Introduction

I do not seek to understand that I may believe,
but I believe in order to understand.

Anselm of Canterbury

1611 King James Bible

To the most high and mightie Prince, James by the grace of God King of Great Britaine, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, &c. The translators of The Bible, wish Grace, Mercie, and Peace, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Great and manifold were the blessings (most dread Soveraigne) which Almighty GOD, the Father of all Mercies, bestowed upon us the people of ENGLAND, when first he sent your Majesties Royall person to rule and raigne over us. For whereas it was the expectation of many, who wished not well unto our ZION, that upon the setting of that bright Occidentall Starre Queene ELIZABETH of most happy memory, some thicke and palpable cloudes of darkenesse would so have overshadowed this land, that men should have bene in doubt which way they were to walke, and that it should hardly be knowen, who was to direct the unsetled State: the appearance of your MAJESTIE, as of the Sunne in his strength, instantly dispelled those supposed and surmised mists, and gave unto all that were well affected, exceeding cause of comfort; especially when we beheld the government established in your HIGHNESSE, and your hopefull Seed, by an undoubted Title, and this also accompanied with Peace and tranquillitie, at home and abroad.

But amongst all our Joyes, there was no one that more filled our hearts, then the blessed continuance of the Preaching of GODS sacred word amongst us, which is that inestimable treasure, which excelleth all the riches of the earth, because the fruit thereof extendeth it selfe, not onely to the time spent in this transitory world, but directeth and disposeth men unto that Eternall happinesse which is above in Heaven.

Then, not to suffer this to fall to the ground, but rather to take it up, and to continue it in that state, wherein the famous predecessour of your HIGHNESSE did leave it; Nay, to goe forward with the confidence and resolution of a man in maintaining the trueth of CHRIST, and propagating it farre and neere, is that which hath so bound and firmely knit the hearts of all your MAJESTIES loyall and Religious people unto you, that your very Name is precious among them, their eye doeth behold you with comfort, and they blesse you in their hearts, as that sanctified person, who under GOD, is the immediate authour of their true happinesse. And this their contentment doeth not diminish or decay, but every day increaseth and taketh strength, when they observe that the zeale of your Majestie towards the house of GOD, doth not slacke or goe backward, but is more and more kindled, manifesting it selfe abroad in the furthest parts of Christendome, by writing in defence of the Trueth, (which hath given such a blow unto that man of Sinne, as will not be healed) and every day at home, by Religious and learned discourse, by frequenting the house of GOD, by hearing the word preached, by cherishing the teachers therof, by caring for the Church as a most tender and loving nourcing Father.

There are infinite arguments of this right Christian and Religious affection in your MAJESTIE: but none is more forcible to declare it to others, then the vehement and perpetuated desire of the accomplishing and publishing of this Worke, which now with all humilitie we present unto your MAJESTIE. For when your Highnesse had once out of deepe judgment apprehended, how convenient it was, That out of the Originall sacred tongues, together with comparing of the labours, both in our owne and other forreigne Languages, of many worthy men who went before us, there should be one more exact Translation of the holy Scriptures into the English tongue; your MAJESTIE did never desist, to urge and to excite those to whom it was commended, that the worke might be hastened, and that the businesse might be expedited in so decent a maner, as a matter of such importance might justly require.

And now at last, by the Mercy of GOD, and the continuance of our Labours, it being brought unto such a conclusion, as that we have great hope that the Church of England shall reape good fruit thereby; we hold it our duety to offer it to your MAJESTIE, not onely as to our King and Soveraigne, but as to the principall moover and Author of the Worke. Humbly craving of your most Sacred Majestie, that since things of this quality have ever bene subject to the censures of ill meaning and discontented persons, it may receive approbation and Patronage from so learned and judicious a Prince as your Highnesse is, whose allowance and acceptance of our Labours, shall more honour us and incourage us, then all the calumniations and hard interpretations of other men shall dismay us. So that, if on the one side we shall be traduced by Popish persons at home or abroad, who therefore will maligne us, because we are poore Instruments to make GODS holy Trueth to be yet more and more knowen unto the people, whom they desire still to keepe in ignorance and darknesse: or if on the other side, we shall be maligned by selfe-conceited brethren, who runne their owne wayes, and give liking unto nothing but what is framed by themselves, and hammered on their Anvile; we may rest secure, supported within by the trueth and innocencie of a good conscience, having walked the wayes of simplicitie and integritie, as before the Lord; And sustained without, by the powerfull Protection of your Majesties grace and favour, which will ever give countenance to honest and Christian endevours, against bitter censures, and uncharitable imputations.

The LORD of Heaven and earth blesse your Majestie with many and happy dayes, that as his Heavenly hand hath enriched your Highnesse with many singular, and extraordinary Graces; so you may be the wonder of the world in this later age, for happinesse and true felicitie, to the honour of that Great GOD, and the good of his Church, through JESUS CHRIST our Lord and onely Saviour.

Translators

To the reader.

Zeale to promote the common good, whether it be by devising any thing our selves, or revising that which hath bene laboured by others, deserveth certainly much respect and esteeme, but yet findeth but cold intertainment in the world. It is welcommed with suspicion in stead of love, and with emulation in stead of thankes: and if there be any hole left for cavill to enter, (and cavill, if it doe not finde a hole, will make one) it is sure to bee 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 newnesse or renewing, but the same endured many a storme of gaine-saying, or opposition? A man would thinke that Civilitie, holesome Lawes, learning and eloquence, Synods, and Church-maintenance, (that we speake of no more things of this kinde) should be as safe as a Sanctuary, and ll out of shot, as they say, that no man would lift up the heele, no, nor dogge moove his tongue against the motioners of them. For by the first, we are distinguished from bruit-beasts led with sensualitie: By the second, we are bridled and restrained from outragious behaviour, and from doing of injuries, whether by fraud or by violence: By the third, we are enabled to informe and reforme others, by the light and feeling that we have attained unto our selves: Briefly, by the fourth being brought together to a parle face to face, we sooner compose our differences then by writings, which are endlesse: And lastly, that the Church be sufficiently provided for, is so agreeable to good reason and conscience, that those mothers are holden to be lesse cruell, that kill their children assoone as they are borne, then those noursing fathers and mothers (wheresoever they be) that withdraw from them who hang upon their breasts (and upon whose breasts againe themselves do hang to receive the Spirituall and sincere milke of the word) livelyhood and support fit for their estates. Thus it is apparent, that these things which we speake of, are of most necessary use, and therefore, that none, either without absurditie can speake against them, or without note of wickednesse can spurne against them.

More

Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them (Matt 7:20).

Chat on Skype
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!