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net manifested to us in the gospel. And though this scheme is indeed liable a abuse, as every thing else is, it appears to me plain in fact, that it has been si Hill is the grand instrument of reforming a very degenerate world ; and ixonling to the best observations I have been able to make on what has >i*ed about me, or within my own breast, I have found, that, in proportion to the degree in which this evangelical scheme is received and relished, tlie ~:tre-_t of true virtue and holiness flourishes, and the mind is formed to manly dtrolbn, diffusive benevolence, steady fortitude, and, in short, made ready i:nrnjgood word and work. To this therefore I am determined, at all ad* ventures, to adhere ; nor am I at all ashamed or afraid of any scorn which I nay encounter in such a cause; and I would earnestly exhort, and entreat, J my brethren in the Cliristian ministry to join with me, as well knowing to tkm we have committed our souls; and cheerfully hoping, that He, by whom •ehare hitherto, if faithful in our calling, been supported and animated, will it length confess us before the presence of his Father and the holy angels in that to, when it will be found nodishonourto the greatest and wisest of the children oi men to have listed themselves under the banner of the cross, and constantly lai affectionately to have kept their divine Leader in view.
I cannot flatter myself so far, as to imagine that I have fallen into no nuUakes, in a work oi so great compass and difficulty ; but my own conscience Kquits me of having designedly misrepresented any single passage of scripture, at of having written one line with a purpose of inflaming the hearts oi Christian gainst each other. 1 should esteem it one of the most aggravated crimes to make the life of the gentle and benevolent Jesus a vehicle to convey such a poiwn. Would to God that all the party-names, and unscripturalphases and /ornu, which havedivided tlxeCltristian world, were forgot ; and that we might agree to sit down together, as humble loving disciples, at the feet of our common, Master, to hear his word, to imbibe Aw Spirit, aud to transcribe his life in our own!
I hope it is some token of such growing candour on one side, as I am are it should be an engagement to cultivate it on the other, that so many of Ihereverend clergy of the establishment, as well as other persons of distinction in it, have favoured this undertaking with their encouragement. To them, and.all my other friends, I return my most hearty thanks; and shall remember that the regard they have been pleased to express to it, obliges me to pursue theremainder of the work with the utmost care and application ; and earnestly ftreattbe farther assistance of their prayers, that it may be conducted in a manner subservient to the honour of the gospel and the edification of the church.
In these volumes I have been desirous (o express my gratitude to the *&icribcrs, by sparing nothing in my power which might render the work acceptable to them; both with respect to its contents and its form. The consequence of this is, that it hath swelled to a number of sheets, which by more than a third part exceeds what 1 promised in the proposals; which, though at a great expence, I chose to permit, rather than I would either sink the paper and character beneath the specimen, or .omit some remarks in the notes which appeared to me of moment, and rose in my mind while I was transcribing them. But I hope this large addition to what was at first expected will ttoisemy not complying with the importunity of some of my friends, who kye requested that I would introduce this work with a dissertation on such Point* of Jewish antiquity as might be serviceable for the fuller understanding the NewTestament, or with a discourse on its genuineness, credibility, inspiration w>d tut.
As to the first of these (a compendious view of such articles of Jewish
Witjuity as may be a proper introduction to the critical study of scripture,)
Vol. Vi. b *■ *°
I do with great pleasure refer the generality of reader* and young students to the general preface to the Prussian Testament, published by Mess. VEnfant and Beausobre; which preface was some years since translated into English, and suits the purpose better than any thing I have seen within so small a compass. As to the latter, I purpose, if God permit, when I have finished the second volume, to publish with another edition of my Three Sermons on tine Evidences of Christianity, two or three discourses more on the inspiration o( Vhc New Testament, and on its usefulness, especially that of the Evangelical History; to which 1 may perhaps add some farther directions tor the most protilabla manner of reading it. At present I shall only add, thai daily e.xperienct convinces ine more and more, that as a thousand charms discover themselves in the works of nature, when attentively viewed with glasses, which had escaped the naked eye; so our admiration of the hobj scriptures will rise in proportion to the accuracy with which they are studied.
As for these histories and discourses of Christ, I may say of them, with far greater justice, what Simplicity doth of Epiclttus, in the passage of which my motto is a part, and which I shall conclude my preface: "The words themselves are generally plain and intelligible: but I have endeavoured thus to unfold them, that my own heart might he more deeply impressed with the Spirit and certainty of them; and that others, who have not themselves equal advantage for entering into It, might be guided into their true interpretation. But if, on the whole, any reader continue entirely unaffected with them, there is little prospect that any thing will reclaim him till he come to the tribunal of the invisible world*."
* Kai Iio-i (Hiv oi toyoi raffi;' « x"f $' ,awf> **7» " Ji/raror Jia7r7:/o-irHr aJlu;. O Ti yrtf
yfafwv, a-l/jUKaSfffpc Tt ajuut tppo; Uvik; yiwpilai, xal T*j; aXrdda; a-Jlwy »»a1ftTO*]1<xu,^co;' x/ll
Vurt 4^t> 3/jcaSav 64 tffpoj >•<=>*,* ac'jvnQfifOl, tawc t£uei Toa )(Mf«ywy"** f* TH; ipfAfltut; auiiuy.—
Ei &f ?t; uvo ttlwv fxi xaaoyxi Twr Xoywr, tiro /xovwv ay Twt n etttt c.xacnftixv u-nrJiv&tn
Northampton, Nov. 27, 1738. Simphc. in Epictet. Proem.
Directions for reading the Family Expositor.
AS to the manner of reading this book in families, I would advise as follows :—First* Let the passage of Scriptuie be read from the common translation in the inner column, unless the family have their Bibles before them: thco read the near version by itself, which is interwoven with the paraphrase, but distinguished by the italic character; and then the paraphrase and improvement.
As for the notes, I should advise the person who officiates to select such as are of the most general concern, and read them after the paragraph to which they belong; for it is not so agreeable to interrupt the sense by introducing them before it is completed. Other notes may perhaps be more fitly made matter of conversation afterwards; but this is referred to the prudence of particular persons, who will judge with a regard to the state and character of the families in question.
In reading the compound text it may be observed, that the words of the several evangelists are distinguished by crotchets, thus [ J; and the clauses included within them are always marked with the name of the evangelist from whom they are taken, unless a single text only be added at the end of the verse to which they must of course belong; or, where more texts than one arc added, the crotcheli which have nothing to distinguish them belong to the first.
I am pleased to think with how much case any attentive reader will distinguish the text itself from the paraphrase in consequence of the extraordinary care which hath been taken to keep the work in that particular remarkably correct; for which I am obliged to pay my public and most thankful acknowledgments to my worthy brother and friend, the Reverend Mr. Godwin, who generously undertook the great trouble, not only of revising each sheet as it came from the press, but also of inspecting the manuscript before it went thither, and of making several important alterations in it very much for the better; of which I should have been ready to have given a more particular account if his modesty and goodness would hare permitted it
TO THE SECTIONS WHERE THEY ARE PLACED.
2, 17, 20, 21, 22.
29, 30, 31.
78, 19, 80, 81, 82.
i 98, 99, I 100,101.
f 102,103, i 104,105.
, 130, 131, [132.
,139, 140,' [141.
; 145, 146, 1 148, 149, '150.
0 85, 184,
. 1 197, 198,