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Soveraigne Lord, James King of Great Brittaine, etc.



His Highnesse most deare Sister; all honour and happinesse, with eternall glorie through Christ Jesus.

Most gracious and renowned Princes, having translated out of French into our English tongue the booke of the prophecie of Isaiah, interpreted and expounded by Master John Calvin, of reverend memory: I humblie crave that it may be published under your most Princely names and protection. The reason of this my humble petition is, that the honor of so noble a worke may not be imbased by the meanes of my endevours. This Prophet, by birth, was the sonne of Amos, esteemed by many to have been brother to Azarias King of Judah, and Father in law to King Manasses: which being so, this Prophet was by birth of the blood Royal, and descended of the house of David, which for the promise of Christ to come of him, was the most noble house of all the Kings of the earth. Being so borne, his education could not be but Princely, and his bringing up in all good learning, wisdome, vertue, and honor. His spirituall graces, not attained unto by ordinarie meanes, but inspired into him immediately by the Spirit of God, were excellent. This appeareth particularly in the sixth Chapter of this Prophecie, declaring that an Angell of God with a burning coale taken from the Lords Altar, and laide to the mouth of the Prophet, refined his lips and his tongue, that they became pure and precious as the finest Gold. The same is manifest in all the booke of his Prophecie; wherein both the light and the heate of that heavenly fire appeareth. For he not onely declared the will of God sincerely, according to the lawe and testimonie delivered to Moses, but also foreshewed the future events of the Kingdome of Judah, and of all the flourishing states and Kingdomes of his time.

He Prophecieth also of the birth of Jesus Christ, as if hee had been taught by the Angell Gabriel; who brought the annunciation and message of it to the blessed Virgin his mother. Of his passion and death he spake, as if with the Apostle John he had stoode by when he was crucified. His resurrection he described, as if with all the Apostles he had stoode upon Mount Olivet, where the Lord tooke the cloudie of glorie as his heavenly Chariot to ascend and goe up to his Father. His zeale and indignation against sinne is evident every where, in his sharp reproofes of the offences of all estates.

Finally, the book of his Prophecy beareth written in the head of it the names of foure Kings, in whose time he prophecied; and before whom as a vessell of golde he bare the name of God with great honour. All which things being royall, it seemed to me most convenient that his booke should still beare in the front of it the names of Princes. And as hee foreshewed that Kings should be Fosterfathers, and Queenes Nurces of the Church of Christ, so my desire was that his booke might be published under the names and protection of Christian Princes.

Moreover, I was led hereunto by the example of this Interpreter, whose exposition upon Isaiahs prophesie I translate; namelie, of M. John Calvin, a man in his time of excellent pietie and learning; and one of the great lights, whereby it hath pleased God both to chase away the errors of poperie, as the darkness of the shadow of death; and to cause his marvellous and comfortable light of the Gospell to shine unto this present age. For hee dedicated his first exposition of this booke to the young Prince, King Edward the sixth, of famous memorie, for the princelie graces, for the zealous love of true religion, and of al heroical vertues, wherewith in his young yeeres he raised an admirable expectation of future glorie, if his precious life had long continued. He was also most worthily renowned with highest glorie, for that gracious reformation in religion, which was established by his regal authority, and which our English Church at this day with great comfort doth enjoy, under the happie government of our Soveraigne Lord the King, your most noble and renowned Father.

Furthermore, the same Author setting out againe this Commentary, amplified and enlarged, he dedicated this second edition to our late most gracious Queene Elizabeth, worthie of eternall memorie in this Kingdome, for the reestablishing (after a few yeeres alteration) of the zealous reformation of her most vertuous brother. Which example hath led mee in most humble manner to seeke for the same worke, the high patronage and protection of such Princes, like those to whom hee presented this his service.

To whom I know none so like as your selves, both in regard of your high estate, and also in like most noble descent from the united houses of Yorke and Lancaster. Besides which resemblance, your Highnesse also is of like yeeres to the yong Prince King Edward, and in the eies of all the kingdome, of like hope of excellent vertue and zealous proceedings in the advancement of Christian religion.

In like manner your Grace resembleth the most gracious late Queene Elizabeth, both in her royall name, and also in the constant expectation of all men, to expresse in time all the princely vertues and graces that shined in that most renowned Princesse, from this Westerne part of the world, to the furthest East, and to the rising of the Sunne.

In which respects, esteeming such a dedication, most like that which my author made of his owne worke, I have most humblie craved that this my translation of it might bee vouchsafed the honour to have your Princelie names written in the beginning of it. For notwithstanding the great difference that is betweene a reverend learned writer and expounder of the holie Scriptures, and the translator of such an exposition, yet this meane service hath also his good use in the Church of God; and is of long and tedious labour to such as take paines therein; which being graciouslie accepted, may encourage others to travell in this kind, and cause many to give thankes to God for you both, by whose most princely favours and protection, they are made partakers of such worthie writings. And I shall alwaies pray Almightie God, with this new yeere, to multiply many more upon you, and dailie replenish your hearts with all princely and heroicall graces, that may enable and adorne Princes of so hie estates, amongst this people.

Your Highnesse, and Graces most humblie devoted, in all loyall and dutiful affection,

Clement Cotton

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