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Translators Letter to King Iames (James)

To the most high and mightie Prince, Iames by the grace of God King of Great Britaine, France and Ireland, Defender of the faith, &c. The translators of the Bible, wish Grace, Mercie, and Peace, through Iesvs Christ our Lord.

Great and manifold were the blessings (most dread Soueraigne) which Almighty God, the Father of all Mercies, bestowed vpon vs the people of ENGLAND, when first he sent your Maiesties Royall person to rule and raigne ouer us. For whereas it was the expectation of many, who wished not well vnto our SION, that vpon the setting of that bright Occidentall Starre Queene ELIZABETH of most happy memory, some thicke and palpable cloudes of darkenesse would so haue ouershadowed this land, that men should haue bene in doubt which way they were to walke, and that it should hardly be knowen, who was to direct the vnsetled State: the appearance of your MAIESTIE, as of the Sunne in his strenght, instantly dispelled those supposed and surmised mists, and gaue vnto all that were well affected, exceeding cause of comfort; especially when we beheld the gouernment established in your HIGHNESSE, and your hopefull Seed, by an vndoubted Title, and this also accompanied with Peace and tranquillitie, at home and abroad.

But amongst all our Ioyes, there was no one that more filled our hearts, then the blessed continuance of the Preaching of GODS sacred word amongst vs, which is that inestimable treasure, which excelleth all the riches of the earth, because the fruit thereof extendeth it selfe, not onely to the time spent in this transitory world, but directeth and disposeth men vnto that Eternall happinesse which is aboue in Heauen.

Then, not to suffer this to fall to the ground, but rather to take it vp, and to continue it in that state, wherein the famous predecessour of your HIGHNESSE did leaue it; Nay, to goe forward with the confidence and resolution of a man in maintaining the trueth of CHRIST, and propagating it farre and neere, is that which hath so bound and firmely knit the hearts of all your MAIESTIES loyall and Religious people vnto you, that your very Name is precious among them, their eye doeth behold you with comfort, and they blesse you in their hearts, as that sanctified person, who vnder GOD, is the immediate authour of their true happinesse. And this their contentment doeth not diminish or decay, but euery day increaseth and taketh strength, when they obserue that the zeale of your Maiestie towards the house of GOD, doth not slacke or goe backward, but is more and more kindled, manifesting it selfe abroad in the furthest parts of Christendome, by writing in defence of the Trueth, (which hath giuen such a blow vnto that man of Sinne, as will be not healed) and euery day at home, by Religious and learned discourse, by frequenting the house of GOD, by hearing the word preached, by cherishing the teachers therof, by caring for the Church as a most tender and louing nourcing Father.

There are infinite arguments of this right Christian and Religious affection in your MAIESTIE: but none is more forcible to declare it to others, then the vehement and perpetuated desire of the accomplishing and publishing of this Worke, which now with all humilitie we present vnto your MAIESTIE. For when your Highnesse had once out of deepe iudgment apprehended, how conuenient it was, That out of the Originall sacred tongues, together with comparing of the labours, both in our owne and other forreigne Languages, of many worthy men who went before vs, there should be one more exact Translation of the holy Scriptures into the English tongue; your MAIESTIE did neuer desist, to vrge and to excite those to whom it was commended, that the worke might be hastened, and that the businesse might be expedited in so decent a maner, as a matter of such importance might iustly require.

And now at last, by the Mercy of God, and the continuance of our Labours, it being brought vnto such a conclusion, as that we haue great hope that the Church of England shall reape good fruit thereby; we hold it our duety to offer it to your MAIESTIE, not onely as to our King and Soueraigne, but as to the principall moouer and Author of the Worke. Humbly crauing of your most Sacred Maiestie, that since things of this quality haue euer bene subiect to the censures of ill meaning and discontented persons, it may receiue approbation and Patronage from so learned and iudicious a Prince as your Highnesse is, whose allowance and acceptance of our Labours, shall more honour and incourage vs, then all the calumniations and hard interpretations of other men shall dismay vs. So that, if on the one side we shall be traduced by Popish persons at home or abroad, who therefore will maligne vs, because we are poore Instruments to make GODS holy Trueth to be yet more and more knowen vnto the people, whom they desire still to keepe in ignorance and darknesse: or if on the other side, we shall be maligned by selfe-conceited brethren, who runne their owne wayes, and giue liking vnto nothing but what is framed by themselues, and hammered on their Anuile; we may rest secure, supported within by the trueth and innocencie of a good conscience, hauing walked the wayes of simplicitie and integritie, as before the Lord; And sustained without, by the powerfull Protection of your Maiesties grace and fauour, which will euer giue countenance to honest and Christian endeuours, against bitter censures, and vncharitable imputations.

The Lord of Heauen and earth blesse your Maiestie with many and happy dayes, that as his Heauenly hand hath enriched your Highnesse with many singular, and extraordinary Graces; so you may be the wonder of the world in this later age, for happinesse and true felicitie, to the honour of that Great GOD, and the good of his Church, through IESVS CHRIST our Lord and onely Sauiour.

posted 5-30-00

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