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therfore and in place convenient. For elles in and the witte out, woulde they take upon they that cannot very wel attain to perceive them with foolish wordes and blasphemie to them, begin to mislike, disprayse, and con- handle Holie Scripture in more homely maner temne them. Whereof so foloweth the breche than a song of Robin Hode. And some would, of the lawes, and dysorder of the people. For as I said, solemnely take upon them like as tyll a lawe bee chaunged by authoritie, it rather thei wer ordinary readers to interprete the ought to be observed than contemned. Or text at their plesure, and therwith fall themself elles the exaumple of one lawe boldly broken and draw doun other with them into sedicious and sette at naughte, waxeth a precident for sectes and heresies, whereby the Scripture of God the remenaunte to be used lyke. And com- should lese' his honour and reverence, and be by monlye, the best lawes shall woorste lyke ' such unreverente and unsytting? demeanour, muche of the common people, which moste among muche people, quite and cleane abused, longe (if they myght be heard and folowed) unto the contrary of that holye purpose that God to live al at libertie under none at all. Nowe ordayned it for. Where as, if we woulde no if Plato, so wyse a man, so thought good in further meddle therewith, but well and detemporall lawes, thynges of mennes makyng, voutelye reade it: and in that that is playne howe muche is it lesse meete for everye manne and evident as Gods commaundementes and boldelye to meddle with the exposicion of his holy counsayls endevour our self to folow Holye Scrypture, so devysed and endyted by with helpe of his grace asked therunto, and in the hyghe wisedome of God, that it farre ex- his greate and merveilous miracles consider his cedeth in many places the capacitie and per- God-head: and in his lowly birth, his godly ceiving of man. It was also provided by the life, and his bitter passion, exercise our selfe Emperour in the law civile, that the common in suche meditacions, prayer, and vertues, as people shoulde never be so bolde to kepe the matter shall minister us occasion, knowdispicions? upon the fayth or Holy Scripture, ledgeing our owne ignoraunce where we fynd nor that anye such thing shoulde be used among a dout, and therin leaning to the faythe of the them or before them. And therefore, as I said churche, wrestle with no such text as might before, the special feare in this matter is, lest bring us in a doubte and werestye of anye of we would be to busy in chammyngs of the those articles wherein every good christen man Scripture our self, whiche ye saye we were is clere: by thys maner of reading can no man hable* ynoughe to dooe. Whiche undoubt- nor woman take hurt in Holy Scripture. edlye, the wysest, and the best learned, and he “Nowe than, the thinges on the other syde that therein hathe by manye yeres bestowed that unlearned people can never by themself hys whole minde, is yet unable to dooe. And attayne, as in the Psalmes and the Prophetes than • farre more unhable muste he nedes be, and divers partes of the Gospell, where the that boldly will upon the fyrst reading, because wordes bee some time spoken as in the parsone he knoweth the wordes, take upon him ther- of the Prophete himselfe, sometyme as in the fore to teche other men the sentence with parsone of God, sometime of some other, as peril of his own soule and other mennes too, angels, devils, or men, and sometime of our by the bringyng men into mad wayes, sectes, Savior Christ, not alway of one fashion, but and heresies, suche as heretikes have of olde sometime as God, sometime as man, somtime brought up and the church hath condemned. as head of this mistical body his church miliAnd thus in these matters if the commen peple tant here in earth, sometime as head of his might be bold to cham it as ye say, and to dis- churche triumphant in heaven, somtime as in pute it, thanó should ye have, the more blind the persone of his sensuall parties of his own the more bold: the more ignoraunt the more body, otherwhile in the person of some parbusie: the lesse witte the more inquisitife: ticular part of his body mystical, and these the more foole the more talkatife of great doutes thinges with many other oftentimes interand hygh questions of Holy Scripture and of changed and sodeinly sundrye thinges of divers Goddes great and secret misteries, and this matters diverslye mingled together, al these not sobrely of any good affection, but pre- thinges which is not possible for unlearned men sumpteouslye and unreverentlye at meate and to attayn unto, it wer more than madnes for at meale. And there, whan the wyne wer them to medle withal, but leave al these thinges

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to them whose hole study is beset' therupon, and to the preachers appointed therunto, whiche may shew them such thinges in time and place convenient with reverence and authoritie, the sermon so tempered, as may bee mete and convenient alwaye for the present audience. Wherunto it appereth that oure Saviour himself, and his apostles after him, had ever speciall respect: and therfore, as I say forsoth, I can in no wise agree with you that it wer mete for men unlearned to be busy with the chamming of holy scripture, but to have it chammed unto them. For that is the preachers part and theirs that after longe studye are admytted to reade and expown it. And to this entent waye ? al the wordes, as farre as I perceve, of al holy doctours that any thing have writen in this matter.

“But never ment they, as I suppose, the forbydding of the Byble to be readde in any vulgare tong. Nor I never yet heard any reason layd, why it were not convenient lo have the Byble translated into the Englishe tong, but al those reasons, semed they never so gay and glorious at the first sight: yet, when they were well examined, they myght in effect, for ought that I can see, as wel be layde against the holy writers that wrote the Scripture in the Hebrue tongue, and against the blessed evangelistes that wrote the Scripture in Greke, and against all those in likewise that translated it oute of every of those tonges into Latine, as to their charge that would well and faithfully translate it oute of Latine into our Englishe tong. For as for that our tong is called barbarous, is but a fantasye. For so is, as every lerned man knoweth, every straunge language to other. And if they would call it barayn of wordes, there is no doubte but it is plenteous enough to expresse our myndes in anye thing wherof one man hath used to speke with another. Nowe as touchynge the difficultie which a translatour fyndeth in expressing well and lively the sentence of his author, whiche is hard alwaye to doe so surely but that he shall sometime minyshe 3 eyther of the sentence or of the grace that it bereth in the formar tong: that poynt hath lyen in their lyght that have translated the Scrypture alreadye eyther out of Greke into Latine, or out of Hebrue into any of them both, as, by many translacions which we rede already, to them that be learned appereth.

“Now as touching the harme that may growe by suche blynde bayardes as will, whan they reade the Byble in Englishe, be more busy than will become them: They that touche that poynt harpe upon the right string, and touche truely the great harme that wer likely to growe to some folke: howe be it not by the occasion yet of the English translacion, but by the occasion of theyr own lewdnes and foly, whiche yet were not in my mynde a sufficiente cause to exclude the translacion, and to put other folke from the benefite therof: but rather to make provision agaynste such abuse, and let a good thing goe furth. No wise manne wer there that woulde put al weapons away because manquellers ? misuse them.

"Nor this letted? not, as I sayd, the Scripture to be first writen in a vulgare tong.

For Scripture, as I said before, was not writen but in a vulgare tonge, suche as the whole people understode, nor in no secrete cyphers but such common letters as almost every man could rede. For neither was the Hebrue nor the Greke tong, nor the Laten, neither any other speche than such as all the peple spake. And therfore if we shold lay 3 that it wer evil done to translate the Scripture into our tong, because it is vulgare and comen to every Englishe man, than* had it been as evill done to translate it into Greke or into Latin, or to wryte the New Testament first in Greke, or the Old Testament in Hebrew, because both those tonges wer as verye vulgare as ours. And yet should there by this reason also, not onely the Scripture be kepte out of oure tong, but, over that, shoulde the reading therof be forboden, both al such ley people and all suche priestes too, as can no more than theyr grammer, and verye scantly that. All which companye though they can understande the wordes, be yet as farre from the perceiving of the sentence in harde and doubtefull textes, as weomen if the Scripture were translated to oure own language. How be it, of trouth, seldome hath it been seen that any secte of heretikes hath begonne of suche unlearned folke as nothynge coulde elles ? but the language wherein they read the Scripture: but there hathe alway comonly these sectes sprongen of the pryde of such folke as had, with the knowledge of that tong, some high persuasion in themselfe of their owne lerning beside. To whose authoritie some other folke have soone

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after, parte of malice, parte of symplenesse, beare them: and the apostles in lykewyse and muche parte of pleasure and delighte in didde sometyme spare to speake to some new fanglenesse fallen in, and encreased the people the thinges that they dydde not let' faccion. But the head hath ever comonly been playnly to speake to some other, yet letteth ? eyther some prowde learned man, or, at the all thys nothing the translacion of the Scripleast, beside the language, some proude smat- ture into our own tong no more than in the erer in learning. So that, if we should, for Latine. Nor it is no cause to kepe the corps feare of heretikes that might hap to growe of Scripture out of the handes of anye Christen thereby, kepe the Scripture out of any tong, or people so many yeres fastly confyrmed in fayth, out of unlerned mens handes, we should for because Christ and hys apostles used suche like feare be fayne to kepe it out of al tonges, provision in their utterance of so strange and and out of lerned mens handes to,' and wot unherd misteries, either unto Jewes, Paynims," not whom we mighte trust therwith. Wher- or newly christened folk, except we would say fore ther is, as me thinketh, no remedie but, that all the exposicions which Chryst made if any good thing shall goe foreward, some- himself upon hys owne parables unto hys what must nedes be adventured. And some secret servauntes and disciples withdrawen folke will not fayle to be naughte. Agaynst from the people, shoulde nowe at thys day be which thinges provision must bee made, that kept in lykewyse from the comons, and no as muche good maye growe, and as litle harme man suffred to reade or heare them, but those come as canne bee devysed, and not to kepe that in hys churche represent the state and office the whole commoditie ? from any hole people, of hys apostles, whiche ther will

, I wote well, because of harme that by their owne foly and no wyse manne say, consideryng that those faulte may come to some part, as thoughe a thinges which were than comonly most kept lewde surgion woulde cutte off the legge by from the people, be now most necessary for the the knee to kepe the toe from the goute, or cut people to knowe. As it well appeareth by al of a mans head by the shoulders to kepe him such things in effect as our Saviour at that from the toothe ache.

tyme taught his apostles a part. Wherof I “There is no treatice of Scripture so hard would not, for my mynde, witholde the profite but that a good vertuous man or woman eyther that one good devoute unlerned ley man might shal somewhat find therin that shall delyte and take by the reading, not for the harme that an encreace their devocion, besydes this that hundred heretikes would fall in by theyr own everye preachinge shall be the more pleasant wilful abusion, no more than oure Saviour and fruitfull unto them, whan they have in letted, for the weale of suche as woulde bee their mind the place of Scrypture that they shall with hys grace of hys little chosen flock, to there heare expowned. For though it bee, as come into thys world and be lapis offensionis it is in dede, great wisedome for a preacher to et petra scandali, the stone of stumbling and use discrecion in hys preachyng and to have a the stone of falling and ruine, to all the wilful respecte unto the qualities and capacities of wretches in the world beside. his audience, yet letteth that nothinge, but “Finally me thynketh that the constitucion that the whole audience maye without harme provincial of whiche we spake right now, hath have read and have readye the Scrypture in determined thys question alreadye. For whan mynde, that he shall in hys preachyng declare the cleargie therein agreed that the Englyshe and expowne. For no doute is there, but that Bybles should remayne whiche were translated God and his Holye Spirite hath so prudentlye

afore Wickliffes dayes, they consequentlye tempered theyr speche thorowe the whole corps dydde agree that to have the Byble in Englishe of Scripture that every man may take good was none hurte. And in that they forbade therby, and no man harme but he that wil in any new translacion to be read till it wer the study therof leane proudly to the foly of approved by the bishoppes: it appeareth well hys own wit.

therby that theyr intent was that the byshop “For albeit that Chryst did speake to the should approve it if he found it faultlesse, and people in parables, and expowned them also of reason amend it where it wer faultye, secretly to hys especiall disciples, and some

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more eth' to make it all newe than mend it. As it happed for bothe poyntes in the translacion of Tyndall.

“Now if it so be that it woulde happely be thought not a thyng metely to be adventured to set all on a flushe at ones, and dashe rashelye out Holye Scrypture in everye lewde felowes teeth: yet, thynketh me, ther might such a moderacion be taken therein, as neither good verteous ley folke shoulde lacke it, nor rude and rashe braynes abuse it. For it might be with diligence well and truely translated by some good catholike and well learned man, or by dyvers dividing the labour among them, and after conferring theyr several parties together eche with other. And after that might the worke be alowed and approved by the ordinaries, and by theyr au ies so put unto prent, as all the copies should come whole unto the bysshoppes hande. Which he may after his discrecion and wisedom deliver to such as he perceiveth honest, sad, and verteous, with a good monicion and fatherly counsell to use it reverently with humble heart and lowly mind, rather sekyng therin occasion of devocion than of despicion.' And providing as much as may be, that the boke be after the decease of the partie brought again and reverently restored unto the ordinarye. So that as nere as maye be devised, no man have it but of the ordinaries hande, and by hym thought and reputed for such as shalbe likly to use it to Gods honor and merite of his owr. soule. Among whom if any be proved after to have abused it, than the use therof to be forboden him, eyther for ever, or till he be waxen wyser."

“By Our Lady," quod your frend, "this way misliketh not me. But who should sette the price of the booke?" "Forsoth," quod I, “that reken I a thing of litle force. For neither wer it a great matter for any man in maner to give a grote or twain above the mene price for a boke of so greate profite, nor for the bysshope to geve them all free, wherin he myght serve his dyoces with the cost of x. li.,8 I thynke, or xx. markes." Which summe, I dare saye there is no bishop but he wold be glad to bestow 10 about a thing that might do his hole dyoces so special a pleasure with such a spiritúall profit.” “By my trouth," quod he, “yet

11 I that the peple would grudge to have it on this wise delivered them at the bishops

hande, and had lever pay for it to the printer than have it of the byshop free." "It might so happen with some," quod I. “But yet, in myne opinion, ther wer in that maner more wilfulness than wisedom or any good mind in suche as would not be content so to receive them. And therfore I wold think in good faith that it wold so fortune in few. But, for God, the more dout would be, lest they would grudge and hold themself sore greved that wold require it and wer happely denied it: which I suppose would not often happen unto any honest housholder to be by his discrecion reverently red in his house. But though it wer not taken ? to every lewde lad in his own handes to rede a litle rudely whan he list, and than cast the boke at his heles, or among other such as himselfe to kepe a quotlibets and a pot parlament' upon, I trow there wil no wise man find a faulte therin.

Ye spake right now of the Jewes, among whom the hole peple have, ye say, the Scripture in their hands. And ye thought it no reason that we shold reken Christen men lesse worthy therto than them. Wherin I am as ye see of your own opinion. But yet wold God, we had the like reverence to the Scripture of God that they have. For I assure you I have heard very worshipfull folke say which have been in their houses, that a man could not hyre a Jewe to sit down

upon his Byble of the Olde Testament, but he taketh it with gret reverence in hand whan he wil rede, and reverently layeth it up agayn whan he hath doone. Wheras we, God forgeve us! take a litle regarde to sit down on our Byble with the Old Testament and the New too. Which homely handeling, as it procedeth of litle reverence, so doth it more and more engrendre in the mind a negligence and contempt of Gods holi words. ..

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shall inheret the erthe. Blessed are they which att the altre, and there remembrest that thy hunger and thurst for rightewesnes: for they brother hath eny thynge agaynst the: leve shalbe fylled. Blessed are the mercyfull: there thyne offrynge before the altre, and go for they shall obteyne mercy. Blessed are the thy waye fyrst and reconcyle thy silff to thy pure in hert: for they shall se God. Blessed brother, and then come and offre thy gyfte. are the maynteyners of peace: for they shalbe "Agre with thine adversary at once, whyles called the chyldren of God. Blessed are they thou arte in the waye with hym, lest thine which suffre persecucion for rightewesnes sake: adversary delivre the to the judge, and the for thers is the kyngdom of heven. Blessed are judge delyvre the to the minister, and then ye when men shall revyle you, and persecute thou be cast into preson. I say unto the you, and shal falsly saye all manner of evle verely: thou shalt not come out thence tyll sayinges agaynst you for my sake. Rejoyce thou have payed the utmoost forthynge.? and be gladde, for greate is youre rewarde in Ye have herde howe yt was sayde to them heven. For so persecuted they the prophettes of olde tyme, thou shalt not commytt advoutrie.3 which were before youre dayes.

But I say unto you, that whosoever eyeth a "Ye are the salt of the erthe, but ah! yf the wyfe, lustynge after her, hathe commytted salte be once unsavery, what can be salted advoutrie with her alredy in his hert. there with? it is thence forthe good for noth- "Wherfore yf thy right eye offende the, plucke ynge, but to be cast out at the dores, and that hym out and caste him from the, Better hit is men treade it under fete. Ye are the light of for the, that one of thy membres perysshe then the worlde. A cite that is sett on an hill that thy whole body shuld be caste in to hell. cannot be hyd, nether do men light a candle Also yf thy right honde offend the, cutt hym of and put it under a busshell, but on a candel- and caste hym from the. Better hit is that stycke, and it lighteth all those which are in one of thy membres perisshe, then that all thy the housse. Se that youre light so schyne body shulde be caste in to hell. before men, that they maye se youre good

"Hit ys sayd, whosoever put awaye his werkes, and gloryfie youre Father, which is in wyfe, let hym geve her a testymonyall of her heven.

divorcement. But I say unto you: whosoever “Ye shall not thynke, that y am come to put awaye hys wyfe (except hit be for fornicadisanull the lawe other the prophettes: no, y cion) causeth her to breake matrimony, And am not come to dysanull them, but to fulfyll who soever maryeth her that is divorsed, breakthem. For truely y say unto you, tyll heven eth wedlocke. and erthe perysshe, one jott, or one tytle of the “Agayne ye have herde, howe it was said to lawe shall not scape, tyll all be fulfylled. them of olde tyme, thou shalt not forswere

"Whosoever breaketh one of these leest thysilfe, but shalt performe thine othe to God. commaundmentes, and shall teche men so, he But I saye unto you swere not at all: nether shalbe called the leest in the kyngdom of heven. by heven, for hit ys Goddes seate: nor yet by But whosoever shall observe and teache them, the erth, For it is hys fote stole: Nether by that persone shalbe called greate in the kyng- Jerusalem, for it is the cite of the greate kynge: dom of heven.

Nether shalt thou swere by thy heed, because "For I say unto you, except youre rightewes- thou canst not make one heer whyte, or blacke: nes excede the rightewesnes of the scrybes and But youre communicacion shalbe, ye, ye: nay, pharyses, ye cannot entre into the kyngdom nay. For whatsoever is more then that, comof heven.

meth of evle. "Ye have herde howe it was sayd unto them

“Ye have herde howe it is sayd, an eye for of the olde tyme. Thou shalt not kyll. Who- an eye: a tothe for a tothe. But I say unto soever shall kyll

, shalbe in daunger of judge- you, that ye withstond' not wronge: But yf a ment. But I say unto you, whosoever ys man geve the a blowe on thy right cheke, turne angre with hys brother, shalbe in daunger of to hym the othre. And yf eny man wyll sı judgement. Whosoever shall say unto his the at the lawe, and take thi coote from the, brother, Racha! shalbe in daunger of a lett hym have thi clooke also. And whosoever counseill

. But whosoever shall say unto his wyll compell the to goo a myle, goo wyth him brother, Thou fole! shalbe in daunger of hell twayne. Geve to him that axeth: and from fyre. Therfore when thou offerest thy gyfte him that wolde borowe turne not away,

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