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PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION.
THE following volume contains the result of investigations, commenced above thirty years ago, and pursued, at intervals, to this time. It presents the records of our Lord's Ministry, placed in columns for the purpose of comparison, and arranged according to the order of occurrence, ascertained by the guidance of those Gospels which were written by "eye-witnesses and ministers of the word", in connection with the most ancient and best founded opinion as to the duration of that all-important period.
From our Saviour's arrival at Bethany six days before the Passover' at which he was crucified, there is, comparatively, little difference of opinion as to the succession of events. That there is so little accordance among independent Harmonists before that epoch, is principally owing to the diversity of opinion respecting the interval between the Baptism of Christ and his Crucifixion, and the position of some leading facts in it; and respecting the selection of a Gospel, or Gospels, as a general guide in arrangement that so many, after their own unsuccessful attempts to frame a chronological arrangement, have given up all expectation that any probable succession of events will be established, is owing to their having themselves set out with erroneous principles. The Gospels themselves present adequate data to establish a probable order of events; and where the mind has not been pre-occupied by other arrangements, a succession, so established, will be found to give it the sentiment of consistency and reality.
The general conclusions to which I first came after closely considering those data, I have repeatedly submitted to a strict examination; and I have sought for information on all connected subjects, wherever it appeared likely to be found. To bring the arrangement itself to a rigid test, I have, at various times, constructed tables, monotessarons, and outline views, of the whole, or of particular portions; and several years ago I prepared a regular Harmony agreeably to it, which I have repeatedly reconsidered. I now follow every part of the eventful year of our Saviour's Ministry, as far as there are records of it, with the sentiment which arises from the per ception of distinctness and consistency; and have found the reality of all, become increasingly the object of vivid conception and intense conviction,
With perfect comfort, and with great hopefulness, I desire for my ARRANGEMENT the severest scrutiny that faithful equity and the love of truth can exercise. I have sought for nothing but conformity with reality; and if my belief that I have attained at least a much greater approximation to it than any preceding Harmonist has attained, should not abide such scrutiny, I shall cherish the expectation that my errors will aid future inquirers in approaching the truth. Till then, my Arrangement may assist others, as it enables me, to retrace with readiness, and in a clear and simple succession, the most momentous occurrences in the records of the human race.
In one respect alone do I seek for some indulgence; which those will most readily give, who best know the difficulties of the case: I refer to the TRANSLATION. My first intention was, to alter the common version in those cases only where the purposes of a Harmony required it, which, however, are very numerous; namely, in corresponding passages, where the same words in the Greek are rendered differently in the English, or where different words have the same rendering. It appeared desirable not to add to the associations which would check the reception of my views as to the duration of our Saviour's Ministry and the succession of events in it. But it was suggested to me, when first commencing the printing of this work, that, since the ultimate object was to aid in the private study of the Scriptures, it would be desirable to depart from the public version in other cases also, where I believed that the sense of the original is not closely or clearly given, or is not expressed according to the present usages of our language; and I undertook an object which will, I trust, increase the usefulness of this volume, but which has increased tenfold the labour required. This, however, has been amply rewarded, by a more definite apprehension, in various parts, of the import of the all-important records, and by the perception of numberless indications of authenticity, which, but for such examination, I might have passed by.-All I desire respecting the translation is, that it shall be tried by no other tests than those of close fidelity to the original Greek, and of increased uniformity of rendering. In conducting this second edition through the press, I have done all I could to improve the translation, (especially in relation to uniformity), without needless departure
The reader will find some explanatory observations in reference to the TRANSLATION, before the Table of Sections which is prefixed to the Harmony.
from the style of the common version; and I hope it will be found that I have constantly followed the text of Griesbach. If in any instance I have failed, it has been through oversight.*—In various cases, where there is some peculiarity in the Greek, or in the rendering, I have given the original in one of the opposite columns. This, it is hoped, will prove of convenience to the reader.
Though we may well rejoice in the general faithfulness of the common version, and cannot but be attached to its venerable simplicity, it is, undoubtedly, capable of great and important improvement, in correctness, in perspicuity, and, without loss to that simplicity, in adaptation to the present usages of our language; and every contribution to that improvement should be received with candour and encouragement. That those eminently valuable contributions which are to be found in the revision by Archbishop Newcome, and also in, what I have often found of unexpected value, the version, (dated 1764), of the Rev. Richard Wynne, Rector of St. Alphage, London, are so little known and employed, while innumerable Commentaries are being brought before the public,-is at first sight very astonishing. A faithful perspicuous translation of the New Testament, with the ordinary aids of good division and punctuation, and of marks of quotation, &c. would supersede a large proportion of those Commentaries.+
The NOTES are only such as the narration or the rendering required; and they present the compressed results of critical examinations, which to have detailed would have required volumes. I have often given the opinions of others as my authority: but, in no instance, without having made them my own; and it is not through negligence or disregard that I have seldom stated the reasons on which I rest conclusions that are different from those of various scriptural critics whose writings I thankfully value. I am happy in referring the student to Kuinoel's Commentarius in Libros Novi Testamenti Historicos, which was reprinted in London some years ago, with Griesbach's Text annexed, and which may now be had at a very reasonable
For my vindication in employing this text, I refer to the writings of Bishop Marsh. The variations between it and the text of Scholz, are subjoined to a beautiful duodecimo edition of Griesbach's text, lately published by Taylor and Walton.
+ Campbell's translation of the Gospels often affords useful suggestions; but it is deficient in simplicity, and it departs too much from the letter of the original. Wakefield's translation of the New Testament must always be valuable to the critic.
price. The work is tinctured occasionally by anti-supernatural explanations; but it presents almost every thing that can be desired, in connection with Schleusner's Lexicon, and Schmid's Greek Concordance.
In the TECHNICAL ARRANGEMENTS, by which some of the main objects of a Harmony are so essentially promoted, I have been greatly aided by my printer; and in the improvements made in this edition, to facilitate the perception of correspondence, my thanks are due to the unwearied zeal of his superintendent. No Harmony in our own language, with which I am acquainted, presents so much facility for comparing the verbal agreement, and the details, of the evangelical narratives, with so little serious interruption in the perusal of each. For the perception of verbal agreement, indeed, or the contrary, no arrangement of the common version can be any otherwise than a fallacious guide.
The PRELIMINARY DISSERTATIONS include every topic which is needed for the defence and illustration of my Arrangement. The First investigates the duration of our Saviour's Ministry: I believe that I have therein proved, that it included only two Passovers, that we have records of every festival that occurred during it, and that the miracle of the Five Thousand occurred when the Passover was approaching at which our Lord was crucified. The Second Dissertation investigates the structure of the first three Gospels, as far as respects the succession of events in our Lord's Ministry. The Third is occupied with the political and geographical state of Palestine, at that period: and presents a descriptive survey of the districts where our Saviour resided or journeyed, which will aid in following him in his labours, and in realizing the transactions recorded. The Fourth developes my method of arranging the occurrences between the festivals; considers the main, and only essential, objection to the arrangement; and presents an outline view of our Lord's Ministry, the perusal of which, or even of pp. 26 and 52 in the Harmony, will be found very serviceable in forming that general conception of the succession of events, which will make the reasons for the details more obvious, and promote the efficiency of the whole. Throughout these Dissertations, I have avoided every thing extraneous, and, as far as possible, every thing out of the reach of the unlearned scripturalist; and I have endeavoured, as much as perspicuity would permit, to compress the statement even of what I found requisite for the development and justification of my views. If any other work had
existed to which I could have referred for this purpose, I would have printed the Harmony alone. At present, this would be inexpedient.
The plan which I have adopted in the Third Dissertation, is probably unique. I have availed myself, by every means accessible to me, of the best descriptions of places and of natural objects given by recent travelers; omitting every thing merely modern; and selecting such passages only as afford a distinct and vivid conception of scenery in which the heart must ever feel a holy interest. The first part of this Dissertation, relating to the divisions of Palestine, might, like every other, have been greatly extended; but my object required only the statement of the conclusions to which a careful and repeated examination had led me.
The reviewer of my Harmony, in the (Boston) Christian Examiner, thus speaks of one characteristic, which, on examining other similar works with this in view, I find more reason even than I expected, to regard as peculiarly an advantage of my own. "He [the author] has preserved, to an unpre"cedented degree, the integrity of each of the four Gospels; and, with much "fewer transpositions than his most wary predecessors have made, has woven "the four into a natural, comprehensive, and complete history. His work "is literally a harmony; for, unlike most works of the kind, it presents the "elements of the gospel narrative", "in a state of repose, aptly framed
together, and fitting into each other, like the timbers of a well-built "edifice. The order of Matthew and of John is preserved almost without "change; and the portions peculiar to Luke, are inserted with very little "alteration in his arrangement."-On this last point, see Diss. II. App. B.
The American reviewer's impression of the spirit of the following work, gave me true pleasure. An apology can scarcely be needed for my here extracting the passage: the publication in which it appears, cannot be much known in England beyond our limited connection. "We would refer, before closing," says the reviewer, "to a very interesting feature of the work "before us. The work is, in its aim, purport, and end, a purely critical "one." "Though he [the author] keeps singularly close to his province
as a critic, though he in the whole volume does not, so far as we remem"ber, indulge so much as a single moral or religious reflection, though "there is no parade whatever of devotional words or thoughts, he seems 46 never to forget, and he never lets his reader forget, that it is a holy