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a new translation." In the year 1535, (some by mistake say 1532,) Tindal and Coverdale translated and published the whole Bible, the first that was ever printed in the English language. It was printed at Hamburgh, by Grafton and Whitchurch, when Mr. John Rogers, afterwards the protomartyr, corrected the press. This first English translation
was called Matthew's Bible, a fictitious name, and was
dedicated by Coverdale to King Henry.4 The form of dedication is preserved by Mr. Strype; in which our reverend author expressed himself in the following manner:
“ Unto the moost victorious prynce and our moost gra“ cyous soverygne lorde Kynge HENRY eyghth, kynge of “ Englande and of Fraunce, lorde of Irelande, &c. defen“dour of the fayth; and under God the chefe and suppreme “heade of the church of Englande. The ryght and just “administracyon of the lawes that God gave unto Moses and “Josua : the testimonye of faythfulness that God gave to “ David: the plenteous abundaunce of wysdome that God “gave unto Solomon: the lucky and prosperous age with “ the multiplicacyon of sede which God gave to Abraham “ and Sara his wyse, be given unto you, moost gracy.ous “ prynce, with your dearest just wyfe and moost vertuous “pryncesse Quene Jane. Amen. : “Your graces humble subjecte and daylye oratour,
“ MYLEs Covelt DALE.”
In this dedication he tells his majesty, that the blind bishop of Rome no more knew what he did when he gave this title, Defender of the Faith, than the Jewish bishop Caiaphas when he taught, that it was better to put Christ to death, than that all the people should perish : that the pope ve him this title, only because his highness suffered his ishops to burn God's word, and to persecute the lovers and ministers of it; whereas, he openly declared, that by the righteous administration of his majesty, the faith ought to be so defended, that God's word, the mother of faith, should have its free course through all christendom, but especially in these realms: and that his majesty should, i.defend the faith; yea, even the true faith of Christ, not dreams, not fables, not heresy, not papistical inventions, but the uncorrupt faith of God's most holy word, to set forth which, his highness, with his most honourable council, applied all study and endeavour. -
* Fox’s Martyrs, vol. ii. p. 303. + Ibid. p. 434. # Annals, vol. ii. Appen. p. 43.
He next observes to his majesty, that as the word of God is the only truth that driveth away all error, and discovereth all juggling and deceit; therefore, is the Balaam of Rome so loath to have the scriptures known in the mother-tongue, lest by kings and princes becoming acquainted with them, they should again claim and challenge their due authority, which hath been falsely usurped for many years; and lest the people, being taught by the word of God, should renounce their feigned obedience to him and his disguised apostles, and observe the true obedience commanded by God's own mouth, and not embrace his painted religion. . As to the present translation, Coverdale observes here, and in his epistle to the reader, that it was neither his labour nor desire to have this work put into his hand, but that being instantly required to undertake it, and the Holy Ghost moving other men to be at the cost thereof, he was the more bold to take it in hand. He considered how great pity it was, that the English should want such a translation so long, and called to his remembrance the adversity of those, who were not only endowed with right knowledge, but would with all their hearts, have performed that which they had begun, if no impediment had been in the way. Therefore, as he was desired, he took the more upon him, as he said, to set forth this special translation, not as a reprover or despiser of other mens' labours, but lowly and faithfully following his interpreters, and that under correction. Of these, he said, he made use of five different ones, who had translated the scriptures, not only into Latin, but also into Dutch. He made this declaration, that he had neither wrested nor altered so much as one word, for the maintenance of any manner of sect, but had with a clear conscience, purely and faithfully translated out of the foregoing interpreters, having only the manifest scriptures before his eyes.
This translation was divided into six tomes or parts, and Coverdale prefixed to every book the contents of the several chapters, and not to the particular chapters, which was done afterwards. It is adorned throughout with wooden cuts, and in the margin are scripture references. In the last page it is said, “Prynted in the yeare of our Lorde M.D.xxxv. . and fynished the fourth day of October.” This Bible was reprinted in 1550, and again in 1553."
In the year 1537, the Bible was published a second time in English, entitled “The Bible, which is all the Holy
* Lewis's Hist. of Translations, p. 23–25.
Scripture, in which are contayned the Olde and Newe Testament, truelye and purelye translated into English.” The translators were Tindal and Coverdale. John Rogers is said to have had a share in it; but this appears incorrect. From the end of the Chronicles to the end of the Apocrypha was Coverdale's, and the rest was Tindal's. This was called “The Great Bible,” but it did not come forth till after Tindal's death.* The New Testament was afterwards printed in Latin and English in quarto, with the following title: “The Newe Testament both in Latine and Englishe eche correspondent to the other after the vulgare Text communely called St. Jerome's. Faithfully translated by Johan Hollybushe anno M.ccc.cc.xxxviii.” This was Coverdale's translation, which he gave Hollybushe leave to print. It was dedicated “To the moost noble, moost gracious, and “our moost dradde soveraigne lord Kynge HENRY the “ eyght, kynge of England and of Fraunce, defender of “Christ's true fayth, and under GoD the chefe and supreme “ heade of the church of Englande, Irelande, &c.” In the dedication, he tells his majesty, “that oon of the chiefest causes why he did now with moost humble obedience dedicate and offre thys translation of the New Testament unto his moost royall majesty, was his highnesse's so lovingly and favourably taking his infancy and rudeness in dedicating the whole Bible in Englysh to his most noble Grace.” This translation, as Coverdale says, was sinistrally printed and j/ corrected. He, therefore, the next year, 1539, published another edition in 8vo., which he dedicated “ }. the right honourable Lorde Cromwell lorde “ prevye seale, vicegerent to the kynge's hyghnesse concer“nynge all his jurisdiccion ecclesiasticall within the realme “ of Englande.”: In the year 1538, Lord Cromwell procured letters from Henry VIII. to the King of France, soliciting his license and allowance for printing the English Bible in the university of Paris, since it could be done there to much greater advantage than in England. The King of France granting the privilege, the work was immediately undertaken; and as Coverdale was a person eminently qualified for the office, he was appointed to superintend the press. He also compared the former translations with the original Hebrew and Greek, making the requisite alterations and amendments. When the work was nearly completed, the printer was convened before the tribunal of the Inquisition, and charged with heresy. Coverdale and others were sent for; but, aware of the approaching storm, they fled for their lives, and left their Bibles behind them, to the number of two thousand five hundred. Thus, he narrowly escaped the rack, the fire, or some equally cruel torture. As the heretical translator could not be found, the Bibles were all seized, and committed to the care of one Lieutenant Criminal, to be burnt at Paris; but instead of casting the whole of them to the flames, he, through covetousness, sold four great fats full of them to an haberdasher, as waste paper, of whom they were afterwards purchased. All the rest were publicly burnt at Paris. Afterwards Lord Cromwell" went himself to Paris, when he procured the printingpress, and brought the servants of the printer to London, where the remaining part of the Bible was printed, though not without much opposition from the bishops.f The first publication of the Bible in English roused the malice and ill-will of the bigotted prelates. Their anger and jealousy being awakened, they laid their complaints before the king; who, in compliance with their suggestions, ordered all the copies to be called in, and promised them a new translation. And when the translation in 1537, called Coverdale's translation, came forth, the bishops told Henry, that there were many faults in it. His majesty asked them whether it contained any heresies; and when the bishops said they had found none, the king replied, “ Then in the name of God let it go abroad among the people.” Coverdale's immense labours in publishing the various translations of the scriptures, exposed him to the wrath of the English bishops, by whom he was most severely persecuted for his pains. The angry prelates hunted him from . place to place, which obliged him to flee from the storm, and continue many years in a foreign land. While in a state of exile, he printed the Bible, and sent it to be sold in England, by which means he obtained a comfortable support. This, however, could not long be concealed from the jealous eye of the Bishop of London; who no sooner found what Coverdale was doing, than he inquired where the Bibles were sold, and bought them all up : supposing by this means he should be able to suppress their circulation. But God so ordered it, contrary to the prelate's expectations, that the merchant of whom the Bibles were purchased, sent the money to Coverdale; whereby he was enabled to print more, and send them over to England. This, indeed, roused the fury of the angry prelates, who, by their outstretched arms, reached him even in Holland; and to escape their potent malice, he was obliged to retire into Germany. He settled under the palsgrave of the Rhiene, where he found much favour. Here, upon his first settlement, he taught school for a subsistence. But having afterwards learned the Dutch language, the Prince Elector Palatine conferred upon him the benefice of Burghsaber, where his faithful ministry and holy life were made a blessing to the people. During his continuance in this situation, he was maintained partly by his benefice, and partly by Lord Cromwell, his liberal and worthy benefactor.: Upon the accession of Edward VI. the tyrannical cruelties of King Henry began immediately to relax; the prison * Strype's Cranmer, p. 444.—Burnet's Hist. Abridged, vol. iii. p. 31. t Clark’s Lives, p. 3. it Coverdale was almoner to Queen Katharine Parr, the last wife of Henry VIII., and a great friend to the reformation. In the month of September 1548, he officiated at her funeral, and preached a sermon on the occasion; in which he declared, “That there shulde none there thinke, “saye, or spread abrode, that the offeringe which was there don anye thing “to prosyth the deade, but for the poore onlye 5 and also the lights which “were carried and strode abowte the corps, were for the honnour of the “person, and for none other intente nor purpose; and so wente throughe
* Lewis’s Hist. of Translations, p. 26.—Strype's Cranmer, p. 82.
+ William Tindal, deservedly styled “The Apostle of England,” was the first who translated the New Testament into English, from the original Greek. This translation was printed at Antwerp, in 1526; when Bishop Tonstal and Sir Thomas Moore purchased all the impression, and burnt them at Paul’s cross. The sale oft. impression enabled the translator to print a larger, and more correct edition. Tindal was burnt for an heretic at Wilford, near Brussels, in 1536, crying at the stake, “Lord, open the King of England's eyes.”—For's Martyrs, vol. ii. p. 301–305.-Strype's Cranmer, p. 81.
# Lewis’s Hist. of Translations, p. 27, 28,
* Thomas Lord Cromwell was the son of a blacksmith at Putney, and some time served as a soldier in Italy, under the Duke of Bourbon. He was afterwards secretary to Cardinal Wolsey; and recommended himself to Henry VIII. by discovering that the clergy were privately absolved from their oath to him, and sworn anew to the pope. This discovery furnished the king with a pretence for the suppression of monasteries, in which Cromwell was a principal instrument. The king, whose mercies were cruel, raised him to a most envied pitch of honour and preferment, a little before his fall. He first amused him with an agreeable prospect, and then pushed him down a precipice. Cromwell, as vicegerent, had the precedence of all great officers of state; but lost his head July 28, 1540.Granger's Biog. Hist. vol. i. p. 86.
+ Fox's Martyrs, vol. ii. p. 434,435,-Lewis's Hist. of Trans. p. 29.