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likely to be of advantage to the reader. Moreover, the Greek words mentioned below, page viii, as set down in the margin of the Annotations, have not been reprinted, as they are readily to be found by the help of the index, which is to be seen at the end of the last volume.
Jan. 1, 1845.
PREFIXED TO THE EDITION OF 1659.
To prepare the reader to receive the designed benefit of this
work, it will be first useful to present him with a scheme or brief table of the severals which here are offered to him, and will be reducible to three heads: the first concerning the original text, the second concerning the version or translation, the third concerning the exposition of it. In every of these, if all that hath formerly been observed and written by others had here been summarily repeated, it would have given a vast, but unnecessary bulk to this volume: and therefore for those things which have been already thus largely insisted on, (whether by the ancients, St. Chrysostom, and the Greek Scholiasts, or, among the many later writers on this subject, by the most judicious and learned Hugo Grotius, in his admirable Comments on the Gospels, as also in the Posthumous Annotations on the other parts of the New Testament, which for a great part bear his signature upon them,) the care hath been to leave the reader from their own hands to receive the account, and
the benefit of their excellent labours, (which are everywhere to be met with,) and not to add one volume more to the great number of those which are already enriched with the spoils and swelled by the transcribing of others' observations.
In the first place, that concerning the Greek text, many learned men, especially Lucas Brugensis and Robertus Stephanus, have used great industry to observe the various readings of the many manuscript copies which had been diligently collected and compared. And these are already to be had by those that please to consult them. Yet because this kingdom of ours hath been enriched with some monuments of antiquity in this kind, which were probably designed by God for more honourable uses than only to be laid up in archives, as dead bodies in vaults and charnel-houses, to converse with dust, and worms, and rottenness; some of these I have chosen to advise with, and from them to offer sometimes a various reading; yet not permitting this to supplant or turn out that which hath vulgarly been received, but setting it in the inner margin, that those that have judgment may, as they see cause, make use of it.
The first MS., which I have myself twice compared, I found in the place of my education, in the library of St. Mary Magdalen college in Oxford, a fair and an ancient copy.
The second is that more known in the king's library at St. James's, presented to our late sovereign by Cyrill the patriarch of Constantinople, written in capital letters by a very ancient hand, of Thecla, as it is thought, and now happily prepared for the press by the great pains and judgment of Mr. Patrick Young, from whose hands the most reverend father in God the archbishop of Armagh, having long since received a copy of the various readings, was pleased to communicate them to me.
The third is the Greek and Latin MS. of the four Gospels and the Acts, found ninety years since in a monastery at Lyons in the time of the civil war in France, and twenty years after presented by Theodore Beza, as a monument of venerable antiquity, to the university of Cambridge, the variations of which from the vulgar printed copies I also acknowledge to have received from the favour of the most reverend archbishop of Armagh. What hath from any of these appeared useful to be proposed, is in the inner margin of this book translated, and set over against the text, with an or in the front of it, as the characteristic note to distinguish it from the changes of the English translation, which, without that mark, are put in the same margin.
2. In the next place, concerning the translation, the first part of
my task was to prepare a new one out of the original Greek, such as seemed to me most agreeable, and on which my present understanding of the text is founded; and to authorize or give confidence to such an undertaking, I had in my prospect not only the two English translations, the one in the book of Liturgy, the other in the Bibles, but the examples also of many learned men, as well those that live in the obedience of the bishop of Rome, (whose great, I shall add a just, value of the Vulgar is notwithstanding sufficiently known,) as others of the reformed churches : such of both sorts are cardinal Cajetan, [and] Mr. Calvin, who translate from the original what they comment upon. So doth Oleaster, and Mercer, and Forerius, and Erasmus, and Malvenda, a late Spanish friar, in his seven volumes of Comments on the Bible. I need not add Junius, and Tremellius, and Beza, and Castellio, the authors of the Spanish, the Italian, the French translations, and many more, who have all made use of that liberty. Yet considering my own great defects, the incompetency and disproportionableness of my strength and few years' consideration to the length and weight of this work; and knowing that as oft and as far as I differed in my sense from other men, so often and in the same distance did other men differ from me; and having before my eyes, from the fate of other men's attempts in this kind, (which I could not induce myself to approve of,) great reasons to forecast and foresee mine own hazards, and (though not to discern, yet) to fear and suspect many misadventures therein, and so to pass that more early censure on myself which from others, which saw not with my partial eyes, I had cause to look for: upon these, I say, and some store of other considerations, I made choice of the course which now is taken, instead of obtruding a new, retaining the known translation of our Bibles, and (after the manner which was formerly used in our Bibles of the larger impressions, of noting some other renderings in the margents) annexing, where it seemed useful, another translation of some words or phrases, with this * or t, or other like marks of reference to the words in our vulgar text; and this is done also in the inner margent. And where the matter is of any difficulty or weight, the reasons of the change are more largely offered, and are to be found in the Annotations, referred to by some letter of the alphabet, a, b, c, &c., set over the top of the word in the text. But when the matter is more perspicuous, or less weighty, so that the bare affixing of the Greek words is a sufficient reason for the rendering them, then that only course is taken, and the Greek being affixed to the English in the margent, the reader is left to judge of it, and to make that advantage of the change which he sees cause for, without any prejudice to other renderings.
a See the most excellent Paulus Fagius in his Preface to the Targum of the Pentateuch.
Thirdly, for the explication of those difficulties in the phrase or sense, which this divine writing is still capable of, two ways have been taken, which appeared most profitable, first, by way of Paraphrase, and secondly, of Annotation. The first in compliance with the wants and desires of the most ignorant reader, for whom it appeared expedient, whensoever any part of the text seemed capable of clearer words than those wherein the translation had expressed them, so often to affix to those obscurer words a perspicuous Paraphrase, which is accordingly done in the outer larger margent of every verse; and so much of the verse as is explained is included in one, if it be from the beginning of the verse, or, if not, in two brackets, after this manner [ ], so that the rest of the text, which is excluded by the brackets, may coherently be read with the Paraphrase of that which is included, and the sense continue undisturbed by that means. This in the historical parts of this book is contrived within the bounds of convenient brevity, and sometimes being wholly omitted, is yet supplied by some note of reference to any parallel place where it had been before explained: but in the Epistles, where the apostles' reasoning is close, or the transitions not very discernible, and in the Revelations, where the obscurities of the prophetic style require a greater circuit of words to explicate them, there the Paraphrase is more enlarged; and so it is in like manner as oft as the length of that seemed sufficient to remove the difficulty or obscurity of the text, without any further trouble to the reader. Besides this, whensoever any appearance of difficulty still remained which had not been cleared by the former methods, the only reserve hath been by way of Annotation, affixed in columns at the end of every chapter, and referred by some letter to that part of the text to which it belongs, and there answered by the same letter both in the text and margent. These Annotations are generally designed for the satisfaction and use of those who have some understanding of the original languages of the Bible, and therefore the several words or phrases so explicated, are in Greek set down in the margent of the Annotations, and all of them collected into an index at the end of the book, (and for the use of the English reader, the like index of every word or phrase so explained is annexed in that language also.) And by comparing of those original languages, the Hebrew words or phrases with the Greek which are used to render them, by consulting the glossaries of the best grammarians, Hesychius and Phavorinus especially, (who have a peculiar title to this business of explainmg words in the New Testament,) and by taking notice of some customs among the Jews, and Grecians, and Romans, and by adding sometimes the testimonies of the ancients, when they appeared most useful, and when my slender collections enabled me to annex them, and by some other means which the reader will discern, (that especially of weighing the context, and comparing one scripture with another, and by the blessed assistance and influence of God's grace and providence upon all, this whole work hath been made up, and the difficulties of these divine writings in some measure explained, with as much brevity as the matter seemed capable of, purposely abstaining from all doctrinal conclusions and deductions and definitions on one side, and from all postillary observations and accommodations, moral or mystical anagogies, on the other side, (both because these latter are infinite, and because every man is allowed (within the bounds of sobriety) thus to apply scripture for himself, as his several taste and genius shall suggest to him,) and generally contenting myself with the one primary and literal sense of each place, unless when there appeared some uncertainty and just reason of doubting betwixt two or more senses, which should be preferred. One thing only it will be needful to add here, that the less curious reader, which desires only to understand and comprehend the plain sense of the scripture, and without any more ado to apply it to his soul's health, shall not need to tire himself with the larger trouble of the Annotations, which of necessity contain many things above the understandings of the more ignorant. But for those whose curiosity shall demand the reasons of any less obvious interpretations, or