The New Testament
diligently corrected and compared with the Greek
and finished in the year of our Lord God.
A.M.D. & XXXIIII.
in the month of November.
W. T. UNTO THE READER
Here have you (most dear reader) the New Testament or covenant made with us of God in Christ’s blood. Which I have looked over again (now at the last) with all diligence, and compared it unto the Greek, and have weeded out of it many faults, which lack of help at the beginning and oversight, did sow therein. If aught seem changed, or not altogether agreeing with the Greek, let the finder of the fault consider the Hebrew phrase or manner of speech left in the Greek words. Whose preterperfect tense and present tense is oft both one, and the future tense is the optative mood also, and the future tense is oft the imperative mood in the active voice, and in the passive ever. Likewise person for person, number for number, and an interrogation for a conditional, and such like is with the Hebrews a common usage.
I have also in many places set light in the margin to understand the text by. If any man find faults either with the translation or aught beside (which is easier for many to do, than so well to have translated it themselves of their own pregnant wits, at the beginning without an example) to the same it shall be lawful to translate it themselves and to put what they lust thereto. If I shall perceive either by myself or by the information of others, that aught be escaped me, or might be more plainly translated, I will shortly after, cause it to be mended. Howbeit in many places, methinks it better to put a declaration in the margin, than to run too far from the text. And in many places, where the text seems at the first chop hard to be understood, yet the circumstances before and after, and often reading together, makes it plain enough, etc.
Moreover, because the kingdom of heaven, which is the scripture and word of God, may be so locked up, that he which reads or hears it, cannot understand it: as Christ testifies how that the Scribes and Pharisees had so shut it up, Mat. xxiii, and had taken away the key of knowledge, Luke. xi, that their Jews which thought themselves within, were yet so locked out, and are to this day that they can understand no sentence of the scripture unto their salvation, though they can rehearse the texts everywhere and dispute thereof as subtly as the popish doctors of Duns’ dark learning, which with their sophistry, served us, as the Pharisees did the Jews. Therefore (that I might be found faithful to my Father and Lord in distributing unto my brethren and fellows of one faith, their due and necessary food: so dressing it and seasoning it, that the weak stomachs may receive it also, and be the better for it) I thought it my duty (most dear reader) to warn you before, and to show you the right way in, and to give you the true key to open it withal, and to arm you against false prophets and malicious hypocrites, whose perpetual study is to leaven the scripture with glosses, and there to lock it up whereas it should save your soul, and to make us shoot at a wrong mark, to put our trust in those things that profit their bellies only and slay our souls.
The right way: yea and the only way to understand the scripture unto our salvation, is, that we earnestly and above all things, search for the profession of our baptism or covenants made between God and us. As for an example: Christ says, Mat. v, Happy are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Lo, here God has made a covenant with us, to be merciful unto us, if we will be merciful one to another: so that the man which shows mercy unto his neighbor, may be bold to trust in God for mercy at all needs. And contrariwise, judgment without mercy, shall be to him that shows not mercy. So now, if he that shows no mercy, trust in God for mercy, his faith is carnal and worldly, and but vain presumption. For God has promised mercy only to the merciful. And therefore the merciless have not God’s word that they shall have mercy: but contrariwise, that they shall have judgment without mercy. And Mat. vi, if you shall forgive men their faults, your heavenly Father shall forgive you: but and if you shall not forgive men their faults, no more shall your Father forgive you your faults. Here also by the virtue and strength of this covenant wherewith God of his mercy has bound himself to us unworthy, may he that forgives his neighbor, be bold when he returns and amends to believe and trust in God for remission of whatever he has done amiss. And contrariwise, he that will not forgive, cannot but despair of forgiveness in the end, and fear judgment without mercy.
The general covenant wherein all others are comprehended and included, is this. If we meek ourselves to God, to keep all his laws, after the example of Christ: then God has bound himself unto us to keep and make good all the mercies promised in Christ, throughout all the scripture.
All the whole law which was given to utter our corrupt nature, is comprehended in the Ten Commandments. And the Ten Commandments are comprehended in these two: love God and your neighbor. And he that loves his neighbor in God and Christ, fulfills these two, and consequently the ten, and finally all the others. Now if we love our neighbors in God and Christ: that is to wit, if we be loving, kind and merciful to them, because God has created them unto his likeness, and Christ has redeemed them and bought them with his blood, then may we be bold to trust in God through Christ and his deserving, for all mercy. For God has promised and bound himself to us: to show us all mercy, and to be a Father Almighty to us, so that we shall not need to fear the power of all our adversaries.
Now if any man that submits not himself to keep the commandments, thinks that he has any faith in God: the same man’s faith is vain, worldly, damnable, devilish and plain presumption, as it is above said, and is no faith that can justify or be accepted before God. And that is it that James means in his Epistle. For how can a man believe says Paul, without a preacher, Ro. x. Now read all the scripture and see where God sent any to preach mercy to any, save unto them only that repent and turn to God with all their hearts, to keep his commandments. Unto the disobedient that will not turn, is threatened wrath, vengeance and damnation, according to all the terrible curses and fearful examples of the Bible.
Faith now in God the Father through our Lord Jesus Christ, according to the covenants and appointment made between God and us, is our salvation. Wherefore I have ever noted the covenants in the margins, and also the promises. Moreover where you find a promise and no covenant expressed therewith, there you must understand a covenant. For all the promises of the mercy and grace that Christ has purchased for us, are made upon the condition that we keep the law. As for an example: when the scripture says, Mat. vii, ask and it shall be given you: seek and you shall find: knock and it shall be opened unto you. It is to be understood, if that when your neighbor asks, seeks or knocks to you, you then show him the same mercy which you desire of God, then has God bound himself to help you again, and else not.
Also you see that two things are required to be in a Christian man. The first is a steadfast faith and trust in Almighty God, to obtain all the mercy that he has promised us, through the deserving and merits of Christ’s blood only, without any respect to our own works. And the other is, that we forsake evil and turn to God, to keep his laws and to fight against ourselves and our corrupt nature perpetually, that we may do the will of God every day better and better.
This have I said (most dear reader) to warn you, lest you should be deceived, and should not only read the scriptures in vain and to no profit, but also unto your greater damnation. For the nature of God’s word is, that whosoever read it or hear it reasoned and disputed before him, it will begin immediately to make him every day better and better, til he be grown into a perfect man in the knowledge of Christ and love of the law of God: or else make him worse and worse, til he be hardened that he openly resist the Spirit of God, and then blaspheme, after the example of Pharaoh, Coza, Abiram, Balaam, Judas, Simon Magus and such others.
This to be even so, the words of Christ, Joh. iii, do well confirm. This is the condemnation says he, the light is come into the world, but the men loved darkness more than light for their deeds were evil. Behold, when the light of God’s word comes to a man, whether he read it or hear it preached and testified, and he yet have no love thereto, to fashion his life thereafter, but consents still unto his old deeds of ignorance: then begins his just damnation immediately, and he is henceforth without excuse: in that he refused mercy offered him. For God offers him mercy upon the condition that he will mend his living: but he will not come under the covenant. And from that hour forward he waxes worse and worse, God taking his Spirit of mercy and grace from him for his unthankfulness sake.
And Paul writes, Ro. i, that the heathen because when they knew God, they had no lust to honour him with godly living, therefore God poured his wrath upon them, and took his Spirit from them and gave them up unto their heart’s lusts to serve sin, from iniquity to iniquity til they were hardened through and through and past repentance.
And Pharaoh, because when the word of God was in his country and God’s people scattered throughout all his land, and yet neither loved them or it: therefore God gave him up, and in taking his Spirit of grace from him so hardened his heart with covetousness, that afterwards no miracle could convert him.
Hereto pertains the parable of the talents, Mat. xxv. The Lord commands the talent to be taken away from the evil and slothful servant and to bind him hand and foot and to cast him into utter darkness, and to give the talent unto him that had ten, saying: to all that have, more shall be given. But from him that has not, that he has shall be taken from him. That is to say, he that has a good heart toward the word of God, and a set purpose to fashion his deeds thereafter and to garnish it with godly living and to testify of it to others, the same shall increase more and more daily in the grace of Christ. But he that loves it not, to live thereafter and to edify others, the same shall loose the grace of true knowledge and be blinded again and every day wax worse and worse and blinder and blinder, till he be an utter enemy of the word of God, and his heart so hardened, that it shall be impossible to convert him.
And Luk. xii, the servant that knows his master’s will and prepares not himself, shall be beaten with many stripes: that is, shall have greater damnation. And Mat. vii, all that hear the word of God and do not thereafter build on sand: that is, as the foundation laid on sand cannot resist violence of water, but is undermined and over thrown, even so the faith of them that have no lust nor love to the law of God build upon the sand of their own imaginations, and not on the rock of God’s word according to his covenants, turns to desperation in time of tribulation and when God comes to judge.
And the vineyard, Mat. xxi, planted and hired out to the husbandmen who would not render to the Lord, of the fruit in due time, and therefore was taken from them and hired out to others, does confirm the same. For Christ says to the Jews, the kingdom of heaven shall be taken from you and given to a nation that will bring forth the fruits thereof, as it is come to pass. For the Jews have lost the spiritual knowledge of God and of his commandments and also of all the scripture, so that they can understand nothing godly. And the door is so locked up that all their knocking is in vain, though many of them take great pain for God’s sake. And Luke. xiii, the fig tree that bears no fruit is commanded to be plucked up.
And finally, hereto pertains with infinite others, the terrible parable of the unclean spirit (Luke. xi) which after he is cast out, when he comes and finds his house swept and garnished, takes to him seven worse than himself, and comes and enters in and dwells there, and so is the end of the man worse than the beginning. The Jews, they had cleansed themselves with God’s word, from all outward idolatry and worshipping of idols. But their hearts remained still faithless toward God and toward his mercy and truth and therefore without love also and lust to his law, and to their neighbors for his sake, and through false trust in their own works (to which heresy, the child of perdition, the wicked bishop of Rome with his lawyers has brought us Christians) were more abominable idolaters than before, and become ten times worse in the end than at the beginning. For the first idolatry was soon spied and easy to be rebuked of the prophets by the scripture. But the latter is more subtle to beguile withal, and an hundred times more difficult to be weeded out of men’s hearts.
This also is a conclusion, nothing more certain, or more proved by the testimony and examples of the scripture: that if any that favours the word of God, be so weak that he cannot chaste his flesh, him will the Lord chastise and scourge every day sharper and sharper, with tribulation and misfortune, that nothing shall prosper with him but all shall go against him, whatsoever he takes in hand, and shall visit him with poverty, with sicknesses and diseases, and shall plague him with plague upon plague, each more loathsome, terrible and fearful than the other, til he be at utter defiance with his flesh.
Let us therefore that have now at this time our eyes opened again through the tender mercy of God keep moderation. Let us so put our trust in the mercy of God through Christ, that we know it pure duty to keep the law of God and to love our neighbors for their Father’s sake which created them and for their Lord’s sake which redeemed them, and bought them so dearly with his blood. Let us walk in the fear of God, and have our eyes open unto both parts of God’s covenants, certified that none shall be partaker of the mercy, save he that will fight against the flesh, to keep the law. And let us arm ourselves with this remembrance, that as Christ’s works justify from sin and set us in the favour of God, so our own deeds through working of the Spirit of God, help us to continue in the favour and the grace, into which Christ has brought us, and that we can no longer continue in favour and grace than our hearts are to keep the law.
Furthermore concerning the law of God, this is a general conclusion, that the whole law, whether they be ceremonies, sacrifices, yea or sacraments either, or precepts of equity between man and man throughout all degrees of the world, all were given for our profit and necessity only, and not for any need that God has of our keeping them, or that his joy is increased thereby or that the deed, for the deed itself, pleases him. That is all that God requires of us when we be at one with him and do put our trust in him and love him, is that we love every man his neighbor to pity him and to have compassion on him in all his needs and to be merciful unto him. This to be even so, Christ testifies, Mat. vii, saying: this is the law and the prophets. That is, to do as you would be done to (according I mean to the doctrine of the scripture) and not to do that you would not have done to you, is all that the law requires and the Prophets. And Paul to the Roma. xiii, affirms also that love is the fulfilling of the law, and that he which loves, does of his own accord all that the law requires. And, i. Timo. i, Paul says that the love of a pure heart and good conscience and faith unfeigned is the end and fulfilling of the law. For faith unfeigned in Christ’s blood causes to love for Christ’s sake. Which love is the pure love only and the only cause of a good conscience. For then is the conscience pure, when the eye looks to Christ in all her deeds, to do them for his sake and not for her own singular advantage or any other wicked purpose. And John both in his gospel and also epistles, speaks never of any other law than to love one another purely, affirming that we have God himself dwelling in us and all that God desires, if we love one the other.
Seeing then that faith to God and love and mercifulness to our neighbors, is all that the law requires, therefore of necessity the law must be understood and interpreted by them. So that all inferior laws are to be kept and observed as long as they be servants to faith and love: and then to be broken immediately, if through any occasion, they hurt either the faith which we should have toward God in the confidence of Christ’s blood or the love which we owe to our neighbors for Christ’s sake.
And therefore when the blind Pharisees murmured and grudged at him and his disciples, that they broke the Sabbath day and traditions of the elders, and that he himself ate with publicans and sinners, he answers, Mat. ix, alleging Isaiah the prophet: Go rather and learn what this means, I require mercy and not sacrifice. And Mat. xii, Oh that you had known what this means, I require mercy and not sacrifice. For only love and mercifulness understands the law, and else nothing. And he that has not that written in his heart, shall never understand the law, no: though all the angels of heaven went about to teach him. And he that has that graven in his heart, shall not only understand the law but also shall do of his own inclination all that is required of the law, though never law had been given: as all mothers do of themselves without law unto their children, all that can be required by any law, love overcoming all pain, grief, tediousness or loathsomeness: and even so no doubt if we had continued in our first state of innocency, we should ever have fulfilled the law, without compulsion of the law.
And because the law (which is a doctrine through teaching every man his duty, giving utterance of our corrupt nature) is sufficiently described by Moses, therefore is little mention made thereof in the New Testament, save of love only wherein all the law is included, as seldom mention is made of the New Testament in the old law, save here and there are promises made unto them, that Christ should come and bless them and deliver them, and that the gospel and New Testament should be preached and published unto all nations.
The gospel is glad tidings of mercy and grace and that our corrupt nature shall be healed again for Christ’s sake and for the merits of his deservings only: Yet on the condition that we will turn to God, to learn to keep his laws spiritually, that is to say, of love for his sake, and will also suffer the curing of our infirmities.
The New Testament is as much to say as a new covenant. The Old Testament is an old temporal covenant made between God and the carnal children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob otherwise called Israel, upon the deeds and the observing of a temporal law. Where the reward of the keeping is temporal life and prosperity in the land of Canaan, and the breaking is rewarded with temporal death and punishment. But the New Testament is an everlasting covenant made unto the children of God through faith in Christ, upon the deservings of Christ. Where eternal life is promised to all that believe, and death to all that are unbelieving. My deeds if I keep the law are rewarded with the temporal promises of this life. But if I believe in Christ, Christ’s deeds have purchased for me the eternal promise of the everlasting life. If I commit nothing worthy of death, I deserve to my reward that no man kill me: if I hurt no man I am worthy that no man hurt me. If I help my neighbor, I am worthy that he help me again, etc. So that with outward deeds with which I serve other men, I deserve that other men do like to me in this world: and they extend no further. But Christ’s deeds extend to life everlasting unto all that believe, etc. This be sufficient in this place concerning the law and the gospel, New Testament and old: so that as there is but one God, one Christ, one faith and one baptism, even so you understand that there is but one gospel, though many write it and many preach it. For all preach the same Christ and bring the same glad tidings. And thereto Paul’s epistles with the gospel of John and his first epistle and the first epistle of Saint Peter, are most pure gospel and most plainly and richly described the glory of the grace of Christ: If you require more of the law, seek in the prolog to the Romans and in other places where it is sufficiently entreated of.
Concerning this word repentance or (as they used) penance, the Hebrew has in the Old Testament generally (Sob) turn or be converted. For which the translation that we take for Saint Jerome’s has for the most part (converti) to turn or be converted, and some time yet (agere penitenciam) And the Greek in the New Testament has perpetually (Metanoeo) to turn in the heart and mind, and to come to the right knowledge, and to a man’s right wit again. For which (Metanoeo) S. Jerome’s translation has: sometime (ago penetenciam) I do repent: sometime (peniteo) I repent: sometime (peniteor) I am repentant; sometime (habeo penitenciam) I have repentance: sometime (penitet me) it repents me. And Erasmus uses much this word (resipisco) I come to myself or to my right mind again. And the very sense and signification both of the Hebrew and also of the Greek word, is, to be converted and to turn to God with all the heart, to know his will and to live according to his laws, and to be cured of our corrupt nature with the oil of his Spirit and wine of obedience to his doctrine. Which conversion or turning if it be unfeigned, these four do accompany it and are included therein: Confession, not in the priest’s ear, for that is but man’s invention, but to God in the heart and before all the congregation of God, how that we be sinners and sinful, and that our whole nature is corrupt and inclined to sin and all unrighteousness, and therefore evil, wicked and damnable, and his law holy and just, by which our sinful nature is rebuked; and also to our neighbors, if we have offended any person particularly. Then contrition, sorrowfulness that we be such, damnable sinners, and not only have sinned but are holy inclined to sin still. Thirdly faith (of which our old doctors have made no mention at all in the description of their penance) yet God for Christ’s sake does forgive us and receive us to mercy, and is at one with us and will heal our corrupt nature. And fourthly satisfaction or amends making, not to God with holy works, but to my neighbor whom I have hurt, and the congregation of God whom I have offended, (if any open crime be found in me) and submitting of a man’s self unto the congregation or church of Christ, and to the officers of the same, to have his life corrected and governed henceforth of them, according to the true doctrine of the church of Christ. And note this: that as satisfaction or amends making is counted righteousness before the world and a purging of the sin, so that the world when I have made a full amends, has no further to complain. Even so faith in Christ’s blood is counted righteousness and a purging of all sin before God.
Moreover, he that sins against his brother sins also against his Father Almighty God. And as the sin committed against his brother, is purged before the world with making amends or asking forgiveness, even so is the sin committed against God, purged through faith in Christ’s blood only. For Christ says, Jo. viii, except you believe that I am he, you shall die in your sins. That is to say, if you think that there is any other sacrifice or satisfaction toward God, than me, you remain ever in sin before God, howsoever righteous you appear before the world. Wherefore now, whether you call this Metonoia, repentance, conversion or turning again to God, either amending and etc. or whether you say repent, be converted, turn to God, amend your living or what you lust, I am content so you understand what is meant thereby, as I have now declared.
In the Old Testament the temporal heads and rulers of the Jews which had the governance over the lay or common people are called elders, as you may see in the four evangelists. Out of which custom Paul in his epistle and also Peter, call the prelates and spiritual governors which are bishops and priests, elders. Now whether you call them elders or priests, it is to me all one: so that you understand that they be officers and servants of the word of God, unto the which all men both high and low that will not rebel against Christ, must obey as long as they preach and rule truly and no longer.
A prolog into the iiii Evangelists shewing what they were and their authority. And first of
As touching the evangelists: you see in the New Testament clearly what they were. First Matthew (as you read Mat. ix, Mark. ii, & Luke. v) was one of Christ’s apostles, and was with Christ all the time of his preaching, and saw and heard his own self almost all that he wrote.
Of Mark read (Acts xii) how Peter (after he was loosed out of prison by the angel) came to Mark’s mother’s house, where many of the disciples were praying for his deliverance. And Paul and Barnabas took him with them from Jerusalem and brought him to Antioch, Acts. xii. And Acts. xiii, Paul and Barnabas took Mark with them when they were sent out to preach: from whom he also departed, as it appears in the said chapter, and returned to Jerusalem again. And Acts. xv, Paul and Barnabas were at variance about him, Paul not willing to take him with them, because he forsook them in their first journey. Notwithstanding yet, when Paul wrote the epistle to the Colossians, Mark was with him, as he says in the fourth chapter: of whom Paul also testifies, both that he was Barnabas’ sister’s son and also his fellow worker in the kingdom of God.
And. ii. Timothy. iiii, Paul commands Timothy to bring Mark with him, affirming that he was needful to him, to minister to him, Finally, he was also with Peter when he wrote his first epistle, and so familiar that Peter calls him his son. Whereof you see, of whom he learned his gospel, even of the very apostles, with whom he had his continual conversation, and also of what authority his writing is, and how worthy of credence.
Lucas was Paul’s companion, at the least way from the xvi of the Acts forth, and with him in all his tribulation. And he went with Paul at his last going up to Jerusalem. And from thence he followed Paul to Cæsarea, where he lay two year in prison. And from Cæsarea he went with Paul to Rome where he lay two other years in prison. And he was with Paul when he wrote to the Colossians, as he testifies in the fourth chapter saying: the beloved Lucas the physician salutes you. And he was with Paul when he wrote the second epistle to Timothy, as he says in the fourth chapter saying: Only Lucas is with me. Whereby you see the authority of the man and of what credence and reverence his writing is worthy of, and thereto of whom he learned the story of his gospel, as he himself says, how that he learned it and searched it out with all diligence of them that saw it and were also partakers at the doing. And as for the Acts of the Apostles, he himself was at the doing of them (at the least) of the most part, and had his part therein, and therefore wrote of his own experience.
John, what he was, is manifest by the three first evangelists. First Christ’s apostle, and that one of the chief. Then Christ’s nigh kinsman, and for his singular innocency and softness, singularly beloved and of singular familiarity with Christ, and ever one of the three witnesses of most secret things. The cause of his writing was certain heresies that arose in his time, and namely two; of which one denied Christ to be very God, and the other to be very man, and to be come in the very flesh and nature of man. Against which two heresies he wrote both his gospel and also his first epistle, and in the beginning of his gospel says that the Word or thing was at the beginning, and was with God, and was also very God and that all things were created and made by it, and that it was also made flesh: that is to say, became very man. And he dwelt among us (says he) and we saw his glory.
And in the beginning of his pistle, he says we show you of the thing that was from the beginning, which also we heard, saw with our eyes and our hands handled. And again we show you everlasting life that was with the father and appeared to us, and we heard and saw, and etc.
In that he says that it was from the beginning, and that it was eternal life, and that it was with God, he affirms him to be very God. And that he says, we heard, saw and felt, he witnesses that he was very man also. John also wrote last, and therefore touched not the story that the other had compiled. But writes most of the faith and promises, and the sermons of Christ.
This be sufficient concerning the. iiii. Evangelists and their authority and worthiness to be believed.
A warning to the reader if aught be scaped through negligence of the printer, as this text is that followeth, which if you find any more such: compare the English to the other books that are already printed, and so shall you perceive the truth of the English.
In the xxiii chapter of Matthew and in the xxxiii leaf on the second side and last line, read the sentence thus. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.
WILLIAM TYNDALE, YET ONCE MORE TO THE CHRISTIAN READER.
You shall understand most dear reader, when I had taken in hand to look over the New Testament again and to compare it with the Greek, and to mend whatever I could find amiss and had almost finished the labor: George Joye secretly took in hand to correct it also by what occasion his conscience knows: and prevented me, insomuch, that his correction was printed in great number, ere mine began. When it was spied and word brought me, though it seemed to diverse others that George Joye had not used the office of an honest man, seeing he knew that I was in correcting it myself: neither did walk after the rules of the love and softness which Christ, and his disciples teach us, how that we should do nothing of strife to move debate, or of vain glory or of covetousness. Yet I took the thing in worth as I have done diverse others in time past, as one that have more experience of the nature and disposition of the man’s complexion, and supposed that a little spice of covetousness and vain glory (two blind guides) had been the only cause that moved him so to do, about which things I strive with no man: and so followed after and corrected forth and caused this to be printed, without surmise or looking on his correction.
But when the printing of mine was almost finished, one brought me a copy and shewed me so many places, in such wise altered that I was filled with dismay and wondered not a little what fury had driven him to make such change and to call it a diligent correction. For throughout Mat., Mark and Luke perpetually: and oft in the Acts, and sometime in John and also in the Hebrews, where he finds this word Resurrection, he changes it into the life after this life, or verylife, and such like, as one that abhorred the name of the resurrection.
If that change, to turn resurrection into life after this life, be a diligent correction, then must my translation be faulty in those places, and Saint Jerome’s, and all the translators that ever I heard of in what tongue so ever it be, from the apostles unto this his diligent correction (as he calls it) which whether it be so or no, I permit it to other men’s judgments.
But of this I challenge George Joye, that he did not put his own name thereto and call it rather his own translation: and that he plays Bo Peep, and in some of his books puts in his name and title, and in some keeps it out. It is lawful for who will to translate and show his mind, though a thousand had translated before him. But it is not lawful (it seems to me) nor yet expedient for the edifying of the unity of the faith of Christ, that whosoever will, shall by his own authority, take another man’s translation and put out and in and change at pleasure, and call it a correction.
Moreover, you shall understand that George Joye has had of a long time marvelous imaginations about this word resurrection that it should be taken for the state of the souls after their departing from their bodies, and has also (though he has been reasoned with thereof and desired to cease) yet sown his doctrine by secret letters on that side the sea, and caused great division among the brethren. Insomuch that John Fryth being in prison in the tower of London, a little before his death, wrote that we should warn him and desire him to cease, and would have then written against him, had I not withstood him. Thereto I have been since informed that no small number through his curiosity, utterly deny the resurrection of the flesh and body, affirming that the soul when she is departed, is the spiritual body of the resurrection, and other resurrection shall there none be. And I have talked with some of them myself, so doted in that folly, that it were as good persuade a post, as to pluck that madness out of their brains. And of this all is George Joye’s unquiet curiosity the whole occasion, whether he be of the said faction also, or not, to that let him answer himself.
If George Joye will say (as I wot well he will) that his change, is the sense and meaning of those scriptures. I answer it is sooner said than proved: howbeit let other men judge. But though it were the very meaning of the scripture: yet if it were lawful after his example to every man to play Bo Peep with the translations that are before him, and to put out the words of the text at his pleasure and to put in everywhere his meaning: or what he thought the meaning were, that were the next way to establish all heresies and to destroy the ground wherewith we should improve them. As for an example, when Christ says Jo. v, The time shall come in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice and shall come forth: they that have done good unto resurrection of life, or with the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection or with the resurrection of damnation. George Joye’s correction is, they that have done good shall come forth into the very life, and they that have done evil into the life of damnation, thrusting clean out this word resurrection. Now by the same authority, and with as good reason shall another come and say of the rest of the text, they that are in the sepulchers, shall hear his voice, that the sense is, the souls of them that are in the sepulchers shall hear his voice, and so put in his diligent correction and mock out the text, that it shall not make for the resurrection of the flesh, which thing also George Joye’s correction does manifestly affirm. If the text be left uncorrupt, it will purge herself of all manner false glosses, how subtle so ever they be feigned, as a seething pot casts up her scum. But if the false gloss be made the text, diligently overseen and correct, wherewith then shall we correct false doctrine and defend Christ’s flock from false opinions, and from the wicked heresies of ravening of wolves? In my mind therefore a little unfeigned love after the rules of Christ, is worth much high learning, and single and slight understanding that edifies in unity, is much better than subtle curiosity, and meekness better than bold arrogance and standing over much in a man’s own conceit.
Wherefore, concerning the resurrection, I protest before God and our Savior Jesus Christ, and before the universal congregation that believes in him, that I believe according to the open and manifest scriptures and catholic faith, that Christ is risen again in the flesh which he received of his mother the blessed virgin Mary, and body wherein he died. And that we shall all both good and bad rise both flesh and body, and appear together before the judgment seat of Christ, to receive every man according to his deeds.
And that the bodies of all that believe and continue in the true faith of Christ, shall be endued with like immortality and glory as is the body of Christ.
And I protest before God and our Savior Christ and all that believe in him, that I hold of the souls that are departed as much as may be proved by manifest and open scripture, and think the souls departed in the faith of Christ and love of the law of God, to be in no worse case than the soul of Christ was from the time that he delivered his Spirit into the hands of his Father, until the resurrection of his body in glory and immortality. Nevertheless, I confess openly, that I am not persuaded that they be already in the full glory that Christ is in, or the elect angels of God are in. Neither is it any article of my faith: for if it so were, I see not but then the preaching of the resurrection of the flesh were a thing in vain. Notwithstanding yet I am ready to believe it, if it may be proved with open scripture. And I have desired George Joye to take open texts that seem to make for that purpose, as this is. Today you shall be with me in Paradise, to make thereof what he could, and to let his dreams about this word resurrection go. For I receive not in the scripture the private interpretation of any man’s brain, without open testimony of any scriptures agreeing thereto.
Moreover I take God (which alone sees the heart) to record to my conscience, beseeching him that my part be not in the blood of Christ, if I wrote of all that I have written throughout all my book, ought of an evil purpose, of envy or malice to any man, or to stir up any false doctrine or opinion in the church of Christ, or to be author of any sect, or to draw disciples after me, or that I would be esteemed or had in price above the least child that is born, save only of pity and compassion I had and yet have on the blindness of my brethren, and to bring them unto the knowledge of Christ and to make every one of them if it were possible as perfect as an angel of heaven, and to weed out all that is not planted of our heavenly father, and to bring down all that lifts up itself against the knowledge of the salvation that is in the blood of Christ. Also, my part be not in Christ, if mine heart be not to follow and live according as I teach, and also if mine heart weep not night and day for mine own sin and other men’s indifferently, beseeching God to convert us all, and to take his wrath from us, and to be merciful as well to all other men, as to mine own soul, caring for the wealth of the realm I was borne in, for the king and all that are thereof, as a tender hearted mother would do for her only son.
As concerning all I have translated or otherwise written, I beseech all men to read it for that purpose I wrote it: even to bring them to the knowledge of the scripture. And as far as the scripture approves it, so far to allow it, and if in any place the word of God disallow it, there to refuse it, as I do before our Savior Christ and his congregation. And where they find faults, let them show it me, if they be nigh, or write to me, if they be far off: or write openly against it and improve it, and I promise them, if I shall perceive that their reasons conclude I will confess mine ignorance openly.
Wherefore I beseech George Joye, yea and all others too, for to translate the scripture for themselves, whether out of Greek, Latin or Hebrew. Or (if they will needs) as the fox when he has pissed in the gray’s hole challenges it for his own, so let them take my translations and labors, and change and alter, and correct and corrupt at their pleasures, and call it their own translations, and put to their own names, and not to play Bo Peep after George Joye’s manner. Which whether he have done faithfully and truly, with such reverence and fear as becomes the word of God, and with such love and meekness and affection to unity and circumspection that the ungodly have no occasion to rail on the verity, as becomes the servants of Christ. I refer it to the judgments of them that know and love the truth. For this, I protest that I provoke not Joye nor any other man (but am provoked and that after the most spiteful manner of provoking) to do sore against my will and with sorrow of heart that I now do. But I neither can nor will suffer of any man, that he shall go take my translation and correct it without name, and make such changing as I myself durst not do, as I hope to have my part in Christ, though the whole world should be given me for my labor.
Finally that New Testament thus diligently corrected, beside this so oft putting out this word resurrection, and I wot not what other change, for I have not yet read it over, that in the end before the Table of the Epistles and Gospels this title:
(Here ends the New Testament diligently overseen and correct and printed now again at Antwerp, by me widow of Christopher of Endhoven. In the year of our Lord. A.M.D. xxxiiii. in August.)
Which title (reader) I have here put in because by this you shall know the book the better.
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