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Zeal, for their religious Instruction;


Gratitude, for their long and partial Attention ;




Scripture of the Four Evangelists,

is affectionately inscribed,
by their attached Friend,

and faithful Minister,


a 2

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IT is obvious to a common reader, that a complete history of our Lord Jesus Christ is not to be found in the gospel of any single Evangelist. Several minute facts and incidental sayings of our blessed Saviour, and even some transactions of importance, are mentioned by one Evangelist, and omitted by another. We ascribe however, with equal confidence, the gift of inspiration to them all ; and, consequently, whatever is recorded by any one of the four Evangelists must have its place in the general account, before a full and entire view can be given of the actions and doctrine of Jesus Christ.

The apostle St. John acknowledges in plain terms, that his gospel, if it be considered as an historical narration, is at least deficient in fulness. And

many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book.

The fact is, that not St. John alone, but all the Evangelists, had a separate and particular object in view, besides the manifestation of the truth, which is common to them all ; and a dif

cerning cerning reader will perceive, that they studiously select those topics, and record those incidents, which are best adapted to the secondary end they proposed to attain.

The peculiar design of each gospel has been well ascertained by external proofs, grounded on the uncontradicted authority of early history; and by internal evidence contained in the gospel itself. It is not necessary to my purpose to enter at large upon that subject, which has been amply discussed by the fathers of the church, and by many able divines of later times: but perhaps it may be useful to some, whose instruction I have at heart, to mention the characteristic marks by which the several Evangelists are distinguished ; an habitual acquaintance with which may prevent their being surprized, and perhaps embarassed, by the unimportant Ya) variations that occur in reading and comparing the respective golpels with each other.


(a) Where this happens without any change or encroachment on the sense of the passage, it is wretched cavilling tò make objection to it. Our Lord spoke to his disciples in the Hebrew or Syriac tongue; they delivered the substance of his instructions in the Greek: and whoever has seen one language turned into another by different persons, or even by the same person at different times, will scarcely be surprized by any frequency of verbal variation. E. g. Compare the parallel passages of St. Mark and St. Luke in our Englif version: in the original the same words are used by both the Evangelists. Mark xii. 38–39.

Luke xx. 46. Which love to go in long clothing: Which desire to walk in long and love falutations in the market. robes: and love greetings in the places; and the chief seats in the fyna- markets: and the highest seats in gogues, and the uppermost rooms at the synagogues, and the chief feasts.

rooms at feats.


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