Bible (Coverdale)

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Bible  (1535) 
Myles Coverdale

Becauſe that whan thou goeſt to ſtudy in holy ſcripture, thou ſhuldeſt do it with reuerence, therfore for thy inſtruction & louynge admonicion therto, the Reuerende father in god, Nicolas, Biſihoppe of Saliſbury hath preſervbed the this prayer folowynge, taken out of the ſame.

O Lorde God almyghtye whiche longe agoo ſaydeſt by the mouthe of James thyn Apoſtle: If any of you lacke wyſdom, let hym aſke it of God whiche geueth it plenteouſly to all men, and caſteth no man in the tethe, and it ſhalbe geuen hym.[1] Heare my peticion for this thy promes ſake. Let my prayer aſcende luckely in to thy ſyght lyke incenſe.[2] Let thyn eare be attent vnto my depe deſyre. Geue me wyſdome which is eue aſſiſtent about thy ſeate.[3] And put me not out from amonge thy children,[4] for I am thy ſeruaunt and ỷ ſonne of thy handmayde & ſende her (I meane thy godly wyſedome) out of thyne holy heauens, and from the trone of thy maieſtye, that ſhe maye be with me, and laboure with me, ỷ I may knowe what is acceptable in thy ſyght. Pſal. 113. Oh lerne me goodnes, nurtoure, and knowlege, for I beleue thy commaundementes.[5] Thou art good and gracyous, inſtructe me in thyne ordynaunces. Let myne hertie beſechynge aſcende in to thy preſence. Geue me vnderſtondynge accordynge to thy worde. Oh geue me vnderſtõdynge, and I ſhall kepe thy lawe. Yee I ſhall kepe it with all myne herte. Shewe me thy wayes o Lorde, & teache me thy patthes.[6] Leade me in to thy trueth and lerne me, for thou art the God of my helth. And on the do I depende alway.[7] Haue now my voyce O Lorde with which I haue cryed vnto the. Haue mercy vpon me, and gracyouſlye heare me for Jeſus Chriſtes ſake oure Lorde, which lyueth and reygneth with the his father & the holy gooſt worlde without ende. Amen.

After the ende of any Chapter (yf thou wylt) thou mayeſt ſaye theſe verſes folowynge.

LEade me (O Lorde) in thy waye, and let me walke in thy trueth.

Oh let myne herte delyte in fearynge thy name.

Ordre my goynges after thy worde, that no wyckednes reygne in me.

Kepe my ſteppes within thy patthes, leſt my fete turne in to any contrary waye.

An Epiſtle vnto the Kynges hyghnesse.[edit]

Unto the moſt victorious Prynce and oure moſt gracyous ſoueraigne Lorde, kynge Henry the kynge of Englonde and of Fraunce, lorde of Irlonde, &c, Defendour of the Fayth, and vnder God the chefe and ſuppreme heade of the Church of Englonde.

The ryght & iuſt adminiſtracyon of the lawes that God gaue vnto Moſes and vnto Joſua: the teſtimonye of faythfulnes that God gaue of Dauid: the plenteous abundaunce of wyſdome that God gaue vnto Salomon: the lucky and proſperous age with the multiplicacyon of ſede whiche God gaue vnto Abraham and Sara his wyfe, be geuẽ vnto you moſt gracyous Prynce, with your deareſt iuſt wyfe, and moſt vertuous Prynceſſe, Quene Anne, Amen.

CAiphas beynge byſſhope of that yeare, lyke a blynde prophete (not vnderſtandyng what he ſayd) prophecied, that it was better to put Chriſt vnto death, then that all the people ſhulde peryſſhe:[8] he meanyng, that Chriſt was an heretike, a deceauer of the people, & a deſtroyer of the lawe, and that it was better therfore to put Chriſt vnto death, thã to ſuffre hym for to lyue, and to deceaue the people, &c. where in very dede Chriſt was the true prophete, the true Meſſias, and the onely true Sauiour of the worlde, ſent of his heauenly father to ſuffre the moſte cruell, moſt ſhamefull, and moſt neceſſary death for our redempcyon: according to ỷ meanynge of the prophecie truely vnderſtonde.

Euen after the ſame mancr ỷ blynde byſſhoppe of Rome, (that blynde Baalam I ſaye) not vnderſtondynge what he dyd, gaue vnto your grace this tytle: Defendour of the fayth, onely bycauſe your hyghnes ſuffred your byſſhoppes to burne Gods worde the rote of fayth, and to perſecute the louers and myniſters of ỷ ſame. where in very dede the blynde byſſhoppe (though he knewe not what he dyd) prophecied, that by the ryghteous admyniſtracyon and contynuall diligence of youre grace, the fayth ſhulde ſo be defended, that Gods worde the mother of Fayth with the frutes therof, ſhulde haue his fre courſe thorowe out all Chriſtendome, but ſpecyally in your realme.

Yf your hyghneſſe now of your pryncely benignite wyll pardon me to compare theſe two byſſhoppes (I meane byſſhoppe Caiphas and the byſſhoppe of Rome) & theyr prophecies together, I doute not but we ſhal fynde them agree lyke brethren, though the one be a Jewe and the other a counterfayre Chriſtian. Fyrſt, Caiphas prophecied that it was better to put Chriſt vnto death, then that the people ſhulde peryſſhe. The byſſhoppe of Rome alſo, not knowynge what he prophecied, gaue youre grace this tytle: Defendour of the fayth. The trueth of both theſe prophecies is of the holy gooſt (as was Baalams prophecie) though they that ſpake thẽ, knewe not what they ſayd. The trueth of Caiphas prophecie is, that it was neceſſary for mans ſaluacyon, that Chriſt by his death ſhulde ouercome death, and redeme vs.[9] And the trueth of oure Baalams prophecie is, ỷ your grace in very dede ſhulde defende the Fayth. Yee euen the true fayth of Chriſt, no dreames, no fables, no hereſie, no papiſticall inuencions, but the vncorrupte fayth of Gods moſt holy worde, which to ſet forth (prayſed be the goodnes of God, and increace youre gracyous purpoſe) your hyghnes with youre moſt honorable councell, applyeth all his ſtudye and endeuoure.

Theſe two blynde byſſhopes now agree in ỷ vnderſtãdyng of theyr prophecies: for Caiphas taketh Chriſt for an heretike, Oure Balaã taketh the wor of Chriſt for hereſie. Caiphas iudgeth it to be a good dede to put Chriſt vnto death, that he ſhulde not deceaue the people. Oure Balaam calleth defendynge of the fayth, the ſuppreſſyng, kepyng ſecrete, and burnyng of the worde of fayth: leſt the lyght there of ſhulde vtter his darknes: leſt his owne Decretaies & Decrees, his owne lawes and conſtitucions, his owne ſtatutes and inuencions ſhulde come to none effecte: leſt his intollerable eractions and vſurpacions ſhulde loſe theyr ſtrengthe: leſt it ſhulde be knowen what a thefe and murtherer he is in the cauſe of Chriſt, and how haynous a traytoure to God and man in defraudynge all Chriſten kynges & prynces of theyr due obedience: leſt we youre graces ſubiectes ſhulde haue eyes in the worde of God, at the laſt to ſpye out his crafty conueyaũce and iuglynges: and leſt men ſhulde ſe, how ſore he and his falſe Apoſtles haue deceaued all Chriſtendome, ſpecyally youre noble realme of Englonde.

Thus your grace ſeyth how brotherly the Jewyſh byſ&#017f;hoppe and oure Balaam agree together, not onely in myter and outwarde appearaunce: but as the one perſecuted the Lorde Jeſus in his owne perſone, ſo doth the other perſecute his worde and reſyſteth his holy ordynaunce in the auctorite of his anoynted kynges. For ſo moche nowe as the worde of God is the onely trueth that dryueth awaye all lyes, and diſcloſeth all iuglyng and diſceate, therfore is oure Balaam of Rome ſo lothe that the ſcripture ſhulde be knowẽ in the mother tonge: leſt yf kynges and prynces (ſpecially aboue all other) were exercyſed therin, they ſhulde reclame and chalenge agayne theyr due auctorite, which he falſely hath vſurped ſo many yeres, and ſo tye hyin ſhorter: and leſt the people beyng taught by the worde of God, ſhulde fall from ỷ falſe fayned obediẽce of hym and his diſguyſed Apoſtles, vnto the true obedience commaunded by Gods owne mouthe: as namely, to obey theyr prynce, to obey father and mother, &c., and not to ſteppe ouer father and mothers bely to enter in to his paynted religions, as his ypocrites teache: for he knoweth well ynough, that yf the cleare Sonne of Gods worde come ones to the heate of the daye, it ſhal dryue awaye all the foule myſt of his deuelyſh doctrines. Therefore were it more to the mayntenaunce of Antichriſtes kyngdome, that the worlde were ſtyll in ignoraunce and blyndnes, and that the ſcripture ſhulde neuer come to lyghte. For the ſcripture (both in the olde teſtament and in the new) declareth moſt aboũtdauntly that the office, auctorite and power geuen of God vnto kynges is in earth aboue all other powers: let them call thẽ selues Popes, Cardynalles, or what ſo euer they will, the worde of god declareth them (yee and commaundeth them vnder payne of dampnacion) to be obedient vnto the temporall ſwerde[10]: As in the olde Teſtament all the Prophetes, Preſtes and Leuites were. And in the new Teſtament Chriſt & his Apoſtles both were obedient them ſelues, and taught obedience of all men vnto theyr prynces ãd temporall rulers[11]: which here vnto vs in the worlde preſent the perſone of God, and are called Goddes in the ſcripture, bycauſe of the excellẽcy of theyr office. And though there were no mo auctorites but the ſame, to proue the p̃eminence of the temporall ſwerde, yet by this the ſcripture declareth playnly, that as there is nothyng aboue God, ſo is there no man aboue the kynge in his realme but that he onely vnder God is the chefe heade of all the cõgregacyon and church of the ſame. And in token that this is true, there hath ben of olde antiquite (and is yet vnto this daye) a louynge ceremonye vſed in your realme of Englonde, ỷ whã your graces ſubiectes reade your letters, or begynne to talke or come of your hyghnes, they moue theyr bonettes for a ſigne & token of reuerence vnto your grace, as to their moſt ſoueraigne lorde & heade vnder God, which thyng no man vieth to do to eny byſſhoppe, wherby (yf oure vnderſtondyng were nat blynded) we myght euydently perceaue, that euen very nature teacheth vs the ſame, that ſcripture cõmaũdeth vs: and that lyke as it is agaynſt Gods worde that a kynge ſhulde not be the chefe heade of his people, euen o (I ſaye) is it agaynſt kynde that we ſhulde knowe any other heade aboue hym vnder God.

And that no preſt nor byſſhoppe is exempte (nor can be lawfully) from the obedience of his prynce, the ſcripture is full both of ſtrayte cõmaundemũtes, & practiſes of the holyeſt men.

  1. Jacob. 1.
  2. Pſal. 140.
  3. Pſal. 129.
  4. Gen. 9.
  5. Pſal. 113.
  6. Pſal. 24.
  7. Pſal. 26.
  8. Jo. 11. c.
  9. Nume. 24. c.
  10. Ro. 13a
  11. Math. 17.d, Tit. 3.a, Crod. 22.d, Pſal. 31.a.