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J. HE design of this selection is to enable congregations, families and individuals to read the principal parts of the most valuable writings that ever appeared in the world, both profitably and agreeably. The greatest pains have been taken to give the true genuine sense of every passage, and to render that sense as intelligible as possible. Whatever contributed to make the old authorized public version obscure and unedifying, has been studiously avoided; and it is humbly hoped that both duty and pleasure will conspire to induce those to resume the frequent perusal of the New Testament, who have, from dislike of obscurities and improprieties of language, unhappily discontinued the practice. It is indeed true, that the knowledge of the Christian Religion, and of the circumstances attending it, was the cause of the Books of the New Testament being written, but now, it is certain, there are no other means of acquiring a true knowledge of Christianity, than the careful, and frequent perusal of these books. To promote, therefore, a more general acquaintance with their admirable contents, is the same thing as to promote the diffusion o£ true Religion.
ACCORDING TO THE
'' ^fOW in those days, while Jesus ±\ dwelt at Nazareth, cometh John the Baptist in the desert of Judea, saying, "Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven, (the gospel dispensation) draweth near."
3 This is he who was spoken of by xL 3, Isaiah the Prophet, saying, "The
voice of one crying in the desert, Prepare ye the way of2 Jehovah, make straight a high-way for our
4 God." And this John had his raiment of camel's hair, with a leathern girdle about his loins, and his food was 3 locusts and wild
5 honey. Then many of the people of Jerusalem, and q/" all parts of Judea, and of all the country about
6 Jordan, went out to him: and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, upon confession of their
7 sins. But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said unto
1 This gospel is generally believed to have been written about A; D. 64, in some part of Judea, or near it; for the use of the Hebrews, to confirm those who had embraced the Christian religion, and to convert if possible those who had not. We need not suppose that Matthew wrote the whole book, in the same sense in which we now speak of a writer's composing a work. It is enough to be satisfied that he furnished materials for the principal parts of the book, and approved of the whole, as giving a fair and just account of what it relates. It has been doubted, whether the original gospel was written in the Hebrew or Greek Ian,
them, "O! brood of vipers ! who CHAP* hath warned you to flee from the u" wrath that is approaching? Bring 8 forth therefore fruits suitable to repentance, and say not within yourselves, 'We have Abraham for 9 our father;' for I say unto you, that from these stones God is able to raise up children unto Abraham: and even now the axe is laid to the 10 root of the trees, so that every tree, which beareth not good fruit, will be cut down and cast into the fire. I indeed baptize you with water un- ll to repentance: but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry; he will baptize you with a purifying spirit and with fire: for 12 his fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly cleanse his floor, and lay up his wheat in the garner, but will burn up the chaff with4 unquenchable fire."
guage; but it is of little moment. The best employment of Christians is, to endeavour to catch the noble Spirit which it breathes, and to conform their lives to the excellent precepts which it inculcates.
The translation of the books of the New Testament is from Archbishop Newcome and Mr. Wakefield.
* The gospel is called the way of Jehovah, because it pioved his interposition for the benefit of mankind.
3 Locusts are still dried for food in some hot countries.
4 That ceases not to burn whilst any thing remains to be consumed.