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I.

be, was connected in the case of the reformer with CHAP, no feeling but that of devotion.

It is thus he endeavours to strengthen the mind of the christian worshipper, while suffering under the adversities of life, and especially from the contempt of men.." As men who are in a fever desire not that “ which were best for them, so men in sin covet not “ that which is best for them in this world. The “ world said that the apostles were fools, and for“ saken of God; and so it would say to-day of all who “ live like them; for worldly joy and earthly pos“ sessions alone pleaseth them, while of heavenly

things, and of a right following after Christ, they savour not.

And this their choice, in the pre“ sent world, is a manifest proof against them, “ that in soul, they are not holy, but turned aside “ to the things of the world. For as the palate of

sick man, distempered from good meat, moveth “ him to covet things contrary to his health ; so it “ is with the soul of man which savoureth not of the “ law of God. And as the want of natural appetite “ is a deadly sign to man, so a wanting of spiritual “ relish for God's word, is a sign of his second “ death.” Yet men are said to judge of their participation in the favour of God, by the success of their worldly enterprises: but to expose this error, it is observed, we should leave these “ sensible signs, and take the example of holy

men, as of Christ, and his apostles; how they had “ not their bliss on earth, but that here, Christ ordained them pain, and the hatred of the “ world, even much suffering to the men whom he “ most loyed, and this, to teach us how to follow « him." It is therefore said to follow that in this

а.

1.

Connection between faith and

CHAP. world, the marks of patient suffering, should much

rather be taken as those which bespeak the love of God.28

The connection between this independence of

terrestrial evils, and the faith of the gospel, is thus devotion. pointed out. “ If thou hast a full belief of Christ,

“how he lived here on the earth, and how he

overcame the world, thou also overcomest it, as " a kind son. For if thou takest heed how Christ 'despised the world, and followest him here as “ thou shouldst by the faith of the Father, thou “ must needs overcome it. And here it is mani“ fest what many men are in this world. They

are not born of God, nor do they believe in “ Christ. For if this belief were in them, they " should follow Christ in the manner of his life, “ but they are not of faith, as will be known in the

day of doom. What man should fully believe “ that the day of doom will be anon, and that “ God shall then judge men after what they have been in his cause, and not prepare himself to • follow Christ for this blessing thereof? Either “ the belief of such men sleepeth, or they want a “ right belief; since men who love this world, and “ rest in the lusts thereof, live as if God had never

spoken, as in his word, or would fail to judge “ them for their doing. To all christian men, “ therefore, the faith of Christ's life is needful, “ and hence we should know the gospel, for this “ telleth the belief of Christ. "29

28 Ibid p. 78.

29 Ibid. p. 70.

CHAPTER II.

HISTORY OF ATTEMPTS TOWARD

A TRANSLATION OF THE SCRIPTURES INTO

THE LANGUAGE OF THIS COUNTRY BEFORE THE AGE OF WYCLIFFE-BY
THE ANGLO-SAXON CLERGY BY THE ANGLO-NORMAN—-WYCLIFFE's
PURPOSE AS EMBRACING A TRANSLATION OF THE WHOLE VOLUME, AND
ITS GENERAL CIRCULATION, STRICTLY A NOVELTY-THIS AFFIRMED BY
KNIGHTON

SOME CIRCUMSTANCES FAVORABLE ΤΟ THIS ENTERPRISE ---EXTRACTS EXHIBITING THE REFORMER'S MANNER OF DEFENDING THIS

EFFORT-THE INSURRECTION OF THE COMMONS-A NARRATIVE OF ITS

CAUSES AND CHARACTER SIMILAR CONVULSIONS IN OTHER STATES AT

THE SAME PERIOD.

II.

That the gospel was embraced by many of CHAP. our Celtic ancestors, previous to the close of the first century, is the general testimony of historians ;' and three centuries intervened before that connexion between the subject provinces of Britain, and the capital of the empire which had led to this diffusion of christianity was dissolved. We have no authority, however, for supposing, that any portion of the sacred writings was possessed by the people of this island during that period, in the vernacular tongue. With the few indeed who could read, the Latin though introduced by their conquerors, was the principal object of attention; and the importance of obtaining the scriptures in their own dialect which

1

Usher, Stillingfleet, Collier.

Tacitus, Vita. *Agric. c. 21. Gildas, Hist. The last writer observes that froin the prevalence of the Latin language, Britain might have been called a Roman rather than a British island

II.

toward a

CHAP. this circumstance served greatly to diminish, we

may presume was wholly overlooked. Subsequently, the religion of the Britons must have suffered much from their protracted war with the Saxons; and after the arrival of Augustine, nearly a century was occupied, in bringing the disciples of Odin to their partial acknowledgment of the God of the

christians. Attempts

It was in the seventh century that Cedman, an transla- Anglo-saxon monk, produced a composition which the scrip- claimed the attention of his countrymen, as exhithe An biting the first application of their language to

sacred poetry; and as the first attempt, to render any part of the inspired volume in the speech of our forefathers. This poem, which has all the marks of the antiquity assigned to it, includes the leading events of Old Testament history, as the creation of the world,—the fall of angels, and of man,--the deluge, the departure from Egypt, the entrance upon Canaan, with some subsequent occurrences. In the following century, Aldhelm,

glo-saxons.

3 Bede, iv. 24.-On this interesting subject Mr. Lewis's volume intitled, A History of the English Translations of the Bible” is well known; also a lesser work by Johnson. The latter production, however, though frequently cited as an authority, and honored with a place among bishop Watson's Theological Tracts is strangely inaccurate. I have found no better guide than Mr. Baber, a gentleman to whose discernment the public are indebted for a reprint of Wycliffe's New Testament. To that work a chapter is prefixed, entitled, “An Historical Account “ of the Saxon and English Versions of the Scriptures, previous to the

Opening of the Fifteenth Century,” and it determines every question respecting the state of our vernacular scriptures to the time of Wycliffe. The brief memoirs of our reformer, published in connexion with the same work, would have been noticed in the preface, had I not been sensible that the writer is too well acquainted with these things, not to be fully aware, that his notices respecting the sacred scriptures, and his enlarged and revised catalogue of the Wycliffe manuscripts, impart to that portion of his publication its chief value.

bishop of Sherborne, and Guthlac, the celebrated CHAP. anchoret, are among the authors of Anglo-saxon versions of the Psalter; and the venerable Bede, prefers his claim to the honor of a literal translation of St. John's gospel. A manuscript copy of the Latin gospels, with a Saxon version interlined, known by the name of the Durham book, is attributed on probable evidence to about the time of Alfred." The Rushworth Gloss, is a Latin transcript of the same portion of the sacred volume, with a Saxon translation introduced after the same manner, the latter being apparently the production of the tenth century. Among the valuable manuscripts of Benet College, Cambridge, is a third copy of the vernacular gospels, written a little before the conquest: and a fourth, which belongs to the same period, and appears to have been copied from the former, may be seen in the Bodleian library. But an ecclesiastic, who did more than all his brethren toward supplying his countrymen with the scriptures in their own tongue, was Elfric. This industrious scholar lived during the reign of Ethelred, and subscribes himself at different periods as monk, mass priest, and abbot. In his epitome of the Old and New Testament, composed for Sigwerd, a nobleman, we are informed, that at the request of various persons, he had translated the Pentateuch, the books of Joshua and

II.

4 Ibid Cuthberti, Vita. Ven. Bedæ.

5 It is preserved in the British Museum, Nero, D. iv. and is described by Mr. Baber, as the finest specimen of Saxon calligraphy and decoration extant.

6 This is in the Bodleian, D. 24, No. 3964. It derived its name from its former possessor, John Rushworth, Esq. of Lincoln's Inn. Baber, ubi supra,

7 Ibid.

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