The first new testament published in english ( W. T. )

To the Reader.
(Colophon to the Octavo edition of 1526.)

    Give diligence, reader (I exhort thee) that thou come with a pure mind, and, as the Scripture saith, with a single eye, unto the words of health and of eternal life, by the which (if we repent and believe them) we are born anew, created afresh, and enjoy the fruits of the blood of Christ. Which blood crieth not for vengeance, as the blood of Abel, but hath purchased life, love, favour, grace, blessing, and whatsoever is promised in the Scriptures, to them that believe and obey God, and stondeth between us and wrath, vengeance, curse, and whatsoever the Scripture threateneth against the unbelievers and disobedient, which resist, and consent not in their hearts to the law of God, that it is right, wholy, just, and ought so to be.

    Mark the plain and manifest places of the Scriptures, and in doubtful places see thou add no interpretation contrary to them; but (as Paul saith) let all be conformable and agreeing to the faith.

    Note the difference of the Law and of the Gospell. The one asketh and requireth, the wother pardoneth and forgiveth. The one threateneth, the wother promiseth all good things to them that set their trust in Christ only. The gospell signifieth glad tidings, and is nothing but the promises of good things. All is not gospell that is written in the gospell book: for if the law were away, thou couldest not know what the gospell meant, even as thou couldest not see pardon, favour, and grace except the law rebuked thee, and declared unto thee thy sin, misdeed, and trespass.

    Repent and believe the gospell, as saith Christ in the first of Mark. Apply all way the Law to thy deeds, whether thou find lust (1) in the bottom of thine heart to the law-ward, and so shalt thou no doubt repent, and feel in the self a certain sorrow, pain, and grief to thine heart, because thou canst not with full lust do the deeds of the law. Apply the gospell that is to say the promises unto the deserving of Christ, and to the mercy of God and his trouth, and so shalt thou not despair, but shall feal God as a kind and a merciful father. And his spirit shall dwell in thee, and shall be strong in thee, and the promises shall be given thee at the last (though not by and by, lest thou shouldest forget thyself, and be negligent) and all threatenings shall be forgiven thee for Christ's blood's sake to whom commit thyself altogether with out respect either of thy good deeds or of thy bad.

    Them that are learned Christianly, I beseech: forasmuch as I am sure, and my conscience beareth me record, that of a pure intent, singly and faithfully I have interpreted it, as far forth as God gave me the gift of knowledge and understanding that the rudeness of the work now at the first time offend them not, but that they consider how that I had no man to counterfeit, neither was helped {holp} with English of any that had interpreted the same or such like things in the Scripture beforetime. Moreover, even very necessity and cumbrance (God is record) above strength which I will not rehearse, lest we should seem to boast ourselves, caused that many things are lacking which necessarily are required. Count it as a thing not having his full shape, but as it were born before his time, even as a thing begun rather than finished. In time to come (if God have appointed us thereunto) we will give it his full shape, and put out if ought be added superfluously, and add to if ought be overseen thorow negligence, and will enforce to bring to compendiousness that which is now translated at the length, and to give light where it is required, and to seek in certain places more proper English, and with a table to expound the words which are not commonly used and shew how the Scripture useth many words which are wother wise understood of the common people, and to help with a declaration where one tongue taketh not another; and will endeavor ourselves, as it were, to seeth (2) it better, and to make it more apt for the weak stomachs; desiring them that are learned and able, to remember their duty, and to help thereunto, and to bestow unto the edifying of Christ's body (which is the congregation of them that believe) those gifts which they have received of God for the same purpose. The grace that cometh of Christ be with them that love him.

Pray for us.

(1) "Lust" here is used in a good sense: eagerness to obey.

(2) "Seeth" means "boil, cook."


© Faith of God
W.T. 1526