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they ought not to exclude the more Primitive way of Singing, or Chanting the Psalms, as used now in our Choirs, in a Prose, or plain Translation.
II. as to the Translation which is here explained, and Vindicated, and which is commonly used in our Churches, it ought to be valued by all English Protestants, if for no other reason, yet because it is part of that Bible, with which the Eyes of our Ancestors in King Henry the Eighth’s Time were first enlightned with Divine Truth: And they who were chiefly concern’d in the Translating and Publishing of it, were three Men that were very useful Instruments in the Reformation of Religion, by Writing, Preaching, and Suffering for it; I mean, William Tindall, John Rogers, and Miles Coverdale ; some account of whose lives and Deaths hereafter Follows.
Though I would not be thought a Friend to the Superstition of the Papists, who pay fo much honour to the Reliques of their Saints and Martyrs; yet, as the Gifts of Dying Friends are to be prized above their real intrinsick Value; fo I think a greater regard should be paid to the Writings of Martyrs and Confeffors, than tothose of other Merr: Because none can deserve more of the Church, and all that love Religion, than they who have shed their Blood in defence of it. They have effectually prov'd themselves to be in earnest; and theres fore what good they have done, or said, challenges a peculiar honour, from all that are themselves Friends to Religion. And as I value the Writings of the New Testament the more, because they who Penn'd them, did all, or most of them, Dię to testify the Truth of what they had Writterr; So I cannot but have the greater respect for this Psalter, and the Liturgy, whereof 'tis a part, when I consider how many of those, who Trapilated the
one, and Composed the other, did actually Die in the Cause of God, and his Truth, and thereby gave the greatest demonstration, that they acted all along in this matter with the greatest inten grity:
Thiş English, Pfalter was first Publish'd, together with the rest of the Bible, in the Year of Christ 1535, and Dedicated to Henry VIII. by Dr. Coverdale, and was called [Tindall, and Coverdale's Bible] becaufe it was well known that the former had a share in that Performance, as well as the latter: But Mr. Tindall was Imprisoned before the work was finished, and therefore Dr. Coverdale was obliged to complete, and publish it. In the Year 1539 there was another Edition of it, with many considerable Alterations, begun at Paris, encouraged by the King himself, at the Instigation of the most Reverend Archb. and Martyr Granmer, and the Lord Cromwell, and afterwards finished in London, the furious Papists in France having, by I know not what Arts, not only interrupted the Work, but burnt many of the Books, so far as they were Printed, tho it is said that the French King had exprelly given leave for the Printing it. Dr. Coverdale had the care and inspection of this Edition committed to him: This is that which was called [the Great Bible ] and the Pfalter now used in our Liturgy is according to this Edition, without any observable Variations, except in the Spelling. Mr. Rogers in the Year 1537. put put an Edition of this Bible, under the borrow'd Name of Thomas, Matthews, with an- Index, and Notes, and another in 1551, which I have seen. These feveral Editions do so agree in the main, that one cannot justly call them
distinct Translations, and yet in many particulars they differ from one another; I may have occasion accidentally to mention some few in these Papers.
It would indeed have been strange if our Reformers, in King Edward's Time had not kept to that Translation, which was fo much valu'd in the former Reign, by all that had a Zeal for Reformation; and by the Reading, of which the minds of Men had been prepared, and disposed to this great and happy Work. In Queen Elizabeth's Reign there was another Translation of the Holy Scriptures, performed by Authority, and in King James the First's, a Third ; but the Epistles, Gospels and Pfalter, were still according to (the
Great Bible. ] - At King Charles the Second's Restauration, the Epistles and Gospels were inserted from the last Translation; but the old Psalter was still continued : The ConvoCation of our Bishops and Clergy, did, it seems; prefer this Translation of the Pfalms before any other in the Englisla Tongue; and I cannot but think them more competent Judges in such matters, than any private Pertons, how eminent foever.
III. As to what I have done by way of Explanation by the Notes in the Margin, some perhaps may think they are too many,
and large; others, that they are too short, and few: I can only say, that I have used the best Judgment I could. And as I thought nothing too little to be observed, which might be helpful to them, who don't make Divinity or the Languages their Study, who often stumble at such things as seem'extremely easy to Men versed in the Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and our own ancient Tongue; fo I have not said any more than what I thought necessary, to give a competent meaning of the Text to a midling English Reader: For the Sense is as often obfcur'd by laying too much, as too little.
I write not these Notes for Men of Learning, they had much better helps before, very many in the Latin, and the most acute Dr. Hammond, and
Bishop Patrick in the English. I have made great use of both, and often used their very words; but not so as always servilely to follow them: I often leave both, that I may keep close to the English Text, whereas neither of those two great Men thought fit to take this Translation for their Guide, nor indeed any other ; for tho' they put the last Translation in the place of their Text, yet they often desert it, and in their Paraphrafes pursue a sence which is not to be found in either of our English Psalters. Their design was to shew, what they thought the most apt Sence of the Hebrew; mine to affift our English Readers in the understanding of that Translation, which our Church in an efpecial manner recommends to us, which was what they neither of them proposed, or designed ; and if they had, their works are not so easily purchased, or to foon read, as this may be. ',
I have Transcribed fo much of the Hebrew Titles Translated into English, as might give any light to the Text, and have followed Bishop Patrick very often in his Conjectures, or Opinion concerning the occasion of Composing the several Psalms, in which he is for the most part very happy: But I have not troubled myself, or Readers, by giving them my own, or other Mens Guesses at the meaning of many hard Words, which are found in the Hebrew Titles; not only because they are of no manner of use to my present design, but because all that are Modest, as well as Learned, acknowledge, that there is a great deal of uncertainty in the most probable Conjectures, that have been made on those nice, and unnecessary matters.
There are some English words in the Translation, that are now, in 170 Years time, worn out of common use: These I have endeavour'd to explain in a short Vocabulary; one half of which are found in the last Translation, as well as this.
Illiam Tindall was Born on the borders of
Wales, but brought up from a Child at Oxford, and was at last a Student in Magdalen-Hall; where even in those dark times, he both Read the Scriptures himself, and instructed others in the knowledge of them: He was wholly addicted to the ftudy of Divine Truth, which produced in him the most noble effects of a Holy Life, and Conversation, by which he was admirably well-qualified for Holy Orders, into which he enter'd either before his remove to Cambridge, or foon after. :: From Cambridge he was invited to the House of one Sir - Welch, Kt. in Gloucestershire, to be Tutor to his Children: The Knight, and efpecially the Lady, were very firm to the prevailing Errors of Popery, and fo were many others of Title and Quality, who frequently reforted to their House. Mr. Tindall, was well-acquainted with the Writings of Luther, and Erafmus, and could not bear to hear them run down, and treated with Contempt and Infolence, and would often stand up in defence of them; and when his Company would not be fatif