And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul.—Acts 4.32.

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Epistles Introductory

To the 1562 Geneva Bible.

TO THE MOSTE VERTVOVS

AND NOBLE QVENE ELISABET,

Quene of England, France, and Ireland, &c. Your humble subiects

of the English Churche at Geneua, vvish grace and peace

from God the Father through Christ

Iesus our Lord.

TO THE MOST VIRTUOUS

AND NOBLE QUEEN ELIZABETH,

Queen of England, France, and Ireland, &c. Your humble subjects

of the English Church at Geneva, wish grace and peace

from God the Father through Christ

Jesus our Lord.

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HOW hard a thyng it is, and what great impedimentes let, to entreprise any worthie act, not only dailie experience sufficiently sheweth [moste noble and verteous Quene] but also that notable prouerbe doeth confirme the same, whiche admonisheth vs, that all things are hard whiche are faire and excellent. And what entreprise can there be of greater importance, and more acceptable vnto God, or more worthie of singuler commendation, then the buildyng of the Lords (1 Cor. 3.17.) Temple, the (1 Tim. 3.14. [15.]) house of God, the (Ephes. 1.22.) Churche of Christ, Whereof the (Ebr. 3.6.) Sonne of God is the head and perfection? HOW hard a thing it is, and what great impediments let [hinder], to enterprise any worthy act, not only daily experience sufficiently sheweth (most noble and virtuous Queen) but also that notable proverb doth confirm the same, which admonisheth us, that all things are hard which are fair and excellent. And what enterprise can there be of greater importance, and more acceptable unto God, or more worthy of singular commendation, than the building of the Lordís (1 Cor. 3.17.) Temple, the (1 Tim. 3.15.) house of God, the (Ephes. 1.22.) Church of Christ, Whereof the (Heb. 3.6.) Son of God is the head and perfection?
When Zerubbabel went about to builde the material Temple, accordyng to the commandement of the Lord, what difficulties and stayes (Ezra 4.) daily arose to hinder his worthy indeuours, the bookes of Ezza and Esdras playnely witnesse: how that not onely he and the people of God were sore molested with (1 Esdr. 2.16.) forein aduersaries [whereof some maliciously (Ezra 4.7.) warred against them, and corrupted the Kings officers: and others craftely practised vnder (Ezra 4.2.) pretence of religion] but also at home with domesticall enemies, as (Nehem. 6.10.) false Prophetes, (Nehem. 6.18.) craftie worldlings, faint-hearted soldiers, and (Nehem. 5.1.) oppressors of their brethren, who aswell by false doctrine and lyes, as by subtil counsel, cowardies, and extortion, discouraged the heartes almoste of all: so that the Lords worke was not only interrupted and left of for (Iohn 2.20.) a long tyme, but scarcely at the length with great labour and danger after a (Ezra 3.12.) sort broght to passe. When Zerubbabel went about to build the material Temple, according to the commandment of the Lord, what difficulties and stays [impediments] (Ezra 4.) daily arose to hinder his worthy endeavours, the books of Ezra and Esdras plainly witness: how that not only he and the people of God were sore molested with (1 Esdr. 2.16.) foreign adversaries (whereof some maliciously (Ezra 4.7.) warred against them, and corrupted the Kingís officers: and others craftily practised under (Ezra 4.2.) pretence of religion) but also at home with domestical enemies, as (Nehem. 6.10.) false Prophets, (Nehem. 6.18.) crafty worldlings, faint-hearted soldiers, and (Nehem. 5.1.) oppressors of their brethren, who as well by false doctrine and lies, as by subtle counsel, cowardice, and extortion, discouraged the hearts almost of all: so that the Lordís work was not only interrupted and left off for (John 2.20.) a long time, but scarcely at the length with great labour and danger after a (Ezra 3.12.) sort brought to pass.
Whiche thing when we weighe a right, and consider earnestly how muche greater charge God hath laid vpon you in makyng you a builder of his spirituall Temple, we can not but partely feare, (2 Cor. 2.11.) knowing the crafte and force of Satan our spiritual enemie, and the weakenes and vnabilitie of this our nature: and partely be feruent in our prayers toward God that he wolde bryng to perfection this noble worke whiche he hathe begon by you: and therefore we indeuour our selues by all meanes to ayde, and to bestowe our whole force vnder your graces standard, whome God hath made as our Zerubbabell for the erectyng of this moste excellent Temple, and to plant and maynteyn his holy worde to the aduancement of his glorie, for your owne honour and saluation of your soule, and for the singuler comfort of that great flocke which Christ Iesus the (Ebr. 13.20.) great shepherd hath boght with his (1 Pet. 1.19.) precious blood, and committed vnto your charge to be fed both in body and soule. Which thing when we weigh aright, and consider earnestly how much greater charge God hath laid upon you in making you a builder of his spiritual Temple, we can not but partly fear, (2 Cor. 2.11.) knowing the craft and force of Satan our spiritual enemy, and the weakness and inability of this our nature: and partly be fervent in our prayers toward God that he would bring to perfection this noble work which he hath begun by you: and therefore we endeavour ourselves by all means to aid, and to bestow our whole force under your graceís standard, whom God hath made as our Zerubbabel for the erecting of this most excellent Temple, and to plant and maintain his holy word to the advancement of his glory, for your own honour and salvation of your soul, and for the singular comfort of that great flock which Christ Jesus the (Heb. 13.20.) great shepherd hath bought with his (1 Pet. 1.19.) precious blood, and committed unto your charge to be fed both in body and soul.

The enemies which labour to stay religion.

The necessitie of gods worde for the reforming of religion.

The grounde of true religion.

Considering therefore how many enemies there are, which by one meanes or other, as the (Ezra 4.1.) aduersaries of Iudah and Beniamin went about to stay the buildyng of that Temple, so labour to hinder the course of this buildyng [whereof some are Papistes, who vnder pretence of fauoring Gods worde, traiterously seke to erect idolatrie and to destroy your maiestie: some are wordlings, who as (2 Tim. 4.10.) Demas haue forsaken Christ for the loue of this worlde: others are ambicious prelats, who as (Amos 7.12.) Amasiah and (3. Iohn 9.) Diotrephes can abide none but them selues: and as (Act. 19.24.) Demetrius many practise sedition to maynteyne their errors] we persuaded our selues that there was no way so expedient and necessarie for the preseruation of the one, and destruction of the other, as to present vnto your Maiestie the holy Scriptures faithfully and playnely translated accordyng to the langages wherein they were first written by the holy Gost. For the word of God is an euident token of Gods (Iohn 14.23.) loue and our assurance of his defence, wheresoeuer it is obediently receyued: it is the tryall of the (1 Iohn 4.1.) spirits: and as the Prophet saieth, (Ierem. 23.29.) It is as a fyre and hammer to breake the stonie heartes of them that resist Gods mercies offred by the preachyng of the same. Yea it is (Ebr. 4.12.) sharper then any two edged sworde to examine the very thoghtes and to iudge the affections of the heart, and to discouer whatsoeuer lyeth hid vnder hypocrisie and wolde be secret from the face of God and his Churche. So that this must be the first fundacion and ground worke, according whereunto the good stones of this building must be framed, and the euill tried out and reiected. Considering therefore how many enemies there are, which by one means or other, as the (Ezra 4.1.) adversaries of Judah and Benjamin went about to stay [stop] the building of that Temple, so labour to hinder the course of this building (whereof some are Papists, who under pretence of favouring Godís word, traitorously seek to erect idolatry and to destroy your majesty: some are worldlings, who as (2 Tim. 4.10.) Demas have forsaken Christ for the love of this world: others are ambitious prelates, who as (Amos 7.12.) Amaziah and (3 John 9.) Diotrephes can abide none but themselves: and as (Act. 19.24.) Demetrius many practice sedition to maintain their errors) we persuaded ourselves that there was no way so expedient and necessary for the preservation of the one, and destruction of the other, as to present unto your Majesty the holy Scriptures faithfully and plainly translated according to the languages wherein they were first written by the holy Ghost. For the word of God is an evident token of Godís (John 14.23.) love and our assurance of his defence, wheresoever it is obediently received: it is the trial of the (1 John 4.1.) spirits: and as the Prophet saith, (Jerem. 23.29.) It is as a fire and hammer to break the stony hearts of them that resist Godís mercies offered by the preaching of the same. Yea it is (Heb. 4.12.) sharper than any two-edged sword to examine the very thoughts and to judge the affections of the heart, and to discover whatsoever lieth hid under hypocrisy and would be secret from the face of God and his Church. So that this must be the first foundation and groundwork, according whereunto the good stones of this building must be framed, and the evil tried out and rejected.

The enemies which labour to stay [stop] religion.

The necessity of Godís word for the reforming of religion.

The ground of true religion.

Al impediments must be taken away.

Iosias zeale and true obedience to God.

Now as he that goeth about to lay a fundacion surely, first taketh away such impedimentes as might iustely ether hurt, let, or difforme the worke: so is it necessarie that your graces zeale appeare herein, that nether the craftie persuasion of man, nether worldly policie, or naturall {} feare dissuade you to roote out, cut downe and destroy these wedes and impedimentes whiche do not onely deface your building, but vtterly indeuour, yea and threaten the ruine thereof. For when the noble (2 king. 23.15; 2 Chro. 34.5.) Iosias enterprised the like kinde of worke, among other notable and many things he destroyed, not onely with vtter confusion the idoles with their appertináces, but also burnt [in signe of detestation] the idolatrous priests bones vpon their altars, and put to (Deut. 13.5.) death the false prophetes and sorcerers, to performe (Leui. 20.6; Deut. 18.11.) the wordes of the Lawe of God: and therfore the Lord gaue him good successe and blessed him wonderfully, so long as he made (2 Chro. 35.22.) Gods worde his line and rule to followe, and enterprised nothyng before he had inquired at the mouth of the Lord. Now as he that goeth about to lay a foundation surely, first taketh away such impediments as might justly either hurt, let [hinder], or deform the work: so is it necessary that your graceís zeal appear herein, that neither the crafty persuasion of man, neither worldly policy, or natural {} fear dissuade you to root out, cut down and destroy these weeds and impediments which do not only deface your building, but utterly endeavour, yea and threaten the ruin thereof. For when the noble (2 Kings 23.15; 2 Chro. 34.5.) Josiah enterprised the like kind of work, among other notable and many things he destroyed, not only with utter confusion the idols with their appurtenances, but also burnt (in sign of detestation) the idolatrous priestsí bones upon their altars, and put to (Deut. 13.5.) death the false prophets and sorcerers, to perform (Levi. 20.6; Deut. 18.11.) the words of the Law of God: and therefore the Lord gave him good success and blessed him wonderfully, so long as he made (2 Chro. 35.22.) Godís word his line and rule to follow, and enterprised nothing before he had inquired at the mouth of the Lord.

All impediments must be taken away.

Josiahís zeal and true obedience to God.

Wherein standeth the quietnes of kingdomes.

And if these zealous beginningseme dangerous and to brede disquietnes in your dominions, yet by the storie of Kyng (2 Chro. 14.5; 15.5.) Asa it is manifest, that the quietnes and (2 Chro. 15.8.) peace of kingdomes standeth in the vtter abolishing of idolatrie, and in aduancing of true religion: for in his dayes Iudah lyued in rest and quietnes for the space of fyue and thirtie yere, till at length he began to be colde in the zeale of the Lord, feared the power of man, imprisoned the Prophet of God, and oppressed the people: then the Lord sent hym warres, and at length toke hym away by death. And if these zealous beginnings seem dangerous and to breed disquietness in your dominions, yet by the history of King (2 Chro. 14.5; 15.5.) Asa it is manifest, that the quietness and (2 Chro. 15.8.) peace of kingdoms standeth in the utter abolishing of idolatry, and in advancing of true religion: for in his days Judah lived in rest and quietness for the space of five and thirty years, till at length he began to be cold in the zeal of the Lord, feared the power of man, imprisoned the Prophet of God, and oppressed the people: then the Lord sent him wars, and at length took him away by death.

Wherein standeth the quietness of kingdoms.

What wisdome is requisite for the establishing of religion and the meanes to obteyne it.

Wherefore great wisdome, not worldelie, but heauenly is here required, whiche your grace must earnestly craue of the Lord, as did (1 king. 3.9; 2 Chro. 1.10.) Salomon, to whome God gaue an vnderstandyng heart to iudge his people a right, and to discerne betwene good and bad. For if God for the furnishing of the olde temple gaue the Spirit of wisdome and vnderstanding to them that shulde be the workemen thereof, as to (Exod. 31.1.[etc.]) Bezaleel, Aholiab, and (1 kyng. 7.[13,]14.) Hiram: how muche more will he indewe your grace and other godly princes and chefe gouernours with a principall Spirit that you may procure and commande things necessarie for this moste holy Temple, forese and take hede of things that might hinder it, and abolish and destroy whatsoeuer might impare and ouerthrowe the same? Wherefore great wisdom, not worldly, but heavenly is here required, which your grace must earnestly crave of the Lord, as did (1 Kings 3.9; 2 Chro. 1.10.) Solomon, to whom God gave an understanding heart to judge his people aright, and to discern between good and bad. For if God for the furnishing of the old temple gave the Spirit of wisdom and understanding to them that should be the workmen thereof, as to (Exod. 31.1.[etc.]) Bezaleel, Aholiab, and (1 Kings 7.[13,]14.) Hiram: how much more will he endue your grace and other godly princes and chief governours with a principal Spirit that you may procure and command things necessary for this most holy Temple, foresee and take heed of things that might hinder it, and abolish and destroy whatsoever might impair and overthrow the same?

What wisdom is requisite for the establishing of religion and the means to obtain it.

Diligence & zeale are necessarie to builde it spedely.

A solemne othe for the mayntenance of Gods worde.

An act against thé that obeied not Gods worde.

What policie must be vsed for the plantyng of religion.

Gods worde must go before, or els builde in vaine.

We must first cósult with God.

Moreouer the maruelous diligence & zeale of Iehoshaphat, Iosiah, and Hezekiah are by the singuler prouidence of God left as an example to al godly rulers to reforme their countreys and to establish the worde of God with all spede, lest the (2 Chro. 34.21.) wrath of the Lord fall vpon them for the neglecting thereof. For these excellent Kings did not onely imbrace the worde promptely and ioyfully, but also procured earnestly and commanded the same to be taught, preached and mainteyned through all their countreys and dominions, (2 Chro. 34.32.) byding them and all their subiects bothe great and smale with solemne protestations and couenantes before GOD to obey the worde, and to walke after the waies of the Lord. Yea and in the daies of Kyng (2 Chro. 15.13.) Asa it was enacted that whosoeuer wolde not seke the Lord God of Israel, shulde be slayne, whether he were smale or great, man or woman. And for the establishing hereof and performance of this solemne othe, as wel (2 Chro. 17.7.[etc.]; and 19.5.[etc.]) Priests as Iudges were appointed and placed through all the cities of Iudah to instruct the people in the true knollage and feare of God, and to minister iustice accordyng to the worde, knowing that, except God by his worde dyd reigne in (Deut. 6.6. & 11.18.) the heartes and soules, all mans diligence and indeuors were of none effect: for without this worde we can not discerne betwene iustice, and iniurie, protection and oppression, wisdome and foolishnes, knollage and ignorance, good and euill. Therefore the Lord, who is the chefe gouernour of his Churche willeth that nothyng be attempted before we haue inquired thereof at his mouth. For seing he is our God, of duetie we must giue him this preeminence, that of our selues we entreprise nothing, but that whiche he hath appointed, who onely knoweth all things, and gouerneth them as may best serue to his glorie and our saluation. We ought not therefore to preuent hym, or do any thing without his worde, (Isa. 30.2.) but assone as he hath reueiled his will, immediately to put it in execution. Moreover the marvelous diligence & zeal of Jehoshaphat, Josiah, and Hezekiah are by the singular providence of God left as an example to all godly rulers to reform their countries and to establish the word of God with all speed, lest the (2 Chro. 34.21.) wrath of the Lord fall upon them for the neglecting thereof. For these excellent Kings did not only embrace the word promptly and joyfully, but also procured earnestly and commanded the same to be taught, preached and maintained through all their countries and dominions, (2 Chro. 34.32.) bidding them and all their subjects both great and small with solemn protestations and covenants before GOD to obey the word, and to walk after the ways of the Lord. Yea and in the days of King (2 Chro. 15.13.) Asa it was enacted that whosoever would not seek the Lord God of Israel, should be slain, whether he were small or great, man or woman. And for the establishing hereof and performance of this solemn oath, as well (2 Chro. 17.7.[etc.]; and 19.5.[etc.]) Priests as Judges were appointed and placed through all the cities of Judah to instruct the people in the true knowledge and fear of God, and to minister justice according to the word, knowing that, except God by his word did reign in (Deut. 6.6. & 11.18.) the hearts and souls, all manís diligence and endeavors were of none effect: for without this word we cannot discern between justice and injury, protection and oppression, wisdom and foolishness, knowledge and ignorance, good and evil. Therefore the Lord, who is the chief governour of his Church willeth that nothing be attempted before we have inquired thereof at his mouth. For seeing he is our God, of duty we must give him this preeminence, that of ourselves we enterprise nothing, but that which he hath appointed, who only knoweth all things, and governeth them as may best serve to his glory and our salvation. We ought not therefore to prevent him, or do anything without his word, (Isa. 30.2.) but as soon as he hath revealed his will, immediately to put it in execution.

Diligence & zeal are necessary to build it speedily.

A solemn oath for the maintenance of Godís word.

An act against them that obeyed not Godís word.

What policy must be used for the planting of religion.

Godís word must go before, or else build in vain.

We must first consult with God.

The maner of building is as God hath prescribed by his worde.

Of whome we must inquire concerning the will of the Lord and knollage of his worde.

VVhat is requisite in them that must giue counsel by Goddes worde.

Now as concernyng the maner of this building, it is not accordyng to man, nor after the wisdome of the flesh, but of the Spirit, and according to the worde of God, whose (Isa. 55.8.) wais are diuers from mans wais. For if it was not lawfull for Moses to builde the material Tabernacle after any other sorte then God had shewed him by a (Exod. 25.4 [25.9,40.]; Act. 7.44; Ebr. 8.5.) patern, nether to prescribe any other (Deut. 5.32.) ceremonies and lawes then suche as the Lord had expressly commanded: how can it be lawfull to procede in this spiritual building any other waies, then Iesus Christ the Sonne of God, who is bothe the fundacion, head and chief corner stone thereof, hathe commanded by his worde? And forasmuche as he hath established and left an order in his Churche for the buildyng vp of his body, (Ephes. 4.11.) appoictyng some to be Apostles, some Prophetes, others Euangelistes, some pastors, and teachers, he signifieth that euery one accordyng as he is placed in this body whiche is the Churche, ought to inquire of his ministres concernyng the will of the Lord, whiche is reueiled in his worde. For they are, saieth (Iere. 15.19.) Ieremiah, as the mouth of the Lord: yea he (Exod. 4.12; Mala. 2.7.) promiseth to be with their mouth, and that their lippes shall kepe knollage, and that the trueth and the law shalbe in their mouth. For it is their office chefely to vnderstand the Scriptures and teache them. For this cause the people of Israell in matters of difficultie vsed to aske the Lord ether by the (Iudg. 1.1. & 20.[18]; 1 sam. 10.22; 1 Sam. 9.9; 2 Kyng. 22.13.) Prophets, or by the meanes of the hie (Exod. 28.30.) Priest, who bare Vrim & Thummin, which were tokens of light and knollage, of holines & perfection which shulde be in the hie Priest. Therfore when Iehoshaphat toke this order in the Churche {} of Israel, he appointed Amariah to be the chief concernyng the worde of God, because he was moste expert in the Lawe of the Lorde, and colde gyue counsel and gouerne accordyng vnto the same. Els there is no degre or office which may haue that autoritie and priuiledge to decise concerning Gods worde, excepte withall he hath the Spirit of God, and sufficient knollage and iudgement to define according thereunto. And as euery one is indued of God with greater giftes, so ought he to be herein chefely heard, or at least that without the expresse worde none be heard: for he that hathe not the worde, (Iere. 23.16.) speaketh not by the mouthe of the Lord. Agayne, what daunger it is to do anythynge, seme it neuer so godly or necessarie, without consultyng with Goddes mouth, the examples of the Israelites, (Iosh. 9.14.) deceiued hereby through the Gibeonites: and of (1 Sam. 13.11.) Saul, whose intention semed good and necessarie: and of (2 Chro. 35.20.) Iosiah also, who for greate considerations was moued for the defence of true Religion and his people, to fight agaynste Pharaoh Necho Kyng of Egypt, may sufficiently admonish vs. Now as concerning the manner of this building, it is not according to man, nor after the wisdom of the flesh, but of the Spirit, and according to the word of God, whose (Isa. 55.8.) ways are divers from manís ways. For if it was not lawful for Moses to build the material Tabernacle after any other sort than God had shewed him by a (Exod. 25.9,40; Act. 7.44; Heb. 8.5.) pattern, neither to prescribe any other (Deut. 5.32.) ceremonies and laws than such as the Lord had expressly commanded: how can it be lawful to proceed in this spiritual building any other ways, than Jesus Christ the Son of God, who is both the foundation, head and chief corner stone thereof, hath commanded by his word? And forasmuch as he hath established and left an order in his Church for the building up of his body, (Ephes. 4.11.) appointing some to be Apostles, some Prophets, others Evangelists, some pastors, and teachers, he signifieth that every one according as he is placed in this body which is the Church, ought to inquire of his ministers concerning the will of the Lord, which is revealed in his word. For they are, saith (Jer. 15.19.) Jeremiah, as the mouth of the Lord: yea he (Exod. 4.12; Mal. 2.7.) promiseth to be with their mouth, and that their lips shall keep knowledge, and that the truth and the law shall be in their mouth. For it is their office chiefly to understand the Scriptures and teach them. For this cause the people of Israel in matters of difficulty used to ask the Lord either by the (Judg. 1.1. & 20.18; 1 Sam. 10.22; 1 Sam. 9.9; 2 Kings 22.13.) Prophets, or by the means of the high (Exod. 28.30.) Priest, who bare Urim & Thummim, which were tokens of light and knowledge, of holiness & perfection which should be in the high Priest. Therefore when Jehoshaphat took this order in the Church {} of Israel, he appointed Amariah to be the chief concerning the word of God, because he was most expert in the Law of the Lord, and could give counsel and govern according unto the same. Else there is no degree or office which may have that authority and privilege to decise [determine] concerning Godís word, except withall he hath the Spirit of God, and sufficient knowledge and judgment to define according thereunto. And as every one is endued of God with greater gifts, so ought he to be herein chiefly heard, or at least that without the express word none be heard: for he that hath not the word, (Jer. 23.16.) speaketh not by the mouth of the Lord. Again, what danger it is to do anything, seem it never so godly or necessary, without consulting with Godís mouth, the examples of the Israelites, (Josh. 9.14.) deceived hereby through the Gibeonites: and of (1 Sam. 13.11.) Saul, whose intention seemed good and necessary: and of (2 Chro. 35.20.) Josiah also, who for great considerations was moved for the defence of true Religion and his people, to fight against Pharaoh Necho King of Egypt, may sufficiently admonish us.

The manner of building is as God hath prescribed by his word.

Of whom we must inquire concerning the will of the Lord and knowledge of his word.

What is requisite in them that must give counsel by Godís word.

The settyng vp of the buylding.

Laste of all [moste gracious Quene] for the aduancement of this buyldyng and rearyng vp of the worke, two things are necessarie, First, that we haue a lyuely and stedfast faith in Christ Iesus, who must (Ephes. 3.17.) dwel in our heartes, as the only meanes and assurance of our saluation: for he is the (Gene. 28.12.) ladder that reacheth from the earth to heauen: he lifteth vp his Churche and setteth it in the heauenly places: he maketh vs (1 Pet. 2.5.) lyuely stones and buildeth vs vpon himselfe: he ioyneth vs to hym selfe as the membres and body to the head: yea he maketh himselfe ád his Church one (2 [1] Cor. 12.12.) Christ. The next is, that our faith bring forthe good fruites, so that our godly conuersation may serue vs as a witnes to (2 Peter 1.10.) confirme our election and by an example to all others to (Ephes. 4.1.) walke as apperteyneth to the vocation whereunto they are called: leste the worde of God be (Rom. 2.12. [2.24; 2 Pet. 2.2.]) euill spoken of, and this buyldyng be stayed to growe vp to a iuste heyght, whiche can not be without the greate prouocation of Gods iuste vengeance and discouragyng of many thousandes through all the worlde, if they shulde se that our life were not holy and ageable to our profession. For the eyes of all that feare God in al places beholde your countreyes as an (2 [1] Thess. 1.7.) example to all that beleue, and the prayers of all the godly at all tymes are directed to God for the preseruation of your maiestie. For consideryng Gods wonderfull mercies towarde you at all seasons, who hath pulled you out of the mouth of the lyons, and howe that frome your (2 Tim. 3.15.) youth you haue bene broght vp in the holy Scriptures, the hope of all men is so increased, that they can not but looke that God shulde bryng to passe some wonderful worke by your grace to the vniuersall comforte of hys Churche. Therefore euen aboue strength you muste shewe your selfe strong and bolde in Gods matters: and thogh Satan lay all his power and crafte together to hurt and hinder the Lordes building: yet be you assured that God will fight from heauen againste this great (Reuel. 12.9.) dragon, the ancient serpent, whiche is called the deuill and Satan, till he haue accomplished the whole worke and made his Churche (Ephes. 4.27. [5.27.]) glorious to hymselfe, without spot or wrincle. For albeit all other kingdomes and monarchies, as the Babylonians, Persians, Grecians and Romaines haue fallen and taken end: yet the Churche of Christe euen vnder the Cross hathe from the begynning of the worlde bene victorious, and shalbe euerlastyngly, Trueth it is, that sometyme it semeth to be shadowed with a cloude, or driuen with a stormie persecution, yet suddenly the beames of Christ the sunne of iustice shine and bryng it to light and libertie. If for a tyme it lye couered with ashes, yet it is quickely kindeled agayne by the wynde of Gods Spirit: thogh it seme drowned in the sea, or parched and pyned in the wildernes, yet GOD giueth euer good successe, for he punysheth enemyes, and deliuereth hys, nourisheth thé and still preserueth them vnder hys wyngs. This Lord of Lordes and King of kings who hath euer defended his, strengthen, comfort and preserue your maiestie, that you maye be able to builde vp the ruines of Gods house to hys glorie, the discharge of your conscience, and to the comfort of all them that loue the commyng of Christ Iesus our Lord.

From Geneua.

10. April. 1561.

Last of all (most gracious Queen) for the advancement of this building and rearing up of the work, two things are necessary, First, that we have a lively and steadfast faith in Christ Jesus, who must (Ephes. 3.17.) dwell in our hearts, as the only means and assurance of our salvation: for he is the (Gene. 28.12.) ladder that reacheth from the earth to heaven: he lifteth up his Church and setteth it in the heavenly places: he maketh us (1 Pet. 2.5.) lively stones and buildeth us upon himself: he joineth us to himself as the members and body to the head: yea he maketh himself and his Church one (1 Cor. 12.12.) Christ. The next is, that our faith bring forth good fruits, so that our godly conversation may serve us as a witness to (2 Peter 1.10.) confirm our election and by an example to all others to (Ephes. 4.1.) walk as appertaineth to the vocation whereunto they are called: lest the word of God be (Rom. 2.12. [2.24; 2 Pet. 2.2.]) evil spoken of, and this building be stayed [hindered] to grow up to a just height, which can not be without the great provocation of Godís just vengeance and discouraging of many thousands through all the world, if they should see that our life were not holy and agreeable to our profession. For the eyes of all that fear God in all places behold your countries as an (1 Thess. 1.7.) example to all that believe, and the prayers of all the godly at all times are directed to God for the preservation of your majesty. For considering Godís wonderful mercies toward you at all seasons, who hath pulled you out of the mouth of the lions, and how that from your (2 Tim. 3.15.) youth you have been brought up in the holy Scriptures, the hope of all men is so increased, that they cannot but look that God should bring to pass some wonderful work by your grace to the universal comfort of his Church. Therefore even above strength you must shew yourself strong and bold in Godís matters: and though Satan lay all his power and craft together to hurt and hinder the Lordís building: yet be you assured that God will fight from heaven against this great (Rev. 12.9.) dragon, the ancient serpent, which is called the devil and Satan, till he have accomplished the whole work and made his Church (Eph. 5.27.) glorious to himself, without spot or wrinkle. For albeit all other kingdoms and monarchies, as the Babylonians, Persians, Grecians and Romans have fallen and taken end: yet the Church of Christ even under the Cross hath from the beginning of the world been victorious, and shall be everlastingly. Truth it is, that sometime it seemeth to be shadowed with a cloud, or driven with a stormy persecution, yet suddenly the beams of Christ the sun of justice shine and bring it to light and liberty. If for a time it lie covered with ashes, yet it is quickly kindled again by the wind of Godís Spirit: though it seem drowned in the sea, or parched and pined in the wilderness, yet GOD giveth ever good success, for he punisheth enemies, and delivereth his, nourisheth them and still preserveth them under his wings. This Lord of Lords and King of kings who hath ever defended his, strengthen, comfort and preserve your majesty, that you may be able to build up the ruins of Godís house to his glory, the discharge of your conscience, and to the comfort of all them that love the coming of Christ Jesus our Lord.

From Geneva.

10. April. 1561.

The setting up of the building.

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TO OVR BELOVED IN THE

LORD THE BRETHREN OF ENGLAND,

Scotland, Ireland, &c. Grace, mercie and peace,

through Christ Iesus.

TO OUR BELOVED IN THE

LORD THE BRETHREN OF ENGLAND,

Scotland, Ireland, &c. Grace, mercy and peace,

through Christ Jesus.

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BESIDES the manifolde and continuall benefites which almyghtie God bestoweth vpon vs, bothe corporall and spirituall, we are especially bounde [dear brethren] to giue him thankes without ceasing for hys great grace and vnspeakable mercies, in that it hathe pleased hym to call vs vnto this mervelous lyght of his Gospel, and mercifully to regarde vs after so horrible backesliding and falling away from CHRIST to ANTICHRIST, from lyght to darcknes, from the liuing God to dumme and dead idoles, and that after so cruell murther of Gods Saintes, as alas, hathe bene among vs, we are not altogether cast of, as were the Israelites, and many others for the like, or not so manifest wickednes, but receiued againe to grace with moste euident signes and tokens of Gods especial loue and fauour. To the intent therefore that we may not be vnmyndefull of these greate mercies, but seke by all meanes [accordyng to our duetie] to be thankefull for the same, it behoueth vs so to walke in his feare and loue, that all the dayes of our life we maye procure the glorie of his holy name. Now forasmuche as thys thing chefely is atteyned by the knollage and practising of the worde of God [which is the light to our paths, the keye of the kyngdome of heauen, our comforte in affliction, our shielde and sworde against Satan, the schoole of all wisdome, the glasse wherein we beholde Gods face, the testimonie of his fauour, and the only foode and nourishement of our soules] we thoght that we colde bestowe our labours and studie in nothyng whiche colde be more acceptable to God and comfortable to his Church then in the translating of the holy Scriptures into our natiue tongue: the which thing, albeit that diuers heretofore haue indeuored to atchieue: yet consideryng the infancie of those tymes and imperfect knollage of the tongues, in respect of thys rype age and cleare light whiche God hath now reueiled, the translations required greatly to be perused and reformed. Not that we vendicat any thing to our selues aboue the least of our brethren [for God knoweth wyth what feare & tremblyng we haue bene nowe, for the space of two yeres & more daye and nyght occupied herein] but beyng earnestly desired, and by diuers, whose learnyng and godlines we reuerence, exhorted, and also incouraged by the ready willes of suche, whose heartes God lykewise touched, not to spare any charges for the fortherance of such a benefite and fauour of God towarde his Churche [thogh the tyme then was moste dangerous and the persecution sharpe and furious] we submitted our selues at length to their godly iudgementes, and seing the great oportunitie and occasions, whiche God presented vnto vs in this Church, by reason of so many godly and learned men: and suche diuersities of translations in diuers tongues, we vndertoke this great and wonderful worke [with all reuerence, as in the presence of God, as intreating the worde of God, whereunto we thinke ourselues vnsufficient] whiche nowe God according to his diuine prouidence and mercie hath directed to a moste prosperous end. And this we may with good conscience protest, that we haue in euery point and worde, accordyng to the measure of that knollage whiche it pleased almightie God to giue vs, faithfully rendred the text, and in all hard places most syncerely expounded the same. For God is our witnes that we haue by al meanes indeuored to set forthe the puritie of the worde and right sense of the holy Gost for the edifying of the brethren in faith and charitie. BESIDES the manifold and continual benefits which almighty God bestoweth upon us, both corporal and spiritual, we are especially bound (dear brethren) to give him thanks without ceasing for his great grace and unspeakable mercies, in that it hath pleased him to call us unto this marvelous light of his Gospel, and mercifully to regard us after so horrible backsliding and falling away from CHRIST to ANTICHRIST, from light to darkness, from the living God to dumb and dead idols, and that after so cruel murder of Godís Saints, as alas, hath been among us, we are not altogether cast off, as were the Israelites, and many others for the like, or not so manifest wickedness, but received again to grace with most evident signs and tokens of Godís especial love and favour. To the intent therefore that we may not be unmindful of these great mercies, but seek by all means (according to our duty) to be thankful for the same, it behoveth us so to walk in his fear and love, that all the days of our life we may procure the glory of his holy name. Now forasmuch as this thing chiefly is attained by the knowledge and practicing of the word of God (which is the light to our paths, the key of the kingdom of heaven, our comfort in affliction, our shield and sword against Satan, the school of all wisdom, the glass wherein we behold Godís face, the testimony of his favour, and the only food and nourishment of our souls) we thought that we could bestow our labours and study in nothing which could be more acceptable to God and comfortable to his Church than in the translating of the holy Scriptures into our native tongue: the which thing, albeit that divers heretofore have endeavored to achieve: yet considering the infancy of those times and imperfect knowledge of the tongues, in respect of this ripe age and clear light which God hath now revealed, the translations required greatly to be perused and reformed. Not that we vindicat [claim, take] anything to ourselves above the least of our brethren (for God knoweth with what fear & trembling we have been now, for the space of two years & more day and night occupied herein) but being earnestly desired, and by divers, whose learning and godliness we reverence, exhorted, and also encouraged by the ready wills of such, whose hearts God likewise touched, not to spare any charges for the furtherance of such a benefit and favour of God toward his Church (though the time then was most dangerous and the persecution sharp and furious) we submitted ourselves at length to their godly judgments, and seeing the great opportunity and occasions, which God presented unto us in this Church, by reason of so many godly and learned men: and such diversities of translations in divers tongues, we undertook this great and wonderful work (with all reverence, as in the presence of God, as entreating the word of God, whereunto we think ourselves insufficient) which now God according to his divine providence and mercy hath directed to a most prosperous end. And this we may with good conscience protest, that we have in every point and word, according to the measure of that knowledge which it pleased almighty God to give us, faithfully rendered the text, and in all hard places most sincerely expounded the same. For God is our witness that we have by all means endeavored to set forth the purity of the word and right sense of the holy Ghost for the edifying of the brethren in faith and charity.
Now as we haue chiefely obserued the sense, and laboured alwayes to restore it to all integritie: so haue we most reuerently kept the proprietie of the wordes, considering that the Apostles who spake and wrote to the Gentiles in the Greke tongue, rather constrayned them to the liuely phrase of the Ebrewe, then entreprised farre by mollifying their langage to speake as the Gentiles did. And for this and other causes we haue in many places reserued the Ebrewe phrases, notwithstanding that they may seme somewhat hard in their eares that are not wel practised and also delite in the swete sounding phrases of the holy Scriptures. Yet lest ether the simple shulde be discouraged, or the malicious haue any occasion of iust cauillation, seing some translations read after one sort, and some after another, whereas all may serue to good purpose and edification, we haue in the margent noted that diuersitie of speache or readyng whiche may also seme agreable to the mynde of the holy Gost and propre for our langage with this marke ĎĎ. Now as we have chiefly observed the sense, and laboured always to restore it to all integrity: so have we most reverently kept the propriety of the words, considering that the Apostles who spake and wrote to the Gentiles in the Greek tongue, rather constrained them to the lively phrase of the Hebrew, than enterprised far by mollifying their language to speak as the Gentiles did. And for this and other causes we have in many places reserved the Hebrew phrases, notwithstanding that they may seem somewhat hard in their ears that are not well practised and also delight in the sweet sounding phrases of the holy Scriptures. Yet lest either the simple should be discouraged, or the malicious have any occasion of just cavillation, seeing some translations read after one sort, and some after another, whereas all may serve to good purpose and edification, we have in the margin noted that diversity of speech or reading which may also seem agreeable to the mind of the holy Ghost and proper for our language with this mark ĎĎ.
Againe where as the Ebrewe speache semed hardly to agre with ours, we haue noted it in the margent after thys sorte íí, vsing that whiche was more intelligible. And albeit that many of the Ebrewe names be altered from the olde texte, and restored to the true writing and first original, whereof they haue their signification, yet in the vsual names litle is changed for feare of troublyng the simple readers. Moreouer whereas the necessitie of the sentence required any thyng to be added [for suche is the grace and proprietie of the Ebrewe and Greke tongues, that it can {} not but ether by circumlocution, or by adding the verbe or some worde be vnderstand of them that are not wel practised therein] we haue put in the text with another kynde of lettre [italics], that it may easely be discerned from the common lettre. As touching the diuision of the verses, we haue followed the Ebrewe examples, whiche haue so euen from the beginnyng distinct thé. Which thing as it is moste profitable for memorie: so doeth it agre with the best translations, & is moste easie to find out both by the best Concordances, and also by the cotations which we haue diligently herein perused and set forth by this starre*. Besides this the principal matters are noted and distincted by this marke.∂ Yea and the arguments both for the booke and for the chapters with the nombre of the verse are added, that by all meanes the reader might be holpen. For the which cause also we haue set ouer the head of euery page some notable worde or sentence whiche may greatly further as wel for memorie, as for the chief point of the page And considering how hard a thing it is to vnderstand the holy Scriptures, ád what errors, sectes & heresies growe dailie for lacke of the true knollage thereof, and how many are discouraged [as they pretend] because they can not atteine to the true ád simple meaning of the same, we haue also indeuored bothe by the diligent reading of the best commentaries, and also by the conference with the godly and learned brethren, to gather brief annotations vpon all the hard places, as wel for the vnderstanding of suche wordes as are obscure, and for the declaration of the text, as for the application of the same as may moste apperteine to Gods glorie and the edification of his Church. Forthermore whereas certeyne places in the bookes of Moses, of the Kings and Ezekiell semed so darke that by no description they colde be made easie to the simple reader, we haue so set them forthe with figures and notes for the ful declaration thereof, that they whiche can not by iudgement, being holpen by the annotations noted by the lettres a b c, &c. atteyn thereunto, yet by the perspectiue, and as it were by the eye may sufficiently knowe the true meaning of all suche places. Whereunto also we haue added certeyne mappes of Cosmographie which necessarely serue for the perfect vnderstanding and memorie of diuers places and countreys, partely described, and partely by occasion touched, bothe in the olde and newe Testament. Finally that nothing might lacke which might be boght by labors, for the increase of knowlage and fortherance of Gods glorie, we haue adioyned two moste profitable tables, the one seruing for the interpretation of the Ebrewe names: and the other conteyning all the chefe and principal matters of the whole Bible: so that nothing [as we trust] that any colde iustely desire, is omitted. Therefore, as brethré that are partakers of the same hope and saluatió with vs, we beseche you, that this riche perle and inestimable treasure may not be offred in vayne but as sent from God to the people of God, for the increase of his kingdome, the comfort of his Churche, and discharge of our conscience, whome it hath pleased him to raise vp for this purpose, so you wolde willingly receyue the worde of God, earnestly studie it and in all your life practise it, that you may now appeare in dede to be the people of God, not walking any more according to this worlde, but in the frutes of the Spirit, that God in vs may be fully glorified through Christ Iesus our Lord, who lyueth and reigneth for euer. Amen.

From Geneua.

10. April. 1561.

Again whereas the Hebrew speech seemed hardly to agree with ours, we have noted it in the margin after this sort íí, using that which was more intelligible. And albeit that many of the Hebrew names be altered from the old text, and restored to the true writing and first original, whereof they have their signification, yet in the usual names little is changed for fear of troubling the simple readers. Moreover whereas the necessity of the sentence required anything to be added (for such is the grace and propriety of the Hebrew and Greek tongues, that it can {} not but either by circumlocution, or by adding the verb or some word be understood of them that are not well practised therein) we have put in the text with another kind of letter [italics], that it may easily be discerned from the common letter. As touching the division of the verses, we have followed the Hebrew examples, which have so even from the beginning distinguished them. Which thing as it is most profitable for memory: so doth it agree with the best translations, & is most easy to find out both by the best Concordances, and also by the quotations which we have diligently herein perused and set forth by this star*. Besides this the principal matters are noted and distinguished by this mark.∂ Yea and the arguments both for the book and for the chapters with the number of the verse are added, that by all means the reader might be holpen. For the which cause also we have set over the head of every page some notable word or sentence which may greatly further as well for memory, as for the chief point of the page. And considering how hard a thing it is to understand the holy Scriptures, and what errors, sects & heresies grow daily for lack of the true knowledge thereof, and how many are discouraged (as they pretend) because they can not attain to the true and simple meaning of the same, we have also endeavored both by the diligent reading of the best commentaries, and also by the conference with the godly and learned brethren, to gather brief annotations upon all the hard places, as well for the understanding of such words as are obscure, and for the declaration of the text, as for the application of the same as may most appertain to Godís glory and the edification of his Church. Furthermore whereas certain places in the books of Moses, of the Kings, and Ezekiel, seemed so dark that by no description they could be made easy to the simple reader, we have so set them forth with figures and notes for the full declaration thereof, that they which can not by judgment, being holpen by the annotations noted by the letters a b c, &c. attain thereunto, yet by the perspective, and as it were by the eye, may sufficiently know the true meaning of all such places. Whereunto also we have added certain maps of Cosmography which necessarily serve for the perfect understanding and memory of divers places and countries, partly described, and partly by occasion touched, both in the old and new Testament. Finally that nothing might lack which might be bought by labours, for the increase of knowledge and furtherance of Gods glory, we have adjoined two most profitable tables, the one serving for the interpretation of the Hebrew names: and the other containing all the chief and principal matters of the whole Bible: so that nothing (as we trust) that any could justly desire, is omitted. Therefore, as brethren that are partakers of the same hope and salvation with us, we beseech you, that this rich pearl and inestimable treasure may not be offered in vain but as sent from God to the people of God, for the increase of his kingdom, the comfort of his Church, and discharge of our conscience, whom it hath pleased him to raise up for this purpose, so you would willingly receive the word of God, earnestly study it and in all your life practice it, that you may now appear indeed to be the people of God, not walking any more according to this world, but in the fruits of the Spirit, that God in us may be fully glorified through Christ Jesus our Lord, who liveth and reigneth for ever. Amen.

From Geneva.

10. April. 1561.