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VERSION OF THE NEW TESTAMENT;
A PRACTICAL IMPROVEMENT OF EACH SECTION.
IN SIX VOLUMES.
VOLUME SECOND, CONTAININO THE LATTER PART OF
THE HISTORY OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST,
AS RECORDED BY THE FOUR EVANGELISTS.
DISPOSED IN THE ORDER OF AN HARMONY.
BY P. DODDRIDGE, D. Da
TO WHICH IS PREFIXED,
A LIFE OF THE AUTHOR,
Sint Scripturæ tuæ deliciæ meæ ! Nec decipiar in eis, nec decipiam ex eis !
FROM THE EIGHTH LONDON EDITION.
ETHERIDGE AND COMPANY, IN BOSTON.
THE publication of this second volume of the FAMILY EXPOSITOR hath been delayed so long, beyond my own ex. pectation, and that of my friends, that it may perhaps seem necessary to introduce it with an apology for that delay. But it would be tedious to enumerate a variety of circumstances which have concurred to occasion it. It is generally known, that the unusual severity of the last winter laid a kind of embargo on the press; and they that are at all acquainted with the business of printing, will easily apprehend, that under the most faithful and careful direction, a work of considerable bulk is liable to many other interruptions, even where the manuscript is entirely finished before the impression is begun. But after all, the chief reason why this hath been published no sooner, is (what I hope my subscribers will easily excuse) the large addition I have made of more than fifty sheets to the hundred which I was by the proposals obliged to deliver.
On the mention of this, I think myself obliged to renew my thanks to those, who, by honouring me with their names and encouragement on this occasion, have put it into my power to publish the work with such improvements; and shall think my. self happy, if those improvements, however laborious and expensive to the author, may render it more acceptable and useful to them.
The tables prefixed to the first volume are included in this, and represent the disposition of the harmony in so clear a view, that by comparing them together it would not be difficult to find any particular text. But a deference to the request of some of the subscribers, engaged me to add another table at the end of this volume (of the same kind with that in Mr. Bonnel's Harmony,) which will at once direct both to the section and page where any verse may presently be found.
I cannot pretend so much as to conjecture when the remainder of my undertaking will be completed. I shall however proceed in it as fast as my health and other affairs will permit. In the mean time, I think it necessary to observe, that I have, by the advice of some considerate and judicious friends, deferred the
index, and some other things which I intended to have thrown into an appendix here, till I have finished what I am preparing on the Acts ; that so they may stand, as they very properly will, at the end of the historical books of the New Testament.
How far the subscribers to these two volumes may think it proper to encourage the rest, must be referred to themselves. In the mean time, as that must be exceeding precarious which depends on the continuance of one man's life and health, I would desire permission here to take leave of my friends, at least for the present, with such a serious address as may be the most substantial expression of my sincere gratitude and respect.
I should have thought, my honoured friends, that I had made you a very unworthy return for this public token of your regard to me, if I had offered you merely an amusement, though ever so critical and polite. It had been much better, on both sides, that the work should never have been undertaken or perused, than that these Divine authors should be treated like a set of profane classics ; or that the sacred and momentous transactions they relate should be handled and read like an invented tale, or a common history. I have often reminded myself of it, and permit me now, Sirs, solemnly to remind you, that these are the memoirs of the holy Jesus, the Saviour of sinful men, whom to know is life eternal, and whom to neglect is everlasting destruction. We have here the authentic records of that gospel which was intended as the great medicine for our souls ; of that character which is our pattern ; of that death which is our ransom ; of Him, in short, whose name we bear as we are professed Christians, and before whose tribunal we are all shortly to appear, that our eternal existence may be determined, blissful, or miserable, according to our regard to what he has taught, and done, and endured. Let not the greatest therefore think it beneath their notice ; nor the meanest imagine, that, amidst all the most necessary cares and labours, they can find any excuse for neglecting, or even for postponing it.
Had I not been fully convinced of the certainty and importance of Christianity, I should not have determined to devote my whole life to its service (for on the principles of natural religion, I know the soul to be immortal, and should expect nothing but its ruin in the ways of the most sanctified fraud :) but as I am thus convinced, I must make it my humble request to every one that enters on the perusal of these volumes, that they
may, for a little while at least, be the employment of his retired hours ; and that as he proceeds from one section to another, he would pause and reflect, “ Whose words do I hear? Whose actions do I survey? Whose sufferings do I contemplate?” And ás all must know they are the words, the actions, and the sufferings of Jesus the Son of God, our supreme Lord, and our final Judge, let it be farther and very seriously inquired in what degree the obrious and confessed design of the glorious gospel has been practically regarded and complied with: “Can I, in my heart, think that I am a disciple whom such a Master will approve, and whom he will choose for his attendant in that world of glory to which he is not gone?” Let the plainness of this advice be forgiven ; for such is the temper and conduct of most who call themselves Christians, that, if this religion be true, their cold and unaffecting knowledge of the history of Christ, and of the pur. poses of his appearance, will only serve to furnish out matter for eternal selfaccusation and remorse : and he is, at best, but a learned and polite infidel who would not rather be the instrument of conducting the lowest creature, capable of reading or hearing these lines, to the saving knowledge of a crucified Redeemer, than fill the most refined nation with his own applause, while the grace of the Saviour is forgotten, or his service neglected.
I have yet one farther request to add to those of my readers who are heads of families; which is, that they would please to remember the title of the work, and consider it as chiefly intended, in its most essential parts, for a Family Expositor. I heartily rejoice in the reason which I have to hope, that, low as our religious character is fallen in these degenerate days, acts of domestic worship are yet performed by multitudes of Christians of various denominations : yet I cannot but fear, that the scriptures are not so constantly read at such seasons as they formerly were; an omission which must be to the great detriment both of children and servants. One would think, that those who believe the Divine authority of Scripture, and its infinite importance, should be easily prevailed upon to restore this useful exercise, at least for one part of the day; and I would hope, that what I here offer them may render it more agreeable and useful. It would give me inexpressible delight to find that this is the case in those families with which I am most intimately acquainted ; and would be an encouragement to hope this work may be proportionably useful in places and times to which neither my observation nor intelligence can extend.