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Crewe Manuscripts
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‘The Glasse of Righteousnes’: an English translation of Den Spegel der Gherechticheit, by Hendrik Niclaes

See the table of contents below. On the spine is stamped ‘The Glasse of Righteousness by H. Nichol of the family of Love. M.S.S. Anno M. D. LXXX.’

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Contents

f. i r: Title: ‘The Glasse of Righteousnes. (Speculum Justitiae) Through the holy Spirit of the Love of Jesus Christ and the deified Man, out of the Heavenly truth witnessed and published. To a declareing the Headsumme of the Upright Righteousnes or Kingly crowne of the Everlasting life. And is by HN perused anew and playnely or Distinctly declared. Translated out of Base-almayne. … ANNO. M. D. LXXX.’

f. 1v: Print of a symbolic representation of the Last Judgement, headed, in Low German, ‘Nu geit idt Gerichte ŏuer de Werlt: nu wert de Fŏrste desser Werlt vth-geworpen. Joan. 12.’ (John xii. 31). [1590 x 1630.]
The illustration depicts, in the words of the British Museum catalogue, ‘an angel hovering above two large orbs; a devil and skeleton standing on the right orb as it is swallowed by a hell mouth [with a lamb in front]; at left the same orb upturned, crush-ing the devil, the lamb with the flag of the resurrection standing on top of the fallen skeleton’. The angel carries a label inscribed ‘Nu is idt Heil de Kraft, vnde idt Ryck vnserem Gode geworden vnde de Macht Synem Christo Apoc 12’ (Rev. xii. 10). The lambs are each labelled ‘De Wech de Waerheit vnde idt Leuen’ (‘The Way, the Truth, and the Life’); the devils are each labelled ‘Sunde’ (‘Sin’).
Cf. British Museum No. 1870,0514.311.

f. 5r: ‘The First Booke. of the Glasse of Righteousnes.’
At the foot of the page is the date 1578.

f. 77r: Print of a symbolic representation of God in Heaven, 1656.
Engraved by Richard Gaywood. The print depicts a sun with the tetragrammaton in the centre, surrounded by clouds and a heavenly host. At the head is the text ‘Ego primus et ego novissimus: alpha et omega Is. 44.48. Ap.1.21.22’, and round the sun is ‘Coronae assimilabo judicium meum. 4.Esd.5.’ This is an elaboration of the device which appears on the title-page of several of Niclaes’s books, e.g. The Prophetie of the Spirit of Love (1574).

f. 78r: ‘The Second Booke of the Glasse of Righteousnes.’

f. 201r: ‘The Third Booke of the Glasse of Righteousnes.’

f. 295r: ‘The Tree of Life | The Fourth Booke of the Glasse of Righteousnes.’

f. 403r: Print of a heart and other emblems, captioned with verses beginning ‘Our Heart is the Minde of God’, [17th c.].
Two hands clasped in greeting in front of a lily, within a heart surrounded by rays of light, clouds, and winged heads. Above the hands are the words ‘Love trueth’, and amidst the clouds are the tetragrammaton and the word ‘Emmanuel’. Below the illustration are the following verses: ‘Our Heart is the Minde of God most high. Our Beeing amiable, as the sweet Lillie. Our faitfullnes Love and Trueth upright, Is Gods Light. life, and Cleernes bright.’

Crewe Manuscripts

  • Crewe MS
  • Collectie
  • 16th-20th c.

The collection includes manuscripts in various European languages, dating from the sixteenth century to the twentieth. Most of them are, broadly speaking, of a literary, historical, or religious nature, but it is not easy to summarise the range of subjects they cover. They include, for instance, from the seventeenth century, notarial instruments in French relating to Charlotte de Beaune, an English translation of Den Spegel der Gherechticheit by Hendrik Niclaes of the so-called ‘Family of Love’, and a collection of English court poetry; from the eighteenth, papers on British trade, literary copyright, notorious criminals, and the French revolution; and from the nineteenth, a collection of papers and prints relating to the history of ballooning, items collected by Richard Burton on his travels, and a series of volumes recording the transactions of the Philobiblon Society.

Milnes, Richard Monckton (1809-1885), 1st Baron Houghton, author and politician

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