Lancelot Andrewes oversaw the translation of the King James Version of the Bible and was extremely influential in the academic and religious life of the United Kingdom. In the Victorian era, interest in Andrewes was revived by the translation of his private devotions into English. Christy Wilson’s biography of Samuel Zwemer contains a passage about the role Andrewes’ writings played in the life of the pioneer missionary:
Together with the Bible, Zwemer himself used The Private Devotions of Lancelot Andrewes. While at Bombay he secured in 1905 a copy edited by Alexander Whyte [the 2nd ed. is linked below]. This was used over the course of many years and as the cover wore out was rebound again and again. Andrewes was the Court Chaplain of James I of England and one of the translators of the King James Version of the Bible. His devotions were written for his private use and not intended for publication. … Scarcely anything aside from the Psalms can offer such depths of confession and sorrow for sin as revealed in these pages. As Zwemer remarked, “Andrewes goes deep. …”J. Christy Wilson, Apostle to Islam: A Biography of Samuel M. Zwemer. Pioneer Library, 2017, p. 304–305
On the pages of this devotional book are dates and entries and brief references which record the deepest spiritual experiences of the world traveler and missionary to Muslims. Sometimes the notes are in English, then again portions are in Arabic. They record the prayers and tears of a broken heart as well as the record of spiritual triumphs in widely separated times and parts of the globe. The markings on the pages also show how intently the mind and heart of the worshipper had entered into the very soul of the devotional passages as he prayed.
Andrewes has a few other works—they’re listed here—but several have only been printed in Latin, and none of them are devotional or homiletical. The following, though, may be of some use today in following Christ. It is exciting to uncover such a trove of devotions and preaching by one of the masterminds of the King James Version.
Private Devotions (or ‘Preces Privatae’; first published in 1648; from mss. in Greek and Latin)
Ninety-Six Sermons (1629; reprinted 1841–1843)
(Sermons of the Nativity, Preached upon Christmas-Day (1–17); Sermons of Repentance and Fasting, Preached on Ash-Wednesday (1–8))
(Sermons Preached in Lent (1–6); Sermons Preached upon Good-Friday (1–3); Sermons of the Resurrection, Preached on Easter-Sunday (1–13))
(Sermons of the Resurrection, Preached on Easter-Sunday (14–18); Sermons of the Sending of the Holy Ghost, Preached on Whit-Sunday (1–15))
(Sermons of the Conspiracy of the Gowries, Preached on the Fifth of August (1–8); Sermons of the Gunpowder Treason, Preached upon the Fifth of November (1–10))
(Certain Sermons Preached at Sundry Times, upon Several Occasions (1–12); A Funeral Sermon; Nineteen Sermons upon Prayer in General, and the Lord’s Prayer in Particular (1–19); Seven Sermons upon the Temptation of Christ in the Wilderness (1–7))
The Morall Law Expounded (1630; reprinted in 1642)
(Lectures on the Ten Commandments)
ΑΠΟΣΠΑΣΜΑΤΙΑ Sacra (1657)
(Lectures on Genesis 1–4; Lectures Preached upon Several Choice Texts, Both out of the Old and New Testament)