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CONGREGATION A L
No. 9. N.-S.]
MEMOIR OF MILES COVERDALE, D. D.
(Concluded from p. 398.)
nnnnnnn COVERDALE, and his brethren at owed to God, with the most conGeneva, did not return home im- venient speed, to promote to the mediately on the accession of utmost of their power her good Elizabeth, but remained there a proceedings, and most worthy short time to finish the translation enterprizes. Although they had of the Scriptures. They published begun more than a year ago, for the New Testament in 1555, 1557, the comfort of the church, then and 1560, entitled, “ The Newe most grievously afflicted by the Testament of our Lorde Jesus cruel rage and horrible tyranny of Christ, conferred diligently with the Papists, to peruse the English Greke and best approved trans- translation of the Bible, and to lacions.” This was the first ever bring it to the pure simplicity and printed with numerical 'verses. true meaning of the Spirit of God, They published a new translation as far as they were able to attain of the Psalms, with notes in the by the knowledge of the Hebrew margin, and a dedication to queen tongue, the conference of most Elizabeth, in which they affec- perfect translations in other lantionately exhorted her majesty to guages, and by the judgment of press forwards courageously in the the best learned in those parts ; reformation of the church; that, yet when they heard that the Alas the famous queen of Sheba ob- mighty and most merciful God had tained the most worthy renown by no less miraculously preserved her her great desire to hear the wisdom majesty to that most excellent digof Solomon, so queen Elizabeth's nity, than he had preserved her noble fame should remain for ever, from the fury of such as sought not only in perpetual memory on her blood; with most joyful minds, earth, but also registered among and great diligence, they endeathe worthies of God in heaven, if voured to set forth this excellent with earnest zeal and hearty affec- book of the Psalms to her majesty, tion, she sought after, and set forth, as a special token of their service the heavenly wisdom of Jesus and good will ; till the rest of the Christ; who opened and offered Bible, which they praised God, the rich treasures of his wisdom in was in great forwardness, should such abundance at this time to all be accomplished and presented. nations, but especially to her noble According to the intimation here realm of England, which other given, these worthy exiles pubrealms and nations had set before lished a new translation of the their eyes as a pattern of true reli- whole Bible in quarto, with margion and christian life. In the ginal notes, usually called “ the mean time, they, being her humble Geneva Bible,” but entitled, “The subjects, thought it å duty they Bible and Holy Scriptures conNEW SERIES, No. 9.
teyned in the Olde and Newe Tes- God is our witness that we have tament. Translated according to by all means endeavoured to set the Ebrue and Greeke, and con- forth the purity of the word, and ferred with the best translations in right sense of the Holy Ghost for divers languages,” 1560. In their the edifying of the brethren in faith dedication, “ To the most vertuous and charity." But the marginal and noble quene Elisabet,” they notes, or something in the dedisay, concerning the manner of cation, having given offence to building the church of Christ, “ It those in power, this translation was is not according to man, nor after not suffered to be printed in the wisdom of the flesh, but of the England till the death of archbishop Spirit, and according to the word Parker; after which it soon passed of God, whose ways are diverse through numerous editions. from man's ways. If it was not The translators of this Bible lawful for Moses to build the ma- were Coverdale, Gilby, Goodman, terial tabernacle after any other Whittingham, Sampson, Cole, sort than God had showed him by Knox, Bodleigh and Pullain, who a pattern, neither to prescribe any submitted their labonrs to the reotherceremonies and laws than such vision of the celebrated Calvin as the Lord had expressly com- and Beza, before they sent them to manded, how can it be lawful to the press. An impartial writer in proceed in this spiritual building those times, therefore, remarks on in any other way than Jesus Christ the suppression of this translation, the Son of God, who is the founder, - That if that Bible were such as head, and chief corner-stone, hath no enemy of God could justly find commanded by his word? For as fault with, then might men marmuch as he hath established and vel that such a work, being so proleft an order in his church, forfitable, should find so much favour the building up of his body, ap- as not to be re-printed. If it were pointing some to be apostles, some not faithfully translated, then let it prophets, some evangelists, some still find as little favour as it now pastors and teachers, he signifieth doth.” This translation was rethat every one, according as he is published in the year 1810, called placed in this body, which is his " The Reformer's Bible.” church, ought to inquire of his mi- Dr. Coverdale did not confine nisters concerning the will of the the labours of his pen to the transLord, which is revealed in his lation of the Scriptures; but, being word.”
one of the principal reformers, and After the dedication, dated an author of great celebrity, it April 10, 1560, is an epistle “ To will be proper to notice some of their beloved in the Lord, the his publications. Standish, a zeabrethren of England, Scotland, lous Catholic, having published and Ireland;" in which they say, “ A Treatise against the Protes“God knoweth with what fear and tation of Robert Barnes at the trembling we have, night and day, time of his death," 1540, Coverfor the space of two years and more, dale the same year printed a reply, been occupied in this work; and entitled " A confutacion of that this we may with a good conscience treatise which one John Standish protest, that we have in every made agaynste the protestacion of point and word, according to the D. Barnes, wherein the Holy measure of knowledge God has Scriptures are restored to their given us, faithfully rendered the true understonding agayne.” The text, and in all hard places most dedication is “ To all them that sincerely expounded the same. either read or hear God's holy
word, and give over themselves to to hold in their possession the live unfeignedly according to the New Testament by Tindal or Cosame.”
verdale. The bigotted Mary supHe translated and published pressed all books published by the two pieces in one duodecimo vo- Reformers, among which were enulume, without date, but probably merated those of Luther, Calvin, about the period last mentioned. Latimer, Hooper, Cranmer, and The former is entitled, “ A faythful Coverdale. and moost Godlye treatyse con
The subject of this memoir was cernynge the most sacret sacra- justly ranked among the most ment of the blessed body and learned and venerable fathers of bloude of oure Savioure Christe :” the Protestant Church of England; the latter is, “ The order that the and no one was more signally inchurche and congregacion of strumental in promoting the great Chryst in Denmark and in many work of the Reformation. After places, countres and cities of Ger- the slaughter of the Protestants many doth use.” This is dedi- under queen Mary, Dr. Coverdale cated by Coverdale, “To all them returned once more to his native that honger and thyrst for the country, when he collected and glorye of God and welthe of their published “Certayne most Godlie, neighboures;" he then adds, “ It Fruitful, and Comfortable Letters were to me a singular comforte, of True Saintes, Martyrs and Remy ryght dear and entierly beloued formers," quar. 1543. In the debrethren and systern in Jesu Chryst, dication " To the Christian yf I myght be with you my selfe Reader,” he says, “In these continually, and communycatevnto writings, we see and behold as in you some parte of lytle tayst whych a glass, not only what plentiful I have receaved of the Lorde my furniture and store of heavenly God for your sakes, and all the grace, wisdom, knowledge, underlawful wayes that I could devyse standing, faith, love, hope, zeal, haue I soughte this great whyle to patience, meekness, and obedience, opteyne lycence of the hyer powers with the worthy fruits thereof, for the same purpose. But it wyll which Almighty God bestowed not be. Wherefore, though I be upon his most dear children ; but hydred and kepte frome you by all also what fatherly care he ever the meanes that Satan and hys had for them; how his mighty membres can ymagen; yet shall hand defended them; how his proye haue my poore herte; yet wyl vidence kept watch and ward I not ceasse to wysh you good; over them; how his loving eye yet wyl I doo the best for you that looked unto them; how his graI can, al though it be but wyth cious ear heard their prayers; how my pen."
he was always mindful of them, Under the outrages of Henry never forgot them, neither failed and of Mary, every practicable nor forsook them; how the arms means was employed to suppress of his mercy were stretched out to the reformation, and to establish embrace them, whensoever they popery. The papal frauds and faithfully returned unto him ; how superstitions were not allowed to valiant and strong in spirit, how be examined in the light of day, joyful under the cross, how quiet and the writings of the Protestants and cheerful in trouble he made were severely prohibited by the them; what victory over their highest authority. Henry issued enemies ; what deliverance out of his haughty proclamation, forbid- bonds and captivity; what health ding his subjects to read, or even in sickness ; what recovery from