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Expressing the First Original, How They Came Up and Were Institute, With the True and Most Sincere Meaning and Understanding of the Same.
VERY NECESSARY FOR ALL MEN, THAT WILL NOT ERR IN THE TRUE USE AND MEANING THEREOF.
Compiled by the Godly Learned Man, WILLIAM TYNDALE.
THE copies of this treatise collated for the present reprint have been that in Day’s folio edition of Barnes, Tyndale, and Frith, dated 1573; and a 12-mo edition of this treatise only, entitled as on the preceding page, and said to be “Imprinted at London by Robert Stoughton, dwellyng within Ludgate, at the sygne of the bishoppes miter.” This edition has no date, but R.
No date appears to have been assigned to the composition of this treatise; but it is placed, in Day, as the last of those there said to be “imprinted according to his [Tyndale’s] first copies, which he himself set forth.” On the other hand we find Tyndale, in a letter which he wrote to Frith soon after Christmas 1532, requesting him to “meddle as little as he could with the question of the presence of Christ’s body in the sacrament,” that the difference between them and the Lutherans might not give offense; and adding, that he had stopped Joye from publishing a treatise on that topic.
And though Frith’s imprisonment induced Tyndale to publish ‘a short and pithy treatise,’ defending his friend’s views on this very subject, in April 1533, he chose to do it anonymously. The present treatise, therefore, could not have been published till a later date than the one just mentioned. But, besides this, if Stoughton has reprinted an earlier edition, and has not done it with extraordinary carelessness, the incorrectness of some of the imitations of Hebrew words in English letters is so glaring, (that of Mahond Dane for example,) that it can only be accounted for by supposing that Tyndale had no opportunity of revising the printer’s work; who, where Tyndale’s letters were not distinct, could only conjecture what they were intended for. When this is considered, and also the great obscurity in the composition of some of its paragraphs, the reader will perhaps think that Stoughton has described it more correctly as compiled , than Day as set forth , by Tyndale; whose MS. may have been in the hands of some friend, at the time of his imprisonment or martyrdom, and may thus have been printed without his revising care.