Besidesthe manifold and continuall benefites which Almightie God bestoweth vpon vs, both corporall and spirituall, we are especially bounde (deare brethren) to giue him thankes without ceasing for his great grace and vnspeakeable mercies, in that it hath pleased him to call vs vnto this marueilous light of his Gospel, and mercifully to regard vs after so horrible backesliding and falling away from Christ to Antichrist, from light to darkenesse, from the liuing God to dum and dead idoles, and that after so cruel murther of Gods Saintes, as alasse, hath bene among vs, we are not altogether cast off, as were the Israelites, and many others for the like, or not so manifest wickednesse, but receiued againe to grace with most euident signes and tokens of Gods especiall loue and fauour. To the intent therefore that we may not be vnmindfull of these great mercies, but seeke by all meanes (according to our duetie) to be thankefull for the same, it behoueth vs so to walke in his feare and loue, that all the dayes of our life we may procure the glory of his holy Name. Nowe forasmuch as this thing chiefely is atttained by the knowledge and practising of the worde of God, (which is the light to our paths, the key of the kingdome of heauen, our comfort in affliction, our shielde and sworde against Satan, the schole of all wisedome, the glasse wherein we beholde Gods face, the testimonie of his fauour, and the onely foode and nourishment of our soules) we thought that we could bestowe our labours and studie in nothing which could be more acceptable to God and comfortable to his Church, then in the translating of the holy Scriptures into our natiue tongue: the which thing, albeit that diuers heretofore haue indeuoured to atchieue: yet considering the infancie of those times and imperfect knowledge of the tongues, in respect of this ripe age and cleare light which God hath nowe reueiled, the translations required greatly to be perused and reformed. Not that we vendicate any thing to our selues aboue the least of our brethren (for God knoweth with what feare and trembling we haue bene, for the space of two yeeres and more day and night occupied herein) but being earnestly desired, and by diuers, whose learning and godlinesse we reuerence, exhorted, and also incouraged by the readie willes of such, whose hearts God likewise touched, not to spare any charges for the furtherance of such a benefite and fauour of God toward his Church (though the time then was most dangerous, and the persecution sharpe and furious) we submitted our selues at length to their godly iudgements, and seeing the great opportunitie and occasions, which God presented vnto vs in his Church, by reason of so many godly and learned men, and such diuersities of translations in diuers tongues: we vndertooke this great and wonderfull worke (with all reuerence, as in the presence of God, as intreating the worde of God, whereunto we thinke our selues vnsufficient) which nowe God according to his diuine prouidence and mercie hath directed to a most prosperous ende. And this we may with good conscience protest, that we haue in euery point and worde, according to the measure of that knowledge which it pleased Almightie God to giue vs, faithfully rendred the text, and in all hard places most syncerely expounded the same. For God is our witnesse, that we haue by all meanes endeuoured to set foorth the puritie of the worde and right sense of the holy Ghost, for the edifying of the brethren in faith and charitie.
Nowe as we haue chiefely obserued the sense, and laboured alwayes to restore it to all integritie: so haue we most reuerently kept the proprietie of the wordes, considering that the Apostles who spake and wrote to the Gentiles in the Greeke tongue, rather constrained them to the liuely phrase of the Ebrewe, then enterprised farre by mollifying their language to speake as the Gentiles did. And for this and other causes we haue in many places reserued the Ebrewe phrases, notwithstanding that they may seeme somewhat hard in their eares that are not well practised and also delight in the sweete sounding phrases of the holy Scriptures. Yet least either the simple shoulde be discouraged, or the malitious haue any occasion of iust cauilation, seeing some translations reade after one sort, and some after another, whereas all may serue to good purpose and edification, we haue in the margent noted that diuersitie of speach or reading which may also seeme agreeable to the minde of the holy Ghost, and proper for our language with this marke ||.
Againe, whereas the Ebrewe speach seemed hardly to agree with ours, we haue noted it in the margent after this sort, + vsing that which was more intelligible. And albeit that many of the Ebrewe names be altered from the olde text, and restored to the true writing and first originall, whereof they haue their signification, yet in the vsuall names litle is changed for feare of troubling the simple readers. Moreouer, whereas the necessitie of the sentence required any thing to be added (for such is the grace and proprietie of the Ebrewe and Greeke tongues, that it cannot but either by circumlocution, or by adding the verbe or some worde, be vnderstand of them that are not well practised therein) we haue put it in the text with an other kinde of letter, that it may easily be discerned from the common letter. As touching the diuision of the verses, we haue followed the Ebrew examples, which haue so euen from the beginning distinguished them. Which thing as it is most profitable for memorie, so doth it agree with the best translations, and is most easie to finde out both by the best Concordances, and also by the quotations which we haue diligently herein perused and set foorth by this *. Besides this, the principall matters are noted and distinguished by this marke ¶. Yea and the arguments both for the booke and for the chapters with the number of the verse are added, that by all meanes the reader might be holpen. For the which cause also we haue set ouer the head of euery page some notable worde or sentence which may greatly further aswell for memorie, as for the chiefe point of the page. And considering how hard a thing it is to vnderstand the holy Scriptures, & what errors, sectes and heresies growe dayly for lacke of the true knowledge thereof, and howe many are discouraged (as they pretende) because they cannot attaine to the true and simple meaning of the same, wee haue also indeuoured both by the diligent reading of the best commentaries, and also by the conference with the godly and learned brethren, to gather briefe annotations vpon all the hard places, aswell for the vnderstanding of such wordes as are obscure, and for the declaration of the text, as for the application of the same, as may most appertaine to Gods glory and the edification of his Church. Furthermore whereas certaine places in the bookes of Moses, of the Kings, and Ezekiel, seemed so darke that by no description they coulde be made easie to the simple reader, we have so set them foorth with figures and notes for the full declaration thereof, that they which can not by iudgement, being holpen by the annotations noted by the letters a. b. c.&c. atteine thereunto, yet by the perspectiue, and as it were by the eye, may sufficiently knowe the true meaning of all such places. Whereunto also we haue added certaine Mappes of Cosmographie which necessarily serue for the perfect vnderstanding and memorie of diuers places and countreyes, partly described, and partly by occasion touched, both in the Olde and Newe Testament. Finally, that nothing might lacke which might be bought by labours, for the increase of knowledge and furtherance of Gods glorie, there are adioyned two most profitable Tables, the one seruing for the interpretation of the Ebrewe names: and the other conteyning all the chiefe and principall matters of the whole Bible: so that nothing (as we trust) that any coulde iustly desire, is omitted. Therefore, as brethren that are partakers of the same hope and saluation with vs, we beseeche you, that this riche pearle and inestimable treasure may not be offered in vaine, but as sent from God to the people of God, for the increase of his kingdome, the comfort of his Church, and discharge of our conscience, whom it hath pleased him to raise vp for this purpose, so you would willingly receiue ye word of God, earnestly studie it, & in all your life practise it, that ye may now appeare in deede to be the people of God, not walking any more according to this worlde, but in the fruites of the Spirit, that God in vs may be fully glorified, through Christ Iesus our Lorde, who liueth and reigneth for euer. AMEN.