Page:Commentaries on Genesis (Calvin) Vol 1.djvu/27

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xvii
TRANSLATOR'S PREFACE.

TRANSLATOR'S PREFACE. XVll appears that he has not done so, for though he departs but little from it, he not unfrequently alters a word or two in the translation. While on the subject of Versions, it may be added, that in THE Old English Translation by Tymme already alluded to, THE Geneva version is used. This translation was made by the learned exiles from England during the Marian Persecution, and is sometimes distinguished from others by the name of The Breeches Bible, on account of the ren- dering of Gen. iii. 7.^ ^ Prejudice has existed in some quarters against this version of the Holy Scriptures, on the ground that its Authors were too deeply imbued with Calvin's sentiments. Bishop Horsley thus speaks of it : — " This English translation of the Bible, which is indeed upon the whole a very good one, and furnished with very edifying notes and illustrations, (ex- cept that in many points they savour too much of Calvinism,) was made and first published at Geneva, by the English Protestants, who fled thi- ther from Mary's persecution. During their residence there, they con- tracted a veneration for the character of Calvin, which was no more than was due to his great piety and his great learning: but they unfortunately contracted also a veneration for his opinions — a veneration more than was due to the opinions of any uninspired teacher. The bad effects of this unreasonable partiality, the Church of England feels, in some points, to the present day." Such language, coming from such a quarter, fur- nishes strong testimony to the fact, (often very peremptorily and flip- pantly denied,) that the Church of England has, at least, some leaven of Calvinism in its composition. More accurate inquiry than Bishop Horsley's prejudice allowed him to make, would show how largely the Reformers as a body were indebted to Calvin, how conscious they were of their obligation, and how deeply their writings were tinctured with his doctrine. But this is not the place for the discussion of such a subject. It is more to the purpose to observe, that the version of which we are now speaking, passed through more editions than any other, in the early periods of the Reformation ; that it was mainly based upon that of the martyr Tyndale, that it was the ordinary Family Bible of the na- tion, and never was superseded till the present Authorised Version was produced in the reign of James the First. The version in question has generally been spoken of as the produc- tion of the Exiles in Geneva ; but by an accurate investigation of the subject, Mr Anderson has made it appear highly probable, that the chief, if not the sole author of this version, was William Whittingham, who married the sister of John Calvin ; and who, after the Marian persecu- tion had ceased, remained a year and a half in Geneva to finish the work. On his return to England, he first accompanied the Earl of Warwick on a mission to the Court of France, and afterwards was made Dean of Durhajn. His objection to wear the prescribed habits occasioned him some trouble. VOL. I. B