« PreviousContinue »
schools in the room of the Vulgate. This translation did not meet with the same approbation from the Roman Catholicks, who, perhaps, out of prejudice, accused Beza of having accommodated his version to his prejudices. Though it hath been several times printed in England, yet the English have not exprefled the tame value for it as the rest of the protestants. It was even judiciously enough criticized upon in several places by a Canon of Ely (2), who had been put upon it by the bishop of that diocese (e). Bishop Walton (f) is of opinion, thai Beza hath been juftly charged with having departed from the common reading without necessity, or having on his fide the authority of the manuscripts, and also with deciding frequently in a magisterial way, and having substituted mere conjectures to the words of the original. But it is only reading this version, to be satisfied of the contrary. The ac: count Beza gives in his preface of the method he had followed, is far from thote peremptory airs which he is charged withal. If he hath not always followed his own rules, this is a fault common to him with all trandators. Dr. Mill hath kept no more moderation than Walcon in the judgment he hath passed upon this version.
However, it cannot be denied but that Beza was best qualified for such an undertaking. He was a perfect master of both languages, and supposing he was not so thoroughly skilled in Hebrew, as some pretend, yet he tells us that in translating the Hebraisms he had the assistance of persons very well veriod in that tongue. Besides, he had before him a greater number of Greek manuscriprs, than any of those that had undertaken the same work before him. And accordingly he hath taken care to set down the various readings in his notes, and finds fault with others for not having done the same, and thereby given every one an opportu. nity of chuling the best. All that he can be blamed for, is his partiality in expreiling a greater regard for the Latin than the Greek fathers. But, after all, his version must be allowed to be the best of all made in those times except the Zurich translation (*).
(d) John Boise in 1556. (e) Lancelot (M Walton Proleg. Dill. iv.
(*) I shall now subjoin a short ac- " years after. There is now extant count of our English translations. 6 a translation in the English Saxon,
" We are told by « done from the ancient vuigar, beOf the Enghth our English historians, “fore it was revised by St. Jerom.
cons "that some part of the “ It was printed at London in the year “ bible was tranflated in the begin- "1571, by the care of John Fox, and 6 ning of the Sth century into our us by the order and direction of arch. « vulgar tongue, which was then the " bishop Parker. "A translation of the “ Saxon. John de Trevisa assures us, that “plalnis in the fame language was “ venerable Bede, who flourished about "printed by Spelman in 1610. , 66 the year 701, trantlated the whole 6 Tohn Wicliffe, who flourished “ bible into the Englith Saxon. There "about the year, 1360, tranflated the 6 are some who affirm that Adelm, " whole bible from the vulgar version 6 billion of Sherborne, who was con '" of St. Jerom, and finished it in the “temporary with Bede, translated the "year 1383. This translation as * pfalms into that language; which "never printed, but there are co“ translation is: by others attributed "pies of it in several libraries, as " to king Alfred, who lived near 200" Cotton's, St. James's at Lamberb, &c.
5* There is also a very fair copy of " to print it there ; from whence it '" the New Testament, in this tranfla- " received the name of the Geneva stion, in the university library at “ bible. These were Miles Coverdale, “Cambridge.
• “ Chritopher Goodman, Anthony Gil. " John de Trevisa, who died in the " by, Thomas Sampion, William Cole, 16 year 1398, did alto translate both “ William Wirtingham and John Koox. " the Old and New Testament, about " It was first printed in 1960, and " the same time, or a little after shath had several editions since. “ Wicliffe ; but whether there are " But for the publick use of the " any copies of it extant, I know not. "churc:, the bishops relolved about
" The first time the holy fcripture "this time to make a new transla. "was printed in English, was about “riop. Archbifficp Parker let forward " the year 1526; and that was only " and highly promoted this work, " the New Testament about that time " and got the Bishops and some other " translated by William Tmdal, aliifted - learned men to join together, and " by Joy and Conítantine, and printo" to take each lis part and portion, “ed in some foreign paits. In the "to review, correct, and amend the " year 1532, Tindal and his compa- "translation of the holy scriptures in "nions finished the whole bible and the vulyar tongue. This bible was
printed it in foreign parts, all but "published in the year 1568, in a "the Apocrypha. Sometine after this, « large folio, and called The Great “ whild a fecond edition was prepar-, - English Bible, and commonly also “ing, William Tindal was taken up " The Bishops' Bible, as being trans“and burnt for herefy in Flanders: "lated by leveral billiops. "however, the work was carried on “In the year 1583, one Laurence " by John Rogers." He wholly tranf- 66.Tomson pretended to make a new “lated the Apocrypha, and reviled " version of the New Testament from “Tindal's translation, comparing it .66 Beza's edition; together with a " with the Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. - translation of: Beza's notes. But “ He added prefaces and notes out of " he has very feldom varied so much " Luther, and dedicated the whole, to " as a word from the Geneva -transla“king Henry the Eighih, under the 'ution. " borrowed name of Thomas Mate " The Pa'ifts by this time finding "thew's ; for which reason this has “it iinpoflibie to keep the people " been commonly called Matthew's's - 6 from having the scriptures in the "bible. This was printed at Ham-:65 Tulgar tongue, thought convenient “burgh, ao the charges of Grafton?56 to make a translation of it them" and Whitchurch.
"felves, and accordingly in the year “It was about this time refolved "1984, published a new version of it " to print the bible in a large, vo- 54 printed at Rheims, and from thence “ lume, and to procure an order to “ called the Rhenish trantlation. " have it set up in all churches, 'foros was. refuted by Mr. Cartwright, "publick use. "Miles Coverdale was "i and Dr. Fuike: " therefore emploved to revise Tine " But the lait ard beit translation
dal's translation, which he did, com- " of the bible into English, is that
paring it with the Hebrew; and " which was made towards the begin“mending it in several places. But " ning of the last century by order “bishop Craniner revised the whole "o of King James I. and is now in use after him ; for which reason this « among 113. The chief hands con. was called Cranmer's bible. . " cerned in this, work, were bishop * Whilst some English exiles were • Andrews, Dr. Overall, Dr. Duport,
+ Geneva, · during the reign of “ Dr. Abbot, &c.” ce queen Mary, they thought fit to For a fuller account of all these windertake a new.translation of the translations, fee Bibliotheca Literaria, bible into English in that place, and No IV. .. U 3
Whom I serve in the Gospel of our LORD JESUS CHRIST, Grace, Mercy and Peace from GOD, out Father, and from the LORD JESUS CHRIST.
BE LOVED TT is my Honour and Pleasure, as well as Duty, to serve you 1 in the Gospel of our Lord Jcrus Chrift: and your kind Acceptance, and due Improvement of my honest and well intended Labours is the greatest Encouragement I delire. Your Affections and friendly Regards are, in Effect, the whole world to me: And it is my Ambition to purchale them, only by such worthy A&tions, and honqurable Discharge of Duty, as deserve a juft and solid Efteem.
Too many, I fear, have but imperfect uncertain Norions of Chris. tianity : Butt would gladly give you such a View of the Gospel Scheme, as may establish you in the Faith of Jerus Christ upon the most just and folid Grounds; and such a decp Senie of the Love of God in Him, as may form and fix every good principle in the Mind, productive of all Righteousness in the Conversation.
With this only View, the Book before you was written; and it was originally designed for your Service alone. For which Reason, and 38 it is the work of One, whose Character and Conversation you are well acquainted with ; who ardentiy desires your spiritual lmprovement, in order to your eternal Felicity; and who, for a considerable Times has laboured among you for your common Good, it is my very eardelt and particular Requelt, that you would, and my Hope that you willy read and study it carefully.
Every Point aexplained by Scripsenre of ph
We may not indulge our own Conceits in Matters of Revelation. Every Point advanced as . Christian Doctrine, ought to be found in Scripture, and explained by Scripture, strictly regarding the Principles there taught, and the establithed Sense of Phrases there uled. And it is the Delign of this Essay, setting aside all human Schemes, and my own Imagination, to give you the true Scheme of Chriftianity, collected immediately from that puré Fountain, carefully comparing one Part with another ; that your Faith, Hope, and Joy may stand, not upon the Wisdom of Min, but upon the firm and immoveable Foun. dation of the Word of God.
I can truly say, I have taken great Care to go every where upon good and sure Grounds. I have not affected Novelty, nor inderted any one single Sentinent, imerely becaule new and plausible ; but because I am persuaded it is the true and real, or the most probable Sense, of Revelation.
And yet I think it my Duty to advise you, to read what I have writ with proper Caution ; for after all the Care and Pains I have taken to See and thew the Truth, I dare not pretend to be free from all Mirtakes. The Apostles were inspired, and infallible Writers, but we are none of us either inspired, or infallible Interpreters. Nor is it necefTary we should. In the Works of Creation, God has so clearly shewn his eternal Godhead, Wisdom, Goodness, and Power, that they, who do not fee and acknowledge them, are inexcufable ; and many able and ingenious Hands have been well and successfully employed in searching into, and explaining the various Appearances and Productions in the Natural World. But who ever pretended to penetrate into all the Recefles of Nature, or to give a perfect unerring Account of all her
clear, and full account of the Divine Dispensations, and of the Way to eternal life, that every one, who is willing to understand, may very clearly and certainly see what is fufficient to guide hiin to Salvation. And it is the Duty of such as have Knowledge and Learning, to dig in
those sacred Mines; and to endeavour, as they are able, to bring into i clearer Light the rich Treasures which may have been hidden through
the ignorance, Error, and Superstition of foregoing Ages. And several
Worthy and learned Pens have been bappily employed in this useful and i necellary Work. But who will presume to say, he has in every Instance
brought forth the pure and precious Metal, without any Mixture of Drols! The Pretences of the Church of Rome to Infallibility, are proved by their own different Sects and Sentinents, and by many of their denets, which are either without any Ground in Scripture, or directly contrary to it, to be manifestly falle and arrogant. Nor is the Persection of Knowledge, or Infallibility of Sentiment, needful to our Salation. For while we every one of us seriously endeavour to find the
ruth, and to be governed by ii, whatever the Quantity of Knowledge, or Certainty of Persuasion be, to which we attain, we do all that is in of Power, and all that God requires of us; nor can we be deftitute of
Faith, which is necessary to Salvation. So far as we truly follow le Scriptures, we are infallibly sure we are in the Right : And so far We boneflly and fin.crdiy endeavour to follow them, we are infallibly
For while or Infallibility and arrogant. No
that Faith, which is neinfallibly sure we drew them, we ar
sure of God's acceptance. But none of us have dominion over the faith of our fellow-christians and servants; nor must any one pretend to set up for mafter in Chrift's school. Christ alone is our Master and
Lord; and we ought not, as indeed, juftly, we cannot, substitute any · suppoled infallible guide in his place.
Tonly profess, to point at the light shining in revelation. It is to that light, and not to me, you are to turn your eyes. Indeed, I am per- : suaded, that in the principal parts and general scheme of the gospel, I am not mistaken. However, it is incumbent upon you, not implicitly to swallow every thing I advance; but to examine carefully, whether
it be well grounded upon the word of God. : I have endeavoured to make every thing easy and intelligible. But he, who has been much in perusing the apoftolic writings, is best pre- : pared to apprehend what is here advanced. And when a perlon has digested, and made familiar, the phrases and sentiments here explained, he will reap but little fruit, if he doth not immediately apply himself : to reading the Acts and Epistles. To give a clear understanding of them, in particular, is the design of what is here offered ; and therefore the careful reading of them, should fucceed the perufal of this. And if both were read alternately, first the one, and then the other, 1 ami persuaded such an exercise would turn to good account. But
a person little versed in the apostolic writings, can be 10 con petent judge of what I have done; and he, who doth not apply what he here learns, to his assistance in ftudying them, will receive leis benefit
from it. . . Above all, we should remember; that a vain wordly, sensual mind
is in no 'condition to see, or relish the truth as it is in Jesus: nor can any explications force knowledge upon those that are not willing to understand. The love of truth, purity of mind, and patient application, are necessary on your part; and I am perfuaded will render the principal things plain, and give you the pleasure of leeing the truth clearly in several points, hitherto reckoned very dark and abfruie.
You will not, inderd, be able to form a compicat judgment upon some of the criticisins. Yet you should not therefore forbear to read them; because you will meet with several uicful observations, which lie within the reach of such as are not acquziated with the learned languages.
It ihould never be forgot, that to spend one's time even in conmenting and (peculating upon the Sacred Writings, if we do not imbibe the principles they teach, lay thein to heart, acd reduce them to prace tice, amounts to no more, than diverting one's self with any com:non amusement. St. Paul was ravilhed wish the charms of the gospel; he felt its power and cfficacy 'upon his own heart; it railed him, in the brightcit views of glory, honour and in nortality, far above and earthly things. Aral we then understand the gospel to purport, when in the same manner it works upon every spring of action with in us.
It is your honour and happiness, that you have always been a peaceable people. You icorn to practile the unchristian methods us