Jermin on Ecclesiastes.

By Michael Jermin

Printed: 1639

Publisher: John Clark. London

Dimensions 19 × 30 × 4 cm

Language: English

Size (cminches): 19 x 30 x 4

Condition: Very good  (See explanation of ratings)


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Leather binding with raised banding and gilt title on the spine. Cambridge pattern design on the boards.

  • F.B.A. provides an in-depth photographic presentation of this item to stimulate your feeling and touch. More traditional book descriptions are immediately available.                   

An original and very rare copy which has its known twins housed at the British Library and Bodleian Library. Similar items of theological and historic interest are found with F.B.A.’s Geneva Bible at:

And with F.B.A.’s Queen Mary’s New Testament at:

Also with F.B.A.’s John Milton’s (Paradise Regained etc)

‘A commentary, upon the whole booke of Ecclesiastes or The preacher Wherein the originall Hebrew text is carefully examined, our owne English translation and others are duely viewed and compared, in which also the literall sense is chiefly considered, other senses as usefull are not omitted. The exposition of the ancient fathers, and other ancient and classicall authours being diligently observed: the whole is also illustrated with frequent passages and sentences taken out of them. By Michael Jermin, Dr. in Divinitie, and Rect. of St. Martins Lud-gate. London.

Jermin, Michael, 1590 or 91-1659.

London: Printed by Ric. Hodgkinsonne, for John Clark, and are to be sold at his shop under Saint Peters Church in Corne-hill, 1639.’

Ecclesiastes, Hebrew Qohelet, (Preacher), an Old Testament book of wisdom literature that belongs to the third section of the biblical canon, known as the Ketuvim (Writings). In the Hebrew Bible, Ecclesiastes stands between the Song of Solomon and Lamentations and with them belongs to the Megillot, five scrolls that are read at various festivals of the Jewish religious year. The common Christian English translations follow the Septuagint in placing Ecclesiastes between Proverbs and the Song of Solomon, an order reflecting the old tradition that Solomon wrote all three.

The actual author of Ecclesiastes is unknown, but the superscription (1:1) attributes the book to qohelet (commonly translated “preacher,” Greek ekklēsiastēs), who is identified as “the son of David, king in Jerusalem.” Though these words can only refer to Solomon (fl. mid-10th century BC), the frequency of Aramaic forms and the book’s rationalistic contents date it sometime about the second half of the 3rd century BC.

The book reflects the ideas of one who questioned the doctrine of retributive justice associated with wisdom theology. His observations on life convinced him that “the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to the men of skill; but time and chance happen to them all” (9:11). Man’s fate, the author maintains, does not depend on righteous or wicked conduct but is an inscrutable mystery that remains hidden in God (9:1). All attempts to penetrate this mystery and thereby gain the wisdom necessary to secure one’s fate are “vanity,” or futile. In the face of such uncertainty, the author’s counsel is to enjoy the good things that God provides while one has them to enjoy.


                   Interior of the British Library, with the smoked glass wall of the King’s Library in the background.

The British Library is a research library in London that is the national library of the United Kingdom. It is one of the two largest libraries in the world, along with the Library of Congress. It is estimated to contain between 170 and 200 million items from many countries. As a legal deposit library, the British Library receives copies of all books produced in the United Kingdom and Ireland, including a significant proportion of overseas titles distributed in the UK. The Library is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.


                                              The Library seen from Radcliffe Square

The Bodleian Library is the main research library of the University of Oxford, and is one of the oldest libraries in Europe. It derives its name from its founder, Sir Thomas Bodley. With over 13 million printed items, it is the second-largest library in Britain after the British Library. Under the Legal Deposit Libraries Act 2003, it is one of six legal deposit libraries for works published in the United Kingdom, and under Irish law it is entitled to request a copy of each book published in the Republic of Ireland. Known to Oxford scholars as “Bodley” or “the Bod”, it operates principally as a reference library and, in general, documents may not be removed from the reading rooms.

JERMIN or GERMAN, MICHAEL (1591–1659), divine, born in 1591 at Knows, Devonshire, was the son of Alexander Jermin, merchant and sheriff of Exeter, of which place his grandfather was twice mayor. He matriculated at the age of fifteen at Exeter College, Oxford, 20 June 1606, was elected a scholar of Corpus Christi College 23 Sept. 1608, and a probationer fellow 25 April 1615, graduating B.A. 12 Oct. 1611 and M.A. 24 Jan. 1615. On leaving Oxford he went abroad as chaplain to Princess Elizabeth, Electress Palatine, and proceeded D.D. at Leyden. He was again in England by 1624; on 27 July graduated D.D. at Oxford, and was made chaplain to Charles I in the same year. In 1628 he became rector of St. Martin’s, Ludgate, suffered much for the royal cause when the civil war broke out, and was ejected from his living in favour of Thomas Jacombe. His property was taken from him, and he was obliged to live on the charity of fellow-royalists. He retired about 1652 to his son-in-law’s house at Kemsly, near Sevenoaks, and died suddenly, 14 Aug. 1659, while returning from preaching at Sevenoaks. He was buried north of the altar at Kemsly, where a marble monument was raised over his grave. Wood describes him as a pious and laborious man. He published: 1. ‘Paraphrastical Meditations by way of Commentary on Proverbs,’ dedicated to Charles I, London, 1638, fol. Bodl. and British Museum. 2. ‘Commentary on Ecclesiastes,’ &c., dedicated to the Electress Elizabeth, London, 1639, fol. Bodl. and British Museum. 3. ‘The Father’s Instructions to his Child,’ London, 1658, 8vo. Wood also assigns to him the ‘Exemplary Life and Death of Mr. Jourdaine,’ 4to, probably the Ignatius Jourdain, a life of whom was also written by Ferdinand Nicolls, 1653.


          Portrait of Elizabeth by the Workshop

         of Michiel Jansz. van Mierevelt, c. 1623

Elizabeth Stuart (19 August 1596 – 13 February 1662) was Electress of the Palatinate and briefly Queen of Bohemia as the wife of Frederick V of the Palatinate. The couple’s selection for the crown by the nobles of Bohemia was part of the political and religious turmoil setting off the Thirty Years’ War. Since her husband’s reign in Bohemia lasted over one winter, she is called the Winter Queen.

Princess Elizabeth was the only surviving daughter of James VI and I, King of Scotland, England, and Ireland, and his queen, Anne of Denmark, and she was the elder sister of Charles I. Born in Scotland, she was named in honour of her father’s predecessor and cousin in England, Elizabeth I. During Elizabeth Stuart’s childhood, unbeknownst to her, part of the failed Gunpowder Plot was a scheme to replace her father with her on the throne, and forcibly raise her as a Catholic.

Her father later arranged for her marriage to the Protestant Frederick V, a senior prince of the Holy Roman Empire. They were married in the Chapel Royal in the Palace of Whitehall, and then left for his lands in Germany. Their marriage proved successful, but after they left Bohemia they spent years in exile in The Hague, while the Thirty Years’ War continued. In her widowhood, she eventually returned to England, at the end of her own life, during the Stuart Restoration of her nephew, and is buried in Westminster Abbey.

With the demise of Elizabeth’s great niece, Anne, Queen of Great Britain, the last Stuart monarch in 1714, Elizabeth’s grandson by her daughter Sophia of Hanover succeeded to the British throne as George I, initiating the House of Hanover.

Part of the intent of the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 was to assassinate Elizabeth’s father King James and the Protestant aristocracy, kidnap the nine-year-old Elizabeth from Coombe Abbey, and place her on the throne of England – and presumably the thrones of Ireland and Scotland – as a Catholic monarch. The conspirators chose Elizabeth after considering the other available options. Prince Henry, it was believed, would perish alongside his father. Charles was seen as too feeble (having only just learnt to walk) and Mary too young. Elizabeth, on the other hand, had already attended formal functions, and the conspirators knew that “she could fulfil a ceremonial role despite her comparative youth”.

The conspirators aimed to cause an uprising in the Midlands to coincide with the explosion in London and at this point secure Elizabeth’s accession as a puppet queen. She would then be brought up as a Catholic and later married to a Catholic bridegroom. The plot failed when the conspirators were betrayed, and Guy Fawkes was caught by the King’s soldiers before he was able to ignite the powder.

Elizabeth was given a comprehensive education for a princess at that time. This education included instruction in natural history, geography, theology, languages, writing, music, and dancing. She was denied instruction in the classics as her father believed that “Latin had the unfortunate effect of making women more cunning”. By the age of 12, Elizabeth was fluent in several languages, including French, “which she spoke with ease and grace” and would later use to converse with her husband. She was also an excellent rider, had a thorough understanding of the Protestant religion, and had an aptitude for writing letters that “sounded sincere and never stilted”. She also was extremely literary, and “several mementoes of her early love of books exist”.

The wedding of Elizabeth Stuart (1596–1662), daughter of James VI and I, and Frederick V of the Palatinate (1596–1632) was celebrated in London in February 1613. There were fireworks, masques (small, choreography-based plays), tournaments, and a mock-sea battle or naumachia. Preparations involved the construction of a “Marriage room”, a hall adjacent to the 1607 Banqueting House at Whitehall Palace. The events were described in various contemporary pamphlets and letters.

When Elizabeth received the news of Frederick’s death, she became senseless with grief and for three days did not eat, drink, or sleep. When Charles I heard of Elizabeth’s state, he invited her to return to England, but she refused. The rights of her son and Frederick’s heir Charles Louis “remained to be fought for”. Elizabeth then fought for her son’s rights, but she remained in The Hague even after he regained the Electorate of the Palatinate in 1648. She became a patron of the arts, and commissioned a larger family portrait to honour herself and her husband, to complement the impressive large seascape of her 1613 joyous entry to the Netherlands. Her memorial family portrait of 1636 was outdone by Amalia van Solms, who commissioned the Oranjezaal after the death of her husband Frederick Henry in 1648–1651. Elizabeth filled her time with copious letter writing and making marriage matches for her children. Between Frederick’s death in 1632 and her own 30 years later, she witnessed the deaths of four more of her ten surviving children: Gustavus in 1641, Philip in 1650, Henriette Marie in 1651, and Maurice in 1652. Her brother Charles I, King of England was executed in early 1649, and the surviving Stuart family was exiled during the years of the Commonwealth. The relationships with her remaining living children also became somewhat estranged, although she did spend time with her growing number of grandchildren. She began to pay the price for having been “a distant mother to most of her own children”, and the idea of going to England now was uppermost in her thoughts.

In 1660, the Stuarts were restored to the thrones of England, Scotland and Ireland in the person of Elizabeth’s nephew Charles II. Elizabeth arrived in England on 26 May 1661. By July, she was no longer planning on returning to The Hague and made plans for the remainder of her furniture, clothing, and other property to be sent to her. She then proceeded to move to Drury House, where she established a small, but impressive and welcoming, household. On 29 January 1662 she made another move, to Leicester House, Westminster, but by this time she was quite ill. Elizabeth caught pneumonia, bled from her lungs on 10 February 1662 and died soon after midnight on 13 February.

Her death caused little public stir as by then her “chief, if not only, claim to fame was as the mother of Rupert of the Rhine, the legendary Cavalier general”. On the evening of 17 February, when her coffin (into which her remains had been placed the previous day) left Somerset House, Rupert was the only one of her sons to follow the funeral procession to Westminster Abbey.  There in the chapel of Henry VII, “a survivor of an earlier age, isolated and without a country she could really call her own”, she was laid to rest among her ancestors and close to her beloved elder brother, Henry, Prince of Wales.

Under the English Act of Settlement 1701, the succession to the English and Scottish crowns (later British crown) was settled on Elizabeth’s youngest daughter Sophia of Hanover and her issue. In August 1714, Sophia’s son (Elizabeth’s grandson) George I ascended to the throne, with the future Royal family all his descendants and hence, also descendants of Elizabeth.

The Elizabeth River in colonial Southeastern Virginia was named in honour of the princess, as was Cape Elizabeth, a peninsula, and today a town in the United States in the state of Maine. John Smith explored and mapped New England and gave names to places mainly based on the names used by Native Americans. When Smith presented his map to Charles I, he suggested that the king should feel free to change the “barbarous names” for “English” ones. The king made many such changes, but only four survive today, one of which is Cape Elizabeth.

According to legend, William Craven, 1st Earl of Craven, built Ashdown House in Berkshire, England, in honour of Elizabeth, although she died before the house was completed.

Condition notes

Hinges cracked

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