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King James Version: Preface

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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 that even in S. Jerome's time, the Consul of Rome and his wife were both Ethnics, 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, Greek and Latin, (as the good Lepers were not content to fare well themselves, but acquainted their neighbors with the store that God had sent, that they also might provide for themselves) but also for the behoofe 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. First S. Jerome says, Multarum gentiu linguis Scriptura antè translata, docet falsa esse quæ addita sunt, &c.i. 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. So S. Jerome in that place. The same Jerome elsewhere affirms that he, the time was, had set forth the translation of the Seventy, suæ linguæ hominibus.i. for his countrymen of Dalmatia. Which words not only Erasmus doth understand to purport, that S. Jerome translated the Scripture into the Dalmatian tongue, but also Sixtus Senensis, and Alphonsus à Castro (that we speak of no more) men not to be excepted against by them of Rome, do ingenuously confess as much. So, S. Chrysostome that lived in S. Hierome's time, gives evidence with him: The doctrine of S. John (says 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 means Christians. To this may be added Theodorit, 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 means 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 uses. So he. In like manner, Ulpilas is reported by Paulus Diaconus and Isidor (and before them by Sozomen) to have translated the Scriptures into the Gothicke tongue: John Bishop of Sivil by Vasseus, to have turned them into Arabicke, 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, Bishop of Frising by Beatus Rhenanus, to have caused about that time, the Gospels to be translated into Dutch-rithme, 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 5. of that name, surnamed The wise, to have caused them to be turned into French, about 200. years after Valdus his time, of which translation there be many copies yet extant, as witnesseth Beroaldus. Much about that time, even in our King Richard the seconds 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 his setting forth, and the Psalter in Arabic is with many, of Augustinus Nebiensis setting forth. So Postel affirms, that in his travail he saw the Gospels in the Ethiopian tongue; And Ambrose Thesius alleges the Psalter of the Indians, which he testifies 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 Radevil in Polonie, or by the Lord Ungnadius in the Emperors 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 grown in men's hearts the sooner, and to make them to be able to say with the words of the Psalm, As we have heard, so we have seen.

Now the Church of Rome would seem at the length to bear a motherly affection towards her children, and to allow them the Scriptures in their mother tongue: but indeed it is a gift, not deserving to be called a gift, an unprofitable gift: they must first get a License 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 8. that there should be any License granted to have them in the vulgar tongue, and therefore he overrules and frustrates the grant of Pius the fourth. So much are they afraid of the light of the Scripture, (Lucifugæ Scripturarum, as Tertullian speaks) 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 License of their own Bishops and Inquisitors. Yea, so unwilling they are to communicate the Scriptures to the peoples understanding in any sort, that they are not ashamed to confess, that we forced them to translate it into English against their wills. This seems 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; neither is it the true man that shuns the light, but the malefactor, lest his deeds should be reproved: neither is it the plain dealing Merchant that is unwilling to have the waights, or the meteyard brought in place, but he that uses deceit. But we will let them alone for this fault, and return to translation.

Many men's mouths have been open 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 malè miscetur, saith S. Ireney,) 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 holds 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 speaks? What is it to handle the word of God deceitfully, if this be not? Thus certain brethren. Also the adversaries of Judah and Jerusalem, 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 foxe 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 Catholics (meaning Popish Romanists) always go in jeopardy, for refusing to go to hear it? Nay, if it must be translated into English, Catholics are fittest to do it. They have learning, and they know when a thing is well, they can manum de tabulá. We will answer them both briefly: and the former, being brethren, thus, with S. Jerome, Damnamus veteres? Minimè, sed post priorum studia in domo Domini quod possumus laboramus. That is, Do we condemn the ancient? In no case: but after the endeavors 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 Gods Church, lest I should seem to have labored in them in vain, and lest I should be thought to glory in men, (although ancient,) above that which was in them. Thus S. Jerome may be thought to speak.

And to the same effect say we, that we are so far off from condemning any of their labors that traveled 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: If Timotheus had not been, we had not had much sweet music; but if Phrynis (Timotheus his master) had not been, we had not had Timotheus. Therefore blessed be they, and most honored be their name, that break the ice, and glues onset upon that which helps forward to the saving of souls. Now what can be more available thereto, then to deliver Gods book unto Gods people in a tongue which they understand? Since of an hidden treasure, and of a fountain that is sealed, there is no profit, as Ptolomee Philadelph wrote to the Rabbis or masters of the Jews, as witnesseth Epiphanius: and as S. Augustine says; A man had rather be with his dog then with a stranger (whose tongue is strange unto him.) Yet for all that, as nothing is begun and perfited at the same time, and the later thoughts are thought to be the wiser: so, if we building upon their foundation that went before us, and being holpen by their labors, do endeavor to make that better which they left so good; no man, we are sure, hath cause to dislike us; they, we persuade our selves, if they were alive, would thank us. The vintage of Abiezer, that strake the stroake: yet the gleaning of grapes of Ephraim was not to be despised. See Judges 8. verse 2. 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 spoke before, translated the Bible as carefully, and as skillfully 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 , that is accurately done, as Saint Jerome witnesses. 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 Aristotles Ethikes, there are extant not so few as six or seven several translations. Now if this cost may be bestowed upon the goord, which affords us a little shade, and which to day flourishes, but to morrow is cut down; what may we bestow, nay what ought we not to bestow upon the Vine, the fruit whereof makes glad the conscience of man, and the stem whereof abides for ever? And this is the word of God, which we translate. What is the chaff to the wheat, says the Lord? Tanti vitreum, quanti verum margaritum (saith Tertullian,) if a toy of glass be of that reckoning with us, how ought we to value the true pearl? Therefore let no mans eye be evil, because his Majestys is good; neither let any be grieved, that we have a Prince that seeks 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 comes 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 authentic 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 honor then 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, then by yeelding 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 Puritans, at this 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 the. Thus much to satisfy our scrupulous Brethren.

Now to the later we answer; that we do not deny, nay we affirm and avow, that the very meanst translation of the Bible in English, set forth by men of our profession (for we have seen none of theirs of the whole Bible as yet) contains the word of God, nay, is the word of God. As the Kings Speech which he uttered in Parliament, being translated into French, Dutch, Italian and Latin, is still the Kings 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; and a natural man could say, Verùm 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, (els, there were none virtuous, for in many things we offend all) also a comely man and lovely, though he have some warts upon his hand, yea, not only freckles upon his face, but all scars. No cause therefore why the word translated should be denied to be the word, or forbidden to be currant, 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 Apostle like men, that is, men indued with an extraordinary measure of Gods spirit, and privileged with the privilege of infallibility, had not their hand? The Romanistes therefore in refusing to hear, and daring to burn the Word translated, did no less then despite the spirit of grace, from whom originally it proceeded, and whose sense and meaning, as well as mans weakness would enable, it did express. Judge by an example or two. Plutarch writeth, that after that Rome had been burnt by the Galles, 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 prophesy of Haggai it may be gathered, that the Temple build 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 later 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 dissents from the Original in many places, neither doth it come near it, for perspicuitie, gratvitie, Majesty; yet which of the Apostles did condemn it? Condemn it? Nay, they used it, (as it is apparent, and as Saint Jerome and most learned men do confess) which they would not have done, nor by their example of using 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 defense of their vilifying and abusing of the English Bibles, or some pieces thereof, which they meet with, for that heretics (forsooth) were the Authors of the translations, (heretics they call us by the same right that they call themselves Catholics, both being wrong) we marvel what divinity taught them so. We are sure Tertullian was of another mind: 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 S. Augustine was of an other mind: 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 S. Augustine's third book De doctrinâ Christianâ. To be short, Origen, and the whole Church of God for certain hundred years, were of an other mind: for they were so far from treading under foot, (much more from burning) the Translation of Aquila a Proselite, that is, one that had turned Jew; of Symmachus, and Theodotion, both Ebionites, that is, most vile heretics, 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 cavill and objection of theirs against us, for altering and amending our Translations [sic] 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? Saint Augustine was not afraid to exhort S. Jerome to a Palinodia or recantation; the same S. Augustine was not ashamed to retract, we might say revoke, many things that had passed him, and doth even glory that he sees his infirmities. If we will be sons of the Truth, we must consider what it speaks, 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 S. Ambrose (Officium Ambrosianum) was a great while in special use and request: but Pope Hadrian calling a Council with the ayde of Charles the Emperor, abolished it, yea, burnt it, and commanded the Service-book of Saint Gregorie 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, 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 above 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 confesses, that every Bishopricke 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 soare of the daughter of his people softly and slightly, and make the best of it, finds so great fault with them for their oddes and jarring; we hope the children have no great cause to vaunt of their uniformity. But the difference that appears 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, then as S. Paul was to the Galatians, for telling them the truth: and it were to be wished, that they had dared to tell it them plainer and often. 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 Apostle like Letter & Bull; that the same Leo exhorted Pagnin to translate the whole Bible, and bare whatsoever charges was necessary for the work? Surely, as the Apostle reasons to the Hebrews, 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 labor and charges been undergone, about framing of a new. If they say, it was one Popes private opinion, and that he consulted only himself; then we are able to go further with them, and to averre, that more of their chief men of all sorts, even their own Trent-champions Paiva & Vega, and their own Inquisitors, Hieronymus ab Oleastro, and their own Bishop Isidorus Clarius, and their own Cardinal Thomas à Vio Caietan, 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: doth not their Paris-edition differ from the Louaine, and Hentenius his from them both, and yet all of them allowed by authority? Nay, doth not Sixtus Quintus confess, that certain Catholics (he means certain of his own side) were in such an humor 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 authentic, is the same without controversy which he then set forth, being diligently corrected and printed in the Printing-house of Vatican? Thus Sixtus in his Preface before his Bible. And yet Clement the eight his immediate successor, publishes another edition of the Bible, containing in it infinite differences from that of Sixtus, (and many of them waightie and material) and yet this must be authentic 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 dissentions among the Grecians, to compose his domesticke broiles (for at that time his Queen and his son and heir were at deadly fuide with him) so all the while that our adversaries do make so many and so various editions themselves, and do jarre so much about the worth and authority of them, they can with no show of equitie challenge us for changing and correcting.

But it is high time to leave them, and to show in brief what we proposed to our selves, 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 in stead of wine, with whey in stead 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 endeavor, that our mark. To that purpose there were many chosen, that were greater in other men's eyes then in their own, and that sought the truth rather then their own praise. Again, they came or were thought to come to the work, not exercendi causâ (as one says) but exercitati, that is, learned, not to learn: For the chief overseer and under his Majesty, to whom not only we, but also our whole Church was much bound, knew by his wisdom, which thing also Nazianzen taught so long ago, that it is a preposterous order to teach first and to learn after, yea that to learn and practice together, is neither commendable for the workman, nor safe for the work. Therefore such were thought upon, as could say modestly with Saint Jerome, Et Hebruæum Sermonem ex parte didicimus, & in Latino penè 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. S. Jerome makes 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 S. Augustine did; 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, where-through the olive branches empty themselves into the gold. Saint Augustine calls them precedent, or original tongues; Saint Jerome, fountains. The same Saint Jerome affirms, and Gratian hath not spared to put it into his Decree, That as the credit of the old Books (he means of the Old Testament) is to be tried by the Hebrew Volumes, so of the New by the Greek tongue, he means 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. 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 72 days; neither were we barred or hindered from going over it Again, having once done it, like S. Jerome, if that be true which himself reports, that he could no sooner write any thing, 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 hudled up in 72 days, but hath cost the workmen, as light as it seems, 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 fears not the blame of convenient slackness. Neither did we think much to consult the Translators or Commentators, 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 the length, through the good hand of the Lord upon us, brought the work to that pass that you see.

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 show of uncertainty, should somewhat be shaken. But we hold their judgment not to be so be so sound in this point. For though, whatsoever things are necessary are manifest, as S. Chrysostome says, and as S. 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 loathing of them for their every-where-plainess, partly also to stir up our devotion to crave the assistance of Gods spirit by prayer, and lastly, that we might be forward to seek ayd 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 our selves, 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 then confidence, and if we will resolve, to resolve upon modesty with S. Augustine, (though not in this same case altogether, yet upon the same ground) Melius est dubitare de occultis, quàm litigare de incertis, it is better to make doubt of those things which are secret, then to strive about those things that are uncertain. There be many words in the Scriptures, which be never found there but once, (having neither brother nor neighbor, 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, the because they were sure of that which they said, as S. Jerome somewhere said 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 incredulitie, 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 then presumption. Therefore as S. Augustine said, 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. We know that Sixtus Quintus expressly forbids, 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 looks that way) but we think he hath not all of his own side his favors, for this conceit. They that are wise, had rather have their judgments at liberty in differences of readings, then to be captivated to one, when it may be the other. If they were sure that their hie 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 an other matter; then his word were an Oracle, his opinion a decision. 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 skin is penetrable, and therefore so much as he proves, not as much as he claims, they grant and embrace.

An other thing we think good to admonish the of (gentle Reader) that we have not tied our selves to a 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 some where, 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 (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 Traveling; 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 savor more of curiosity then wisdom, and that rather it would breed scorn in the Atheist, then 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? A godly Father in the Primitive time showed himself greatly moved, that one of the newfangleness called , though the difference be little or none; and another reports, 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 changes. 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 ye hence, be banished for ever, we might be taxed peradventure with S. James his words, namely, To be partial in our selves and judges of evil thoughts. 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 then 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 & Greek, for that copy or store that he hath given us. Lastly, we have on the one side avoided the scrupulousness of the Puritans, who leave the old Ecclesiastical words, and betake them to other, as when they put washing for Baptism, and Congregation in stead of Church: as also on the other side we have shunned the obscurity of the Papists, in their Azimes, Tunike, Rational, Holocausts, Præpuce, 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 the warning of (gentle Reader) if we had not exceeded the measure of a Preface already. It remains, that we commend the to God, and to the Spirit of his grace, which is able to build further then we can ask or think. He removes the scales from our eyes, the veil 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. 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. Others have labored, and you may enter into their Labors; 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 Savior with the Gergesites, Depart out of our coasts; neither yet with Esau sell your birthright for a mess of potage. If light be come into the world, love not darkness more then light; if food, if clothing be offered, go not naked, starve not your selves. Remember the advise of Nazianzene, It is a grievous thing (or dangerous) to neglect a great faire, and to seek to make markets afterwards: also the encouragement of S. Chrysostome, It is altogether impossible, that he that is sober (and watchful) should at any time be neglected: Lastly, the admonition and menacing of S. Augustine, they that despise Gods will inviting them, shall feel Gods will taking vengeance of them. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God; but a blessed thing it is, and will bring us to everlasting blessedness in the end, when God speaks unto us, to hearken; when he sets his word before us, to read it; when he stretches out his hand and calls, to answer, Here am I; here we are to do thy will, O God. 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.



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