not been originally intended that at the second revision fresh
proposals should be entertained; but as it was obviously necessary to do
this with regard to the American suggestions, it was felt that we ought
not to preclude our own members from bringing forward any new proposal
that might seem worthy of consideration, and that we ought not, for the
sake of gaining time, to fetter ourselves by any rigid rule. The second
revision thus became a far more serious business than had been originally
contemplated, and demanded a large measure of time and toil. It was
completed on December 13th, 1878, having occupied on the whole ninety-six
meetings, or about two years and a half. By rule 5 the “second” revision
was to be regarded as “final,” but the course of events rendered this an
impossibility, and so far the rule had to be annulled.

In due course the results of the second revision were forwarded to
America, and while it indicated the extent to which the English Company
had been able to adopt the American suggestions--or what was equivalent
to this, some third suggestion that approved itself alike to the judgment
of both Companies--it also necessarily invited a reply upon those points
about which there was still a difference of opinion, and this, as
necessarily, involved what was to some extent a third revision. The work
of a further revision had, however, been previously imposed upon the
Company by a resolution of its own, in which it was agreed that the
members should privately read over the version as now revised, with the
view of marking any roughnesses or other blemishes in the English
phraseology; and that if it should appear to them that, without doing any
violence to the Greek, the English might be amended, the emendations they
proposed should be forwarded to the Secretary, and by him be duly arranged
and printed. To the consideration of the various suggestions so forwarded,
and of those contained in the further communications from America, the
Company devoted thirty-six meetings, extending from February 11th, 1879,
to January 27th, 1880, with portions of one or two subsequent meetings,
being finally completed on March 17th, 1880.

Although the Company had endeavoured throughout the whole course of its
work to preserve, as far as the idiom of the English language permitted,
uniformity in the rendering of the same Greek word, it had not been
possible, when dealing with each passage separately, to keep in view all
the other passages in which any particular word might be found. It was
therefore felt to be desirable to reconsider the Revised Version with
exclusive reference to this single point, and the pages of a Greek
concordance were assigned in equal portions to different members of the
Company, who each undertook to examine every passage in which the words
falling to his share might occur, and to mark if in any case unnecessary
variations in the English had either been introduced or retained. The
passages so noted were brought before the notice of the assembled Company,
and the question was in each case considered whether, without any injury
to the sense, the rendering of the word under review might be harmonized
with that found in other places. This work of harmonizing, together with
the preparation of the preface, occupied the Company until November 11th,
1880, on which day, at five o’clock in the afternoon, after ten years and
five months of labour, the revision of the New Testament was brought to
its close.

On the evening of the same day, St. Martin’s day, by the kind invitation
of Prebendary Humphry, the Company assembled in the Church of St.
Martin’s-in-the-Fields, and there united in a special service of prayer
and thanksgiving; of thanksgiving for the happy completion of their
labours, for the spirit of harmony and brotherly affection that had
throughout pervaded the meetings of the Company, and for the Divine
goodness which had permitted so many with so little interruption to give
themselves continuously to this work; of prayer that all that had been
wrong in their spirit or action might be mercifully forgiven, and that He
whose glory they had humbly striven to promote might graciously accept
this their service, and deign to use it as an instrument for the good of
man, and the honour of His holy name.

The total number of meetings of the Company has been 407, and the total
number of attendances 6,426,[129] or an average attendance at each meeting
of 15·8 members.

Upon one other point our readers will naturally look for some information.
How have the necessary expenses of this undertaking been met? These, it
will readily be seen, would necessarily be large. So many persons could
not come together from various parts of the kingdom--some very distant,
including the extreme north of Scotland, and the extreme west of
Cornwall--and remain in London for a week in every month, without a
considerable expenditure of money. It was also found necessary for the
satisfactory execution of the work that each portion, from time to time as
provisionally completed, should be set up in type, and in this way further
expenses were entailed. The question of meeting these expenses was at an
early period forced upon the attention of the Company; for some members
before many months had elapsed had been put to serious costs, and while
all willingly gave their time and labour, as far as they might be able,
without reserve to this important work, it was felt to be impossible to
allow this extra burden to rest upon any, and the more so as the pressure
of it must needs be very unequally distributed. An appeal to the public
for help having met with no adequate response, it was resolved to dispose
of the copyright of the work, in the hope thereby of obtaining sufficient
means of meeting the expenses of completing it. Several offers from
different sources were made to the Companies; but ultimately, for various
reasons, it was deemed best to accede to that made by the University
Presses of Oxford and Cambridge, whereby, in return for the copyright of
the Revised Version, the Chancellors, Masters, and Scholars of the two
Universities agreed to provide a sum which it was hoped would suffice for
the expenses that would be incurred in the prosecution and completion of
the work, and to advance a certain portion of the same from time to time.
A draft deed embodying these agreements having been submitted to the
Companies was after some amendments accepted on December 10th, 1872.

The agreement with the University Presses binds the two Companies to a
revision of the Apocrypha, a work not contemplated in their original
undertaking. The New Testament Company have made arrangements for taking a
full share of this revision, and entered upon the work in April last.
Until this is completed they will not be released from their





[130] For as much as Christ saith that the gospel shall be preached in all
the world, and David saith of the Apostles and their preaching, “the sound
of them went out into each land, and the words of them went out into the
ends of the world;” and again David saith, “The Lord shall tell in the
Scriptures of peoples and of these princes that were in it;”[131] that is,
in holy Church, as Jerome saith on that verse, “Holy writ is the Scripture
of peoples, for it is made that all peoples should know it;” and the
princes of the Church that were therein be the apostles that had authority
to write holy writ; for by that same that the Apostles wrote their
Scriptures by authority and confirming of the Holy Ghost, it is holy
Scripture and faith of Christian men, and this dignity hath no man after
them, be he never so holy, never so cunning, as Jerome witnesseth on that
verse. Also Christ saith of the Jews that cried Hosanna to Him in the
temple, that though they were still stones should cry; and by stones He
understandeth heathen men that worshipped stones for their gods. And we
Englishmen be come of heathen men, therefore we be understood by these
stones that should cry holy writ; and as Jews, interpreted
acknowledging[132], signify clerks that should make acknowledgment to God
by repentance of sins and by voice of God’s praise, so our lewd (lay, or
unlearned) men, suing (following) the corner-stone Christ, may be
signified by stones that be hard and abiding in the foundation; for though
covetous clerks be wood (wild, or mad), by simony, heresy, and many other
sins, and despise and stop holy writ as much as they can, yet the lewd
people cry after holy writ to ken it and keep it with great cost and peril
of their life.

For these reasons and other, with common charity to save all men in our
realm which God would have saved, a simple creature hath translated the
Bible out of Latin into English. First this simple creature had much
travail, with divers fellows and helpers, to gather many old Bibles, and
other doctors and common glosses, and to make one Latin Bible some deal
true; and then to study it anew, the text with the gloss and other doctors
as he might get, and especially Lyra on the Old Testament, that helped
full much in this work; the third time to counsel with old grammarians and
old divines of hard words and hard sentences, how they might best be
understood and translated; the fourth time to translate as clearly as he
could to the sentence,[133] and to have many good fellows and cunning at
the correcting of the translation. First it is to know that the best
translating out of Latin into English is to translate after the sentence,
and not only after the words, so that the sentence be as open, either
opener, in English as in Latin, and go not far from the letter; and if the
letter may not be sued (followed) in the translating, let the sentence be
ever whole and open, for the words ought to serve to the intent and
sentence, and else the words be superfluous or false. In translating into
English many resolutions may make the sentence open, as an ablative case
absolute may be resolved into these three words, with convenable
(suitable) verb, _the while_, _for if_, as grammarians say, as thus: _the
master reading, I stand_, may be resolved thus, _while the master readeth
I stand_, or, _if the master readeth, &c._, or, _for the master, &c._; and
sometime it would accord well with the sentence to be resolved into _when_
or into _afterward_, thus, _when the master read I stood_, or, _after the
master read I stood_; and sometime it may well be resolved into a verb of
the same tense as others be in the same clause, and into this word _et_;
that is, _and_ in English, as thus, _arescentibus hominibus prae timore_;
that is, _and men should wax dry for dread_. Also a participle of a
present tense or preterite of active voice or passive may be resolved into
a verb of the same tense and a conjunction copulative, as thus, _dicens_;
that is, _saying_ may be resolved thus, _and saith_, or, _that saith_; and
this will in many places make the sentence open, where to English it,
after the verb, would be dark and doubtful. Also a relative, which may be
resolved into his antecedent with a conjunction copulative, as thus,
_which runneth_, _and he runneth_. Also when one word is once set in a
clause it may be set forth as often as it is understood, or as often as
reason and need ask. And this word _autem_, or _vero_, may stand for
_forsooth_, or for _but_, and thus I use commonly; and sometime it may
stand for _and_, as old grammarians say. Also when rightful construction
is let (prevented) by relation, I resolve it openly; thus where this
clause _Dominum formidabunt adversarii ejus_ should be Englished thus by
the letter, _the Lord His adversaries shall dread_, I English it thus by
resolution, _the adversaries of the Lord shall dread Him_; and so of other
clauses that be like.

At the beginning I purposed, with God’s help, to make the sentence as true
and open in English as it is in Latin, or more true and more open than it
is in Latin; and I pray for charity and for common profit of Christian
souls, that if any wise man find any default of the truth of translation,
let him set in the true sentence and open of holy writ, but look that he
examine truly his Latin Bible; for no doubt he shall find full many Bibles
in Latin full false, if he look many, namely, new;[134] and the common
Latin Bibles have more need to be corrected, as many as I have seen in my
life than the English Bible late translated. And where the Hebrew, by
witness of Jerome, of Lyra, and other expositors discordeth from our Latin
Bibles, I have set in the margin, by manner of a gloss, what the Hebrew
hath, and how it is understood in some place; and I did this most in the
Psalter, that of all our books discordeth most from the Hebrew; for the
church readeth not the Psalter by the last translation of Jerome, out of
Hebrew into Latin, but another translation by other men, that had much
less cunning and holiness than Jerome had; and in full few books the
church readeth the translation of Jerome, as it may be proved by the
proper originals of Jerome which he glossed. And where I have translated
as openly or openlier in English as in Latin, let wise men deme (judge)
that know well both languages, and know well the sentence of holy
Scripture. And whether I have done thus or not, no doubt they that ken
well the sentence of holy writ and English together, and will travail with
God’s grace thereabout, may make the Bible as true and as open, yea, and
openlier, in English as in Latin. And no doubt to a simple man, with God’s
grace and great travail, men might expound much openlier and shortlier
the Bible in English, than the old great doctors have expounded it in
Latin, and much sharplier and groundlier than many late postillators, or
expositors have done. But God of His great mercy, give us grace to live
well, and to see the truth in convenable manner, and acceptable to God and
His people, and to spell out our time, be it short, be it long, at God’s

But some that seem wise and holy say thus, If men now were as holy as
Jerome was, they might translate out of Latin into English, as he did out
of Hebrew and out of Greek into Latin, and else they should not translate
now, so they think, for default of holiness and cunning. Though this
replication seem colourable, it hath no good ground, neither reason,
neither charity; for why, (because) this replication is more against Saint
Jerome and against the first LXX. translators, and against holy church,
than against simple men that translate now into English; for Saint Jerome
was not so holy as the Apostles and Evangelists, whose books he translated
into Latin, neither he had so high gifts of the Holy Ghost as they had;
and much more the LXX. translators were not so holy as Moses and the
Prophets, and specially David; neither they had so great gifts of God as
Moses and the Prophets had. Furthermore, holy church approveth not only
the true translation of mean Christian men, but also of open heretics,
that did away mysteries of Jesus Christ by guileful translation, as Jerome
witnesseth in one prologue on Job, and in the prologue of Daniel. Much
more late the Church of England approve the true and whole translation of
simple men, that would, for no good on earth, by their witting and power,
put away the least truth, yea, the least letter or tittle of holy writ
that beareth substance or charge. And dispute they not (let them not
dispute) of the holiness of men now living in this deadly life; for they
know not thereon, and it is reserved only to God’s doom. If they know any
notable default by the translators or their helps, let them blame the
default by charity and mercy, and let them never damn a thing that may be
done lawfully by God’s law, as wearing a good cloth for a time, or riding
on a horse for a great journey, when they wit not wherefore it is done;
for such things may be done of simple men with as great charity and virtue
as some that hold themselves great and wise, can ride in a gilt saddle, or
use cushions and beds and cloths of gold and of silk, with other vanities
of the world. God grant pity, mercy, and charity, and love of common
profit, and put away such foolish dooms (judgment) that be against reason
and charity. Yet worldly clerks ask greatly (grandly) what spirit maketh
idiots (laymen) hardy to translate now the Bible into English, since the
four great doctors durst never do this. This replication is so lewd
(unlearned), that it needeth none answer but stillness or courteous scorn;
for these great doctors were none English men, neither they were
conversant among English men, neither they knew the language of English,
but they ceased never till they had holy writ in the mother tongue of
their own people. For Jerome, that was a Latin man of birth, translated
the Bible, both out of Hebrew and out of Greek into Latin, and expounded
full much thereto; and Austin and many more Latins expounded the Bible,
for many parts, in Latin, to Latin men among which they dwelt, and Latin
was a common language to their people about Rome, and beyond and on this
half (side), as English is common to our people, and yet (still) this day
the common people in Italy speaketh Latin corrupt, as true men say that
have been in Italy; and the number of translators out of Greek into Latin
passeth man’s knowing, as Austin witnesseth in the ij. book of _Christian
Teaching_,[135] and saith thus: “The translators out of Hebrew into Greek
may be numbered, but Latin translators, or they that translated into
Latin, may not be numbered in any manner.” For in the first times of
faith, each man, as a Greek book came to him, and he seemed to himself to
have some cunning of Greek and Latin, was hardy (bold) to translate, and
this thing helped more than letted (hindered) understanding, if readers be
not negligent, for why (because) the beholding of many books hath showed
off or declared some darker sentences. This saith Austin here. Therefore
Grosted (Grosseteste) saith that it was God’s will that diverse men
translate, and that diverse translations be in the church, where one said
darkly, one other more said openly.

Lord God, since at the beginning of faith so many men translated into
Latin, and to great profit of Latin men, let one simple creature of God
translate into English for profit of Englishmen; for if worldly clerks
look well their chronicles and books they shall find that Bede translated
the Bible, and expounded much in Saxon, that was English, or common
language of this land, in his time; and not only Bede, but also King
Alfred that founded Oxford, translated in his last days the beginning of
the Psalter into Saxon, and would more if he had lived longer. Also
Frenchmen, Beemers,[136] and Britons have the Bible and other books of
devotion and of exposition translated in their mother language. Why should
not Englishmen have the same in their mother language I cannot wit, no but
(except) for falseness and negligence of clerks, or for (because) our
people is not worthy to have so great grace and gift of God in pain
(penalty) of their old sins. God for his mercy amend these evil causes,
and make our people to have, and ken, and keep truly holy writ, to life
and death.

But in translating of words equivocal, that is, that have many
significations under one letter, may lightly be peril (there may easily be
a danger of mistake); for Austin saith in the ij. book of _Christian
Teaching_ that if equivocal words be not translated into the sense or
understanding of the author it is error,[137] as in that place of the
psalm, _the feet of them be swift to shed out blood_. The Greek word is
equivocal to _sharp_ and _swift_, and he that translated _sharp feet_
erred, and a book that hath _sharp feet_ is false, and must be amended, as
that sentence, _unkind young trees shall not give deep roots_, ought to be
thus _plantings of adultery shall not give deep roots_.[138] Austin saith
this there; therefore a translator hath great need to study well the
sentence, both before and after, and look that such equivocal words accord
with the sentence; and he hath need to live a clean life, and be full
devout in prayers, and have not his wit occupied about worldly things,
that the Holy Spirit, author of wisdom, and cunning, and truth, dress him
in his work, and suffer him not for to err.

Also this word _ex_ signifieth sometime _of_, and sometime it signifieth
_by_, as Jerome saith; and this word _enim_ signifieth commonly
_forsooth_, and, as Jerome saith, it signifieth, _cause thus_, _forwhy_.
And this word _secundum_ is taken for _after_, as many men say, and
commonly; but it signifieth well _by_ or _up_, thus _by your word_, or _up
your word_. Many such adverbs, conjunctions, and prepositions be set off
one for another, and at free choice of authors sometime; and now they
should be taken as it accordeth best to the sentence.

By this manner, with good living and great travail, men may come to true
and clear translating and true understanding of holy writ, seem it never
so hard at the beginning. God grant to us all grace to ken well and to
keep well holy writ, and to suffer joyfully some pain for it at the last.



I. NEW TESTAMENT[139] 1525. 4TO.

I have here translated, brethren and sisters, most dear and tenderly
beloved in Christ, the New Testament, for your spiritual edifying,
consolation, and solace; exhorting instantly and beseeching those that are
better seen in the tongues than I, and that have better gifts of grace to
interpret the sense of the Scripture and meaning of the Spirit than I, to
consider and ponder my labour, and that with the spirit of meekness; and
if they perceive in any places that I have not attained unto the very
sense of the tongue, or meaning of the Scripture, or have not given the
right English word, that they put to their hands to amend it, remembering
that so is their duty to do. For we have not received the gifts of God for
ourselves only, or for to hide them; but for to bestow them unto the
honouring of God and Christ, and edifying of the congregation, which is
the body of Christ.

The causes that moved me to translate, I thought better that others should
imagine, than that I should rehearse them. Moreover I supposed it
superfluous; for who is so blind as to ask why light should be showed to
them that walk in darkness, where they cannot but stumble, and where to
stumble is the danger of eternal damnation; other so despiteful that he
would envy any man (I speak not his brother) so necessary a thing; or so
bedlam mad to affirm that good is the natural cause of evil, and darkness
to proceed out of light, and that lying should be grounded in truth and
verity, and not rather clean contrary, that light destroyeth darkness, and
verity reproveth all manner of lying.

After it had pleased GOD to put in my mind and also to give me grace to
translate this fore-rehearsed New Testament into our English tongue,
howsoever we have done it, I supposed it very necessary to put you in
remembrance of certain points, which are, that ye well understand what
these words mean: the Old Testament, the New Testament; the law, the
gospel; Moses, Christ; nature, grace; working and believing; deeds and
faith; lest we ascribe to the one that which belongeth to the other, and
make of Christ Moses, of the gospel the law, despise grace and rob faith;
and fall from meek learning into idle dispicions; brawling and scolding
about words.

The Old Testament is a book wherein is written the law of God, and the
deeds of them which fulfil them, and of them also which fulfil them not.

The New Testament is a book wherein are contained the promises of God, and
the deeds of them which believe them or believe them not.

Evangelion (that we call the gospel) is a Greek word, and signifies good,
merry, glad, and joyful tidings, that maketh a man’s heart glad, and
maketh him sing, dance, and leap for joy: as when David had killed Goliath
the giant, came glad tidings unto the Jews, that their fearful and cruel
enemy was slain, and they delivered out of all danger; for gladness
whereof, they sung, danced, and were joyful. In like manner is the
Evangelion of God (which we call gospel, and the New Testament) joyful
tidings; and, as some say, a good hearing, published by the apostles
throughout all the world, of Christ the right David, how that he hath
fought with sin, with death, and the devil, and overcome them: whereby all
men that were in bondage to sin, wounded with death, overcome of the
devil, are, without their own merits or deservings, loosed, justified,
restored to life and saved, brought to liberty and reconciled unto the
favour of God, and set at one with him again; which tidings, as many as
believe, laud, praise, and thank God; are glad, sing, and dance for joy.

This Evangelion or gospel (that is to say, such joyful tidings) is called
the New Testament; because that as a man, when he shall die, appointeth
his goods to be dealt and distributed after his death among them which he
nameth to be his heirs; even so Christ, before his death, commanded and
appointed that such Evangelion, gospel, or tidings, should be declared
throughout all the world, and therewith to give unto all that believe, all
his goods; that is to say, his life, wherewith he swallowed and devoured
up death; his righteousness, wherewith he banished sin; his salvation,
wherewith he overcame eternal damnation. Now, can the wretched man, that
[knoweth himself to be wrapped] in sin, and in danger to death and hell,
hear no more joyous a thing than such glad and comfortable tidings of
Christ; so that he cannot but be glad and laugh from the low bottom of his
heart, if he believe that the tidings are true.

To strength such faith withal, God promised this his Evangelion in the Old
Testament by the prophets, as Paul saith (Rom. i.), how that he was chosen
out to preach God’s Evangelion, which he before had promised by the
prophets in the Scriptures, that treat of his Son which was born of the
seed of David. In Gen. iii. God saith to the serpent, “I will put hatred
between thee and the woman, between thy seed and her seed, that self seed
shall tread thy head under foot.” Christ is this woman’s seed; he it is
that hath trodden under foot the devil’s head; that is to say, sin, death,
hell, and all his power. For without this seed can no man avoid sin,
death, hell, and everlasting damnation.

Again (Gen. xxii.), God promised Abraham, saying, “In thy seed shall all
the generations of the earth be blessed.” Christ is that seed of Abraham,
saith St. Paul. (Gal. iii.) He hath blessed all the world through the
gospel. For where Christ is not, there remaineth the curse that fell on
Adam as soon as he had sinned, so that they are in bondage under the
condemnation of sin, death, and hell. Against this curse blesseth now the
gospel all the world, inasmuch as it crieth openly, saying, Whosoever
believeth on the Seed of Abraham shall be blessed, that is, he shall be
delivered from sin, death, and hell, and shall henceforth continue
righteous, living and saved for ever, as Christ himself saith, in the
eleventh of John, “He that believeth on me shall never more die.”

“The law,” saith the gospel of John in the first chapter, “was given by
Moses: but grace and verity by Jesus Christ.” The law, whose minister is
Moses, was given to bring us unto the knowledge of ourselves, that we
might thereby feel and perceive what we are of nature. The law condemneth
us and all our deeds, and is called of Paul in 2 Cor. iii. the
ministration of death. For it killeth our consciences and driveth us to
desperation, inasmuch as it requireth of us that which is impossible for
us to do. It requireth of us the deeds of a whole man. It requireth
perfect love from the low bottom and ground of the heart, as well in all
things which we suffer, as in the things which we do. But, saith John, in
the same place, “grace and verity is given us in Christ,” so that when the
law hath passed upon us, and condemned us to death, which is its nature to
do, then we have in Christ grace, that is to say, favour, promises of
life, of mercy, of pardon, freely by the merits of Christ; and in Christ
have we verity and truth, in that God fulfilleth all his promises to them
that believe. Therefore is the gospel the ministration of life. Paul
calleth it in the fore rehearsed place of 2 Cor. iii. the ministration of
the Spirit and of righteousness.

In the gospel, when we believe the promises, we receive the Spirit of
life, and are justified in the blood of Christ from all things whereof the
law condemned us. Of Christ it is written in the fore rehearsed John i.
This is He of whose abundance, or fulness, all we have received, grace for
grace, or favour for favour. That is to say, for the favour that God hath
to his Son Christ he giveth unto us his favour and good will, as a father
to his sons. As affirmeth Paul, saying, “Which loved us in his Beloved
before the creation of the world.” Christ is made Lord over all, and is
called in scripture God’s mercy-stool; whosoever therefore flieth to
Christ can neither hear nor receive of God any other thing save mercy.

In the Old Testament are many promises, which are nothing else but the
Evangelion or gospel, to save those that believed them from the vengeance
of the law. And in the New Testament is often made mention of the law, to
condemn them which believe not the promises. Moreover the law and the
gospel may never be separate; for the gospel and promises serve but for
troubled consciences, which are brought to desperation, and feel the pains
of hell and death under the law, and are in captivity and bondage under
the law. In all my deeds I must have the law before me to condemn mine
imperfectness. For all that I do, be I never so perfect, is yet damnable
sin, when it is compared to the law, which requireth the ground and bottom
of mine heart. I must therefore have always the law in my sight, that I
may be meek in the spirit, and give God all the laud and praise, ascribing
to him all righteousness, and to myself all unrighteousness and sin. I
must also have the promises before mine eyes, that I despair not; in which
promises I see the mercy, favour, and good will of God upon me, in the
blood of his Son Christ, which hath made satisfaction for mine
unperfectness, and fulfilled for me that which I could not do.

Here may ye perceive that two manner of people are sore deceived. First,
they which justify themselves with outward deeds, in that they abstain
outwardly from that which the law forbiddeth, and do outwardly that which
the law commandeth. They compare themselves to open sinners; and in
respect of them justify themselves, condemning the open sinners. They set
a veil on Moses’ face, and see not how the law requireth love from the
bottom of the heart. If they did they would not condemn their neighbours.
“Love hideth the multitude of sins,” saith St. Peter, in his first
epistle. For whom I love from the deep bottom and ground of mine heart,
him condemn I not, neither reckon his sins, but suffer his weakness and
infirmity, as a mother the weakness of her son, until he grow up unto a
perfect man.

Those also are deceived which, without all fear of God, give themselves
unto all manner vices with full consent, and full delectation, having no
respect to the law of God (under whose vengeance they are locked up in
captivity), but say, God is merciful and Christ died for us, supposing
that such dreaming and imagination is that faith which is so greatly
commended in holy scripture. Nay, that is not faith, but rather a foolish
blind opinion springing of their own nature, and it is not given them of
the Spirit of God; true faith is (as saith the apostle Paul) the gift of
God, and is given to sinners after the law hath passed upon them, and hath
brought their consciences unto the brink of desperation, and sorrows of

They that have this right faith, consent to the law that it is righteous,
and good, and justify God which made the law, and have delectation in the
law, notwithstanding that they cannot fulfil it, for their weakness; and
they abhor whatsoever the law forbiddeth, though they cannot avoid it. And
their great sorrow is, because they cannot fulfil the will of God in the
law; and the spirit that is in them crieth to God night and day for
strength and help, with tears (as saith Paul) that cannot be expressed
with tongue. Of which things the belief of our popish (or of their)
father, whom they so magnify for his strong faith, hath none experience at

The first, that is to say, a justiciary, which justifieth himself with his
outward deeds, consenteth not to the inward law, neither hath delectation
therein: yea, he would rather that no such law were. So he justifieth not
God, but hateth him as a tyrant, neither careth he for the promises, but
will with his own strength be saviour of himself; no wise glorifieth he
God, though he seem outward to do.

The second, that is to say, the sensual person, as a voluptuous swine,
neither feareth God in his law, neither is thankful to him for his
promises and mercy, which is set forth in Christ to all them that believe.

The right christian man consenteth to the law, that it is righteous, and
justifieth God in the law; for he affirmeth that God is righteous and
just, which is author of the law. He believeth the promises of God, and so
justifieth God, judging him true, and believing that he will fulfil his
promises. With the law he condemneth himself and all his deeds, and giveth
all the praise to God. He believeth the promises, and ascribeth all truth
to God: thus everywhere justifieth he God, and praiseth God.

By nature, through the fall of Adam are we the children of wrath, heirs of
the vengeance of God by birth, yea, and from our conception. And we have
our fellowship with the devils under the power of darkness and rule of
Satan, while we are yet in our mothers’ wombs; and though we show not
forth the fruits of sin, yet are we full of the natural poison whereof all
sinful deeds spring, and cannot but sin outwardly, be we never so young,
if occasion be given; for our nature is to do sin, as is the nature of a
serpent to sting. And as a serpent yet young, or yet unbrought forth, is
full of poison, and cannot afterward (when the time is come, and occasion
given) but bring forth the fruits thereof; and as an adder, a toad, or a
snake, is hated of man, not for the evil that it hath done, but for the
poison that is in it and the hurt which it cannot but do; so are we hated
of God for that natural poison which is conceived and born with us before
we do any outward evil. And as the evil, which a venomous worm doeth,
maketh it not a serpent; but because it is a venomous worm, therefore doth
it evil and poisoneth; and as the fruit maketh not the tree evil, but
because it is an evil tree, therefore it bringeth forth evil fruit, when
the season of fruit is; even so do not our evil deeds make us evil; but
because that of nature we are evil, therefore we both think and do evil,
and are under vengeance under the law, convict to eternal damnation by the
law, and are contrary to the will of God in all our will, and in all
things consent to the will of the fiend.

By grace, that is to say by favour, we are plucked out of Adam, the ground
of all evil, and graffed in Christ the root of all goodness. In Christ,
God loved us, his elect and chosen, before the world began, and reserved
us unto the knowledge of his Son and of his holy gospel; and when the
gospel is preached to us, he openeth our hearts, and giveth us grace to
believe, and putteth the Spirit of Christ in us, and we know him as our
Father most merciful; and we consent to the law, and love it inwardly in
our heart, and desire to fulfil it, and sorrow because we cannot; which
will (sin we of frailty never so much) is sufficient till more strength be
given us; the blood of Christ hath made satisfaction for the rest; the
blood of Christ hath obtained all things for us of God. Christ is our
satisfaction, Redeemer, Deliverer, Saviour, from vengeance and wrath.
Observe and mark in Paul’s, Peter’s, and John’s epistles, and in the
gospel, what Christ is unto us.

By faith are we saved only in believing the promises. And though faith be
never without love and good works, yet is our saving imputed neither to
love nor unto good works, but unto faith only. For love and works are
under the law, which requireth perfection, and the ground and fountain of
the heart, and damneth all imperfectness. Now is faith under the
promises, which condemn not; but give all grace, mercy, favour, and
whatsoever is contained in the promises.

Righteousness is divers; blind reason imagines many manner of
righteousness. There is, in like manner, the justifying of ceremonies,
some imagine them their own selves, some counterfeit other, saying, in
their blind reason, Such holy persons did thus and thus, and they were
holy men, therefore if I do so likewise I shall please God; but they have
no answer of God that that pleaseth. The Jews seek righteousness in their
ceremonies; which God gave unto them, not to justify, but to describe and
paint Christ unto them; of which Jews testifieth Paul, saying how that
they have affection to God, but not after knowledge; for they go about to
stablish their own justice, and are not obedient to the justice of
righteousness that cometh of God. The cause is verily that except a man
cast away his own imagination and reason, he cannot perceive God, and
understand the virtue and power of the blood of Christ. There is the
righteousness of works, as I said before, when the heart is away and
feeleth not how the law is spiritual and cannot be fulfilled, but from the
bottom of the heart, as the just ministration of all manner of laws, and
the observing of them, and moral virtues wherein philosophers put their
felicity and blessedness--which all are nothing in the sight of God. There
is a full righteousness, when the law is fulfilled from the ground of the
heart. This had neither Peter nor Paul in this life perfectly, but sighed
after it. They were so far forth blessed in Christ, that they hungered and
thirsted after it. Paul had this thirst; he consented to the law of God,
that it ought so to be, but he found another lust in his members, contrary
to the lust and desire of his mind, and therefore cried out, saying, “Oh,
wretched man that I am; who shall deliver me from this body of death?
thanks be to God through Jesus Christ.” The righteousness that before God
is of value, is to believe the promises of God, after the law hath
confounded the conscience: as when the temporal law ofttimes condemneth
the thief or murderer, and bringeth him to execution, so that he seeth
nothing before him but present death, and then cometh good tidings, a
charter from the king, and delivereth him. Likewise when God’s law hath
brought the sinner into knowledge of himself, and hath confounded his
conscience and opened unto him the wrath and vengeance of God; then cometh
good tidings. The Evangelion showeth unto him the promises of God in
Christ, and how Christ hath purchased pardon for him, hath satisfied the
law for him, and appeased the wrath of God. And the poor sinner believeth,
laudeth, and thanketh God through Christ, and breaketh out into exceeding
inward joy and gladness, for that he hath escaped so great wrath, so heavy
vengeance, so fearful and so everlasting a death. And he henceforth is an
hungered and athirst after more righteousness, that he might fulfil the
law; and mourneth continually, commending his weakness unto God in the
blood of our Saviour, Christ Jesus.

Here shall ye see compendiously and plainly set out, the order and
practice of every thing before rehearsed.

The fall of Adam hath made us heirs of the vengeance and wrath of God, and
heirs of eternal damnation; and hath brought us into captivity and bondage
under the devil. And the devil is our lord, and our ruler, our head, our
governor, our prince, yea, and our god. And our will is locked and knit
faster unto the will of the devil, than could a hundred thousand chains
bind a man unto a post. Unto the devil’s will consent we with all our
hearts, with all our minds, with all our might, power, strength, will, and
lusts. With what poison, deadly and venomous hate, hateth a man his enemy!
With how great malice of mind, inwardly, do we slay and murder! With what
violence and rage, yea, and with how fervent lust, commit we advoutry,
fornication, and such like uncleanness! With what pleasure and delectation
inwardly serveth a glutton his belly! With what diligence deceive we! How
busily seek we the things of this world! Whatsoever we do, think, or
imagine, is abominable in the sight of God. And we are as it were asleep
in so deep blindness, that we can neither see nor feel what misery,
thraldom, and wretchedness we are in, till Moses come and wake us, and
publish the law. When we hear the law truly preached, how that we ought to
love and honour God with all our strength and might, from the low bottom
of the heart; and our neighbours, yea, our enemies, as ourselves,
inwardly, from the ground of the heart, and do whatsoever God biddeth, and
abstain from whatsoever God forbiddeth, with all love and meekness, with a
fervent and a burning lust from the centre of the heart, then beginneth
the conscience to rage against the law, and against God. No sea, be it
ever so great a tempest, is so unquiet. For it is not possible for a
natural man to consent to the law, that it should be good, or that God
should be righteous which maketh the law; his wit, reason, and will being
so fast glued, yea, nailed and chained unto the will of the devil. Neither
can any creature loose the bonds, save the blood of Christ.

This is the captivity and bondage whence Christ delivered us, redeemed,
and loosed us. His blood, his death, his patience in suffering rebukes and
wrongs, his prayers and fastings, his meekness and fulfilling of the
uttermost point of the law, appeased the wrath of God, brought the favour
of God to us again, obtained that God should love us first, and be our
Father, and that a merciful Father, that will consider our infirmities and
weakness, and will give us his Spirit again (which was taken away in the
fall of Adam) to rule, govern, and strength us, and to break the bonds of
Satan, wherein we were so straight bound. When Christ is thuswise
preached, and the promises rehearsed which are contained in the prophets,
in the psalms, and in divers places of the five books of Moses, then the
hearts of them which are elect and chosen, begin to wax soft and melt at
the bounteous mercy of God, and kindness shewed of Christ. For when the
Evangelion is preached, the Spirit of God entereth into them whom God hath
ordained and appointed unto eternal life, and openeth their inward eyes,
and worketh such belief in them. When the woful consciences feel and taste
how sweet a thing the bitter death of Christ is, and how merciful and
loving God is through Christ’s purchasing and merits, they begin to love
again, and to consent to the law of God, that it is good and ought so to
be, and that God is righteous which made it; and they desire to fulfil the
law, even as the sick man desireth to be whole, and are an hungered and
thirst after more righteousness and after more strength to fulfil the law
more perfectly. And in all that they do, or omit and leave undone, they
seek God’s honour and his will with meekness, ever condemning the
imperfectness of their deeds by the law.

Now Christ standeth us in double stead, and us serveth in two manner wise:
First, he is our Redeemer, Deliverer, Reconciler, Mediator, Intercessor,
Advocate, Attorney, Solicitor, our Hope, Comfort, Shield, Protection,
Defender, Strength, Health, Satisfaction, and Salvation. His blood, his
death, all that he ever did, is ours. And Christ himself, with all that he
is or can do, is ours. His blood-shedding and all that he did, doth me as
good service as though I myself had done it. And God (as great as he is)
is mine, with all that he hath, through Christ and his purchasing.

Secondarily, after that we be overcome with love and kindness, and now
seek to do the will of God, which is a christian man’s nature, then have
we Christ an example to counterfeit, as saith Christ himself in John, “I
have given you an example.” And in another evangelist he saith, “He that
will be great among you, shall be your servant and minister, as the Son of
man came to minister and not to be ministered unto.” And Paul saith,
“Counterfeit[140] Christ.” And Peter saith, “Christ died for you, and
left you an example to follow his steps.” Whatsoever therefore faith hath
received of God through Christ’s blood and deserving, that same must love
shed out every whit, and bestow it on our neighbours unto their profit,
yea, and that though they be our enemies. By faith we receive of God, and
by love we shed out again. And that must we do freely after the example of
Christ, without any other respect, save our neighbour’s wealth only, and
neither look for reward in the earth, nor yet in heaven, for our deeds.
But of pure love must we bestow ourselves, all that we have, and all that
we are able to do, even on our enemies, to bring them to God, considering
nothing but their wealth, as Christ did ours. Christ did not his deeds to
obtain heaven thereby (that had been a madness), heaven was his already,
he was heir thereof, it was his by inheritance; but did them freely for
our sakes, considering nothing but our wealth, and to bring the favour of
God to us again, and us to God. And no natural son that is his father’s
heir, doth his father’s will because he would be heir; that he is already
by birth, his father gave him that ere he was born, and is loather that he
should go without it, than he himself hath wit to be; but out of pure love
doth he that he doth. And ask him, Why he doth any thing that he doth? he
answereth, My father bade, it is my father’s will, it pleaseth my father.
Bond servants work for hire, children for love: for their father with all
he hath, is theirs already. So a Christian man doth freely all that he
doth, considereth nothing but the will of God, and his neighbour’s wealth
only. If I live chaste, I do it not to obtain heaven thereby; for then
should I do wrong to the blood of Christ; Christ’s blood has obtained me
that; Christ’s merits have made me heir thereof; he is both door and way
thitherwards: neither that I look for an higher room in heaven than they
shall have which live in wedlock, other than a whore of the stews, if she
repent; for that were the pride of Lucifer, but freely to wait on the
evangelion; and to serve my brother withal; even as one hand helpeth
another, or one member another, because one feeleth another’s grief, and
the pain of the one is the pain of the other. Whatsoever is done to the
least of us (whether it be good or bad), it is done to Christ; and
whatsoever is done to my brother, if I be a christian man, that same is
done to me. Neither doth my brother’s pain grieve me less than mine own:
neither rejoice I less at his welfare than at mine own. If it were not so,
how saith Paul? “Let him that rejoiceth, rejoice in the Lord,” that is to
say, Christ, which is Lord over all creatures. If my merits obtained me
heaven, or a higher room there, then had I wherein I might rejoice besides
the Lord.

Here see ye the nature of the law, and the nature of the evangelion. How
the law is the key that bindeth and damneth all men, and the evangelion
looseth them again. The law goeth before, and the evangelion followeth.
When a preacher preacheth the law, he bindeth all consciences; and when he
preacheth the gospel, he looseth them again. These two salves (I mean the
law and the gospel) useth God and his preacher to heal and cure sinners
withal. The law driveth out the disease and maketh it appear, and is a
sharp salve, and a fretting corosy, and killeth the dead flesh, and
looseth and draweth the sores out by the roots, and all corruption. It
pulleth from a man the trust and confidence that he hath in himself, and
in his own works, merits, deservings, and ceremonies. It killeth him,
sendeth him down to hell, and bringeth him to utter desperation, and
prepareth the way of the Lord, as it is written of John the Baptist. For
it is not possible that Christ should come to a man, as long as he
trusteth in himself, or in any worldly thing. Then cometh the evangelion,
a more gentle plaster, which suppleth and suageth the wounds of the
conscience, and bringeth health. It bringeth the Spirit of God, which
looseth the bonds of Satan, and uniteth us to God and his will, through
strong faith and fervent love, with bonds too strong for the devil, the
world, or any creature to loose them. And the poor and wretched sinner
feeleth so great mercy, love, and kindness in God, that he is sure in
himself how that it is not possible that God should forsake him, or
withdraw his mercy and love from him; and he boldly crieth out with Paul,
saying, “Who shall separate us from the love that God loveth us withal?”
That is to say, What shall make me believe that God loveth me not? Shall
tribulation? anguish? persecution? Shall hunger? nakedness? Shall sword?
Nay, “I am sure that neither death nor life, neither angel, neither rule
nor power, neither present things nor things to come, neither high nor
low, neither any creature, is able to separate us from the love of God,
which is in Christ Jesu our Lord.” In all such tribulations, a christian
man perceiveth that God is his Father, and loveth him even as he loved
Christ when he shed his blood on the cross.

Finally, as before, when I was bond to the devil and his will, I wrought
all manner of evil and wickedness, not for hell’s sake, which is the
reward of sin, but because I was heir of hell by birth and bondage to the
devil, did I evil (for I could none otherwise do; to do sin was my
nature), even so now, since I am coupled to God by Christ’s blood, do I
well, not for heaven’s sake, but because I am heir of heaven by grace and
Christ’s purchasing, and have the Spirit of God, I do good freely, for so
is my nature: as a good tree bringeth forth good fruit, and an evil tree
evil fruit. By the fruits shall ye know what the tree is. A man’s deeds
declare what he is within, but make him neither good nor bad. We must
first be evil ere we do evil, as a serpent is first poisonous ere he
poison. We must be also good ere we do good, as the fire must be first hot
ere it warm any thing. Take an example: As those blind which are cured in
the evangelion could not see till Christ had given them sight, and deaf
could not hear till Christ had given them hearing, and those sick could
not do the deeds of an whole man till Christ had given them health; so can
no man do good in his soul till Christ have loosed him out of the bonds
of Satan, and have given him wherewith to do good; yea, and first have
poured into him that self good thing which he sheddeth forth afterwards on
other. Whatsoever is our own, is sin. Whatsoever is above that, is
Christ’s gift, purchase, doing, and working. He bought it of his Father
dearly with his blood, yea, with his most bitter death, and gave his life
for it. Whatsoever good thing is in us, that is given us freely, without
our deserving or merits, for Christ’s blood’s sake. That we desire to
follow the will of God it is the gift of Christ’s blood. That we now hate
the devil’s will (whereunto we were so fast locked, and could not but love
it) is also the gift of Christ’s blood; unto whom belongeth the praise and
honour of our good deeds, and not unto us.


Give diligence, reader, I exhort thee, that thou come with a pure mind,
and, as the Scripture saith, with a single eye, unto the words of health
and of eternal life; by the which, if we repent and believe them, we are
born anew, created afresh, and enjoy the fruits of the blood of Christ,
which blood crieth not for vengeance, as the blood of Abel, but hath
purchased life, love, favour, grace, blessing, and whatsoever is promised
in the Scriptures to them that believe and obey God, and standeth between
us and wrath, vengeance, curse, and whatsoever the Scripture threateneth
against the unbelievers and disobedient, which resist and consent not in
their hearts to the law of God that it is right, holy, just, and ought so
to be. Mark the plain and manifest places of the Scriptures, and in
doubtful places see thou add no interpretation contrary to them, but as
(Paul saith) let all be conformable and agreeing to the faith. Note the
difference of the law and of the gospel. The one asketh and requireth,
the other pardoneth and forgiveth; the one threateneth, the other
promiseth all good things to them that set their trust in Christ only. The
gospel signifieth glad tidings, and is nothing but the promises of good
things. All is not gospel that is written in the gospel-book; for if the
law were away thou couldest not know what the gospel meant, even as thou
couldest not see pardon and grace, except the law rebuked thee and
declared unto thee thy sin, misdeed, and trespass. Repent, and believe the
gospel, as Christ saith in the first of Mark. Apply alway the law to thy
deeds, whether thou find lust in thine heart to the law-ward; and so shalt
thou no doubt repent and feel in thyself a certain sorrow, pain, and grief
to thine heart, because thou canst not with full lust do the deeds of the
law. Apply the gospel, that is to say the promises, unto the deserving of
Christ, and to the mercy of God and his truth, and so shalt thou not
despair, but shall feel God as a kind and merciful father. And his Spirit
shall dwell in thee, and shall be strong in thee, and the promises shall
be given thee at the last (though not by and by, lest thou shouldest
forget thyself and be negligent), and all threatenings shall be forgiven
thee for Christ’s blood’s sake, to whom commit thyself altogether, without
respect either of thy good deeds or of thy bad.

Them that are learned Christianly I beseech, forasmuch as I am sure, and
my conscience beareth me record, that of a pure intent, singly and
faithfully, I have interpreted it, as far forth as God gave me the gift of
knowledge and understanding, that the rudeness of the work now at the
first time offend them not; but that they consider how that I had no man
to counterfeit, neither was helped with English of any that had
interpreted the same or such like thing in the Scripture beforetime.
Moreover, even very necessity, and cumbrance (God is record) above
strength, which I will not rehearse, lest we should seem to boast
ourselves, caused that many things are lacking which necessarily are
required. Count it as a thing not having his full shape, but as it were
born before his time, even as a thing begun rather than finished. In time
to come (if God have appointed us thereunto) we will give it his full
shape, and put out if ought be added superflously, and add to if ought be
overseen through negligence, and will enforce to bring to compendiousness
that which is now translated at the length, and to give light where it is
required, and to seek in certain places more proper English, and with a
table to expound the words which are not commonly used, and show how the
Scripture useth many words which are otherwise understood of the common
people, and to help with a declaration where one tongue taketh not
another; and will endeavour ourselves, as it were, to seethe it better,
and to make it more apt for the weak stomachs, desiring them that are
learned and able to remember their duty, and to help them thereunto, and
to bestow unto the edifying of Christ’s body, which is the congregation of
them that believe, those gifts which they have received of God for the
same purpose.

The grace that cometh of Christ be with them that love him. Amen.


When I had translated the New Testament, I added an Epistle unto the
latter end, in which I desired them that were learned to amend if aught
were found amiss. But our malicious and wily hypocrites, which are so
stubborn, and hard hearted in their wicked abominations, that it is not
possible for them to amend any thing at all (as we see by daily
experience, when both their livings and doings are rebuked with the truth)
say, some of them, that it is impossible to translate the Scripture into
English; some that it is not lawful for the lay people to have it in their
mother tongue; some that it would make them all heretics; as it would no
doubt from many things which they of long time have falsely taught; and
that is the whole cause wherefore they forbid it, though they other
cloaks pretend. And some, or rather every one, say that it would make them
rise against the king, whom they themselves (unto their damnation) never
yet obeyed. And lest the temporal rulers should see their falsehood, if
the Scripture came to light, causeth them so to lie.

And as for my translation, in which they affirm unto the lay people, (as I
have heard say) to be I wot not how many thousand heresies, so that it
cannot be mended or correct, they have yet taken so great pain to examine
it, and to compare it unto that they would fain have it, and to their own
imaginations and juggling terms, and to have somewhat to rail at, and
under that cloak, to blaspheme the truth, that they might with as little
labour (as I suppose) have translated the most part of the Bible. For they
which in times past were wont to look on no more Scripture than they found
in their _Duns_, or such like devilish doctrine, have yet now so narrowly
looked on my Translation, that there is not so much as one _i_ therein, if
it lack a tittle over his head, but they have noted it, and number it unto
the ignorant people for an heresy. Finally, in this they be all
agreed,--to drive you from the knowledge of the Scripture, and that ye
shall not have the text thereof in the mother tongue; and to keep the
world still in darkness, to the intent they might sit in the consciences
of the people, through vain superstition and false doctrine; to satisfy
their filthy lusts, their proud ambition, and unsatiable covetousness; and
to exalt their own honour above king and emperor, yea, and above God

A thousand books had they lever to be put forth against their abominable
doings and doctrine, than that the Scripture should come to light. For as
long as they may keep that down, they will so darken the right way with
the mist of their sophistry, and so tangle them that either rebuke or
despise their abominations, with arguments of philosophy, and with worldly
similitudes and apparent reasons of natural wisdom, and with wresting the
Scripture unto their own purpose, clean contrary unto the process, order,
and meaning of the text; and so delude them in descanting upon it with
allegories; and amaze them, expounding it in many senses before the
unlearned lay people, (when it hath but one simple, literal sense, whose
light the owls cannot abide) that though thou feel in thine heart, and art
sure, how that all is false that they say, yet couldst thou not solve
their subtle riddles.

Which thing only moved me to translate the New Testament. Because I had
perceived by experience, how that it was impossible to establish the lay
people in any truth except the Scripture were plainly laid before their
eyes in their mother tongue, that they might see the process, order, and
meaning of the text: for else, whatsoever truth is taught them, these
enemies of all truth quench it again, partly with the smoke of their
bottomless pit, whereof thou readest in Apocalypse chap. ix. that is, with
apparent reasons of sophistry, and traditions of their own making, founded
without ground of Scripture, and partly in juggling with the text,
expounding it in such a sense as is impossible to gather of the text, if
thou see the process, order, and meaning thereof.

And even in the bishop of London’s house I intended to have done it. For
when I was so turmoiled in the country where I was, that I could no longer
dwell there (the process whereof were too long here to rehearse), I this
wise thought in myself--this I suffer because the priests of the country
be unlearned; as God knoweth, there are a full ignorant sort which have
seen no more Latin than that they read in their Portesses and Missals,
which yet many of them can scarcely read (except it be _Albertus de
Secretis Mulierum_, in which yet, though they be never so sorrily learned,
they pore day and night, and make notes therein, and all to teach the
midwives as they say; and Linwode, a book of constitutions to gather
tythes, mortuaries, offerings, customs, and other pillage which they call
not theirs, but God’s part, and the duty of holy church to discharge their
consciences withal: for they are bound that they shall not diminish, but
increase all things unto the uttermost of their powers), and, therefore
(because they are thus unlearned, thought I), when they come together to
the ale-house, which is their preaching place, they affirm that my sayings
are heresy. And besides that, they add to of their own heads which I never
spake, as the manner is, to prolong the tale to short the time withal, and
accused me secretly to the chancellor, and other the bishop’s officers.
And, indeed, when I came before the chancellor, he threatened me
grievously, and reviled me, and rated me as though I had been a dog, and
laid to my charge whereof there could be none accuser brought forth (as
their manner is not to bring forth the accuser), and yet all the priests
of the country were the same day there.

As I this thought, the bishop of London came to my remembrance, whom
Erasmus (whose tongue maketh of little gnats great elephants, and lifteth
up above the stars whosoever giveth him a little exhibition) praiseth
exceedingly, among other in his Annotations on the New Testament, for his
great learning. Then, thought I, if I might come to this man’s service, I
were happy. And so I gat me to London, and, through the acquaintance of my
master, came to Sir Harry Gilford, the king’s grace’s comptroller, and
brought him an _Oration of Isocrates_, which I had translated out of Greek
into English, and desired him to speak unto my lord of London for me,
which he also did as he shewed me, and willed me to write an epistle to my
lord, and to go to him myself, which I also did, and delivered my epistle
to a servant of his own, one William Hebilthwayte, a man of mine old
acquaintance. But God (which knoweth what is within hypocrites) saw that I
was beguiled, and that that counsel was not the next way unto my purpose.
And therefore he gat me no favour in my lord’s sight.

Whereupon my lord answered me, his house was full, he had more than he
could well find, and advised me to seek in London, where he said I could
not lack a service. And so in London I abode almost a year, and marked the
course of the world, and heard our praters (I would say our preachers),
how they boasted themselves and their high authority; and beheld the pomp
of our prelates, and how busy they were, as they yet are, to set peace and
unity in the world (though it be not possible for them that walk in
darkness to continue long in peace, for they cannot but either stumble or
dash themselves at one thing or another that shall clean unquiet all
together) and saw things whereof I defer to speak at this time, and
understood at the last not only that there was no room in my lord of
London’s palace to translate the New Testament, but also that there was no
place to do it in all England, as experience doth now openly declare.

Under what manner, therefore, should I now submit this book to be
corrected and amended of them, which can suffer nothing to be well? Or
what protestation should I make in such a matter unto our prelates, those
stubborn Nimrods which so mightily fight against God, and resist his Holy
Spirit, enforcing with all craft and subtlety to quench the light of the
everlasting Testament, promises, and appointment made between God and us?
and heaping the fierce wrath of God upon all princes and rulers; mocking
them with false feigned names of hypocrisy, and serving their lusts at all
points, and dispensing with them even of the very laws of God, of which
Christ himself testifieth, Matt. v. “That not so much as one tittle
thereof may perish, or be broken.” And of which the prophet saith, Psalm
cxviii., “Thou hast commanded thy laws to be kept” _meod_, that is in
Hebrew, exceedingly, with all diligence, might, and power; and have made
them so mad with their juggling charms, and crafty persuasions, that they
think it a full satisfaction for all their wicked lying to torment such as
tell them truth, and to burn the word of their soul’s health, and slay
whosoever believe thereon.

Notwithstanding, yet I submit this book, and all other that I have either
made or translated, or shall in time to come, (if it be God’s will that I
shall further labour in his harvest,) unto all them that submit themselves
unto the word of God, to be corrected of them; yea, and moreover to be
disallowed and also burnt, if it seem worthy, when they have examined it
with the Hebrew, so that they first put forth of their own translating
another that is more correct.



Considering how excellent knowledge and learning an interpreter of
scripture ought to have in the tongues, and pondering also mine own
insufficiency therein, and how weak I am to perform the office of a
translator, I was the more loath to meddle with this work.
Notwithstanding, when I considered how great pity it was that we should
want it so long, and called to my remembrance the adversity of them which
were not only of ripe knowledge, but would also with all their hearts have
performed that they began, if they had not had impediment; considering, I
say, that by reason of their adversity it could not so soon have been
brought to an end, as our most prosperous nation would fain have had it;
these and other reasonable causes considered, I was the more bold to take
it in hand. And to help me herein, I have had sundry translations, not
only in Latin, but also of the Dutch interpreters, whom, because of their
singular gifts and special diligence in the Bible, I have been the more
glad to follow for the most part, according as I was required. But, to say
the truth before God, it was neither my labour nor desire to have this
work put in my hand: nevertheless it grieved me that other nations should
be more plenteously provided for with the scripture in their
mother-tongue, than we: therefore, when I was instantly required, though I
could not do so well as I would, I thought it yet my duty to do my best,
and that with a good will.

Whereas some men think now that many translations make division in the
faith and in the people of God, that is not so: for it was never better
with the congregation of God, than when every church almost had the Bible
of a sundry translation. Among the Greeks had not Origen a special
translation? Had not Vulgarius one peculiar, and likewise Chrysostom?
Beside the seventy interpreters, is there not the translation of Aquila,
of Theodotio, of Symmachus, and of sundry other? Again, among the Latin
men, thou findest that every one almost used a special and sundry
translation; for insomuch as every bishop had the knowledge of the
tongues, he gave his diligence to have the Bible of his own translation.
The doctors, as Hireneus, Cyprianus, Tertullian, St. Hierome, St.
Augustine, Hilarius, and St. Ambrose, upon divers places of the scripture,
read not the text all alike.

Therefore ought it not to be taken as evil, that such men as have
understanding now in our time, exercise themselves in the tongues, and
give their diligence to translate out of one language into another. Yea,
we ought rather to give God high thanks therefore, which through his
Spirit stirreth up men’s minds so to exercise themselves therein. Would
God it had never been left off after the time of St. Augustine! then
should we never have come into such blindness and ignorance, into such
errors and delusions. For as soon as the Bible was cast aside, and no more
put in exercise, then began every one of his own head to write whatsoever
came into his brain, and that seemed to be good in his own eyes; and so
grew the darkness of men’s traditions. And this same is the cause that we
have had so many writers, which seldom made mention of the scripture of
the Bible; and though they sometime alleged it, yet was it done so far out
of season, and so wide from the purpose, that a man may well perceive, how
that they never saw the original.

Seeing then that this diligent exercise of translating doth so much good
and edifieth in other languages, why should it do evil in ours? Doubtless,
like as all nations in the diversity of speeches may know one God in the
unity of faith, and be one in love; even so may divers translations
understand one another, and that in the head articles and ground of our
most blessed faith, though they use sundry words. Wherefore methink we
have great occasion to give thanks unto God, that he hath opened unto his
church the gift of interpretation and of printing, and that there are now
at this time so many, which with such diligence and faithfulness interpret
the scripture, to the honour of God and edifying of his people: whereas,
like as when many are shooting together, every one doth his best to be
nighest the mark; and though they cannot all attain thereto, yet shooteth
one nigher than another and hitteth it better than another; yea, one can
do it better than another. Who is now then so unreasonable, so despiteful,
or envious, as to abhor him that doth all his diligence to hit the prick,
and to shoot nighest it, though he miss and come not nighest the mark?
Ought not such one rather to be commended, and to be helped forward, that
he may exercise himself the more therein?

For the which cause, according as I was desired, I took the more upon me
to set forth this special translation, not as a checker, not as a
reprover, or despiser of other men’s translations, (for among many as yet
I have found none without occasion of great thanksgiving unto God;) but
lowly and faithfully have I followed mine interpreters, and that under
correction; and though I have failed anywhere (as there is no man but he
misseth in some thing), love shall construe all to the best, without any
perverse judgment. There is no man living that can see all things, neither
hath God given any man to know everything. One seeth more clearly than
another, one hath more understanding than another, one can utter a thing
better than another; but no man ought to envy or despise another. He that
can do better than another, should not set him at nought that
understandeth less. Yea, he that hath the more understanding ought to
remember, that the same gift is not his, but God’s, and that God hath
given it him to teach and inform the ignorant. If thou hast knowledge
therefore to judge where any fault is made, I doubt not but thou wilt
help to amend it, if love be joined with thy knowledge. Howbeit,
whereinsoever I can perceive by myself, or by the information of other,
that I have failed (as it is no wonder), I shall now by the help of God
overlook it better, and amend it.

Now will I exhort thee, whosoever thou be that readest scripture, if thou
find ought therein that thou understandest not, or that appeareth to be
repugnant, give no temerarious nor hasty judgment thereof; but ascribe it
to thine own ignorance, not to the scripture: think that thou
understandest it not, or that it hath some other meaning, or that it is
haply overseen of the interpreters, or wrong printed. Again, it shall
greatly help thee to understand scripture, if thou mark not only what is
spoken or written, but of whom, and unto whom, with what words, at what
time, where, to what intent, with what circumstance, considering what
goeth before, and what followeth after. For there be some things which are
done and written, to the intent that we should do likewise; as when
Abraham believeth God, is obedient unto his word, and defendeth Loth his
kinsman from violent wrong. There be some things also which are written,
to the intent that we should eschew such like; as when David lieth with
Uria’s wife, and causeth him to be slain. Therefore, I say, when thou
readest scripture, be wise and circumspect; and when thou comest to such
strange manners of speaking and dark sentences, to such parables and
similitudes, to such dreams or visions, as are hid from thy understanding,
commit them unto God, or to the gift of his Holy Spirit in them that are
better learned than thou.

As for the commendation of God’s holy scripture, I would fain magnify it,
as it is worthy, but I am far unsufficient thereto: and therefore I
thought it better for me to hold my tongue, than with few words to praise
or commend it; exhorting thee, most dear reader, so to love it, so to
cleave unto it, and so to follow it in thy daily conversation, that other
men, seeing thy good works and the fruits of the Holy Ghost in thee, may
praise the Father of heaven, and give his word a good report: for to live
after the law of God, and to lead a virtuous conversation, is the greatest
praise that thou canst give unto his doctrine.

But as touching the evil report and dispraise that the good word of God
hath by the corrupt and evil conversation of some that daily hear it and
profess it outwardly with their mouths, I exhort thee, most dear reader,
let not that offend thee, nor withdraw thy mind from the love of the
truth, neither move thee to be partaker in like unthankfulness; but seeing
the light is come into the world, love no more the works of darkness,
receive not the grace of God in vain. Call to thy remembrance, how loving
and merciful God is unto thee, how kindly and fatherly he helpeth thee in
all trouble, teacheth thine ignorance, healeth thee in all thy sickness,
forgiveth thee all thy sins, feedeth thee, giveth thee drink, helpeth thee
out of prison, nourisheth thee in strange countries, careth for thee, and
seeth that thou want nothing. Call this to mind, I say, and that
earnestly, and consider how thou hast received of God all these benefits,
yea, and many more than thou canst desire; how thou art bound likewise to
shew thyself unto thy neighbour, as far as thou canst, to teach him, if he
be ignorant, to help him in all his trouble, to heal his sickness, to
forgive him his offences, and that heartily, to feed him, to cherish him,
to care for him, and to see that he want nothing. And on this behalf I
beseek thee, thou that hast the riches of this world, and lovest God with
thy heart, to lift up thine eyes, and see how great a multitude of poor
people run through every town; have pity on thine own flesh, help them
with a good heart, and do with thy counsel all that ever thou canst, that
this unshamefaced begging may be put down, that these idle folks may be
set to labour, and that such as are not able to get their living may be
provided for. At the least, thou that art of counsel with such as are in
authority, give them some occasion to cast their heads together, and to
make provision for the poor. Put them in remembrance of those noble cities
in other countries, that by the authority of their princes have so richly
and well provided for their poor people, to the great shame and dishonesty
of us, if we likewise, receiving the word of God, shew not such like
fruits thereof. Would God that those men, whose office is to maintain the
commonwealth, were as diligent in this cause, as they are in other! Let us
beware bytimes, for after unthankfulness there followeth ever a plague.
The merciful hand of God be with us, and defend us, that we be not
partakers thereof!

Go to now, most dear reader, and sit thee down at the Lord’s feet, and
read his words, and, as Moses teacheth the Jews, take them into thine
heart, and let thy talking and communication be of them, when thou sittest
in thine house, or goest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou
risest up. And, above all things, fashion thy life and conversation
according to the doctrine of the Holy Ghost therein, that thou mayest be
partaker of the good promises of God in the Bible, and be heir of his
blessing in Christ: in whom if thou put thy trust, and be an unfeigned
reader or hearer of his word with thy heart, thou shalt find sweetness
therein, and spy wondrous things, to thy understanding, to the avoiding of
all seditious sects, to the abhorring of thy old sinful life, and to the
stablishing of thy godly conversation.

In the first book of Moses, called Genesis, thou mayest learn to know the
almighty power of God in creating all of nought, his infinite wisdom in
ordering the same, his righteousness in punishing the ungodly, his love
and fatherly mercy in comforting the righteous with his promise, &c.

In the second book, called Exodus, we see the mighty arm of God in
delivering his people from so great bondage out of Egypt, and what
provision he maketh for them in the wilderness; how he teacheth them with
his wholesome word, and how the tabernacle was made and set up.

In the third book, called Leviticus, is declared, what sacrifices the
priests and Levites used, and what their office and ministration was.

In the fourth book, called Numerus, is declared, how the people are
numbered and mustered, how the captains are chosen after the tribes and
kindreds, how they went forth to the battle, how they pitched their tents,
and how they brake up.

The fifth book, called Deuteronomium, sheweth how that Moses, now being
old, rehearseth the law of God unto the people, putteth them in
remembrance again of all the wonders and benefices that God had shewed for
them, and exhorteth them earnestly to love the Lord their God, to cleave
unto him, to put their trust in him, and to hearken unto his voice.

After the death of Moses doth Josua bring the people into the land of
promise, where God doth wonderous things for his people by Josua, which
distributeth the land unto them, unto every tribe their possession. But in
their wealth they forgat the goodness of God, so that ofttimes he gave
them over into the hand of their enemies. Nevertheless, whensoever they
called faithfully upon him, and converted, he delivered them again, as the
book of Judges declareth.

In the books of the Kings is described the regiment of good and evil
princes, and how the decay of all nations cometh by evil kings. For in
Jeroboam thou seest what mischief, what idolatry, and such like
abomination followeth, when the king is a maintainer of false doctrine,
and causeth the people to sin against God; which falling away from God’s
word increased so sore among them, that it was the cause of all their
sorrow and misery, and the very occasion why Israel first, and then Juda,
were carried away into captivity. Again, in Josaphat, in Ezechias, and in
Josias, thou seest the nature of a virtuous king. He putteth down the
houses of idolatry, seeth that his priests teach nothing but the law of
God, commandeth his lords to go with them, and to see that they teach the
people. In these kings, I say, thou seest the condition of a true
defender of the faith; for he spareth neither cost nor labour to maintain
the Laws of God, to seek the wealth and prosperity of his people, and to
root out the wicked. And where such a prince is, thou seest again, how God
defendeth him and his people, though he have never so many enemies. Thus
went it with them in the old time, and even after the same manner goeth it
now with us. God be praised therefore, and grant us of his fatherly mercy
that we be not unthankful; lest where he now giveth us a Josaphat, an
Ezechias, yea, a very Josias, he send us a Pharao, a Jeroboam, or an

In the two first books of Esdras, and in Hester, thou seest the
deliverance of the people, which though they were but few, yet is it unto
us all a special comfort; forsomuch as God is not forgetful of his
promise, but bringeth them out of captivity, according as he had told them

In the book of Job we learn comfort and patience, in that God not only
punisheth the wicked, but proveth and trieth the just and righteous
(howbeit there is no man innocent in his sight,) by divers troubles in
this life; declaring thereby, that they are not his bastards, but his dear
sons, and that he loveth them.

In the Psalms we learn how to resort only unto God in all our troubles, to
seek help at him, to call only upon him, to settle our minds by patience,
and how we ought in prosperity to be thankful unto him.

The Proverbs and the Preacher of Solomon teach us wisdom, to know God, our
own selves, and the world, and how vain all things are, save only to
cleave unto God.

As for the doctrine of the Prophets, what is it else, but an earnest
exhortation to eschew sin, and to turn unto God; a faithful promise of the
mercy and pardon of God unto all them that turn unto him, and a
threatening of his wrath to the ungodly? saving that here and there they
prophesy also manifestly of Christ, of the expulsion of the Jews, and
calling of the heathen.

Thus much thought I to speak of the old Testament, wherein Almighty God
openeth unto us his mighty power, his wisdom, his loving mercy and
righteousness: for the which cause it ought of no man to be abhorred,
despised, or lightly regarded, as though it were an old scripture that
nothing belonged unto us, or that now were to be refused. For it is God’s
true scripture and testimony, which the Lord Jesus commandeth the Jews to
search. Whosoever believeth not the scripture, believeth not Christ; and
whoso refuseth it, refuseth God also.

The new Testament, or Gospel, is a manifest and clear testimony of Christ,
how God performeth his oath and promise made in the old Testament, how the
new is declared and included in the old, and the old fulfilled and
verified in the new.

Now whereas the most famous interpreters of all give sundry judgments of
the text; so far as it is done by the spirit of knowledge in the Holy
Ghost, methink no man should be offended thereat, for they refer their
doings in meekness to the spirit of truth in the congregation of God: and
sure I am, that there cometh more knowledge and understanding of the
scripture by their sundry translations, than by all the glosses of our
sophistical doctors. For that one interpreteth something obscurely in one
place, the same translateth another, or else he himself, more manifestly
by a more plain vocable of the same meaning in another place. Be not thou
offended, therefore, good reader, though one call a scribe that another
calleth a lawyer; or elders, that another calleth father and mother; or
repentance, that another calleth penance or amendment. For if thou be not
deceived by men’s traditions, thou shalt find no more diversity between
these terms, than between fourpence and a groat. And this manner have I
used in my translation, calling it in some place _penance_, that in
another place I call _repentance_; and that not only because the
interpreters have done so before me, but that the adversaries of the truth
may see, how that we abhor not this word penance, as they untruly report
of us, no more than the interpreters of Latin abhor _pœnitere_, when they
read _resipiscere_. Only our heart’s desire unto God is, that his people
be not blinded in their understanding, lest they believe penance to be
ought save a very repentance, amendment, or conversion unto God, and to be
an unfeigned new creature in Christ, and to live according to his law. For
else shall they fall into the old blasphemy of Christ’s blood, and believe
that they themselves are able to make satisfaction unto God for their own
sins: from the which error God of his mercy and plenteous goodness
preserve all his!

Now to conclude: forsomuch as all the scripture is written for thy
doctrine and ensample, it shall be necessary for thee to take hold upon it
while it is offered thee, yea, and with ten hands thankfully to receive
it. And though it be not worthily ministered unto thee in this
translation, by reason of my rudeness; yet if thou be fervent in thy
prayer, God shall not only send it thee in a better shape by the
ministration of other that began it afore, but shall also move the hearts
of them which as yet meddled not withal, to take it in hand, and to bestow
the gift of their understanding thereon, as well in our language, as other
famous interpreters do in other languages. And I pray God, that through my
poor ministration herein I may give them that can do better some occasion
so to do; exhorting thee, most dear reader, in the mean while on God’s
behalf, if thou be a head, a judge, or ruler of the people, that thou let
not the book of this law depart out of thy mouth, but exercise thyself
therein both day and night, and be ever reading in it as long as thou
livest: that thou mayest learn to fear the Lord thy God, and not to turn
aside from the commandment, neither to the right hand nor to the left;
lest thou be a knower of persons in judgment, and wrest the right of the
stranger, of the fatherless, or of the widow, and so the curse to come
upon thee. But what office so ever thou hast, wait upon it, and execute it
to the maintenance of peace, to the wealth of thy people, defending the
laws of God and the lovers thereof, and to the destruction of the wicked.

If thou be a preacher, and hast the oversight of the flock of Christ,
awake and feed Christ’s sheep with a good heart, and spare no labour to do
them good: seek not thyself, and beware of filthy lucre; but be unto the
flock an ensample in the word, in conversation, in love, in ferventness of
the spirit, and be ever reading, exhorting, and teaching in God’s word,
that the people of God run not unto other doctrines, and lest thou
thyself, when thou shouldest teach other, be found ignorant therein. And
rather than thou wouldest teach the people any other thing than God’s
word, take the book in thine hand, and read the words, even as they stand
therein; for it is no shame so to do, it is more shame to make a lie. This
I say for such as are not yet expert in the scripture; for I reprove no
preaching without the book, as long as they say the truth.

If thou be a man that hast wife and children, first love thy wife,
according to the ensample of the love wherewith Christ loved the
congregation; and remember that so doing thou lovest even thyself: if thou
hate her, thou hatest thine own flesh; if thou cherish her and make much
of her, thou cherishest and makest much of thyself; for she is bone of thy
bones, and flesh of thy flesh. And whosoever thou be that hast children,
bring them up in the nurture and information of the Lord. And if thou be
ignorant, or art otherwise occupied lawfully, that thou canst not teach
them thyself, then be even as diligent to seek a good master for thy
children, as thou wast to seek a mother to bear them; for there lieth as
great weight in the one, as in the other. Yea, better it were for them to
be unborn, than not to fear God, or to be evil brought up: which thing (I
mean bringing up well of children) if it be diligently looked to, it is
the upholding of all commonwealths; and the negligence of the same, the
very decay of all realms.

Finally, whosoever thou be, take these words of scripture into thy heart,
and be not only an outward hearer, but a doer thereafter, and practise
thyself therein; that thou mayest feel in thine heart the sweet promises
thereof for thy consolation in all trouble, and for the sure stablishing
of thy hope in Christ; and have ever an eye to the words of scripture,
that if thou be a teacher of other, thou mayest be within the bounds of
the truth; or at the least, though thou be but an hearer or reader of
another man’s doings, thou mayest yet have knowledge to judge all spirits,
and be free from every error, to the utter destruction of all seditious
sects and strange doctrines; that the holy scripture may have free
passage, and be had in reputation, to the worship of the author thereof,
which is even God himself; to whom for his most blessed word be glory and
dominion now and ever! Amen.



  To our Beloved in the Lord,
  The Brethren of England,
  Scotland, Ireland, &c. Grace, mercie, and peace,
  through Christ Jesus.[141]

Besides the manifold and continuall benefits which Almightie God bestowed
upon us, both corporall and spirituall, we are especially bound (deare
brethren) to giue him thankes without ceasing for his great grace and
vnspeakable mercies, in that it hath pleased him to call vs vnto this
marueilous light of his Gospell, and mercifully to regarde vs after so
horrible backesliding and falling away from Christ to Antichrist, from
light to darknesse, from the liuing God to dumme and dead idoles, and that
after so cruell murther of God’s saints, as alas, hath bene among vs, wee
are not altogether cast off, as were the Israelites, and many others for
the like or not so manifest wickednesse, but receiued againe to grace with
most evident signes and tokens of God’s especiall loue and fauour. To the
intent therefore that wee may not be vnmindfull of these great mercies,
but seeke by all meanes (according to our duetie) to bee thankefull for
the same, it behoueth vs so to walke in his feare and loue, that all the
dayes of our life we may procure the glorie of his holy name.

Nowe forasmuch as this thing chiefely is atteined by the knowledge and
practising of the worde of God (which is the light to our paths, the keye
of the kingdome of heauen, our comfort in affliction, our shielde and
sworde against Satan, the schoole of all wisdome, the glasse wherein we
beholde Gods face, the testimonie of his fauour, and the onely foode and
nourishment of our soules), wee thought that wee coulde bestowe our
labours and studie in nothing which coulde be more acceptable to God and
comfortable to his Church then in the translating of the holy Scriptures
into our natiue tongue: the which thing albeit that diuers heretofore haue
endeuoured to atchieue; yet considering the infancie of those times and
imperfect knowledge of the tongues in respect of this ripe age and cleere
light which God hath now reueiled, y{e} translations required greatly to
be perused and reformed. Not that we vendicate anything to our selues
aboue the least of our brethren (for God knoweth with what feare and
trembling we haue bene for the space of two yeeres and more day and night
occupied herein), but being earnestly desired and by diuers, whose
learning and godlinesse we reuerence, exhorted and also encouraged by the
ready willes of such, whose hearts God likewise touched, not to spare any
charges for the furtherance of such a benefite and fauour of God towarde
his Church (though the time then was most dangerous, and the persecution
sharpe and furious), we submitted our selues at length to their godly
judgements, and seeing the great opportunitie and occasions, which God
presented unto vs in his Church, by reason of so many godlie and learned
men: and such diuersities of translations in diuers tongues, we vndertooke
this great and wonderfull worke (with all reuerence, as in the presence of
God, as intreating the word of God, whereunto we thinke our selues
vnsufficient) which now God accepting according to his diuine prouidence
and mercie hath directed to a most prosperous ende. And this we may with
good conscience protest that we haue in euery point and worde, according
to the measure of that knowledge which it pleased Almightie God to giue
vs, faithfully rendred the text, and in all hard places most sincerely
expounded the same. For God is our witnesse that we haue by all meanes
indeuoured to set foorth the puritie of the word and the right sense of
the holy Ghost for the edifying of the brethren in faith and charitie.

Nowe as we have chiefely obserued the sence, and laboured allwayes to
restore it to all integritie, so haue we most reuerently kept the
proprietie of the wordes, considering that the Apostles who spake and
wrote to the Gentiles in the Greeke tongue, rather constrained them to the
liuely phrase of the Ebrew, then enterprised farre by mollifying their
language to speake as the Gentiles did. And for this and other causes wee
haue in many places reserued the Ebrew phrases, notwithstanding that they
may seeme somewhat hard in their eares that are not well practised and
also delite in the sweet sounding phrases of the holy Scriptures. Yet
least eyther the simple should be discouraged, or the malicious haue any
occasion of just cauilation, seeing some translations reade after one
sort, and some after another, whereas all may serue to good purpose and
edification, we haue in the margent noted that diuersitie of speech or
reading which may also seeme agreeable to the minde of the holy Ghost, and
proper for our language with this marke. ∥

Againe, whereas the Ebrewe speache seemed hardly to agree with ours we
haue noted it in the margent after this sort ‡, vsing that which was more
intelligible. And albeit that many of the Ebrewe names be altered from the
olde text, and restored to the true writing and first originall, whereof
they haue their signification, yet in the vsuall names litle is changed
for feare of troubling the simple readers. Moreover, whereas the
necessitie of the sentence required any thing to be added (for such is the
grace and proprietie of the Ebrew and Greeke tongues that it cannot, but
either by circumlocution, or by adding the verbe or some word, be
understood of them that are not well practised therein) wee haue put in
the text with an other kinde of letter that it may easily be discerned
from the common letter.[142] As touching the diuision of the verses wee
haue followed the Ebrewe examples, which haue so euen from the beginning
distinguished them. Which thing as it is most profitable for memorie, so
doeth it agree with the best translations, and is most easie to finde out
both by the best Concordances, and also by the quotations which we haue
diligently herein perused and set foorth by this *. Besides this the
principall matters are noted by this marke ¶. Yea, and the arguments both
for the booke and for the chapters with the number of the verse are added,
that by all meanes the reader might be holpen. For the which cause also we
haue set ouer the head of every page some notable worde or sentence which
may greatly further as well for memorie as for the chiefe point of the

And considering howe hard a thing it is to vnderstand the holy Scriptures,
and what errors, sectes, and heresies growe dayly for lacke of the true
knowledge thereof, and howe many are discouraged (as they pretend) because
they cannot atteine to the true and simple meaning of the same, we haue
also indeuoured both by the diligent reading of the best commentaries, and
also by the conference with the godly and learned brethren, to gather
briefe annotations upon all the hard places, as well for the
vnderstanding of such wordes as are obscure, and for the declaration of
the text, as for the application of the same, as may most appertaine to
God’s glory and the edification of his Church.

Furthermore, whereas certaine places in the bookes of Moses, of the Kings,
and Ezekiel, seemed so darke that by no description they could be made
easie to the simple reader, wee have so set them foorth with figures and
notes for the full declaration thereof, that they which cannot by
judgement, being holpen by the letters a, b, c, &c., atteine thereunto,
yet by the perspective and, as it were, by the eye, may sufficiently knowe
the true meaning of all such places. Whereunto also wee haue added
certaine maps of Cosmographie which necessarily serue for the perfect
vnderstanding and memorie of diuers places and countries, partly described
and partly by occasion touched both in the olde and newe Testament.

Finally, that nothing might lacke which might be bought by labours, for
the increase of knowledge and furtherance of God’s glorie, we have
adioyned two most profitable Tables, the one seruing for the
interpretation of the Ebrew names, and the other conteining all the chiefe
and principall matters of the whole Bible, so that nothing (as wee trust)
that any could iustlie desire is omitted. Therefore as brethren that are
partakers of the same hope and saluation with us, wee beseeche you that
this rich pearle and inestimable treasure may not be offred in vaine, but
as sent from God to the people of God, for the increase of his kingdome,
the comfort of his Church, and discharge of our conscience, whom it hath
pleased him to raise vp for this purpose, so you woulde willingly receive
the worde of God, earnestly studie it, and in all your life practise it,
that you may nowe appeare in deede to bee the people of God, not walking
any more according to this worlde, but in the fruits of the Spirit, that
God in vs may bee fully glorified through Christ Jesus our Lorde who
liueth and reigneth for euer. Amen. From Geneva, 10th April, 1560.



  A Preface into the Byble

Of all the sentences pronounced by our Sauiour Christe in his whole
doctrine, none is more serious or more worthy to be borne in remembraunce,
than that which he spake openly in his Gospell, saying: [Sidenote: John
v.] Scrutamini scripturas, quia vos putatis in ipsis vitam eternam habere,
et illæ sunt quæ testimonium perhibent de me. Search ye the scriptures,
for in them ye think to have eternall lyfe, and those they be which beare
witnes of me. These wordes were first spoken vnto the Jewes by our
Sauiour, but by hym in his doctrine ment to all: for they concerne all, of
what nation, of what tongue, of what profession soeuer any man be. For to
all belongeth it to be called vnto eternal life, so many as by the witnes
of the scriptures desire to find eternall life. No man, woman, or chylde,
is excluded from this saluation, and therefore to euery of them is this
spoke proportionally yet, and in their degrees and ages, and as the reason
and congruitie of their vocation may aske. For not so lyeth it in charge
to the worldly artificer to searche, or to any other priuate man so
exquisitely to studie, as it lyeth to the charge of the publike teacher to
searche in the scriptures, to be the more able to walke in the house of
God [Sidenote: 1 Tim. iii.] (which is the church of the lyuyng God, the
pyller and ground of truth) to the establishing of the true doctrine of
the same, and to the impugnyng of the false. And though whatsoever
difference there may be betwixt the preacher in office, and the auditor in
his vocation, yet to both it is said, =Search ye the scriptures=, whereby
ye may fynde eternall lyfe, and gather witnesses of that saluation which
is in =Christe Jesus= our Lorde. [Sidenote: Deut. xvii.] For although the
prophete of God Moyses, byddeth the kyng when he is once set in the throne
of his kingdome, to describe before his eyes the volume of God’s lawe,
according to the example whiche he shoulde receaue of the priestes of the
liuiticall tribe, to haue it with him, and to reade it in all the dayes of
his life, to thende[143] that he might learne to feare the Lorde his God,
and to observe his lawes, that his heart be not aduanced in pryde ouer his
brethren, not to swarue eyther on the ryght hande or on the left: yet the
reason of this precept for that it concerneth all men, may reasonably be
thought to be commanded to all men, and all men may take it to be spoken
to them selfe in their degree. [Sidenote: Iosue i.] Though almightie God
him selfe spake to his captayne Iosue in precise wordes, Non recedat
volumen legis huius ab ore tuo sed meditaberis in eo diebus ac noctibus,
&c. Let not the volume of this booke depart from thy mouth, but muse
therein both dayes and nyghtes, that thou mayest kepe and perfourme all
thinges which be written in it, that thou mayest direct well thy way and
vnderstande the same: yet as well spake almightie God this precept to all
his people in the directions of their wayes to himwarde, as he ment it to
Iosue: [Sidenote: Peter v. Ephe. vi.] For that he hath care of all, he
accepteth no man’s person, his wyll is that all men should he saued,
[Sidenote: 1 Tim. ii. Ioh xiiii.] his wyll is that all men should come to
the way of trueth. Howe coulde this be more conueniently declared by God
to man, then when Christe his welbeloued sonne our most louing sauiour,
the way, the trueth, and the lyfe of vs all, dyd byd vs openly =Search the
scriptures=, assuring vs herein to finde eternall life, to finde full
testification of all his graces and benefites towardes vs in the treasure
thereof. Therefore it is most conuenient that we shoulde all suppose that
Christe spake to vs all in this his precept of searching the scriptures.
If this celestiall doctour (so aucthorised by the father of heauen, and
commaunded [Sidenote: Matt. xvii.] as his only sonne, to be hearde of vs
all) biddeth vs busily to =Search the scriptures=: of what spirite can it
proceede to forbid the reading and studying of the scriptures? If the
grosse Iewes vsed to reade them, as some men thinke that our sauiour
Christ dyd shew by such kynd of speaking, their vsage, with their opinion
they had therin to finde eternall lyfe, and were not of Christe rebuked,
or disproued, either for their searching, or for the opinion they had,
howe superstitiously or superficially soeuer some of them vsed to expende
the scriptures; How muche more vnaduisedly do suche as bost them selfe to
be either Christe’s vicars, or be of his garde, to lothe christen men from
reading, by their couert slaunderous reproches of the scriptures, or in
their aucthoritie by lawe or statute to contract this libertie of studiyng
the worde of eternall saluation. Christe calleth them not onlye to the
single readyng of scriptures (saith Chrisostome) but sendeth them to the
exquisite searching of them, for in them is eternall lyfe to be founde,
and they be (saith hym selfe) the witnesse of me: for they declare out his
office, they commende his beneuolence towardes vs, they recorde his whole
workes wrought for vs to our saluation. Antechriste therefore he must be,
that vnder whatsoeuer colour woulde geue contrary precept or counsayle to
that whiche Christe dyd geue vnto vs. Very litle do they resemble Christes
louing spirite mouing vs to searche for our comfort, that wyll discourage
vs from suche searching, or that woulde wishe ignoraunce and
forgetfulnesse of his benefite to raigne in vs, so that they might by our
ignoraunce raigne the more frankly in our consciences, to the danger of
our saluation. Who can take the light from us in this miserable vale of
blindnesse, and meane not to haue us stumble in the pathes of perdition to
the ruine of our soules: who wyll enuie vs this bread of lyfe prepared and
set on the table for our eternall sustenaunce, and meane not to famishe
vs, or in steede thereof with their corrupt traditions and doctrines of
men to infect vs: All the whole scripture, saith the holy apostle
[Sidenote: ii. Tim. iii.] Saint Paul inspired from God aboue, is
profitable to teache, to reproue, to refourme, to instruct in
righteousnesse, that the man of God may be sounde and perfect, instructed
to euery good worke.

=Searche therefore=, good reader (on God’s name), as Christe byddeth thee
the holy scripture, wherein thou mayest find thy saluation: Let not the
volume of this booke (by Gods owne warrant) depart from thee but occupie
thy selfe therein in the whole journey of this [Sidenote: Psal. i.] thy
wordly pilgrimage, to vnderstand thy way howe to walke ryghtly before hym
all the dayes of thy lyfe. Remember that the prophete David pronounceth
hym the blessed man whiche wyll muse in the lawe of God [Sidenote: Psal.
cxix.] both day and night, remember that he calleth him blessed whiche
walketh in the way of the Lorde, which wyll searche diligently his
testimonies, and wyll in their whole heart seeke the same. Let not the
couert suspicious insinuations of the adversaries driue thee from the
searche of the holy scripture, either for the obscuritie whiche they say
is in them, or for the inscrutable hidden misteries they talke to be
comprised in them, or for the straungnes and homlynes of the phrases they
would charge Gods booke with. Christe exhorteth thee therefore the rather
for the difficultie of the same, to searche them diligently. [Sidenote:
Hebr. v. 1 Cor. xiiii.] Saint Paul wylleth thee to haue thy senses
exercised in them, and not to be a chylde in thy senses, but in malice.
Though many thinges may be difficulte to thee to vnderstand, impute it
rather to thy dull hearing and reading, then to thinke that the scriptures
be insuperable, to them whiche with diligent searching labour to discern
the evil from the good. [Sidenote: Math. vii.] Only searche with an humble
spirite, aske in continuall prayer, seek with puritie of life, knocke with
perpetuall perseueraunce, and crye to that good spirite of Christe the
Comforter: and surely to euery suche asker it wyll be geuen, such
searchers must nedes finde, to them it wylbe opened. Christ hym selfe wyll
open the sense of the scriptures, [Sidenote: Math. xi. Esai. lxi.] not to
the proude, or to the wyse of the worlde, but to the lowly and contrite in
heart; [Sidenote: 1 Cor. xii.] for he hath the kay of Dauid, who openeth
and no man shutteth, who shutteth and no man openeth. [Sidenote: Apoc.
iii.] For as this spirite is a bening and liberall spirite, and wyll be
easyly founde of them which wyll early in carefulnesse ryse to seeke hym,
[Sidenote: Sapi i.] and as he promiseth he will be the comforter from
aboue to teache vs, and to leade vs into all the wayes of truth,
[Sidenote: Iob xiiii.] if that in humilitie we bowe vnto hym, deniyng our
owne naturall senses, our carnall wittes and reasons: [Sidenote: Sapi i.]
so is he the spirite of puritie and cleannes, and will receede from him,
whose conscience is subiect to filthynesse of lyfe. Into suche a soule
this heavenly wysdome wyll not enter, for all peruerse cogitations wyll
separate vs from God: [Sidenote: Psal. lxviii.] and then howe busyly
soeuer we searche this holy table of the scripture, yet will it then be a
table to suche to their owne snare, a trap, a stumbling stocke, and a
recompense to them selfe. We ought therefore to searche to finde out the
trueth, not to oppresse it, we ought to seeke Christe, not as Herode did
vnder the pretence of worshipping hym to destroy hym, or as the Pharisees
searched the scriptures to disproue Christe, and to discredite him, and
not to folowe him; but to embrace the saluation whiche we may learne by
them. Nor yet is it inough so to acknowledge the scriptures as some of the
Iewes dyd, of the holyest of them, who vsed such diligence, that they
could number precisely, not only euery verse, but euery word and sillable,
how oft euery letter of the alphabete was repeated in the whole
scriptures: They had some of them suche reuerence to that booke, that they
woulde not suffer in a greate heape of bookes, any other to lay over them,
they woulde not suffer that booke to fall to the grounde as nye as they
coulde, they woulde costly bynde the bookes of holy scriptures, and cause
them to be exquisitely and ornately written. Whiche deuotion yet though it
was not to be discommended, yet was it not for that intent, why Christe
commended the scriptures, nor they therof alowed before God: For they did
not call vpon God in a true fayth. they were not charitable to their
neighbours, but in the middes of all this deuotion, they did steale, they
were adulterers, they were slaunderers and backbiters, euen muche like
many of our Christian men and women nowe a dayes, who glory muche that
they reade the scriptures, that they searche them and loue them, that
they frequente the publique sermons in an outwarde shewe of all honestie
and perfection, yea they can pike out of the scriptures vertuous sentenses
and godly preceptes to lay before other men. And though these maner of men
do not muche erre for suche searching and studying, yet they see not the
scope and the principall state of the scriptures, which is as Christe
declareth it, to finde Christe as their Sauiour, to cleaue to his
saluation and merites, and to be brought to the lowe repentaunce of their
liues, and to amend them selfe, to rayse vp their fayth to our Sauiour
Christe, so to thinke of him as the scriptures do testifie of hym. These
be the principall causes why Christe did sende the Iewes to searche the
scriptures: for to this ende were they wrytten, saith Saint Iohn, Hae
scripta sunt ut credatis, et vt credentes vitam habeatis eternam. These
were written to this intent, that ye shoulde beleue, [Sidenote: Iohn xx.]
and that through your beliefe ye shoulde haue euerlasting life.

And here good reader, great cause we have to extoll the wonderous wisdome
of God, and with great thankes to prayse his prouidence, considering howe
he hath preserued and renued from age to age by speciall [Sidenote: Hebr.
v.] miracle, the incomparable treasure of his Churche. For first he did
inspire Moyses, as Iohn Chrisostome doth testifie, to wryte the stonie
tables, and kept him in the mountayne fourtie dayes to giue him his lawe:
after him he sent the prophetes, but they suffred many thousande
aduersities, for battayles did folowe, all were slayne, all were
destroyed, bookes were brent vp. He then inspired agayne another man to
repayre these miraculous scriptures, Esdras I meane, who of their leauings
set them agayne together: after that he provided that the seuentie
interpreters should take them in hande: at the laste came Christe him
selfe, the Apostles did receaue them, and spread them throughout all
nations, Christe wrought his miracles and wonders: and what followed?
after these great volumes the Apostles also did wryte as Saint Paul doth
say, [Sidenote: 1 Cor. x.] These be wrytten to the instruction of vs that
be come into the ende of the worlde: [Sidenote: Math. xxii.] and Christe
doth say, Ye therefore erre, because ye knowe not the scriptures nor the
power of God: and Paul dyd say, [Sidenote: Colo. iii.] Let the worde of
Christe be plentifull among you: and agayne saith Dauid, [Sidenote: Psal.
cxix.] Oh howe sweete be thy wordes to my throte: he saide not to my
hearing, but to my throte, aboue the hony or the hony combe to my mouth.
Yea, Moyses saith, [Sidenote: Deut. xvi.] Thou shalt meditate in them
evermore when thou risest, when thou sittest downe, when thou goest to
sleepe, continue in them he saith: and a thousand places more. And yet
after so many testimonies thus spoken, there be some persons that do not
yet so much as knowe what the scriptures be: Wherevpon nothing is in good
state amongst vs, nothing worthyly is done amongest vs: In this whiche
pertayne to this lyfe, we make very great haste, but of spirituall goodes
we have no regarde. Thus farre Iohn Chrisost. It must nedes signifie some
great thing to our vnderstanding, that almightie God hath had such care to
prescribe these bookes thus vnto vs: I say not prescribe them only, but to
maintaine them and defende them against the malignitie of the deuill and
his ministers, who alway went about to destroy them: and yet could these
never be so destroyed, but that he woulde have them continue whole and
perfect to this day, to our singular comfort and instruction, where other
bookes of mortall wise men haue perished in great numbers. It is recorded
that Ptolomeus Philadelphus kyng of Egypt, had gathered together in one
librarie at Alexandria by his great coste and diligence, seuen hundred
thousand bookes, wherof the principall were the bookes of Moyses, which
reserued not much more, then by the space of two hundred yeres, were all
brent and consumed, in that battayle when Cæsar restored Cleopatra agayne
after her expulsion. At Constantinople perished under Zenon by one common
fire, a hundred and twentie thousande bookes. [Sidenote: _Iohannes
Sarisberi. In Policratico, lib. 8, cap. 19. W. de regibus._] At Rome when
Lucius Aurel Antonius dyd raigne, his notable librarie by a lightning from
heauen was quite consumed: Yea it is recorded that Gregorie the first, dyd
cause a librarie at Rome contayning only certaine Paynim’s workes to be
burned, to thintent the scriptures of God should be more read and studied.
What other great libraries haue there ben cōsumed but of late daies? And
what libraries haue of olde throughout this realme almost in euery abbey
of the same, ben destroyed at sundry ages, besides the losse of other
men’s private studies, it were to long to rehearse. Wherevpon seyng
almightie God by his diuine prouidence, hath preserued these bookes of the
scriptures safe and sounde, and that in their natiue languages they were
first written, in the great ignoraunce that raigned in these tongues, and
contrary to all other casualties, chaunced vpon all other bookes in mauger
of all worldly wittes, who would so fayne haue had them destroyed, and yet
he by his mightie hande, would haue them extant as witnesses and
interpreters of his will toward mankind: we may soone see cause most
reuerently to embrace these deuine testimonies of his will, to studie
them, and to searche them, to instruct our blinde nature so sore corrupted
and fallen from the knowledge in whiche first we were created. Yet hauing
occasion geuen somewhat to recover our fall and to returne againe to that
deuine nature wherein we were once made, and at the last to be inheritours
in the celestiall habitation with God almightie, after the ende of our
mortalitie here brought to his dust agayne: These bookes I say beyng of
such estimation and aucthoritie, so much reuerenced of them who had any
meane taste of them, coulde neuer be put out of the way, neither by the
spyte of any tiraunt, as that [Sidenote: _Galfride mon_] tiraunt Maximian
destroyed all the holy scriptures wheresoeuer they coulde be founde, and
burnt them in the middes of the market, neither the hatred either of any
Porphiran philosopher or Rhetoritian, neither by the enuie of the
romanystes, and of such hypocrites who from tyme to time did euer barke
against them, some of them not in open sort of condempnation: but more
cunningly vnder suttle pretences, for that as they say, they were so harde
to vnderstande, and specially for that they affirm it to be a perilous
matter to translate the text of the holy scripture, and therefore it
cannot be well translated. And here we may beholde the endeuour of some
men’s cauillation, who labour all they can to slaunder the translatours,
to finde faulte in some wordes of the translation: but them selfe will
neuer set pen to the booke, to set out any translation at al. They can in
their constitutions prouinciall, [Sidenote: _Tho Arūdel in concilio apud
Oxon. An 1407 articlo 7._] vnder payne of excommunication, inhibite al
other men to translate them without the ordinaries or the prouinciall
counsayle agree therevnto. But they wyll be well ware neuer to agree or
geue counsayle to set them out. Whiche their suttle compasse in effect,
tendeth but to bewray what inwardly they meane, if they could bring it
about, that is, vtterly to suppresse them: being in this their iudgement,
farre vnlike the olde fathers in the primitiue church, who hath exhorted
indifferently all persons, aswell men as women, to exercise them selues in
the scriptures, which by Saint Hieroms aucthoritie be the scriptures of
the people. Yea they be farre vnlike their olde forefathers that have
ruled in this realme, who in their times, and in diuers ages did their
diligence to translate the whole bookes of the scriptures to the erudition
of the laytie, as yet at this day be to be seene diuers bookes translated
into the vulgar tongue, some by kynges of the realme, some by bishoppes,
some by abbotts, some by other deuout godly fathers: so desirous they were
of olde tyme to have the lay sort edified in godlynes by reading in their
vulgar tongue, that very many bookes be yet extant, though for the age of
the speache and straungenesse of the charect of many of them almost worne
out of knowledge. In whiche bookes may be seene euidently howe it was vsed
among the Saxons, to haue in their churches read the foure gospels, so
distributed and piked out in the body of the euangelistes bookes, that to
euery Sunday and festiuall day in the yere, they were sorted out to the
common ministers of the church in their common prayers to be read to their
people. [Sidenote: 1 Pet. i.] Now as of the most auncient fathers the
prophets, Saint Peter testifieth that these holy men of God had the
impulsion of the holy Ghost, to speak out these deuine testimonies: so it
is not to be doubted but that these latter holy fathers of the Englishe
Church, had the impulsion of the holy Ghost to set out these sacred bookes
in their vulgar language, to the edification of the people, [Sidenote:
Acts xvii.] by the helpe whereof they might the better folowe the example
of the godly Christians, in the beginning of the Churche, who not only
receaued the worde withall readinesse of heart, but also did searche
diligently in the scriptures, whether the doctrine of the Apostles were
agreable to the same scripture. And these were not of the rascall sort
(saith the deuine storie) but they were of the best and of most noble
byrth among the Thessalonians, Birrhenses by name. [Sidenote: 1 Pet. i.]
Yea the prophetes them selues in their dayes, writeth S. Peter, were
diligent searchers to inquire out this saluation by Christe, searching
when and at what article of time this grace of Christes dispensation
shoulde appeare to the world. What ment the fathers of the Church in their
writinges, but the advauncing of these holy bookes, where some do
attribute no certaintie of vndoubted veritie, but to the canonicall
scriptures: [Sidenote: _Aug. contra epistolam permemini Hieronimus
Tertullian de doctrina Christiana Chrisost in Matt._ Ho. 47. _Basilius
Hieronim._] Some do affirm it to be a foolishe rashe boldnesse to beleue
hym, who proueth not by the scriptures that whiche he affirmeth in his
worde. Some do accurse all that is deliuered by tradition, not found in
the legall and evangelicall scriptures. Some say that our fayth must
needes stagger, if it be not grounded vpon the aucthoritie of the
scripture. Some testifieth that Christe and his Churche ought to be
aduouched out of the scriptures, and do contende in disputation, that the
true Church can not be knowen, but only by the holy scriptures: For all
other thinges (saith the same aucthor) may be found among the heretikes.
Some affirme it to be a sinfull tradition that is obtruded without the
scripture. [Sidenote: 1 Pet. i.] Some playnely pronounce, that not to
knowe the scriptures is not to know Christe. Wherefore let men extoll out
the Churche practises as hyghly as they can, and let them set out their
traditions and customes, their decisions in synodes and counsayles, with
vaunting the presence of the holy Ghost among them really, as some doth
affirme it in their writing, let their groundes and their demonstrations,
their foundations be as stable and as strong as they blase them out:
[Sidenote: 1 Pet. i.] Yet wyll we be bolde to say with Saint Peter,
Habemus nos firmiorem sermonem propheticum. We have for our part a more
stable grounde, the propheticall wordes (of the scriptures) and doubt not
to be commended therefore of the same Saint Peter with these wordes: Cui
dum attenditis ceu lucerne apparenti in obscuro loco, recte facitis donec
dies illucescat &c. Wherevnto saith he, whyle ye do attende as to alight
shining in a darke place, ye do well vntill the day light appeare, and
till the bright starre do arise vnto our heartes, For this we know, that
al the propheticall scripture standeth not in any priuate interpretation
of vayne names, of severall Churches, of catholique vniuersall seas, of
singuler and wylfull heades, whiche wyll chalenge custome all decision to
pertayne to them only, who be working so muche for their vayne
superioritie, that they be not ashamed now to be of that number,
[Sidenote: Psal. xi.] Qui dixerunt linguam nostram magnificabimus, labia
nostra a nobis sunt, quis noster dominus est: Which haue sayd with our
tongue wyll we preuayle, we are they that ought to speake, who is Lord
ouer vs. And whyle they shall contende for their straunge claymed
aucthoritie, we will proceede in the reformation begun, and doubt no more
by the helpe of Christe his grace, of the true vnity to Christes
catholique Churche, [Sidenote: _Concilium braccar secundum._] and of the
vprightnesse of our fayth in this prouince, then the Spanishe cleargie
once gathered together in counsaile (only by the commaundement of their
king, before whiche tyme the Pope was not so acknowledged in his
aucthoritie which he now claymeth) I say as surely dare we trust, as they
dyd trust of their faith and veritie. Yea no lesse confidence haue we to
professe that, whiche the fathers of the vniuersall counsaile at Carthage
in Affrike as they wryte them selfe did professe in their epistle written
to Pope Celestine, laying before his face the foule corruption of him
selfe (as two other of his predecessors did the like errour) in
falsifiying the canons of Nicen counsayle, for his wrong chalenge of his
newe claymed aucthoritie: Thus wrytyng. Prudentissime enim iustissimeque
prouiderunt (Nicena et Affricana dicreta) quecunque negotia in suis locis
(vbi orta sunt) finienda, nec vnicuiqui prouinciæ gratiam sancti spiritus
defuturam qua equitas a Christi sacerdotibus et prudenter videatur, et
constantissime teneatur, maxime quia vnicuique concessum est, si iuditio
offensus fuerit cognitorum, ad concilia suae prouinciæ vel etiam
vniuersale prouocare. That (the Nicen and Affrican decrees) haue most
prudently and iustly prouided for all maner of matters to be ended in
their teritories where they had their beginning, and they trusted that not
to any one prouince shoulde want the grace of the holy Ghost, whereby both
the truth or equitie might prudently be seene of the Christian prelates of
Christe, and might be also by them most constantly defended, specially for
that it is graunted to euery man (if he be greeued) by the iudgement of
the cause once knowen to appeale to the counsayles of his owne prouince or
els to the vniuersall. Except there be any man, whiche may beleue that our
Lorde God woulde inspire the righteousnesse of examination, to any one
singular person, and to denie the same to priestes gathered together into
counsaile without number, &c. And there they do require the bishop of Rome
to send none of his clarkes to execute such prouinciall causes, lest els
say they, mought be brought in the vayne pride of the world into the
Churche of Christe. In this antiquitie may we in this christian catholique
Churche of Englande repose our selfe, knowyng by our owne annales of
auncient recorde that Kyng Lucius whose conscience was much touched with
the miracles whiche the seruauntes of Christe wrought in diuers nations,
thervpon beyng in great loue with the true fayth, sent vnto Eleutherius
then byshop of Rome requiring of hym the christian religion. [Sidenote:
_Inter legis Edwardi._] But Eleutherius did redyly geue ouer that care to
King Lucius in his epistle, for that the King as he wryteth, the vicar of
God in his owne kingdome, and for that he had receiued the faith of
Christe: And for that he had also both testamentes in his realme, he
wylled hym to drawe out of them by the grace of God, and by the counsaile
of his wisemen, his lawes, and by that lawe of God to gouerne his realme
of Britanie, and not so much to desire the Romane and Emperour’s lawes, in
the whiche some defaulte might be founde saith he, but in the lawes of God
nothing at all. [Sidenote: _Ex archiuis de statio landauensis ecclie in
vita archiepiscopi dubritii, et in I. capgraue._] With which aunswere the
Kinges legates, Eluanus and Medwinus sent as messengers by the King to the
Pope, returned to Britanie agayne, Eluanus beyng made a byshop, and
Medwine alowed a publique teacher: who for the eloquence and knowledge
they had in the holy Scriptures, they repayred home agayne to Kyng Lucius,
and by their holy preachings, Lucius and the noble men of the whole
Britanie receiued their baptisme, &c. Thus farre in the storie. Nowe
therefore knowing and beleuing with Saint Paul, Quod quecumque prescripta
sunt, ad nostram doctrinam prescripta sunt vt per pacientiam et
consolationem scripturarum spem habeamus: [Sidenote: Rom. xv.] Whatsoeuer
is afore written, is written before for our instruction, [Sidenote: =And
yet may it be true that W., of Malsberie, writeth that Phaganus and
Dernuianus were sent after (as Coadiutours) with these learned men to the
preaching of the Gospell, whiche was neuer extinguished in Britaine frō
Joseph of Aramathia his time as to S. Austen, the first byshop of Canter,
they do openly abouche.=] that we through the patience and comfort of
scriptures might haue hope, the only suretie to our fayth and conscience,
is to sticke to the scriptures. Wherevpon whyle this eternall worde of God
be our rocke and anker to sticke vnto, we will haue pacience with all the
vayne inuentions of men, who labour so highly to magnifie their tongues,
to exalt them selues aboue al that is God. We wil take comfort by the holy
scriptures against the maledictions of the aduersaries, and doubt not to
nourishe our hope continually therewith so to liue and dye in this
comfortable hope, and doubt not to pertayne to the elect number of
Christes Churche, howe farre soeuer we be excommunicated out of the
sinagogue of suche who suppose themselues to be the vniuersall lordes of
all the world, Lordes of our fayth and consciences, at pleasure.

Finally to commend further vnto thee good reader the cause in part before
intreated, it shalbe the lesse needefull, hauing so nye folowing that
learned preface, which sometime was set out by the diligence of that godly
father Thomas Cranmer, late byshop in the sea of Canterburie, which he
caused to be prefixed before the translation of that Byble that was then
set out. And for that the copies thereof be so wasted, that very many
Churches do want their conuenient Bybles, it was thought good to some well
disposed men, to recognise the same Byble againe into this fourme as it is
nowe come out, with some further diligence in the printing, and with some
more light added, partly in the translation, and partly in the order of
the text, not as condemning the former translation, whiche was folowed
mostly of any other translation, excepting the originall text from whiche
as litle variaunce was made as was thought meete to such as toke paynes
therein: desiring thee good reader if ought be escaped, eyther by such as
had the expending of the bookes, or by the ouersight of the printer, to
correct the same in the spirite of charitie, calling to remembraunce what
diuersitie hath ben seene in mens iudgementes in the translation of these
bookes before these dayes, though all directed their labours to the glory
of God, to the edification of the Churche, to the comfort of their
christian brethren, and alwayes as God dyd further open vnto them, so euer
more desirous they were to refourme their former humain ouersightes,
rather then in a stubborne wylfulnesse to resist the gyft of the holy
Ghost, who from tyme to tyme is resident as that heauenly teacher and
leader into all trueth, by whose direction the Churche is ruled and
gouerned. And let all men remember in them selfe howe errour and
ignoraunce is created with our nature; [Sidenote: Eccle. xi. Sapi. ix.]
let frayle man confesse with that great wise man, that the cogitations and
inuentions of mortall man be very weake, and our opinions sone deceaued:
For the body so subiect to corruption doth oppresse the soule, that it
cannot aspire so hye as of dutie it ought. Men we be all, and that whiche
we know, is not the thousand part of that we knowe not. Whereupon saith
Saint Austen, otherwyse to iudge then the truth is, this temptation ryseth
of the frailtie of man. [Sidenote: _De doctri Christia._] A man so to loue
and sticke to his owne iudgement, or to enuie his brothers to the perill
of dissoluing the christian communion, or to the perill of schisme, and of
heresie, this is diabolicall presumption: but so to iudge in euery matter
as the truth is, this belongeth onely to the angellicall perfection.
Notwithstanding good reader, thou mayest be well assured nothing to be
done in this translation eyther of malice or wylfull meaning in altering
the text, eyther by putting more or lesse to the same, as of purpose to
bring in any priuate iudgement by falsification of the wordes, as some
certaine men hath ben ouer bold so to do, litle regarding the maiestie of
God his scripture: but so to make it serue to their corrupt error, as in
alleaging the sentence of Saint Paule to the Romaines the 6. One certaine
wryter to proue his satisfaction, was bold to turne the worde of
_Sanctificationem_ into the worde of _Satisfactionem_, thus, _Sicut
exhibuimus antea membra nostra seruire immundicie et iniquitati ad
iniquitatem ita deinceps exhibeamus membra nostra seruire iustitiae in
satisfactionem_. [Sidenote: _Hosius in confessione catholicæ fidi de sacrō
penitentiæ Idem Hosius de spe. et oratione._] That is, as we have geuen
our members to vncleannesse, from iniquitie to iniquitie: euen so from
hencefoorth let vs geue our members to serue righteousnesse into
satisfaction: where the true worde is into sanctification. Even so
likewise for the auauntage of his cause, to proue that men may haue in
their prayer fayth vpon saintes, corruptly alleageth Saint Paules text, Ad
philemonem, thus, _Fidem quam habes in domino Iesu et in omnes sanctos_,
leauing out the worde _charitatem_, which would have rightly ben
distributed vnto _Omnes sanctos_. As _fidem_ vnto _in domino Iesu_. Where
the text is _Audiens charitatem tuam et fidem quam habes in domino Iesu in
omnes sanctos_, &c. It were to long to bryng in many examples, as may be
openly founde in some mens wrytynges in these dayes, who would be counted
the chiefe pillers of the Catholique fayth, or to note how corruptly they
of purpose abuse the text to the comoditie of their cause. What maner of
translation may men thinke to looke for at their handes, if they should
translate the scriptures to the comfort of God’s elect, whiche they neuer
did, nor be not like to purpose it, but be rather studious only to seeke
quarrels in other mens well doynges, to picke fault where none is: and
where any is escaped through humaine negligence, there to crye out with
their tragicall exclamations, but in no wyse to amende by the spirite of
charitie and lenitie, that whiche might be more aptly set. Whervpon for
frayle man (compassed hym selfe with infirmitie) it is most reasonable not
to be to seuere in condemning his brothers knowledge or diligence where he
doth erre, not of malice, but of simplicitie, and specially in handeling
of these so deuine bookes so profounde in sense, so farre passing our
naturall vnderstanding. And with charitie it standeth, the reader not to
be offended with the diuersitie of translators, nor with the ambiguitie of
translations: For as Saint Austen doth witnesse, [Sidenote: _De doctr.
Christi. lib. 2. cap. 5._] by God’s prouidence it is brought about, that
the holy scriptures whiche be the salue for euery mans sore, though at the
first they came from one language, and thereby might have ben spread to
the whole worlde: nowe by diuersitie of manye languages, the translatours
shoulde spreade the saluation (that is contayned in them) to all nations,
by suche wordes of vtteraunce as the reader might perceaue the minde of
the translatour, and so consequently to come to the knowledge of God his
wyll and pleasure. And though many rashe readers be deceaued in the
obscurities and ambiguities of their translations, whyle they take one
thing for another, and whyle they vse muche labour to extricate them
selues out of the obscurities of the same: yet I thinke (saith he) this is
not wrought without the prouidence of God, both to tame the proude
arrogancie of man by his suche labour of searching, as also to kepe his
minde from lothsomnesse and contempt, where if the scriptures vniuersally
were to easie, he woulde lesse regarde them. And though (saith he) in the
primitive Churche the late interpreters whiche did translate the
scriptures, be innumerable, yet wrought this rather an helpe, than an
impediment to the readers, if they be not to negligent. For saith he,
diuers translations haue made many tymes the harder and darker sentences,
the more open and playne: so that of congruence, no offence can iustly be
taken for this newe labour, nothing preiudicing any other mans iudgement
by this doyng, nor yet hereby professing this to be so absolute a
translation, as that hereafter might folowe no other that might see that
whiche as yet was not vnderstanded. In this poynt it is conuenient to
consider the iudgement that John, once byshop of Rochester was in, who
thus wrote: [Sidenote: _Articulo, 17, contra Luth._] It is not vnknowen,
but that many thinges hath ben more diligently discussed, and more
clearely vnderstanded by the wittes of these latter dayes, as well
concerning the gospels as other scriptures, then in olde tyme they were.
The cause whereof is (saith he) for that to the olde men the yse was not
broken, or for that their age was not sufficient exquisitely to expende
the whole mayne sea of the scriptures, or els for that in this large field
of the scriptures, a man may gather some eares vntouched, after the
haruest men howe diligent soeuer they were. For there be yet (saith he) in
the Gospels very many darke places, whiche without all doubt to the
posteritie shalbe made muche more open. For why should we despayre herein,
seing the Gospell (wryteth he) was deliuered to this intent, that it might
be vtterly vnderstanded of vs, yea to the very inche. Wherefore, forasmuch
as Christe showeth no lesse loue to his Churche now, then hitherto he hath
done, the aucthoritie wherof is as yet no whit diminished, and forasmuch
as that holy spirite the perpetuall Keper and Gardian of the same Church,
whose gyftes and graces do flowe as continually and as aboundantly as from
the beginning: who can doubt, but that such thinges as remayne yet
unknowen in the Gospell, shalbe hereafter made open to the latter wittes
of our posteritie, to their cleare vnderstanding. Only good readers let vs
oft call vpon the holy spirite of God our heauenly father, by the
mediation of our Lorde and Sauiour, with the wordes of the octonary psalme
of Dauid, who did so importunately craue of God to haue the vnderstanding
of his lawes and testament: [Sidenote: Psal. cxix.] Let vs humblye on our
knees pray to almightie God, with that wyse [Sidenote: Sapi. ix.] Kyng
Solomon in his very wordes saying thus--O God of my fathers, and Lorde of
mercies (that thou hast made all thynges with thy worde, and didst ordain
man through thy wisdome, that he shoulde haue dominion ouer thy creatures
whiche thou hast made, and that he shoulde order the worlde according to
holinesse and righteousnesse, and that he shoulde execute iudgement with a
true heart) geue me wisdome whiche is euer about thy feate, and put me not
out from among thy chyldren: For I thy seruant and sonne of thy handmayden
am a feeble person, of a short time, and to weake to the vnderstanding of
thy iudgementes and lawes. And though a man be neuer so perfect among the
children of men, yet if thy wisdome be not with him, he shalbe of no
value. O sende her out therefore from thy holy heauens, and from the
throne of thy maiestie, that she may be with me, and labour with me, that
I may know what is acceptable in thy sight: for she knoweth and
vnderstandeth all thinges, and she shall lead me soberly in my workes, and
preserue me in her power, So shall my workes be acceptable by Christe our
Lorde, To whom with the father and the holy Ghost, be all honour and
glorie, worlde without ende. Amen.



[Sidenote: The best things have been calumniated.] Zeal to promote the
common good, whether it be by devising any thing ourselves, or revising
that which hath been laboured by others, deserveth certainly much respect
and esteem, but yet findeth but cold entertainment in the world. It is
welcomed with suspicion instead of love, and with emulation instead of
thanks: and if there be any hole left for cavil to enter, (and cavil, if
it do not find an hole, will make one) it is sure to be misconstrued, and
in danger to be condemned. This will easily be granted by as many as know
story, or have any experience. For was there ever any thing projected that
savoured any way of newness or renewing, but the same endured many a storm
of gainsaying or opposition? A man would think that civility, wholesome
laws, learning and eloquence, Synods, and Churchmaintenance, (that we
speak of no more things of this kind,) should be as safe as a Sanctuary,
and[144] out of shot, as they say, that no man would lift up his heel, no,
nor dog move his tongue against the motioners of them. For by the first we
are distinguished from brute beasts led with sensuality: by the second we
are bridled and restrained from outrageous behaviour, and from doing of
injuries, whether by fraud or by violence: by the third we are enabled to
inform and reform others by the light and feeling that we have attained
unto ourselves: briefly, by the fourth, being brought together to a
parley face to face, we sooner compose our differences, than by writings,
which are endless: and lastly, that the Church be sufficiently provided
for is so agreeable to good reason and conscience, that those mothers are
holden to be less cruel, that kill their children as soon as they are
born, than those nursing fathers and mothers (wheresoever they be) that
withdraw from them who hang upon their breasts (and upon whose breasts
again themselves do hang to receive the spiritual and sincere milk of the
word) livelihood and support fit for their estates. Thus it is apparent,
that these things which we speak of are of most necessary use, and
therefore that none, either without absurdity can speak against them, or
without note of wickedness can spurn against them.

[Sidenote: _Anacharsis, with others._] Yet for all that, the learned know,
that certain worthy men have been brought to untimely death for none other
fault, but for seeking to reduce their countrymen to good order and
discipline: [Sidenote: _In Athens: witness Libanius in Olynth. Demosth.
Cato the elder._] And that in some Commonweals it was made a capital
crime, once to motion the making of a new law for the abrogating of an
old, though the same were most pernicious: And that certain, which would
be counted pillars of the State, and patterns of virtue and prudence,
could not be brought for a long time to give way to good letters and
refined speech; but bare themselves as averse from them, as from rocks or
boxes of poison: And fourthly, that he was no babe, but a great Clerk,
[Sidenote: _Gregory the Divine._] that gave forth (and in writing to
remain to posterity), in passion peradventure, but yet he gave forth, That
he had not seen any profit to come by any synod or meeting of the Clergy,
but rather the contrary: And lastly, against Churchmaintenance and
allowance, in such sort as the Embassadors and messengers of the great
King of kings should be furnished, it is not unknown what a fiction or
fable (so it is esteemed, and for no better by the reporter himself,
though superstitious) was devised: namely, [Sidenote: _Nauclerus._] That
at such time as the professors and teachers of Christianity in the Church
of Rome, then a true Church, were liberally endowed, a voice forsooth was
heard from heaven, saying, Now is poison poured down into the Church, &c.
Thus not only as oft as we speak, as one saith, but also as oft as we do
any thing of note or consequence, we subject ourselves to every one’s
censure, and happy is he that is least tossed upon tongues; for utterly to
escape the snatch of them it is impossible. If any man conceit, that this
is the lot and portion of the meaner sort only, and that Princes are
privileged by their high estate, he is deceived. [Sidenote: 2 Sam. 11.
25.] As _the sword devoureth as well one as another_, as it is in
_Samuel_; nay, as the great commander charged his soldiers in a certain
battle to strike at no part of the enemy, but at the face; [Sidenote: 1
Kin. 22. 31.] and as the king of _Syria_ commanded his chief captains _to
fight neither with small nor great, save only against the king of Israel_:
so it is too true, that envy striketh most spitefully at the fairest, and
the chiefest. _David_ was a worthy prince, and no man to be compared to
him for his first deeds; and yet for as worthy an act as ever he did, even
for bringing back the ark of God in solemnity, he was scorned and scoffed
at by his own wife. [Sidenote: 2 Sam. 6. 16.] _Solomon_ was greater than
_David_, though not in virtue, yet in power; and by his power and wisdom
he built a temple to the Lord, such an one as was the glory of the land of
Israel, and the wonder of the whole world. But was that his magnificence
liked of by all? We doubt of it. Otherwise why do they lay it in his son’s
dish, and call unto him for[145] easing of the burden? _Make_, say they,
_the grievous servitude of thy father, and his sore yoke, lighter_.
[Sidenote: 1 Kin. 12. 4.] Belike he had charged them with some levies, and
troubled them with some carriages; hereupon they raise up a tragedy, and
wish in their heart the temple had never been built. So hard a thing it is
to please all, even when we please God best, and do seek to approve
ourselves to every one’s conscience.

[Sidenote: The highest personages have been calumniated _C. Cæsar.
Plutarch_.] If we will descend to latter times, we shall find many the
like examples of such kind, or rather unkind, acceptance. The first Roman
Emperor did never do a more pleasing deed to the learned, nor more
profitable to posterity, for conserving the record of times in true
supputation, than when he corrected the Calendar, and ordered the year
according to the course of the sun: and yet this was imputed to him for
novelty, and arrogancy, and procured to him great obloquy. [Sidenote:
_Constantine._] So the first Christened Emperor (at the least wise, that
openly professed the faith himself, and allowed others to do the like,)
for strengthening the empire at his great charges, and providing for the
Church, as he did, got for his labour the name _Pupillus_, as who would
say, a wasteful Prince, that had need of a guardian or overseer.
[Sidenote: _Aurel. Vict. Theodosius. Zosimus._] So the best Christened
Emperor, for the love that he bare unto peace, thereby to enrich both
himself and his subjects, and because he did not seek war, but find it,
was judged to be no man at arms, (though indeed he excelled in feats of
chivalry, and shewed so much when he was provoked,) and condemned for
giving himself to his ease, and to his pleasure. [Sidenote: _Justinian._]
To be short, the most learned Emperor of former times, (at the least the
greatest politician,) what thanks had he for cutting off the superfluities
of the laws, and digesting them into some order and method? This, that he
hath been blotted by some to be an Epitomist, that is, one that
extinguished worthy whole volumes, to bring his abridgements into request.
This is the measure that hath been rendered to excellent Princes in former
times, _cum bene facerent, male audire_, for their good deeds to be evil
spoken of. Neither is there any likelihood that envy and malignity died
and were buried with the ancient. No, no, the reproof of _Moses_ taketh
hold of most ages, [Sidenote: Num. 32. 14. Eccles. 1. 9.] _You are risen
up in your fathers’ stead, an increase of sinful men. What is that that
hath been done? that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under
the sun_, saith the wise man. And St. _Stephen_, _As your fathers did, so
do ye_. [Sidenote: Acts 7. 51. His Majesty’s constancy, notwithstanding
calumniation, for the survey of the English translation. Αὐτὸς καὶ παῖδες,
καὶ παίδων πάντοτε παῖδες.] This, and more to this purpose, his Majesty
that now reigneth (and long, and long, may he reign, and his offspring for
ever, _Himself, and children, and children’s children always_!) knew full
well, according to the singular wisdom given unto him by God, and the rare
learning and experience that he hath attained unto; namely, That whosoever
attempteth any thing for the publick, (especially if it pertain to
religion, and to the opening and clearing of the word of God,) the same
setteth himself upon a stage to be glouted upon by every evil eye; yea, he
casteth himself headlong upon pikes, to be gored by every sharp tongue.
For he that meddleth with men’s religion in any part meddleth with their
custom, nay, with their freehold; and though they find no content in that
which they have, yet they cannot abide to hear of altering.
Notwithstanding his royal heart was not daunted or discouraged for this or
that colour, but stood resolute, _as a statue immovable, and an anvil not
easy to be beaten into plates_, as one saith; [Sidenote: Ὣσπερ τις ἀνδρὰς
ἀπερίτρεπτος] he knew who had chosen him to be a soldier, or rather a
captain; and [Sidenote: καὶ ἄκμων ἀνήλατος, _Suidas_.] being assured that
the course which he intended made much for the glory of God, and the
building up of his Church, he would not suffer it to be broken off for
whatsoever speeches or practices. It doth certainly belong unto kings,
yea, it doth specially belong unto them, to have care of religion, yea, to
know it aright, yea, to profess it zealously, yea, to promote it to the
uttermost of their power. This is their glory before all nations which
mean well, and this will bring unto them a far most excellent weight of
glory in the day of the Lord Jesus. For the Scripture saith not in vain,
[Sidenote: 1 Sam. 2. 30.] _Them that honour me I will honour_: neither was
it a vain word that _Eusebius_ delivered long ago, [Sidenote: θεοσέβεια,
_Eusebius, lib. 10. cap. 8_.] That piety toward God was the weapon, and
the only weapon, that both preserved _Constantine’s_ person, and avenged
him of his enemies.

[Sidenote: The praise of the holy Scriptures.] But now what piety without
truth? What truth, what saving truth, without the word of God? What word
of God, whereof we may be sure, without the Scripture? The Scriptures we
are commanded to search, _John_ v. 39. _Isaiah_ viii. 20. They are
commended that searched and studied them, _Acts_ xvii. 11, and viii. 28,
29. They are reproved that were unskilful in them, or slow to believe
them, _Matth._ xxii. 29. _Luke_ xxiv. 25. They can make us wise unto
salvation, _2 Tim._ iii. 15. If we be ignorant, they will instruct us; if
out of the way, they will bring us home; if out of order, they will reform
us; if in heaviness, comfort us; if dull, quicken us; if cold, inflame us.
[Sidenote: _St. August. Confess. lib. 8. cap. 12. St. August. De utilit.
credendi, cap. 6._] _Tolle, lege; tolle, lege_; Take up and read, take up
and read the Scriptures, (for unto them was the direction,) it was said
unto St. _Augustine_ by a supernatural voice. _Whatsoever is in the
Scriptures, believe me_, saith the same St. _Augustine_, _is high and
divine; there is verily truth, and a doctrine most fit for the refreshing
and renewing of men’s minds, and truly so tempered, that every one may
draw from thence that which is sufficient for him, if he come to draw with
a devout and pious mind, as true religion requireth_. Thus St.
_Augustine_. And St. _Hierome_, [Sidenote: _St. Hieron. ad Demetriad. St.
Cyrill 7 contra Julian._] _Ama Scripturas, et amabit te sapientia_, &c.
Love the Scriptures, and wisdom will love thee. And St. _Cyrill_ against
_Julian_, _Even boys that are bred up in the Scriptures become most
religious_, &c. But what mention we three or four uses of the Scripture,
whereas whatsoever is to be believed, or practised, or hoped for, is
contained in them? or three or four sentences of the Fathers, since
whosoever is worthy the name of a Father, from Christ’s time downward,
hath likewise written not only of the riches, but also of the perfection
of the Scripture? [Sidenote: _Tertul. advers. Herm. Tertul. De carn.
Christ._ Οἷόν τε, _Justin_. προτρεπτ. πρὸς Ἕλλην. Ὑπερηφανίας κατηγορία,
_St. Basil_. περὶ πίστεως.] _I adore the fulness of the Scripture_, saith
_Tertullian_ against _Hermogenes_. And again, to _Apelles_ an heretick of
the like stamp he saith, _I do not admit that which thou bringest in_ (or
concludest) _of thine own_ (head or store, _de tuo_) without Scripture. So
St. _Justin Martyr_ before him; _We must know by all means_ (saith he)
_that it is not lawful_ (or possible) _to learn_ (any thing) _of God or of
right piety, save only out of the Prophets, who teach us by divine
inspiration_. So St. _Basil_ after _Tertullian_, _It is a manifest falling
away from the faith, and a fault of presumption, either to reject any of
those things that are written, or to bring in_ (upon the head of them,
ἐπεισαγεῖν) _any of those things that are not written_. We omit to cite to
the same effect St. _Cyrill_ Bishop of _Jerusalem_ in his 4. _Catech._ St.
_Hierome_ against _Helvidius_, St. _Augustine_ in his third book against
the letters of _Petilian_, and in very many other places of his works.
Also we forbear to descend to later Fathers, because we will not weary
the reader. The Scriptures then being acknowledged to be so full and so
perfect, how can we excuse ourselves of negligence, if we do not study
them? of curiosity, if we be not content with them? [Sidenote: Εἰρεσιώνη
σῦκα φέρει, καὶ πίονας ἄρτους, καὶ μελι ἐν κοτύλῃ, καὶ ἔλαιον, &c. An
olive bough wrapped about with wool, whereupon did hang figs, and bread,
and honey in a pot, and oil.] Men talk much of εἰρεσιώνη, how many sweet
and goodly things it had hanging on it; of the Philosopher’s stone, that
it turneth copper into gold; of _Cornu-copia_, that it had all things
necessary for food in it; of _Panaces_, the herb, that it was good for all
diseases; of _Catholicon_ the drug, that it is instead of all purges; of
_Vulcan’s_ armour, that it was an armour of proof against all thrusts and
all blows, &c. Well, that which they falsely or vainly attributed to these
things for bodily good, we may justly and with full measure ascribe unto
the Scripture for spiritual. It is not only an armour, but also a whole
armoury of weapons, both offensive and defensive; whereby we may save
ourselves, and put the enemy to flight. It is not an herb, but a tree, or
rather a whole paradise of trees of life, which bring forth fruit every
month, and the fruit thereof is for meat, and the leaves for medicine. It
is not a pot of _Manna_, or a cruse of oil, which were for memory only, or
for a meal’s meat or two; but, as it were, a shower of heavenly bread
sufficient for a whole host, be it never so great, and, as it were, a
whole cellar full of oil vessels; whereby all our necessities may be
provided for, and our debts discharged. In a word, it is a panary of
wholesome food against fenowed traditions; [Sidenote: Κοινὸν ἰατρεῖον,
_St. Basil in Psal. primum._] a physician’s shop (as St. _Basil_ calls it)
of preservatives against poisoned heresies; a pandect of profitable laws
against rebellious spirits; a treasury of most costly jewels against
beggarly rudiments; finally, a fountain of most pure water springing up
unto everlasting life. And what marvel? the original thereof being from
heaven, not from earth; the author being God, not man; the inditer, the
Holy Spirit, not the wit of the Apostles or Prophets; the penmen, such as
were sanctified from the womb, and endued with a principal portion of
God’s Spirit; the matter, verity, piety, purity, uprightness; the form,
God’s word, God’s testimony, God’s oracles, the word of truth, the word of
salvation, &c.; the effects, light of understanding, stableness of
persuasion, repentance from dead works, newness of life, holiness, peace,
joy in the Holy Ghost; lastly, the end and reward of the study thereof,
fellowship with the saints, participation of the heavenly nature, fruition
of an inheritance immortal, undefiled, and that never shall fade away.
Happy is the man that delighteth in the Scripture, and thrice happy that
meditateth in it day and night.

[Sidenote: Translation necessary.] But how shall men meditate in that
which they cannot understand? How shall they understand that which is kept
close in an unknown tongue? as it is written, [Sidenote: 1 Cor. 14. 11.]
_Except I know the power of the voice, I shall be to him that speaketh a
barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian to me_. The Apostle
excepteth no tongue; not _Hebrew_ the ancientest, not _Greek_ the most
copious, not _Latin_ the finest. Nature taught a natural man to confess,
that all of us in those tongues which we do not understand are plainly
deaf; we may turn the deaf ear unto them. [Sidenote: _Clem. Alex. 1 Strom.
St. Hieronym. Damaso. Michael, Theophili fil. 2 Tom. Concil. ex edit.
Petri Crab._] The _Scythian_ counted the _Athenian_, whom he did not
understand, barbarous: so the _Roman_ did the _Syrian_, and the _Jew_:
(even St. _Hierome_ himself calleth the _Hebrew_ tongue barbarous; belike,
because it was strange to so many:) so the Emperor of _Constantinople_
calleth the _Latin_ tongue barbarous, though Pope _Nicolas_ do storm at
it: [Sidenote: _Cicero 5. De Finibus._] so the _Jews_ long before _Christ_
called all other nations _Lognasim_, which is little better than
barbarous. Therefore as one complaineth that always in the Senate of
_Rome_ there was one or other that called for an interpreter; so lest the
Church be driven to the like exigent, it is necessary to have translations
in a readiness. Translation it is that openeth the window, to let in the
light; that breaketh the shell, that we may eat the kernel; that putteth
aside the curtain, that we may look into the most holy place; that
removeth the cover of the well, that we may come by the water; [Sidenote:
Gen. 29. 10.] even as _Jacob_ rolled away the stone from the mouth of the
well, by which means the flocks of _Laban_ were watered. Indeed without
translation into the vulgar tongue, [Sidenote: John 4. 11.] the unlearned
are but like children at _Jacob’s_ well (which was deep) without a bucket
or something to draw with: [Sidenote: Isai. 29. 11.] or as that person
mentioned by _Esay_, to whom when a sealed book was delivered with this
motion, _Read this, I pray thee_; he was fain to make this answer, _I
cannot, for it is sealed_.

[Sidenote: The translation of the Old Testament out of the Hebrew into
Greek. _See St. August. lib. 12. contra Faust. cap. 32._] While God would
be known only in _Jacob_, and have his name great in _Israel_, and in none
other place; while the dew lay on _Gideon’s_ fleece only, and all the
earth besides was dry; then for one and the same people, which spake all
of them the language of _Canaan_, that is, _Hebrew_, one and the same
original in _Hebrew_ was sufficient. But when the fulness of time drew
near, that the Sun of righteousness, the Son of God, should come into the
world, whom God ordained to be a reconciliation through faith in his
blood, not of the _Jew_ only, but also of the _Greek_, yea, of all them
that were scattered abroad; then, lo, it pleased the Lord to stir up the
spirit of a _Greek_ prince, (_Greek_ for descent and language,) even of
_Ptolemy Philadelph_ king of _Egypt_, to procure the translating of the
book of God out of _Hebrew_ into _Greek_. This is the translation of the
_Seventy_ interpreters, commonly so called, which prepared the way for our
Saviour among the _Gentiles_ by written preaching, as St. _John Baptist_
did among the _Jews_ by vocal. For the _Grecians_, being desirous of
learning, were not wont to suffer books of worth to lie moulding in kings’
libraries, but had many of their servants, ready scribes, to copy them
out, and so they were dispersed and made common. Again the _Greek_ tongue
was well known and made familiar to most inhabitants in _Asia_ by reason
of the conquests that there the _Grecians_ had made, as also by the
colonies which thither they had sent. For the same causes also it was well
understood in many places of _Europe_, yea, and of _Africk_ too. Therefore
the word of God, being set forth in _Greek_, becometh hereby like a candle
set upon a candlestick, which giveth light to all that are in the house;
or like a proclamation sounded forth in the market place, which most men
presently take knowledge of; and therefore that language was fittest to
contain the Scriptures, both for the first preachers of the Gospel to
appeal unto for witness, and for the learners also of those times to make
search and trial by. It is certain, that that translation was not so sound
and so perfect, but that it needed in many places correction; and who had
been so sufficient for this work as the Apostles or apostolick men? Yet it
seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to them to take that which they found,
(the same being for the greatest part true and sufficient,) rather than by
making a new, in that new world and green age of the Church, to expose
themselves to many exceptions and cavillations, as though they made a
translation to serve their own turn; and therefore hearing witness to
themselves, their witness not to be regarded. This may be supposed to be
some cause, why the translation of the _Seventy_ was allowed to pass for
current. Notwithstanding, though it was commended generally, yet it did
not fully content the learned, no not of the _Jews_. For not long after
_Christ_, _Aquila_ fell in hand with a new translation, and after him
_Theodotion_, and after him _Symmachus_; yea, there was a fifth, and a
sixth edition, the authors whereof were not known. These with the
_Seventy_ made up the _Hexapla_, and were worthily and to great purpose
compiled together by _Origen_. Howbeit the edition of the _Seventy_ went
away with the credit, and therefore not only was placed in the midst by
_Origen_, (for the worth and excellency thereof above the rest, as
_Epiphanius_ gathereth,) [Sidenote: _Epiphan. De mensuris et ponderib. St.
August. 2. De doctrin. Christian. c. 15. Novel. diatax. 146._] but also
was used by the _Greek_ Fathers for the ground and foundation of their
commentaries. Yea, _Epiphanius_ abovenamed doth attribute so much unto it,
that he holdeth the authors thereof not only for interpreters, [Sidenote:
Προφητικῆς ὥσπερ χάριτος περιλαξμψάσης αὐτους.] but also for prophets in
some respect: and _Justinian_ the Emperor, injoining the _Jews_ his
subjects to use especially the translation of the _Seventy_, rendereth
this reason thereof, Because they were, as it were, enlightened with
prophetical grace. [Sidenote: Isai. 31. 3.] Yet for all that, as the
_Egyptians_ are said of the Prophet to be men and not God, and their
horses flesh and not spirit: so it is evident, (and St. _Hierome_
affirmeth as much,) [Sidenote: _St. Hieron. de optimo genere interpret._]
that the _Seventy_ were interpreters, they were not prophets. They did
many things well, as learned men; but yet as men they stumbled and fell,
one while through oversight, another while through ignorance; yea,
sometimes they may be noted to add to the original, and sometimes to take
from it: which made the Apostles to leave them many times, when they left
the _Hebrew_, and to deliver the sense thereof according to the truth of
the word, as the Spirit gave them utterance. This may suffice touching the
_Greek_ translations of the Old Testament.

[Sidenote: Translation out of Hebrew and Greek into Latin.] There were
also within a few hundred years after _Christ_ translations many into the
_Latin_ tongue: for this tongue also was very fit to convey the Law and
the Gospel by, because in those times very many countries of the West, yea
of the South, East, and North, spake or understood _Latin_, being made
provinces to the _Romans_. But now the _Latin_ translations were too many
to be all good: for they were infinite; (_Latini interpretes nullo modo
numerari possunt_, saith St. _Augustine_.) [Sidenote: _St. August. de
doctrin. Christ. lib. 2. cap. 11._] Again, they were not out of the
_Hebrew_ fountain, (we speak of the _Latin_ translations of the Old
Testament,) but out of the _Greek_ stream; therefore the _Greek_ being not
altogether clear, the _Latin_ derived from it must needs be muddy. This
moved St. _Hierome_, a most learned Father, and the best linguist without
controversy of his age, or of any other that went before him, to undertake
the translating of the Old Testament out of the very fountains themselves;
which he performed with that evidence of great learning, judgment,
industry, and faithfulness, that he hath for ever bound the Church unto
him in a debt of special remembrance and thankfulness.

[Sidenote: The translating of the Scripture into the vulgar tongues.] Now
though the Church were thus furnished with _Greek_ and _Latin_
translations, even before the faith of _Christ_ was generally embraced in
the Empire: (for the learned know, [Sidenote: _St. Hieron. Marcell.
Zosim._] that even in St. _Hierome’s_ time the Consul of _Rome_ and his
wife were both Ethnicks, and about the same time the greatest part of the
Senate also:) yet for all that the godly learned were not content to have
the Scriptures in the language which themselves understood, [Sidenote: 2
Kin. 7. 9.] _Greek_ and _Latin_, (as the good lepers were not content to
fare well themselves, but acquainted their neighbours with the store that
God had sent, that they also might provide for themselves;) but also for
the behoof and edifying of the unlearned, which hungered and thirsted
after righteousness, and had souls to be saved as well as they, they
provided translations into the vulgar for their countrymen, insomuch that
most nations under heaven did shortly after their conversion hear _Christ_
speaking unto them in their mother tongue, not by the voice of their
minister only, but also by the written word translated. If any doubt
hereof, he may be satisfied by examples enough, if enough will serve the
turn. [Sidenote: _St. Hieron. Præf. in 4. Evangel._] First, St. _Hierome_
saith, _Multarum gentium linguis Scriptura ante translata docet falsa esse
quæ addita sunt_, &c.; that is, _The Scripture being translated before in
the languages of many nations doth shew that those things that were added_
(by _Lucian_ or _Hesychius_) _are false_. [Sidenote: _St. Hieron.
Sophronio._] So St. _Hierome_ in that place. The same _Hierome_ elsewhere
affirmeth that he, the time was, had set forth the translation of the
_Seventy_, _suæ lingæ hominibus_; that is, for his countrymen of
_Dalmatia_. Which words not only _Erasmus_ doth understand to purport,
that St. _Hierome_ translated the Scripture into the _Dalmatian_ tongue;
[Sidenote: _Six. Sen. lib. 4. Alphon. a Castro, lib. 1. cap. 23. St.
Chrysost. in Joann. cap. 1. hom. 1._] but also _Sixtus Senensis_, and
_Alphonsus a Castro_, (that we speak of no more,) men not to be excepted
against by them of _Rome_, do ingenuously confess as much. So St.
_Chrysostome_, that lived in St. _Hierome’s_ time, giveth evidence with
him: _The doctrine of St. John_ (saith he) _did not in such sort_ (as the
Philosophers’ did) _vanish away: but the Syrians, Egyptians, Indians,
Persians, Ethiopians, and infinite other nations, being barbarous people,
translated it into their (mother) tongue, and have learned, to be (true)
Philosophers_, he meaneth Christians. [Sidenote: _Theodor. 5. Therapeut._]
To this may be added _Theodoret_, as next unto him both for antiquity, and
for learning. His words be these, _Every country that is under the sun is
full of these words_, (of the Apostles and Prophets;) _and the Hebrew
tongue_ (he meaneth the Scriptures in the _Hebrew_ tongue) _is turned not
only into the language of the Grecians, but also of the Romans, and
Egyptians, and Persians, and Indians, and Armenians, and Scythians, and
Sauromatians, and, briefly, into all the languages that any nation useth_.
[Sidenote: _P. Diacon. lib. 12. Isid. in Chron. Goth. Sozom. lib. 6. cap.
57. Vasseus in Chro. Hisp. Polydor. Virg. 5. hist. Anglorum testatur idem
de Aluredo nostro. Aventin. lib. 4._] So he. In like manner _Ulpilas_ is
reported by _Paulus Diaconus_ and _Isidore_, and before them by _Sozomen_,
to have translated the Scriptures into the _Gothick_ tongue: _John_ Bishop
of _Sevil_ by _Vasseus_, to have turned them into _Arabick_ about the Year
of our Lord 717: _Beda_ by _Cistertiensis_, to have turned a great part of
them into _Saxon_: _Efnard_ by _Trithemius_, to have abridged the French
Psalter (as _Beda_ had done the _Hebrew_) about the year 800: King
_Alured_ by the said _Cistertiensis_, to have turned the Psalter into
_Saxon_: _Methodius_ by _Aventinus_ (printed at _Ingolstad_) to have
turned the Scriptures into _Sclavonian_: _Valdo_[146] Bishop of _Frising_
by _Beatus Rhenanus_, to have caused about that time the Gospels to be
translated into _Dutch_ rhyme, yet extant in the library of _Corbinian_:
_Valdus_ by divers, to have turned them himself, or to have gotten them
turned, into _French_, about the Year 1160: _Charles_ the Fifth of that
name, surnamed _The wise_, to have caused them to be turned into _French_
about 200 years after _Valdus’_ time; of which translation there be many
copies yet extant, as witnesseth _Beroaldus_. [Sidenote: _Beroald.
Thuan._] Much about that time, even in our King _Richard_ the Second’s
days, _John Trevisa_ translated them into _English_, and many _English_
Bibles in written hand are yet to be seen with divers; translated, as it
is very probable, in that age. So the _Syrian_ translation of the New
Testament is in most learned men’s libraries, of _Widminstadius’_ setting
forth; and the Psalter in _Arabick_ is with many, of _Augustinus
Nebiensis’_ setting forth. So _Postel_ affirmeth, that in his travel he
saw the Gospels in the _Ethiopian_ tongue: And _Ambrose Thesius_ alledgeth
the Psalter of the _Indians_, which he testifieth to have been set forth
by _Potken_ in _Syrian_ characters. So that to have the Scriptures in the
mother tongue is not a quaint conceit lately taken up, either by the Lord
_Cromwell_ in _England_, or by the Lord _Radevile_ in _Polony_, or by the
Lord _Ungnadius_ in the Emperor’s dominion, but hath been thought upon,
and put in practice of old, even from the first times of the conversion of
any nation; no doubt, because it was esteemed most profitable to cause
faith to grow in men’s hearts the sooner, and to make them to be able to
say with the words of the Psalm, [Sidenote: Psal. 48. 8.] _As we have
heard, so we have seen_.

[Sidenote: The unwillingness of our chief adversaries that the Scriptures
should be divulged in the mother tongue, &c. Δῶρον ἄδωρον κουκ ὀνήσιμον
_Sophocl._] Now the church of _Rome_ would seem at the length to bear a
motherly affection toward her children, and to allow them the Scriptures
in the mother tongue: but indeed it is a gift, not deserving to be called
a gift, an unprofitable gift: they must first get a licence in writing
before they may use them; and to get that, they must approve themselves to
their Confessor, that is, to be such as are, if not frozen in the dregs,
yet soured with the leaven of their superstition. Howbeit it seemed too
much to _Clement_ the Eighth, that there should be any licence granted to
have them in the vulgar tongue, and therefore he overruleth and
frustrateth the grant of _Pius_ the Fourth. [Sidenote: See the
observation (set forth by Clement’s authority) upon the 4th rule of _Pius_
the 4th’s making in the _Index lib. prohib. pag. 15. ver. 5. Tertull. de
resur. carnis._] So much are they afraid of the light of the Scripture,
(_Lucifugæ Scripturarum_, as _Tertullian_ speaketh,) that they will not
trust the people with it, no not as it is set forth by their own sworn
men, no not with the licence of their own Bishops and Inquisitors. Yea, so
unwilling they are to communicate the Scriptures to the people’s
understanding in any sort, that they are not ashamed to confess, that we
forced them to translate it into _English_ against their wills. This
seemeth to argue a bad cause, or a bad conscience, or both. Sure we are,
that it is not he that hath good gold, that is afraid to bring it to the
touch-stone, but he that hath the counterfeit; [Sidenote: John 3. 20.]
neither is it the true man that shunneth the light, but the malefactor,
lest his deeds should be reproved; neither is it the plaindealing merchant
that is unwilling to have the weights, or the meteyard, brought in place,
but he that useth deceit. But we will let them alone for this fault, and
return to translation.

[Sidenote: The speeches and reasons both of our brethren, and of
adversaries, against this work.] Many men’s mouths have been opened a good
while (and yet are not stopped) with speeches about the translation so
long in hand, or rather perusals of translations made before: and ask what
may be the reason, what the necessity, of the employment. Hath the Church
been deceived, say they, all this while? Hath her sweet bread been mingled
with leaven, her silver with dross, her wine with water, her milk with
lime? (_lacte gypsum male miscetur_, saith St. _Irenee_.) [Sidenote: _St.
Iren. lib. 3. cap. 19._] We hoped that we had been in the right way, that
we had had the Oracles of God delivered unto us, and that though all the
world had cause to be offended, and to complain, yet that we had none.
Hath the nurse holden out the breast, and nothing but wind in it? Hath
the bread been delivered by the Fathers of the Church, and the same proved
to be _lapidosus_, as _Seneca_ speaketh? What is it to handle the word of
God deceitfully, if this be not? Thus certain brethren. Also the
adversaries of _Judah_ and _Jerusalem_, [Sidenote: Neh. 4. 2, 3.] like
_Sanballat_ in _Nehemiah_, mock, as we hear, both at the work and workmen,
saying, _What do these weak Jews, &c., will they make the stones whole
again out of the heaps of dust which are burnt? although they build, yet
if a fox go up, he shall even break down their stony wall_. Was their
translation good before? Why do they now mend it? Was it not good? Why
then was it obtruded to the people? Yea, why did the Catholicks (meaning
Popish _Romanists_) always go in jeopardy for refusing to go to hear it?
Nay, if it must be translated into _English_, Catholicks are fittest to do
it. They have learning, and they know when a thing is well, they can
_manum de tabula_. We will answer them both briefly: [Sidenote: _St.
Hieron. Apolog. advers. Ruffin._] and the former, being brethren, thus
with St. _Hierome_, _Damnamus veteres? Minime, sed post priorum studia in
domo Domini quod possumus laboramus._ That is, _Do we condemn the ancient?
In no case: but after the endeavours of them that were before us, we take
the best pains we can in the house of God._ As if he said, Being provoked
by the example of the learned that lived before my time, I have thought it
my duty to assay, whether my talent in the knowledge of the tongues may be
profitable in any measure to God’s Church, lest I should seem to have
laboured in them in vain, and lest I should be thought to glory in men
(although ancient) above that which was in them. Thus St. _Hierome_ may be
thought to speak.

[Sidenote: A satisfaction to our brethren.] And to the same effect say we,
that we are so far off from condemning any of their labours that
travelled before us in this kind, either in this land, or beyond sea,
either in King _Henry’s_ time, or King _Edward’s_, (if there were any
translation, or correction of a translation, in his time,) or Queen
_Elizabeth’s_ of ever renowned memory, that we acknowledge them to have
been raised up of God for the building and furnishing of his Church, and
that they deserve to be had of us and of posterity in everlasting
remembrance. The judgment of _Aristotle_ is worthy and well known:
[Sidenote: _Arist. 2. Metaphys. cap. 1._] _If Timotheus had not been, we
had not had much sweet musick: But if Phrynis_ (_Timotheus’_ master) _had
not been, we had not had Timotheus_. Therefore blessed be they, and most
honoured be their name, that break the ice, and give the onset upon that
which helpeth forward to the saving of souls. Now what can be more
available thereto, than to deliver God’s book unto God’s people in a
tongue which they understand? Since of an hidden treasure, and of a
fountain that is sealed, there is no profit, as _Ptolemy Philadelph_ wrote
to the Rabbins or masters of the _Jews_, as witnesseth _Epiphanius_:
[Sidenote: _St. Epiphan. loco ante citato. St. August. lib. 19. De civit.
Dei, cap. 7._] and as St. _Augustine_ saith, _A man had rather be with his
dog than with a stranger_ (whose tongue is strange unto him.) Yet for all
that, as nothing is begun and perfected at the same time, and the latter
thoughts are thought to be the wiser: so, if we building upon their
foundation that went before us, and being holpen by their labours, do
endeavour to make that better which they left so good; no man, we are
sure, hath cause to mislike us; they, we persuade ourselves, if they were
alive, would thank us. The vintage of _Abiezer_, that strake the stroke:
yet the gleaning of grapes of _Ephraim_ was not to be despised. See
_Judges_ viii. 2. [Sidenote: 2 Kin. 13. 18, 19.] _Joash_ the king of
_Israel_ did not satisfy himself till he had smitten the ground three
times; and yet he offended the Prophet for giving over then. _Aquila_, of
whom we spake before, translated the Bible as carefully and as skilfully
as he could; and yet he thought good to go over it again, and then it got
the credit with the _Jews_, to be called κατ’ ἀκρίβειαν, that is,
accurately done, as St. _Hierome_ witnesseth. [Sidenote: _St. Hieron. in
Ezech. cap. 3._] How many books of profane learning have been gone over
again and again, by the same translators, by others? Of one and the same
book of _Aristotle’s_ Ethicks there are extant not so few as six or seven
several translations. Now if this cost may be bestowed upon the gourd,
which affordeth us a little shade, and which to day flourisheth, but to
morrow is cut down; what may we bestow, nay, what ought we not to bestow,
upon the vine, the fruit whereof maketh glad the conscience of man, and
the stem whereof abideth for ever? And this is the word of God, which we
translate. [Sidenote: Jer. 23. 28.] _What is the chaff to the wheat? saith
the Lord. Tanti vitreum, quanti verum margaritum!_ (saith _Tertullian_.)
[Sidenote: _Tertull. ad Martyr. Si tanti vilissimum vitrum, quanti
preciosissimum margaritum! Hier. ad Salvin._] If a toy of glass be of that
reckoning with us, how ought we to value the true pearl! Therefore let no
man’s eye be evil, because his Majesty’s is good; neither let any be
grieved, that we have a Prince that seeketh the increase of the spiritual
wealth of _Israel_; (let _Sanballats_ and _Tobiahs_ do so, which therefore
do bear their just reproof;) but let us rather bless God from the ground
of our heart for working this religious care in him to have the
translations of the Bible maturely considered of and examined. For by this
means it cometh to pass, that whatsoever is sound already, (and all is
sound for substance in one or other of our editions, and the worst of ours
far better than their authentick vulgar) the same will shine as gold more
brightly, being rubbed and polished; also, if any thing be halting, or
superfluous, or not so agreeable to the original, the same may be
corrected, and the truth set in place. And what can the King command to be
done, that will bring him more true honour than this? And wherein could
they that have been set a work approve their duty to the King, yea, their
obedience to God, and love to his Saints, more, than by yielding their
service, and all that is within them, for the furnishing of the work? But
besides all this, they were the principal motives of it, and therefore
ought least to quarrel it. For the very historical truth is, that upon the
importunate petitions of the Puritanes at his Majesty’s coming to this
crown, the conference at _Hampton-court_ having been appointed for hearing
their complaints, when by force of reason they were put from all other
grounds, they had recourse at the last to this shift, that they could not
with good conscience subscribe to the communion book, since it maintained
the Bible as it was there translated, which was, as they said, a most
corrupted translation. And although this was judged to be but a very poor
and empty shift, yet even hereupon did his Majesty begin to bethink
himself of the good that might ensue by a new translation, and presently
after gave order for this translation which is now presented unto thee.
Thus much to satisfy our scrupulous brethren.

[Sidenote: An answer to the imputations of our adversaries.] Now to the
latter we answer, That we do not deny, nay, we affirm and avow, that the
very meanest translation of the Bible in English, set forth by men of our
profession, (for we have seen none of their’s of the whole Bible as yet)
containeth the word of God, nay, is the word of God: As the King’s speech
which he uttered in Parliament, being translated into _French_, _Dutch_,
_Italian_, and _Latin_, is still the King’s speech, though it be not
interpreted by every translator with the like grace, nor peradventure so
fitly for phrase, nor so expressly for sense, every where. For it is
confessed, that things are to take their denomination of the greater part;
[Sidenote: _Horace._] and a natural man could say, _Verum ubi multa nitent
in carmine, non ego paucis offendor maculis, &c._ A man may be counted a
virtuous man, though he have made many slips in his life, (else there were
none virtuous, for _in many things we offend all_,) [Sidenote: Jam. 3. 2.]
also a comely man and lovely, though he have some warts upon his hand;
yea, not only freckles upon his face, but also scars. No cause therefore
why the word translated should be denied to be the word, or forbidden to
be current, notwithstanding that some imperfections and blemishes may be
noted in the setting forth of it. For what ever was perfect under the sun,
where Apostles or apostolick men, that is, men endued with an
extraordinary measure of God’s Spirit, and privileged with the privilege
of infallibility, had not their hand? The Romanists therefore in refusing
to hear, and daring to burn the word translated, did no less than despite
the Spirit of grace, from whom originally it proceeded, and whose sense
and meaning, as well as man’s weakness would enable, it did express. Judge
by an example or two.

[Sidenote: _Plutarch in Camillo._] _Plutarch_ writeth, that after that
_Rome_ had been burnt by the _Gauls_, they fell soon to build it again:
but doing it in haste, they did not cast the streets, nor proportion the
houses, in such comely fashion, as had been most sightly and convenient.
Was _Catiline_ therefore an honest man, or a good patriot, that sought to
bring it to a combustion? Or _Nero_ a good Prince, that did indeed set it
on fire? So by the story of _Ezra_ and the prophecy of _Haggai_ it may be
gathered, [Sidenote: Ezra 3. 12.] that the temple built by _Zerubbabel_
after the return from _Babylon_ was by no means to be compared to the
former built by _Solomon_: for they that remembered the former wept when
they considered the latter. Notwithstanding might this latter either have
been abhorred and forsaken by the _Jews_, or profaned by the _Greeks_? The
like we are to think of translations. The translation of the _Seventy_
dissenteth from the Original in many places, neither doth it come near it
for perspicuity, gravity, majesty. Yet which of the Apostles did condemn
it? Condemn it? Nay, they used it, (as it is apparent, and as St.
_Hierome_ and most learned men do confess;) which they would not have
done, nor by their example of using of it so grace and commend it to the
Church, if it had been unworthy the appellation and name of the word of
God. And whereas they urge for their second defence of their vilifying and
abusing of the _English_ Bibles, or some pieces thereof, which they meet
with, for that hereticks forsooth were the authors of the translations:
(hereticks they call us by the same right that they call themselves
catholicks, both being wrong:) we marvel what divinity taught them so. We
are sure _Tertullian_ was of another mind: [Sidenote: _Tertull. de
præscript. contra hæreses._] _Ex personis probamus fidem, an ex fide
personas?_ Do we try men’s faith by their persons? We should try their
persons by their faith. Also St. _Augustine_ was of another mind:
[Sidenote: _St. August. 3. de doct. Christ. cap. 30._] for he, lighting
upon certain rules made by _Tychonius_ a _Donatist_ for the better
understanding of the word, was not ashamed to make use of them, yea, to
insert them into his own book, with giving commendation to them so far
forth as they were worthy to be commended, as is to be seen in St.
_Augustine’s_ third book _De Doct. Christ_. To be short, _Origen_, and
the whole Church of God for certain hundred years, were of another mind:
for they were so far from treading under foot (much more from burning) the
translation of _Aquila_ a proselyte, that is, one that had turned _Jew_,
of _Symmachus_, and _Theodotion_, both _Ebionites_, that is, most vile
hereticks, that they joined them together with the _Hebrew_ original, and
the translation of the _Seventy_, (as hath been before signified out of
_Epiphanius_,) and set them forth openly to be considered of and perused
by all. But we weary the unlearned, who need not know so much; and trouble
the learned, who know it already.

Yet before we end, we must answer a third cavil and objection of their’s
against us, for altering and amending our translations so oft; wherein
truly they deal hardly and strangely with us. For to whom ever was it
imputed for a fault, (by such as were wise,) to go over that which he had
done, and to amend it where he saw cause? [Sidenote: _St. August. Epist.
9. St. August. lib. Retract Video interdum vitia mea. St. August. Epist.
8._] St. _Augustine_ was not afraid to exhort St. _Hierome_ to a
_Palinodia_ or recantation. The same St. _Augustine_ was not ashamed to
retractate, we might say, revoke, many things that had passed him, and
doth even glory that he seeth his infirmities. If we will be sons of the
truth, we must consider what it speaketh, and trample upon our own credit,
yea, and upon other men’s too, if either be any way an hindrance to it.
This to the cause. Then to the persons we say, that of all men they ought
to be most silent in this case. For what varieties have they, and what
alterations have they made, not only of their service books, portesses,
and breviaries, but also of their _Latin_ translation? The service book
supposed to be made by St. _Ambrose_, (_Officium Ambrosianum_,) was a
great while in special use and request: but Pope _Adrian_, [Sidenote:
_Durand. lib. 5. cap. 2._] calling a council with the aid of _Charles_ the
Emperor, abolished it, yea, burnt it, and commanded the service book of
St. _Gregory_ universally to be used. Well, _Officium Gregorianum_ gets by
this means to be in credit; but doth it continue without change or
altering? No, the very _Roman_ service was of two fashions; the new
fashion, and the old, the one used in one Church, and the other in
another; as is to be seen in _Pamelius_ a Romanist, his preface before
_Micrologus_. The same _Pamelius_ reporteth out of _Radulphus de Rivo_,
that about the year of our Lord 1277 Pope _Nicolas_ the Third removed out
of the churches of _Rome_ the more ancient books (of service,) and brought
into use the missals of the Friers Minorites, and commanded them to be
observed there: insomuch that about an hundred years after, when the
aboved named _Radulphus_ happened to be at Rome, he found all the books to
be new, of the new stamp. Neither was there this chopping and changing in
the more ancient times only, but also of late. _Pius Quintus_ himself
confesseth, that every bishoprick almost had a peculiar kind of service,
most unlike to that which others had; which moved him to abolish all other
breviaries, though never so ancient, and privileged and published by
Bishops in their Dioceses, and to establish and ratify that only which was
of his own setting forth in the year 1568. Now when the Father of their
Church, who gladly would heal the sore of the daughter of his people
softly and slightly, and make the best of it, findeth so great fault with
them for their odds and jarring; we hope the children have no great cause
to vaunt of their uniformity. But the difference that appeareth between
our translations, and our often correcting of them, is the thing that we
are specially charged with; let us see therefore whether they themselves
be without fault this way, (if it be to be counted a fault to correct,)
and whether they be fit men to throw stones at us: _O tandem major parcas
insane minori_: They that are less sound themselves ought not to object
infirmities to others. If we should tell them, that _Valla_,
_Stapulensis_, _Erasmus_, and _Vives_, found fault with their vulgar
translation, and consequently wished the same to be mended, or a new one
to be made; they would answer peradventure, that we produced their enemies
for witnesses against them; albeit they were in no other sort enemies,
than as St. _Paul_ was to the _Galatians_, [Sidenote: Gal. 4. 16.] for
telling them the truth: and it were to be wished, that they had dared to
tell it them plainlier and oftener. But what will they say to this, That
Pope _Leo_ the Tenth allowed _Erasmus’_ translation of the New Testament,
so much different from the vulgar, by his apostolick letter and bull?
[Sidenote: _Sixtus Senens._] That the same _Leo_ exhorted _Pagnine_ to
translate the whole Bible, and bare whatsoever charges was necessary for
the work? Surely, as the apostle reasoneth to the _Hebrews_, [Sidenote:
Heb. 7. 11. & 8. 7.] that _if the former Law and Testament had been
sufficient, there had been no need of the latter_: so we may say, that if
the old vulgar had been at all points allowable, to small purpose had
labour and charges been undergone about framing of a new. If they say, it
was one Pope’s private opinion, and that he consulted only himself; then
we are able to go further with them, and to aver, that more of their chief
men of all sorts, even their own _Trent_ champions, _Paiva_ and _Vega_,
and their own inquisitor _Hieronymus ab Oleastro_, and their own Bishop
_Isidorus Clarius_, and their own Cardinal _Thomas a vio Cajetan_, do
either make new translations themselves, or follow new ones of other men’s
making, or note the vulgar interpreter for halting, none of them fear to
dissent from him, nor yet to except against him. And call they this an
uniform tenor of text and judgment about the text, so many of their
worthies disclaiming the now received conceit? Nay, we will yet come
nearer the quick. [Sidenote: _Sixtus 5. Præf. fixa bibliis._] Doth not
their _Paris_ edition differ from the _Lovain_, and _Hentenius’s_ from
them both, and yet all of them allowed by authority? Nay, doth not _Sixtus
Quintus_ confess, that certain Catholicks (he meaneth certain of his own
side) were in such an humour of translating the Scriptures into _Latin_,
that Satan taking occasion by them, though they thought of no such matter,
did strive what he could, out of so uncertain and manifold a variety of
translations, so to mingle all things, that nothing might seem to be left
certain and firm in them, &c.? Nay further, did not the same _Sixtus_
ordain by an inviolable decree, and that with the counsel and consent of
his Cardinals, that the _Latin_ edition of the Old and New Testament,
which the council of _Trent_ would have to be authentick, is the same
without controversy which he then set forth, being diligently corrected
and printed in the printinghouse of _Vatican_? Thus _Sixtus_ in his
preface before his Bible. And yet _Clement_ the Eighth, his immediate
successor to account of, publisheth another edition of the Bible,
containing in it infinite differences from that of _Sixtus_, and many of
them weighty and material; and yet this must be authentick by all means.
What is to have the faith of our glorious Lord _Jesus Christ_ with yea and
nay, if this be not? Again, what is sweet harmony and consent, if this be?
Therefore, as _Demaratus_ of _Corinth_ advised a great King, before he
talked of the dissensions among the _Grecians_, to compose his domestick
broils; (for at that time his queen and his son and heir were at deadly
feud with him) so all the while that our adversaries do make so many and
so various editions themselves, and do jar so much about the worth and
authority of them, they can with no shew of equity challenge us for
changing and correcting.

[Sidenote: The purpose of the Translators, with their number, furniture,
care, &c.] But it is high time to leave them, and to shew in brief what we
proposed to ourselves, and what course we held, in this our perusal and
survey of the Bible. Truly, good Christian Reader, we never thought from
the beginning that we should need to make a new translation, nor yet to
make of a bad one a good one: (for then the imputation of _Sixtus_ had
been true in some sort, that our people had been fed with gall of dragons
instead of wine, with wheal instead of milk;) but to make a good one
better, or out of many good ones one principal good one, not justly to be
excepted against; that hath been our endeavour, that our mark. To that
purpose there were many chosen, that were greater in other men’s eyes than
in their own, and that sought the truth rather than their own praise.
Again, they came, or were thought to come, to the work, not _exercendi
causa_, (as one saith,) but _exercitati_, that is, learned not to learn;
for the chief overseer and ἐργοδιώκτης under his Majesty, to whom not only
we, but also our whole Church was much bound, knew by his wisdom, which
thing only _Nazianzen_ taught so long ago, [Sidenote: _Nazianz._ εἰς ρν’,
ἐπισκ παρουσ. _Idem in Apologet._] that it is a preposterous order to
teach first and to learn after; that τὸ ἐν πίθῳ κεραμίαν μανθάνειν to
learn and practise together, is neither commendable for the workman, nor
safe for the work. Therefore such were thought upon, as could say modestly
with St. _Hierome_, _Et Hebræum sermonem ex parte didicimus, et in Latino
pene ab ipsis incunabulis, &c., detriti sumus; Both we have learned the
Hebrew tongue in part, and in the Latin we have been exercised almost from
our very cradle._ St. _Hierome_ maketh no mention of the _Greek_ tongue,
wherein yet he did excel; because he translated not the Old Testament out
of _Greek_, but out of _Hebrew_. And in what sort did these assemble? In
the trust of their own knowledge, or of their sharpness of wit, or
deepness of judgment, as it were in an arm of flesh? At no hand. They
trusted in him that hath the key of _David_, opening, and no man shutting;
they prayed to the Lord, the Father of our Lord, to the effect that St.
_Augustine_ did: [Sidenote: _St. August. lib. 11. Confess. cap. 2._] _O
let thy Scriptures be my pure delight; let me not be deceived in them,
neither let me deceive by them_. In this confidence, and with this
devotion, did they assemble together; not too many, lest one should
trouble another; and yet many, lest many things haply might escape them.
If you ask what they had before them; truly it was the _Hebrew_ text of
the Old Testament, the _Greek_ of the New. These are the two golden pipes,
or rather conduits, wherethrough the olivebranches empty themselves into
the gold. [Sidenote: _St. Aug. 3. De doctr. cap. 3., &c. St. Hieron. ad
Suniam et Fretel. St. Hieron. ad Lucinium, Dist 9._ Ut veterum.] St.
_Augustine_ calleth them precedent, or original, tongues; St. _Hierome_,
fountains. The same St. _Hierome_ affirmeth, and _Gratian_ hath not spared
to put it into his decree, That _as the credit of the old books_ (he
meaneth of the Old Testament) _is to be tried by the Hebrew volumes; so of
the new by the Greek tongue_, he meaneth by the original _Greek_. If truth
be to be tried by these tongues, then whence should a translation be made,
but out of them? These tongues therefore (the Scriptures, we say, in those
tongues) we set before us to translate, being the tongues wherein God was
pleased to speak to his Church by his Prophets and Apostles. [Sidenote:
_Joseph. Antiq. lib. 12._] Neither did we run over the work with that
posting haste that the _Septuagint_ did, if that be true which is reported
of them, that they finished it in seventy-two days; neither were we barred
or hindered from going over it again, having once done it, like St.
_Hierome_, [Sidenote: _St. Hieron. ad Pammach. pro lib. advers. Jovinian._
πρωτόπειροι.] if that be true which himself reporteth, that he could no
sooner write anything, but presently it was caught from him, and
published, and he could not have leave to mend it; neither, to be short,
were we the first that fell in hand with translating the Scripture into
_English_, and consequently destitute of former helps, as it is written of
_Origen_, that he was the first in a manner, that put his hand to write
commentaries upon the Scriptures, and therefore no marvel if he overshot
himself many times. None of these things: The work hath not been huddled
up in seventy-two days, but hath cost the workmen, as light as it seemeth,
the pains of twice seven times seventy-two days, and more. Matters of such
weight and consequence are to be speeded with maturity: for in a business
of moment a man feareth not the blame of convenient slackness. Neither did
we think much to consult the translators or commentators, [Sidenote: Φιλεῖ
γὰρ ὀκνεῖν πραγμ’ ἀνὴρ πράσσων μέγα, _Sophocl. in Elect._] _Chaldee_,
_Hebrew_, _Syrian_, _Greek_, or _Latin_; no, nor the _Spanish_, _French_,
_Italian_, or _Dutch_; neither did we disdain to revise that which we had
done, and to bring back to the anvil that which we had hammered: but
having and using as great helps as were needful, and fearing no reproach
for slowness, nor coveting praise for expedition, we have at length,
through the good hand of the Lord upon us, brought the work to that pass
that you see.

[Sidenote: Reasons moving us to set diversity of senses in the margin,
where there is great probability for each. πάντα τὰ ἀναγκαῖα δῆλα.] Some
peradventure would have no variety of senses to be set in the margin,
lest the authority of the Scriptures for deciding of controversies by that
shew of uncertainty should somewhat be shaken. But we hold their judgment
not to be so sound in this point. For though _whatsoever things are
necessary are manifest_, as St. _Chrysostome_ saith; [Sidenote: _St.
Chrysost. in 2 Thess. cap. 2. St. Aug. 2. De doctr. Christ, c. 9._] and,
as St. _Augustine_, _in those things that are plainly set down in the
Scriptures all such matters are found, that concern faith, hope, and
charity_: Yet for all that it cannot be dissembled, that partly to
exercise and whet our wits, partly to wean the curious from lothing of
them for their every where plainness, partly also to stir up our devotion
to crave the assistance of God’s Spirit by prayer, and lastly, that we
might be forward to seek aid of our brethren by conference, and never
scorn those that be not in all respects so complete as they should be,
being to seek in many things, ourselves, it hath pleased God in his Divine
Providence here and there to scatter words and sentences of that
difficulty and doubtfulness, not in doctrinal points that concern
salvation, (for in such it hath been vouched that the Scriptures are
plain,) but in matters of less moment, that fearfulness would better
beseem us than confidence, and if we will resolve, to resolve upon modesty
with St. _Augustine_, [Sidenote: _St. August. lib. 8. De Gen. ad liter.
cap. 5._] (though not in this same case altogether, yet upon the same
ground,) _Melius est dubitare de occultis, quam litigare de incertis_: It
is better to make doubt of those things which are secret, than to strive
about those things that are uncertain. [Sidenote: ἅπαξ λεγόμενα.] There be
many words in the Scriptures, which be never found there but once, (having
neither brother nor neighbour, as the _Hebrews_ speak,) so that we cannot
be holpen by conference of places. Again, there be many rare names of
certain birds, beasts, and precious stones, &c. concerning which the
_Hebrews_ themselves are so divided among themselves for judgment, that
they may seem to have defined this or that, rather because they would say
something, than because they were sure of that which they said, [Sidenote:
_Hier. in Ezek. cap. 3._] as St. _Hierome_ somewhere saith of the
_Septuagint_. Now in such a case doth not a margin do well to admonish the
Reader to seek further, and not to conclude or dogmatize upon this or that
peremptorily? For as it is a fault of incredulity, to doubt of those
things that are evident; so to determine of such things as the Spirit of
God hath left (even in the judgment of the judicious) questionable, can be
no less than presumption. [Sidenote: _St. Aug. 2. De doctr. Christ. c.
1._] Therefore as St. _Augustine_ saith, that variety of translations is
profitable for the finding out of the sense of the Scriptures: so
diversity of signification and sense in the margin, where the text is not
so clear, must needs do good; yea, is necessary, as we are persuaded.
[Sidenote: _Sixtus 5. Præf. Bibl._] We know that _Sixtus Quintus_
expressly forbiddeth that any variety of readings of their vulgar edition
should be put in the margin; (which though it be not altogether the same
thing to that we have in hand, yet it looketh that way;) but we think he
hath not all of his own side his favourers for this conceit. They that are
wise had rather have their judgments at liberty in differences of
readings, than to be captivated to one, when it may be the other.
[Sidenote: _Plat. in Paulo secundo._] If they were sure that their high
priest had all laws shut up in his breast, as _Paul_ the Second bragged,
and that he were as free from error by special privilege, as the dictators
of _Rome_ were made by law inviolable, it were another matter; then his
word were an oracle, his opinion a decision. [Sidenote: ὁμοιοπαφής Τρωτὸς
γ’ ἡ χρώς ἐστι.] But the eyes of the world are now open, God be thanked,
and have been a great while; they find that he is subject to the same
affections and infirmities that others be, that his body is subject to
wounds; and therefore so much as he proveth, not as much as he claimeth,
they grant and embrace.

[Sidenote: Reasons inducing us not to stand curiously upon an identity of
phrasing.] Another thing we think good to admonish thee of, gentle Reader,
that we have not tied ourselves to an uniformity of phrasing, or to an
identity of words, as some peradventure would wish that we had done,
because they observe, that some learned men somewhere have been as exact
as they could that way. Truly, that we might not vary from the sense of
that which we had translated before, if the word signified the same thing
in both places, [Sidenote: πολύσημα.] (for there be some words that be not
of the same sense every where,) we were especially careful, and made a
conscience, according to our duty. But that we should express the same
notion in the same particular word; as for example, if we translate the
_Hebrew_ or _Greek_ word once by _purpose_, never to call it _intent_; if
one where _journeying_, never _travelling_; if one where _think_, never
_suppose_; if one where _pain_, never _ache_; if one where _joy_, never
_gladness_, &c. thus to mince the matter, we thought to savour more of
curiosity than wisdom, and that rather it would breed scorn in the
atheist, than bring profit to the godly reader. For is the kingdom of God
become words or syllables? Why should we be in bondage to them, if we may
be free? use one precisely, when we may use another no less fit as
commodiously? [Sidenote: Abed. _Niceph. Calist. lib. 8. cap. 42. St.
Hieron. in 4 Jonæ. See St. Aug. Epist. 10._] A godly Father in the
primitive time shewed himself greatly moved, that one of newfangledness
called κραββάτον, σκίμπους, though the difference be little or none; and
another reporteth, that he was much abused for turning _cucurbita_ (to
which reading the people had been used) into _hedera_. Now if this happen
in better times, and upon so small occasions, we might justly fear hard
censure, if generally we should make verbal and unnecessary changings. We
might also be charged (by scoffers) with some unequal dealing towards a
great number of good _English_ words. For as it is written of a certain
great Philosopher, that he should say, that those logs were happy that
were made images to be worshipped; for their fellows, as good as they, lay
for blocks behind the fire: so if we should say, as it were, unto certain
words, Stand up higher, have a place in the Bible always; and to others of
like quality, Get you hence, be banished for ever; we might be taxed
peradventure with St. _James’s_ words, namely, _To be partial in
ourselves, and judges of evil thoughts_. [Sidenote: λεπτολογία. ὰδολεοχία
τὸ σπουδάζειν ἐπὶ ὀνόμασι. _See Euseb._ προπαρασκ. _lib. 2. ex Plat._] Add
hereunto, that niceness in words was always counted the next step to
trifling; and so was to be curious about names too: also that we cannot
follow a better pattern for elocution than God himself; therefore he using
divers words in his holy writ, and indifferently for one thing in nature:
we, if we will not be superstitious, may use the same liberty in our
_English_ versions out of _Hebrew_ and _Greek_, for that copy or store
that he hath given us. Lastly, we have on the one side avoided the
scrupulosity of the Puritanes, who leave the old Ecclesiastical words, and
betake them to other, as when they put _washing_ for _baptism_, and
_congregation_ instead of _Church_: as also on the other side we have
shunned the obscurity of the Papists, in their _azymes_, _tunike_,
_rational_, _holocausts_, _prepuce_, _pasche_, and a number of such like,
whereof their late translation is full, and that of purpose to darken the
sense, that since they must needs translate the Bible, yet by the language
thereof it may be kept from being understood. But we desire that the
Scripture may speak like itself, as in the language of _Canaan_, that it
may be understood even of the very vulgar.

Many other things we might give thee warning of, gentle Reader, if we had
not exceeded the measure of a preface already. It remaineth that we
commend thee to God, and to the Spirit of his grace, which is able to
build further than we can ask or think. He removeth the scales from our
eyes, the vail from our hearts, opening our wits that we may understand
his word, enlarging our hearts, yea, correcting our affections, that we
may love it above gold and silver, yea, that we may love it to the end.
[Sidenote: Gen. 26. 15.] Ye are brought unto fountains of living water
which ye digged not; do not cast earth into them, with the Philistines,
neither prefer broken pits before them, with the wicked Jews. [Sidenote:
Jer. 2. 13.] Others have laboured, and you may enter into their labours. O
receive not so great things in vain: O despise not so great salvation. Be
not like swine to tread under foot so precious things, neither yet like
dogs to tear and abuse holy things. Say not to our Saviour with the
_Gergesites_, [Sidenote: Matt. 8. 35. Heb. 12. 16.] Depart out of our
coasts; neither with _Esau_ sell your birthright for a mess of pottage. If
light be come into the world, love not darkness more than light: if food,
if clothing, be offered, go not naked, starve not yourselves. [Sidenote:
_Nazianz._ περὶ ἁγ βαπτ. Δεινὸν πανήγυριν παρελφεῖν, καὶ τηνικαῦτα
πραγματείαν ἐπιζητεῖν.] Remember the advice of _Nazianzene_, _It is a
grievous thing_ (or dangerous) _to neglect a great fair, and to seek to
make markets afterwards_: also the encouragement of St. _Chrysostome_, _It
is altogether impossible, that he that is sober_ (and watchful) _should at
any time be neglected_: lastly, the admonition and menancing of St.
_Augustine_, _They that despise God’s will inviting them shall feel God’s
will taking vengeance of them_. [Sidenote: _St. Chrysost. in Epist. ad
Rom. c. 14._] It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living
God; [Sidenote: _orat. 26. in_ ἠθικ. Ἀμήχανον, σφόδρα άμήχανον.] but a
blessed thing it is, and will bring us to everlasting blessedness in the
end, when God speaketh unto us, to hearken; when he setteth his word
before us, to read it; when he stretcheth out his hand and calleth, to
answer, Here am I, here we are to do thy will, O God. [Sidenote: _St.
August, ad artic. sibi falso object. Art. 16._ Heb. 10. 31.] The Lord work
a care and conscience in us to know him and serve him, that we may be
acknowledged of him at the appearing of our Lord JESUS CHRIST, to whom
with the Holy Ghost be all praise and thanksgiving. Amen.



The twelve bishops who are mentioned as taking part with Archbishop Parker
in this revision, are:

    William Alley, Bishop of Exeter.

    William Barlow, Bishop of Chichester.

    Thomas Bentham, Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield.

    Nicholas Bullingham, Bishop of Lincoln.

    Richard Cox, Bishop of Ely.

    Richard Davies, Bishop of St. Davids (Menevensis).

    Edmund Grindal, Bishop of London.

    Edmund Guest (or Geste), Bishop of Rochester.

    Robert Horne, Bishop of Winchester.

    John Parkhurst, Bishop of Norwich.

    Edwin Sandys, Bishop of Worcester.

    Edmund Scambler, Bishop of Peterborough.

The other church dignitaries who are mentioned are:

    Andrew Pearson, Canon of Canterbury.

    Andrew Perne, Prebendary of Ely.

    Thomas Beacon, Prebendary of Canterbury.

    Gabriel Goodman, Dean of Westminster.

At the end of sixteen of the books are placed initials, which are
evidently those of the revisers. These, with more or less of certainty,
have been identified with names given in the above list.[147] They are as
follows, and in the following order:

  Deuteronomy   W. E.      Bishop of Exeter.
  2 Samuel      R. M.      Bishop of St. Davids.
  2 Chronicles  E. W.      Bishop of Worcester.
  Job           A. P. _C_  Andrew Pearson.
  Psalms[148]   T. B.      Thomas Beacon.
  Proverbs      A. P. _C_  Andrew Pearson.
  Canticles     A. P. _E_  Andrew Perne.
  Lamentations  R. W.      Bishop of Winchester.
  Daniel        T. C.L.    Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield.
  Malachi       E. L.      Bishop of London.
  Wisdom        W. C.      Bishop of Chichester.
  2 Maccabees   J. N.      Bishop of Norwich.
  Acts          R. E.      Bishop of Ely.
  Romans        R. E.      Bishop of Ely.
  1 Corinthians G. G.      Gabriel Goodman.

From a list of the revisers, enclosed in a letter from Parker to Cecil,
dated October 5th, 1568, and now in the State Paper Office, we may further
gather that the Catholic Epistles and the Apocalypse were revised by
Bishop Bullingham, the Gospels of Luke and John by Bishop Scambler, and
that the portions undertaken by Parker himself were Genesis, Exodus,
Matthew, Mark, and the Epistles from 2 Corinthians to Hebrews



In the collection of Records appended to the Second Part of Bishop
Burnet’s _History of the Reformation of the Church of England_, there is
given a list of the Revisers of 1611, copied, as the writer tells us,[150]
from the paper of Bishop Ravis himself, one of the number. The list is
thus given:[151]

    WESTMINSTER (1). Mr. Dean of Westminster, Mr. Dean of Pauls, Mr.
    Doctor Saravia, Mr. Doctor Clark, Mr. Doctor Leifield, Mr. Doctor
    Teigh, Mr. Burleigh, Mr. King, Mr. Tompson, Mr. Beadwell.

    CAMBRIDGE (1). Mr. Livelye, Mr. Richardson, Mr. Chatterton, Mr.
    Dillingham, Mr. Harrison, Mr. Andrews, Mr. Spalding, Mr. Burge.

    OXFORD (1). Doctor Harding, Dr. Reynolds, Dr. Holland, Dr. Kilbye, Mr.
    Smith, Mr. Brett, Mr. Fairclough.

    CAMBRIDGE (2). Doctor Dewport, Dr. Branthwait, Dr. Radclife, Mr. Ward
    (Eman.), Mr. Downes, Mr. Boyes, Mr. Warde (Reg.).

    OXFORD (2). Mr. Dean of Christchurch, Mr. Dean of Winchester, Mr. Dean
    of Worcester, Mr. Dean of Windsor, Mr. Sairle, Dr. Perne, Dr. Ravens,
    Mr. Haviner.[152]

    WESTMINSTER (2). Dean of Chester, Dr. Hutchinson, Dr. Spencer, Mr.
    Fenton, Mr. Rabbet, Mr. Sanderson, Mr. Dakins.

Some difference of opinion has existed in reference to the date of this
document. Its date is determined within comparatively narrow limits by
internal evidence.

The writer, Dr. Ravis, describes himself as Dean of Christ Church; it must
therefore have been written _before_ March 19, 1605, when he was
consecrated Bishop of Gloucester. He also refers to the Dean of Worcester
(Dr. Eedes), who died November, 1604, and hence he may be assumed to have
written before that date also. The difficulty is that he describes Dr.
Barlow, who is known to have taken part in the work, as Dean of Chester,
and it must therefore have been written _after_ Barlow’s appointment of
this office. This appointment, as stated by Cardwell, took place in
December, 1604;[153] but the correctness of that date is open to some

The names contained in the above given list have, with some few
exceptions, been satisfactorily identified; namely, as follows:


    Dr. Launcelot Andrews, Dean of Westminster.[155]

    Dr. John Overall, Dean of St. Paul’s.[156]

    Dr. Adrian de Saravia.

    Dr. Richard Clark, Fellow of Christ’s College, Cambridge.

    Dr. John Layfield, Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge.

    Dr. Robert Tighe, Vicar of All Hallows, Barking.

    [Dr. Francis Burley, Fellow of King James’s College, Chelsea.]

    Mr. Geoffry King, Fellow of King’s College, Cambridge.[157]

    Mr. Richard Thomson, Clare Hall, Cambridge.

    Mr. William Bedwell, Vicar of Tottenham.


    Mr. Edward Lively,[158] Regius Professor of Hebrew, Cambridge.

    Mr. John Richardson,[159] Fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge.

    Mr. Laurence Chaderton, Master of Emmanuel College, Cambridge.

    Mr. F. Dillingham, Fellow of Christ’s College, Cambridge.

    Mr. Thomas Harrison, Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge.

    Mr. Roger Andrews.[160]

    Mr. Robert Spalding,[161] Fellow of St. John’s College, Cambridge.

    Mr. Andrew Byng, Fellow of Peter House.


    Dr. John Harding, Regius Professor of Hebrew, and President of

    Dr. John Rainolds, President of Corpus Christi College.

    Dr. Thomas Holland,[162] Regius Professor of Divinity.

    Dr. Richard Kilbye, Rector of Lincoln College, Oxford.

    Dr. Miles Smith,[163] Brasenose College, Oxford.

    Dr. Richard Brett, Fellow of Lincoln College, Oxford.

    Mr. Richard Fairclough, Fellow of New College, Oxford.


    Dr. John Duport, Master of Jesus College.

    Dr. William Branthwaite, Master of Caius College.

    Dr. Jeremiah Radcliffe, Fellow of Trinity College.

    Mr. Samuel Ward, Fellow of Emmanuel College.[164]

    Mr. Andrew Downes, Regius Professor of Greek.

    Mr. John Bois, Fellow of St. John’s, and Rector of Boxworth.

    Mr. Ward, Fellow of King’s College.[165]


    Dr. Thomas Ravis, Dean of Christ Church.[166]

    Dr. George Abbot, Dean of Winchester.[167]

    Dr. Richard Eedes, Dean of Worcester.[168]

    Dr. Giles Thomson, Dean of Windsor.

    Mr. Henry Saville,[169] Warden of Merton and Provost of Eton.

    Dr. John Perin, Fellow of St. John’s College.

    [Dr. Ralph Ravens, Fellow of St. John’s College.]

    Dr. John Harmer, Regius Professor of Greek.

To these, Wood, who does not mention the names of either Eedes or Ravens,
in the list given in his _History of the University of Oxford_, adds the
following two; they were probably appointed to take the places of some
removed by death:

    Dr. John Aglionby,[170] Principal of Edmunds Hall.

    Dr. Leonard Hutten,[171] Canon of Christ Church.


    Dr. William Barlow, Dean of Chester.

    Dr. Hutchinson. (?)

    Dr. John Spenser, Chaplain to King James.[172]

    Mr. Roger Fenton, Pembroke Hall, Oxford.

    [Mr. Michael Rabbett, Rector of St. Vedast, Foster Lane.]

    [Mr. Thomas Sanderson, Rector of All Hallows.]

    Mr. William Dakins, Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge.


DEAN STANLEY (_Historical Memorials of Westminster Abbey_, p. 440) states
generally that the Assembly of Divines removed from Henry VII.’s Chapel to
the Jerusalem Chamber at the end of September. The exact date is, as
stated in the text, October 2nd. In the Minutes of the Sessions of the
Assembly, preserved in Dr. Williams’s Library, there occurs at the close
of the sixty-fifth session the entry, “Adjourned to the Hierusalem Chamber
on Monday, at ten o’clock,” and the following session, the sixty-sixth, is
dated Monday, October 2nd. The permission to adjourn to the Jerusalem
Chamber from Henry VII.’s Chapel, “on account of the coldness of the said
chapel,” was granted by Parliament on September 21st, 1643.



  Abbot, Dr. Ezra, 115

  Ælfric’s Heptateuch, 12, 13

  Aiken, Dr. C. A., 115

  Ainsworth, H., his Commentaries, 101

  Aldhelm, Bishop of Sherborne, 11

  Alexander, Dr. W. L., 109

  Alexandrine Manuscript, 83

  Alford, Dean, 104, 107, 110, 112, 125

  Alfred, King, 12

  Allen, Archdeacon, 107

  Andrews, Dr. Launcelot, 41

  Anglo-Saxon Gospel, 12

  Angus, Dr. Jos., 110, 125

  Authorized Version, first suggestion of, 40

  ---- ordered by King James, 41

  ---- a revision, not a translation, 45

  ---- rules followed by the revisers, 42-44

  ---- misprints in, 54

  ---- obsolete words in, 57-59

  ---- imperfect renderings of, 62

  ---- preface to, 199

  ---- list of its revisors, 237


  Bancroft, Archbishop, 41, 45

  Barrow, Dr. John, 104

  Bede, 11

  Bensley, Mr. R. N., 111

  Bentley, Dr. Richard, his proposals for revised texts of the Greek New
        Testament and of the Vulgate, 100

  Beza’s Codex, 83

  Beza, Theodore, his edition of the Greek New Testament, 84, 86

  Biber, Dr. G. F., 103

  Bible, earliest form of, 4

  ---- Authorized Version of, 39

  ---- Bishops’, 30, 37, 39

  ---- Coverdale’s, 18, 36

  ---- Douai, 33, 38

  ---- Genevan, 26, 37, 39

  ---- Great, 21, 36

  ---- Matthew’s, 20

  ---- Purvey’s, 15, 36

  ---- Taverner’s, 22

  ---- Wycliffe’s, 13, 14, 35

  Bickersteth, Dean, 107, 110, 125

  Bilson, Bishop, 49

  Birrell, Rev. J., 111

  Bishops’ Bible, 30, 37, 39

  Bishops’ Bible, preface thereto, 177

  ---- translators of, 235

  Blakesley, Dean, 106_n_, 107, 110, 125

  Bodley, John, bears the expenses of the Genevan Bible, 30_n_

  Bois, John, 46, 49

  Broughton, Hugh, 92

  Brown, Dr. David, 112, 125

  Browne, Dr. E. H. (Bishop of Winchester), 106_n_, 107, 109


  Chambers, Dr. T. W., 115

  Chance, Dr. F., 111

  Chenery, Professor, 109

  Cheyne, Rev. T. K., 111

  Claromontane Manuscript, 83

  Clergymen, Five, their revision of the Gospel of John, 104

  Collation of Manuscripts, 82

  Complutensian Polyglot, 84

  Conant, Dr. T. J., 114

  Coverdale, first edition of his Bible, 18

  ---- his Prologue thereto, 160

  ---- prepares the Great Bible, 21

  ---- issues a second and other editions of the Great Bible, 23

  ---- a refugee at Geneva, 27

  Cranmer, his opinion of Matthew’s Bible, 20_n_

  ---- his Prologue to the second edition of the Great Bible, 23

  Cromwell, Thomas, patron of Coverdale, 18

  ---- promotes the preparation of the Great Bible, 23

  Crooks, Dr. G. R., 115, 116


  Davidson, Dr. A. B., 109

  Davies, Dr. B., 109

  Day, Dr. G. E., 114

  De Witt, Dr. J., 114

  Dort, Synod of, 44, 49

  Douglas, Dr. G., 111

  Downes, A., 49

  Driver, Mr. S. R., 111


  Eadie, Dr. J., 110, 112

  Ellicott, Bishop, 104, 105, 110, 125

  Elliott, Rev. C. J., 112

  Ephraem Codex, 83

  Erasmus, his editions of the Greek New Testament, 85


  Fairbairn, Dr. P., 109

  Field, Dr. F., 109


  Geddes, Dr. A., his projected translation of the Bible, 98

  Geden, Professor, 112

  Gell, R., his essay upon the amendment of the Authorized Version, 93

  Genevan Bible, 26-30, 37

  ---- popularity of, 32, 52

  ---- preface to, 172

  Genevan Psalter, 27

  Genevan New Testament, 28, 29

  Ginsburg, Dr., 109

  Gotch, Dr. F. W., 109

  Green, Dr. W. H., 114

  Gutenberg Bible, 17_n_

  Guthlac of Croyland, 11, 12


  Hackett, Dr. H. B., 115, 116

  Hadley, Dr. J., 115, 116

  Hampton Court Conference, 40

  Harding, Dr. J., 41

  Hare, Dr. G. E., 114

  Harrison, Archdeacon, 109

  Harwood, E., his translation of the New Testament, 97_n_

  Hereford, Nicholas de, 14

  Hervey, Bishop, 107

  Heywood, James, his motion in the House of Commons for a new revision,

  Hodge, Dr. C., 115, 116

  Holbein, his design for title-page of Great Bible, 22_n_

  Hort, Dr. F. J. A., 110, 120, 125

  Humphry, Prebendary, 104, 110, 125


  Itala, The, 9


  Jebb, Dr. J., 106_n_, 107, 109

  Jerome, revises the old Latin version, 9

  ---- translates Old Testament, 9

  Jerusalem Chamber, 117, 127, 242

  Jessey, Henry, his attempted revision of Authorized Version, 95

  Johnson, Anthony, his Historical Account, 27_n_


  Kay, Dr. W., 106_n_, 107, 109

  Kendrick, Dr. A. C., 115

  Kennedy, Canon, 110, 125

  Kennicott, Dr. B., 100

  Kilbie, Dr. R., 47

  Krauth, Dr. C. P., 115


  Latin Versions, 8, 9

  Lawrence, T., his notes of errors in the Bishops’ Bible, 32

  Leathes, Dr. S., 109

  Lee, Archdeacon, 110, 125

  Lee, Dr. A., 115

  Lewis, Dr. T., 115

  Lewis, John, his History of the English Bible, 41, 49_n_

  Lightfoot, Dr. J., urges upon Parliament the revision of the English
        Bible, 92

  Lightfoot, Dr. J. B. (Bishop of Durham), 101, 110, 125

  Lindisfarne Gospels, 12_n_

  Lively, Ed., 41

  Lumby, Rev. J. R., 112

  Lyra, Nicholas de, 17


  Mace, W., his Greek and English New Testament, 96

  Marsh, Bishop, on the Authorized Version, 102

  Manuscripts of the New Testament, 80

  Mazarin Bible, 17_n_

  McGill, Professor, 109

  Mead, Dr. C. M., 115

  Merivale, Dean, 112, 125

  Mill, Dr. J., 99

  Milligan, Dr. W., 110, 125

  Moberly, Bishop, 104, 110, 125

  Moulton, Dr. W. F., 111, 125

  Münster, Sebastian, 22, 31


  Newcome, Archbishop, his revised New Testament, 98

  Newth, Dr., 111, 125


  Ollivant, Bishop, 105, 106_n_, 107, 109

  Ormulum, The, 13

  Osgood, Dr. H., 115


  Packard, Dr. J., 115

  Pagninus, his Latin translation, 19, 31_n_

  Palmer, Archdeacon, 112, 125

  Parker, Archbishop, superintends the preparation of the Bishops’ Bible,

  ---- his letter to Cecil, 30_n_

  Payne Smith, Dean, 110

  Penn, Grenville, his revised text and translation of New Testament, 99

  Perowne, Dean, 110

  Plumptre, Dr. E. H., 110

  Printed Bible, the first, 17

  Printing, invention of, 17

  Psalter, Genevan, 27

  ---- Guthlac’s, 11_n_

  ---- Prayer Book, 9_n_, 39

  ---- Rolle’s, 13

  ---- Schorham’s, 13

  Purver, A., his translation of the Bible, 97

  Purvey, John, Wycliffe’s friend and fellow-labourer, 15


  Quotations in early Christian Writings, 87-89


  Rainolds, Dr. J., moves for a new revision, 40

  Rainolds, Dr. J., appointed one of King James’s revisers, 47

  ---- works at the revision on his death-bed, 47

  Revisers, the American, 114, 116

  ---- of 1568, 235

  ---- of 1611, 237

  ---- of 1881, 109-112

  Riddle, Dr. M. B., 115

  Roberts, Dr. A., 111

  Rogers, John, the probable editor of Matthew’s Bible, 20

  Rolle, Richard, 13

  Rose, Archdeacon, 106_n_, 107, 110

  Rossi, J. B. de, 100


  Sayce, Rev. A. H., 112

  Schaff, Dr. Philip, 114, 115

  Scholefield, Professor, on an improved translation of the New Testament,

  Schorham, W. de, 13

  Scott, Dean, 111, 125

  Scribes, primary function of, 3

  Scrivener, Dr. F. H., 56, 100, 111, 120, 125

  Selwyn, Canon, 103, 107, 110

  Septuagint Version, 6

  Short, Dr. C., 115

  Sinaitic Manuscript, 82

  Smith, Dr. G. Vance, 111, 125

  Smith, Dr. H. B., 115, 116

  Smith, Dr. J. Pye, his testimony in favour of revision, 101

  Smith, Dr. Miles, 47, 49

  Smith, Professor, W. R., 112

  Stanley, Dean, 107, 111, 125

  Stephen, Robert, his editions of the Greek New Testament, 85

  Stephen, Henry, 86_n_

  Stowe, Dr. C. E., 115

  Strong, Dr. J., 115

  Syriac Version, 8, 87


  Taverner, John, 22_n_

  Taverner, Richard, 22

  Testament, New, Genevan, 28

  ---- Rheims, 33

  ---- Tyndale’s, 18

  ---- Whittingham’s, 25

  ---- See “Bible”

  Thayer, Dr. J. H., 115

  Thirlwall, Bishop, 105, 106, 110

  Tischendorf, Dr. C., 100

  Transcription, errors of, 3

  Tregelles, Dr. S. P., 100, 109_n_

  Trench, Archbishop, 111, 125

  Tyndale, W., his translations, 18

  ---- his Prologue to New Testament, 137

  ---- his Epistle to the Reader, 152

  ---- his Preface to the Pentateuch, 154


  Ussher, A., his revised version, 94_n_


  Vatican Manuscript, 83

  Van Dyke, Dr. C. V. A., 115

  Vaughan, Dean, 111, 125

  Version, Æthiopic, 87

  ---- Armenian, 87

  ---- Gothic, 87

  ---- Italic, 8

  ---- Memphitic, 87

  ---- Old Latin, 8

  ---- Septuagint, 6

  ---- Syriac, 8

  ---- Thebaic, 87

  Vulgate, 9


  Wakefield, G., his translation of the New Testament, 98

  Walker, Anthony, his Life of Bois, 46_n_, 49_n_

  Walton’s Polyglot, 99

  Ward, Dr. S., 44_n_

  Ward, T., his Errata to the Protestant Bible, 33_n_, 93

  Warren, Dr. W. F., 115, 116

  Weir, Dr. D. H., 112

  Wemyss, T., his Reasons in favour of a new translation, 102

  Westcott, Canon, 22_n_, 41_n_, 111, 125

  Whittingham’s New Testament, 25

  ---- his version and the Genevan compared, 28, 29

  Wicked Bible, 54_n_

  Wilberforce, Bishop, 105, 106, 111, 125

  Woolsey, Dr. T. D., 115

  Wordsworth, Dr. Christopher (Bishop of Lincoln), 107, 110

  Wordsworth, Dr. Charles (Bishop of St. Andrews), 112, 125

  Worsley, J., his translation of the New Testament, 97

  Wright, Dr. W., 109_n_, 112

  Wright, Mr. W. A., 110, 113

  Wycliffe, John, 13, 14

  ---- his Bible, 16, 35

  ---- preface to his Bible, 129


  Zurich Bible, 19

_W. Brendon and Son, Plymouth._


[1] From the Latin for seventy, this being the supposed number of the
translators. It is referred to as the translation of the Seventy Elders so
early as the middle of the second century. See Justin Martyr, _Dialogue
with Trypho_, c. 68.

[2] See Philo Judæus, _Life of Moses_, book ii. Josephus, _Antiquities_,
xii. ii. 5, 11, 12, 14. Eusebius, _Eccl. Hist._, v. 8. Josephus states
that the translation was made by seventy-two elders in seventy-two days.
The story as given in Eusebius is, that the seventy elders were placed
apart in seventy different cells, that each translated the entire
Scriptures, and that the seventy translations when compared were found to
agree to a word.

[3] And this he gave, not by any formal enactment, but by using Jerome’s
translation as the basis of his own _Exposition of the Book of Job_. (See
Gregory’s _Letter to Leander_, forming the preface to that work.) The old
version of the Psalms retained its ground apparently from its close
connection with the music of the Church. From a like cause the old version
of the English Psalms, which in fact was made from the Latin of the
Vulgate, retains its place in the Psalter of the Prayer Book. It should
however be noted that it is but the translation of the translation of a

[4] _Anglo-Saxon Chronicle_, A.D. 709.

[5] “I have seen a book at Crowland Abbey, which is kept there for a
relic. The book is called _Saint Guthlake’s Psalter_, and I weene verily
that it is a copy of the same that the king did translate; for it is
neither English, Latin, Greek, Hebrew, nor Dutch, but something sounding
to our English; and as I have perceived since the time I was last there,
being at Antwerp, the Saxon tongue doth sound likewise, and it is to ours
partly agreeable.” The answer of John Lambert to the twenty-sixth of the
Articles laid against him. (FOXE, _Acts and Monuments_, vol. v. p. 213.)

[6] _The Chronicle of Florence of Worcester_, A.D. 699, and A.D. 714.

[7] Many of the clergy were probably at this time unable to interpret the
Latin Bibles used in the Church services. Several MSS. exist which have an
English translation (gloss) inserted between the lines by writers of the
ninth or tenth centuries. One of these, the “Lindisfarne Gospels,” now in
the British Museum, is a most richly-adorned MS. It was written by one
bishop of Lindisfarne, and ornamented by another, and was encased in
jewelled covers. Over each Latin word is written its equivalent in English
(Anglo-Saxon). This, as is explained by a note at the end, was done by one
“Aldred, the priest,” and, as his handwriting shows, in the tenth century.
It cannot be supposed that this was done for the benefit of ordinary
readers. So valued a MS. would not be likely to come into any other hands
than those of the clergy or the monks.

[8] There is no direct evidence for the existence at an earlier date of
any translation of the entire Scriptures into any form of English. In an
interesting tract (commonly assigned to the earlier part of the fifteenth
century, and printed by Foxe in the first edition of his _Acts and
Monuments_, 1563), entitled, “A Compendious Old Treatise, showing how that
we ought to have the Scripture in English.” It is stated, “Also a man of
London, whose name was Wyring, had a Bible in English, of northern speech,
which was seen of many men, and it seemed to be two hundred years old.”
(FOXE, _Acts and Monuments_, vol. iv. p. 674.) It cannot, however, be
inferred from this statement that the volume referred to was a complete

[9] See Appendix A.

[10] As many as one hundred and fifty manuscripts, containing the whole or
parts of Purvey’s Bible, are still in existence, and the majority of these
were written within forty years from the time of its completion.--FORSHALL
and MADDEN, _Wycliffite Versions of the Holy Bible_, Preface, p. xxxiii.

[11] No portion of the Wycliffe Bible was printed until 1731, when the New
Testament, in the later of its forms, was published by the Rev. John
Lewis, of Margate. This was reprinted in 1810, under the editorship of the
Rev. Henry Baber. The complete Bible was not printed till so recently as
1850, in the splendid volumes issued from the University press of Oxford,
and edited by the Rev. J. Forshall and Rev. F. Madden.

[12] The first work known to have been printed with moveable metal type is
the Latin Bible, issued from the press of John Gutenberg at Maintz,
1450-55. This Bible is sometimes referred to as the Mazarin Bible, from
the accidental circumstance that a copy of it was found about the middle
of last century in Cardinal Mazarin’s library at Paris. (HALLAM,
_Literature of Europe_, vol. i. p. 210.) With more propriety it may be
called the Gutenberg Bible.

[13] See Appendix C.

[14] Mr. Blunt, in his article “English Bible,” in the _Encyclopædia
Britannica_, maintains that Coverdale translated directly from the Hebrew
and Greek. But in order to this he has, first, forcibly to set aside the
statement on the title-page as “placed there by mistake,” and then to
represent Coverdale as including the Hebrew and Greek originals in the
same category as Latin, German, and English translations, and as
describing them all as “five interpreters” from which he had translated.

[15] This license seems to have been obtained from the king by Cromwell at
Cranmer’s suggestion. (See Cranmer’s Letter to Cromwell, August 4th, 1537.
_Remains and Letters_, p. 344. Parker Society.) In this letter Cranmer
thus expresses his opinion of the book: “And as for the translation, as
far as I have read thereof I like it better than any other translation
heretofore made; yet not doubting but that there may be and will be found
some fault therein, as you know no man ever did or can do so well, but it
may be from time to time amended. And forasmuch as the book is dedicated
unto the king’s grace, and also great pains and labour taken in setting
forth of the same: I pray you, my lord, that you will exhibit the book
unto the king’s highness, and to obtain of his grace, if you can, a
license that the same may be sold and read of every person, without danger
of any act, proclamation, or ordinance, heretofore granted to the
contrary, until such time as we bishops shall set forth a better
translation, which I think will not be till a day after doomsday.”

[16] The full title is, “The Byble in Englyshe, that is to saye the
content of all the holy scrypture, bothe of the olde and newe testament,
truly translated after the veryte of the Hebrue and Greke textes by y{e}
dylygent studye of dyuerse excellent learned men, expert in the forsayde
tongues. Prynted by Rychard Grafton and Edward Whitchurch. Cum privilegio
ad imprimendum solum. 1539.”

[17] This was more than compensated by the remarkable and interesting
engraving, said to be designed by Hans Holbein, which formed the
title-page. Herein the king is flattered to his heart’s content. On the
top of the engraving the king on his knees and uncrowned is addressed by
our Lord in the words, “I have found a man after mine own heart, who shall
fulfil all my will.” Below this the king on his throne distributes books
labelled “_Verbum Dei_,” the Word of God, to the clergy with his right
hand, to Cromwell and others with the left. Lower down on the right of the
page is the figure of Cromwell distributing the books to the laity, and on
the left that of Cranmer distributing it to the clergy. At the bottom of
the page is a crowd of people of all sorts and conditions, some crying out
in Latin, “_Vivat Rex_” others in English, “God save the king.”

[18] With the title, “The Most Sacred Bible, which is the Holy Scripture,
conteyning the old & new testament translated into English, & newly
recognised with great diligence after most faythful exemplars, by Rychard
Taverner. Harken thou heuen, & thou earth gyve eare: for the Lorde
speaketh. Esaie i. Printed at London in Fletestrete at the sygne of the
sonne by John Byddell, for Thomas Barthlet. Cum privilegio ad imprimendum
solum M.D. XXXIX.”

[19] In Fox, _Acts and Monuments_, v. 428, amongst the names of “godly
brethren at Oxford” suspected of heresy, and compelled to do public
penance, mention is made of “Taverner the musician,” of “Friswide College”
(Frideswede, now Christ Church); and again, v. 423, Anthony Dalaber says,
“I stode at the quier door and heard Master Taverner play.” Dr. EADIE,
_The English Bible_, i. 343, assumes that the reference in this last
passage is to Richard Taverner; but far more probably the reference is to
John Taverner, who, according to WOOD, _Athenæ Oxoniensis_, i. 124, was
“sometime organist of Cardinal College.” I find no other foundation than
these doubtful passages for the statement made by WESTCOTT, _History of
the English Bible_, ed. 2, p. 85, and by EADIE, _loc. cit._, that Richard
Taverner was one of those who suffered persecution upon the first
circulation of Tyndale’s New Testament.

[20] See COTTON, _Editions of the English Bible_, p. 21.

[21] From this circumstance the Great Bible is often, but improperly,
called Cranmer’s Bible. “The Prologue or Preface made by Thomas Cranmer
sometime Archbishop of Canterbury,” is prefixed to many Bibles, to some
editions of the Genevan, and to the Bishops.

[22] The dates of these editions, as given in the colophons, are, July,
1540; November, 1540 (1541 on title-page); May, 1541; November, 1541;
December, 1541.

[23] He married Catherine, sister of John Calvin. An interesting account
of “The Life and Death of Mr. William Whittingham, Deane of Durham, who
departed this life A.D. 1579, June 10,” found amongst the papers of
Anthony à Wood, preserved in the Bodleian Library, is given by DR.
LORIMER, _John Knox and the Church of England_, pp. 303-317.

[24] The dedication to the queen, prefixed to this volume, is dated
Geneva, February 10th, 1559. After exhorting the queen to persevere in the
reformation of religion, the writers state that “albeit they had begun
more than a year ago to peruse the _English_ Translation of the Bible, and
to bring it to the pure simplicity and true meaning of the Spirit of God,
yet when they heard that Almighty God had miraculously preserved her to
that most excellent dignity, with most joyful minds and great diligence
they endeavoured themselves to set forth this most excellent Book of the
Psalms unto her Grace as a special token of their service and goodwill
till the rest of the Bible, which was in good readiness, should be
accomplished and presented.” (ANTHONY JOHNSON, _Historical Account of the
Several English Translations of the Bible_. Reprinted in WATSON’S
_Collection of Theological Tracts_, vol. iii. p. 87.)


    _verse._   1557.                        1560.
   1. out of the way                apart
   3. they saw                      there appeared unto them
   4. here is good beying for us    it is good for us to be here
   5. that cloude                   the cloude
      my deare sonne                my beloved sonne
      in whom I delyte              in whom I am well pleased
   6. were afrayed                  were sore afrayde
   7. But Jesus                     Then Jesus
   8. loked up                      lifted up their eyes
   9. See that ye shewe             Shewe
      be risen                      rise
      death                         the dead
  11. Jesus                         And Jesus
  12. lusted                        would
      In like wise                  likewise
  14. people                        multitude
  15. mercie                        pitie
      oft                           ofttimes
  17. Jesus                         Then Jesus
      how long (_bis_).             how long now (_bis_)
  18. came out                      went out
      even that same                at that
  19. secrectly                     apart
  20. Jesus                         And Jesus
      if ye had                     if ye have
      ye should                     ye shall
      it should                     it shall
      neither could anything        and nothing shall
      for you to do                 unto you
  22. As they                       And as they
      passed the time               abode
      betraied                      delivered
  23. and the thyrd                 but the third
      sorowed greatly               were verie sorie
  24. were wont to gather           received
  25. spake first to him            prevented
  27. thyne angle                   an angle
      the fyshe that first          the first fish that
      pay                           give it unto them

[26] Strype also tells us that the expenses of publication were borne
chiefly by John Bodley, father of Sir Thomas Bodley, the founder of the
Bodleian Library at Oxford.--_Life of Parker_, p. 206.

[27] It is very pleasant to read that, notwithstanding this, Parker joined
with Grindal, Bishop of London, in pleading for an extension of the patent
granted to Bodley, in order to enable him to publish the new edition of
the Genevan referred to above. Writing, March 9th, 1565, to Cecil, the
Queen’s Secretary, the Archbishop and Bishop say, “That they thought so
well of the first Impression, and the Review of those who had since
travelled therein, that they wisht it would please him to be a Means, that
Twelve Years longer Term might be by Special Privilege granted him, in
consideration of the Charges by him and his Associates in the first
Impression, and the Review sithence sustained. And that tho’ one other
special Bible for the Churches were meant by them to be set forth, as
convenient Time and Leisure hereafter should permit, yet should it nothing
hinder, but rather do much good, to have Diversity of Translations and
Readings.”--STRYPE, _Life of Parker_, p. 207, Folio Edition.

[28] See Appendix G.

[29] Pagninus was a learned Dominican, who published at Lyons, in 1528, a
new translation in Latin of the Old and New Testaments.

[30] STRYPE, _Life of Parker_, Appendix, p. 139.

[31] _Ibid_, p. 399.

[32] In an attack made upon Protestant versions of the Scriptures by
Thomas Ward, in the reign of James II., or three-quarters of a century
after the publication of the Authorized Version, the writer selects his
examples from Genevan Bibles of the years 1562, 1577, and 1579, and speaks
of this Bible as “well known in England even to this day, as being yet in
many men’s hands.”--_Errata to the Protestant Bible_, p. 19, ed. 1737.

[33] The Old Testament was not published till long afterwards, when the
College was once more settled at Douai. It is hence called the Douai
Bible. The first volume was published in 1609, and the second in 1610. In
the preface it is stated that the translation was made “about thirtie
yeares since.”

[34] Amongst the former are advent, allegory, anathema, assumption,
calumniate, co-operate, evangelize, eunuch, gratis, holocaust, neophyte,
paraclete, pentecost, victim. Amongst the latter are agnition, azymes,
commessation, condigne, contristate, depositum, donaries, exinanited,
parasceue, pasche, prefinition, loaves of proposition, repropitiate,

[35] Compare the word “leasowes,” still used in some parts of the country
for “meadows.”

[36] “Of all the English versions, the Bishops’ Bible had probably the
least success. It did not command the respect of scholars, and its size
and cost were far from meeting the wants of the people. Its circulation
appears to have been practically limited to the churches which were
ordered to be supplied with it.”--Dr. PLUMPTRE, _Dictionary of the Bible_,
vol. iii. p. 1,675.

[37] His name is variously spelt Rainolds, Rainoldes, Reinolds, Reynolds.

[38] See Dr. WILLIAM BARLOW’S _Sum and Substance of the Conference which
it pleased his Excellent Majesty to have with the Lords Bishops, and
others of his Clergy, in his Majesty’s Privy Chamber at Hampton Court,
Jan. 1603_ (o.s.). Reprinted in _The Phenix: or a Revival of Scarce and
Valuable Pieces_, p. 157. Lond. 1707.

[39] Rendered in the Bishops’ and the Great Bible, “and bordereth upon the
city which is now called Jerusalem,” instead of, “and answered to
Jerusalem which now is.”

[40] Rendered in the Great Bible and Prayer Book Psalter, “they were not
obedient,” instead of, “they were not disobedient,” as in Genevan, or
“they rebelled not,” as in our present Bibles.

[41] Rendered in the Great Bible and Prayer Book Psalter, “and prayed,”
instead of, “and executed judgment.”

[42] See LEWIS, _History of the English Translations of the Bible_, p.
313; or EADIE, _The English Bible_, vol. ii. p. 180; or WESTCOTT, _History
of the English Bible_, p. 113. The king’s letter is given in full by
CARDWELL, _Documentary Annals of the Reformed Church of England_, vol. ii.
p. 65, ed. 1839.

[43] For the names of the Revisers of 1611 see Appendix H.

[44] That is, the Great Bible; called Whitchurch’s, from the name of one
of the printers.

[45] BURNET, _History of the Reformation_, part ii., Appendix, p. 368, ed.

[46] One of whom, Dr. Samuel Ward, had himself taken part in the English

[47] Tables of Genealogies and a description of the Holy Land are found
prefixed to many early editions of King James’s Bible.

[48] _Acta Synodi Dordrechti habitæ_, p. 19, ed. 1620.

[49] CARDWELL, _Documentary Annals_, vol. ii. p. 68, ed. 1839.

[50] See Appendix F.

[51] For a list of the Revisers see Appendix H.

[52] In some cases, however, this further subdivision of work seems to
have taken place. Anthony Walker, in his _Life of John Bois_, p. 47
(reprinted in PECK’S _Desiderata Curiosa_), says: “Sure I am that Part of
the Apocrypha was allotted to him (for he hath showed me the very copy he
translated by), but to my Grief I know not what part.” Bois was a member
of the company to which the Apocrypha was assigned. Walker goes on to say,
“All the time he was about his own Part, his Commons were given to him at
St. Johns, where he abode all the week till Saturday night; and then he
went home to discharge his Cure, returning thence on Monday morning. When
he had finished his own part, at the earnest request of him to whom it was
assigned he undertook a Second, and then he was to common in another
College. But I forbear to name both the person and the House.”

[53] The bare fact that the Oxford Revisers met in Rainolds’ lodgings is
mentioned by WOOD, _Historia Univ. Oxon._, vol. i. p. 311, and is referred
to by STOUGHTON, _Our English Bible_, p. 248.

[54] FULLER’S _Abel Redivivus_, p. 487. In his _Church History_, book x.
p. 48, Fuller says of Rainolds that he was a man deserving of the epitaph.
“Incertum est utrum Doctior an Melior.” “We know not which was the
greater, his learning or his goodness.”

[55] PECK, _Desiderata Curiosa_, p. 47.

[56] It is clear, from the words which immediately follow, that the writer
uses the word “company” here for the entire number of translators
belonging to any one of the three centres. In the written account
presented to the Synod of Dort by the English delegates, it is said that
_twelve_ persons, selected out of the companies, met together, and
reviewed and corrected the entire work. Wood also (_Athenæ Oxon._, vol. i.
p. 490) gives twelve as the number of the “selected,” and amongst them
includes Bilson and Miles Smith.

[57] The writer quaintly remarks in a parenthesis, “Though Mr. Downes
would not go till he was either fetcht or threatened with the Pursuivant.”

[58] Lewis (_History of the English Translations of the Bible_, p. 323) by
a strange blunder turns these shillings into pounds.

[59] Walker adds, “Whilst they were employed in this last business, he and
he only took notes of their proceedings, which notes he kept till his
dying day.” If these notes could be recovered they would throw much light
upon many points of interest in connection with the Revision of 1611.

[60] FULLER, _Church History_, book x. p. 57.

[61] See Mr. HENRY STEVENS, _Printed Bibles in the Caxton Exhibition_, p.
110. But if Mr. Stevens be right in this contention, the publisher can
scarcely be held free from the charge of false suggestion, since the
phrase occurs in earlier Bibles in the sense which it most naturally
bears. In the edition of the Great Bible dated April, 1540, we have on the
title-page: “This is the Byble apoynted to the use of the churches,” and
the meaning of this is shown by the fuller form that appears in the
title-page of the edition of November, 1540, “auctorysed and apoynted by
the commaundement of oure moost redoubted Prynce and soveraygne Lorde
Kynge Henrye the VIII. ... to be frequented and used in every churche
within this his sayd realme.” An edition of the Bishops’ Bible dated 1585
has the inscription, “Authorized and appointed to be read in Churches;”
and King Charles II.’s _Declaration to all His Loving Subjects_, is
“Appointed to to be Read in all Churches and Chapels within this kingdom.”

[62] The latest quarto edition of the Genevan published in England bears
the date 1615, the latest folio, 1616.

[63] This edition has hence been described by Bible collectors as the
“Wicked Bible.” The error was of course speedily discovered and the
edition suppressed. Archbishop Laud fined the printer in the sum of £300,
and with this he is said to have bought a fount of Greek type for the
University of Oxford.

[64] In the reign of Charles II. a silly report was set afloat that Field,
the printer of what is known as the Pearl Bible of 1653, had received a
present of £1,500 from the Independents to introduce this corruption into
the text. See D’ISRAELI’S _Curiosities of Literature_, Art. Pearl Bible.
Mr. D’Israeli must have been ignorant of the fact that this error occurs
in Bibles printed fifteen years earlier than the Pearl Bible, and by the
University Press, Cambridge.

[65] This may possibly have been a change deliberately made by the editor,
who either had a different Greek text or followed the Vulgate; but even in
that case it would be a very awkward way of rendering the text before him.

[66] This he has done, professedly, in the attempt to represent the
version of 1611, “so far as may be, in the precise shape that it would
have assumed if its venerable translators had shown themselves more exempt
than they were from the failings incident to human infirmity; or if the
same severe accuracy which is now demanded in carrying so important a
volume through the press had been deemed requisite, or was at all usual in
their age.”--Introduction to Cambridge Paragraph Bible, p. i.

[67] The LXX. and Vulgate are here right; so also Wycliffe, who,
translating from the Latin, renders, “Seven trompes, whos vse is in the

[68] Wycliffe, “Stronge men seseden in Yrael.”

[69] Here again the LXX., Vulgate, and Wycliffe are right. Wycliffe
renders, “of whom shulen be alle the best thingis of Yrael.”

[70] The LXX., Vulgate, Wycliffe, the Great Bible, the Genevan, and the
Bishops’, all give the true sense.

[71] In their rendering of verse 3 the Revisers of 1611 have followed the
Genevan. Of the older versions, the Great Bible best renders this verse,
“All my delyte is upon the saynctes that are in the earth, and upon suche
as excell in vertue.”

[72] The Vulgate leads the way in this error.

[73] Tyndale, the Great Bible, and the Genevan render correctly.

[74] So the Rheims, “Why do you also trangresse the commaundement of God
for your tradition?”

[75] So Wycliffe, “for they ben feithful and loued, the whiche ben
parceners of benefice;” and the Rheims, “because they be faithful and
beloued which are partakers of the benefite.”

[76] Here all the older versions go wrong.

[77] The first four books of the _Annals of Tacitus_ are found only in a
single MS. (the Medicean) of the eleventh century. The nine books of the
_Letters of Pliny the Younger_ are found complete in one MS. only, of the
tenth century; this also is in the Medicean Library.

[78] From the Latin _uncia_, an inch.

[79] In some MSS. called _palimpsests_, the more ancient, and to us the
more valuable, writing has been partially washed away, in order that the
vellum might be used again for some more recent work. In these cases it is
exceedingly difficult to decipher, beneath the later and darker writing,
the traces of the older writing; indeed, not unfrequently the characters
are so faded that they cannot be read at all until revived by some
chemical preparation. The Ephraem Codex is a MS. of this kind.

[80] Commonly referred to under the symbol א, the Hebrew letter, _Aleph_.

[81] Referred to as B.

[82] Referred to as A.

[83] Referred to as C.

[84] Referred to as D of the Gospels.

[85] Referred to as D of the Epistles.

[86] The License for its publication was not granted until March 20, 1520.

[87] Namely, his sole authority for the Apocalypse.

[88] He had previously published two smaller editions (16mo), one in 1546,
and another in 1549.

[89] Now called the Codex Regius, and denoted by L.

[90] The collation of the eight Parisian MSS. was done for him by his son
Henry, then a youth of eighteen.

[91] At Geneva, whither he had deemed it prudent to remove shortly after
the publication of his celebrated edition of the Greek New Testament.

[92] _Works_, vol. vi. p. 194.

[93] The draft of this Bill is preserved in the State Paper Office
(_Domestic Interreg._, Bundle 662, f. 12), and is given in full by Dr.
STOUGHTON, _Church of the Commonwealth_, p. 543.

[94] _Errata to the Protestant Bible_, Pref. p. 3., ed. 1737.

[95] In the library of Trinity College, Dublin, there is a manuscript in
three volumes of an English version of the Bible, by Ambrose Ussher,
brother of Archbishop Ussher. The date assigned to it is about 1620. It
does not, however, seem to be in any proper sense a revision of the
version of 1611, but rather an independent revision based upon the earlier
versions. In an “epistle dedicatorie” to James I. the writer describes
himself as having “leisurelie and seasonablie dressed” and “served out
this other dish” while His Majesty was “a doing on” the “seasonable sudden
meale” which the translators had hastily prepared. He further states that
he did not oppose “to our new translation old interpretationes alreadie
waighed and reiected,” but “fresh and new that yeeld new consideration and
that fight not onlie with our English Bible, but likelie with all
translated bibles in what language soeuer and contrarieth them.” As far as
can be gathered from the examination of a single chapter, the work seems
chiefly based upon the Genevan. The version is incomplete. Vol. i.
contains Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua
(imperfect), Judges, Ruth, Samuel; vol. ii. contains Kings, Chronicles,
Ezra, Nehemiah (imperfect), Esther, and a Latin version of part of Joshua;
vol. iii. contains Job, Psalms (partly in Latin), Proverbs, Song of
Solomon, Ecclesiastes, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel
(partly in Latin), the Minor Prophets, the first chapter of St. John’s
Gospel, Romans, Corinthians, Philemon, James, Peter, John, Apocalypse
(partly in Latin), Jude.--Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts,
_Fourth Report_, pp. 589-598.

[96] _The Life and Death of Mr. Henry Jessey_, p. 47.

[97] Mace’s rendering of James iii. 5, 6 is the passage most frequently
quoted in illustration of his style. “So the tongue is but a small part of
the body, yet how grand are its pretensions, a spark of fire! what
quantities of timber will it blow into a flame? the tongue is a brand that
sets the world in a combustion, it is but one of the numerous organs of
the body, yet it can blast whole assemblies: tipped with infernal sulphur
it sets the whole train of life in a blaze.” It is but right, however, to
state that this is perhaps the very worst passage in the book. The
following verses are a fair specimen of his ordinary style. Acts xix. 8,
9: “At length Paul went to the synagogue, where he spoke with great
freedom, and for three months he conferred with them to persuade them of
the truth of the evangelical kingdom, but some of them being such obdurate
infidels as to inveigh against the institution before the populace, he
retired, and taking the disciples with him, he instructed them daily in
the school of one Tyrannus.”

A yet more offensive specimen of this style of translation was supplied by
the New Testament published in 1768, by E. Harwood, and entitled, _A
literal translation of the New Testament, being an attempt to translate
the Sacred Writings with the same Freedom, Spirit, and Elegance with which
other English Translations from the Greek Classics have lately been
executed_; a work which, however faithfully it may represent the inflated
and stilted style which then prevailed, can now be read only with
astonishment and disgust.

[98] Worsley died before the publication of the volume. It was edited by
M. Bradshaw and S. Worsley.

[99] In 3 vols., 8vo. A second edition in 2 vols., 8vo., was published in
1795. _Memoirs of Gilbert Wakefield_, vol. i. p. 355; vol. ii. p. 468.

[100] The work was intended to form eight vols. 4to.

[101] SCRIVENER, _Introduction to the Criticism of the New Testament_, p.

[102] _Eclectic Review_, January, 1809, p. 31.

[103] _Lectures on the Criticism and Interpretation of the Bible_, p. 297,
ed. 1828. The italics are Dr. Marsh’s own.

[104] The members of this first joint Committee were Dr. Wilberforce, Dr.
Ellicott, Dr. Thirlwall, Dr. Ollivant, Dr. E. H. Browne (Bishop of Ely),
Dr. Chr. Wordsworth (Bishop of Lincoln), and Dr. G. Moberly (Bishop of
Salisbury); Dr. Bickersteth (the Prolocutor); Deans Alford, Jeremie, and
Stanley; Archdeacons Rose, Freeman, and Grant; Chancellor Massingberd;
Canons Blakesley, How, Selwyn, Swainson, and Woodgate; Dr. Kay, Dr. Jebb,
and Mr. De Winton.

[105] The Convocation of York declined to take part in the revision, on
the ground that in their judgment the time was unfavourable for such a

[106] Canon Selwyn had persistently advocated the claims of revision, and
had brought it before the Notice of the Lower House of Convocation so
early as March 1st, 1856. Notice of a renewed motion on the question had
been given by him for the meeting of Convocation on February, 1870, and
was only withdrawal when superseded by the proposal sent down on February
11th from the Upper House.

[107] Canon Cook, Dr. J. H. Newman, Canon Pusey, and Dr. W. Wright. Dr.
Wright, however, subsequently joined the Old Testament Company.

[108] Dr. S. P. Tregelles.

[109] Now Bishop of Winchester.

[110] Now Dean of Canterbury.

[111] Now Dean of Peterborough.

[112] Now D.D.

[113] Now Bursar.

[114] Now Dean of Lichfield.

[115] Now Dean of Lincoln.

[116] Now D.D. and Hulsean Professor of Divinity, Cambridge.

[117] Now Bishop of Durham.

[118] Now D.D., and Master of the Leys School, Cambridge.

[119] Now D.D., Principal of New College, London, and Lee Professor of

[120] Now Professor of Humanity, St. Andrews.

[121] Now Dean of Rochester.

[122] Now LL.D.

[123] Now Principal of the Presbyterian College, Carmarthen.

[124] Now also Dean of Llandaff.

[125] Now also Regius Professor of Divinity, Cambridge.

[126] Now Lady Margaret Preacher, Cambridge.

[127] Now Archdeacon of Oxford.

[128] Corresponding Member.

[129] These have been thus distributed:

  Bishop of Gloucester     405
  Dr. Scrivener            399
  Mr. Humphry              385
  Dr. Newth                373
  Dr. Hort                 362
  Dean of Lichfield        352
  Dean of Rochester        337
  Canon Westcott           304
  Dean of Llandaff         302
  Dean of Lincoln          297
  Bishop of Durham         290
  Archdeacon Lee           283
  Dr. Moulton              271
  Archdeacon Palmer        255
  Dean of Westminster      253
  Dr. Vance Smith          245
  Dr. Brown                209
  Dr. Angus                199
  Dr. Milligan             182
  Canon Kennedy            165
  Dr. Eadie                135
  Bishop of Salisbury      121
  Bishop of St. Andrews    109
  Dr. Roberts               94
  Archbishop of Dublin      63
  Dean Merivale             19
  Dean Alford               16
  Bishop Wilberforce         1

[130] As the original would be very obscure to many of my readers, I have
somewhat reluctantly decided to give the modern spelling and the modern
equivalent for obsolete words.

[131] Psalm lxxxvii. 6 is thus rendered in the Wycliffite versions, after
the Vulgate and LXX. The LXX. here differs from the Hebrew.

[132] The word Judah, from which “Jew” is derived, is from a Hebrew verb,
meaning “to praise.” (See Gen. xxix. 35; xlix. 8.)

[133] By “sentence” Purvey commonly means “sense,” or “meaning.”

[134] That is, if he examine many copies, and especially those of recent

[135] AUGUSTINE, _Christian Doctrine_, book ii., c. xi.

[136] Bohemians.

[137] AUGUSTINE, _Christian Doctrine_, b. ii. c. xii.

[138] Wisdom, iv. 3.

[139] This Prologue contains but little in the way of historical
information. It has this especial interest, that it is the preface of the
first printed portion of the English Bible.

[140] Imitate.

[141] Changed in later editions, first into “To the diligent and Christian
Reader. Grace, mercie, and peace, through Christ Jesus,” and then “To the
Christian Reader” simply.

[142] Whittingham had previously done the same in his New Testament of
1557. In his address “To the Reader” he says: “And because the Hebrewe and
Greke phrases, which are strange to rendre in other tongues, and also
short, shulde not be to hard, I haue sometyme interpreted them without any
whit diminishing the grace of the sense, as our lāgage doth vse them, and
sometyme have put to that worde which lacking made the sentence obscure,
but haue set it in such letters as may easily be discerned from the cōmun

In some later editions of the Genevan Bible, printed in black letter, this
clause is altered into “wee have put in the text between these two markes
[ ] such worde or verbe as doth more properlie explane or manifest the
text in our tongue.”

[143] To the end that.

[144] ἔξο βέλους

[145] σεισάχθειαν

[146] _Circa annum 900. B. Rhenan. rerum German lib. 2._

[147] STRYPE, _Life of Parker_, b. iv. c. 20; JOHNSON, _Historical
Account_, p. 87; BURNET, _History of the Reformation_, part ii. book iii.
p. 406, ed. 1681.

[148] The Psalms were in the first instance assigned to Guest, Bishop of
Rochester. It is probable that the Archbishop was dissatisfied with
Guest’s work, and on good grounds, for he despatched it very quickly, and
forwarded it to the Archbishop with a letter, in which he thus sets forth
his estimate of his duty as a translator: “I have not altered the
Translation but where it giveth occasion of an error. As in the first
Psalm, at the beginning I turn the preterperfect tense into the present
tense; because the tense is too hard in the preterperfect tense. Where in
the New Testament one piece of a Psalm is reported, I translate it in the
Psalm according to the translation thereof in the New Testament, for the
avoiding of the offence that may rise to the people upon diverse
translations.” (STRYPE, _Life of Parker_, b. iii. c. 6; _Parker
Correspondence_, PARKER, sec. ed. p. 250.)

[149] _Parker Correspondence_, PARKER, sec. ed. p. 335.

[150] _Hist. of Ref._, part ii. book iii. p. 406, ed. 1681.

[151] _Collection of Records_, part ii. book iii. number 10.

[152] Probably a misprint for Harmer.

[153] CARDWELL, _Documentary Annals_, vol. ii. p. 110.

[154] Barlow was present at the Hampton Court Conference in January, 1601,
and all accounts describe him as then Dean of Chester; and his narrative
of the Conference, published in 1604, is described as “contracted by
William Barlow, Doctor of Divinity, and Dean of Chester.” Sir Peter
Leycester, _Hist. Antiq. of Cheshire_, p. 169, states that Barlow was
appointed Dean in 1603.

[155] Bishop of Chichester, November 3rd, 1605; Bishop of Ely, 1609;
Bishop of Winchester, 1619.

[156] Bishop of Lichfield, April, 1614; Bishop of Norwich, 1618.

[157] Subsequently Regius Professor of Hebrew, Cambridge.

[158] Lively died May, 1605, and hence could not have taken any active
part in the Revision.

[159] Afterwards D.D., and successively Master of Peterhouse and of
Trinity College.

[160] Succeeded Dr. Duport in the Mastership of Jesus College, Cambridge.

[161] Succeeded Mr. Lively as Regius Professor of Hebrew.

[162] Afterwards Rector of Exeter College, Oxford.

[163] Afterwards Bishop of Gloucester.

[164] Master of Sidney College, January, 1609; Archdeacon of Taunton,
1615; Vice-Chancellor, Cambridge, 1620; Lady Margaret Professor of
Divinity, 1621.

[165] Afterwards D.D., Prebendary of Chichester, and Rector of Bishop’s
Waltham, Hants.

[166] Bishop of Gloucester, March 19th, 1605; Bishop of London, May 18th,

[167] Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry, 1609; Bishop of London, 1610.

[168] Died November, 1604, and hence could have taken no part in the work
of the Company. His name is not mentioned by Wood in the list given in
_Hist. et Antiq. Univ. Oxon._, i. p. 311, ed. 1674.

[169] Knighted at Windsor, September 21st, 1604.

[170] WOOD, _Athenæ Oxoniensis_, i. 355.

[171] _Ibid_, i. 570.

[172] Subsequently, on the death of Rainolds, President of Corpus Christi
College. Dr. WESTCOTT, _History of English Bible_, sec. ed. p. 117, and
Dr. MOULTON, _History of English Bible_, p. 196, both have Dr. _T._
Spencer, but his name, as inscribed on the monument in the Chapel of
Corpus Christi College, is IOHANNES SPENSER, and is so given by Wood.

Transcriber's Notes:

Passages in italics are indicated by _italics_.

Passages in bold are indicated by =bold=.

Superscripted characters are indicated by {superscript}.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Lectures on Bible Revision" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.