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Calvin's Commentaries, Vol. 13: Isaiah, Part I, tr. by John King, [1847-50], at

An Epigram upon the Translation


M. Calvin’s Commentary

upon the Prophecy of Isaiah.

Thrice happy (England) if thou knewest thy bliss,
Since Christ’s eternal Gospel in thee shined
Thou art. His beetle-blind that sees not this,
Brutishly ingrate that with a thankful mind
Doth not acknowledge Gods great Grace herein,
And learn thereby for to forsake his sin.

God’s word hath long in thee been soundly taught,
The sound thereof hath rung throughout the Land,
And many a Soul by Fishers net been caught,
Which erst lay thrall in Satan’s cruel band:
This favour great by none can be expressed,
But such as have it felt in their own breast.

Thy native sons in thine own bowels bred,
Like faithful Shepherds have done worthily,
And thee with store of heavenly Manna fed,
Forcing the Wolves to leave their cruelty,
To slink aside, and hide themselves in holes,
In caves and dells, like pur-blind Backs and Moles.

Tyndall, Frith, Philpot, father Latimer,
The Gospel preached by word, by life, by death:
Ivel, Fox, Reynolds, Fulk, and Whitaker
To second them have spent their vital breath.
In hot pursuit of that great Romish Bore,
Who spoiled quite this English vine before.

I spare to speak of Deerings silver voice,
Of Greenhams zeal, of Perkins labours sound,
Of hundreds more of Zion-builders choice,
The like whereof can scarce elsewhere be found:
Such ground-work they of Gods truth here have placed
As never shall by Hels whole force be razt.

Besides all these, of Sorrel Lights the chief,
Beza, and Vrinus, many other more,
Martyr, Musculus, for thy more relief
Are seen in English weed abroad to go
From place to place in every Shire and Torwne,
To teach the Truth and throw all Errors down.

And here presented is unto thy sight
The Royal Prophet Esaias Evangel:
For so me thinks I may it terme aright,
That Prince of holy Prophets doth so well,
So likely Christ’s whole history presage,
As if h’ had lived in that same very Age.

Whose Oracles great Calvin doth unfold
In thine own native Tongue for thy Souls health.
Here maist thou gather precious Stones and Gold,
And store up heaps of Heavenly lasting wealth;

Here maist thou find with very little Pain
Which would’st not lose for thousand Worlds again.
Here maist thou see the black-mouthed Atheists
Confounded quite by Demonstration clear;
The cunning Papist put unto his shifts,
And made in his right Colours to appear;
Here’s Christ, his Truth, and Life, thee set before,
Heavens Gates set open wide: what would’st thou more?

By Francnis Hering, Doctor in Physic.

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