Some modern copies of the King James Bible contain the Preface to the original 1611 edition. However I have heard from many that the vocabulary and sentence structure so common 400 years ago causes a lot of readers today to give up and not finish this valuable piece of English and religious literature.
I have endeavored to “translate” and to a small degree edit that portion of the preface which is called “The Translators to the Reader.” There is an earlier, small portion of the Preface which is a dedication to King James, who was the patron and who financed the work, but I have omitted that.
I’m sure that I could be criticized for this work of editing, but I assure you that this is an adequate rendition of the writer’s original intent.
You will also find reason to criticize some of the things contained in this preface: things such as the praise given to King James, Augustine, Jerome and others, who were heretics in many ways. And there are also hints at some common false doctrines, such as the Universal or Catholic Church. But our point in this is to bring you the blessings of the original document, even if it has a few flaws.
Yet for all that, the educated know that certain worthy men have been murdered for no other reason, but for seeking to reduce their countrymen to good order and discipline: and that in some places it was made a capital crime to make a motion to improve or abolish an old law, even if it was terribly unjust. Thus not only as often as we speak, as one has said, but also as often as we do any thing of note or consequence, we subject ourselves to everyone’s censure, and happy is he that is least criticized; for utterly to escape them it is impossible. If any man fancy that this is the lot and portion of common people only, and that Princes are privileged by their high estate to escape such criticism, he is deceived. As the sword devours one as well as the other, as it is in Samuel; and as the King of Syria commanded his chief Captains to fight neither with small nor great, save only against the King of Israel: so it is too true, that envy strikes most spitefully at the fairest, and at the chiefest. David was a worthy Prince, and no man is to be compared to him, and yet for bringing back the Ark of God he was scorned and scoffed at by his own wife. Solomon was greater than David, though not in virtue, yet in power: and by his power and wisdom he built a Temple to the LORD, which was the glory of the land of Israel, and the wonder of the whole world. But was his magnificence appreciated by everyone? We doubt of it. Otherwise, why did they reject his son. He undoubtedly taxed the people to pay for the Temple, hereupon they raised up a tragedy, and wished in their heart that it had never been built. So hard a thing it is to please all, even as we try to please God, and seek to approve our selves to every ones’ conscience.
If we will descend to later times, we shall find many similar examples. But more to this purpose, His Majesty King James knew full well that whosoever attempts any thing for the public good (especially if it pertains to Religion, and to the opening and clearing of the word of God) the same sets himself upon a stage to be glared at by every evil eye, yea, he casts himself headlong onto pikes, to be gored by every sharp tongue that comes along. For he that meddles with men’s religion in any part, meddles with their custom, nay, with their freedom; and though they find no contentment in what they have, yet they cannot abide to hear of changing it. Notwithstanding this, the heart of our King was not daunted or discouraged, but stood resolute. He knew who had chosen him to be a Soldier, or rather a Captain, and being assured that the course which he intended to made much for the glory of God, and the building up of his Church, he would not suffer it to be broken off for any reason. It certainly belongs unto Kings, yea, it especially belongs unto them, to have care of Religion, yea, to know it aright, yea, to profess it zealously, yea to promote it to the uttermost of their power. This is their glory before all nations which mean well, and this will bring unto them a far more excellent weight of glory in the day of the Lord Jesus. For the Scripture saith not in vain, Them that honor me, I will honor.
But now what is religion without truth? What is saving truth without the word of God? What is the word of God without the Scripture? The Scriptures we are commanded to search. John 5.39. Isa. 8.20. They are commended to be searched and studied. Acts 17.11. and 8.28, 29. They are reproved that were unskillful in them, or slow to believe them. Mat. 22.29. Luke 24.25. They can make us wise unto salvation. II Tim. 3.15. If we be ignorant, they will instruct us; if out of the way, they will bring us home; if out of order, they will reform us, if in heaviness, comfort us; if dull, quicken us; if cold, inflame us. Take up and read, take up and read the Scriptures. As Augustine has said, there is verily truth, and a doctrine most fit for the refreshing and renewing of men’s minds, and truly so created, that every one may draw from it that which is sufficient for him, if he come to draw with a devout and pious mind, as true Religion requires. And Jerome said: Love the Scriptures, and wisdom will love thee. But why mention only three or four Scriptures, whereas whatsoever is to be believed or practiced, or hoped for, is contained in them? And why mention three or four sentences of the Fathers, since whosoever is worthy of the name of Father, from Christ’s time downward, has similarly praised not only of the riches, but also of the perfection of the Scripture? I adore the fulness of the Scripture, said Tertullian. And as he said to one heretic; I will not receive that which thou bringest in (or concludest) of thine own without Scripture. So Justin Martyr before him; We must know by all means, that it is not lawful (or possible) to learn any thing of God or of right religion, save only out of the Prophets, who teach us by divine inspiration. And to quote Basil, It is a manifest falling away from the Faith, and a fault of presumption, either to reject any of those things that are written, or to bring in any of those things that are not written. We forebear to descend to latter Fathers, because we will not weary the reader.
The Scriptures then being acknowledged to be so full and so perfect, how can we excuse ourselves of negligence, if we do not study them, of curiosity, if we be not content with them? Men talk much of how many sweet and goodly things that the Bible contains; they liken it to the alchemist’s magic, that it turns copper into gold; and of Cornucopia, that it had all things necessary for food in it; and of healing the herb, that it was good for all diseases; and of Vulcan’s armor, that is was an armor proven against all thrusts, and all blows. Well, that which they falsely or vainly attributed to these things for bodily good, we may justly and with full measure ascribe unto the Scripture for spiritual good. It is not only an armor, but also a whole armory of weapons, both offensive, and defensive; whereby we may save our selves and put the enemy to flight. It is not an herb, but a tree, or rather a whole paradise of trees of life, which bring forth fruit every month, and the fruit thereof is for meat, and the leaves for medicine. It is not a pot of Manna, or a cruse of oil, which were for memory only, or for a meal or two, but as it were a shower of heavenly bread sufficient for a whole host, be it never so great; and as it were a whole cellar full of oil vessels; whereby all our necessities may be provided for, and all our debts paid. In a word, it is a Pantry of wholesome food, a Physician’s-shop of preservatives against poisoned heresies; a legal code of profitable laws and against rebellious spirits; a treasury of most costly jewels against beggarly rudiments; Finally the Word of God is a fountain of most pure water springing up unto everlasting life. But are we surprised? The original scriptures being from heaven, not from earth; the author being God, not man; the editor, the holy spirit, not the wit of the Apostles or Prophets; the Penmen such as were sanctified from the womb, and endued with a principal portion of God’s spirit; the matter, truth, piety, purity, uprightness; the form, God’s word, God’s testimony, God’s oracles, the word of truth, the word of salvation, &c. the effects, light of understanding, stableness of persuasion, repentance from dead works, newness of life, holiness, peace, joy in the holy Ghost; lastly, the end and reward of the study thereof, fellowship with the Saints, participation of the heavenly nature, fruition of an inheritance immortal, undefiled, and that never shall fade away: Happy is the man that delights in the Scripture, and thrice happy that meditates in it day and night.
But how shall men meditate in that which they cannot understand? How shall they understand that which is kept closed up in an unknown tongue? as it is written, Except I know the power of the voice, I shall be to him that speaketh, a Barbarian, and he that speaketh, shall be a Barbarian to me. The Apostle excepted no tongue, not Hebrew the most ancient, not Greek the most full, not Latin the finest. Nature taught a natural man to confess, that all of us in those tongues which we do not understand, are plainly deaf; we may turn the deaf ear unto them. The Scythian counted the Athenian, whom he did not understand, barbarous: so the Roman did the Syrian and the Jew, (even Jerome himself called the Hebrew tongue barbarous, because it was strange to so many), so the Emperor of Constantinople called the Latin tongue barbarous: so the Jews long before Christ, called all other nations. Therefore as one complained, that always in the Senate of Rome, there was one or other that called for an interpreter: so lest the Church be driven to do the same, it is necessary to have translations for the people to use. Translation it is that opens the window, to let in the light; that breaks the shell, that we may eat the kernel; that pulls aside the curtain, that we may look into the most Holy place; that removes the cover of the well, that we may come to the water, even as Jacob rolled away the stone from the mouth of the well, by which means the flocks of Laban were watered. Indeed without translation into the common tongue, the unlearned are but like children at Jacob’s well without a bucket or something to draw with: or as that person mentioned by Isaiah, to whom when a sealed book was delivered, he said, Read this, I pray thee, but he answered, I cannot, for it is sealed.
During the days when God would be known only in Jacob, and have his Name great only in Israel, but no where else, and while the dew lay on Gideon’s fleece only, and all the earth besides was dry; then for one and the same people, which spake all of them the language of Canaan, that is, Hebrew, one and the same original in Hebrew was all that was necessary. But when the fulness of time drew near, that the Sun of righteousness, the Son of God should come into the world, whom God ordained to be a reconciliation through faith in his blood, not of the Jew only, but also of the Greek, yea, of all them that were scattered abroad; then lo, it pleased the Lord to stir up the spirit of a Greek Prince (Greek for descent and language) even of Ptolemy , King of Egypt, to procure the translating of the Book of God out of Hebrew into Greek. This is the translation of the Seventy Interpreters, commonly so called (the Septuagint), which prepared the way for our Saviour among the Gentiles by written preaching, as Saint John Baptist did among the Jews vocally. For the Grecians being desirous of learning, did not like to leave good books moldering in King’s Libraries, but had many of their servants, ready scribes, to copy them out, and so they were dispersed and made common. Again, the Greek tongue was well-known and made familiar to most inhabitants in Asia, by reason of the Grecian conquests and the colonies that they created. For this reason the Greek language was well understood in many places of Europe, yea, and of Africa too. Therefore the word of God being set forth in Greek, became like a candle set upon a candlestick, which gives light to all that are in the house, or like a proclamation sounded forth in the market place, which most men immediately hear and understand; and therefore that language was fittest to contain the Scriptures, both for the first Preachers of the Gospel, and for their students to study. But it is certain, that the Septuagint was not so sound and so perfect that it didn’t need to be corrected in many places. And who would have been more suited to that work as the Apostles? Yet it seemed good to the holy Ghost and to them, to accept that which they found, (the same being for the greatest part true and sufficient) rather then by making a new translation which would undoubtedly have exposed them to the criticism that they changed the scriptures to suit their doctrines. This would have made their witness questionable. This was probably the reason that the Translation of the Seventy was accepted of them.. And as prophet said: the Egyptians are men and not God, and their horses flesh and not spirit: it was true of the Seventy Egyptian scholars. They were not Prophets; they did many things well, as learned men; but yet as men they stumbled and fell, one through oversight, another through ignorance, yea, sometimes they added to the Original Hebrew, and sometimes to omitted things; which made the Apostles to leave them many times, when they left the Hebrew, and to deliver the sense thereof according to the truth of the word, as the spirit gave them utterance.
There were also within a few hundred years after CHRIST, translations many into the Latin tongue: for this tongue also was very fit to convey the Law and the Gospel by, because in those times very many Countries of the West, yea of the South, East and North, spake or understood Latin, being made Provinces to the Romans. But the Latin Translations were not very good either. Again they were not out of the Hebrew fountain (we speak of the Latin Translations of the Old Testament) but out of the Septuagint. So because the Greek was not altogether clear, the Latin derived from it was muddy. This moved Jerome, a most learned father, and the best linguist of his age to undertake the translating of the Old Testament, out of the very original fountains themselves (the Hebrew); which he performed with evidence of great learning, judgment, industry and faithfulness, that he hath forever bound the Church unto him, in a debt of special remembrance and thankfulness.
Now though the Church was thus furnished with Greek and Latin Translations, even before the faith of CHRIST was generally embraced in the Empire: Not even well-educated unbelievers were content to have the Scriptures in Languages which didn’t understand, Greek and Latin. But especially when it came to teaching the unlearned which hungered and thirsted after Righteousness, and had souls to be saved as well as they, they provided Translations into the common language 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 dozens of examples which prove that to have the Scriptures in the mother-tongue is not a new and novel idea, either by the Lord Cromwell in England, or by others in other places, but this has 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 grow 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 pretends a motherly affection towards her children, and to allow them the Scriptures in their mother tongue: but it is not a gift, because they must first get permission in writing before they may use them, and to get that, they must approve themselves to their priest. Howbeit, it seemed too much to Pope Clement VIII that there should be any permission granted to have the scriptures in the common tongue, and so he overruled the opinion of Pope Pius IV. So fearful are the Catholics of the light of the Scripture that they will not trust their people with it, not even if it is translated by their own men, no not with the permission of their own Bishops and Inquisitors. Yea, so unwilling they are to communicate the Scriptures to the people’s 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 prove that they had 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 test it, but he that hath the counterfeit; neither is it the honest 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 his weights tested, but he that uses deceit. But we will let them alone for this fault, and return to our translation.
Many men have spouted off (and yet are not stopped) with speeches about the translations that we already have (The Bishop’s Bible and the Geneva Bible): and ask what may be the reason or necessity for this new translation: Has the Church been deceived, say they, all this while? Has her sweet bread been mingled with leaven, her silver with dross, her wine with water, her milk with lime? 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. Has the bread been delivered by the fathers of the Church, and the same proved to be rotten? Was it not good? Why then was it imposed upon the people? Yea, why did the Catholics refuse 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 done. Augustine said, “Being provoked by the example of the learned that lived before my time, I have thought it my duty, to attempt to see whether my talent in the knowledge of the tongues, may be profitable in any measure to God’s 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.”
And to the same effect say we, that we are so far off from condemning anyone who did this kind of work, either in this land (the translators of the Bishop’s Bible) or beyond sea (the Geneva Bible), either in King Henry’s time, or Queen Elizabeth’s, that we acknowledge them to have been raised up of God, for the building and furnishing of his Church, and that they deserve everlasting remembrance. The Judgment of Aristotle is worthy and well known: If Timotheus had not been, we wouldn’t have had his sweet music but if we didn’t have Phrynis (Timotheus’ teacher) then we wouldn’t have had Timotheus. Therefore blessed be they, and most honored be their name, that break the ice, and help forward to the saving of souls. Now what can be more important, then to deliver God’s book unto God’s people in a language which they understand? Since of an hidden treasure, and of a fountain that is sealed, there is no profit. Yet for all that, as nothing is begun and perfected 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 helped by their labors, do endevor 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. How many books of profane learning have been gone over again and again, by the same translators and by others? Of one of Aristotle’s books, Ethikes, there are six or seven translations. Now if this cost may be bestowed upon the gourd, which provides little shade, and which today 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 forever? And this is the word of God, which we translate. What is the chaff to the wheat, saith the Lord? If a toy of glass be valuable to us, how ought we to value the true pearl? Therefore let no man’s eye be evil, because King James’ is good in authorizing this translation; neither let any be grieved, that we have a Prince that seeks the increase of our spiritual wealth, 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 and examined. For by this means it comes to pass, that whatsoever is sound already 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 than 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 yielding their service, and all that is within them, for the furnishing of the work? But besides all this, there is the principal motive for this work, and therefore ought least to quarrel it: for the Historical truth is, that upon the pleading of the Puritans, at King James’ corronation, the Conference at Hampton Court having been appointed for hearing their complaints. The Puritans complained that our Communion Book contained a corrupted translation of the Scriptures. This caused our Royal Majesty to order this new translation .
We do not deny, nay we affirm and avow, that the very simplest translation of the Bible in English, set forth by men of our faith contains the word of God, nay, is the word of God. As the King’s Speech which he uttered in Parliament, being translated into French, Dutch, Italian and Latin, is still the King’s 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. A man may be counted handsome, though he have some warts upon his hand, yea, not only freckles upon his face, but all scars. There is therefore no reason why the word translated should be denied to be the word notwithstanding that some imperfections and blemishes may be noted in the setting forth of it. For was the Septuagint perfect when Apostles, men indued with an extraordinary measure of God’s spirit, and privileged with the privilege of infallibiliy, had it in their hands? The Romanists therefore in refusing to hear, and daring to burn the English translations of the Word, did no less than despite the spirit of grace, from whom originally it proceeded, and whose sense and meaning, as well as man’s weakness would enable, it did express. The translation of the Seventy differs from the Original in many places, neither does it come near it, in grace and majesty; yet which of the Apostles did condemn it? Condemn it? Nay, they used it, which they would not have done, nor by their example of using it, commend it to the Church, if it had been unworthy of the name “Word of God.” And whereas the Romanists defend their vilifying and abusing of the English Bibles, by saying that the translators were heretics, (heretics they call us by the same right that they call themselves Catholics, both being wrong). 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 objection of the Romanists against us – altering and amending our Translations so often. But when is it a fault to go over his work, and to correct it where he saw a reason? 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 hinderance to it. And of all men those Romanists 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, but also of their Latin Translation? History shows that they have changed, edited and even removed their books of service which contained contradictions. So all the while that our adversaries make so many and so various editions themselves, will they be so unjust to challenge us for changing and correcting our work?
But it is high time to leave them, and to shew in brief what we proposed to do, and what course we held in this our study 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 into a good one, but to make a good one better, or out of many good ones, one principal good one; this has been our endeavor and goal. 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, as learned, not to learn: For the chief overseer and under his Majesty King James, 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 translators were selected who were expert the Hebrew and Greek tongues. And in what sort did these assemble? In the trust of their own knowledge, or of their sharpeness of wit, or deepness of judgment, as 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: “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 and the Greek of the New. These are the two golden pipes, or rather conduits, where through the olive branches empty themselves into the gold. Augustine called them precedent, or original tongues; Jerome called them fountains. The same Jerome affirmed, that as the credit of the old Books (he meant of the Old Testament) is to be tried by the Hebrew Volumes, so of the New by the Greek tongue, he meant 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 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 Jerome, that he could no sooner write any thing, but presently it was caught from him, and published, and he wasn’t given the opportunity to check his own work: neither, to be short, were we the first to translate the Scripture into English, and thus were destitute of former helps. None of these things: the work has not been done 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 this magnitude we do not fear not the blame of slackness.
Some people would prefer that we put no notes in the margins, lest we indicate some uncertainty. But we disagree in this point. For though, whatsoever things are really important are obvious. In those things that are plainly set down in the Scriptures, all such matters are found that concern Faith, hope, and Charity. Yet despite the criticism, partly to exercise and sharpen our wits, partly to wean the curious from loathing of them for their every-where-plainness, partly also to stir up our devotion to crave the assistance of God’s spirit by prayer, and lastly, that we might encourage discussion, 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 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 things the Scriptures are plain) but in matters of less importance, that fearfulness would look better than over-confidence, and if we will resolve, to resolve upon modesty it is better to question those things which are secret, than 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 neighbour) we cannot be absolutely sure. 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. Now in such a case, doesn’t a marginal note do well to admonish the Reader to seek further, and not to conclude or dogmatize upon this or that? For as it is a fault of unbelief, to doubt of those things that are obvious: 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, noting diversity of significance and sense in the margin, where the text is not so clear, must needs do good, yea is necessary, as we are persuaded. 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 the Romanists were sure that their high Priest had all laws shut up in his breast, as Pope Paul II bragged, and that he were as free from error by special privilege, as the Dictators of Rome were made by law invincible, 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 the Pope is subject to the same affections and infirmities that others be, and that his skin is penetrable.
Another thing we think good to admonish thee of (gentle Reader) that we have not tied our selves to repetitious phrases or words, as some wish that we had done. 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 conscientious, 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 Travelling; if one where Think, never Suppose; if one where Pain, never Ache; if one where Joy, neverGladness, &c. To change words, we thought savored more of curiosity then wisdom, and that rather it would breed scorn in the Atheist, than 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 appropriately? We might justly fear severe crtiicism, 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. 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 charged by the words of Saint James, 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 than God himself in using different words. may use the same liberty in our English versions as He did in the Hebrew and Greek. Lastly, we have on the one side avoided the nit-picking of the Puritans, who leave the old Ecclesastical words, and choose others, as when they put washing for Baptism, andCongregation instead of Church: as also on the other side we have shunned the obscurity of the Papists, in their Azimes, Tunike, Rational, Holocausts, Prææpuce, Pasche, and a number of such like, whereof their recent Translation is full, and with the purpose of hiding 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 for itself, as in the language of Canaan, that it may be understood even by the uneducated.
Many other things we might give thee warning of (gentle Reader) if we had not exceeded the proper length of a Preface already. It remains, that we commend thee 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 laboured, and you may enter into their labours; 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 Saviour 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 encouragement of Chrysostom, It is altogether impossible, that he that is serious (and watchful) should at any time be neglected: Lastly, the admonition and menacing of Augustine, They that despise God’s will and inviting it, shall feel God’s will taking vengeance on 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.