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next century, the learned Calovius published his valuable BIBLIA ILLUSTRATA, in which is contained a Harmony, after the manner of Osiander. In 1647, appeared from the Elzevir press, at Amsterdam, a beautiful edition of the Harmony of the learned professor Cartwright, containing, besides the text, an analysis, paraphrase, and practical observations, on every portion of the Evangelical history. In 1747, Pilkington published an EVANGELICAL HISTORY, which exhibits much ingenuity, talent, and industry. Nor should I pass unnoticed, the valuable Diatessarons, published by professor White, Robert Thompson, Dr. Willan, John Chambers, R. Warner, and the Synopsis of Charles Thompson, all published in the present century. Last of all, though probably best of all, the New TESTAMENT arranged in chronological order, by George Townsend, London 1825, which contains one of the best Momotessarons ever published.
2. The Eusebian Method, so called froin Eusebius of Cesarea. Harmonists, who pursue this method, endeavour so to arrange, in parallel columns, the whole text of the four Evangelists, that their agreement or dissonance may be at once perceived. Some bave imagined that this is the only arrangement of the Gospels that can be entitled a harmony; but after all attempts of this kind have been tried, by the most eminent theologians, the resuit must be either a Monotessaron or the object has not been attained. Surely if all the Evangelists could be so arranged as to avoid all dissonance, there would remain only several repetitions of the same narrative. Among those Harmonists, who have arranged the writings of the Evangelists in parallel columns, the most distinguished have been Čalvin, Chemnitius, Le Clerc, Toinard, Newcome, and Griesbach. Chemnitius has been styled the Jansenius of the Protestants. He died leaving the work incomplete, but his laborious undertaking was brought to its accomplishment in the beginning of the seventeenth century, by two very eminent theologians, Lyser and Gerhard. The work being completed, appeared in three large folios: the most extensive and probably the most valuable work on the Gospels, that has ever been published. In 1699, the learned Le Clerc published his HARMONIA EVANGELICA, which has united the testimony of all critics in his praise. Besides the exhibition of the four Gospels, in parallel columns, the work contains, “ A History of Christ from the four Evangelists,” composed in the form of a Diatessaron. He has also subjoined several excellent and learned dissertations, so that the work is entitled to the first rank among harmonies.
Archbishop Newcome professes to have followed Le Clerc's arrangement, and may be justly allowed the merit of having improved on all his predecessors, in this method of writing. His notes are valuable; though his reasoning be sometimes inconclu. sive. His Harmony has been republished at Andover, Mass. from the Greek text and select various readings of Griesbach. The only book of the kind with which the Andover edition of Newcome has to contend, is the Synopsis Evangeliorum of Griesbach, which Bishop Marsh prefers to every other harmony extant. These two works are best adapted for the use of classes or students, who prefer harmonies constructed on the Eusebian Method.
Though Priestley may be ranked in this class of writers, yet like Le Clerc, he may be said to have followed both methods ; for his harmony is so arranged and printed, as to exhibit a Monotessaron, whilst it presents the whole text of each Evangelist, in a distinct column. In point of chronological arrangement and harmonical symphony, Priestley's Harmony exceeds all that had been previously published, and therefore should not be neglected or despised, on account of his peculiar sentiments.
A second distinction arises among Harmonists, from their diversity of opinion, concerning the accuracy or deficiency of chro“ nological order, observed by the Evangelists, in the composition of their histories. Here they are distinguished into three classes ; the Scholastic, Osiandrian, and Calvinian.
1. The Scholastic canon, was :- The Evangelists have neither constantly followed nor wholly neglected the chronological order of cvents. This was the judgment of all antiquity till the sixteenth century.
2. The Osiandrian canon, deriving its name from Osiander, an eminent German Theologian, assumes as a fact, which it would be impious to controvert, that all the Evangelists have preserved the true order of time in their narratives. This opinion was espoused by Molineus, Codmann, Cluver, Calovius, Sandhagenius, Rus, and McKnight, who have all composed harmo. nies, in humble submission to the Osiandrian canon. Though Rus, in the opinion of Hofmann, was entitled to the honour of being prince of Harmonists, and Calovius and McKnight claim an undisputed high rank among commentators, yet the reflection of Michaelis concerning Osiander, is applicable to all writers of this class : “ They render the Gospel history, not only suspicious, but even incredible, by frequent repetitions of the same discourses and miracles."
3. The Calvinian canon is directly opposed to the Osiandrian, and asserts that none of the Evangelists have preserved the true chronological order of events. The disciples being satisfied with communicating to the followers of Christ, a faithful statement of his sayings and doings, without scrupulous regard to the order and time of each transaction. Agreeably to this opinion Chemnitius, considering the Gospels, as a collection of many fragments, written on the plan of letters, proceeded to collect and arrange them, according to the order of time in which each event happened; and perhaps this is the only method by which a regular and connected history can be obtained. Indeed it seems rational to suppose, that the disciples, and many of our Lord's hearers, would, our different occasions, take detached memorandums of his discourse, which would be afterwards used, in the composition of the Gospels. Moreover when the disciples, or first christians, were disposed to collect these memorandums into one historical narrative, they would be more likely to classify events and discourses of a similar nature, than to arrange them according to the order of time in which they happened.
In relation to the comparative accuracy of the four Evangelists, with respect to chronological order, a great diversity of opinion has existed among Harmonists. Augustine having nearly followed the order of Matthew, in his book, De Consensu Evangelistarum, may have contributed, in the first place to impress the opinion, that Matthew had observed the order of time with greater exactness than the other Evangelists. But what contributed much more to establish this opinion, was the very popular work of Ludolphus, entitled VITA CHRISTI, published in the fourteenth century. Ludolphus was almost deified, and his Harmony or Life of Christ, so much admired, as, in a short time, to pass through thirty editions. About the same time, Guido de Perpiniano published a Concordia Evangelica, in which he nearly follows the order of Matthew. For several centuries, the Gospel of Matthew was considered the standard, and the other Gospels transposed to agree with Matthew's arrangement. But as extremes are often mutually productive, as well as mutually destructive, a great reverse of opinion soon ensued, after the appearance of Bishop Richardson's harmony, in the annals of Archbishop Usher, about the middle of the seventeenth century. Here the very opposite Hypothesis is maintained ; that Matthew alone has neglected the true order of chronological arrangement which is preserved by the other Evangelists.
This opinion did not wholly originate with Richardson; for · thirty years before his time, Thomas Cartwright, professor of
theology in Cambridge, had published a Harmony, in which he follows the order of Mark, and transposes Matthew and Luke to the order of Mark's arrangement. However, as the hypothesis of Richardson obtained favour in the eyes of Le Clerc, he applauded the new discovery, and laying hold on the word xadežns, in the preface of Luke, maintained the chronological accuracy of this Evangelist, as the standard to which the other Evangelists should be reduced. In this opinion, he has been too closely followed by Whiston, Bedford, Calment, Newcome and Eichhorn.
A little attention to the writings of the Evangelists, will enable any man to perceive, that Matthew collects many sayings of Christ in the composition of the sermon on the Mount, which according to Luke, were delivered on different occasions. On the other hand, Luke, by a stange prolepsis, connects the death of the Baptist with the commencement of his public ministry. It is now nearly agreed among harmonists, that from the twentysecond verse of the fourth chapter, to the thirteenth of the fourteenth chapter, Matthew has departed from true chronological order, in which aberration, he has not been followed by any of the other Evangelists.
From the most accurate account of the times in which the different Gospels were published, we can form the most reasonable conjecture concerning the comparative accuracy of their chronological order. As the three first Gospels were published during the life time of some of the apostles, there would be time and opportunity to correct mistakes, and each Evangelist would naturally improve, by the previous publication of the other. Now as the most accurate criticism confirms the most ancient testimony, that Matthew wrote first, and Mark last of the three, it follows, as an indisputable fact, that Mark is the most accurate, and Matthew the most negligent historian.
The chief step towards the construction of a regular chronological history from the four Evangelists, is to ascertain the number of passovers, which happened between the baptism and crucifixion of Christ. The early christian fathers held that our Lord's public ministry lasted only one year, during which he attended two passovers : but Eusebius first discovered notices of four passovers, in the Gospel of John; and Sir Isaac Newton and Joseph Scaliger were so great improvers of the calendars as to descry even a fifth, whilst Tatian, Comester, Ludolphus, Burmann, and Priestley have not been able to perceive more than two passovers, mentioned in the second and thirteenth chapters. The opinion, therefore, of Eusebius, Newton, and Sealiger, being unsupported by any testimony, either scriptural or ecclesiastic, must be rejected.
A second source of information concerning the chronological order of the Evangelical History, arises from attention to our Master's discourses. Sir Isaac Newton and Archbishop Newcome, have showni, that our Lord made frequent allusions to present and surrounding objects. Hence they conclude, that it was winter, when, passing through Samaria, he said, four months and then comes the barvest; Seed time when he pronounced the parable of the sower; and spring when he delivered the sermon on the Mount and alluded to the lilies and grass of the field.
THE TRANSLATION. In attempting a new version of the sacred Text, I have not been induced to deviate from the received English translation through dislike or desire of innovation, but as far as possible, I have carefully endeavoured to ascertain the original words of the Evangelists. To this end I have had continually before me, both the Halle and London editions of Griesbach, the editions of Wetstein and Bengel, and the Ancient Syriac and Latin Vulgate.
Whilst translating, I have studiously avoided the extremes of a mere verbal and loose paraphrastic version, being desirous of exhibiting the spirit of the original, without redundance or deficiency of words. Moreover as a strictly literal rendering of idiomatical phrases, is subversive of the sense of an author, care has been taken to discover the Hebrew or Hellenistic idioms, and to give their literal sense, agreeably to the genius of the En. glish language. For this purpose, continual reference has been made to the best writers on Biblical Hermeneutics, and to the translations of Wakefield, Campbell, Beza, Beausobre, and De Sacy.
The frequent recurrence of particles which, in the original, are often merely expletive, has been carefully obviated, or that di. versity of signification, of which they are susceptible in the Greek, has been observed in this translation : and when I have had occasion to encounter the delicate task of forming oe narrative out of two or three, such phraseology has been adopted, as combines, as nearly as possible, the very words of the sacred writers, without addition or retrenchment.