The first new testament published in english ( W. T. )
I have here translated (brethren and sisters most dear and tenderly beloved in Christ) the new Testament for your spiritual edifying, consolation and solace: Exhorting instantly and beseeching those that are better seen in the tongues than I, and that have higher gifts of grace to interpret the sense of the Scripture, and meaning of the Spirit, than I, to consider and ponder my labor, and that with the spirit of meekness. And if they perceive in any places that I have not attained the very sense of the tongue, or meaning of the Scripture, or have not given the right English word, that they put to their hands to amend it, remembering that so is their duty to do. For we have not received the gifts of God for ourselves only, or for to hide them; but for to bestow them unto the honoring of God and Christ, and edifying of the congregation, which is the body of Christ.
The causes that moved me to translate, I thought better that others should imagine, then that I should rehearse them. Moreover I supposed it superfluous, for who is so blind tare why light should be shewed to them that walk in darkness, where they cannot but stumble, and where to stumble is the danger of eternal damnation, other so despiteful that he would envy any man (I speak not his brother) so necessary a thing, or so bedlam made to affirm that good is the natural cause of blindness, and deafness to proceed out of sight, and that lying should be grounded in troth and verity, and not rather seen contrary, that light destroyeth darkness, and verity reproveth all manner saying.
After it had pleased God to put in my mind,
and also to give me grace to translate this fore rehearsed new testament into
our English tongue, howsoever we have done it. I supposed it very necessary to
put you in remembrance of certain points, which are: that ye well understand
what these words mean:
The old testament.
The new testament.
Worshipping and believing.
Deeds and faith;
Lest we ascribe, to the one that which belongeth to the other, and make of Christ Moses, of the gospell the Law, despise grace and rob faith: and fall from meek learning unto idle despicions, brawling and scolding about words.
((The old testament.))
The old testament is a base, where in is written the law and commandments of God, and the deeds of them which fulfill them, and of them also which fulfilleth them not.
((The new testament))
The new testament is a base where in are contained the promises of God, and the deeds of them which believe them or believe them not.
((The gospell or evangelion))
Evangelion (that we call the gospell) is a Greek word; and signifieth good, merry, glad and joyful tidings, that maketh a man's heart glad, and maketh him sing, dance, and leap for joy. As when David had killed Goliah the giant, came glad tidings unto the jewes, that their fearful and cruel enemy was slain, and they delivered out of all danger: for gladness whereof, they sung, danced, and were joyful. In like manner is the Evangelion of God (which we call Gospel; and the New Testament) joyful tidings; and as some say, a good hearing published by the apostles throughout all the world, of Christ the right David how that he hath fought with sin, with death, and the devil, and overcome them. Whereby all men that were in bondage to sin, wounded with death, overcome of the devil, are with out their own merits or deservings, loosed, justified, restored to life, and saved, brought to liberty, and reconciled unto the favour of God, and set at one with him again: which tidings as many as believe, laud praise and thank God; are glad, sing and dance for joy.
((with evangelion is called a testament))
This evangelion or gospell (that is to say, such joyful tidings) is called the new testament. Because that as a man when he shall die appointeth his goods to be dealt and distributed after his death among them which he nameth to be his heirs. Even so Christ before his death commanded and appointed that such evangelion, gospell, or tidings should be declared through out all the world, and there with to give unto all that believe all his goods, that is to say, his life, where with he swallowed and devoured up death: his righteousness, where with he banished sin: his salvation, where with he overcame eternal damnation. Now can the wretched man (that is wrapped in sin, and is in danger to death and hell) hear no more joyous a thing, then such glad and comfortable tidings, of Christ. So that he cannot but be glad and laugh from the low bottom of his heart, if he believe that the tidings are true.
To strength such faith with all, God promised this his evaglion in the old testament by the prophets (as Paul sayth in the first chapter unto the romans). How that he was chosen out to preach God's evangelion, which he before had promised by the prophets in the holy scriptures that treat of his son which was born of the seed of David. In the third chapter of Genesis, God saith to the serpent: I will put hatred between thee and the woman, between thy seed and her seed, that self seed shall tread thy head under foot. Christ is this woman's seed, he it is that hath trodden under foot the devil's seed, that is to say sin, death, hell, and all his power. For with out this seed can no man avoid sin, death, hell and everlasting damnation.
Again Gen. xxij. God promised Abraham saying: by thy seed shall all the generations of the earth be blessed. Christ is that seed of Abraham sayth saint Paul in the third to the Galathyans: He hast blessed all the world through the gospell. For where Christ is not, there remaineth the curse that fell on Adam as soon as he had sinned; So that they are in bondage under the domination of sin, death, and hell. Against this curse blesseth now the gospell all the world, in as much as it crieth openly, who so ever believeth on the seed of Abraham shall be blessed, that is, he shall be delivered from sin, death and hell, and shall hence forth continue righteous, living, and saved for ever, as Christ him self saith (in the xi. of Ihon) He that believeth on me shall never more die.
The law (saith the gospell off Ihon in the first chapter) was given by Moses: but grace and verity by Iesus Christ. The law (whose mnistrer is Moses) was given to bring us unto the knowledge of our selves, that we might there by feel and perceive what we are of nature. The law condemneth us and all our deeds, and is called of Paul (in the third chap. Of the second pistel unto the Corrinthians) the ministration of death. For it killeth our consciences and driveth us to desperation, in as much as it requireth of us that which is unpossible for us to do. It requireth of us the death of an whole, man. It requireth perfect love from the low bottom and ground of the heart, as well in all things which we suffer, as in those things which we do. But saith Ihon (in the same place) grace and verity is given us in Christ. So that when the law hath passed upon us, and condemned us to death (which is his nature to do) then have we in Christ grace, that is to say favour, promises of life, of mercy, of pardon freely by the merits of Christ, and in Christ have we verity and troth, in that God fulfilleth all his promises to them that believe. Therefore is the gospell the ministration of life. Paul calleth it, in the fore rehearsed place of the second chap. To the Cor. The ministration of the spirit, and of righteousness. In the gospell when we believe the promises, we receive the spirit of life, and are justified in the blood of Christ from all things where of the law condemned us. Of Christ it is written in the fore rehearsed first chapter of Ihon: This is he of whose abundance, or fullness, all we have received, grace for grace, or favour for favour. That is to say, for the favour that God hath to his son Christ, he giveth unto us his favour, and good will, as a father to his sons. As affirmeth Paul saying: which loved us in his beloved before the creation of the world. For the love that God hath to Christ, he loveth us, and not for our own faith. Christ is made lord over all, and is called in scripture God's mercy foretold whosoever flyeth to Christ, can neither bear nor receive of God any other thing save mercy.
In the old testament are many promises, which are nothing else but the evangelion or gospell, to save those that believed them, from the vengeance of the law. And in the new testament is oft made mention of the law, to condemn them, which believe not the promises. Moreover the law and gospell may never be separate: for the gospell and promises serve but for troubled consciences which are brought to desperation and feel the pains of hell and death under the law, and are in captivity and bondage under the law. In all my deeds I must have the law before me to condemn mine unperfections. For all that I do (be I never so perfect) is yet damnable sin, when it is compared to the law, which requireth the ground and bottom of mine heart. I must therefore have always the law in my sight, that I may be meek in the spirit, and give God all the laud and praise, ascribing to him all righteousness, and to my self all unrigteousness and sin. I must also have the promises before mine eyes, that I despair not, in which promises I see the mercy, favour, and good will of God upon me in the blood of his son Christ, which hath made satisfaction for mine unperfections, and fulfilled from me, that which I could not do.
Here may ye perceive that two manner of people are sore deceived. First they which justify them self with outward deeds, in that they abstain outwardly from that which the law forbiddeth, and do outwardly that which the law commandeth. They compare them selves to open sinners and in respect of them justify them selves condemning the open sinners. They see not how the law requireth love from the bottom of the heart. If they did they would not condemn their neighbours. Love hideth the multitude of sins, saith Saynct Peter in his first pistel. For whom I love from the deep bottom and ground of mine heart, him condemn I not, neither reckon his sins, but suffer his weakness and infirmity, as a mother the weakness of her son, until he grow up in to a perfect man.
Those also are deceived which with out all fear of God give them selves unto all manner vices with full consent, and full delectation, having no respect to the law of God (under whose vengeance they are locked up in captivity) but say: god is merciful and christ died for us, supposing that such dreaming and imagination is that faith which is so greatly commended in holy scripture. Nay that is not faith, but rather a foolish opinion springing of their own nature, and is not given them of the spirit of God. True faith is (as saith the apostle Paul) the gift of God and is given to sinners after the law hath passed upon them and hath brought their consciences unto the brim of desperation, and sorrows of hell.
They that have this right faith, consent to the law that it is righteous and good, and justify God which made the law, and have delectation in the law (not with stonding that they can not fulfill it, for their weakness) and they abhor what soever the law forbiddeth, though they cannot avoid it. And their great sorrow is, because they cannot fulfill the will of God in the law, and the spirit that is in them crieth to God night and day for strength and help with tears (as saith Paul) that cannot be expressed with tongue.
The first, that is to say a justiciary, which justifieth him self with his outward deeds, cosenteth not to the law in ward, neither hath delectation therein, yee, he would rather that no such law were. So justifieth he not God, but hateth him as a tyrant, neither careth he for the promises, but will with his own strength be favour of him self: no wise glorifieth he God, though he seem outward to do.
((A sensual man))
The second, that is to say the sensual person, as a voluptuous swine, neither feareth God in his law, neither is thankful to him for his promises and mercy, which is set forth in Christ to all them that believe.
((A Christen man.))
The right Christen man consenteth to the law that it is righteous, and justifieth God in the law, for he affirmeth that God is righteous and just, which is author of the law, he believeth the promises of God, and so justifieth God, judging him true and believing that he will fulfill his promises. With the law he condemneth him self and all his deeds, and giveth all the praise to God. He believeth the promises, and ascribeth all troth to god, thus every where justifieth he God, and praiseth God.
By nature through the fall of Adam, are we the children of wrath, heirs of the vengeance of God by birth, yee and from our conception, we have our fellowship with the damned devils under the power of darkness and rule of satan, while we are yet in our mother's wombs, though we shew not forth the fruits of sin, yet are we full of the natural poison where of all sinful deeds spring, and cannot but sin outwards (be we never so young) if occasion be given, for our nature is to do sin, as is the nature of a serpent to sting. And as a serpent yet young, or yet un-brought forth is full of poison, and cannot afterward (when the time is come and occasion given) but bring forth the fruits there of. And as an edder, a toad, or a snake is hated of man, (not for the evil that it hath done, but for the poison that is in it and hurt which it cannot but do) So are we hated of God for that natural poison which is conceived and born with us, before we do any outward evil. And as the evil, which a venomous worm doeth, maketh it not a serpent: but be cause it is a venomous worm. Therefore doeth it evil and poisoneth. And as the fruit maketh not the tree evil: but because it is an evil tree, therefore bringeth it forth evil furit, when the season of fruit is. Even so do not our evil deeds make us evil: but because that of nature we are evil, therefore we both think and do evil, and are under vengeance, under the law, convicted to eternal damnation by the law, and are contrary to the will of God in all our will, and in all things consent to the will of the land.
By grace (that is to say by favour) we are plucked out of Adam the ground of all evil, and grafted in Christ the root of all goodness. In Christ God loved us his elect and chosen, before the world began, and referred us unto the knowledge of his son and of his holy gospell, and when the gospell is preached to us he openeth our hearts, and giveth us grace to believe and putteth the spirit of Christ in us, and we know him as our father most merciful, and consent to the law, and love it inwardly in our heart, and desire to fulfill it, and sorrow because we cannot, which will (sin we of frailty never so much) is sufficient till more strength be given us, the blood of Christ hath made satisfaction for the rest: the blood of Christ hath obtained all things for us of God. Christ is our satisfaction, redeemer, deliverer, saviour from vengeance and wrath. Observe and mark in the pistels of Paul, and Peter, and the gospell and pistels of Ihon what Christ is unto us.
((faith, love, works))
By faith are we never with out love and good works, yet is our saving imputed neither to love nor unto good works, but unto faith only. For love and works are under the law which requireth perfection, and the ground and fountain of the heart, and damneth all imperfections. Now is faith under the promises, which damn not: but give all grace, mercy and favour, and whatsoever is contained in the promises.
((Righteousness other wise justifying or justice))
Righteousness is divers; Blind reason imagineth many matter of righteousnesses. As the just ministration of all manner of laws, and the observing of them, and moral virtues were in philosophers put their felicity and blessedness, which all are nothing in the sight of God. There is in like manner the justifying of ceremonies, some imagine them their own selves, some counterfeit other, saying in their blind reason: such holy persons did thus and thus, and they were holy men, therefore if I do so like wise I shall please God: but they have none answer of God, that that pleaseth. The jewes seek righteousness in their ceremonies which God gave unto them, not for to justify: but to describe and paint Christ unto them, of which jewes testifieth Paul saying how that they have affection to God: but not after knowledge, for they go about to stablish their own justice, and are not obedient to the justice or righteousness that cometh of God. The cause is verily, that except a man cast away his own imagination and reason, he cannot perceive God, and understand the virtue and power of the blood of Christ. There is the righteousness of works (as I said before) when the heart is away, they feel not how the law is spiritual and cannot be fulfilled, but from the bottom of the heart. There is a full righteousness, when the law is fulfilled from the ground of the heart. This had neither Peter nor Paul in this life perfectly: but sighed after it. They were so far forth blessed in Christ, that they hungered and thirsted after it. Paul had this thirst, he consented to the law of God, that it ought so to be, but he found an other lust in his members contrary to the lust and desire of his mind, and therefore cried out saying: Oh wretched man that I am: who shall deliver me from this body of death, thanks be to God thorow Iesus Christ. The righteousness that before God is of value, is to believe the promises of God, after the law hath confounded the conscience. As when the temporal law oft times condemneth the thief or murderer and bringeth him to execution, so that he saith nothing before him but present death, and then cometh good tidings, a charter from the King and delivereth him. Likewise when God's law hath brought the sinner into knowledge of him self, and hath confounded his conscience, and opened unto him the wrath and vengeance of God, then cometh good tidings, the Evangelion sheweth unto him the promises of God in Christ, and how that Christ hath purchased pardon for him hath satisfied the law for him, and appeased the wrath of God, and the poor sinner believeth, laudeth and thanketh God, thorow Christ, and breaketh out into exceeding inward joy and gladness, for that he hath escaped so great wrath, so heavy vengeance, so fearful and so everlasting a death, and he hence forth is an hungered, and at thirst after more righteousness, that he might fulfill the law, and mourneth continually commending his weakness unto God in the blood of our saviour Christ Iesus.
Here shall ye see compendiously and
plainly set out
the order and practice of every thing afore rehearsed.
(Adam bringeth us to bondage.)
The fall of Adam hath made us heirs of the vengeance and wrath of God, and heirs of eternal damnation; And hath brought us into captivity and bondage under the devil; And the devil is our lord, and our ruler, our head, our governor, our prince, yee and our god. And our will is locked and knit faster unto the will of the devils, then cond an hundred thousand chains bind a man unto a post. Unto the devils' will consent we, with all our hearts, with all our minds, with all our might, power, strength, will and lust. With what poisoned, deadly, and venomous hate, hateth a man his enemy; With how great malice of mind inwardly do we slay and murder; With what violence and rage, ye and with how fervent lust commit we advoutry, fornication, and such like uncleanness: with what pleasure and delectation inwardly serveth a glutton his belly; With what diligence deceive we; How busily seek we things of the world; Whatsoever we do, think, or imagine, is abominable in the sight of God. And we are as it were asleep in so deep blindness, that we can neither see, nor feel in what misery, thralldom, and wretchedness we are in, till Moses come and wake us, and publish he the law. When we hear the law truly preached, how that we ought to love and honour God with all our strength and might, from the low bottom of the heart: and our neighbours (yee our enemies.) as our selves inwardly from the ground of the heart, and to do whatsoever God biddeth, and abstain from whatsoever God forbiddeth, with all love and meekness, with a fervent and a burning lust, from the center of the heart, then beginneth the conscience to rage against the law, and against God; No less (be it never so great a tempest) is so unquiet. It is not possible for a natural man to consent to the law, that it should be good, or that God should be righteous, which maketh the law. Man's wit, reason, and will, are so fast glued, yee nailed and chained unto the will of the devil. Neither can any creature lowse the bonds, save the blood of Christ.
(( Christ letteth us at liberty ))
This is the captivity and bondage whence Christ delivered us, redeemed, and lowsed us. His blood, his death, his patience, in suffering rebukes and wrongs, his prayers and fastings, his meekness and fulfilling of the utmost point of the law, appeased the wrath of God, brought the favor of God to us again, obtained that God should love us first, and be our father, and that a merciful father, that will consider our infirmities and weakness, and will give us his spirit again (which was taken away in the fall of Adam) to rule govern and strength us, and to break the bonds of Satan, where in we were so strait bound.
((The evangleion bringeth faith, faith bringeth love: love worketh))
When Christis thus wise preached, and the promises rehearsed, which are contained in the prophets, in the psalms, and in divers places of the five books of Moses: then the hearts of them which are elect and chosen, begin to meek soft, and to melt at the bounteous mercy of God, and kindness shewed of Christ. For when the evangelion is preached, the spirit of God entereth in to them which God hath ordained and appointed unto eternal life, and openeth there inward eyes, and worketh such belief in them.
When the wofull consciences feel and taste how sweet a thing the bitter death of Christ is, and how merciful and loving God is through Christ's purchasing and merits; They begin to love again, and to consent to the law of God, how that it is good, and ought so to be, and that God is righteous which made it; And desire to fulfill the law, even as a sick man desireth to be whole, and are anhungered, and athirst after more righteousness, and after more strength, to fulfill the law more perfectly. And in all that they do, or omit and leave undone, they seek God's honour, and his will with meekness, ever condemning the unperfectness of their deeds by the law.
((Christ bringeth all goodness freely, and giveth an ensample how to be stow in godly.))
Now Christ stondeth us in double sted, and serveth us two manner ways. First he is our redeemer, deliverer, reconciler, mediator, intercessor, advocate, attorney, solicitor, our hope, comfort, shield, protection, defender, strength, health, satisfaction, and salvation. His blood, his death, all that he ever did, is ours. And Christ him self, with all that he is or can do, is ours. His blood sheding and all that he did, doeth me as good service, as though I my self had done it. And God (as great as he is) is mine with all that he hath, thorow Christ and his purchasing.
Secondarily after that we be overcome with love and kindness, and now seek to do the will of God (which is a christen man's nature) Then have we Christe an ensample to counterfeit, as saith Christ him self in Ihon: I have given you an ensample. And in an other evangelist, he saith; He that will be great among you shall be your servant and minister, as the son of man came to minister and not to be ministered onto.
((Faith receiveth of God, and love bestoweth the same on his neighbour.))
And Paul saith: Counterfeit Christ. And Peter saith: Christ died for you, and left you an ensample to follow his steps. Whatsoever therefore faith hath received of God thorow Christ's blood and deserving, that same must love shed out everywhere, and bestow it on our neighbours unto their profit, yee and that though they be our enemies. By faith we receive of God, and by love we shed out again. And that must we do freely after the ensample of Christ with out any other respect, save our neighbour's wealth only, and neither look for reward in earth, nor yet in heaven for our deeds: but of pure love must we bestow ourselves, all that we have, and all that we are able to do, even on our enemies to bring them to God, considering nothing but their wealth, as Christ did ours.
((A true christyn man believeth that heaven is his already by Christ's purchasing,
And therefore loveth, and worketh, to honour God only, and to draw all things to God.))
Christ did not his deeds to obtain heaven thereby (that had been a madness) heaven was his already, he was heir thereof, it was his by inheritance: but did them freely for our sakes, considering no thing but our wealth, and to bring the favour of God to us again, and us to God. As no natural son that is his father's heir, doeth his father's will because he would be heir, that he is already by birth: his father gave him that yer he was born, and is lothther that he should go with out it, then he himself hath wit to be: but of pure love doeth he that he doeth. And ask him why he doeth any thing that he doeth, he answereth: my father bade, it is my father's will, it pleaseth my father. Bond servants work for hire, Children for love. For their father with all he hath, is theirs already. So doeth a christen man freely all that he doeth, considereth nothing but the will of God, and his neighbour's wealth only. If I live chaste, I do it not to obtain heaven thereby. For then should I do wrong to the blood of Christ: Christ's blood hath obtained me that, Christ's merits have made me heir thereof. He is both door and way thither wards. Neither that I look for an heir room in heaven, then they shall have which live in wedlock, other then a hoar of the stews (if she repent) for that were the pride of lucifer: But freely to wait on the evangelion, and to serve my brother with all, even as one hand helpeth another, or one member another, because one feeleth another's grief, and the pain of the one is the pain of the other. Whatsoever is done to the least of us (whether it be good or bad) it is done to Christ. And whatsoever is done to my brother (if I be a christen man) that same is done to me: neither doeth my brother's pain grieve me less then mine own. If it were not so: how saith Paul: let him that rejoiceth, rejoice in the Lord: that is to say Christ, which is lord over all creatures. If my merits obtained me heaven, or an higher room there, then had I where in I might rejoice besides the Lord.
((To bynd and lowse.))
Here see ye the nature of the law, and the nature of the evangelion. How the Law bindeth and damneth all men, and the Evangelion lowseth them again. The law goeth before, and the evangelion followeth. When a preacher preacheth the Law, he bindeth all consciences, and when he preacheth the Gospell, he loveth them again. These two salves (I mean the Law and the Gospell) useth God and his preacher to heal and cure sinners withall. The law driveth out the disease, and maketh it appear, and is a sharp salve, and a fretting coursey, and killeth the deed fleshly, and lowseth and draweth the sores out by the roots, and all corruption. It pulleth from a man the trust and confidence that he hath in him self, and in his own works, merits, deservings and ceremonies. It killeth him, sendeth him down to hell, and bringeth him to utter desperation, and prepareth the way of the lord, as it is written of Ihon the Baptist: for it is not possible that Christ should come to a man, as long as he trusteth in him self, or in any worldly thing. Then cometh the Evengelion, a more gentle plaster, which sowpleth, and swageth the wounds of the conscience, and bringeth health. It bringeth the spirit of God, which lowseth the honds of satan, and coupleth us to God and his will thorow strong faith and fervent love, with bonds too strong for the devil, the world, or any creature to lowse them.
((A christen man feeleth the working of
the holy ghost in his soul:
and in all tribulations and adversities fealeth God a merciful father and a loving.))
And the poor and wretched sinner feeleth so great mercy, love, and kindness in God, that he is sure in him self how that it is not possible that God should forsake him, or withdraw his mercy and love from him. And boldly crieth out with Paul saying: Who shall separate us from the love that God loveth us withall? That is to say: what shall make me believe that God loveth me not? Shall tribulation? Anguish? Persecution? Shall hunger? Nakedness? Shall a sword? Nay, I am sure that neither death, nor life, neither angel, neither rule, nor power, neither present things, nor things to come, neither high nor low, neither any creature able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Iesu our lord. In all such tribulations a Christen man perceiveth that God is his father, and loveth him, even as he loved Christ when he shed his blood on the cross. Finally, as before, when I was bond to the devil and his will, I wrought all manner evil and wickedness, not for hell's sake which is there ward of sin, but be cause I was heir of hell by birth and bondage to the devil, did I evil. For I would none other ways do; to do sin was my nature. Even so now since I am coupled to God by Christ's blood, do I well, not for heaven's sake: but be cause I am heir of Heaven by grace and Christ's purchasing, and have the spirit of God, I do good freely, for so is my nature. As a good tree bringeth forth good fruit, and an evil tree evil fruit. By the fruits shall ye know what the tree is: a man's deeds declare what he is within but make him neither good nor bad &c. We must be first evil yer we do evil, as a serpent is first poisoned yer he poison. We must be also good yer we do good yer we do good, as the fire must be first hot yer it warm any thing. Take an ensample. As those blind which are cured in the evangelion, could not see till Christ had given them sight; And deaf could not hear, till Christ had given them hearing; And those sick could not do the deeds of an whole man, till Christ had given them health: So can no man do good in his soul, till Christ have lowsed him out of the bonds of satan, and have given him where with to do good, yee and first have poured into him that self good thing which he sheddeth forth afterward on other. Whatsoever is our own is sin. Whatsoever is above that, is Christ's gift, purchase, doing, and working. He bought it of his father derely with his blood, yee with his most bitter death and gave his life for it. Whatsoever good thing is in us, that is given us freely with out our deserving or merits for Christ's blood's sake. That we desire to follow the will of God, it is the gift of Christ's blood. That we now hate the devil's will (where unto we were so fast locked, and could not but love it) is also the gift of Christ's blood, unto whom belongeth the praise and honour of our good deeds, and not unto us.
© Faith of God