Page images

look at the Scriptures ? Take the book into thine hand, read the whole history, commit to memory the most remarkable things ; and frequently run over what is obscure and less plain ; and if thou art not able by diligent reading to discover the meaning, apply to those who are wiser; go to a divine, and consult what has been written; be in earnest ; for God who sees how ready thy mind is to receive instruction, will not disregard it; but if no man can teach thee what thou seekest, he himself will doubtless reveal it unto thee. For it cannot be, that any one can go away without profit, who delights in the diligent and attentive reading of the Scriptures.""

The wish of the Roman Catholics to prevent the circulation of Protestant translations of the Scriptures, induced the learned English professors in the college of Rheims, to publish an English version of the New TESTAMENT, made from the Vulgate. For making the translation from the Latin, rather than from the Greek, they give this singular reason in the preface. That “the Latin was most ancient, it was corrected by S. Hierome, commended by S. Austin, and used and expounded by the Fathers : the holy council of Trent had declared it to be authentical ; it was the gravest, sincerest, of greatest majestie, and the least partialitie: It was exact and precise according to the Greek; preferred by Beza himself to all other translations; and was truer than the vulgar Greek Text itself!13

Ant. Possevin, a learned writer of the Catholic church, says, the authors of this translation were WILLIAM Alan, afterwards created cardinal; GREGORY MARTIN; and RICHARD Bristoo, or Bristow.

Dr. WlLLIAM Alan, or ALLYN, who was subsequently raised to the purple, has been already mentioned as (11) Bochelli Decreta Eccles. Gallican. lib, i. p. 100.

Bibliotheques Francoises, I, pp. 135, 136.

Chalmers' Gen, Biog. Dict. XIII. pp. 313, 314. (12) Lewis's Hist. of English Translations, p. 278. (13) Ant. Possevini Apparatus Sacer. I. p. 225, Colon. Agrip. 1608. fol.


He was

employed with others in editing the papal edition of the Vulgate.

Gregory Martin was an Englishman by birth, a native of Maxfield, near Winchelsea, in Sussex. He was admitted one of the original scholars of St. John's College, Oxford, in 1557, by Sir Thomas White, the founder. In 1564, he proceeded M. A. and was afterwards taken into the family of Thomas, duke of Norfolk, as tutor to his children, and particularly to Philip, earl of Surry, being considered as the best Hebrew and Greek scholar of the college to which he belonged. Having embraced popery, he went, in 1570, to the English college at Douay, where he was ordained priest, in 1573, and licentiate in divinity, in 1575.

After a visit in the following year to Rome, he returned to Douay, and taught Hebrew, and gave lectures on the Scriptures. one, if not the principal, of those who undertook the Rhemish English translation of the Scriptures. Dodd, in his church history, is of opinion, that it ought to be entirely ascribed to Martin. He died at Rheims, October 28th, 1582. He was the author of, 1. A tract on Schism, printed in 1579, in which he attempts to show that it is unlawful for Catholics to be present at the prayers or serions of heretics. 2. A work against the Protestant English translations of the Bible, entitled, a Discovery of the manifold corruptions of the holie Scriptures, by the hereticks of our daies, speciallie the English sectaries, &c. Rheims, 1582. This work was afterwards answered by Dr.William Fulke, master of Pembroke-Hall, Cambridge, in his defence of the sincere and true translation of the holie Scriptures into the English tong, against the manifolde cavils, friuolous quarrels, and impudent slanders of Gregorie Martin, &c. Lond. 1583.'

(14) Chalmers' Gen. Biog. Dict. XXI. p. 368.

Possevini Apparatus, I. p. 666.
Lewis's Hist. of Eng. Translations, pp. 291, 292;

RICHARD BRISTOO, Bristow, or Bristol, was born at Worcester, A.D. 1538. He entered Exeter College, Oxford, where he took his degree of B. A. in 1559, and of M. A. in 1562, when he was also admitted a member of Christ Church. He, and Edmund Campian, (afterwards a celebrated jesuit,) were so esteemed for their talents, as to be selected to entertain queen Elizabeth with a public disputation, in 1566.. In 1567, he was made a fellow of Exeter College, and would have obtained further promotion, had he not been suspected of secretly supporting the tenets of popery, which he at length openly avowed, by embracing an invitation from Cardinal Alan, to enter the college of Douay, where he was admitted to his doctor's degree, in 1579. He was prefect of studies, lectured on the Scriptures, and in the absence of Cardinal Alan, acted as regent of the college. His constitution, naturally delicate, being weakened by intense study, he was advised to try his native air, in consequence of which, he returned to England, but died a short time afterwards, October 18th, 1581, at Harrow-on-the bill. He was the author of several controversial works, principally in defence of the tenets of popery, and against Dr. William Fulke."

The first edition of this translation of the New Testament was printed at Rheims, in 1582, 4to. It was reprinted at London, with the Bishops' translation in a parallel column; and a Confutation of all such arguments, glosses, and annotations as conteine manifest impietie, or heresie, treason, and slander against the Catholick church of God, and the true teachers thereof, or the translations used in the Church of England; by Dr. William Fulke, and dedicated to Queen Elizabeth. Editions of the Rhemish New Testament were printed at Antwerp, in 1600, and in 1630; and at Paris, in 1633. The marginal notes were answered also by George Withers, in 1588, with the following title: A view of the marginal Notes of the (15) Chalmers' Gen. Biog. Dict. VII. p. 25.


Popish Testament, translated into English, by the English fugitive papists, resident at Rheims, in France, by Geo. Withers. In 1618, this translation was again printed by some friends to the memory of the learned Thomas Cartwright, then deceased, with a Confutation of the Translation. 16

The Reformed church in France was, in the mean time, assiduous in its efforts to promote the diffusion of Sacred truth. The HOLY BIBLE was read in the solemn meetings of the reformed, and in their public congregations: it was perused and studied by nobles and peasants, merchants and mechanics, women and children, the learned and partially illiterate, in their houses and families, and privately in their closets. The Psalms, translated by Marot and Beza, were sung by courtiers and commoners. No gentleman professing the reformed religion, would sit down at his table, without praising God by singing; and singing the praises of God formed an especial part of their morning and evening worship. The Holy Word of God was duly and powerfully preached in churches and fields, in ships and houses, in vaults and cellars, and in all places where the ministers of the Gospel could gain admittance, and obtain conveniency. Multitudes were convinced and converted, established and edified; and the plain and zealous sermons of the reformers were singularly successful. Children and persons of riper years were catechised in the rudiments and principal articles of the Christian faith, and enabled to give a reason of the hope that was in them. The progress of the principles of the Reformation enraged the adherents to popery, and roused them to dreadful persecutions. The cardinal of Lorraine attempted to check the influence of the Psalms of Marot, by French translations of Horace, Tibullus, and Catullus, to be sung in their stead, by the profane courtiers of France, and any (16) Lewis's Hist. of English Translations, pp, 294, 295.

others who might prefer ribaldry to piety. The reformed were arraigned before merciless judges, and condemned to the flames, or massacred in cold blood, without even the shadow of a judicial process.

But the Christian views of the reformers rendered them intrepid, so that in 1559, they ventured to celebrate the first national synod, in the city of Paris, and drew up the Confession of Faith, which they presented first to Francis I. at Amboise; and afterwards to Charles IX. at the conference of Poissy, in 1561, which was followed by an edict dated January, 1562, granting the public exercise of the Protestant religion. The parliament at first refused to register the edict, using the expressions, Nec possumus, nec debemus, “We neither can, nor ought to do it;" but yielded after two express orders from the king. It contained a remarkable article concerning the manner in which the reformed ought to conduct themselves, and which stated, that “they should advance nothing contrary to the council of Nice, to the Apostles' Creed, and to the books of the Old and New Testament.” But this calm was of short duration, for some of the retinue of the Duke of Guise, having insulted some Protestants, (or Huguenots, , as they were called,) who were at their devotions in a barn, at the little town of Vassy, in Champagne, a fray commenced, in which about sixty of the poor Huguenots were killed, and proved the commencement of an unfortunate civil war; and of a bloody persecution, during which more than 200,000 of the Protestants were sacrificed to the rage of their enemies, in less than twenty years." The terrible massacre of the Protestants, on St. Bartholomew's day, August 24th. 1572, occasioned the Chancellor de l'Hospital to say,

“Death is desirable when one cannot prevent such evils.” In 1598,

(17) Quick's Synodicon in Gallia Reformata; or. Acts, &c. of the

Reformed Churches in France, I. pp. v.- xv. lix. Lond. 1692, fol.
Henault's Abridgment of the Hist. of France, A. D. 1562, p. 413)

« PreviousContinue »