Letters to the Editor

In the year 1525, William Tyndale with his helper William Roye began to publish his first New Testament in Cologne. Using the same printing press was John Dobneck, otherwise known as Cochlaeus, an enemy of the Reformation. Obtaining the information from the printers about the New Testament, Cochlaeus informed the authorities but before action was taken, Tyndale and Roye fled by ship up the Rhine taking their work with them. Tyndale’s next attempt to publish was in the city of Worms where the New Testament was published in 1526. This edition was a much simpler and plainer type of work. The long introduction was omitted also all the marginal notes and comments. However, Tyndale added a short Prologue at the end of the New Testament. In his biography of Tyndale, on page 145, David Daniell introduces this prologue, mentioning some of the problems Tyndale had to overcome in pioneering the New Testament in English, continuing also on to page 146. On page 147, he gives the first paragraph of the prologue and on page 148 comments favourably on the contents. Summing up the Prologue, David Daniell writes: ‘These one and a half pages makes a miniature instruction manual for reading the New Testament.’ Tyndale’s concern was not only in translating the New Testament into English, but also that his readers would understand its pages and also come to live by its precepts. Hence the numerous prologues and marginal comments in many of his writings. Here in the first part of this prologue, Tyndale gives a brief, clear and direct summary of the way in which Mr and Mrs Everyman may enter into all the riches and treasures of the grace of God; may come to ‘know the holy scriptures which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.’ 2 Timothy 3.15, A.V.

To the Reader
Give diligence, reader, I exhort you, that you come with a pure mind, and as the scripture says, with a single eye, unto the words of health and of eternal life; by which , if we repent and believe them, we are born anew, created afresh, and enjoy the fruits of the blood of Christ; which blood cries not for vengeance, as the blood of Abel, but has purchased life, love, favour, grace, blessing, and whatsoever is promised in the scriptures to them that believe and obey God; and stands between us and wrath, vengeance, curse, and whatsoever the scriptures threaten against the unbelievers and disobedient who resist and consent not in their hearts to the law of God, that is is right, holy, just and ought so to be.
Mark the plain and manifest places of the scriptures, and in doubtful places see you add no interpretations contrary to them; but as Paul says, let all be conformable and agreeing to the faith.
Note the diligence between the law and the gospel. The one asks and requires, the other pardons and forgives. The one threatens, the other promises all good things to those who set their trust in Christ only. The gospel signifies glad tidings, and is nothing but the promises of good things. All is not gospel that is written in the gospel book; for if the law were not there, you could not know what the gospel meant; even as you could not see pardon and grace, except the law rebuked you, and declared unto you your sin, misdeeds and trespasses.
Repent and believe the gospel as saith Christ in the first of Mark. Apply always the laws to your deeds, whether you find willingness in the bottom of your heart towards the law; and so shall you no doubt repent and feel in yourself a certain sorrow, grief, and pain in your heart because you cannot with full desire do the deeds of the law. Apply the gospel, that is to say the promises to the deserving of Christ and to the mercy of God and his truth, and so shall you not despair; but shall feel God to be a kind and merciful Father. And his spirit shall dwell in you, and shall be strong in you, and the promises of God shall be given you, though not immediately, lest you should forget, and be negligent; and all the threatenings shall be forgiven you for Christ’s blodd’s sake, to whom commit yourself altogether, without respect either of your good deeds or of your bad.
The grace that comes from Christ be with them that love him. Amen.

Alan Clark

The following was a question that I posed to Dr. David Daniell recently. He suggested that I submit the question to you and your readership.

I noticed when in London recently that the statue of Tyndale on the Victoria Embankment has him pointing to a point on a bible page. Is there a specific verse or chapter that he is pointing to?
My interest in the statue was generated by Dr. Kenneth Connolly, historian and Bible scholar, and by a great short biography in the works of F.W. Boreham. Boreham in his book A Temple of Topaz contends that William Tyndale’s Life Text was the same as that of William Law. Law’s text was ‘We love him because he first loved us’ and this was the text also found on the dining room wall of Sodbury Manor when Henry Walsh, his one time student, heard the news of Tyndale’s murder. I was interested in any possible connection.
If you or your readership can be of assistance I would greatly appreciate the help.

Ron Bates

‘I Spy Tyndale’
from Metro, 26 October 1999.
What is it?
A bronze statue of the reformer William Tyndale (1484–1536).
Where is it?
Victoria Embankment Gardens, London WC2.
Who made it?
Sir Joseph Edgar Boehm.
What’s the story?

This statue of the 16th century reformer and translator of the New Testament was erected in 1884. It shows his right hand on an open Bible, which is resting on an early printing press. Tyndale was one of the most learned men of his age. Due to persecution in England he complated his controversial translation of the Bible in Hamburg and Cologne in Germany and began printing it there in 1525. He was soon forced to flee and was seized in Antwerp by Hewry VIII’s agents and martyred by strangling and burning. His last words were: ‘Lord, open the King of England’s eyes.’ Within a year of his death a Bible was placed in every parish church at the King’s command.

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