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DEDICATION BY FRANCISCO DE ENZINAS OF HIS SPANISH TRANSLATION OF THE NEW TESTAMENT. F628 To the Puissant Monarch Charles V. ever August Emperor, King of Spain, &c. Francisco de Enzinas wishes Grace, Health and Peace.
Sacred Majesty,—many and various opinions have been broached in our day, as to the expediency of translating the Scriptures into the vulgar tongues: and how opposite soever they are to each other, they argue equal zeal for Christianity, and proceed upon reasonings sufficiently probable.
For my own part, without meaning to condemn those of different sentiments, I have espoused the side of them who conceive that such translations, were they executed by learned men of mature judgment and great skill in the several languages, would mightily advance the interest of the Christian Republic, by affording both instruction to the illiterate, and comfort to the well-informed, who delight to hear in their own language the discourses of Jesus and his Apostles concerning those mysteries of our redemption from which our souls derive salvation and comfort. But, with the view of at once satisfying those who think differently, and of showing that this undertaking is neither new nor dangerous, I am anxious to state to your Majesty, in a few words, the reasons which have induced me to commence this work. And this I do under a sense of the duty which I owe to your Majesty, who is not only the highest minister of God in temporal things, and the greatest monarch in Christendom, but also my king and lord, to whom I am bound, as a vassal, to give account of my leisure and my busy hours; and who is, to speak the truth, in what regards religion, a diligent overseer, and zealous for the honor of Jesus Christ and the spiritual interests of his kingdom.
First, in reading the Acts of the Apostles, I find that, when the Jews and Gentiles were exerting all their powers against the kingdom of Christ, which then began to prosper, and when they were unable to impede it on account of the great miracles which Peter and the other Apostles performed, and the heavenly doctrines which they taught, they laid hold of St. Peter and St. John, and consulted what measures they should pursue towards them and this new religion. After various opinions had been given, Gamaliel, the teacher of St. Paul, and the most honored of the assembly, arose. He told them, that they ought to be cautious in this affair, as it was one of great importance; and produced several examples of persons who had lately formed sects and taught new doctrines, but had in a short time perished along with the tenets they inculcated. After some discourse, he concluded in this manner: In fine, my opinion is, that you should let these men alone and permit them to do as they please; for if this doctrine of theirs be new, or of the world, or the invention of men pleased with novelty, then it and they will soon perish. But if it be from God, be assured that neither you nor any mortal will be able to stop its progress: the very attempt to do this would be a fighting against God and the determination he has taken. I have often, sacred Majesty, reflected on these words, when reviewing the dispute which has now lasted for twenty years. Certain persons, influenced by good motives, have frequently opposed with great perseverance the printing of such translations; but far from being able to prevail, they have lost ground every day, and new versions are issuing successively from the press in all the kingdoms of Christendom; while those who opposed them at first, have now begun to keep silence on the subject, and even to read and approve of them not a little. In all this, methinks, I see the saying of Gamaliel fulfilled, and that this is an undertaking, which, if well executed, will serve greatly to advance the glory of God. After having waited many years for the end of this dispute, I see that it has at length arrived at a happy termination, and that God has most certainly made use of it for his own purposes. This consideration induces me to try what I can do in the matter, with the view of benefiting my countrymen to the utmost of my power, though I should succeed but in part; for it is a true saying, that in great and difficult achievements, the very wish and attempt are worthy of high commendation.
The second reason, sacred Majesty, which has had weight with me, is the honor of our Spanish nation, which has been calumniated and ridiculed by other nations on this head. Although their opinions differ in many points, yet all of them agree in this, that we are either indolent, or scrupulous, or superstitious; and from this charge none of the strangers with whom I have conversed will exculpate us. Although the spiritual advantage of our neighbour and the service of God are no doubt the considerations which ought to influence the Christian, yet, so long as we live in the flesh, and walk by the light of reason, we shall find that honor will often lead us to do at once what no arguments could induce us to perform. Now, not to speak of the Greeks and the other nations who were made acquainted with the salvation of Jesus Christ by reading the Sacred Scriptures in their own language, there is no people, as far as I know, except the Spaniards, who are not permitted to read the Bible in their native tongue. In Italy there are many versions, the greater part of which has isued from Naples, the patrimony of your Majesty. In France they are innumerable. In that quarter, I have myself seen many, while new ones are published daily in its principal towns. In Germany, they are as plentiful as water, not only in Protestant, but also in Catholic states. The same may be said of all the realms of the illustrious king Don Fernando, your Majesty’s brother; as also of England, Scotland, and Ireland. Spain stands alone as if she were the obscure extremity of Europe. For what reason that privilege has been denied to her which has been conceded to every other country, I know not. Since in every thing we boast, and that not unjustly, that we are the foremost, I cannot see why in this business, which is of the highest moment, we should be the last. We labour under no deficiency in genius, or judgment, or learning; and our language is, in my opinion, the best of the vulgar ones; at least it is inferior to none of them.
The third reason which has induced me to undertake this work is, that were it injurious in itself, or did it lead to bad consequences, I am convinced, that among all the laws which have been enacted since the appearance of these sects, one would have issued from your Majesty or the Pope, forbidding, under great penalties, the composition and printing of such books. As this has not been done to my knowledge, notwithstanding the many laws passed, and the great diligence (thank God) used since that time, I am persuaded that no evil can attach to the undertaking, and that it is in perfect consistency with the laws of your Majesty, and of the supreme pontiff. Nor do I want examples to countenance me, seeing that similar works have been published in all languages and nations. It is a mark of little prudence, says the comic poet, when I reckon nothing well done, except that which I myself do, and suppose I alone hit the mark, and every other person errs. So it happens in the present case. For, not to speak of the European nations, whose sentiments on this subject I have already shown, if we consult the history of the ancients we shall find that all of them held the same opinion. The Jews, though they were an illiterate and hardened race, as Christ remarks, had their law delivered to them in their own language, difficult as it was to be understood on account of the types of the Messiah which it contained. After their return from Babylon, as they were better acquainted with the Syriac than the Hebrew, they made use of the Chaldee paraphrases, which they called the Targums. The Christians, succeeding them, possessed the Scriptures in Greek, which, at that period, was the common language of the East. The other nations translated them into their own tongues, viz. Egyptian, Arabian, Persian, Ethiopian, and Latin; and in these languages also they had their Psalmody, as St. Jerome affirms in his epitaph upon Paula. This father likewise translated the Bible into Hungarian, for the benefit of his own countrymen. The Latins henceforth employed the Latin version,—a custom which remained in their church for more than 600 years, till the time of the Emperors Phocas and Heraclius, and Pope Gregory the Great. The practice of reading the Holy Scriptures in a language which all could understand, was abandoned, not from a conviction of its being wrong, but because at the irruption of foreign nations into Europe the Latin tongue ceased to be spoken among the common people, while the church continued to employ it as formerly, and has continued to do so to the present day. This, however, is the case only in these parts of Europe. In Greece, the modern Christians preserve the old practice; as also in Africa, Egypt, Ethiopia, Syria, Palestine, Persia, the East Indies, and throughout all the world. It would appear, then, that I am not singular in my sentiments on this subject; that this undertaking is not novel; and that that cannot be an evil which has existed for such a length of time in the Church of God, which so many nations have approved of, and which the Catholic Church esteems to be good. If any one should be inclined to think it injurious on account of the danger there is at present of heresy, let such a one know that heresies do not arise from the reading of the Scriptures in the vulgar tongues, but from their being ill understood, and explained contrary to the interpretation and doctrine of the Church, which is the pillar and foundation of truth, and from their being treated of by ill-disposed men, who pervert them to suit their own wicked opinions.
The same thing was remarked by St. Peter concerning the Epistles of St.
These reasons, sacred Majesty, have induced me to undertake this work.
Not to say that it is a most just and holy cause, it is certainly worthy of your Majesty’s royal dignity, worthy of your knowledge, worthy of your judgment, worthy of your approbation, and worthy of your protection. And since I am well assured, with Solomon, that the hearts of good princes are governed by God, I trust in Heaven that your Majesty will take this my work in good part; that you will encourage and defend it by your authority; and that you will employ all means to procure it a favourable reception by others. This ought to be done the more on this account, that the good which may be expected to result from it throughout the kingdom, is neither wealth, nor honor, nor worldly advantages, but spiritual blessings, and the glory of Christ Jesus. May he prosper your Majesty in the journey and enterprise you have undertaken, and in all others of a like nature; and after you have reigned long upon the earth, may he receive you to reign with himself in heaven. Amen.
From Antwerp, 1 October, 1543.
NO. EXTRACTS FROM A PREFACE BY JUAN PEREZ TO HIS SPANISH TRANSLATION OF THE NEW TESTAMENT. F629 Two reasons have induced me to undertake the important task of translating the New Testament, from the language in which it was originally composed, into our common and native Romance language. The one is, that when I found myself lying under great obligations to my countrymen on account of the vocation which the Lord had given me to preach the gospel, I could discover no method by which I could better fulfil, if not wholly, at least in part, my desire and obligation, than by bestowing on them a faithful version of the New Testament in their own language. In this respect I have obeyed the will of the Lord, and followed the example of his holy Apostles. * * * The holy Apostles, instructed in the will and intention of their master, with the view of discharging their ministry, and publishing more extensively that which was committed to their care, did not write in Hebrew, which was then understood only by a few persons already skilled in the Holy Scriptures, nor yet in the Syriac and Latin tongues. Nearly all of them wrote the gospel in Greek, as it was then employed and understood not only in Greece, but also among the Jews and Romans, and generally by all those who inhabited Asia and such parts of Europe as were subject to the Roman empire; for neither the Latin nor any other language was at that time so generally known or so common as the Greek. * * * The other reason to which I referred as urging me to the present undertaking, is the advancement of my nation’s glory, famed as it has always been in every quarter for its bravery and victories, and inclined to boast that it is freer than all other nations from those errors which have arisen in the world against the Christian religion. To overcome others is a thing which is esteemed glorious and desirable among men; but to overcome one’s self is much more glorious and honourable in the sight of God; for to subdue our domestic enemies is the way to subject ourselves entirely to his government, and the victory obtained over them is the more illustrious and the more to be desired, as an intestine war is of all others the most dangerous, and as the reward here held out to the conquerors is the most precious and the most lasting. That which accomplishes the greatest of all victories is the reading and understanding of the contents of this sacred volume. In order that it may be understood and improved, I have translated it into the Romance. It is certainly honorable and glorious that we should be exempt from errors and all their consequences. Every one in the nation ought to labour as much as in him lies that this glory may accrue to us. For my part I have endeavored to provide a defence by which our country may always be protected from evil and from the entrance of error, by providing it with the New Testament, wherein is a summary of all the laws and advices we have received from heaven; so that we may not only be enabled to detect infallibly every error, but also to avoid it with certainty. It is impossible that our glory can be lasting and permanent, unless we call in the aid of this volume, by habitually reading its statutes and meditating on its counsels.
EXTRACTS FROM THE CONFESSION OF A SINNER, BY CONSTANTINE PONCE DELA FUENTE, CHAPLAIN TO THE EMPEROR CHARLES V. F630 O thou Son of God, whom the eternal Father hath sent to be the Saviour of men, that thou mightest offer thyself a sacrifice as a satisfaction for sin, I would present myself before the throne of thy mercy, beseeching thee to listen while I speak, not of my own righteousness and merits, but of the transgressions and grievous errors which I have committed against men, and more especially against the majesty, the goodness, and the compassion of thy Father. Draw me forcibly by a discovery of that everlasting punishment with which my sins inwardly menace me. But O thy compassion draws me by a very different cord; making me to know, though not so quickly as I ought, all that thou has been to me, and all that I have been to thee. I present myself before thy sacred majesty, accused and condemned by my own conscience, and constrained by its torture to speak out and confess, in the presence of earth and heaven, before men and angels, and in the audience of thy sovereign and divine justice, that I deserve to be banished for ever from the kingdom of heaven, and to live in perpetual misery under the chains and tyranny of Satan. O my Lord and Saviour, my cause would be lost, I would be utterly undone, wert not thou a judge to deliver from condemnation those whom their sins have handed over to eternal death. * * * * Blessed and praised for ever be thy name by all those who know thee, because thou camest into this world not to condemn but to save sinners; because being thyself just, thou hast become the advocate of the guilty, even of thine enemies and accusers, and hast been afflicted and tempted in all things, in order to give us a surer proof of thy compassion. Thou art holiness for the polluted, satisfaction for the guilty, payment for the insolvent, knowledge for the erring, and a surety for him that has no help. What I know of thee, O my Saviour, draws me unto thee, and I have begun to know thee in a manner which makes me see that I am a wretch unworthy to approach thy presence.
How shall I begin, O Lord, to render an account of my transgressions?
What direction shall I take, the better to discover the error of my ways?
Lord, give me eyes to look upon myself, and strengthen me to bear that look; for my sins are so great that I am ashamed to recognize them as mine, and try to remedy them by other sins—belying and disowning myself, if by any means I may find in me something not so exceedingly culpable. In all this, Lord, I mark the greatness of thy compassion; for when I shut my own eyes lest I be confounded at the sight of my sins, thou openest thine, that thou mayest observe and watch over me. Thou hast put it beyond doubt, O Redeemer of the world, that thou examinest wounds with the intention of healing them, and that how disgusting soever they may be, they are not an eyesore to thee, nor art thou ashamed to cleanse them with thine own hand. Guide me, Lord, and lead me along with thee; for if I walk alone, I shall wander from the right path. Thy company shall strengthen me to bear the presence of myself. Sustain me, that I may not lose courage.
Hold me firmly, that I may not fly from myself. Command the devil to be silent when thou speakest with me.
There was a time, Lord, when I was nothing; thou gavest me existence and formedst me in my mother’s womb. There thou didst impress on me thy image and resemblance, and gave me the capacity of enjoying thy blessings.
There is nothing in me so minute or so delicate but what was conducted by thy wisdom and singular design to its full perfection. I entered the world by a great miracle and under the power of thy hand. I was nursed and invigorated by thy providence. I was naked and thou clothedst me, weak and thou strengthenedst me; in short thou has made me to feel that I live by leaning on thy mercy which will never fail me. Before that I knew myself to be miserable, I was undone; I contracted sin even in coming out of my mother’s womb; this was my inheritance in being in the line of Adam.
Behold the fortune which I heir from my father; it is to know myself miserable and sinful. Notwithstanding this, thy compassion has embraced me, thou hast helped me in my poverty, and delivered me from my evils.
Thou hast enriched and adorned me, thou hast divorced me from my own heart on which I leaned for support, and hast washed me as with pure water in thy precious blood. Thou hast intrusted me with those favours which I most needed, which made me thine, with delivered me from mine enemy, and gave me an assured pledge of eternal happiness. If thy wisdom had not imposed silence, if I had not confided in thee, seeing my true nature and condition, what could I have said but, in the words of Job, “Would that they had carried me from the womb to the grave, for surely that life which ought to prove a blessing is only for my evil and for my transgression, and it were better that I had never been!” Yet would I not be the judge of thy glory, seeing I have so little advanced it, nor of thy will, seeing it is the right rule of all justice. I am thy servant, Thou hast preserved my privileges, though I myself took no charge of them. My innocence endured only so long as I had not eyes to look with delight on vanity and malice. I may say that when asleep I was thine, but no sooner did I awaken to the knowledge of thee than I discovered my aversion to look upon thee; and the greater my obligations were to follow thee, the faster did I fly from thy presence. I was in love with my own ruin and gave it full reign; and in this manner did I allow it to dissipate thy benefits. I joined myself to thine enemies, as if my happiness consisted in being traitor to thee. I closed my eyes, I shut up all my senses that I might not perceive that I was in thy house, that thou wast the Lord of the heavens whose rain descends upon me, and of the earth which sustains me in life. I was a sacrilegious person, a despiser of thy bounty, ungrateful, a contemner of thy mercy, an audacious man, fearing not thy justice. Nevertheless I slept as soundly as if I were one of thy servants, and appropriated every thing to myself without considering that it came from thee. * * * * Such has been the pride of man, that he aimed at being God; but so great was thy compassion towards him in his fallen state, that thou abasedst thyself to become not only of the rank of men, but a true man, and the least of men, taking upon thee the form of a servant, that thou mightest set me at liberty, and that by means of thy grace, wisdom, and righteousness, man might obtain more than he had lost by his ignorance and pride. He had thrown himself into the power of the devil, to be formed into his image and remain his prisoner, banished from thy presence, condemned in thy indignation, the slave of him who had seduced him, and whose counsel he chose to follow in contempt of the justice and majesty of the Father. But so completely hast thou retrieved what man had lost, that I may justly say, “Man is true God,” since God is true man, since believers have the privilege of being made partakers of the divine nature, since they are all thy brethren, and since the Father joins with thee in calling them to imitate thee, that they may grow daily in thy likeness, and execute thy will, and that thus each of them may be in truth denominated a son of God, and born of God. O the misery of those who would seek for happiness in any other than thee, seeing that thy compassion can give them more than even their own presumption could demand! Thou knowest, Lord, the return I have made for thy benefits, and whether or not I have merited them. Would that I knew this as well! that flying far from myself, I might come nearer unto thee; for, to complete my misery, all that I know and feel of my heinous sins, forms the least part of them. It is many years, Lord, since thou becamest man for me, and didst abase thyself to such a depth that I might be raised thus high. Having once presumed to equal myself with God, I forsook the path in which thou wouldst have me to walk, and took that which led to my destruction, listening to the voice of thine enemy, and avowedly taking up arms against thee. What was this but my arrogant heart seeking to govern me by its own wisdom, to set me at large in my own ways, and to settle down in the pleasure and satisfaction of its own obstinate disobedience? I was a worm in comparison with others, and all plainly perceived my littleness and insignificance; but as for me, my discourses were my gods; so far had I forgoten what thou wast, and how low thou didst condescend for my sake. Thou hast abased thyself in order to become a man—a new man, of the same line with Adam, and yet without the sin of Adam; for such a nature was suited at once to thy greatness and to the work of our justification. Thou didst take upon thee human flesh, and wast born of a virgin-mother, that thou mightest be every way fitted to our condition, and that thou mightest be entirely such a one as it behoved him to be who is at once God and man. Thou hast called us to be new creatures, that by the privilege of our union with thee we might throw off the depravity which we had inherited from our father, and in thee to receive new life and strength, that as we have borne the image of the old and sinful man, so we may recover the resemblance of the new and innocent man. As for me, enamoured of my old nature, and satisfied with my former lusts, as if I did well in pursuing them, I deemed it sufficient to believe that thou wast innocent; I was desirous of remaining guilty, not considering that by this conduct I both ruined my own soul, and egregiously outraged thy goodness by rejecting and forsaking thee, even when thou wast come to seek and to save me. * * * * But notwithstanding all this, thy mercy is so powerful that it draws me unto thee; for if thy hatred against sin has been manifested in divers ways, much more have the workings of thy mercy appeared in the salvation of men. To punish sinners thou hadst only to issue a command; but, Lord, to save them from destruction, thou hadst to lay down thy life; this cost thee thine own blood shed upon the cross, even by the hands of those for whom thou didst offer it. In executing justice, thou hast acted as God; but to display thy marvellous mercy thou hast become man, assuming our infirmities, enduring disgrace and death, that we may be assured of the pardon of our sins. Lord, since it pleases thee that I should not perish, I come unto thee like the prodigal son, desiring to share that kind treatment which all who dwell in thy house receive, having found to my bitter experience that all those for whom I forsook thee are mine enemies. Although the recollection of my sins accuses me bitterly, and I am sorely amazed at the sight of thy throne, yet I cannot but assure myself that thou wilt pardon and bless me, and that thou wilt not banish me for ever from thy presence. Lord, hast not thou said and sworn, that thou hast no pleasure in the death of the sinner, and that thou delightest not in the destruction of men? Hast not thou said, that thou art not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance, not to cure the whole but them that are sick? Wast not thou chastised for the iniquity of others? Has not thy blood sufficient virtue to wash out the sins of all the human race? Are not thy treasures more able to enrich me, than all the debt of Adam to impoverish me? Lord, although I had been the only person alive, or the only sinner in the world, thou wouldst not have failed to die for me. O my Saviour, I would say, and say it with truth, that I, individually, stand in need of those blessings which thou hast given to all.
What though the guilt of all had been mine, thy death is all mine. Even though I had committed all the sins of all, yet would I continue to trust in thee, and to assure myself that thy sacrifice and pardon is all mine, though it belong to all. Lord, thou wilt show this day who thou art. Here is a work by which thou mayest glorify thyself before the Father and before the host of heaven, even more than by the work of creation. Since thou art a physician, and such a physician, here are wounds which none but thyself is able to heal, inflicted on me by thy enemies and mine. Since thou art the health, and the life, and the salvation, sent from our Father in heaven, look upon my desperate maladies which no earthly physician can cure. Since thou art a Saviour, here is a ruin, by the repairing of which, thou wilt cause both enemies and friends to acknowledge thy hand and power. * * * * * Formerly I was amazed at the wickedness of those that crucified thee. So blind was I, that I did not perceive myself among the foremost of that band.
Had I attended to the treacheries of my heart and the scandals of my wicked works, in contempt of thy judgment, commandments, and mercy, I must have recognized myself. Yes; I held in my hands the crown of thorns for thy head, the nails to affix thee to the cross, the gall and vinegar to give thee to drink. The indifference with which I treated thy sufferings for me was all these. To have gone farther would have been to put myself beyond the reach of the remedy. But the horror of thy punishment, and the anger of the Father against those who despise thee, impose silence on me, and force me to confess, that truly thou art the Son of God. It is enough that I am the robber and malefactor sought out by thee. It is time to cry for a cure. Lord, remember me now that thou art come to thy kingdom. Having nothing to allege for my justification but an acknowledgment that I am unrighteous, destitute of every thing to move thy compassion but the greatness of my misery, unable to urge any other reason why thou shouldst cure me, but that my case is hopeless from every other hand, for my part I have no other sacrifice than my afflicted spirit and broken heart; and this I would not yet have had, if thou hadst not awakened me to the knowledge of my danger. The sacrifice which I need is that of thy blood and righteousness. * * * Abide with me for my preservation; for the flesh grumbles and resists, the devil will redouble his assaults the nearer I approach thee, and the world is full of gins and snares to entrap me. But such art thou, Lord, and so carefully dost thou watch over my salvation, that I am assured thou wilt never forsake me, and that thou wilt so guard and secure me, that I shall not be permitted to ruin myself.
LETTER FROM FRANCISCO FARIAS AND NICOLAS MOLINO TO GRINDAL, BISHOP OF LONDON.* Most humane and illustrious Bishop,—the request which we have now humbly to present to you is, that you would give us your advice upon an affair of importance, as our father and faithful pastor. We understand, and have ascertained upon the best grounds, that a person inimical to the gospel, who for certain reasons had fled from Spain, has, with the view of regaining the favour of the Spanish monarch, fabricated a calumnious story, and has been communicating with the ambassador from Spain, and the governess of Flanders. The object of this calumny is, that we two, Spaniards, who have been these eight years exiles in this country for the word of God, should be delivered up and carried back to Spain. Their plan is as follows: that the king of Spain should be advertised to require the Spanish Inquisitors to draw information against us of heinous crimes, to which they should add another information against a Spaniard of infamous character, who has fled from Flanders for robbery and other crimes, and is now living here; that along with these advices, King Philip shall write to the queen, requesting these criminals to be delivered up to his ambassador, with the view of their being sent to Spain; and that the name of the notorious malefactor from Flanders shall be placed first in the list, that so no one may doubt that we are chargeable with as great or even greater crimes.
As to the informations which may be brought hither, we call God to witness, for whose name we suffer exile, that nothing can be laid to our charge which, if true, does not entitle us to praise rather than blame. But knowing that, on account of our religion, we have incurred the great odium of the Spanish Inquisition, and that, from the time we left Spain till the present time, it had expended above six thousand crowns in attempts to discover us and our fellow-exiles, we have no doubt that the Inquisitors will find as many false witnesses as they please, and thus be able to fix upon us whatever crimes they wish. Now, supposing that such informations should be presented to her Majesty the queen, along with letters from King Philip, desiring that we should be delivered up, we desire to know whether or not we shall be exposed to danger. If we should, it is our intention to remove to some other country where such a calumny will not be listened to. On this account, most pious Bishop, we request your advice as speedily as possible, in order that we may provide for our safety in time; for Judas will not sleep till he has betrayed us, and perhaps the informations are already upon the road. Besides, one of our wives is pregnant, and will not be able to bear the fatigues of the journey, if it be delayed much longer. You will see then that delay may be the means of our being delivered up, and taken to a place where we shall suffer the most inhuman tortures. If Providence has assigned this lot to us, we will adore him, and pray that he would confirm us in his faith, and so strengthen us that we may be enabled, for the glory of his name, to remain firm to the end.
NO. SPECIMENS OF EARLY SPANISH TRANSLATIONS OF THE SCRIPTURES.
The fragment of the Translation of the Bible by Bonifacio Ferrer, printed in 1478, but composed about the beginning of the 15th century, is extremely curious, as indicating the state of the Spanish language of that early period.
As a specimen of it I shall give the last chapter of the book of Revelation, as reprinted in the Biblioteca Espanola of Rodriguez de Castro. To this I add, for the purpose of comparison, the same chapter in the version of the New Testament by Francisco de Enzinas, taken from the original work, printed in 1543.
Mostra a mi vn riu de aygua viua resplandentaxi com crestall proceint de la seilla de deu [e] del anyell. En lo mig de la plaza de ella: e de la una parte e altra del riu lo fust de vida por tant dotze fruyts: per cascus mesos reten sô fruyt: e les fulles del fust a sanitat de les gêts. E res maleyt no sera pus: e la seilla de deu e del anyel seran en aquella: e los seruents de ell suiran a aquell: e veuran la faç de ell: e lo nom de ell scrit en los fronts de ells. E nit pus no sera: e no hauran fretura de lum de candela ne d’lum de sol: car lo senyor deu illuminara aqlls: e regnaran en los setgles dels setgles. E dix a mi: aquestes paules fidelissimes son e verdaderes. E lo senyor deu dels spirits dels prophetes ha trames lo angel seu mostrar als seruêts seus les coses: que côue tost esser fetes. E veus que vinch iuaçosament.
Benauenturat es lo qui guarda les paules de lu [sic] pphecia d’aquest libre.
E yo ioan qui oi e viu aquestes coses. E puix que les hagui oides e vistes: caygui perqueado res dauant los peus del angel: mas: El que es sucio, ensuciese mas. Y el que es justo, sea justificado mas. Y el sancto sea sanctificado mas. Y veis aqui, yo bengo presto. Y mi galardon esta comigo, para dar a cada vno, como sera su obra. Yo soi, Alpha y O, el primero y el postrero, el principio y el fin.
Bien auenturados son los que hazen sus mandamientos, para que so potencia sea en el arbor de la vida, y que entren por las puertas en las cibdad. Pero los perros serran defuera, y los hecizeros, las rameras y los homicidas, jdolatras, y cada vno que ama, y haze mendauid: stela resplandent e matutina. E lo spos e la sposa di en: vine. E lo qui ou: diga vine. E qui ha set vinga. E qui vol prenda de grat aygua de vida. Car fac testimonia tot oint les paraules de la prophecia de aquest libre. Si algo haura aiustat aquestes: aiustara den sobre aqll les plagues que son scrites en aquest libre: e si algu haura diminuit de les paraules de la prophecia de aquest libre: tolra deu la part de ell dl libre d vida e de la ciutat sancta: e de aquestes coses que son scrites en aquest libre. Diu ho lo qui testimonia dona de aquestes coses. Encara Uinch tots: amen. Uine senyor iesus. La gracia del senyor nostre iesucrist sia ab tots vosaltres Amen.
Tira. Yo Iesus he embiado mi Angel, para daros testimonio de estas cosas en las yglesias. Yo soi la raiz y el genero de Dauid, la estrella resplandesciente y de la manana: Y el espirito y la esposa dizen: Ben. Y el q lo oy, diga: Ben. Y el que tiene sed: benga. Y el que quiere, tome del agua de la vida debalde.
Pues yo protesto a cada vno que oy las palabras de la prophecia de este lobro: si alguno anadiere el las plagas escrites en este libro. Y si alguno disminuyere de las palabras del libro de esta prophecia, Dios quitara su parte del libro de la vida, y de la sana cibdad, y de las cosas que esta escritas en este libro. El que da testimonio de estas cosas, dize: Cierto, yo bengo en breve. Ame. Tanbien, Ven senor Jesus. La gracia de nuestro Senor Iesu Christo sea con todos vosotros. Amen.