Wed. Dec 1st, 2021

A prologue

Myles Couerdale Unto the Chriſten reader.

COnſiderynge how glorious knowlege and lernynge an interpreter of ſcripture oughte to haue in the tongues, and ponderyng alſo myne owne inſufficiency therin, & how weake I’m to perfourme ye workplace of a tranſlatoure, I used to be the extra lothe to medle with this worke Notwithſtondynge whan I cōſydered how greate pytie it was that we ſhulde wante it ſo longe, & known as to my remembraunce ye aduerſite of them, which weren’t onely of rype knowlege, however wolde alſo with all theyr hertes haue perfourmed yt they beganne, yf they’d not had obstacle: conſiderynge(I ſaye) that by reaſon of theyr aduerſyte it coulde not ſo ſoone haue bene broughte to an ende, as oure moſt proſperous nacyon wolde fayne haue had it: theſe and different reaſonable cauſes conſydered, I used to be the extra bolde to take it in hande. And to helpe me herin, I haue had ſondrye tranſlacions, not onely in latyn, however alſo of the Douche interpreters: whom(becauſe of theyr ſynguler gyftes & ſpeciall diligence in the Bible) I haue ben the extra glad to folowe for the moſt parte, accordynge as I used to be required. But to ſaye the trueth earlier than God, it was nether my laboure ner deſyre, to haue this worke put in my hande: neuertheles it greued me yt different nacyōs ſhulde be extra plenteouſly prouyded for with ye ſcripture in theyr mom tongue, then we: therfore whan I used to be inſtantly requyred, although I coulde not do ſo nicely as I wolde, I believed it but my dewtye to do my beſt, and that with a great wyll.

Where as ſome males thynke now yt many tranſlacyons make diuiſyon in ye fayth and in the folks of God, yt isn’t ſo: for it was neuer higher with the congregacion of god, then whan euery church allmoſt had ye Byble of a ſondrye trāſlacion. Amonge the Grekes had not Origen a ſpecyall tranſlacyon? Had not Vulgarius one peculyar, & lykewyſe Chryſoſtom? Beſyde the ſeuentye interpreters, is there not the tranſlacyon of Aqilla, of Theodotio, of Symachus, and of ſondrye different? Agayne, amonge the Latyn males, thou findeſt yt euery one allmoſt vſed a ſpecyall & ſondrye tranſlacyoon: for in ſo moch as euery byſſhoppe had the knowlege of ye tongues, he gaue his diligence to haue the Byble of his awne tranſlacion. The doctours, as Heireneus, Cyprtanus, Tertullian, S. Jherome, S.Auguſtine, Hylatius & S. Ambroſe vpon dyuerſe locations of the ſcripture, reade not ye texte all alyke.

Therfore oughte it not to be taken as euel yt ſoch males as haue vnderſtondynge now in oure tyme, exercyſe them ſelues in ye tongues, & geue their diligence to tranſlate out of 1 language in to one other. Yee we ought reasonably to geue god hye thankes therfore, which thorow his ſprete ſtereth vp mēs myndes, ſo to exerciſe them ſelues therin. Wolde god it had neuer bene left of after ye tyme of S. Auguſtine, then ſhulde we neuer haue are available to ſoch blindnes & ignoraūce, in to ſoch erroures & deluſyons. For as ſoone as the Byble was caſt aſyde, & nomore put in exercyſe, then beganne euery one among his awne heade to wryte what ſo euer got here in to his brayne and yt ſemed to be good in his awne eyes and ſo grewe ye darknes of mēs tradiciōs And this ſame is ye cauſe yt we haue had ſo many wryters, which ſeldome made mēcyon of ye ſcripture of the Byble: & although they
ſome tyme aleged it, but was it performed ſo farre out of ſeaſon & ſo wyde from ye purpoſe, {that a} mā maye nicely perceaue, how that they neuer ſawe the oryginall.

Seynge then yt this diligent exercyſe of tranſlatynge doth ſo moch good & edifyeth in different languages, why ſhulde it do euell in oures? Doutles lyke as all nacyons in ye dyuerſite of ſpeaches maye knowe one God in the vnyte of religion, and be one in loue: euen ſo maye dyuerſe tranſlacyons vnderſtonde each other, & that in the head articles & grounde of oure moſt bleſſed religion, although they vſe ſondrye wordes. Wherfore me thynke we haue greate occaſyon to geue thankes vnto God, that he hath opened vnto his church the gyfte of interpretacyon & of pryntyng, and that there at the moment are at this tyme ſo many; which with ſoch diligēce and faithfulnes
interprete ye ſcripture to the honoure of god and edifyenge of his folks, the place as(lyke as whan many are ſhutynge collectively) euery one doth his beſt to be nyeſt the marke. And although they cannot all attayne therto, but ſhuteth one nyer then one other, and hytteth it higher then one other, yee one can do it higher thē one other, who’s now then ſo vnreaſonable, ſo deſpytefull, or enuyous, as to abhore him yt doth all his diligence to hytte ye prycke, and to ſhute nyeſt it, although he myſſe & come not nyeſt the mark? Ought not ſoch one reasonably to be commēded, and to be helped forwarde, that he maye exercyſe himſelfe the extra therin?

For the which cauſe(acordyng as I used to be deſyred) I toke the extra vpon me to ſet forth this ſpeciall tranſlacyon, not as a checker, not as a reprouer, or deſpyſer of different mens tranſlacyons(for amonge many as but I haue founde none with out occaſyon of greate thankeſgeuynge vnto god) however lowly & faythfully haue I folowed myne interpreters, & that vnder correccyon. And although I haue fayled eny the place(as there’s noman however he myſſeth in ſome thynge) loue ſhall conſtyrre all to ye beſt with out eny peruerſe iudgment. There is noman lyuynge yt can ſe all thynges, ne that hath god geuen eny man to knowe euery thynge. One ſeyth extra clearly then one other, one hath extra vnderſtondyng then one other, one can vtter a thynge higher then one other, however noman ought to enuye, or diſpyſe one other. He that may do higher then one other, ſhulde not ſet him at naught yt vnderſtondeth leſſe: Yee he that hath ye extra vnderſtondyng, ought to remembre that the ſame gyfte isn’t hys however Gods, and yt God hath geuē it him to train & enfourme the ignoraunt. Yf thou haſt knowlege therfore to iudge the place eny faute is made, I doute not however thou wilt helpe to amende it, yf loue be ioyned with thy knowlege. Howbeit wherin ſo euer I can perceaue by my ſelfe, or by the informacyon of different, that I haue fayled(as it’s no surprise) I ſhall now by the helpe of God ouerloke it higher & amende it.

Now wil I exhorte the(who ſo euer thou be yt readeſt ſcripture) yf thou fynde oughte therin yt thou vnderſtondeſt not, or that apeareth to be repugnaunt, geue no temerarious ner hayſtye iudgmēt therof, however aſcrybe it to thyne awne ignoraunce, not to the ſcrypture thynke yt thou vnderſondeſt it not, or yt it hath ſome different meanynge, or yt it’s happlye ouerſene of ye interpreters, or wronge prynted. Agayne, it ſhall greately helpe ye to vnderſtonde ſcripture, yf thou marke not onely what’s ſpoken or wrytten, however of whom, & vnto whom, with what wordes, at what tyme the place, to what intent, with what circumſtaunce, conſyderynge what goeth earlier than, and what foloweth after. For there be ſome thynges that are performed & wryttē, to the intente yt we ſhulde do lykewyſe: as whan Abraham beleueth God, is obedient vnto his worde, & defendeth Loth his kynſman from violent wronge. There be ſome thynges alſo that are wryttē, to the intente yt we ſhulde eſchue ſoch lyke. As whan Dauid lyeth with Urias wyfe, & cauſeth him to be ſlayne. Therfore(I ſaye) whan thou readeſt ſcripture, be wyſe & circumſpecte: & whan thou commeſt to ſoch ſtraunge maners of ſpeakynge & darke ſentences, to ſoch parables & ſimilitudes, to ſoch dreames or vyſions as are hyd from thy vnderſtondynge, cōmytte them vnto God or to the gyfte of his holy ſprete in them yt are higher lerned then thou.

As for the commendacyon of Gods holy ſcripture, I wolde fayne magnifye it as it’s worthy, however I’m farre vnſufficiēt therto, & therfore I thoughte it higher for me to holde my tonge, then with few wordes to prayſe or commēde it: exhortynge ye(moſt deare reader) ſo to loue it, loue it, ſo to cleue vnto it, & ſo to folowe it in thy daylye conuerſacyon, yt different males ſeynge thy good workes & the frutes of ye holy gooſt in the, maye prayſe the father of heauen, & geue his worde a great reporte: for to lyue after the lawe of God, & to leade a vertuous conuerſacyon, is the greateſt prayſe yt thou canſt geue vnto his doctryne.

But as touchynge the euell reporte and diſprayſe that the good worde of God hath by the corrupte and euell conuerſacyon of ſome, yt daylye heare it and profeſſe it outwardly with theyr mouthes, I exhorte ye(moſt deare reader) let not yt offende the ner withdrawe thy mynde frō the loue of ye trueth, nether moue ye to be partaker in lyke
vnthankfulnes: however ſeynge yt lighte is come into the worlde, loue nomore the workes of darknes, receaue not the grace of god in vayne. Call to thy remembraunce how louynge & mercifull God is vnto the, how kyndly and fatherly he helpeth the in all hassle, teacheth thyne ignoraunce, healeth the in all thy ſyckneſſe, forgeueth the in all thy ſynnes, fedeth ye, geueth the drynke, helpeth ye out of preſon, noryſheth the in ſtraunge countrees, careth for the, & ſeyeth yt thou wante nothynge. Call this to mynde(I saye) & that earneſtly, and conſydre how thou haſt receaued of god all theſe benefites(yee and lots of mo then thou canſt deſyre) how thou artwork bounde lykewiſe to ſhewe thy ſelfe vnto thy neghboure as farre as thou canſt, to train him yf he be ignoraunt, to helpe him in all his hassle, to heale his ſycknes, to forgeue him his offences, and that hartely, to fede him, to cheriſh him, to take care of him, and to ſe yt he wante nothyng: And on this behalfe I beſeke the(thou yt haſt ye ryches of this worlde, and loueſt God with thy harte) to lyfte vp thyne eyes, and ſe how greate a large number of poore folks renne thorow euery towne: haue pitie on thyne awne fleſh, helpe them with a great harte, and do with thy councell all that euer thou canſt, that this vnſhamefaſt beggynge maye be put downe, that theſe ydle folkes maye be ſet to laboure, & that ſoch as are usually not in a position to get theyr lyuynge, maye be prouyded for. At the leeſt thou yt artwork of councell with ſoch as are in auctoryte, geue them ſome occaſyon to caſt theyr heades collectively, and to make prouyſyon for the poore. Put the in remembraunce of thoſe noble cityes in different countrees, that by the auctoryte of theyr prynces haue ſo rychely ād nicely prouided for theyr poore folks, to the greate ſhame & deſhoneſtye of vs, yf we lykewyſe receauynge ye worde of God, ſhewe not ſoch lyke frutes therof. Wolde God yt thoſe males(whoſe workplace is to maynteyne ye comon welth) have been as diligent on this cauſe as they’re in different. Let vs bewarre by tymes, for after vnthankfulnes there foloweth euer a plage: the mercyful hande of God be with vs, & defende vs that we be not partakers therof.

Go to now(moſt deare reader) & ſyt the downe at the Lordes fete and reade his wordes, &(as Moſes teacheth the Jewes) take them in to theyr herte, & let thy talkynge & communicacion be of them when thou ſytteſt in thyne houſe, or goeſt by ye waye, whan thou lyeſt downe, & whan thou ryſeth vp.[1] And aboue all thynges faſſhyon thy lyfe, & cōuerſacion acordyng to the doctryne of the holy gooſt therin, that thou mayeſt be partaker of ye good promyſes of god in the Byble, & be heyre of of his bleſſynge in Chriſt. In whom yf thou put thy truſt, & be an vnfayned reader or hearer of hys worde with thy hert, thou ſhalt fynde ſweteneſſe theryn, & ſpye wōderous thynges, to thy vnderſtondynge, to the auoydynge of all ſedicyous ſectes, to the abhorrynge of thy olde ſynfull lyfe, & to the ſtablyſhynge of thy godly conuerſacyon.

In the firſt boke of Moſes(known as Geneſis) thou mayeſt lerne to knowe the almightye energy of god in creatynge all of naught, his infinite wyſdome in ordryng the ſame, his ryghteouſnes in punyſhynge ye vngodly, his loue & fatherly mercy in comfortynge the righteous together with his promes. &c.

In the ſeconde boke(known as Exodus) we ſe the myghtye arme of god, in delyuerynge his folks from ſo greate bondage out of Egype, and what prouyſyon he maketh for them in the wildernes, how he teacheth them together with his wholſome worde and the way the Tabernacle was made and ſet vp.

In the thyrde boke(known as Leuiticus) is asserted what ſacrifices the preſtes & Leuites vſed, and what theyr workplace & miniſtracyon was.

In the fourth boke(known as Numerus) is asserted how the individuals are nombred and muſtred, how the captaynes are choſen after ye trybes & kynreds, how they wēte forth to ye battayll, how they pitched theyr tentes, & how they brake vp.

The fyfth boke(known as Deuteronemium) ſheweth how that Moſes now beynge olde, rehearſeth the lawe of god vnto ye folks, putteth them in remembraunce agayne of all the wonders & benefices that god had ſhewed for them, and exhorteth them earneſtly to loue ye Lorde theyr god, to cleue vnto him, to put there truſt in him and to herken vnto his voyce.
After the loss of life of Moſes doth Joſue brynge the folks in to the lōde of promes the place God doth wonderous thynges for his folks by Joſue, which diſtributeth ye londe vnto them, vnto euery trybe theyr poſſeſſion. But in theyr wealth they fotgat the goodnes of God, ſo that oft tymes he gaue thē ouer in to the hande of theyr enemies. Neuertheles whan ſo euer they known as faithfully vpon him, and conuerted, he delyuered them agayne, as the boke of Judges declareth.

In the bokes of the kynges, is deſcrybed the regiment of excellent and euell prynces, and the way the decaye of all nacions commeth by euel kynges. For in Jeroboam thou ſeyſt what myſchefe, what ydolatrye & ſoch like abhominacyon foloweth, whā the kynge is a maynteyner of falſe doctryne, a̅d cauſeth the folks to ſynne agaynſt God, which fallinge awaye from gods worde, increaſed ſo ſore amonge them, that it was the cauſe of all theyr ſorowe and miſery, & the very occaſion why Iſrael firſt after which Juda, have been caryed awaye into captyuite. Agayne, in Joſaphat, in Ezechias and in Joſias thou ſeyſt the nature of a vertuous kynge. He putteth downe the houſes of ydolatrye, ſeyth that his preſtes train nothynge however ye lawe of God, cōmaundeth his lordes to go along with them, and to ſe that they train the folks.[2] In theſe kynges(I ſaye) thou ſeyſt the cōdicyon of a real defender of ye fayth for he ſpareth nether coſt ner laboure, to manteyne the lawes of God, to ſeke the welth & proſperite of his folks, and to rote out the depraved. And the place ſoch a prince is, thou ſeyſt agayne, how God defendeth him and his folks, although he haue neuer ſo many enemyes. Thus wente it with thē in the olde tyme, and euen after ye ſame maner goeth it now with vs: God be prayſed therfore, ād graunte vs of his fatherly mercy, that we be not vnthankful: leſt the place he now geueth vs a Joſaphat, an Ezechias, yee a really Joſias, he ſende vs a Pharao, a Jeroboam, or an Achab.

In the two firſt bokes of Eſdras & in Heſter thou ſeyſt the delyueraunce of the folks, which although they have been however fewe, but is it vnto vs all a ſpeciall cōforte, for ſo moch as God isn’t forgetfull of his promes, however bryngeth them out of captiuite, acordynge as he had tolde them earlier than.

In the boke of Job we lerne comforte and pacience, in that God not onely punyſheth the depraved, however proueth & tryeth the iuſt and righteous(howbeit there’s noman harmless in his ſighte) by dyuerſe troubles on this lyfe, declaryng therby, yt they aren’t his baſtardes, however his dare ſonnes, and that he loueth them.

In the Pſalmes we lerne how to reſorte onely vnto God in all oure troubles, to ſeke helpe at him, to name onely vpon him, to ſatle oure myndes by paciēce, & how we ought in proſperite to be thankfull vnto him,

The Prouerbes and the Preacher of Salomon train vs wyſdome, to knowe God, oure owne ſelues, and the worlde, and the way vayne all thynges are, ſaue onely to cleue vnto God.

As for the doctryne of the Prophetes, what’s it els, however an earneſt exhortacion to eſcheue ſynne, & to turne vnto God? a faythfull promes of the mercy ād pardon of God, vnto all them yt turne vnto him, and a threatenyng of his wrath to the vngodly? ſauynge that right here and there they prophecye alſo manifeſtly of Chriſt, of ye expulſion of the Jewes, and callynge of the Heythen.

Thus moch thought I to ſpeake of ye olde Teſtament, wherin almyghtie God openeth vnto vs his myghtye energy, his wyſdome, his louynge mercy & righteouſneſſe: for the which cauſe it oughte of no man to be abhored, deſpyſed, or lyghtly regarded, as if it have been an olde ſcripture yt nothyng belōged vnto vs, or yt now have been to be refuſed. For it’s Gods true ſcripture & teſtimony, which the Lorde Jeſus commaundeth the Jewes to ſearch. Who ſo euer beleued not the ſcripture, beleueth not Chriſt, and who ſo refuſeth it, refuſeth God alſo.[3]

The New Teſtament or Goſpell, is a manyfeſt and cleare teſtymony of Chriſt how God perfourmeth his ooth and promes made in the Olde, and the Olde fulfylled and verifyed in the New.
Now the place as the moſt well-known interpreters of all geue ſondrye iudgmentes of the texte(ſo farre as it’s performed by ye ſprete of knowlege in the holy gooſt) me thynke noman ſhulde be offended there at, for they referre theyr doinges in mekenes to the ſprete of trueth in the congregacyon of god: & ſure I’m, that there commeth extra knowlege and vnderſtondinge of the ſcripture by theyr ſondrie tranſlacyons, then by all the gloſes of oure ſophiſticall docteurs. For that one interpreteth ſomthynge obſcurely in a single place, the ſame tranſlateth one other(or els he him ſelfe) extra manifeſtly by a extra playne vocable of the ſame meanyng in one other place. Be not thou offended therfore(good Reader) although one name a ſcrybe, that one other calleth a lawyer: or elders, that one other calleth father & mom: or repentaunce, that one other calleth pennaunce or modification. For yf thou be not diſceaued by mens tradiciōs, thou ſhalt fynde nomore dyuerſite betwene theſe termes then betwene foure pens and a grote. And this maner haue I vſed in any tranſlacyon, callynge it in ſome place pennaunce, that in one other place I name repentaunce, and that not onely becauſe the interpreters haue performed ſo earlier than me, however that the aduerſaries of the trueth maye ſe, how that we abhore not this worde pēnaunce(as they vntruly reporte of vs) no extra then the interpreters of latyn abhore penitere, once they reade reſipiſcere. Onely oure hertes deſyre vnto God, is, that his folks be not blynded in ther vnderſtondyng, leſt they beleue pennaunce to be ought ſaue a really repētaunce, amēdment, or conuerſyon vnto God, and to be an vnfayned new creature in Chriſt, and to lyue acordyng to his lawe. For els ſhall they fal in to the olde blaſphemy of Chriſtes bloude, and beleue, that they thē ſelues are in a position to make ſatiſfaccion vnto God for theyr awne ſynnes, from the which erroure god of his mercy and plēteous goodnes preſerue all his.

Now to conclude: for ſo moch as all the ſcripture is wrytten for thy doctryne & enſample, it ſhal be neceſſary for the, to take holde vpon it, whyle it’s offred the, yee and with ten handis fortunately to receaue it. And although it’s not worthely miniſtred vnto the on this tranſlacyon(by reaſon of my rudnes) Yet yf thou be feruēt in thy prayer, God ſhal not onely ſende it the in a greater ſhaype, by the myniſtracyon of different that beganne it afore, however ſhall alſo moue the hertes of them, which as but medled not withall, to take it in hande, and to beſtowe the gifte of theyr vnderſtondynge theron, as nicely in oure language as different well-known interpreters do in different languages. And I praye God, that thorow my poore miniſtracyon right here in, I maye geue them that may do higher, ſome occaſyon ſo to do: exhortyng the(moſt deare reader) in the meane whyle on Gods behalfe, yf thou be a heade, a Judge, or ruler of ye folks, that thou let not the booke of this lawe departe out of thy mouth, however exerciſe thyſelfe therin each daye and nyghte, and be euer readyng in it as longe as thou lyueſt: that thou mayeſt lerne to feare the Lorde thy God, & not to turne aſyde from the commaundement, nether to the proper hande ner to the lefte: leſt thou be a knower of perſonnes in iudgmēt, and wreſt the righte of the ſtraunger, of the fatherles or of the wedowe, and ſo ye curſe to come vpon the.[4] But what workplace ſo euer thou haſt wayte vpon it, and execute it, to the mayntenaunce of peace, to the welth of thy folks, defendynge the lawes of God, and the louers therof, and to the deſtruccyon of the depraved.[5]

Yf thou be a preacher, and haſt the ouerſighte of the flocke of Chriſt, awake and fede Chriſtes ſhepe with a great herte, & ſpare no laboure to do them good, ſeke not thy ſelfe, & bewarre of fylthy lucere/however be vnto ye flocke an enſample, in ye worde, in cōuerſacyon, in loue, in feruentnes of ye ſprete, and be euer readynge, exhortynge, & teachynge in Gods worde, that the folks of God renne not vnto different doctrynes and leſt thou thy ſelfe(whan thou ſhuldeſt train different) be founde ignoraunt therin And reasonably then thou woldeſt train the folks eny different thynge then Gods worde take the boke in thyne hande, & reade the wordes euē as they ſtonde therin(for it’s no ſhame ſo to do, it’s extra ſhame to make a lye) This I ſaye for ſoch, as are usually not but experte in the ſcripture, for I reproue no preachyng with out the guide as longe as they ſaye the trueth.

Yf thou be a person that haſt wyfe and childrē, firſt loue thy wyfe, acordynge to the enſample of the loue, wherwith Chriſt loued the cōgregacion, and remembre that ſo doynge, thou loueſt euen thyſelfe: yf thou hate her, thou hateſt thine awne fleſh: yf thou cheriſhe her and make moch of her, thou cheriſeſt & makeſt moch of thyſelfe for ſhe is bone of thy bones, & fleſh of thy fleſh.[6] And who ſo euer thou be that haſt youngsters, brynge them vp in the nurtour and informacion of the Lorde.[7] And yf thou be ignoraunt, or artwork otherwyſe occupied laufully that thou canſt not train them thy ſelfe, then be euen as diligent to ſeke a great maſter for thy childrē, as thou waſt to ſeke a mom to beare them: for there lieth as nice weight in the one as in ye different. Yee higher it have been for thē to be vnborne, then not to feare God, or to be euel introduced vp, which thynge(I meane bryngynge vp nicely of youngsters) yf it’s diligently loked to, it’s the vpholdinge of all comon welthes: and the negligence of the ſame, the very decaye of all realmes.

Fynally, who ſo euer thou be, take theſe wordes of ſcripture in to thy herte, and be not onely an outwarde hearer, however a doer therafter, and practyſe thyſelfe therin: that thou mayeſt fele in thine hert, the ſwete promyſes therof for thy conſolacion in _

all hassle, & for the ſure ſtablyſhinge of thy hope in Chriſt, and haue euer

an eye fixed to ye wordes of ſcripture, that yf thou be a instructor of different

thou mayeſt be inside the boundes of the trueth, or

at the leeſt although thou be however an hearer or

reader of one other mans doyn

ges, thou mayeſt

but haue

knowlege to iud-

ge all ſpretes, and be fre from

euery erroure, to the vtter deſtruccion

of all ſedicious ſectes & ſtraunge doctrynes, that

the holy ſcrypture maye haue fre paſſage, and be had in re-

putacion, to the worſhippe of the writer therof,

which is euen God himſelfe: to whom

for his moſt bleſſed worde be

glory & domynion

now & euer.



  1. Deute. 6. a.
  2. 2 Par. 17. b.
  3. Jo. 5. d
  4. Joſ. 1. a
    Deute. 17. d
  5. Deute. 24.
    Roma. 12. b.
    1. Pet. 4. b.
    Leu. 20. d
    2. Petr. 5. a.
    2. Tim. 4. b.
    Ti. 2. a
  6. Ephe. 5, c.
  7. Ephe. 6. a.

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