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The adaptation of the gospels one to the other, is a manifest proof that the design of each, in its order, is to complete that history which, for sufficient reasons, they severally record only in part.
The aim of the present work is to give, in a simple and perspicuous manner, to classes in schools and families, the cumulative evidence of the sacred writers ; that ONE ENTIRE HISTORY may be seen of the LIFE, MINISTRY, DEATH, AND RESURRECTION OF THE REDEEMER OF THE WORLD, and the Saviour of all them that believe.
A single example will best illustrate the advantages of a Harmony of the Four Gospels, arranged as a continuous history of the Holy Gospel. Let us look at the first introduction of Christianity to the heathen. After labouring among, and acquiring the language of the natives, the missionary translates the gospel by St. Matthew: it is next printed, then circulated and read. Let us suppose that on some particular occasion, the preacher takes for his discourse the baptism of our Lord,' and tracing the history from the earliest particular by way of introduction, he states—It came to pass in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee,' &c. &c. His hearers, being conversant with St. Matthew's gospel only, cannot see the propriety of the introduction ; for St. Matthew says nothing about • Nazareth.'
Again, let us suppose that it is the gospel of St. Mark that has been translated ; and that the minister, by way of exhortation to Christian humility, dwells on the two beautiful instances of this grace, afforded by John and our Lord, as recorded in the gospel by St. Matthew ;* the congregation will not be able to discover these examples in the gospel from which they have learned.
• Chap. iii. 14, 15.
TO THE FIRST EDITION.
Again, let us suppose that they have been supplied with translations of the gospels by St. Matthew and St. Mark ; the minister, in holy zeal, gives them · line upon line, precept upon precept, and earnestly beseeches them to be diligent in prayer: he enforces it upon their consideration previous to the ordinance of baptism, and illustrates his argument by the practice of our Lord on the like occasion. The hearers, who are acquainted with the narratives of St. Matthew and St. Mark only, may question the illustration of the minister ; but give them the gospel by St. Luke, and their doubts will be removed; for there they will find, in the words of that Evangelist, that Jesus prayed.
A complete record of the descent of the Holy Spirit, and of the heavenly testimony to Jesus' relationship to the Father, as the beloved Son of God, is given by Matthew, Mark, and Luke; and for the fact of Christ's introduction to the priestly office, at the legal age, according to the Law of Moses, we are indebted to St. Luke.*
Instances of a similar kind are too numerous to be particularised, and the careful reader of the sacred history cannot fail to perceive them.
Another example, to show the supplemental character of the gospels, will perhaps be additional proof of the propriety of a chronological arrangement. Between the 11th and 12th verses of the fourth chapter of St. Matthew's gospel, a considerable and important portion of our Lord's ministry is entirely unnoticed by Matthew, Mark, and Luke, but is amply detailed in the gospel by St. John; for, when our Lord's temptation was over, St. John takes up the narrative, and from the 19th verse of his first chapter is continuous to the fifth chapter, and relates many peculiar features of Jesus' ministry ; viz., John the Baptist's
* Chap. iii. 23.
memorable double testimony to Jesus, as the Lamb of God;' --the particulars concerning his first followers, Andrew and Simon, Philip and Nathanael ; and the beginning of mircales to show forth Jesus' glory;—a short residence at Capernaum, from whence Jesus went up to the Passover at Jerusalem, where he stamped in a significant manner the beginning of his ministry, by the assumption of peculiar authority ;-his interview with Nicodemus—the first prophetical reference to his resurrection —his departure into Galilee—the Baptist's most important testimony to Him as the Messiah—and the preaching of the gospel to the Samaritan woman at Jacob's well. After which, John relates Jesus' second miracle at Cana, viz., that of healing a nobleman's son who was sick at Capernaum ; which thus early testifies the omnipresence of Jesus. These are all continuous events, and recorded only in the last gospel ; without which we could not satisfactorily date the commencement of the three years of our Lord's ministry.
The foregoing examples, it is hoped, will sufficiently show the desirableness and necessity of a continuous history of the inspired writings.
The history is divided into five parts, according to GRESWELL'S arrangement of the events, in the order of time; and subdivided into one hundred sections, so as to assist the Biblical student : in the use of the Charts of the Gospel History, by the same compiler.*
The sections are numbered at the beginning, to agree with the numbers and references of the 100 lessons, into which the SCHOOL-ROOM GOSPEL CHART is divided.
Each section is headed by a summary of all the particulars narrated; and every particular is numbered to agree with the
* See Advertisement at the end.
TO THE FIRST EDITION.
PICTORIAL Chart, in which the history is more minutely detailed, in 337 numbers.
The indented numbers are those particulars thus more minutely detailed' in the same Pictorial, Chronological, and Geographical Chart; and the whole, it is hoped, will be acceptable to teachers and pupils.
The introduction or substitution of words not in the authorised version, has been scrupulously avoided ; and, with the occasional exceptions, as in the margin, it is confidently asserted that all but these few italic words * is the unstrained and faithful history of our blessed Lord and Saviour, as given in our own beautiful and AUTHORISED TRANSLATION.
* See (and) p. 62, last line; (he) p. 85, first line, fourth paragraph; (Jesus) p. 169, third line, second paragraph; and a few others so distinguished.