« AnteriorContinua »
to follow him and he will be still more perplexed, if, as usually happens, (since the expense of the work restricts it to a few,) he is perusing a single narrative in the common translation. The Editor, having frequently felt and regretted this inconvenience, has prepared the present volume, which embodies a careful study of the Harmonized Gospels. Nothing has been intentionally omitted: and the Reader may now have at one view all that the Evangelists have recorded.
A Work of this nature is attended with peculiar difficulties, for which those who have made similar compilations for their own use will be the first to make allowance.* begs to refer any who are interested in the subject to the Introductory Essay, in which he states the principles by which he has been guided.
The pleasure which the Editor has felt in promoting his Father's most cherished object, has been increased, by sharing his 'cheerful hope' that he may thus 'aid others in the contemplation, and lead some to the dutiful study of the work and character of him, whom to know, as we may know, is to love and to revere.'t
May 7th, 1851.
*The Editor may be allowed to express his obligations to his brother, who whilst printing this work at his private press, has contributed many valuable suggestions.
Harmony: Preface, p. vii. Dr. C. frequently expressed his intention of printing a Monotessaron founded on the Harmony; and would doubtless have done so, had his life been spared him.
ALL who derive their ideas of our Saviour from the Gospels, perform, perhaps unconsciously and imperfectly, what it is the object of the present Work to accomplish in accurate detail: for the Life of Christ which their memory retains, is not a copy of any single record, but a combination of them all. There is, however, a peculiarity in the Biographies of Jesus, which has preserved them till the time, when, from their universal diffusion, their separate existence is not periled by any attempt to blend them in a harmonious narrative: the Evangelists wrote less as historians, than as disciples; and whilst the first three Gospels, which record most of the events, present a remarkable accordance in their descriptions, and unanimity in their impressions, they vary much in their arrangement. proposition, that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,' is not affected by the order in which his credentials were manifested, or the number of feasts which he attended at Jerusalem nor do we need, in the records of eternal life, such details of the lapse of time, as might be inscribed upon a tombstone.
If we had only one Gospel, we might have supposed that we knew the exact sequence of events: another Gospel adds to our knowledge, and teaches us our ignorance. Many learned men have attempted accurately to arrange our Lord's words and deeds; yet the diversity of the Evangelists is less than that of their Commentators,-a diversity which must convince the investigator for dates, that no result he may attain will be indisputable. When however we bring together the records of the same event by the several Evangelists, we derive a unity and fulness of conception, from their accordance and their variety and since they are now the property of all time, we need not delay their meeting, till we can decide whether it shall be on Matthew's day, or Luke's; if indeed we can be certain what day is Matthew's or Luke's.
Harmonies of the Gospels, founded on various theories, are very numerous. Dr. Carpenter's, which is the basis of the present Volume, preserves in a remarkable degree the order of the two Apostles, Matthew and John.*
Monotessarons † founded on Harmonies, have been published in Greek, Latin, and other languages. The only two in English, unconnected with any commentary, which the Editor possesses, are "The Acts of the Days of the Son of Man, (on the principle of S. Lieberkuhn,) 1771;" and "The Four Gospels combined, 1850: but these works, which are compiled with great care, are conducted on different principles from his own, ‡ and are in the words of the common version.
Dr. Carpenter found that it was necessary for the purposes of a Harmony to revise the translation, following the text of Griesbach. There are cases where the Greek word may be rendered by either of two or three English words: the Translator may give different ones, in the different Gospels, where the original is the same in each case : or, on the other hand, may give the same, whilst the originals vary and this may be of no importance, till the reader collate the passages, to discover their coincidences, when he is liable to be deceived. Whilst it would be rash to assert that Dr. C's translation is entirely faultless in this respect; it may be safely affirmed, that it has been prepared with great attention and learning for this very purpose. It may even err at times on the side of extreme literalness; but it may not be a matter of regret, in a work like the present, which will be studied for information, that the mind should be roused by an unwonted phrase: for some who read in a version familiar to them from childhood, lament that, whilst their spiritual affections are gratified by the well-known words, their very familiarity sometimes lulls the reason, and indisposes it to inquire into their exact import. The Editor does not always accord in the translation, or punctuation; but in a Work designed to represent the Harmony, he deem
"The Ministry of Christ," by Rev. T. B. Fox, of Boston, U. S. (3rd Ed.) follows the order of Dr. C's Harmony; but as this useful work is designed for Sunday Schools, some portions, not of a narrative character, are omitted; and no attempt is made to harmonize the parallel passages.
ed it improper to depart from it, unless fully persuaded that it was erroneous. One or two apparent oversights he has corrected in the notes, where he has also given Dr. C's marginal renderings.
The arrangement of the Harmony has been copied, with such trifling alterations, indicated in their place, as the peculiar character of a Monotessaron seemed to require. The Reader is referred to the notes in the Harmony, and to the Preliminary Dissertations, for the grounds on which Dr. C. based his decisions. The Editor having a general accordance with the principles on which that work is founded, is disinclined, without any positive reasons for preference, to alter an order at which his Father arrived after earnest and candid study continued through more than half his life: especially as the present Work is less designed to give an exact idea of the sequence of events, than to show these events themselves by the combined light of the Gospels.
From the great brevity and simplicity of their style, and the strictness with which the Evangelists keep from all digressions of their own, the combination of the Gospels is comparatively easy. It would be hard to conceive such a union of four modern biographies, without some connecting phrases; yet though this Narrative is composed of upwards of 1600 portions, exclusive of the notes, it has been only necessary to supply a word in about 30 cases: these words are of a similar character to those required in a translation, and, like them, are distinguished by Italics. Adherence to the letter does not indeed secure the preservation of the sense for the meaning may be entirely changed by an altered collocation of the words; and a connecting particle may be divorced from its original position, to join expressions, to one of which it has no reference: this danger has been perceived, and, it is hoped, avoided.
It has not been the Editor's aim to give such a Biography, as he might himself form, by selecting from the words of scripture; but, if possible, to embrace in the narrative all that the Gospels have told us. Sometimes therefore a redundancy of style may be perceived, and the more diffuse account may occupy the place of one more elegantly concise. No care has been taken to avoid a change of tense, for this is observable in the separate records. In circumstances where the utterance would be broken by intensity of feeling,
a disjointed sentence seemed admissible: and when many persons are represented as exclaiming together, the different cries given in the several Evangelists have been all recorded, as perhaps representing those of different individuals.
As the Notes are a peculiarity of this Monotessaron, they may require some explanation. In many translations of the New Testament, the renderings of former scholars are retained for reference: and in critical editions of ancient works, the various readings of the copyists, however minute, are preserved. It seemed therefore undesirable that the selection of the words of one Evangelist should preclude the others from notice; and experience has convinced the Editor, that there are cases where, but for such notes, the Compiler would either omit variations which are suggestive and important; or, would force into discordant combination, words which have no inherent connection; or, would interweave them in such a way as to alter the sense of all, in order to make all appear accordant. Passages, or words, are preserved in the notes of this Volume, either because they could not be embodied in the narrative, without some explanatory sentence, which the nature of the work precludes; or, on the contrary, because, though different in form, the thought is the same, and the insertion would involve a tautology; or, because they convey another shade of meaning, or seem to explain the word given in the text; or, because the words of the speaker are somewhat differently reported; or, very rarely, because, if the same fact is in the minds of the writers, there is a diversity in their recollections of it. The particular reason that has weighed with the Editor in each respective instance, he leaves to the judgment of the Reader.
A three-fold cord is not easily broken; and the confidence of most men in a fact is increased, when they know that they have independent testimonies for it. There is such a similarity in the general style of the three first Gospels, contrasted at least with books now in use, and there appears so much in common, that ordinary readers have overlooked their individuality. The Editor may remark that, whilst he had read through the Harmony several times, he had never so strong a feeling that we have indeed four witnesses, as now that he has studied them to see how their testimony was to be united. The notes, whilst they record