The translators of the King James Version (1611) penned a lengthy preface to their work titled "The Translators to the Reader." Their principal concern was to respond to certain objections that they anticipated would be raised against their work. But what interests me are two delightful passages, one an encomium praising the Scriptures, and the other an explanation of why it is necessary to have the Scriptures translated out of the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek into the vulgar tongues of the nations. The two quotes are actually connected and form one continuous portion of the Preface. I'll give the first quote today and the second quote tomorrow.
The Praise of the Holy Scriptures
It is not only an armor, but also a whole armory of weapons, both offensive and defensive; whereby we may save ourselves and put the enemy to flight. It is not an herb, but a tree, or rather a whole paradise of trees of life, which bring forth fruit every month, and the fruit thereof is for meat, and the leaves for medicine. It is not a pot of Manna, or a cruse of oil, which were for memory only, or for a meal's meat or two, but as it were a shower of heavenly bread sufficient for a whole host, be it never so great; and as it were a whole cellar full of oil vessels; whereby all our necessities may be provided for, and our debts discharged. In a word, it is a Panary of wholesome food, against fenowed traditions; a Physician's shop (Saint Basil calleth it) of preservatives against poisoned heresies; a Pandect of profitable laws, against rebellious spirits; a treasury of most costly jewels, against beggarly rudiments; finally a fountain of most pure water springing up unto everlasting life. And what marvel? The original thereof being from heaven, not from earth; the author being God, not man; the inditer, the holy spirit, not the wit of the Apostles or Prophets; the Penmen such as were sanctified from the womb, and endued with a principal portion of God's spirit; the matter* -- verity, piety, purity, uprightness; the form -- God's word, God's testimony, God's oracles, the word of truth, the word of salvation, etc.; the effects -- light of understanding, stableness of persuasion, repentance from dead works, newness of life, holiness, peace, joy in the holy Ghost; lastly, the end and reward of the study thereof -- fellowship with the Saints, participation of the heavenly nature, fruition of an inheritance immortal, undefiled, and that never shall fade away: Happy is the man that delighteth in the Scripture, and thrice happy that meditateth in it day and night.
[*I have taken the liberty of changing commas to dashes after "the matter," "the form," "the effects," and "the end and reward of the study thereof." I believe this makes the sense clearer.]