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learned, and those who were noted lovers of the Reformation, but generally all over England, among all the common people, and with what greediness God's word was read, and what resort there was to the places appointed for reading it. Every one that could, bought the book, and busily read it, or heard it read; and many elderly persons learnt to read on purpose (r).”
In 1538, Grafton obtained leave from Francis the First, King of France, through the intercession of Henry the Eighth, to print an English Bible at Paris, on account of the superior skill of the workmen, and the comparative goodness and cheapness of the paper. But this royal permission did not prevent the inquisitors from summoning before them the French printers, the English employers, and Coverdale, who superintended the work; and the whole impression, consisting of 2,500 copies, was seized, and condemned to the flames. Some few copies only were saved; but the English proprietors of this undertaking found means to carry with them to London, the presses, types, and printers.
In 1539, Grafton and Whitchurch printed at London, the Bible in large folio, under the direction of Coverdale and patronage of Cranmer, containing some improvement of Matthews's translation ; this is generally called the Great Bible, and it is supposed to be the same which Grafton obtained leave to print at Paris. There were several editions of it, and particularly one in 1540, for which Cranmer wrote a preface, showing, that “ Scripture should be had and read of the lay and vulgar people ;” hence this edition of 1540, is called Cranmer's Bible. In this year the curates and parishioners of every parish were required, by royal proclamation, to provide themselves with the Bible of the largest size, before the feast of All Saints, under a penalty of forty shillings a month; and all ordinaries were charged to see that this proclamation was obeyed. A brief or declaration was published to the same effect in the year 1541 ; but after that time the influence of the popish party increased both in parliament and with the King, and Cranmer's exertions were frustrated by the opposition of Gardiner and other popish bishops. In the year 1542, it was enacted by the authority of parliament, “That all manner of books of the Old and New Testament, of the crafty, false, and untrue translation of Tyndal, be forth with abolished, and forbidden to be used and kept; and also that all other Bibles, not being of Tyndal's translation, in which were found any preambles or annotations, other than the quotations or summary of the chapters, should be purged of the said preambles or annotations, either by cutting them out, or blotting them in such wise that they might not be perceived or read; and, finally, that the Bible be not read openly in
(r) Life of Cranmer.
church, but by the leave of the King, or of the ordinary of the place; nor privately by any women, artificers, apprentices, journeymen, husbandmen, labourers, or by any of the servants of yeomen or under;" but through the interest of Cranmer, a clause was inserted, allowing, “ that every nobleman and gentleman might have the Bible read in their houses, and that noble ladies, gentlewomen, and merchants, might read it themselves, but no man or woman under those degrees; which was all the archbishop could obtain. In the same year Cranmer proposed in convocation, that there should be a revision of the translations of the Bible; but so many difficulties were started by Gardiner, and the proposal was so feebly supported by the other bishops, that he was unable to accomplish his object, and desisted from the attempt. In the year 1546, the last of his reign, Henry issued a proclamation, prohibiting the having and reading of Wickliff's, Tyndals and Coverdale’s translations, and forbidding the use of any other not allowed by parliament. Though in the reign of Edward the Sixth, the
reading reading of the Scriptures was encouraged by royal proclamations, acts of parliament, and by every other means, and there were many impressions(s) of the English Bible, it does not appear that there was any new translation of the Bible, or even any considerable correction of the old ones, during the seven years and an half that excellent prince sat upon the throne; but it was ordered, that the Epistles and Gospels, and the Lessons, both from the Old and New Testament, should be read in English in the Churches, in the manner they now
The terrors of persecution, in the reign of Queen Mary, drove many of our principal Reformers out of the Kingdom ; several went to Geneva, and there employed themselves in making a new translation of the Bible. The New Testament was published in 1557, and the remainder of the work in 1560. This is called the Geneva Bible. It was accompanied with annotations, which were, as might be expected, from the place where they were written, of a Calvinistical cast; and therefore this translation was held in high esteem by the Puritans (t).
(s) Eleven of the whole Bible, and six of the new Testament. (t) “Above thirty editions of this were published
Soon after the accession of Queen Elizabeth, a new translation of the Bible was undertaken by royal command, and under the direction of archbishop Parker. Distinct portions, fifteen at least,
by the Queen's and King's printers between 1560 and 2616, and others were printed at Edinburgh, Geneva, Amsterdam, &c. The New Testament of this is said to have been the first English edition of the Scriptures which was divided into verses. The Greek and Latin Bibles were not antiently divided into chapters or verses, at least not like those now used.
Stephen Langton, archbishop of Canterbury, in the reigns of king John and of king Henry the Third, is said to have first contrived the division into chapters; others ascribe the invention to cardinal Hugo, a dominican monk of the 13th century, who adopted also subdivisions, distinguished by the seven first letters of the alphabet placed in the margin, as convenient for the use of the Concordance, which he first planned for the Vulgate. About 1445, Rabbi Mordecai Nathan, alias Rabbi Isaac Nathan, a western Jew, to facilitate the conduct of a controversy with the Christians, introduced this division of chapters into the Hebrew Bibles, and resumed also the antient division into verses numerically distinguished by marginal letters at every fifth verse, and from him the Christians received and improved the plan; and Robert Stephens adopted the division into the New Testament, of which he published a Greek edition in 1551. Vide Præfat. Buxtorf. ad Concord. Bibl. Hebraic. Morin. Exercit. Bibl. Præf. ad Concord. Græc. N. Test. Fabricii Bibliothec. Grec. lib. 4. cap. 5. Prid. vol. 1. book 5."Gray.