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            Having thus traced the history of our Common Version, through the successive steps by which it has come down to us in its present shape, it remains for us to inquire as to the persons who put the finishing hand to the work, and to satisfy ourselves as to their qualifications for the task. It is obvious that this personal investigation is of the utmost importance in settling the degree of confidence to which their labors are entitled. Unless it can be proved that they were, as a body, eminently fitted to do this work as it ought to be done, it can have no claim to be regarded as a “finality” in the matter of furnishing a translation of the Word of God for the English speaking populations of the globe.

            It is exceedingly strange that a question of such obvious importance has been so long left almost unnoticed. Numerous histories of the Translation itself have been drawn up with great labor; but no man seems to have thought it worth his while to give any account of the Translators, except the most meagre notices of a few of them, and general attestations to their reputations, in their own time, for such scholarship and skill as their undertaking required. Even the late excellent Christopher Anderson, in his huge volumes, replete as they are with research and information upon the minutest points relating to his subject, allots but a page or two of his smallest type to this essential branch of it.

            It is nearly twenty years since the writer of these pages began to consider the desirableness of knowing more of those eminent divines, and he has ever since pursued a zealous search wherever he was likely to effect any “restitution of decayed intelligence” respecting them. At first, he almost despaired of ascertaining much more than the bare names of most of them. But by degrees he has collected innumerable scraps of information, gathered from a great variety of sources; amply sufficient, with due arrangement, to illustrate the subject. His object is simply to shew, that the Translators commissioned by James Stuart were ripe and critical scholars, profoundly versed in all the learning required; and that, in these particulars, there has never yet been a time when a better qualified company could # have been collected for the purpose.

            Of the forty-seven, who acted under king James’s commission, some are almost unknown at this day, though of high repute in their own time. A few have left us but little more than their names, worthy of immortal remembrance, were it only for their connection with t-his noble monument of learning and piety. But their being associated with so many other scholars and divines of the greatest eminence, is proof that they were deemed to be fit companions for the brightest lights of the land. This is confirmed by the fact that, though the king designed to employ in this work the highest and ripest talents in his realm, there were still many men in England distinguished for their learning, like Broughton and Bedell, who were not enrolled on the list of translators. It is but just to conclude, therefore, that even such as are now less known to us, were then accounted to deserve a place with the best. What we may know of the greater part of them, must lead to the highest estimate of the whole body of these good men. The catalogue begins with one whose name is worthy of t-he place it fills.


            He was born at London, in 1565. He was trained chiefly at Merchant Taylor’s school, in his native city, till he was appointed to one of the first Greek Scholarships of Pembroke Hall, in the University of Cambridge. Once a year, at Easter, he used to pass a month with his parents. During this vacation, he would find a master, from whom he learned some language to which he was before a stranger. In this way after a few years, he acquired most of the modern languages of Europe. At the University, he gave himself chiefly to the Oriental tongues and to divinity. When he became candidate for a fellowship, there was but one vacancy; and he had a powerful competitor in Dr. Dove, who was afterwards Bishop of Peterborough. After long and severe examination, the matter was decided in favor of Andrews. But Dove, though vanquished, proved himself in this trial so fine a. scholar, that the College, unwilling to lose him, appointed him as a sort of supernumerary Fellow. Andrews also received a complimentary appointment as Fellow of Jesus College, in the University of Oxford. In his own College, he was made a catechist; that is to say, a lecturer in divinity.

            His conspicuous talents soon gained him powerful patrons. Henry, Earl of Huntingdon, took him into the North of England; where he was the means of converting many papists by his preaching and disputations. He was also warmly befriended by Sir Francis Walsingham, Secretary of State to Queen Elizabeth. He was made parson of Alton, in Hampshire; and then Vicar of St. Giles, in London. He was afterwards made Prebendary and Canon Residentiary of St. Paul’s, and also of the Collegiate Church of Southwark. He lectured on divinity at St. Paul’s three times each week. On the death of Dr. Fulke, in 1589, Dr. Andrews, though so young, was chosen Master of Pembroke Hall, where he had received his education. While at the head of this College, he was one of its principal benefactors. It was rather poor at that time, but by his efforts its endowments were much increased; and at his death, many years later, he bequeathed to it, besides some plate, three hundred folio volumes, and a thousand pounds to found two fellowships.

            He gave up his Mastership to become chaplain in ordinary to Queen Elizabeth, who delighted in his preaching, and made him Prebendary of Westminster, and afterwards Dean of that famous church. In the matter of Church dignities and preferments, he was highly favored. It was while he held the office of Dean of Westminster, that Dr. Andrews was made director, or president, of the first company of Translators, composed of ten members, who held their meetings at Westminster. The portion assigned to them was the five books of Moses, and the historical books to the end of the Second Book of Kings. Perhaps no part of the work is better executed than this.

            With King James, Dr. Andrews stood in still higher favor than he had done with Elizabeth. The “royal pedant” had published a “Defence of the Rights of Kings,” in opposition to the arrogant claims of the Popes. He was answered most bitterly by the celebrated Cardinal Bellarmine. The King set Dr. Andrews to refute the Cardinal; which he did in a learned and spirited quarto, highly commended by Casaubon. To that quarto, the Cardinal made no reply. For this service, the King rewarded his champion, by making him Bishop of Chichester; to which office Dr. Andrews was consecrated, November 3d, 1605. This was soon after his appointment to be one of the Translators of the Bible. He accepted the bishopric with great humility, having already refused that dignity more than once. The motto graven on his episcopal seal was the solemn exclamation, – “And who is sufficient for these things!” At this time he was also made Lord Almoner to the King, a place of great trust, in which he proved himself faithful and uncorrupt. In September, 1609, he was transferred to the bishopric of Ely; and was called to his Majesty’s privy council. In February, 1618, he was translated to the bishopric of Winchester; which if less dignified than the archiepiscopal see of Canterbury, was then much more richly endowed; so that it used to be said, – “Canterbury is the higher rack, but Winchester is the better manger.” At the time of this last preferment Dr. Andrews was appointed Dean of the King’s chapel; and these stations he retained till his death.

            In the high offices Bishop Andrews filled, he conducted himself with great ability and integrity. The crack-brained king, who scarce knew now to restrain his profaneness and levity under the most serious circumstances, was overawed by the gravity of this prelate, and desisted from mirth and frivolity in his presence. And yet the good bishop knew how to be facetious on occasion. Edmund Waller, the poet, tells of being once at court, and overhearing a conversation held by the king with Bishop Andrews, and Bishop Neile, of Durham. The monarch, who was always a jealous stickler for his prerogatives, and something more, was in those days trying to raise a revenue without parliamentary authority. In these measures, so clearly unconstitutional, he was opposed by Bishop Andrews with dignity and decision. Waller says, the king asked this brace of bishops, – “My lords, cannot I take my subject’s money when I want it, without all this formality in parliament?” The Bishop of Durham, one of the meanest of sycophants to his prince, and a harsh and haughty oppressor of his puritan clergy, made ready answer, – “God forbid, Sir, but you should; you are the breath of our nostrils!” Upon this the king looked at the Bishop of Winchester, – “Well, my lord, what say you?” Dr. Andrews replied evasively, – “Sir, I have no skill to judge of parliamentary matters.” But the king persisted, – “No put offs, my lord! answer me presently.” “Then, Sir,” said the shrewd Bishop, “I think it lawful for you to take my brother Neile’s money, for he offers it,” Even the petulant king was hugely pleased with this piece of pleasantry, which gave great amusement to his cringing courtiers.

            “For the benefit of the afflicted," as the advertisements have it, we give a little incident which may afford a useful hint to some that need it. While Dr. Andrews was one of the divines at Cambridge, he was applied to by a worthy alderman of that drowsy city, who was beset by the sorry habit of sleeping under the afternoon sermon; and who, to his great mortification, had been publicly rebuked by the minister of the parish. As snuff had not then came into vogue, Dr. Andrews did not advise, as some matter-of-fact persons have done in such cases, to titillate the “sneezer” with a rousing pinch. He seems to have been of the opinion of the famous Dr. Romaine, who once told his full-fed congregation in London, that it was hard work to preach to two pounds of beef and a pot of porter. So Dr. Andrews advised his civic friend to help his wakefulness by dining very sparingly. The advice was followed; but without avail. Again the rotund dignitary slumbered and slept in his pew; and again was he roused by the harsh rebukes of the irritated preacher. With tears in those too sleepy eyes of his, the mortified alderman repaired to Dr. Andrews, begging for further counsel. The considerate divine, pitying his infirmity, recommended to him to dine as usual, and then to take his nap before repairing to his pew. This plan was adopted; and to the next discourse, which was a violent invective prepared for the very purpose of castigating the alderman’s somnolent habit, he listened with unwinking eyes, and his uncommon vigilance gave quite a ridiculous air to the whole business. The unhappy parson was nearly as much vexed at his huge-waisted parishioner’s unwonted wakefulness, as before at his unseemly dozing.

            Bishop Andrews continued in high esteem with Charles I.; and that most culpable of monarchs, whose only redeeming quality was the strength and tenderness of his domestic affections, in his dying advice to his children, advised them to study the writings of three divines, of whom our Translator was one.

            Lancelot Andrews died at Winchester House, in Southwark, London, September 25th, 1626, aged sixty-one years. He was buried in the Church of St. Saviour, where a fair monument marks the spot. Having never married, he bequeathed his property to benevolent uses. John Milton, then but a youth, wrote a glowing Latin elegy on his death.

            As a preacher, Bishop Andrews was right famous in his day. He was called the “star of preachers.” Thomas Fuller says that he was “an inimitable preacher in his way; and such plagiarists as have stolen his sermons could never steal his preaching, and could make nothing of that, whereof he made all things as he desired.” Pious and pleasant Bishop Felton, his contemporary and colleague, endeavored in vain in his sermons to assimilate to his style, and therefore said merrily of himself, – “I had almost marred my own natural trot by endeavoring to imitate his artificial amble.” Let this be a warning to all who would fain play the monkey, and especially to such as would ape the eccentricities of genius. Nor is it desirable that Bishop Andrews’ style should be imitated even successfully; for it abounds in quips, quirks, and puns, according to the false taste of his time. Few writers are “so happy as to treat on matters which must always interest, and to do it in a manner which shall for ever please.” To build up a solid literary reputation, taste and judgment in composition are as necessary as learning and strength of thought. The once admired folios of Bishop Andrews have long been doomed to the dusty dignity of the lower shelf in the library.

            Many hours he spent each day in private and family devotions; and there were some who used to desire that “they might end their days in Bishop Andrews’s chapel.” He was one in whom was proved the truth of Luther’s saying, that “to have prayed well, is to have studied well.” His manual for his private devotions, prepared by himself, is wholly in the Greek language. It has been translated and printed. This praying prelate also abounded in alms-giving; usually sending his benefactions in private, as from a friend who chose to remain unknown. He was exceedingly liberal in his gifts to poor and deserving scholars. His own instructors he held in the highest reverence. His old schoolmaster Mulcaster always sat at the upper end of the episcopal table; and when the venerable pedagogue was dead, his portrait was placed over the bishop’s study door. These were just tokens of respect;

“For if the scholar to such height did reach,

Then what was he who did that scholar teach?”

            This worthy diocesan was much “given to hospitality,” and especially to literary strangers. So bountiful was his cheer, that it used to be said, – “My lord of Winchester keeps Christmas all the year round.” He once spent three thousand pounds in three days, though “in this we praise him not,” in entertaining King James at Farnham Castle. His society was as much sought, however, for the charm of his rich and instructive conversation, as for his liberal housekeeping and his exalted stations.

            But we are chiefly concerned to know what were his qualifications as a Translator of the Bible. He ever bore the character of “a right godly man,” and “a prodigious student.” One competent judge speaks of him as “that great gulf of learning!” It was also said, that “the world wanted learning to know how learned this man was.” And a brave old chronicler remarks, that, such was his skill in all languages, especially the Oriental, that, had he been present at the confusion of tongues at Babel, he might have served as Interpreter-General! In his funeral sermon by Dr. Buckeridge, Bishop of Rochester, it is said that Dr. Andrews was conversant with fifteen languages.


This divine is the next on the list of those good men, of whom the marginal comment in the Popish translation says, – “They will be abhorred in the depths of hell!” They may be abhorred there, but, after a while no where else. He was born in 1559, at Hadley, and was bred in the free school at that place. He lived through the whole of that happy period, which many, beside the bard of Rydal Mount, regard as the best days of old England,

“When faith and hope were in their prime,

In great Eliza’s golden time.”

            In due season, he was entered as a scholar at St. John’s College, Cambridge. He was next chosen Fellow of Trinity College, in the same University. In 1596, he was made King’s Professor of Divinity; and at the same time took his doctor’s degree, being about thirty-seven years of age. It is noted of this eminent theologian by Bishop Hacket, that it was his custom to ground his theses in the schools on two or three texts of Scripture, shewing what latitude of opinion or interpretation was admissible upon the point in hand. He was celebrated for the appropriateness of his quotations from the Fathers. He was soon after made Master of Catharine Hall very much against his will. To end a bitter contention in regard to two rival candidates, he was elected, if election it could be called, under the Queen’s absolute mandate. When Archbishop Whitgift wished the new Master “joy of his place,” the latter replied that it was “terminus diminuens;” which is Latin for “an Irish promotion,” or a “hoist down hill.” But his Grace, in the true spirit of a courtier “all of the olden time,” told the dissatisfied Professor, that “if the injuries, much more the less courtesies, of princes must be thankfully taken, as the ushers to make way for greater favors.” These appointments must be taken as full proof of Dr. Overall’s superior scholarship in that learned age, when such preferments were only won by dint of the severest application to study.

            In 1601, on the recommendation of Lord Brooke, that noble friend and patron of men of learning and genius, Dr. Overall was made Dean of St. Paul’s, in London. It may be doubted whether this studious recluse, absorbed in deep studies, shone with his brightest lustre in the pulpit. “Being appointed,” says Thomas Fuller, “to preach before the Queen, he professed to my father, who was most intimate with him, that he had spoken Latin so long, it was trouble^ some to him to speak English in a continued oration.”

            Soon after the throne was filled by James the First, whom that accomplished statesman, the Duke of Sully, called “the most learned fool in Europe,” the Convocation, or parliament of the clergy, came together. Dr. Overall was prolocutor, or speaker, of the lower house of Convocation. To this body he presented a volume of canons, the only book from his pen now extant. Its object was to vindicate the divine right of government. But though it was adopted by the Convocation, the King prevented the publication of the book at that time, because it taught, that when, after a revolution or conquest, a new government or dynasty was firmly established, this also, in its turn, could plead for itself a divine right, and could claim the obedience of the people as a matter of duty toward God. This “Convocation Book,” now so long forgotten, was printed many years after the death of “King Jamie;” and obtained some historical and political celebrity, because it had the very effect which was apprehended by the monarch who suppressed it. For when his grandson, James the Second, was expelled from the soil and throne of England, many bishops and other clergymen, called “nonjurors,” refused through conscientious scruples, to swear allegiance to the new government of William and Mary. Bishop Sherlock and many others, who at first declined the oath, professed to be converted from that error by the reading of Dr. Overall’s book. But conversions so favorable to thrift are apt to be held in suspicion. Dr. Overall was the author of the questions and answers relating to the sacraments, which have been much admired, by the ablest judges of such matters, and which were subjoined to the Catechism of the Church of England, in the first year of James the First.

            It was while he was Dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral, that he was joined in the commission, the highest of his honors, for translating the Bible. Though long familiarity with other languages may have made him somewhat inapt for continuous public discourse in his mother-tongue, he was thereby the better fitted to discern the sense of the sacred original. He was styled by Camden “a prodigious learned man;” and is said by Fuller to have been “of a strong brain to improve his great reading.”

            John Overall, who “carried superintendency in his surname,” was made Bishop of Litchfield and Coventry, in 1614. Four years later he was transferred to the see of Norwich, where, in a few months, he died, at the age of sixty years. This was in 1619. He frequently had in his mouth the words of the Psalmist, – “When thou with rebukes dost correct man for iniquity, thou makest his beauty to consume away like a moth; surely every man is vanity.”

            In his later years, he was unhappily inclined to Arminianism. He was a correspondent of Vossius and Grotius, and other famous scholars on the continent. He was greatly addicted to the scholastic theology, now so much decried. Since the days of Bacon the schoolmen have been much depreciated, because there was so little practical fruit of their studies. And yet there was something wonderful in the keenness and subtlety of their disputes; though it is lawful to smile at the excess of logical refinement which subdivided the stream of their genius into a ramification of rills, absorbed at last in the dry desert of metaphysics. One of them is highly praised by Cardan, “for that only one of his arguments was enough to puzzle all posterity; and that when he was grown old, he wept because he could not understand his own books.” We can conceive, however, that the refinement of the schoolmen as to precise definitions, and nicer shades of thought, might be a valuable quality in some, at least, of the company of Translators.


            This noted scholar was a Belgian by birth. His father was a Spaniard, his mother was a Belgian, and both were Protestants. He was born in 1530, at Hedin in Artois. Of his early life no notices have reached us. He was, for some years, a pastor both in Flanders and Holland. He was, in his principles, a terrible high-church-man; and seems, from his zeal for the divine right of episcopacy, to have had some trouble with his colleagues and the magistrates at Ghent, where he was one of the ministers in 1566. From that place he retired to England. He was sent by Queen Elizabeth’s Council as a sort of missionary to the islands of Guernsey and Jersey, where he was one of the first Protestant ministers; knowing, as he says of himself, in a letter, “which were the beginnings, and by what means and occasions the preaching of God’s word was planted there.” He labored there in a twofold capacity, doing the work of an evangelist, and conducting a newly established school, called Elizabeth College.

            From his island-home, he was recalled to the continent by the Belgian churches, in 1577. He was invited to become Professor of Divinity at the University of Leyden, in 1582; and soon after was also made preacher of the French Church in that city. In 1587 he came to England with the Earl of Leicester, and became master of the grammar-school m Southampton, where, in the course of a few years, he trained many distinguished pupils.

            His zeal for episcopacy led him to publish several Latin treatises against Beza, Danseus, and other Presbyterians. He also published a treatise on papal primacy against the Jesuit Gretser. All his publications relate to such matters, and were collected into a folio edition, in the year,1611. They are still highly praised by the “Oxford divines,” who have given occasion to Macauley to say, in his caustic style, – “The glory of being further behind the age than any other class of the British people, is one which that learned body acquired early, and has never lost.”

            In 1590, Saravia was made Doctor of Divinity at Oxford, as had been done long before at the University of Leyden. He was made Prebendary of Gloucester, next of Canterbury, in 1695; and then of Westminster in 1601. This last was his highest preferment. He added to it the rectorship of Great Chart, in Kent, some eight years after. He died at Canterbury, January 15th, 1612, aged eighty-two years. Thus his fluctuating life ended in a quiet old age, and a peaceful death.

            He is said, by Anthony a-Wood, to have been “educated in all kinds of literature in his younger days, especially in several languages.” It was his fortune to find friends and patrons among the great. Archbishop Whitgift, that stern suppressor of Puritanism, held him in high esteem, and made great use of his aid in conducting his share in the controversies of the time. In particular the arch-prelate relied much on Dr. Saravia’s “Hebrew learning” in his contests with Hugh Broughton, that stiff Puritan, whom Light-foot styles “the great Albionean divine, renowned in many nations for rare skill in Salem’s and Athens’ tongues, and familiar acquaintance with all Rabbinical learning.” Thus the Prebendary of Westminster was accustomed to cross swords with no mean adversaries; and was, no doubt, thoroughly furnished with the knowledge necessary for a Bible translator.

            While Dr. Saravia was Prebendary of Canterbury, the famous Richard Hooker was parson of the village of Borne, about three miles distant. Between these worthies there sprang up a friendship, cemented by the agreement of their views and studies. Professor Keble says, that Saravia was Hooker’s “confidential adviser,” while the latter was preparing his celebrated books “Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity.” Old Izaak Walton gives the following beautiful picture of their Christian intimacy; – “These two excellent persons began a holy friendship, increasing daily to so high and mutual affections, that their two wills seemed to be but one and the same; and their designs, both for the glory of God, and peace of the church, still assisting and improving each other’s virtues, and the desired comforts of a peaceable piety.”


            Dr. Clarke is spoken of as a Fellow of Christ’s College, Cambridge; and as a very learned clergyman and eminent preacher. He was Vicar of Minster and Monkton in Thanet, and one of the six preachers of the cathedral church in Canterbury. He died in 1634. Three years after his death, a folio volume of his learned sermons was published. But alas for “folios” and “learned sermons” in these days. When people look on such a thing, they are ready to exclaim, like Robert Hall, at the sight of Dr. Gill’s voluminous Commentary, – “What a continent of mud!”


            Dr. Laifield was Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, and Rector of the Church of St. Clement’s, Dane’s, in London. Of him it is said, “that being skilled in architecture, his judgment was much relied on for the fabric of the tabernacle and temple.” He died at his rectory in 1617. Few things are more difficult, than the giving of architectural details in such a manner as to be intelligible to the unprofessional reader.


This name, in all the printed lists of the Translators, has been misspelled Leigh. It should be Teigh or Tighe*. (*See Le Neve’s Fast Eccles. Ang. P. 194. Also Wood’s Athena, who adds, – “linguist,” and “therefore employed in the Translation of the Bible.”). Dr. Tighe was born at Deeping, Lincolnshire; and was educated partly at Oxford, and partly at Cambridge. He was Archdeacon of Middlesex and Vicar of the Church of All Hallows, Barking, London. He is characterized as “an excellent textuary and profound linguist.” Dr. Tighe died in 1620, leaving to his son an estate of one thousand pounds a year; which is worth mentioning because so rarely done by men of the clerical profession.


Dr. Burleigh, or Burghley, was made Vicar of Bishop’s Stortford in 1590, which benefice he held at the time of his appointment to the important service of this Bible translation.


            Mr. King was Fellow of King’s College, Cambridge. It is a fair token of his fitness to take part in this translation-work, that he succeeded Mr. Spaulding, another of these Translators, as Regius Professor of Hebrew in that University. Men were not appointed in those days to such duties of instruction, with the expectation that they would qualify themselves after their induction into office*. (*The late Professor Stuart was wont jocularly to say, that, when he was appointed Hebrew professor at Andover, all he knew of the language was, that ash’rai meant blessed, and ka-ish meant the man! Psalm 1:1.)


            Mr. Thompson, at the time of his appointment, was Fellow of Clare Hall, Cambridge. According to Wood he was “a Dutchman, born of English parents.” By the Presbyterian divines, he was called “the grand propagator of Arminian-ism.” Of the prelatic Arminians Coleridge too truly said, that “they emptied revelation of all the doctrines that can properly be said to have been revealed.” If “sin be the greatest heresy,” as that class usually affirms, a more serious error imputed to Mr. Thompson is intemperance in his later years. As to his literary qualifications, he is described by the learned Richard Montague as “a most admirable philologer,” who was “better known in Italy, France, and Germany, than at home.”


Mr. Bedwell was educated at St. John’s College, Cambridge. He was Vicar of Tottenham High Cross, near London. He died at his vicarage, at the age of seventy, May 5th, 1632, justly reputed to have been “an eminent oriental scholar.”* (*He is spoken of in his epitaph, as being “for the Eastern tongues, as learned a man as most lived in these modern times.”)  He published in quarto an edition of the epistles of St. John in Arabic, with a Latin version, printed at the press of Raphelengius, at Antwerp, in 1612. He also left many Arabic manuscripts to the University of Cambridge, with numerous notes upon them, and a font of types for printing them. His fame for Arabic learning was so great, that when Erpenius, a most renowned Orientalist, resided in England, in 1606, he was much indebted to Bedwell for direction in his studies. To Bedwell, rather than to Erpenius, who commonly enjoys it, belongs the honor of being the first who considerably promoted and revived the study of the Arabic language and literature in Europe. He was also tutor to another Orientalist of renown, Dr. Pococke. For many years, Mr. Bedwell was engaged in preparing an Arabic Lexicon in three volumes; and went to Holland to examine the collections of Joseph Scaliger. But proceeding very slowly, from desire to make his work perfect as possible, Golius forestalled him, by the publication of a similar work.

            After Bedwell’s death, the voluminous manuscripts of his lexicon were loaned by the University of Cambridge to aid in the compilation of Dr. Castell’s colossal work, the Lexicon Heptaglotton. Some modern scholars have fancied, that we have an advantage in our times over the translators of King James’s day, by reason of the greater attention which is supposed to be paid at present to what are called the “cognate” and “Shemitic” languages, and especially the Arabic, by which much light is thought to be reflected upon Hebrew words and phrases. It is evident, however, that Mr. Bedwell and others, among his fellow-laborers, were thoroughly conversant in this part of the broad field of sacred criticism.

            Mr. Bedwell also commenced a Persian dictionary, which is among Archbishop Laud’s manuscripts, still preserved in the Bodleian Library at Oxford. In 1615, he published his book, “A Discovery of the Impostures of Mahomet and of the Koran.” To this was annexed his “Arabian Trudgeman.” Trudgeman or truckman is the word Dragoman in its older form, and. is derived from a Chaldee word meaning interpreter. This Arabian Trudgeman is a most curious illustration of oriental etymology and history.

            Dr. Bedwell had a fondness for mathematical studies. He invented a ruler for geometrical purposes, like what we call Gunter’s Scale, which went by the name of “Bedwell’s Ruler.”

            This closes what we have to say of that first Westminster Company, of ten members, to whom was committed the historical books, beginning with Genesis and ending with the Second Book of Kings, once “commonly called,” as its title still says, “The Fourth Book of the Kings.”

            The second company of King James’s translators held its meetings in Cambridge. To this section of those learned divines, was assigned from the beginning of Chronicles to the end of “The Song of Songs, which is Solomon’s.” The eight men to whom this important part of the work was assigned, were no whit behind their associates, in fitness for their great undertaking.


            He is commemorated as “one of the best linguists in the world.” He was a student, and afterwards a fellow, of Trinity College, Cambridge, and King’s Professor of Hebrew. He was actively employed in the preliminary arrangements for the Translation, and appears to have stood high in the confidence of the King. Much dependence was placed on his surpassing skill in the oriental tongues. But his death, which took place in May, 1605, disappointed all such expectations; and is said to have considerably retarded the commencement of the work. Some say that his death was hastened by his too close attention to the necessary preliminaries. His stipend had been but small, and after many troubles, and the loss of his wife, the mother of a numerous family, he was well provided for by Dr. Barlow, that he might be enabled to devote himself to the business of the great Translation. He died of a quinsy, after four days’ illness, leaving eleven orphans, “destitute of necessaries for their maintenance, but only such as God, and good friends, should provide.” He was author of a Latin exposition of five of the minor Prophets, and of a work on chronology. Dr. Pusey, of Oxford, says, that Lively, “whom Pococke never mentions but with great respect, was probably, next to Pococke, the greatest of our Hebraists.”


            This profound divine was born at Linton, in Cambridgeshire. He was first Fellow of Emanuel College, then Master of Peterhouse from 1608 to 1615; and next Master of Trinity College. He was also King’s Professor of Divinity. He was chosen Vice-Chancellor of the University in 1617, and again in 1618. He died in 1625, and was buried in Trinity College Chapel. He left a bequest of one hundred pounds to Peterhouse.

            He was noted as a “most excellent linguist,” as every good theologian must be; for, as Coleridge says, “language is the armory of the human mind; and at once contains the trophies of its past, and the weapons of its future conquests.”

            In those days, it was the custom, at seats of learning, for the ablest men to hold public disputes, in the Latin tongue, with a view to display their skill in the weapons of logic, and “the dialectic fence.” As the ancient knights delighted to display and exercise their skill and strength in running at tilt, and amicably breaking spears with one another; so the great scholars used to cope with each other in the arena of public argument, and strive for literary “masteries.” Those scholastic tournaments were sure to be got up whenever the halls of science were visited by the king, or some chief magnate of the land; and the logical conflicts, always conducted in the Latin tongue, were attended with as much absorbing interest as were the shows of gladiators among the Romans.

            On such an occasion, when James the First was visiting Cambridge, “an extraordinary act” in divinity was kept for His Majesty’s entertainment. Dr. John Davenant, a famous man, and afterwards Bishop of Salisbury, was “respondent.” His business was to meet all comers, who might choose to assail the point he was to defend, – namely, that kings might never be excommunicated. Well did Dr. Davenant urge the wordy war, till our Dr. Richardson pushed him tremendously with the example of Ambrose, the famous Bishop of Milan, who, to the admiration of the whole Christian world, excommunicated the emperor Theodosius the Great. Here was a poser! King James, who was always very nervous on the subject of regal prerogative, saw that his champion was staggering under that stunning fact; and, to save him, cried out in a passion, – “Verily, this was a great piece of insolence on the part of Ambrose!” * (*Profecto fuit hoc ab Ambrosio insolentissime factum.) To this, Dr. Richardson calmly rejoined, – “A truly royal response, and worthy of Alexander! This is cutting our knotty arguments, instead of untying them.” * (*Responsum vere regium, et Alexandro dignum; hoc est non argumenta dissolvere, sed desecare.) And so taking his seat, he desisted from farther discussion. The mild dignity of this remonstrance, in which independence and submission are happily-combined, presents him in such a light as to constrain us to regret that this detached incident is about all we know of the personal character of the man. We can readily believe that he was a wise and faithful, as well as learned, Translator of the Book of God.


            This divine was a staunch Puritan, brave and godly, learned and laborious, full of moderation and the old English hardihood. He was born at Chaderton in Lancashire, in the year 1537. His family was wealthy, but bigotted in popery, in which religion he was carefully bred. Being destined to the bar, he was sent to the Inns of Court, at London, where he spent some years in the study and practice of the law. Here he be came a pious protestant; and, forsaking the law, entered, as student, at Christ’s College, Cambridge. Oh that, in a far higher sense, all divinity-students might be trained in Christ’s own college, and learn their science from the Great Teacher himself!

            These changes took place in 1564. Mr. Chaderton applied to his father for some pecuniary aid; but the wrathful old papist “sent him a poke, with a groat in it, to go a-begging;” and disinherited his son of a large estate. The son had no occasion to use the begging-poke. His high character and scholarship procured him much favor; while his mind was sustained by the promises of the Saviour, for whose sake he had “endured the loss of all things.” He took his first degree in 1567, and was then chosen one of the Fellows of his College. He became Master of Arts in 1571; and Bachelor of Divinity in 1584. He did not receive the degree of Doctor in Divinity till 1613, when it was pressed upon him, at the time when Frederick, Prince Palatine of the Rhine, who married King James’s daughter Elizabeth, visited Cambridge in state. Fuller, remarking upon this matter, writes, – “What is said of Mount Caucasus, 'that it was never seen without snow on the top,' was true of this reverend father, whom none of our father’s generation knew in the University before he was gray-headed.”

            “He made himself familiar with the Latin, Greek, and Hebrew tongues, and was thoroughly skilled in them. Moreover he had diligently investigated the numerous writings of the Rabbis, so far as they seemed to promise any aid to the understanding of the Scriptures. This is evident from the annotations in his handwriting appended to the Biblia Bombergi, * (*An edition of the Hebrew Bible, printed by Bomberg, at Venice, in 1518.) which are still preserved in the library of Emanuel College.” * (*Vita Laurentii Chadertoni, a W. Dillingham, S. T. P. Cantab. 1700. Pp. 15, 24.) His studies were such as eminently to qualify him to bear an important part in the translating of the Bible. In 1576, he held a public dispute with Dr. Baron, Margaret Professor of Divinity, upon the Arminian sentiments of the latter. In this debate, Dr. Chaderton appeared to the highest advantage, as to his learning, ability and temper.

            For sixteen years he was lecturer at St. Clement’s Church, in Cambridge, where his preaching was greatly blessed. In 1578, he delivered a sermon at Paul’s Cross, London, which appears to have been his only printed production. About that time, by order of Parliament, he was appointed preacher of the Middle Temple, with a liberal salary. It was thought best, perhaps, that a flock of lawyers should have the gospel preached to them by one who had been bred to know the sins of their calling.

            In the year 1584, Sir Walter Mildmay, one of Queen Elizabeth’s noted statesmen, founded Emanuel College, at Cambridge. Sir Walter was not supposed to be a very high Churchman, and the Queen charged him with having “erected a Puritan foundation.” In reply, he told her, that he had set an acorn, which, when it became an oak, God only knows what will become of it.” And truly, it pleased God, that it should yield plenteous crops of Puritan “hearts of oak;” and afford an abundant supply of that sound, substantial, and yet spiritual piety, which stands in strong contrast with all superstition and formality. Emanuel College chapel, by order of the founder, was built in the uncanonical direction of north and south. Nearly a hundred years after, this non-conforming building was punished by the crabbed prelates, who had it pulled down, and rebuilt in the holy position of east and west, agreeably to the solemn doctrine of the “orientation of churches!” Perhaps there was no better way to convert it from the Puritanism wherewith it was infected, than thus to give it first an overturn, and then a half turn toward popery.

            It is likely, however, that the religious peculiarities which long marked this College are to be ascribed less to the position in which the chapel was placed, than to the influence of its first Master. For this important office, Sir Walter Mildmay made choice of Dr. Chaderton. The modesty of the latter made him quite resolute to refuse the station, till Sir Walter plainly told him, – “If you will not be the Master, I will not be the Founder.” Upon this, Dr. Chaderton accepted the office; and filled it with zeal, and industry, and high repute, for thirty-eight years. Through his exertions, the endowments of the institution were greatly increased, and it became a nursing mother to many eminent and useful men.

            At the Hampton Court Conference, in 1603, Dr. Chaderton was one of the four divines appointed by the King as being “the most grave, learned, and modest of the aggrieved sort,” to represent the Puritan interest. Dr. Chaderton, however, took no part in the debates, perceiving that the Conference was merely a royal farce, got up to give the tyrant an opportunity to avow his bitter hostility to Puritanism, because of its incompatibility with abject submission to arbitrary power. Coleridge, who was a staunch adherent of the Church of England, but by no means blinded on that account to the truth of history, thus expresses his opinion as to the Hampton Court affair. “If any man, who, like myself, hath attentively read the Church history of the reign of Elizabeth, and the Conference before, and with, her pedant successor, can shew me any essential difference between Whitgift and Bancroft, during their rule, and Bonner and Gardiner in the reign of Mary, I will be thankful to him in my heart, and for him in my prayers. One difference I see,—namely, that the former, professing the New Testament to be their rule and guide, and making the fallibility of all churches and individuals an article of faith, were more inconsistent, and therefore, less excusable than the popish persecutors.” * (*Literary Remains, II. 388.)

            It was during his mastership of Emanuel College, that Dr. Chaderton was engaged in the Bible translation, in which good work he was well fitted and disposed to take his part. “He was a scholar, and a ripe and good one.” Having reached his three score years and ten, his knowledge was fully digested, and his experience matured, while “his natural force was not abated,” and his faculties burned with unabated fire. Even to the close of his long life, “his eye was not dim,” and his sight required no artificial aid.

            Many years after, in 1622, having reached the great age of eighty-five, this Nestor among the divines resigned the office he had so long sustained. Not that he was even then disqualified for its duties by infirmity; but because of the rapid spread of Arminianism, and the fear that, if the business were left till after his death, a divine of lax sentiments, who was then waiting his chance, would be thrust into the place by the interference of the Court. The business was so managed, that Dr. Preston, the very champion of the Puritans, was inducted as Dr. Chaderton’s successor. The vivacious patriarch, however, lived to survive Dr. Preston; and to see Dr. Sancroft, and after him, Dr. Holdsworth, in the same station. This latter incumbent preached Dr. Chaderton’s funeral sermon. Dr. Holdsworth used to tell him, that, as long as he lived, he should be Master in the house, though he himself was forced to be Master of the house. The patriarch was always consulted as to the affairs of the College.

            The most protracted and useful life must come to its end. There have been various accounts of the time of Dr. Chaderton’s death, and of the place of his interment. But all mistakes are corrected by his Latin epitaph, which has been found on a monumental stone, at the entrance of Emanuel College chapel, and has been translated as follows;


lies the body of

Lawrence Chaderton, D. D.,

who was the first Master of this College.

He died in the year 1640,

in the one hundred and third

year of his age.

            Perhaps such longevity was more common then than now. It is on record, that “ten men of Herefordshire, a nest of Nestors, once danced the Morish before King James, their united ages exceeding a thousand years.” Their contemporary, Dr. Chaderton, was more honored by the gravity of his gray hairs, than they by the levity of their giddy heels.

            He was greatly venerated. All his habits were such as inspired confidence in his piety. During the fifty-three years of his married life, he never suffered any of his servants to be detained from public worship by the preparation of food, or other household cares. He used to say, – “I desire as much to have my servants to know the Lord, as myself.” These things are greatly to his honor; though his regard to the Lord’s Day may excite the scorn of some in these degenerate times.

            Dr. Chaderton is described by Archdeacon Echard, as “a grave, pious, and excellent preacher.” As an instance of his power in the pulpit, we will close this sketch with an incident which could hardly have taken place any where on earth for the last hundred years. It is stated on high authority, that while our aged saint was visiting some friends in his native county of Lancashire, he was invited to preach. Having addressed his audience for two full hours by the glass, he paused and said, – “I will no longer trespass on your patience.” And now comes the marvel; for the whole congregation cried out with one consent, – “For God’s sake, go on, go on!” He, accordingly, proceeded much longer, to their great satisfaction and delight. “When,” says Coleridge, “after reading the biographies of [Izaak] Walton and his contemporaries, I reflect on the crowded congregations, who with intense interest came to their hour-and-two-hour-long sermons, I cannot but doubt the fact of any true progression, moral or intellectual, in the mind of the many. The tone, the matter, the anticipated sympathies in the sermons of an age, form the best moral criterion of the character of that age.” Let us not be so unwise as to inquire concerning this, “What is the cause that the former days were better than these?” For even now people like to hear such preaching as is preaching. But where shall we find men for the work like those who gave us our version of the Bible?


            He was a Fellow of Christ’s College, Cambridge. After the translation was finished, he became parson of Dean, his native place, in Bedfordshire. He also obtained the rich benefice of Wilden, in the same County, where he died a single and wealthy man. “My father,” says worthy old Thomas Fuller, “was present in the bachelor’s school, when a Greek act was kept * (*That is, a debate carried on in the Greek tongue.) between Francis Dillingham and William Alabaster, to their mutual commendation. A disputation so famous, that it served for an era or epoch, for the scholars in that age, thence to date their seniority.” From this, it would seem, that he was not without reason styled the “great Grecian.” He was noted as an excellent linguist and a subtle disputant, and was author of various theological treatises. His brother and heir, Thomas Dillingham, also minister of Dean, was chosen one of the famous Assembly of Divines at Westminster; but on account of age, illness, and for other reasons, did not take his seat. Francis Dillingham was a diligent writer, both of practical and polemical divinity. He collected out of Cardinal Bellarmine’s writings, all the concessions made by that acute author in favor of Protestantism. He published a Manual of the Christian faith, taken from the Fathers, and a variety of treatises on different points belonging to the Romish controversy.


            Dr. Andrews, who had been Fellow in Pembroke Hall, was Master of Jesus College, Cambridge. He also became Prebendary of Chichester and Southwell. He too was a famous linguist in his time, like his brother Lancelot, the Bishop of Winchester, whose life has been already sketched as President of the first company of the Translators.


            He had been student and Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge; and was now Vice-Master of that important seminary. Thomas Fuller records the following instance of his meekness and charity. “I remember when the reverend Vice-Master of Trinity College in Cambridge was told that one of the scholars had abused him in an oration.'Did he,' said he, ‘name me’? Did he name Thomas Harrison? And when it was returned that he named him not, – ‘Then,' said he, ‘I do not believe that he meant me.’”We have a strong evidence of his reputation in the University in another duty which was assigned him. “On account of his exquisite skill in the Hebrew and Greek idioms, he was one of the chief examiners in the University of those who sought to be public professors of these languages.” * (*Harrisonus Honoratus, etc. a C. Dalechampio. Cantab, 1632. P. 7.)


Dr. Spaulding was Fellow of St. John’s College, Cambridge. He succeeded Edward Lively, of whom we have briefly spoken, as Regius Professor of Hebrew.


            Dr. Bing was Fellow of Peterhouse, Cambridge. In course of time he succeeded Geoffry King, who was Dr. Spaulding’s successor, in the Regius Professorship of Hebrew. Dr. Bing was Sub-dean of York in 1606, and was installed Archdeacon of Norwich in 1618. He died during the times of the Commonwealth.

            These brief notices suffice to shew that the members of this company deserved their places among the translators. The quiet and uneventful lives of these secluded students and deep divines have left no strongly marked incidents on the historic page. But their learning still lives and instructs on the pages of their immortal work.

            The third company of the Translators, composed of Oxford divines, met at that famous seat of learning, and was fully equal to any other of these companies in qualifications for their important undertaking. The part assigned to this division was from the beginning of Isaiah to the end of the Old Testament.


            This divine was president in his company; a station which shews how high he ranked among his brethren who knew him; though bat little relating to his character and history has come down to our times. The offices filled by him were such as to confirm the opinion that his learning and piety entitled him to the position he occupied in this venerable society of scholars. At the time of his appointment to aid in the translation of the Bible, he had been Royal Professor of Hebrew in the University for thirteen years. His occupancy of that chair, at a time when the study of sacred literature was pursued by thousands with a zeal amounting to a passion, is a fair intimation that Dr. Harding was the man for the post he occupied. When commissioned by the King to take part in this version of the Scriptures, Dr. Harding was also President of Magdalen College. He was at the same time rector of Halsey, in Oxfordshire. The share which he, with his brethren, performed, was, perhaps, the most difficult portion of the translation-work. The skill and beauty with which it is accomplished are a fair solution of the problem, “How, two languages being given, the nearest approximation may be made in the second, to the expression of ideas already conveyed through the medium of the first?”


            This famous divine, though he died in the course of the good work, deserves especial mention, because it was by his means that the good work itself was undertaken. He was born in Penhoe, in Devonshire, in the year 1549. He entered the University at the age of thirteen, and spent all his days within its precincts. Though he at first entered Merton College in 1562, he was chiefly bred at Corpus Christi, which he entered the next year, and where he became a Fellow in 1566, at the early age of seventeen. Six years later he was made Greek Lecturer in his college, which was proud of the early ripeness of his powers.

About this time occurred one of the most singular events in the history of religious controversy. John Reynolds was a zealous papist. His brother William, who was his fellow-student, was equally zealous for protestantism. Each, in fraternal anxiety for the salvation of a brother’s soul, labored for the conversion of the other; and each of them was successful! As the result of long conference and disputation, William became an inveterate papist, and so lived and died. While John became a decided protestant of the Puritan stamp, and continued to his death to be a vigorous champion of the Reformation. From the time of his conversion, he was a most able and successful preacher of God’s word. Having very greatly distinguished himself in the year 1578, as a debater in the theological discussions, or “divinity-acts” of the University, he was drawn into the popish controversy. Determined to explore the whole field, and make himself master of the subject, he devoted himself to the study of the Scriptures in the original tongues, and read all the Greek and Latin fathers, and all the ancient records of the Church. Nor did this flood of reading roll out of his mind as fast as it poured in. It is stated that “his memory was little less than miraculous. He could readily turn to any material passage, in every leaf, page, column and paragraph of the numerous and voluminous works he had read.” He came to be styled “the very treasury of erudition;” and was spoken of as “a living library, and a third university.”

            About the year 1578, John Hart, a popish zealot, challenged all the learned men in the nation to a public debate. At the solicitation of one of Queen Elizabeth’s privy counsellors, Mr. Reynolds encountered him. After several combats, the Romish champion owned himself driven from the field. An account of the conferences, subscribed by both parties, was published, and widely circulated. This added greatly to, the reputation of Mr. Reynolds, who soon after took his degrees in divinity, and was appointed by the Queen to be Royal Professor of Divinity in the University. At that time, the celebrated Cardinal Bellarmine, the Goliath of the Philistines at Rome, was professor of theology in the English Seminary at that city. As fast as he delivered his popish doctrine, it was taken down in writing, and regularly sent to Dr. Reynolds; who, from time to time, publicly confuted it at Oxford. Thus Bellarmine’s books were answered, even before they were printed.

            It is said, that Reynolds' professorship was founded by the royal bounty for the express purpose of strengthening the Church of England against the Church of Rome, and of widening the breach between them; and that Dr. Reynolds was first placed in the chair, on that account, because of his strenuous opposition to the corruptions of Rome. “Oxford divines,” at that period, were of a very different stamp from their Puseyite successors in our day. But even at Oxford, there are faithful witnesses for the truth. Dr. Hampden, whose appointment to the bishopric of Hereford, a few years since, raised such a storm of opposition from the Romanizing prelates and clergy, was for many years a worthy successor of Dr. Reynolds, in that chair which was endowed so long ago for maintaining the Church of England against the usurpations of Rome.

            Yet even so long ago, and ever since, there were persons there whose sentiments resembled what is now called by the sublime title of Pusey-ism. The first reformers of the English Church held, as Archbishop Whately does now, that the primitive church-government was highly popular in its character. But they held that neither this, nor any other form “of discipline, was divinely-ordained for perpetual observance. They considered it to be the prerogative of the civil government, in a Christian land, to regulate these matters, and to organize the Church, as it would the army, or the judiciary and police, with a view to the greatest efficiency according to the state of circumstances. They held that all good subjects were religiously bound to conform to the arrangements thus made. These views are what is commonly called Erastianism. The claim of a “divine right” was first advanced in England in behalf of Presbyterianism. It was very strenuously asserted by the learned and long-suffering Cartwright. Some of the Episcopal divines soon took the hint, and set up the same claim in behalf of their order; though, at first, it sounded strange even to their own brethren.* (*“Dr. Peter Heylin, preaching at Westminster Abbey, before Bishop Williams, accused the non-conformists of putting all into open tumult, rather than conform to the lawful government derived from Christ and his apostles.’At this, the Bishop, sitting in the great pew, knocked aloud with his staff upon the pulpit, saying, – ‘No more of that point! no more of that point, Peter!’To whom Heylin answered, – ‘I have a little more to say, my lord, and then I have done:’ – and so finished his subject.” – Biog. Brit. IV. 2597. Ed. 1747)

            Dr. Bancroft, Archbishop Whitgift’s chaplain, and his successor in the see of Canterbury, maintained in a sermon, preached January 12th, 1588, that “bishops were a distinct order from priests; and that they had a superiority over them by divine right, and directly from God.” This startling doctrine produced a great excitement. Sir Francis Knollys, one of Queen Elizabeth’s distinguished statesmen, remonstrated warmly with Whitgift against it. In a letter to Sir Francis, who had requested his opinion, Dr. Reynolds observes, – “All who have labored in reforming the Church, for five hundred years, have taught that all pastors, whether they are entitled bishops or priests, have equal authority and power by God’s word; as the Waldenses, next Marsilius Patavinus, then Wiclif and his scholars, afterwards Huss and the Hussites; and Luther, Calvin, Brentius, Bullinger, and Musculus. Among ourselves, we have bishops, the Queen’s professors of divinity, and other learned men, as Bradford, Lambert, Jewell, Pilkington, Humphrey, Fulke, &c. But why do I speak of particular persons? It is the opinion of the Reformed Churches of Helvetia, Savoy, France, Scotland, Germany, Hungary, Poland, the Low Countries, and our own. I hope Dr. Bancroft will not say, that all these have approved that for sound doctrine, which was condemned by the general consent of the whole church as heresy, in the most flourishing time. I hope he will acknowledge that he was overseen, when he announced the superiority of bishops over the rest of the clergy to be God’s own ordinance.”

            Good Dr. Reynolds’ charitable hopes, though backed by such an overwhelming array of authorities, were doomed to be disappointed. Bancroft’s novel doctrine has been in fashion ever since. Still there are not wanting many who soundly hold, in the words of Reynolds, that “unto us Christians, no land is strange, no ground unholy; every coast is Jewry, every town Jerusalem, every house Sion; and every faithful company, yea, every faithful body, a temple to serve God in. The presence of Christ among two or three, gathered together in his name, maketh any place a church, even as the presence of a king with his attendants maketh any place a court.”

            Notwithstanding that Elizabeth was no lover of men puritanically inclined, she felt constrained to notice the eminent gifts and services of Dr. Reynolds. In 1598, she made him Dean of Lincoln, and offered him a bishopric. The latter dignity he meekly refused, preferring his studious academical life to the wealth and honors of any such ecclesiastical station. It is supposed, however, that conscientious scruples had much to do with his declining the prelatic office.

            He resigned his deanery in less than a year, and also the Mastership of Queen’s College, which latter post he had for some time occupied He was then chosen President of Corpus Christi College, in which office he was exceedingly active and useful till his death. This College had long been badly infested with papistry. The presidency being vacant in 1568, the Queen sent letters to the Fellows, calling upon them to make choice of Dr. William Cole, who had been one of the exiles in the time of Queen Mary. The Fellows, however, made choice of Robert Harrison, formerly one of their number, but an open Romanist. The Queen pronounced this election void, and commanded them to elect Cole. On their refusal, Dr. Horn, Bishop of Winchester, the Visitor of the College, was sent to induct Cole; which he did, but not till he had forced the College-gates. A commission, appointed by the Queen, expelled three of the most notorious papists. As might have been expected, there was but little harmony in that society. In 1579, Dr. Reynolds was expelled from his College, together with his pupil, the renowned Richard Hooker, author of the “Ecclesiastical Polity,” and three others. On what ground this was done is not known. It was the act of Dr. John Barfoote, then Vice-President of the College, and Chaplain to the potent Earl of Warwick. In less than a month, the expelled members were fully restored by the agency of Secretary Walsingham. In 1586, this Sir Francis Walsingham offered a stipend for a lectureship on controversial divinity, for the purpose, as Heylin, that rabid Laudian, says, of making “the religion of the Church of Rome more odious.” Dr. Reynolds accepted this lectureship, and for that purpose resigned his fellowship in the College; “dissentions and factions there,” as he says, “having made him weary of the place.” He retired to Queen’s College, and was Master there, till, as has been stated, he became President of Corpus Christi in 1598, on the resignation of Dr. Cole. Dr. Barfoote struggled hard to secure the post; but by the firm procedure of that “so noble-and worthy knight Sir Francis Walsingham,” Dr. Reynolds carried the day.

            King James appointed him, in 1603, to be one of the four divines who should represent the Puritan interest at the Hampton Court Conference. Here he was almost the only speaker on his side of the question; and confronted the King and Primate, with eight bishops, and as many deans. The records of what took place are wholly from the pens of his adversaries, who are careful that he should not appear to any great advantage. It is manifest from their own account, that, in this “mock conference,” as Rapin calls it, the Puritans were so overborne with kingly insolence and prelatic pride, that, finding it of no use to attempt any replies, they held their peace. In fact, the whole affair was merely got up to give the King, who had newly come to the throne of England, an opportunity to declare himself as to the line of ecclesiastical policy he meant to pursue.

            The only good that resulted from this oppressive and insulting conference was our present admirable translation of the Bible. The King scornfully rejected nearly every other request of the Puritans;* (*Their requests were very reasonable, viz.: 1. “That the doctrine of the Church might be preserved pure, according to God’s word. 2. That good pastors might be planted in all churches, to preach the same. 3. That church government might be sincerely ministered, according to God’s word. 4. That the Book of Common Prayer might be fitted to more increase of piety.”) but, at the entreaty of Dr. Reynolds, consented that there should be a new and more accurate translation, prepared under the royal sanction. The next year Dr. Reynolds was put upon the list of Translators, on account of his well known skill in the Hebrew and Greek. He labored in the work with zeal, bringing all his vast acquisitions to aid in accomplishing the task, though he did not live to see it completed. In the progress of it, he was seized with the consumption, yet he continued his assistance to the last. During his decline, the company to which he belonged met regularly every week in his chamber, to compare and perfect what they had done in their private studies. Thus he ended his days like Venerable Bede; and “was employed in translating the Word of Life, even till he himself was translated to life everlasting.” His days were thought to be shortened by too intense application to study. But when urged by friends to desist, he would reply, – “Non propter vitam, vivendi perdere causas,” – for the sake of life, he would not lose the very end of living! During his sickness, his time was wholly taken up in prayer, and in hearing and translating the Scriptures.

            The papists started a report, that their famous opposer had recanted his protestant sentiments. He was much grieved at hearing the rumor; but being too feeble to speak, set his name to the following declaration, – “These are to testify to all the world, that I die in the possession of that faith which I have taught all my life, both in my preachings and in my writings, with an assured hope of my salvation, only by the merits of Christ my Saviour.” The next day, May 21ST , 1607, he expired in the sixty-eighth year of his age. He was buried in the chapel of his College, with great solemnity and academic pomp, and the general lamentation of good men.

            His industry and piety are largely attested by his numerous writings, which long continued in high esteem. Old Anthony Wood, though so cynical toward all Puritans, says of him, that he was “most prodigiously seen in all kinds of learning; most excellent in all tongues.” “He was a prodigy in reading,” adds Anthony, “famous in doctrine, and the very treasury of erudition; and in a word, nothing can be spoken against him, only that he was the pillar of Puritanism, and the grand favorer of non-conformity.” Dr. Crackenthorpe, his intimate acquaintance, though a zealous churchman, gives this account of him, – “He turned over all writers, profane, ecclesiastical, and divine; and all the councils, fathers, and histories of the Church. He was most excellent in all tongues useful or ornamental to a divine. He had a sharp and ready wit, a grave and mature judgment, and was indefatigably industrious. He was so well skilled in all arts and sciences, as if he had spent his whole life in each of them. And as to virtue, integrity, piety, and sanctity of life, he was so eminent and conspicuous, that to name Reynolds is to commend virtue itself.” From other testimonies of a like character, let the following be given, from the celebrated Bishop Hall of Norwich, – “He alone was a well-furnished library, full of all faculties, all studies, and all learning. The memory and reading of that man were near to a miracle.”

            Such was one of the worthies in that noble company of Translators. Nothing can tend more to inspire confidence in their version than the knowledge of their immense acquirements, almost incredible to the superficial scholars in this age of smatterers, sciolists, and pretenders. How much more to be coveted is the accumulation of knowledge, and the dispensing of its riches to numerous generations, than the amassing of money, and the bequeathing of hoarded wealth. Who would not choose the Christian erudition of an Andrews or a Reynolds, rather than the millions of Astor or Girard?


This good man was born at Ludlow, in Shropshire, in the year 1539. He was educated at Exeter College, Oxford; and graduated in 1570, with great applause. Three years after, he was made chaplain and Fellow of Baliol College; and as Anthony Wood says, was “another Apollos, mighty in the Scriptures,” – also “a solid preacher, a most noted disputant, and a most learned divine.” He was made Doctor in Divinity in 1584. The next year, when Robert Dudley, the famous Earl of Leicester, was sent as governor of the Netherlands, then just emancipated from the Spanish yoke, Dr. Holland went with him in the capacity of chaplain. In 1589, he succeeded the celebrated Dr. Lawrence Humphrey as the King’s Professor of Divinity, a duty for which he was eminently qualified, and in which he trained up many distinguished scholars. He was elected Rector of Exeter College in 1592; an office he filled with great reputation for twenty years, being regarded as a universal scholar, and a prodigy of literature. His reputation extended to the continent, and he was held in high esteem in the universities of Europe. These were the leading events in his studious life.

            As to his character, he was a man of ardent piety, a thorough Calvinist in doctrine, and a decided non-conforming Puritan in matters of ceremony and church-discipline. In the public University debates, he staunchly maintained that “bishops are not a distinct order from presbyters, nor at all superior to them by the Word of God.” He stoutly resisted the popish innovations which Bancroft and Laud strove too successfully to introduce at Oxford. When the execrable Laud, afterwards the odious Archbishop of Canterbury, was going through his exercises as candidate for the degree of Bachelor in Divinity, in 1604, he contended “that there could be no true churches without diocesan episcopacy.” For this, the young aspirant was sharply and publicly rebuked by Dr. Holland, who presided on the occasion; and who severely reprehended that future Primate of all England, as “one who sought to sow discord among brethren, and between the Church of England and the Reformed Churches abroad.”

            As a preacher, Dr. Holland was earnest and solemn. His extemporary discourses were usually better that his more elaborate preparations. As a student, it was said of him, that he was so “immersed in books,” that this propensity swallowed up almost every other. In the translation of our Bible he took a very prominent part. This was the crowning work of his life. He died March 16th, 1612, a few months after this most important version was completed and published. He attained to the age of seventy-three years.

            The translation being finished, he spent most of his time in meditation and prayer. Sickness and the infirmities of age quickened into greater life his desires for heaven. In the hour of his departure he exclaimed, – “Come, Oh come, Lord Jesus, thou bright and morning star! Come, Lord Jesus; I desire to be dissolved and be with thee.” He was buried with great funeral solemnities in the chancel of St. Mary’s, Oxford.

            One of his intimate associates and fellow-translators, Dr. Kilby, preached his funeral sermon. In this sermon it is said of him, – “that he had a wonderful knowledge of all the learned languages, and of all arts and sciences, both human and divine. He was mighty in the Scriptures; and so familiarly acquainted with the Fathers, as if he himself had been one of them; and so versed in the Schoolmen, as if he were the Seraphic Doctor. He was, therefore, most worthy of the divinity-chair, which he filled about twenty years, with distinguished approbation and applause. He was so celebrated for his preaching, reading, disputing, moderating, and all other excellent qualifications, that all who knew him commended him, and all who heard of him admired him.” In illustration of his zeal for purity in faith and worship, and against all superstition and idolatry, the same sermon informs us, that, whenever he took a journey, he first called together the Fellows of his College, for his parting charge, which always ended thus, – “I commend you to the love of God, and to the hatred of all popery and superstition!”* (*Cominendo vos dilectioni Dei, et odio papatus et superstitionis.) He published several learned orations and one sermon. He left many manuscripts ready for the press; but as they fell into hands unfriendly to the Puritanism they contained, they were never published.


            Among those grave and erudite divines to whom all the generations which have* read the Bible in the English tongue are so greatly indebted, a place is duly assigned to Dr. Richard Kilby. He was a native of Radcliff on the river Wreak, in Liecestershire. He went to Oxford; and when he had been at the University three years, was chosen Fellow of Lincoln College, in 1577. He took orders, and became a preacher of note in the University. In 1590, he was chosen Rector of his College, and made Prebendary of the cathedral church of Lincoln. He was considered so accurate in Hebrew studies, that he was appointed the King’s Professor in that branch of literature. Among the fruits of his studies, he left a commentary on Exodus, chiefly drawn from the writings of the Rabbinical interpreters. He died in the year 1620, at the age of sixty.

            These are nearly all the vestiges remaining of him. There is one incident, however, related by “honest Izaak Walton,” in his life of the celebrated Bishop Sanderson. The incident, as described by the amiable angler, is such a fine historical picture of the times, and so apposite to the purpose of this little volume, that it must be given in Walton’s own words.

            “I must here stop my reader, and tell him that this Dr. Kilby was a man of so great learning and wisdom, and so excellent a critic in the Hebrew tongue, that he was made professor of it in this University; and was also so perfect a Grecian, that he was by King James appointed to be one of the translators of the Bible; and that this Doctor and Mr. Sanderson had frequent discourses, and loved as father and son. The Doctor was to ride a journey into Derbyshire, and took Mr. Sanderson to bear him company; and they, resting on a Sunday with the Doctor’s friend, and going together to that parish church where they then were, found the young preacher to have no more discretion, than to waste a great part of the hour allotted for his sermon in exceptions against the late translation of several words, (not expecting such a hearer as Dr. Kilby,) and shewed three reasons why a particular word should have been otherwise translated. When evening prayer was ended, the preacher was invited to the Doctor’s friend’s house, where, after some other conference, the Doctor told him, he might have preached more useful doctrine, and not have filled his auditors’ ears with needless exceptions against the late translation; and for that word for which he offered to that poor congregation three reasons why it ought to have been translated as he said, he and others had considered all them, and found thirteen more considerable reasons why it was translated as now printed; and told him, 'If his friend,’ (then attending him,)’should prove guilty of such indiscretion, he should forfeit his favor.’To which Mr. Sanderson said, 'He hoped he should not.’And the preacher was so ingenuous as to say, 'He would not justify himself.’And so I return to Oxford.”

            This digression of honest Izaac’s pen may serve to illustrate the magisterial bearing of the “heads of colleges,” and other great divines of those times; and also, what has now become much rarer, the humility and submissiveness of the younger brethren. It also furnishes an incidental proof of the considerate and patient care with which our venerable Translators studied the verbal accuracy of their work. When we hear young licentiates, green from the seminary, displaying their smatterings of Hebrew and Greek by cavilling in their sermons at the common version, and pompously telling how it ought to have been rendered, we cannot but wish that the apparition of Dr. Kilby’s frowning ghost might haunt them. Doubtless the translation is susceptible of improvement in certain places; but this is not a task for every new-fledged graduate; nor can it be very often attempted without shaking the confidence of the common people in our unsurpassed version, and without causing “the trumpet to give an uncertain sound.”


            This person, who was largely occupied in the Bible translation, was born at Hereford. His father had made a good fortune as a fletcher, or maker of bows and arrows, which was once a prosperous trade in “merrie England.” The son was entered at Corpus Christi College, in 1568; but afterwards removed to Brazen Nose College, where he took his degrees, and “proved at length an incomparable theologist.” He was one of the chaplains of Christ’s Church. His attainments were very great, both in classical and oriental learning. He became canon-residentiary of the cathedral church of Hereford. In 1594, he was created Doctor in Divinity.

            He had a four-fold share in the Translation. He not only served in the third company, but was one of the twelve selected to revise the work, after which it was referred to the final examination of Dr. Smith and Bishop Bilson. Last of all, Dr. Smith was employed to write that most learned and. eloquent preface, which is become so rare, and is so seldom seen by readers of the Bible; while the nattering Dedication to the King, which is of no particular value, has been often reprinted in editions on both sides of the Atlantic. This noble Preface, addressed by “the Translators to the Reader,” in the first edition, “stands as a comely gate to a glorious city.” Let the reader who would judge for himself, whether our Translators were masters of the science of sacred criticism, peruse it, and be satisfied.

            Dr. Smith never sought promotion, being, as he pleasantly said of himself, “covetous of nothing but books.”* (*Nullius rei praeterquam librorum avidus.) But, for his great labor, bestowed upon the best of books, the King, in the year 1612, appointed him Bishop of Gloucester. In this office he behaved with the utmost meekness and benevolence. He died, much lamented, in 1624, being seventy years of age, and was buried in his own cathedral.

            He went through the Greek and Latin fathers, making his annotations on them all. He was well acquainted with the Rabbinical glosses and comments. So expert was he in the Chaldee, Syriac, and Arabic, that they were almost as familiar as his native tongue. “Hebrew he had at his fingers’ ends.” He was also much versed in history and general literature, and was fitly characterized by a brother bishop as “a very walking library.” All his books were written in his own hand, and in most elegant penmanship.

            In the great Bible-translation, he began with the first of the laborers, and put the last hand to the work. Yet he was never known to speak of it as owing more to him than to the rest of the Translators. We may sum up his excellent character in the words of one stiffly opposed to his views and principles, who says, – “He was a great scholar, yet a severe Calvinist, and hated the proceedings of Dr. Laud!”

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