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EDWARD ROBINSON, D. D. LL. D.
Professor of Bibl. Literature in the Union Theol. Seminary, New-York;
PUBLISHED BY CROCKER & BREWSTER.
LONDON: WILEY & PUTNAM.
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1846, by Edward Robinson, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the Southern District of New-York.
THE Harmony of the Four Gospels in Greek, published in 1845, having been favourably received, I have been requested by many persons whose advice I could not disregard, to prepare a similar Harmony of the Gospels according to the common English Version. This I have attempted to do in the present work.
In the Gospels we have four different narratives of the life and actions of our Lord, by as many different and independent historians. The narrative of John, except during the week of the Saviour's passion, contains very little that is found in either. of the other writers. That of Luke, although in its first part and at the close it has much in common with Matthew and Mark, comprises nevertheless in its middle portions a large amount of matter peculiar to Luke alone. Matthew and Mark have in general more resemblance to each other; though Matthew, being more full, presents much that is not found in Mark or Luke; while Mark, though briefer, has some things not contained in any of the rest. The Evangelists were led, under the guidance of the Spirit, to write each with a specific object in view, and for different communities or classes of readers; much as in the case of the authors of the Epistles. Hence, while the narratives all
necessarily exhibit a certain degree of likeness, they nevertheless bear also each for itself the stamp of independence.
The four writers vary likewise in their chronological character. On the one hand, it appears, that Mark and John, who have little in common, follow with few exceptions the regular and true order of the events and transactions recorded by them; as may be more fully seen at the close of the Introduction to the Notes. On the other hand, Matthew and Luke manifestly have sometimes not so much had regard to chronological order, as they have been guided by the principle of association; so that in them, transac tions having certain relations to each other are not seldom grouped together, though they may have happened at different times and in various places.
Some other diversities in the character and manner of the Evangelists, are pointed out in the Introduction to the Notes.
In view of the preceding considerations, it follows, that in order to obtain a full and consecutive account of all the facts of our Lord's life and ministry, the four Gospel-narratives must be so brought together, as to present as nearly as possible the true chronological order; and, where the same transaction is described by more than one writer, the different accounts must be placed side by side, so as to fill out and supply each other. Such an arrangement affords the only full and perfect survey of all the testimony relating to any and every portion of our Lord's history. In this way alone can be brought out and distinctly presented the mutual connection and dependency of the various parts, and the gradual development and completion of the great plan of redemption, so far as it was manifested in the life and ministry, the death and resurrection, of our Lord Jesus Christ. Yet without such a survey, our knowledge on all these great topics can only be fragmentary and partial.
To afford just the aid here proposed, is the object of a Harmony of the Gospels; and by this consideration I have been governed in preparing such a work both in Greek and in English. Other uses and advantages, as also the particular objects aimed at in the present volume, are specified near the close of the Introduction to the Notes.
In all the preceding particulars, a Harmony in English is not less useful and important than one in Greek. It is mainly in respect to the verbal parallelisms of the sacred writers, that a comparison in the original language is of greater weight. These of course often disappear in a translation.
In a work of this kind, no great amount of novelty can be expected, on subjects which have more or less occupied the ablest minds of the Church during many centuries. Yet even here, knowledge has not been stationary. In a course of years, and especially within the last half century, there has been great progress in the observation and discovery of new facts and circumstances bearing upon both the social and physical history of the Hebrews and other ancient nations. These all serve to enlarge the circle of Biblical knowledge; and they often shed light on topics which before were dark or doubtful. The accumulated facts and results of this progress, it is the duty of the Harmonist to apply to the elucidation of the narratives of the four Evangelists. This I have attempted to do in the present, as well as in my former work; and have endeavoured every where faithfully to judge and write, according to the impressions left upon my mind by a personal inspection of most of the scenes of the Gospel history.
The Sections, and the general arrangement of the Text in this volume, are the same as in the Greek Harmony. The notation of place is every where given; and may be regarded as a not unimportant feature of the work.