Abbildungen der Seite
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

it was a great effort for a single man, Cranmer did not rest in what he had especially considering the period in which already done. His mind was so inhe lived. An auth.: who cannot be tent on introducing a free use of the expected to be partial to him, but whose Scriptures by able and faithful translators, liberality of mind rises above all pre- that he divided an old English tranf. judices and distinctions (we mean Doctor lation of the New Testament into nine Geddes) thinks that “ though Tindall's or ten parts, and caused these parts to is far from being a perfect translation, be transcribed into paper books, which yet few first translations will be found he distributed among the most learned preferable to it. It is astonishing," adds Bithops, and others; requiring that they the Doctor, “ how little obsolete the would perfectly correct their respective language of it is, even at this day: and portions, and return them to bim at a in point of perspicuity and noble simpli- limited time. When the day came, the city, propriety of idiom and purity of only person who did not send in his ftyle, no English version has yet sur. proper part at Lambeth, was Stokefiey padied it.”

Doctor Geddes has farther Bishop of London. What was the redeclared, that, if he had been inclined. sult of this undertaking is not ascertainto make any prior English version the ed. ground-work of his own, it would cer-" Thomas, Lord Cromwell, concurred tainly have been Tindall's, and that with Cranmer in promoting the reading perhaps he should have done this, if and study of the Scriptures. In some Their Hebrew text had been the fame. injunctions which were published by him, Such a testimony to the merit of Tin- as the King's vicar-general and vicedall places him high in the rank of bibli- gerent in ecclesiastical matters, it was cal literature.

ordered, “ that every person, or proIn confequence of the gradual pre- prietary of any parish church within the valence of Protestant principles, a riling realm, should provide a book of the folicitude appeared for the diffusion of whole Bible, both in Latin and also in the Bible in the mother tongue. Arch- English, and lay it in the choir, for bishop Cranmer was particularly zealous every man that wished to look and read in this respect; and accordingly, rot- therein : and should discourage no man withstanding the opposition of Gardiner from reading any part of the Bible, and his party, he obtained, through the either in Latin or English.” Such a influence of Queen Anne Bullen, an permishon could not fail of tending to order from the King, for a new tranf- produce a great revolution in the minds Jation of the Scriptures. This was in of our countrymen. 1534 ; and in the next year the whole In the year 1537, another edition of Bible was finished at the press. From the English Bible made its appearance, the rapidity with which the work was which had been printed at Hamburgh, executed, it is evident that Cranmer and or Marpurg, by Grafton and Whithis associates must have had it in pre- church. It bore the name of Thomas rious preparation. The chief burden Matthewe, und was set forth with the of the undertaking lay upon Miles Cover- King's licence.

In this edition great dale, a divine whom we have formerly use was made of Tindall and Covercharacterised in his proper place, and dale ;

and the New Testament was from whom this version was called Tindall's version. In fact the whole “Coverdale's Bible." It is also often translation is represented to be no other alled Cranmer's Bible ; and it is the than that of Tindall and Coverdale, first English Bible that was allowed by fomewhat altered. That the name of royal authority, and the first translation Matthewe was a feigned one is univere of the whole sacred writings that was fally allowed, and that it was assumed printed in our language. Archbishop for prudential reasons; one of which


[ocr errors]

was, that the reader's obligation to the work, were fummoned to appear Tindall might be concealed, his memory before the inquisitors; and the impresbeing still odious to a great number of lion, consisting of 2,500 copies, was persons. John Rogers, before menti- feized and condemned to the flames. oned, a learned academic, and the first In consequence, however, of the avawho was condemned to the flames in rice of the officer who superintended the reign of Queen Mary, is understood the burning of the books, fome chests to have been employed by Cranmer in of them were sold to a haberdasher, for fuperintending the edition, and in far- the purpose of wrapping his wares, nishing the few emendations and addi- When the alarm sublided, the Englik tions which were thought necessary. At proprietors, who had fled from Paris, the intercession of the Archbishop, Lord returned to that city, and not only reCromwell again exerted his influence covered some of the copies which had with Henry the Eighth, and his vica- escaped the fire, but brought with them rical authority, in recommending the to London the presses, types, and prinBible to public notice: and so well ters. This translation took place in pleased was our worthy prelate with his the latter end of the year 1538. Early Lordship’s effectual interposition, that in 1539), Grafton and Whitchurch he expressed himfelf in the following printed the Bible in large folio, and preterms of pious gratitude and affection: fixed to it a beautiful frontispiece delign“ I doubt not but that hereby such fruit ed by Hans Holbein. In the text, of good knowledge shall ensue, that it those parts of the Latin version which fhall well appear hereafter what high are not found in the Hebrew or Greek and excellent service you have done are inserted in a smaller letter ; and a unto God and the King: which shall mark is used to denote a difference of so much redound to your honour, that, reading between the Hebrews and the beside God's reward, you shall obtain Chaldees. Matthewe's bible was reperpetual memory for the same within vised, and several alterations were made this realm. This deed you shall hear in the translation, particularly in the of at the great day, when all things book of Psalms; but the prologues and shall be opened and made manifest.” notes of the edition of 1537 were whol.

In 1538, a quarto New Teltament, ly omitted. This third edition of the in the. Vulgate Latin, and in Cover. Scriptures has been called the “ Bible dale's English, was printed with the in the large or great volume," and has King's licence. These repeated at- been supposed to be the same which tempts to enlighten the body of the Grafton obtained leave to print at Paris. people with the knowledge of the Scrip. If it was a different impression, it was tures could not fail to excite great jea- still under the chief care of Miles Colousy in the adherents to Popery. There verdale, who compared the translation was nothing which they dreaded so with the original Hebrew, and improvmuch as vernacular translations of the ed it in many places. Bible. At the request of King Henry In the course of the same year, anhimself, Grafton had obtained a per- other Bible was printed by John Byddell; miflon from Francis the First to priat a and the conductor of it was Richard Bible at Paris, on account of the fupe- Taverner, who had received his educarior skill of the workmen, and tbe com. tion at Christchurch in Oxford, and parative goodness and cheapness of the was patronised by Cromwell, when sepaper. But, notwithstanding the royal cretary of state.' It was probably on licence, the Inquistion interposed to account of Taverner's great skill in the prevent the execution of the design. Greek language that he was encouraged The French printers, their English em by his patron to undertake this work, ployers, and Coverdale the corrector of which is neither a bare sevisal of the


[ocr errors]

English bible just described, nor a new porter. The prelates, who were hofversion, but between both. Many of tile to their metropolitan's laudable exthe marginal notes of Matthewe's im- ertions, represented to the King, that preslon are adopted, many omitted, and the English translation was very erroOthers inserted. Taverner, in his de- neous and heretical. Agreeably to the, dication to the King, expresses a pro- language which is fo congenial to all per sense of the difficulty of a good those who are averse to every species iranslation of the Scriptures. Such a and degree of reform, it was said, that tranllation, he thinks, could scarcely the free ufe of the Bible was calculated be accomplished by one or two persons; to increase faction and parties, to raise and that it would require the deep con- disputes among the common people, ferring of many learned wits together, and to destroy the peace of the kingdom. and a full proportion of time and leisure. In the Convocation, which met in 1542, After Cromwell's death, the influence the archbishop, in the King's name, reof the bishops, who were addicted to quired the bishops and clergy to revise the Romish religion, procured Taver- the translation of the New Testament, ner's imprisonment in the Tower upon For this purpose, he divided it into account of this work ; but he had the fourteen parts, and portioned them out address to reinstate himself in the King's to fifteen bishops, affigning two to the favour, and his version was read in book of Revelations, on account of its churches by royal authority.

difficulty. The Convocation being soon Several privileged editions of the Bi. dissolved, the desigo was not carried inble rapidly succeeded ; no less than five to execution. The view of the hostile having appeared in 1540. In the same prelates was to banish the translation year, the curates and parishioners of e- already made, and to introduce one very parish were required, by royal pro- which should be so frequently interfperclamation, to provide themselves with sed with Latin words as to remain unin. the Bible of the largest volume; and to telligible to the mere English reader. the neglect of doing it a penalty was an- In parliament, the Romish party so far nexed. All ordinaries were, at the prevailed, that Tindall's translation was same time, charged to see that the pro- condemned and abolished by law. 0. clamation was obeyed. In 1541, a ther versions were, indeed, permitted new edition of Cranmer's bible was to remain in force ; but even these verfinished by Grafton ; and this was fol. fions were to be read by the higher claflowed, in a few months, by an impres. ses only; and not by the lower fort, fion of another bible of the largest fize, without the King's licence. It was which was superintended, at the King's with no small difficulty, that Cranmer command, by Tonstal bishop of Dur. obtained fome mitigation of these injuncham, and Heath bishop of Rochester. tions. Grafton, the prioter, who had

This edition was followed by a far- been so zealous in promoting the knowther decree from Henry, that a Bible. ledge and diffuĝon of the Scriptures, should be set up in every parish through- was imprisoned ; nor was he' released out England. But notwithstanding till he had given a bond of three hun. these injunctions were so frequently re- dred pounds neither to print nor to sell peated, they were partially and reluct- any more English bibles till the King aptly observed. The matter was dif- and the clergy should agree on a translacouraged by those bishops who were at- tion. In the year 1544, the Pentatached to Popery, and whose power and teuch was printed according to the coinfluence gradually gained strength, af- py which was set forth by royal authoter the execution of Thomas Cromwell, rity, and in 1546, a proclamation was Earl of Essex. In him the venerable issued, which prohibited the possession Cranmer loft a zealous and able fup. and the reading of Wickliff's, Tindall's,

and and Coverdale's translations, and for. land, some of the English refugees conbad the use of any other than what was tinued at Geneva for the sole purpose allowed by Parliament. This was the of finishing the undertaking. The three last act of Henry the Eighth relative to most learned of the translators were the subject in question. Our enlighe. Bishop Coverdale, Anthony Gilby, and ened readers will observe, with plea- William Whittingham ; and they were sure, the ardour that was displayed in all of them zealous Calvinists, both with the prosecution of religious knowledge, regard to doctrine and discipline. This and the progress it made, notwithstand translation was so popular, and was so ing the difficulties and obstructions with much used in private families on account which it was encompassed.

of the notes, that, from the year 1500 On the accession of King Edward to 1616. there were more than thirty the Sixth, great encouragement was editions of it, in folio, quarto, or ocgiven to the reading of the Scriptures. tavo; not to mension the impressions A royal injunction was published, that of it that took place at Geneva, Edinthe whole English Bible should be plac- burgh, and Amsterdam.

It was, a ed in churches ; and it was farther en-' work of great labour ; but some of the joined, that the paraphrafe of Erasmus marginal notes gave offence to very in English, to the end of the four Evan- high churchmen and the zealots for gelists, should occupy the same situation. prerogative. For this reason King James We cannot but remark, to the honour the First spoke of it, at the conference of Erasmus, that this great man, whose at Hampton-court, in terms of peculiar services to general literature were so dislike. Whatever may be thought of eminent and extraordinary, was thus a' it in this respect, Doctor Geddes does peculiar benefactor to our own country, not hesitate to declare, with relation to in a matter of the utmost importance. the version itself, that he thinks it in During the course of Edward's reign, general better than that of King James's which was less than eight years, eleven translation. impressions of the whole Bible were In 1568, appeared the Bible, which, published, and six of the New Testa- upon account of eight Bishops, beside ment. It is worthy of observation, that other persons, being employed in it, the Bibles were reprinted agreeably to has been called the Bishops' Bible, the preceding editions ; whether Tin- This edition was undertaken by royal dall's, Coverdale's, Matthewe's Cran- commandment, and was executed una mer's, or Taverner's. Hence it is evi- der the auspices of Archbishop Parker, dent that they appeared with a different who exerted all his weight and talents text, and with different notes ; 'the re. upon the subject. In the accomplishformers seeming more desirous of grati. ment of the design, distinct portions of fying the taltes of all readers, than fear. the Bible (being at least fifteen in numful of perplexing them by night varia. ber) were allotted to select men of learn tions. It is doubtful whether during ing and abilities ; and other critics were this reign any fresh attempts were made employed in comparing the work with. at a translation.

the original languages, and with the No public encouragement to works former translations. One of these critics, of this kind could be given under the the names of most of whom are now popish government of Queen Mary : but little adverted to, was Giles Laurence, the Protestant exiles at Geneva formed a man of great celebrity at that time for the design of a new version of the Bible, his knowledge of the Greek tongue, which was completed in 1560, and and whose castigations were exactly fol. printed in that city. Notwithstanding lowed. The Archbishop fent instrucQueen Mary's decease, and the acces. tions concerning the method which the fion of Elisabeth to the throne of Eng. tranflators were to observe ; and he rea



[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

commended the addition of some short effect of the Hampton-court conference. marginal notes, for the illustration and and the only point wherein the contendcorrection of the text. He did not, ing parties agreed. On the second day however, trust to others; but took upon of that conference, Doctor Raynolds, himself the principal direction of the the principal speaker for the Puritans; affair, reviewed the performance, and moved the King that a new version of perhaps gave it the finishing hand. It the Bible might be undertaken ; and was not so much his province to trans- the reasons aligned by him for his molate, as to oversee, direct, examine, pre- tion were, that the translations which pare, and complete the whole. So had been allowed in the reigns of Henry highly, pleased was our good prelate the Eighth and Edward the Sixth were when this great work was brought to corrupt, and that other existing translaa conclusion, that, in the spirit and the tions were not conformable to the truth words of old Simeon, he expressed the of the original. The King answered, tranquillity with which he should now that he had never yet.seen a Bible well meet his dissolution. Most of the edi- translated into English, and expressed tions of the Bishops' Bible are in folio his with that the most learned men in and quarto ; the reason of which is, both the Universities would engage in that it was chiefly designed for the use the work ; which, when revised by the of churches.

Bishops, might be presented to the The zeal of the English Protestants council

, and then receive the sanction for translations of the sacred writings of his authortity : that so the whole at length stirred up the Roman Catho- national church might be bound to that lics to the same business. It was im- version, and not to be permitted to use poflible any longer

to refst the torrent ; any other. On the suggestion of Bishop and therefore, instead of opposing it, Bancroft, marginal notes were forbidthey resolved to have a version of their den. In 1604, fifty-four learned men own making : nor were they ashamed of Oxford, Cambridge, and of other to confess that they were driven into places, were commissioned to confer tothis measure contrary to their will. In gether, so that nothing should pass with. 1582, an Engliih New Testament, in out a general consent, and every meaquarto, was printed at Rheims, tranf- sure be adopted that might contribute to lated from the Vulgate Latin, and re. the perfection of the undertaking. taining many Oriental,' Greek and The number of actual translators was Latin words, with an apparent inten- reduced by death to forty-seven, who tion of rendering the tex: less capable were divided into fix claffes, according of being understood" by common read to the following arrangement : “ Ten

The Old Testament was after were to meet in Westminister, and to wards published at Douay, in two translate from the Pentateuch to the end quarto volumes, the first of which ap of the second book of Kings. Eight, peared in 1609, and the second in assembled at Cambridge, were to finish 1610. William Alan, Gregory Martin, the rest of the Historical Books, and and Richard Bristow are understood to the Hagiographa. At Oxford, seven have been the trarnators ; and it is faid were to undertake the four Greater that the annotator was Thomas Wor. Prophets, with the Lamentations of Jethington. The version of the New remiah, and the twelve minor Prophets. Testament has by some writers been The Epistles of St Paul, and the res chiefly ascribed to Will Raynolds. maining canonical epistles, were allotted

We come now to the autboritative to another company of seven at Weftoi tranflation of the Holy Scriptures, which minster, Another company of eight, !! was accomplished in the reign of James at Oxford, were to translate the Fougo the First, and which was the only good Gospels, the Ads of the Apostles, and


[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]



« ZurückWeiter »