Page images

1/1, The Ordinary Bible read in the Church, commonly called the Bin Shops' Bible, to be followed, and as little altered as the Original would permit.

2dly, The Names of the Prophets and Inspired Writers, with the other Names in the Text, to be kept as near as may be, as they stand at present by customary Use.

3dly, The old Ecclesiastical Words to be kept, viz. the Word Church, not to be translated Congregation, &c.

4thly, 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 Faith.

5thly, The Division of the Chapters not to be altered, or as little as may be, if Neceflity fo require.

6thly, No Marginal Notes at all to be asfixed, but only for the Explanation of the Hebrew or Greek Words, which cannot, without some Circumlocution, fo briefly and fitly be expressed in the Text.

7thly, Such Notations of Places to be marginally set down, as fhall serve for the fit Reference of one Scripture to another.

8thly, Every particular Man of each Company, to take the Chapter or Chapters assigned for the whole Company, and having translated or amended them severally by himself, all the Division was to meet together, examine their respective Performances, and agree for their Parts what shall stand.

9thly, As any one Company hath finished a Book in this Manner, they shall send it to the rest to be further considered.

10thly, If any Company, upon the Review of the Book so sent, doubt or differ upon any Place, they were to note the Place, and send back the Reasons for their Disagreement. If they happen to differ about the Amendments, the Difference was to be referred to a general Committee, consisting of the chief Persons of each Company, at the End of the Work.

11thly, When any Place is found remarkably obscure, Letters were to be directed by Authority, to any learned Perfon in the Land, for their Judgment thereupon.

12thly, Letters to be sent from every Bishop to the rest of his Clergy, admonishing them of this Tranflation in Hand; and to move and charge as many as being skilful in the Tongues, and having taken Pains in that Kind, to send their particular Observations to the Company, either at Westminster, Cambridge, or Oxford.

13thly, The Directors in each Company to be the Dean of Westminfter, and Chefter for that Place, and the King's Professors in Hebrew and Greek, in each University.

14thly, The Translations of Tyndal, Matthews, Coverdale, Whitchurch, and Geneva, to be used, when they come closer to the Original, than the Bishops' Bible.

Lastly, Three or Four of the most eminent Divines in either of the Universities, though not of the Number of the Translators, were to be assigned by the Vice-Chancellor, to consult with other Heads of Houses, to be Overseers of the Trapllations.



These entred upon the Work in the Spring 1607, and prosecuted it with all due Care and Deliberation ; but it was about Three Years before it was finished. The untimely Death of Mr. Edward Lively (much Weight of the Work lying on his Skill in the Original Tongues) much retarded the Proceedings; however, the rest vigorously, though lowly, proceeded in this hard, heavy, and holy Tafk, nothing offended with the Centures of impatient People, condemning their Delays (though indeed but due Deliberation) for Lazirrets. But after long Expečiation and great Desire, came forth this new Translation Anno 1610, the Divines having been at great Pains in the Work, not only examining the Chanels by the Fountain, Translations with the Original, which was alrtolu.ely necessary, but also comparing Chanels withi Chanels, which was abundantly useful, Italian, Spanijh, French, and Dutch Languages.

The Delign, as the Preface tells us, was not lo make a Translation altogether new, nor yet to make of a bad one a good one, but tó inake a good one better; or of many ones, one principal good one, not justly to be excepted against.

But this glorious Work did not want Detractors to defame it; the Romanists much excepted hereat. Was their Translation (say they) good before? Why do they now mend it? Was it not good ?' Why was it obtruded upon the People? These observe not, that whilst thus in their Paffion they seek to lath the Protestants, their Whip flies in the Faces of the most learned and pious Fathers, especially St. Jerom, who, not content with the former Translations of the Septuagint, Symacusa and others, did himself tranflate the Old Testament out of the Hebrew. Yea, their Cavil recoils on themselves, and their own Vulgar Translation, whereof they have so many and different Editions. Iterus Claw vius, a famous Papift, observed and amended, as he fays, Eight Thoufand faults in the Vulgar Latin. And since his Tiine, how do the Paris Editions differ from the Louvaine, and Hentenius's from them both ? How infinite are the Differences of that which Pope Cleme:zt the VIIIth published, from another which Sixtus Quintus, his immediate Predeceffor, fet forth? Thus we fee, to better and refine Tranilations, hath ever been accounted a commendable Practice, even in our

Besides this, the Romanifts take Exception, because in this our new Translation, the various Scores of Words are set in the Margin. This they conceive a shaking of the Certainty of the Scriptures, such Variations being as Suckers to be pruned off, because they rob the Stock of the Text of its due Credit and Reputation. But on terious Thoughts

appear that these Tranílators, affixing the Diverfity of the Meaning of Words in the Margin, deserve Commendations for their Modelty and Humility therein. For though all Things that are necelfary to Salvation are plainly fet down in the Scriptures, yet seeing there is much Difficulty and Doubtfulnels (not in Doctrinal, but) in Matters of less Importance, Fearfulness did better beseem the Trantlators than Confidence, entring in such Cafes a Caution, where Words are of dfferent Acceptations, VOL.Ill.




it will

Some of the Presbyterians were not well pleased

with this Translation, suspecting it would abate the Repute of that of Geneva, with their An: notations made by the English Exiles, and printed with the general Liking of the People, above thirty Times over. And some com. plained that they could not see into the sense of the Scriptures, for the Jack of those Geneva Annotations. But to say nothing of the Defects and Faults of those Anootations, (though the best in those Times which are extant in English) these Notes were so tuned to that Translation alone, that they would jar with any other, and could no way be fitted to this new Edition of the Bible.

Some of our Church also would pretend to find Errors and Miftakes in it (and no Body thinks it wholly free). Mr. Walton in the Life of Bishop Sanderson gives a remarkable Inftance of this: Dr. Kilby, an excellent Critick in the Hebrew Tongue, Professor of it in the University, a perfect Grecian, and one of the Translators, going into the Country, took Mr. Sandersın to bear him Company. Being at the Church on Sunday, they found the young Preacher to have no more Discretion, than to waste a great part of the Time allotted for his Sermon in Exceptions against the late Translation of several Words, (not excepting such a Hearer as Dr. Kilby) and thewed Three Reasons why a particular Word should have been otherwise translated. The Preacher in the Evening was invited to the Doctor's Friend's House, where, after some other Conference, the Doctor told him, he might have preached more useful Doctrine, and not have filled his Auditors Ears with needleks Exceptions against the late Translation ; and for that Word, for which he offered that poor Congregation Three Reasons, why it ought su have been translated as he said, he and others had confidered all of them, and found Thirteen more considerable Reasons, why it was translated as now printed. And told hiin, if his Friend, (Mr. Sanderson) then attending him, should prove Guilty of such indiscretion, he should forfeit his Favour. To which Mr. Sanderson said, he hoped he should not.

At a Grand Committee for Religion, in a pretended Parliament summoned by Oliver Cromwell Anno 1656, it was ordered that a SubCommittee should advise with Dr. Walton, Mr. Hughes, Mr. Caftle, Mr. Clerk, Mr. Poulk, Dr. Cudworth, and such others as they thought pro. per, to consider of the Translations and Impressions of the Bible, and to offer their Opinion therein to the Committee, and that it should be more particularly recommended to Bulsrode Whitlock, one of the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury, to take Care of that Affair. The Committee met frequently at Whitlock’s Houfe, where the learned Men in the Oriental Languages attended, made many Observations upon this Subject, and pretended to discover fome Mistakes in the last Englijo Translation, which yet they allowed was the best extant. They took a great deal of Pains in this Business, which yet came to nothing by the Diffolution of the Parliament.

After the Restoration, the King granted a Commiffion Anno 1661, to several Persons to review the Liturgy, in order to have it farther accommodated to a general Satisfaction, and the Bishop of London's Lodgings in the Savoy were appointed for the Place of Meeting, when the Presbyterian Divines delivered in their Exceptions to the CommonPrayer, together with the additional Forms and Alterations which they defired. One of their Exceptions was, that there were many Defects obferved in the Verlion of the Scriptures, vled in the Liturgy, that it was either obsolete in Language, or mistaken in Sense, as they endeavoured to prove in several Instances; they therefore moved that this Version might be struck out; and the new Translation allowed by the Authority fubftituted inftead thercof. 1o which the Commissioners on the Liturgy's Part returned their Answer, wherein they were willing that all the Epiftles and Gospels, be used according to the last Translation, but that the Psalms be used after the former Tranflation, mentioned in the Rubrick, and printed according to it; which was done accordingly.

ings looked

Leave we then these worthy Men the Translators, now all of them gathered to their Fathers, whose Industry, Skilfulness, Piety, and Difcretion, hath therein bound the Church unto them, in a Debt of special Remembrance and Thankfulness. These with Jacob Gen. xxix. rolled away the Stone from the Mouth of the Well' of Life, so that now eyen Rachel's weak Women may freely come both to drink themselves, and water the Flock of their Families' at the same. And the Church has not only permitted all Believers, without Distinction of Age or Sex, to read these Holy Books, but always exhorted them to do so ('till these laft Ages) by the Mouths of its Paftors, without excluding any. It has exhorted Children to it, that according to the Example of Timothy, they might be nourished and brought up in the Knowledge of the Holy Scriptures. It has exhorted Catechumens to it, and admitted them to hear the Word of God, though it excluded them from its Mysteries, that they might conceive a Veneration and Respect for the Religion which they embraced. It has exhorted Women, Maids, and young Widows to it, that they might learn from it their several Duties, and by a continual Meditation on it, arrive to a greater Perfection of Spiritual Life. It has exhorted to it the Ignorant, and Men of low Degree, being perfuaded that Jesus Christ had chosen such, even before the Great and Wise ; and that the Holy Scriptures, though they contain Mysteries and very sublime Things in them, are neverthelefs fuited to the Capacities, of all Persons, and accommodated to the Understanding of the meanest Readers, fo that a Mechanick, a Servant, a poor Woman, and the most ignorant of Men may profit by reading shem. It has exhorted to it not only such as profels to lead a Spiritual Life, but those who live in the World, who have a Family and Employment, that they might find there a Support for their Weakness, in the midst of the Dangers to which the Occupations of this World expose them; and Affiftance against the Temptations, to which they are continually liable. It has exhorted to it Sinners, and Persons en gaged in a vicious Course, that they might there seek a Remedy for their Spiritual Distempers; and hearkning to the Voice of God, and being enlightened by his Word, might be sensible of their Errors, and embrace the Means of breaking off the Chains of their wicked Customs. So that neither Age, nor Sex, nor Ingenuity, nor want of Capacity, Ror a Man's Profession, nor the Condition he is in, have been ever G2

looked upon as sufficient Reasons to forbid Christians to read the Holy Scriptures. Io a Word, the Church has not only exhorted all Believers to read them, but told them, by the Mouths of the holy Fathers, that it is the Devil, who diverts Christians from so doing. It has reproved and blamed those who neglected it, and declared that the Ignorance of the Holy Scriptures, is one of the chief Causes of all our Miferies; that from thence, as from an unhappy Spring, had proceeded innumerable Disorders; that thence came such a swarm of Herefies, such Depravation of Manners, such a Multitude of useless Labours, and vain Employments, in which Christians engaged themselves.

Happy! thrice happy ! hath our English Nation been, fince God hath given it learned Translators, to exprels in our Mother Tongue the Heavenly Mysteries of his holy. Word, delivered to his Church in the Hebrew and Greek Languages; who although they may have in some Matters of no Importance unto Salvation, as Mea, been deceived and mistaken, yet have they faithfully delivered the whole. Substance of the Heavenly Doctrine, contained in the Holy Scriptures, without any Heretical Translations, or wilful Corruptions. With what Reverence, Joy, and Gladness then ought we to receive this Blessing ! Let us read the Scriptures with an humble, modeft, and teachable Difpofition, with a Willingness to embrace all Truths which are plainly delivered there, how contrary soever to our own Opinions and Prejudices ; and in Matters of Difficulty readily hearken to the Judgment of our Teachers, and those that are set over us in the Lord ; check every presumptuous Thought or Reasoning which exalts itself against any of those Mysterious Truths therein revealed. And if we thus search after the Truth in the Love of it, we shall not miss of finding that Knowledge, which will make us wise unto Salvation.


« PreviousContinue »