“TO THE MOST HIGH AND MIGHTY PRINCE JAMES, [BY THE GRACE OF GOD,] KING OF GREAT BRITAIN, FRANCE, AND IRELAND, DEFENDER OF THE FAITH, &c.
“GREAT and manifold were the blessings, most dread Sovereign, which Almighty God, the Father of all mercies, bestowed upon us the people of [England], when first he sent Your Majesty's Royal Person to rule and reign over us. For whereas it was the expectation of many, who wished not well unto our [Sion], that upon the setting of that bright [Occidental Star], Queen [Elizabeth] of most happy memory, some thick and palpable clouds of darkness would so have overshadowed this Land, that men should have been in doubt which way they were to walk…”
This is political talk. Born again believers do not speak of darkness over a land because of a monarch’s presence or absence. The light was clearly visible to the apostles who gave us the New Testament, though they lived under the scourge of Roman dictators.
“the appearance of Your Majesty, as of the [Sun] in his strength, instantly dispelled those supposed and surmised mists…”
“But among all our joys, there was no one that more filled our hearts, than the blessed continuance of the preaching of God's sacred Word among us; which is that inestimable treasure, which excelleth all the riches of earth; because the fruit thereof extendeth itself, not only to the time spent in this transitory world, but directeth and disposeth men unto that eternal happiness which is above in heaven.”
Thankfully, James restored the Scriptures and Protestant thinking and life to the realm after the bloody rule of his mother.
“…to go forward with the confidence and resolution of a Man in maintaining the truth of Christ, and propagating it far and near, is that which hath so bound and firmly knit the hearts of all Your Majesty's loyal and religious people unto You, that Your very name is precious among them: their eye doth behold You with comfort, and they bless You in their hearts, as that sanctified Person, who, under God, is the immediate Author of their true happiness.”
James is the Author of their happiness?
“And this their contentment doth not diminish or decay, but every day increaseth and taketh strength, when they observe, that the zeal of Your Majesty toward the house of God doth not slack or go backward, but is more and more kindled, manifesting itself abroad in the farthest parts of [Christendom], by writing in defence of the Truth, (which hath given such a blow unto that man of Sin, as will not be healed,) and every day at home, by religious and learned discourse, by frequenting the house of God, by hearing the Word preached, by cherishing the Teachers thereof, by caring for the Church, as a most tender and loving nursing Father.
“There are infinite arguments of this right Christian and religious affection in Your Majesty; but none is more forcible to declare it to others than the vehement and perpetuated desire of accomplishing and publishing of this work, which now with all humility we present unto Your Majesty… [the KJV]…
“For when Your Highness had once out of deep judgment apprehended how convenient it was, that out of the Original Sacred Tongues, together with comparing of the labours, both in our own, and other foreign Languages, of many worthy men who went before us, there should be one more exact Translation of the holy Scriptures into the [English Tongue]…”
Whether “one more” or “one, more exact” is meant, the insight is important.
The KJV translators believed they were revising the Scriptures that had been used in the English church up until then. They considered it a duty and an honor, and the king complied.
But since that day, other godly men have arisen who have seen the very same need, to bring an even more “exact” rendering of the Scriptural texts into the hands of the believers. For this, the KJVO cult derides them, ridicules them, even burns their efforts in fires of hate.
A man I know has dumped non-KJV versions into the garbage!
There were those who fought the revision, for KJV was merely a revision, to be sure. They eventually stopped complaining and died out.
So it will be in the present controversy.
“…we hold it our duty to offer it to Your Majesty, not only as to our King and Sovereign, but as to the principal Mover and Author of the work: humbly craving of Your most Sacred Majesty, that since things of this quality have ever been subject to the censures of ill-meaning and discontented persons…”
Indeed. As today. Censures on the NIV, the NASB, the ESV, even the NKJV have abounded. In some churches it is absolutely forbidden of the people to read from these “devil” translations!
“…it may receive approbation and patronage from so learned and judicious a Prince as Your Highness is…
“So that if, on the one side, we shall be traduced by Popish Persons at home or abroad, who therefore will malign us, because we are poor instruments to make God's holy Truth to be yet more and more known unto the people, whom they desire still to keep in ignorance and darkness; or if, on the other side, we shall be maligned by self-conceited Brethren, who run their own ways, and give liking unto nothing, but what is framed by themselves, and hammered on their anvil…”
I know some of these people. They still live among us.
“we may rest secure, supported within by the truth and innocency of a good conscience, … which will ever give countenance to honest and Christian endeavors against bitter censures and uncharitable imputations.”
Would that these men could have lived to the present time and seen how efforts, like their own, have been so maligned.