Bible (King James Version, 1611)/Epistle Dedicatorie
To the most high and mightie
Prince, Iames by the grace of God
King of Great Britaine, France and Ireland,
Defender of the Faith, &c.
The Translators of The Bible,
with Grace, Mercie, and Peace, through Iesvs Christ our Lord.
reat and manifold were the bleſſings (moſt dread Soueraigne) which Almighty God, the Father of all Mercies, beſtowed vpon vs the people of England, when firſt he ſent your Maieſties Royall perſon to rule and raigne ouer vs. For whereas it was the expectation of many, who wiſhed not well vnto our Sion, that vpon the ſetting of that bright Occidentall Starre Queene Elizabeth of moſt happy memory, ſome thicke and palpable cloudes of darkeneſſe would ſo haue ouerſhadowed this land, that men ſhould haue bene in doubt which way they were to walke, and that it ſhould hardly be knowen, who was to direct the vnſetled State: the appearance of your Maiestie, as of the Sunne in his ſtrength, inſtantly diſpelled thoſe ſuppoſed and ſurmiſed miſts, and gaue vnto all that were well affected, exceeding cauſe of comfort; eſpecially when we beheld the gouernment eſtabliſhed in your Highnesse, and your hopefull Seed, by an vndoubted Title, and this alſo accompanied with Peace and tranquillitie, at home and abroad.
But amongſt all our Ioyes, there was no one that more filled our hearts, then the bleſſed continuance of the Preaching of Gods ſacred word amongſt vs, which is that ineſtimable treaſure, which excelleth all the riches of the earth, becauſe the fruit thereof extendeth it ſelfe, not onely to the time ſpent in this tranſitory world, but directeth and diſpoſeth men vnto that Eternall happineſſe which is aboue in Heauen.
Then, not to ſuffer this to fall to the ground, but rather to take it vp, and to continue it in that ſtate, wherein the famous predeceſſour of your Highnesse did leaue it; Nay, to goe forward with the confidence and reſolution of a man in maintaining the trueth of Christ, and propagating it farre and neere, is that which hath ſo bound and firmely knit the hearts of all your Maiesties loyall and Religious people vnto you, that your very Name is precious among them, their eye doeth behold you with comfort, and they bleſſe you in their hearts, as that ſanctified perſon, who vnder God, is the immediate authour of their true happineſſe. And this their contentment doeth not diminiſh or decay, but euery day increaſeth and taketh ſtrength, when they obſerue that the zeale of your Maieſtie towards the houſe of God, doth not ſlacke or goe backward, but is more and more kindled, manifeſting it ſelfe abroad in the furtheſt parts of Chriſtendome, by writing in defence of the Trueth, (which hath giuen ſuch a blow vnto that man of Sinne, as will not be healed) and euery day at home, by Religious and learned diſcourſe, by frequenting the houſe of God, by hearing the word preached, by cheriſhing the teachers therof, by caring for the Church as a moſt tender and louing nourcing Father.
There are infinite arguments of this right Chriſtian and Religious affection in your Maiestie: but none is more forcible to declare it to others, then the vehement and perpetuated deſire of the accompliſhing and publiſhing of this Worke, which now with all humilitie we preſent vnto your Maiestie. For when your Highneſſe had once out of deepe iudgment apprehended, how conuenient it was, That out of the Originall ſacred tongues, together with comparing of the labours, both in our owne and other forreigne Languages, of many worthy men who went before vs, there ſhould be one more exact Tranſlation of the holy Scriptures into the Engliſh tongue; your Maiestie did neuer deſiſt, to vrge and to excite thoſe to whom it was commended, that the worke might be haſtened, and that the buſineſſe might be expedited in ſo decent a maner, as a matter of ſuch importance might iuſtly require.
And now at laſt, by the Mercy of God, and the continuance of our Labours, it being brought vnto ſuch a concluſion, as that we haue great hope that the Church of England ſhall reape good fruit thereby; we hold it our duety to offer it to your Maiestie, not onely as to our King and Soueraigne, but as to the principall moouer and Author of the Worke. Humbly crauing of your moſt Sacred Maieſtie, that ſince things of this quality haue euer bene ſubiect to the cenſures of ill meaning and diſcontented perſons, it may receiue approbation and Patronage from ſo learned and iudicious a Prince as your Highneſſe is, whoſe allowance and acceptance of our Labours, ſhall more honour and incourage vs, then all the calumniations and hard interpretations of other men ſhall diſmay vs. So that, if on the one ſide we ſhall be traduced by Popiſh perſons at home or abroad, who therefore will maligne vs, becauſe we are poore Inſtruments to make Gods holy Trueth to be yet more and more knowen vnto the people, whom they deſire ſtill to keepe in ignorance and darkneſſe: or if on the other ſide, we ſhall be maligned by ſelfe-conceited brethren, who runne their owne wayes, and giue liking vnto nothing but what is framed by themſelues, and hammered on their Anuile; we may reſt ſecure, ſupported within by the trueth and innocencie of a good conſcience, hauing walked the wayes of ſimplicitie and integritie, as before the Lord; And ſuſtained without, by the powerfull Protection of your Maieſties grace and fauour, which will euer giue countenance to honeſt and Chriſtian endeuours, againſt bitter cenſures, and vncharitable imputations.
The Lord of Heauen and earth bleſſe your Maieſtie with many and happy dayes, that as his Heauenly hand hath enriched your Highneſſe with many ſingular, and extraordinary Graces; ſo you may be the wonder of the world in this later age, for happineſſe and true felicitie, to the honour of that Great God, and the good of his Church, through Iesvs Christ our Lord and onely Sauiour.