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work as perfect as is attainable through human industry.--He has endeavoured to incorporate every work of merit upon the subject, but although the present contains many thousand parallel and illustrative passages more than any other work in existence, he is too fully aware that it is very far from perfection. Of its imperfections no one can be more conscious than himself, and hence he will feel considerably indebted to any person who may favour bim with hints or materials for rendering a second edition, should it ever be called for, more worthy the patronage and support the present one has received.
The Editor solicits attention particularly to the arrangement of the parallels; which, from the additional labour and anxiety naturally arising in effecting it, will not, it is hoped, be considered as the least valuable part of the Work. By a strict attention to the literal meaning of the Sacred text, and by carefully ascertaining the different clauses of a verse, their disposition and connexion, and giving the parallels in their natural order, not only will the more immediate object of the work—the illustration of the Scriptures-be most effectually secured, but material assistance will be afforded to young Ministers in the division and amplification of a text. The parallels belonging to each member of a verse are printed in distinct paragraphs.
In St. Luke's Gospel, the arrangement of the parallels is such as to form a complete and distinct harmony of the Evangelists. Immediately after the text, the corresponding passages in the other gospels are given, and are printed between brackets; so that they may be read either as a harmony of the Evangelical histories alone, or in connexion with the other parallels.
In order to preserve the punctuation and italic reading of the “Authorized Translation," considerable care and application was required; but these will be amply recompensed by the great service which it is anticipated must result from them, i.e. in enabling ministers to quote, in the composition of their sermons, the passages given, without the trouble of turning to them in their Bible; and in pointing out to the unlearned reader those passages which are not found in the origioal, but are supplied in the translation.
In citing the various passages of the Sacred Volume, considerable care has been taken not to do them violence by too great a separation from their context. This has undoubtedly swelled the size of the Work, but it has ensured to the reader the genuine meaning of the Inspired Writings. It is a fact universally ackpowledged, that, by abscinding many passages from their respective contexts, the Scriptures may be adduced in support of the most prepusterous and revolting opinions; and it is to be deplored, that too many sincere and conscientious Christians give in to a practice pregnant with so many evils.
With the view of rendering the Work as valuable as possible to the biblical student, the Greek text, printed from Mill's edition of the “ Textus Receptus," is given with the authorized English translation, accompanied with the various readings, which are highly important to the mere English reader in studying the Sacred text. On the real value of these, Dr. A. Clarke remarks: "That the Marginal Readings in our authorized translation, are essential to the integrity of the version itself, I scruple not to assert; and they are of so much importance, as to be in several instances, preferable to the Textual Readings them. selves. . Our conscientious translators, not being able in several cases, to determine which of two meanings borne by a word, or which of two words found in different copies should be admitted into the text, adopted the measure of receiving both, placing one in the margin and the other in the text; thus leaving the reader at liberty to adopt either, both of which, in their apprehension, stood nearly on the same authority. On this very account, the Marginal Readings are essential to our version; and I have found, on collating many of them with the originals, that those in the Margin are to be preferred to those in the text, in the proportion of at least eight to ten."*
Considerable difficulty has been experienced in fixing upon a scheme of chronology which should be consistent in all its parts, and harmonize with the internal evidence of the books themselves. Not being willing to bazard an opinion of his own, the Editor has selected that of Dr. Blayney, as being upon the whole, perhaps, the least liable to objection. Where this bas been obviously inconsistent with the data furnished by the writers themselves, for fixing the period at which they wrote, a more probable date has been assumed, and placed at the head of the respective books; retaining Blayney's also in the margin. Upon a subject where so many writers of acknowledged ability have differed, and still do differ, the Editor cannot hope to succeed in satisfying every reader: he can only say, that his chronology has been adopted after a careful perusal and comparison of what has been advanced upon the subject by the most eminent biblical critics.
After this short but circumstantial detail, the Editor feels himself justified in offering the result of his long and unwearied application to the Christian world. In so doing he pledges himself, that the Scientia Biblica will not be found a party-book. His great object has been faitbfully to cite every parallel passage, without regard to any one theological system, leaving each person to put his own construction upon the words. At the same time, he wishes it may be distinctly understood, that to the doctrines of Grace—the Divinity and Atonement of Christ, the depravity of man, the influences of the Holy Spirit, and their kindred doctrines, especial attention has been given, so as to render them a prominent feature in the Work.
In short his ultimate object has been to assist the great cause of Christianity; and he cannot but regret that the responsibility of this
• Comment. Gen. Pref.
trust has not been committed to the bands of one more competont, although not more willing than himself, to fulfil the duties attached to such an arduous undertaking.
Should sufficient encouragement be afforded for the task, the Editor proposes to undertake the Old Testament upon the same plan as the present Work. Those persons desirous of furthering this object are requested to forward their names to the publisher: the Work will be ready to go to press upon the receipt of five hundred subscribers' pames,
WRITINGS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT.
Although one principal design of the following Work bas been to exhibit the uninterrupted harmony which subsists among the writers of the New Testament, on the various topics which have employed their pens, the plan laid down would not admit of any thing like an historical or chronological arrangement of the facts narrated, or of the circumstances detailed by those inspired men. Upon a subject, however, so intimately connected with the one pursued throughout this work, the reader will not, it is hoped, feel displeased at the introduction of a few remarks in this place.
To the most superficial reader of the bistorical books of the New Testament, it must be apparent, either that the writers of them have not carefully attended to the chronological order of events, or that in some cases three or four different events have occurred, so remarkably similar in all their circumstances, as to be scarcely distinguishable from each other. These are, in fact, the two hypotheses adopted by the various writers who have favoured us with barmonies of the evangelical histories; each of which has been supported and defended with considerable learning and ingenuity.
All the modern harmonies of the four Gospels, says Bishop Marsh, of which we have above a hundred, in various languages, may be divided into two classes : 1st. Harmonies, of which the authors have taken for granted, that all the facts recorded in all the four Gospels, are arranged jo chronological order; and, 2dly. Harmonies, of wbich the authors have admitted, that in one or more of the four Gospels, chronological order has been more or less neglected. Osiander, or, as he was called in German, Hosmann, is at the head of the first class, Chemnitz at the head of the second. The harmonies of the former kind are very similar to each other; because, though the authors of them had to interweave the facts recorded in one Gospel with the facts recorded in another, yet, as they invariably retained the order which was observed in each Gospel, and consequently repeated whatever facts occurred in different places in different Gospels, as often as those facts presented themselves to the harmonists in their progress through the Gospels, there was less room for material deviations in their plan and method. But in the harmonies of the latter kind we meet with considerable variations, because, though the authors of them are unanimous in their principle, they are at variance in the application of it: and, though they agree in making transpositions, by which they distinguish themselves from the harmonists of the first class, yet they do not always make the same transpositions. Some, for instance, have supposed, as Chemnitz, Archbishop Newcome, and other harmonists of this class have done, that St. Matthew has mostly neglected chronological order; while others, as Bengel and Bertling, have supposed, that he has in general retained it. Hence, though they have all the same object in view, namely, to make a chronological harmony, or to arrange the events, which are recorded in the Gospels, as nearly as possible according to the order of the time in which the events happened, they have adopted different modes of producing this effect. For in some harmonies the order of St. Matthew is inverted, and made subservient to that of St. Mark; while in other harmonies St. Mark's order is inverted, and made subservient to that of St. Matthew. Some harmonists again suppose, that all the evangelists have neglected chronological order, while others make an exception in favour of one, or more of them; though the question, which of the evangelists should be excepted, likewise affords matter of debate. And even those harmonists, who agree as to the Gospel, or Gospels, in which transpositions should be made, differ in respect to the particular parts, where these transpositions ought to take place. Amid this variety of opinion, and amid the manifold arguments, by which each harmonist has ingeniously defended his own particular plan, it is really difficult to discover a fixed and solid principle, by which the events recorded by the evangelists may be restored to chronological order.*
For a view of the difficulties to be encountered by the first class of harmonists, the reader may turn to Michaëlis' Introduction, translated by Bishop Marsh, vol. iii. part 1. sect. 2, 3.; and for the arguments in favour of their hypotheses, he may consult Macknight's Preliminary Observations to his Harmony of the Gospels, Obs. iv.
After a careful examination of the various arguments put forth and supported with so much learning and ingenuity by the several writers in support of their respective hypotheses, my opinion bas been formed in favour of that which supposes that the purpose for which the historical books of the New Testament were written, was not to give a regular chronologically disposed history of the life, ministry, and sufferings of Jesus Christ, but the collection of such a body of well
* Marsh's Michaëlis, vol. ij. part 2. p. 44.