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(Originally Titled "The Learned Men": The Text Here Used Is That Of "The Learned Men")
Chapter 14: Rewards And Sequels
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Rewards and Sequels 

            All o£ the learned men, each in his degree, had some worldly success. What writers of the age outside the Church could be certain of plenty to live on? God supplied His own with what they needed. In that faith, the learned men were secure as they sought their stipends from those in charge of sacred administration. On the whole they lived in sedate order, fitting for their weighty work.

            Giles Thomson, for instance, who had been Dean of Windsor, became Bishop of Gloucester in 1611 before the Bible came out. But he never got even to visit his see; within a year he died.

            On September 20, 1616, Miles Smith succeeded Thomson as Bishop of Gloucester, being ordained to that office at Croydon, then just outside London but now part of the city. Archbishop Abbot must have had much to do with this reward for Miles Smith, which was, they said, mainly for his writing the preface to the improved Bible.

            Gloucester is in the west of England, farther from London than many other sees. It was, one might think, a sort of safe refuge. The church needed repairs, which Smith was slow in making. One of his chief concerns was to keep the table for the Lord’s Supper lengthwise in the nave, instead of crosswise before the altar; for the latter arrangement was seen as a symbol stressing the real presence, the belief that the body and blood of Christ Jesus are in the bread and wine, a concept from which the Puritans shied away. We can understand why people contended about the placing of the table only as we see that the Puritans deemed the doctrine of the real presence popish and were staunchly against it. The High Church of England, on the other hand, wished in many ways to approach the Church of Rome and yet remain itself.

            At Westminster Abbey, Archbishop Abbot was making changes that seemed Puritan, He refused bowing at the altar and at the name of Christ. The choir, the organ, and the cope went slowly into disuse. The whole service was now so simple that it could have pleased Calvin. Prelates verging on the Puritan, such as Abbot and Smith, doubted the need for bishops, and yet were eager enough to be bishops themselves. There were many rumbles before the lashing storm to come. If the Puritans were gaining strength, so was the High Church of England.

            Soon a rising man named William Laud became Dean of Gloucester, determined to oppose each Puritan practice of Bishop Smith. Others than Abbot must have advised the king to send Laud there. In 1616 Laud, always ruthless, went straight against the dictates of Smith, put the table again before the altar, restored the cope and the bowings, and made the service at Gloucester high enough to express his almost popish aims. As dean, he had power to order all this. Abbot and Smith both despised Laud and his changes, which restored the dearest trappings of priesthood. However, as Laud had the ear of the king, formal counter orders would have been highly unwise.

            Bishop Smith left the great church buildings in dudgeon, and declared that he would stay away until Laud removed the hated symbols. The town was in an uproar. Most of the people were for Bishop Smith. They met and marched in the streets, in effect picketing Laud and what was to them wicked nonsense. Yet the ascent of Laud was rapid and sure. The people and their bishop in due course had to give up their revolt, which now appeared hopeless. They suppressed their outward disdain, because the Church was still theirs to love. It might have been some comfort to them if they could have known, as we know today, how Laud was at length to fall.

            Just now in Gloucester any prospect of his fall was remote. Miles Smith, who was getting on in years, had to smother much of his chagrin. Through his trials, his sermons show, his own virtue gave him a secret gladness. His joy that he was a Puritan, and therefore right, no man could take from him.

            A private quarrel at this time disrupted a long friendship between two of the translators, both good men and whole-hearted scholars. At the time they worked together at Stationers’ Hall, Andrew Downes and John Bois were also aiding their associate Sir Henry Savile in his mammoth eight-volume edition of St. Chrysostom. How could they undertake so much work? Here is a measure of their scholarship and energy, but overexertion may have affected their tempers. Unhappily, they fell into intense conflict over the greater credit that Sir Henry Savile seemed, to Downes, to give to Bois for their help on the whalelike private opus.

            The Bois and Downes notes on St. Chrysostom are all in Latin and Greek. Judging from the writing, there are as many by the one as by the other. They extend to scores of pages. Savile seems to have been fair in giving credit to both. Sometimes he wrote non probo, I do not prove, beside some comment by one or the other of his helpers. Downes grew so jealous that he stopped speaking to his former pupil, while the milder Bois went on praising his former teacher. In his smallness the zeal of the Lord turned inward and almost consumed Downes. Fortunately the break between them came after the two had finished their nine months’ work at Stationers’ Hall.

            Savile and Downes, too, became wholly estranged. On the other hand, Savile and Bois remained friends. Once when Sir Henry lay sick, Lady Savile said that if he died, she would burn Chrysostom for killing her husband. Bois replied that Chrysostom was one of the sweetest preachers since the apostles, and so satisfied her that she said she would not do it for all the world. Sir Henry survived. But now the whole massive eight volumes of Savile’s St. Chrysostom are dead upon the shelves that hold rare books, while the superb Bible to which Bois, Downes, and Savile gave their best efforts lives on.

            Meanwhile, Archbishop Abbot, because of his office, had to mingle more than any other translator in events that concerned the nation. Streaming tears, he sat by the bed of young Henry, Prince of Wales, who died of cold and fever on November 6, 1612. His prayer at the deathbed was “most exceeding powerful, passionate.” Then he preached at the burial service in Westminster Abbey. Next he married the Princess Elizabeth to the Elector Palatine, on February 12, 1613. Thus, so one writer praised God a hundred years ago, began the line which brought to Great Britain the blessing of good Queen Victoria.

            Abbot could be fulsome about the king, with whom he was often at odds. The life of King James, he said, “hath been so immaculate and unspotted in the world, so free from all touch of viciousness and staining imputation, that even malice itself, which leaveth nothing unsearched, could never find true blemish in it, nor cast probably aspersion on it. . . . All must acknowledge him to be zealous as David, learned and wise, the Solomon of our age, religious as Josiah, careful of spreading Christ’s faith as Constantine the great, just as Moses, undefiled in all his ways as Jehoshaphat, or Hezekiah, full of clemency as another Theodosius.” Such pratings were just churchly eyewash, wholly absurd.

            Troubles piled up for the archbishop. Frances Howard, Countess of Essex, was suing to void her marriage. At thirteen she had married the Earl of Essex, then fourteen, son of the Essex whose head Queen Elizabeth had ordered cut off. It had been a foolish marriage followed by ten years of contention and falling away from grace. Now the countess, doubtless goaded on by King James himself, was nerving herself to marry Robert Carr, Viscount Rochester, new Earl of Somerset, a former page whom the king had quickly pushed forward. The case was messy and Archbishop Abbot found himself in the thick of it.

            As one of the group named to adjudge the merits of the pleas. Abbot, staying with the king at Windsor, fell on his knees and begged release. Most writers have called this the case of the Essex divorce. It was rather a suit to annul the marriage. Both Church and state had to deal with it. Abbot was honest enough to declare his qualms; the king induced him to go on seeking the facts, but as it were, packed the court by adding to it some of whom he was sure. The chief of these was Thomas Bilson, Bishop of Winchester, Miles Smith’s associate in the final draft of the Bible.

            Always Bilson was discreet in being for the High Church. He remained so now. What seemed to be a simple case of divorce was clearly for the Church to oppose, but Bilson knew which side his bread was buttered on. Abbot’s dislike for him grew intense. The discord between them, though less open, was greater than that between those other translators, John Bois and Andrew Downes. Downes was merely jealous of Bois because Bois seemed to get more credit than he for the work both did for Sir Henry Savile. Abbot was averse to Bilson because of wholly opposed viewpoints. Low where Bilson was high. Abbot was still a good enough churchman to deplore any semblance of divorce, which the Church had to condemn.

            Many a witness gave vivid evidence, all damning to the earl, though he was merely a helpless wight. Plainly he and his wife wanted to quit each other. In his brave survey of the case, Abbot said among other things, “Inasmuch as we firmly believe that the Scripture doth directly or by consequence contain in it sufficient matter to decide all controversies, especially in all things appertaining to the church, as that marriage among Christians can be no less accounted than a sacred thing ... I would be glad to know, and by what text of Scripture, either by the old or new testament, a man may have a warrant to make a nullity of a marriage solemnly celebrated.”

            King James answered in person: “That the Scripture doth directly or by consequence contain sufficient matter to decide all controversies, especially in this appertaining to the church: This in my opinion is preposterous, and one of the Puritans’ arguments, without a better distinction of application.” Abbot, by the way, quoted Matthew 19:12 from an old Bible, though he had helped translate that very passage in the new Bible. Then, with courage to stand against the king, Abbot voted against the dissolution of the marriage. The toady translator, Bishop Thomas Bilson, voted yes, and with others of like mind, prevailed, seven to six. King James had insured the verdict.

            The countess, freed from Essex, soon married Carr. There followed a further scandal. Young Sir Thomas Overbury, a crude poet, had helped Carr and the countess during their intrigue, but had balked at the thought of their being husband and wife. So the hapless poet got sent to the Tower. There he languished and, in extreme pain, died. In time Lady Somerset confessed that she had connived to bring about his death, as a tool now turned against her and her new husband. The first poisoned fruit tarts went astray. Then the keeper, at the instance of a drug man whom the Somersets had secured, fed Sir Thomas white arsenic; aqua fortis, which is nitric acid; mercury; powder of diamonds; lapis causticus; great spiders; and cantharides, which are dried beetles or Spanish flies. All these worked slowly. At the end the keeper gave the doomed man a clyster of corrosive sublimate. During the trial King James brought up the subject of witchcraft, largely to show off his crafty power to reason. Four were put to death for the crime. James at length pardoned the Earl and Countess of Somerset, who left the court to become misty figures in the background of the time.

            Honest Archbishop Abbot felt sorely troubled about his failure to prevent all this. Yet he was full of notions of his own. He brought in, to replace Carr in the king’s favor, young George Villiers, who got out of the prelate’s hand, and rose quickly to be Duke of Buckingham. The duke’s story is beyond our range, but in time all who wanted to promote any schemes and to get on in the Stuart world had to bribe this flaunting upstart. Such doings reflect the social tone of the times through which the 1611 Bible had to make its way.

            Nevertheless the King James Bible began to seep into common living. First it made progress in the churches, where the clergy here and there preached from it. Listeners took to heart and treasured certain verses, sometimes because they were novel and striking, sometimes because they were apt and fluent. Then the new Bible found its way into some homes for reading, for learning to read, and for times of prayer. More careful study evolved by degrees, until the phrasings passed into daily language. This progress can be traced through writings of the Stuart period.

            Effects of the revised Bible on conduct, in accordance with Abbot’s plea that the Scriptures could answer all controversies, are harder to trace. Many have argued that it had an appreciable effect on English morality. At any rate the common people came to depend on it for stricter guidance.

            Amid more rewards for the learned men, there were more deaths too, as if their labors on the Bible had been too much. Dr. John Aglionby had died in the prime of life while the Bible was in the press. When an older translator. Dr. Thomas Holland, died, a fellow translator. Dr. Richard Kilby, preached his funeral sermon at St. Mary’s, Oxford. Among others who died in these first few years after 1611 were John Harmer, Warden of St. Mary’s College; George Ravis, Warden of New College; John Spenser, who had succeeded Rainolds as president of Corpus Christi College, Oxford; and Richard Thomson, the fat-bellied Arminian, who, they said, went to bed drunk each night. The only translator who is known to have traveled abroad after 1611 was William Bedwell; in 1612 he journeyed to Leyden to see Scaliger’s Arabian books and papers.

            In 1614 John Overall, Dean of St. Paul’s, the translator whose wife ran away only to return under duress, became Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry. William Barlow, who had been at the Hampton Court meeting and had written up that conclave, and who had worked hard on the Bible, now rose to be Bishop of Lincoln, after having had the least see of Rochester. Bishop Lancelot Andrewes made worthy John Bois, who left us his painful notes, a prebend of Ely—a reward that seems tiny for his minute toil.

            Then on June 16, 1616, died the Bishop of Winchester, Thomas Bilson. His long service to the king, rather than his work with Miles Smith on the final Bible draft, made it seem fitting to bury him in Westminster Abbey. Bilson’s death left one of the best sees in England open for a good man. Lancelot Andrewes, we recall, had hoped to be primate after Bancroft died but had lost out to Abbot. At length, doubtless approved by Low Church Abbot, this high churchman who got along well with all became Bishop of Winchester. More and more he used the 1611 Bible in his sermons.

            Others who died in this period were Jeremy Radcliffe; John Perin, Canon o£ Christ Church, Oxford; Dr. Ralph Ravens, Dean of Wells; and Dr. John Duport, Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge. [This differs from “The Men Behind The King James Version” which calls John Duport “Warden Of Magdalen College”.] On November 6, 1617, died Dr. John Layfield, the translator who had gone on a voyage to the West Indies and written an Elizabethan account of it. Long Rector of St. Clement Danes in London, the famous church later associated with Dr. Samuel Johnson, Layfield had just repaired the steeple.

            The next year John Overall, Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry, rose a few notches to be Bishop of Norwich, where the Puritans had been strong but where he leaned toward Arminianism. Within a year he too was dead. While the Pilgrims were landing on Cape Cod, on November 7, 1620, Dr. Richard Kilby, Rector of Lincoln College, Oxford, died at sixty.

            Like most Puritans, Archbishop Abbot believed in strict keeping of the Sabbath. In 1618 the king issued an edict in which he approved of sports on Sunday after all the sacred duties had been observed. Abbot, who was staying at Croydon, forbade the reading of this edict in the parish church there. Trying to live in accordance with the Bible, he knew that God Himself rested on the seventh day, surely without turning to games. In after years Abbot was to speak of James I as “my master,” yet he was often fearless to oppose the king.

            Even after showing his disapproval of the edict about Sabbath sports. Archbishop Abbot remained enough in favor to preach at the funeral service for Queen Anne on March 13, 1619. And he had gone on with his lesser duties, such as keeping an eye on All Souls College, Oxford. “I do require you, Mr. Warden, and the rest of the officers,” he wrote, “severally to punish such as in your society are neglecting their studies to spend their time abroad in taverns and ale houses to the defamation of scholars and scandal of your house, and not to impart any common favors unto them unless they thoroughly reform themselves.” In those lax days the maligned, serious archbishop could seem a nuisance to roistering youth.

            For his home town of Guildford, Abbot had founded and endowed a sort of rest home. In it he reserved rooms for his own use. Much later John Evelyn in his diary wrote of a visit to this hospice. Abbot, of course, was now getting richer and grander in his own eyes. Two of his brothers, one a member of the East India Company and of the Council of New England, the other about to become Bishop of Salisbury, prospered along with him. The archbishop was at the height of a career which the seeress had promised his mother would come of her eating a young pike.

            At midsummer, 1621, Edward Zouche, eleventh baron of that name and Warden of the Cinque Ports, a high office in the state, invited the primate to his great, formal house and spreading park at Bramshill in Hampshire. On July 24, not the Sabbath but a Tuesday, Lord Zouche and his party went deer hunting. The stout, stuffy archbishop wanted to be manful with the bow and arrow, but was a poor shot. Time after time he warned the men who were beating up the game to keep back a goodly distance. Eager to please His Grace by chasing at least one deer within bow cast of him, they were reckless. A buck came into sight. Abbot twanged his bow. His arrow – and arrows in those days were sharp, deadly weapons – hit one of the keepers in the arm. Blood gushed out and before long poor Peter Harkins had bled to death. Thus George Abbot became the only translator of the 1611 Bible and the only Archbishop of Canterbury ever to kill a human being.

            Abbot was in an abyss of grief, stabbed with the sternest feelings of guilt. At once he retired to his new hospice at Guildford. On the widow he settled twenty pounds a year, which gave her the means to shorten her mourning and quickly get a second husband. The Church and the court seethed with dismay and censure. What right had the primate of the English Church to go hunting?

            No canon in the English Church forbade a bishop’s taking part in field sports. Indeed, so to take part was a portion of the Episcopal right. Queen Elizabeth’s Archbishop Whitgift had once killed twenty bucks. The Bible said nothing about stag hunting. King James had charged Abbot that he should carry his house nobly and live like an archbishop, which the prelate had promised him to do.

            The case was one for church decision, and a group including Bishop Lancelot Andrewes met for long searching and debate. It even referred the matter on the side to the Sorbonne at Paris. Had Abbot become “irregular” and “incapable by common law of discharging his duties”?

            Meanwhile friends of Abbot were cool to him, and foes cast slurs at him when he dared to preach in the country. Yet in September he went briefly to the court again, where the king put himself out to be kind. Lancelot Andrewes quibbled and wavered as he sought to placate all, and the judgment when reached was rather vague, but in sum absolved Abbot, with Andrewes more or less for him. The Sorbonne seemed, in the main, against him. On December 24 the king deemed it best to proclaim a formal pardon. By law the primate’s private estate was forfeit to the Crown. But James said: “An angel might have miscarried in this sort. . . . The king would not add affliction to his sorrow or take one farthing from his chattels and movables.”

            Though thus affirmed in his office. Abbot found the respect of many people waning. He could do nothing to allay a persistent feeling that a primate who killed a man was less holy than he should be. His high power, which he was still keen to assert, subtly lessened. The rest of his long service teemed with his crotchets, his temper, his rather futile judgments, and the efforts of high churchmen to subdue him. Laud, now a bishop, he rightly thought one of his chief stumbling blocks, though for the present Laud knew how to avoid too blatant outbursts.

            Sir Henry Savile, the most handsome of the translators, died at Eton on February 19, 1622. They buried him by torchlight to save expense, though he left two hundred pounds for the rites. The useful Miles Smith, Bishop of Gloucester, died October 20, 1624, after forlorn last years of conformity to practices he disliked.

            On February 14, 1625, was buried at Wilden, Bedfordshire, Francis Dillingham, the bachelor translator who knew how a man could be happy though married by keeping his wife subject to him. The translator Dr. John Richardson, Master of Peterhouse, died April 20, 1626, leaving one hundred pounds to build a brick wall in front of the college next to the street. That same year the translator Robert Spalding slept with his fathers. Most accounts of the lives of all these men marked the fact that they had helped translate the King James Bible. For that work their own world rightly honored them as true scholars of the first rank.

            Amid the deaths and honors the king had been ever intent on money. “My lords,” he had said in 1619 to two bishops, Neale of Durham and Andrewes of Winchester, “cannot I take my subjects’ money when I want it without all this formality in parliament?” The two bishops were standing behind his chair at dinner. Neale said, “You should; you are the breath of our nostrils.” Lancelot Andrewes said that he had “no skill in parliamentary cases,” but, “I think it lawful for you to take my brother Neale’s money, because he offers it.” The king’s concern for money was always grasping. As his reign lengthened the nation endured him without conceiving that there might be worse to come.

            The profound event of 1625 was the death of King James on March 27, after ten days of illness. Four days before the end he, or perhaps those around him, sent for Archbishop Abbot, who gave the dying man extreme unction after the way of the English Church. Someone else conducted the final service to bury the wise old fool.

            The coming of Charles I to the throne increased the partial eclipse of Abbot. Laud, called in from St. David’s, Wales, where he was bishop, and before long made Bishop of London, was moving steadily upward. The marriage of the new king to Henrietta Maria of France was by proxy. The crowning, court and Church said, had to be on a holy feast day. This one they at length set for Candlemas, the purification day of St. Mary the Virgin, February 2, 1626, nearly a year after the death of James.

            Having long suffered from gout, the stone, and gravel, all no doubt due in part to high living. Abbot aroused himself. Four new bishops had refused with good conscience to have him install them. He was a tainted primate. Yet before the great day he, with others, revised the order for the supreme pageant of coronation. The plague had once more been rife. By royal command. Archbishop Abbot, Bishop Lancelot Andrewes, and others consulted on a form of thanks to God that the plague was getting less. On the splendid day itself. Abbot was later to complain and boast, the archbishop “had work enough for the strongest man in England.” That was true, as we know from the crowning of Queen Elizabeth IL

            The drama was much the same then as now. There were exact plans for the crowning of Queen Henrietta Maria, too, with a chair or throne set out for her. Queen Anne before her had refused to take the oath in the Church of England, but was present in silence throughout the ordeal. Now Henrietta Maria, with papist firmness, stayed away but watched the whole pomp from a vantage point built for her. As the hours went by, other observers saw with horror the queen’s ladies dancing and frisking; Stuart youth was sportive and Charles was only twenty-five.

            On the morning of February 2, the monarch of all he surveyed went to Westminster Abbey by water. Abbot and the others had, of course, received the order of the day in advance and knew just what to do. The almost Puritan archbishop, in a cope of gold brocade which must have weighed down his shoulders and perhaps his conscience, too, spoke to the people in due form. Then he received the king at the altar which bore a High Church cross. There were the traditional questions to the king and the king’s formal answers. Then the archbishop had to anoint the royal body. He took the jeweled crown of King Edward in his hands, laid it before the king on the altar, and offered the prayer. He put the ring on the fourth finger of the king’s right hand, gave him the scepter and the rod, and enthroned him.

            Bending his gouty joints and kneeling, he declared, “I, George Abbot, shall be faithful.” The Scripture reading, still from some older Bible, was I Peter 2:11-13: “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims to abstain from fleshly lusts, which fight against the soul, and see that you have honest conversation among the Gentiles, that whereas they backbite you as evil doers, they may see your good works and praise God in the day of visitation.” Those pointed verses must have sounded like Puritan warnings, for in the months before the crowning, religious strife had been waxing more acrid.

            Now the archbishop gave the king Holy Communion. Charles sat down in King Edward’s chair. The archbishop lifted the heavy crown and put it on the king’s head, saying, “God crown thee with a crown of glory and righteousness.” The lords and ladies donned their coronets. It was done. 

            The whole display of regal gleaming was much longer than this brief account implies. Abbot, the only one of the Bible translators who crowned a king of England, went through it all well. It was, as always, a brilliant, awesome scene. The robes had plenty of crimson and purple. The young king was a fresh hope for the people. Or was he? Archbishop Abbot seemed to submerge any hope he may have had in his wonted sad sourness. Yet as he ached and glowered, he was oddly more vital than the show around him, because he knew that the word of our God shall stand forever.

            Then the bells pealed and the people shouted, the horses pranced and the royal coach rolled along with the king being gracious. Thus with an archbishop who favored the Puritans and bishops who were of the High Church, began a reign which was to be one of ever-raging conflicts and to have a brutal, lurid end on the scaffold.

            Slowly thereafter Abbot sank out of general view. Sometimes others carried him into the House of Lords, where he spoke from a chair. In the House of Commons his friend Sir Dudley Digges, whom he had tutored at University College, Oxford, and others looked upon him as a bulwark against Bishop William Laud, recognized as an enemy, and also against George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, whose rise he had at first mistakenly supported. Now against the dangerous favorite Abbot wrote a long defense of himself: “The duke of Buckingham (being still great in the favor of the king, could endure no man that would not depend upon him) among others had me in his eye, for not stooping unto him, so as to become his vassal.” From an old Bible he quoted Psalm 112:7: “He shall not be afraid of any evil tidings, for his heart standeth fast, and believeth in the Lord.” Thus fifteen years after he finished work on the 1611 Bible he refrained from citing it.

            In 1627 had so far fallen from the king’s good will that they tried to relieve him of his duties and take away his office. He had bitter words for those who thus attacked him. “In the courts of princes there is little feeling for the infirmities belonging to old age. They like them that be young, and gallant in their actions, and in their clothes. They love not that any man should stick too long in any room of greatness.” No translator of the 1611 Bible, and least of all George Abbot, Archbishop of Canterbury, should have had to say that. Of himself he said: “I cannot deny that the indisposition of my body kept me from court and therefore gave occasion to maligners to traduce me.” At last they set him apart, “sequestered” him. William Laud, Bishop of London, assumed many of the prelate’s tasks. For him and his almost papist stand Charles had taken a strong liking.

            In the meantime even gracious, smiling Bishop Lancelot Andrewes of Winchester had died, September 26, 1626. John Milton, aged seventeen, at once wrote a stiff Latin paean at Christ’s College, Cambridge. As Andrewes entered heaven, “Each angel saluted his new comrade with embrace and song, and from the placid lips of One came these words: ‘Come, son, enjoy the gladness of thy Father’s realm; rest henceforth from thy hard labors.’ As He spoke, the winged choirs touched their psalteries.” Later Milton was to write against this same gentle bishop in the old dispute over episcopal power in the Church.

            While Laud enlarged his scope, the Puritans fought their way forward. The 1611 Bible by its own worth was making itself welcome throughout the country, for those on both sides needed the best modern texts with which to fight their doctrinal skirmishes. High churchmen in greater numbers began to use the 1611 version, which in centuries to come would be the sole bond uniting the countless English-speaking Protestant sects.

            In 1629 the Bible was again revised, but only in small ways, and once more in minor respects in 1638. The last issue of the Geneva Bible was in 1644. By then the King James version was ahead of all others, and now the strife over forms and doctrine helped it on.

            “The gospel,” Puritan Sir John Eliot had burst forth in the House of Commons, “is that truth in which his kingdom has been happy. , . . That truth, not with words but with actions, we will maintain.” In their worst hours the Puritans “turned to the new world to redress the balance of the old.” Many of them now founded Boston, where they used the Bible as a book of ground rules.

            The learned men had all come of age before 1604, and so were to die before most of their Plymouth brethren and the Puritans in America. Andrew Downes had died in 1628, still full of rancor against his former pupil and colleague in the Bible work, John Bois. Jeffrey King, the translator who had held the royal chair of Hebrew at Oxford, died in 1630. Other translators who soon died were Roger Andrewes, Master of Jesus College, who had made his progress through the help of his brother Lancelot, and Thomas Harrison, Puritan, who had been vice-prefect of Trinity College, Cambridge. Leonard Hutton died May 17, 1632, aged seventy-five, and went to his last rest in Christ Church.

            While “sequestered” in 1627, Archbishop Abbot was still fasting each Tuesday in sorrow for his killing of the gamekeeper years before. He had days of being better and days of being worse, but his power in Church and state was about gone. At last Abbot died at Croydon, August 4, 1633, aged seventy-one. He had served twenty-one years, three times as long as Bancroft, In after years his opponents would say that his service was “fatal” to the Church of England, a statement hardly exact, since the Church of England remains lively. Unknowingly kindling the flames of conflict which at length broke out in the great revolt. Abbot deemed Christian only that which abhorred and reviled papal forms. On the whole he valued men in accordance with their zeal for antipopery. His house was an isle of safety for the foremost in the factious party of the Church, whose writings he licensed, and he relaxed penal laws against them. Thus he gave courage to future rebels who were, years after, to get rid of both Laud and King Charles. At the bottom of his heart Abbot was far more a Bible scholar than a churchman. Of the translators, he played by far the most influential role in the troublous times after 1611, and his bias led in the end toward a revolution bound to come. We must give stolid George Abbot his due.

            To succeed him, King Charles of course chose William Laud, Bishop of London. The new archbishop set to work putting back the emblems of the High Church. Laud had resolved to raise the Church of England as a branch, though a reformed branch, of the Church of Rome, which was thriving elsewhere. First he determined to sever such ties as had joined his church to the reformed churches of Europe. With his power as archbishop he withdrew freedom of worship from those of France and Flanders who had sought refuge in England, until crowds of them sailed from southern ports to Holland. He and his followers even forbade British soldiers and merchants abroad to attend churches which adhered to the teachings of Calvin. Passive support of the Crown, in the Church as elsewhere, was to take the place of gospel preaching.

            For more of the learned men, death shortened the strain of troublous times. Richard Brett died April 15, 1637, aged seventy. His stone at Quanton, Buckinghamshire, shows him, his widow and his four daughters, all kneeling.

            Now only four of the learned men were still living. Of these, one had been the youngest – Samuel Ward, Puritan, Warden of Sidney-Sussex College, who as a poor student had condemned himself for eating too many damson plums and too much cheese. 

            Another was Laurence Chaderton, one of the four Puritans at the Hampton Court parley. A fine old fellow with a head of gray hair, he could read without glasses when he was over a hundred. Even then he never said a thing twice as he conversed or told his harmless stories. His wife had died after they had been married fifty-five years, and his daughter had taken care of him. He died November 13, 1640, aged one hundred and three. Longer than the rest, he escaped that haunting last chapter of Ecclesiastes which he helped translate.

            When Chaderton and Ward were gone, there were two left. Of these, one was John Bois. Careful in all matters, as with words, he had told four bishops of Ely that his scruples would not let him baptize a stray child that was too old to be an infant, and too young to profess any faith. In his old age he could recall details of what he had known, felt, and done, and had all his wits about him. His sight was quick, his hearing acute, his face fresh, and his skin like parchment without wrinkles. He told his children and others that if at any time he expressed any thought which savored of bad temper, they should tell him of it. The day before he died he asked that those around him move him to the room where his wife had expired—his dear, adverse, spendthrift wife, who had made him almost bankrupt. He died January 14, 1643, aged eighty-three.

            So at last we come to the sole translator who, after Laud and Charles I had laid their perverse heads on the executioner’s block, lived on into the rule of Cromwell. The tall, smiling Bing, who for forty-six years had been subdean at York, died at Winterton in Norfolk in March, 1652, aged seventy-eight. With Edward Lively’s group, which contained among others Dillingham and Chaderton, he had helped revise the Old Testament books from I Chronicles through Job, the Psalms, the Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Songs. Who knows, perhaps he gave us “If I make my bed in hell, behold. Thou art there,” and “Many waters cannot quench love.”

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