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SIMPLIFIED GOSPEL HARMONY.
THE FOUR INSPIRED NARRATIVES OF OUR
LORD'S LIFE AND MINISTRY ;
IN THE COLUMNAR STRUCTURE AND THE WORDS OF THE AUTHORIZED VERSION,
WITHOUT OMISSION, ADDITION, OR ALTERATION;
FOLLOWING MAINLY, AND WELL NIGH EXCLUSIVELY,
THE CHRONOLOGICAL AND GEOGRAPHICAL ORDER OF GRESSWELL'S HARMONY
OF THE GOSPELS IN GREEK ;
DIVIDED SO AS TO BE USED IN CONCERT WITH ANY OF THE
THE SIMPLIFIED GOSPEL HARMONY is the result of an attempt to supply the want—which has been painfully felt through years of Bible Class experience—of a cheap and lucid arrangement of the Four Inspired Narratives, that may suit the means and capacity of the humblest readers, teachers, AND CHILDREN.
For the many imperfections—which the discerning eye will doubtless observe-in" the result," it is hoped that the plea, of an unpractised hand having done its best from pure motives, will avail with the candid; and if the necessity—which has been assumed-for
attempt ” should prove to be imaginary, it is certain that the error will be effectually corrected by the public.
The assuming confession to a degree of sympathy with the temptation to embrace the opportunity here afforded for expressing certain views on the general subject of GOSPEL HARMONIES, is perhaps, in some measure, redeemed by its ingenuousness ; but, probably, the above two sentences of timorous address to the great world are sagely "few,” as, not improbably, the second co-extensive address will be “ far between."
One remark, however, seems indispensable. Gospel Harmonies appear,” to some minds, “to be of doubtful value," principally, we presume, because the juxta-position form, more conspicuously than some others, displays the discrepancies which occasionally seem to occur between the statements of two or more Evangelists ; hence the prudence of bringing books on this class of Biblical literature within the reach of juvenile hands is imagined to be questionable. Now, it is admitted that the species of designs," without note or comment"-in which the “Simplified Harmony" ranks, is assailed by the full force of this objection. The following is a part of the answer:-1. The text of a faithful Harmony shows not one more discrepancy than may be seen in the same words when read in the form of the authorized version. 2. The use of a Harmony gains far more to the credit of Inspiration, by exhibiting the beaụty and accuracy of the great and essential body of the four records, than is lost by affording the means to detect a few apparent disagreements in non-essential details. 3. As to the very-rarely-occurring discordances themselves, in a great preponderance of cases the inspired text alone, when collated by the Harmony, suggests in a moment a more natural and unanswerable solution than is afforded by the usual "explanations " of uninspired pens. 4. A main constituent in the purpose of all Gospel Harmonists is so to distribute the various compositions of Holy Writ, as, by the very ar. rangement, to reconcile seeming differences; therefore the difficulties totally cleared away by the Harmony are much greater in number than those which it discovers. 5. In preparing the following plan, our intense desire to present the words of God the Son and God the Holy Ghost in their own pure and lucid aspect, would not consent to intermingle any other matter, of whatsoever species, rigidly rejecting even "solutions of difficulties;" yet this subject has not been lost sight of, and in the headings of paragraphs. a word or two will often be found to supply the most approved method of relieving an embarrassment. (For example, see page 87, par. 1 and 2 ; page 121, par. 2 and 4; and page 123, par. 11 and 12.) 6. With a Harmony or without one, those who read the Scriptures for a sceptical object will search for inconsistencies, till, in fancy, they have found them; but the humble reader, with a pious purpose, will search for deliverance from perplexity till he really obtains it. 7. The Bible never suffered, on the whole, from its foes by their allegation of verbal contradictions ; but the over-anxious attempt to conceal such inaccuracies may tempt certain classes of its friends to suspect that such quibbles are real and immoveable obstacles.
The ruling purpose of the plan described below, and exemplified in the ensuing work, is to interweave the four inspired records of Our Lord's Life and Ministry so as to present ONE WHOLE NARRATIVE,-intelligible, attractive, and, so far as scriptural materials are concerned, perfect; but at the same time to conserve the ENTIRE ACCOUNT AND EXACT WORDS OF EACH EVANGELIST, and that without interpolation, diminution, or transposition. Just as the harmony of sound is produced by the skilful distribution of several distinct melodies, so a complete harmony of the evangelical records must make the four identical, yet keep each one distinct.
'1. The four Gospels are divided into one hundred Sections, and the Sections into four hundred and thirty-nine Paragraphs. The Great Outline of all Evangelical truth, with which Saint John opens his Narrative, is placed as the General Introduction.
2. Where only one Evangelist records the event, his matter is in two equal columns, divided by a perpendicular line, with the writer's name over it. If two Evangelists give an account of the same transaction, two columns appear, divided by a space without a line, and the name of each writer over his own column. If three Evangelists contribute to the record embraced in a given paragraph, three columns are seen,
divided by spaces without lines, and the name of each Narrator over his own composition. When the four Evangelists unite their testimony, four columns are presented, similarly divided and identified.
3. The most lengthy and circumstantial account in each paragraph—whichever Gospel may supply it-is invariably placed on the left of the page ; so that by reading that column, section after section the book throughout, the most copious CONTINUOUS HISTORY that can be secured, without mutilation of the holy text, is rendered as accessible and used with as much facility as if it stood alone.
4. The small capitals in the second column will display at a glance the matter that is supplementary to the first and main account; the capitals in the third column exhibit the matter which is additional to the two preceding; and those in the fourth show what circumstances have been omitted by the former three.
5. The Geography appears to the right of the heading of each section; the Historical and Chronological Index will be found at the end of the volume.