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ascribed to certain men whom we have seen wait on the times, till the battle was actually fought and won; and the credit of all that followed has been given to such as, led by political motives, were overruled to lend the cause, since it must advance, that countenance, which literally cost them nothing. Our preceding history may be referred to in explanation; and whether his Majesty, as far as he was a patron, did not even then“ encumber them with help,” we leave the reader to judge.

We only repeat, as not the least remarkable fact in the entire narrative, that the able, though unpretending man, so evidently raised up by God to commence and carry forward the war of truth and righteousness unto victory, has been hitherto left in the background. With this never-to-beforgotten period, other names have been associated, so as almost to overshadow him ; these have been repeated a thousand times, and become familiar as household words; while there are not wanting those who still inquire—And who was Tyndale? But if we mean to speak of the first personal and determined preparations for this great contest-of the man who, by first applying the art of printing to the Sacred Volume in our native tongue, effectually placed the " leaven” of divine truth in the heart of this kingdom ; if we intend to refer to the first victories gained upon English ground, to the brunt of the battle, or to the burden and heat of the day, these were not the men. Tyndale, with Fryth by his side, occupy a place in the foreground of the picture, from which they never can be moved by any impartial historian. But we have not yet done with the influence of our martyred Translator. The providence of God, under the reign of Edward, will interpret how much more we owe to his memory, and whether the people of England did not testify their gratitude and veneration, as soon as they were let alone to act for themselves.

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A REIGN, HOWEVER BRIEF, DISTINGUISHED AS HAVING NO PARALLEL IN

BRITISH HISTORY, WITH REGARD TO THE PRINTING AND PUBLICATION OF THE SACRED SCRIPTURES IN THE LANGUAGE OF THE PEOPLE.

HE storm has changed into a calm ; so that in reviewing the Christianity of England from the six

teenth century, there have been those, as there are 25.

still, who prefer to begin with the reign of Edward the Sixth ; while others repudiate every event before the reign of Elizabeth. But whatever may be the inducement to either preference, such parties must not expect to be acknowledged as possessing much, if any, energy of purpose in tracing effects to their cause ; or any measure of that disposition, which cannot be satisfied without accounting fully for circumstances, still existing before every eye. The reign of Henry the Eighth, whatever had been his personal character, was, in many respects, not only initial but germinant. Every day since, has so testified; and the broad surface of the kingdom still bears witness to the weight and pressure of his sceptre. He left behind him certain marks, which are still acknowledged as memorials of his power.

It, therefore, becomes only so much the more observable, that the genuine or correct history of the English Bible has never allowed us, as it never allowed him, to come down and confound the Sacred Volume, either with the ecclesiastical arrangements, so called, of his time, or with the fallible interpretations of erring men. No historical line could be more distinctly drawn, whether while the King and his advisers were arrayed against the Scriptures, or after they were overruled to admit them into England. Then, indeed, his Majesty himself became the remarkable instrument in not permitting the English Bible to be at all identified with the ecclesiastical body he had set up and sanctioned. Not only did he not consult it on this subject, but frowned upon his Bishops, when once presuming to sit in judgment upon the translation.

And now that the King is dead; now that the New Testament Scriptures had been reading for twenty years, and the Bible entire for nearly ten, not unfrequently in the face of the flames, we are escaped from what may be regarded as the grand tempest. One furious blast, indeed, under Queen Mary, we have yet before us; but still with mere political, or any other affairs, there will be less occasion for perplexing ourselves any more. These might afford instructive warning and monition; but the leading design of these pages, now disentangled from the past, may be regarded with an eye but occasionally diverted from itself. That history can now be viewed throughout, under successive reigns; or in those of Edward and Mary, Elizabeth and James, when we come to the version universally in use. In other words, for the main practical purpose which we have in view, from the beginning to the end, we no longer require to proceed only year by year, as we have done ; nor is it any longer necessary to notice the editions of the Scriptures in regular succession. We have, it is true, all this time been only laying the foundation, and in so doing feel perfectly conscious that we may have trespassed on the patience of certain readers; but more especially on that of any who have never been before aware of what a superstructure has been reared upon it. They have now before them the groundwork of infinitely the largest undertaking which Britain has to show, whether to her own people, or those of surrounding nations. When compared with it, every thing else without exception, throughout this kingdom, is but local and limited.

At the close of this volume, however, will be found, at least so far, one index to our history, in a List of the Editions of the Bible, and New Testament separately, from the year 1525 down to our present version in 1611 and 1613; soon after which the Scriptures in English actually become a multitude which no man cau number. At the same time this fact will at last lend its assistance, in any attempt to estimate our present most singular condition as a nation, as well as our position in reference to the world at large.

In the reign of Edward the Sixth we are presented with a contrast between father and son ; or between two men, seated in succession on the same throne, such as England had never witnessed ; and this becomes still more striking, from the rights of conscience being now no better understood, than they had been under the previous government. The blame then, however, recoiled upon the King ; now it will fall upon his Ministers. Of the father, it might in truth be said—“ As the whirlwind passeth,” so the man was no more ; but after the oppressive and tormenting misery endured by so many, and especially after he became " his own Minister," the reign of his son must have come to the best of his subjects, exhilarating as the morning breeze over a beanfield to the traveller. It was not indeed “a morning without clouds ;” but as far as such a history as the present is concerned, it was like “ clear shining after rain.” We speak only with reference to the Sacred Volume ; and, in this point of view, justice still remains to be done to the brief reign of that youthful and amiable monarch—the Josiah of his day.

Henry VIII. being interred at Windsor on Wednesday 16th of February, four days after, or upon Sunday the 20th, his son, then only in his tenth year, was crowned. An incident occurred, indicative of the change which had taken place, so far as the crown was concerned. Upon that day, when three swords were brought before Edward, as tokens of his being king of three kingdoms, he said there was one yet wanting. The noblemen around him, not exactly catching his meaning, inquired which that was ? He answeredthe Bible. “ That book,"

young Prince, is the sword of the Spirit, and to be preferred before these swords. That ought, in all right, to govern us, who use them for the people's safety, by God's appointment. Without that sword, we are nothing, we can do nothing, we have no power : from that we are, what we are, this day: from that alone we obtain all power and virtue, grace and salvation, and whatsoever we have of

After some other similar expressions, Edward commanded the Sacred Volume to be brought with reverence, and so carried before him.

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Divine strength.”

"Hayward. Strype. Though the former mistakes the day of coronation for the 19th, and the latter says Sunday the 21st, it was the 20th of February.

In the change which now commenced, the attentive observer may discover one feature of Divine interposition, often displayed in other instances. In the wonderful works which our blessed Lord condescended to perform, when dwelling here below, a rule may be observed,-in his never doing, by miracle, more than was requisite, or whatever might be effected by ordinary means.? And so now, the days of direct,—that is, to our eye, of more striking interposition of Divine Providence, in favour of the Sacred Volume, were not so frequent, and under this reign, at least, they were but seldom demanded. The season for human agency had come. Printers and publishers may do the rest, and purchasers will not be wanting ; though, at the same time, the unseen, yet overruling hand, is not withdrawn. That cause which we have already seen weather many a gale, will continue to retain its own singular character for independence, whether the reigning power smile, as under Edward, or frown, as in the days of his sister, Queen Mary.

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With regard to the various editions of the Sacred Scriptures issued from the press in the brief reign of King Edward, we have already hinted that no justice has ever been done to the subject. To say nothing of older historians, even so recently as the year 1792, his readers were informed by Newcome, Archbishop of Armagh, nay, and as a proof of “ nest endeavour that the Word of the Lord might have free course and be glorified;" that “ during the course of this reign, that is,” said the author, “ in less than seven years and six months, eleven impressions of the whole English Bible were published, and six of the New Testament ; to which may be added, an English translation of the whole New Testament, paraphrased by Erasmus." This only shews how little attention has been paid to the subject, when a period so heart-stirring could be thus reported; but that the blundering statement should have been literally repeated up to this hour, and in our best introductions to the study, or the translations, of the Scriptures, is more surprising still.

We need not remind the reader that, instead of seven years and a half, Edward did not reign quite six and a half ; but how stand the facts under this brief period? Why, that

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2 When He had raised Lazarus from the dead, he was " bound hand and foot with clothes," Jesus said to those who stood by, * loose him and let him go." When, and after har.

laughed to scorn,” the dead young maid arose at luis bidding, and her spirit came again ; He "commanded them to give her meat." As much as to say, in both instances. That though raised by miracle, they were not to live by miracle.

3 Newcome's Historical View of English Biblical Translations, p. 64.

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