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Some of the Presbyterians were not well pleased with this Translation, suspecting it would ábate the Repute of that of Geneva, with their Annotations made by the English Exiles, and printed with the general Liking of the People, above thirty Times over. And some complained that they could not see into the Sense of the Scriptures, for the lack of those Geneva Annotations. But to say nothing of the Defects and Faults of those Annotations, (though the beft in those Times which are extant in English) these Notes were so tuned to that Translation alone, that they would jar with any other, and could no way be fitted to this new Edition of the Bible.
Some of our Church also would pretend to find Errors and Mistakes in it (and no Body thinks it wholly free). Mr. Walton in the Life of Bishop Sancerfon gives a remarkable Instance of this: Dr. Kilby, an excellent Critick in the Hebrew Tongue, Professor of it in the University, a perfect Grecian, and one of the Translators, going into the Country, took Mr. Sanderson to bear him Company. Being at the Church on Sunday, they found the young Preacher to have no more Discretion, than to waste a great Part of the Time allotted for his Sermon in Exceptions against the late Translation of several Words, (not excepting such a Hearer as Dr. Kilby) and shewed Three Reasons why a particular Word should have been otherwise translated. The Preacher in the Evening was invited to the Doctor's Friend's House, where, after some other Conference, the Doctor told him, he might have preached more useful Doctrine, and not have filled his Auditors Ears with needlets Exceptions against the late Translation ; and for that Word, for which he offered that poor Congregation Three Realons, why it ought wu have been translated as he faid, he and others had considered all of them, and found Thirteen more considerable Reasons, why it was translated as now printed. And told hiin, if his Friend, (Mr. Sanderson) then attending him, should prove Guilty of such Indifcretion, he should forfeit his Favour. To which Mr. Sanderson said, he hoped he should not.
At a Grand Committee for Religion, in a pretended Parliament summoned by Oliver Cromwell Anno 1656, it was crdered that a SubCommittee should advise with Dr. Walton, Mr. Hughes, Mr. Gaftle, Mr. Clerk, Mr. Poulk, Dr. Cudworth, and such others as they thought proper, to consider of the Translations and Impressions of the Bible, and to offer their Opinion thereiu to the Committee, and that it should be more particularly recommended to Bulftrode IV hitlock, one of the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury, to take Care of that Affair. The Committee met frequently at IVhitlock’s House, where the learned Men in the Oriental Languages attended, made many Observations upon this Subject, and pretended to discover fome Mistakes in the lait Englij Transation, which yet they allowed was the best extant. They took a great deal of Pains in this Business, which yet came to nothing by the Diffolution of the Parliament.
After the Restoration, the King granted a Commiffion Anno 1661, to several Persons to review the Liturgy, in order to have it farther accommodated to a general Satisfaction, and the Bishop of London's Lodgîngs in the Savoy were appointed for the Place of Meeting, when the Presbyterian Divines delivered in their Exceptions to the CommonPrayer, together with the additional Forms and Alterations which they defired. One of their Exceptions was, that there were many Defects observed in the Version of the Scriptures, used in the Litu gy, that it was either obsolete in Language, or mistaken in Sense, as they endea. voured to prove in several Instances; they therefore moved that this Version might be struck out, and the new Translation allowed by the Authority substituted inftead thereof. To which the Commissioners on the Liturgy's Part returned their Answer, wherein they were willing that all the Epistles and Gospels, be used according.to the last Translation, but that the Psalms be used after the former Translation, mentioned in the Rubrick, and printed according to it; which was done accordingly.
Leave we then these worthy Men the Translators, now all of them gathered to their Fathers, whose Industry, Skilfulness, Piety, and Difcretion, hath therein bound the Church unto them, in a Debt of ipecial Remembrance and Thankfulness. These with Jacob Gen. xxix, rolled away the Stone from the Mouth of the Well of Life, so that now even Rachel's weak Women may freely come both to drink themselves, and water the Flock of their Families at the same. And the Church has not only permitted all Believers, without Distinction of Age or Sex, to read these Holy Books, but always exhorted them to do so ('till these last Ages) by the Mouths of its Pastors, without excluding any. It has exhorted Children to it, that according to the Example of Timothy, they might be nourished and brought up in the Knowledge of the Holy Scriptures. It has exhorted Catechumens to it, and admitted them to hear the Word of God, though it excluded them from its Mysteries, that they might conceive a Veneration and Respect for the Religion which they embraced. It has exhorted Women, Maic's, and young Widows to it, that they might learn from it their leveral Duties, and by a continual Meditation on it, arrive to a greater Perfection of Spiritual Life. It has exhorted to it the Ignorant, and Men of low Degree, being persuaded that Jesus Christ had chosen fuch, even before the Great and Wise ; and that the Holy Scriptures, though they contain Mysteries and very sublime Things in them, are nevertheless suited to the Capacities of all Persons, and accommodated to the Understanding of the meanest Readers, so that a Mechanick, a Servant, a poor Woman, and the most ignorant of Men may profit by reading them. It has exhorted to it not only such as profess to lead a Spila tual Life, but those who live in the World, who have a Family and Employment, that they might find there a Support for their Weakness, in the midst of the Dangers to which the Occupations of this World expose them, and Affiftance against the Temptations, to which they are continually liable. It has exhorted to it Sinners, and Persons' engaged in a vicious. Course, that they might there seek a Remedy for their Spiritual Diftempers; and hearkning to the Voice of God, and being enlightened by his Word, might be sensible of their Errors, and ernbrace the Means of breaking off the Chains of their wicked Customs. So that neither Age, nor Sex, nor Ingenuity, nor want of Capacity, por a Man's Profession, nor the Condition he is in, have been ever G 2
looked upon as fufficient Reasons to forbid Chriftians to read the Holy Scriptures. In a Word, the Church has not only exhorted all Believers to read them, but told them, by the Mouths of the holy Fathers, that it is the Devil, who diverts Christians from so doing. It has reproved and blamed those who neglected it, and declared that the Ignorance of the Holy Scriptures, is one of the chief Causes of all our Miseries; that from thence, as from an unhappy Spring, had proceeded innumerable Disorders; that thence came such a swarm of Heresies, such Depravation of Manners, fuch a Multitude of useless Labours, and vain Employments, in which Christians engaged themselves.
Happy! thrice happy ! hath our English Nation been, fince God hath given it learned Translators, to express in our Mother Tongue the Heavenly Mysteries of his holy Word, delivered to his Church in the Hebrew and Greek Languages; who although they may have in some Matters of no Importance unto Salvation, as Men, been deceived and mistaken, yet have they faithfully delivered the whole Substance of the Heavenly Doctrine, contained in the Holy Scriptures, without any Heretical Translations, or wilful Corruptions. With what Reverence, Joy, and Gladness then ought we to receive this Blessing ! Let us read the Scriptures with an humble, modeft, and teachable Difpofition, with a Willingness to embrace all Truths which are plainly delivered there, how contrary soever to our own Opinions and Prejudices; and in Matters of Difficulty readily hearken to the Judgment of our Teachers, and those that are set over us in the Lord ; check every prefumptuous Thought or Reasoning which exalts itself against any of those Mysterious Truths therein revealed. And if we thus search after the Truth in the Love of it, we shall not miss of finding that Knowledge, which will make us wife unto Salvation.
HE authors of his incomparable Version and learned Commen
tary having given a particular account, at the end of the Introduction, of each branch of their work, the translator has thought fit to prefix, by way of preface, the substance of what is there faid, that the reader may beforehand have a just notion of the nature of the whole undertaking,
It having been represented to the late king of Prussia, that the French Verfions of the holy scriptures being, by length of time, become obsolete and unintelligible, it was necessary either to make a new translation, or revise the old ones; he was pleased to cast his eyes on Messieurs De Beaufobre and Lenfant, as the properest persons to do the publick that important piece of service. Accordingly they jointly set about this work, by the king's express order, and after some years compleated the whole, consisting of the following parts; An Introduclory Discourse to the Reading of the Scriptures ; An Abstract or Harmony of the Gospel History; A New Version of all the Books of the New Testament ; A literal Commentary on all the difficult Pasages, with a General Preface to all St. Paul's Epislles, and a Gritical Preface to cach book in particular,
1. The best
I. The INTRODUCTION.
THOUGH there is nothing in the Introduclion but what
divines are well acquainted with, yet it may not be displeasing to them to fee to many particulars alluded to in the scriptures, and dispersed up and down in the works of the learned, brought together and handled in one treatise. It was chiefly intended for studerts in divi, nity, 'who have not the opportunity, or perhaps the ability, of coming at those voluminous works that treat of the many curious as well as neiefarv points here dulculsed. In the first part you have a clear account of all the Jewish matters as far as is requisite for the understanding the scriptures. The civil and religious state of the Jews: The Samaritans: ceremonies : The temple : sacrifices : synagogues : high priest, and others : courts of justice, particularly the Sannedrim: prophets and scribes, 7 ewish sects, Pharisees, Sadduces, Ejenes: Projelytes of the gute, and Profelytes of righteousness: yiars, months, days, and hours of the Jews : fafts and feasts, particularly the Jewish fabbath, &c. In the second part, which relates more especially to the New Testament, you have the proofs of the truth of the Christian religion: The nature of the New Tejlament style: The ch onol gy, and geography of the New Tjiament : The Hebrew menej, weights, and measures: The various readings: The division into chapters and verses: The heresies in the days of the Apostles: The versions of the New Testament, ancient and modern, to which will be added an account of our English ones, &c.
II. The Abftrall or Harmony of the GOSPEL HISTORY. As for the evangelical and apostolical Harmony, 1. It contains the hilo tory of the actions of Jesus Christ and the Apostles in their true order of time, which the Evangelists did not so much regard, as not conducing to their principal delign of proving Jejus to be the Meiab tron his die trines and miracles. 2. It shews what is common to all the Evangelijis, and what is particular to each of them. 3. It paraphrales or explains in other words ihe original text, which otherwise would require notes, 4. It clears up many things which could not so well be ireated of in the Commentary. 5. It may serve allo for a tabie of the principal matters.
III. The VERSION.
When our authors were ordered by the king of Prussia to undertake this work, they consulted whether they should revise the old verfions, or make an entire new one. But when they considered that a new translation would cost them no more time and pains than the revising an
old one, and that it was impossible to revise an old version, so as to make it all of a piece; they resolved upon the former, well knowing that the