Imagini ale paginilor
[graphic][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[merged small][merged small][graphic][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]


þubkc attention, has been drawn from authentic and unpublished manuscripts, from the original printed authorities in

succession, and the editions of the Scriptures themselves. It will be found to contain the historic Annals of the English Bible, viewed in contrast or connexion with national affairs; including Memoirs of Tyndale, his contemporaries and successors; the first introduction of the Sacred Volume, as printed in the native language, into England, Scotland, and America ; the earliest triumphs of Divine Truth, and its progress down to the present day; the imperative obligations of British Christians in such extraordinary possession of the Word of God.

In the literature of this country, although it has been so often felt and regretted, a more observable deficiency does not exist, than that of there being no history of the English Bible. It may have been imagined, that such a narrative could einbrace no heart-stirring incidents, or incidents laid as the foundation of a great design, no frequent peril of life, no hair-breadth escapes, nor, especially, any of those transactions in which the vital interests of this nation have been involved. No mistake could have been greater, but whatever has been the cause, the defect is notorious. The people of every city alike, have never been informed, at what time, and in what a singular manner, their ancestors first received the oracles of God, as printed on the continent for their benefit. As for their subsequent prevalence and effects, these form a vein of British history which has never been explored,



The Sacred Volume, indeed, carries internal evidence of its divine origin, and that in abundance; but still, with reference to the Bible now being used daily, and read so long, throughout this kingdom, no questions can be more natural than these— When was this volume first translated from the original, and put into print? Who was the man that laboured night and day to accomplish this ? Like his Divine Master, was he betrayed unto death? If so, who betrayed him? What became of his betrayers? Or, was there any one man who befriended him, in his last days, or final trial? And since all this, and much more, did take place abroad; in the first transmission, in the secret and singular conveyance of the heavenly treasure to our shores, what were the distinct tokens of a superintending Providence to be observed and adored! What were the notable circumstances connected with its earliest triumphs over the prejudice and passion of our common nature? Or, in short, how has this Sacred Volume, revised, and re-revised, after three hundred years, come down into our hands ? And yet, up to the present moment, should any individual throughout this country apply to his Christian teacher, or any child to his parent, and put these and other deeply interesting questions, no definite answer can be returned ; nor is there a single publication, which, if it lead not astray, will not leave the inquisitive reader nearly as far from satisfaction as when he began. If a Translator, in whose train all others have followed, must be allowed to rank far above all mere Reformers, it is strange if, on such a subject, historians generally should have slumbered or slept; yet the histories of Halle and Foxe, of Stowe and Strype, of Burnet and Collier, of Turner and Lingard, or Soame, as well as the history of Translations by Lewis, Herbert, or Dibdin, with the Biblical literature of Townley, of Cotton, or of Horne, may all be read, and they must be, when such a period is explored ; but from all these sources put together, still the reader can form no conception of what actually took place, with regard to the Scriptures. The incidental circumstances mentioned are not only few in number, but scarcely one of them appears in its true light or appropriate connexion. Many, and by far the most curious and productive incidents, have remained in utter oblivion.

After reading, in succession, even all these works, no one

« ÎnapoiContinuați »