« PreviousContinue »
HE 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
. It is generally known, that the unusual Severity of the late 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 Reafon, why this hath been published no sooner, is (what I hope my Subfcribers will easily excuse,) the large Addition I have made to what was at first prepared and promised: Instead of an Hundred Sheets, they are bere presented with an Hundred and Fifty-eight; so that all beyond the 196.th Page of this Second Volume is more than what I was by the Proposals obliged to deliver.
On the Mention of this, I think myself obliged to renew my Thanks to those, wbo, by honouring me with their Names and Encouragement on this Occafion, have put it into my power to publish the Work with such Improvements;
and shall think myself 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 concluded in this, and represent the Disposition of the Harmony in so clear a View, that by compare ing 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,
P R E F A C E. add another Table at the End of this Volume, (of the fame Kind with that in Mr. Bonnel's Harmony,) which will at once direct, both to the Section, and the Page, where any Verse may presently be found.
1 cannot pretend so much as to conjecture, when the Remainder of my Undertaking will be compleated. I shall however proceed in it, as fast as my Health and other Affairs will permit. In the mean Time, I think it nécessary 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 finiflied 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 defire Permission bere 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 publick Token of your Regard to me, if I had offered you merely an Amusement, tho' ever so critical and polite.
It bad been much better, on both sides, that the Work Jould never bave been undertaken or perused, than that these Divine Authors should be treated like a Set of Profane Classicks; 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, folemnly to remind you, that these are the Memoirs of the Holy JESUS, the Saviour of finful Men, whom to know is Life eternal, and whom to neglect is everlasting Destruction. We have here the Authentick 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 necesary 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 fanctified Fraud :) But as I am thus convinced, I must make it my
PRE FACE. 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, be would pause and reflect, Whole Words do I bear? Whose Actions do “ I survey? Whose Sufferings do I contemplate ?” And as all must know, they are the Words, the Actions, and the Sufferings of JESUS the Son of GOD, our fupreme Lord, and our final Judge, let it be farther, and very seriously enquired, in what Degree the obvious and confeljed 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 be will chufe for his Attendant “ in that World of Glory to which he is now 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 Purposes of his Appearance, will only serve to furnisout Matter for eternal Self
Accufation 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 bearing 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 bis 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 effential Parts, for a Family Expositor. I beartily rejoice in the Reason" which I have to hope, that, low as our Religious Character is fallen in these degenerate Days, Axts of Domestick 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 Omishon, 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.
I shall conclude this Preface, with my hearty Prayers, that, weak and imperfe&t as these Labours are, the Divine Blessing may every where, and always attend them; and that it may rest on all who have patronized them, and on all who shall peruse them! May every Prejudice against the Truth
P R E F A CE. of Christianity, or against its Power, be vanquished! May the most Insena fible Minds be awakened to attend to Religion, and may the Weak and Languishing be animated to press on to greater Attainments in it! May those that are preparing for the Service of the Sanctuary, (as every Part of this Performance is their Concern,) be by every part of it more abundantly furnished for the various Duties of their important Office ! And may thojé, who are as yet but Babes in Knowledge, thro' the Divine Blessing, grow by that sincere Milk of the Word, which is bere presented, as I trust
, in its genuine Simplicity! In a Word, may many Persons, Families, and larger Societies receive devout Pleasure, and solid lafting Improvement ; that the great GOD, of whom and thro' whom are all Things, may in all be glorified, thro' Jesus Christ our Lord, who in all the Sacred Vólumes, and especially here, is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last, to whom be everlasting Honour, Love, and Obedience! Amen.
VOL. I. Pag. 45. Note (F) 1.10. r. (Antiq. lib. x. cap. 6. (a., 8.) 5. 3. Edit
. rMat. x. . VOL. II. Pag. 265. Paraphr. I. 15. r. Mat. xvii. 22. Pag. 267. Not. I. 3. r. (Acts Pag. 268. Not. 1. penult. a Comma after Words Pag. 272. Text, l. 7. 1. XVIII. 39. Pag. 275. Not. (f) a Period after illic Pag. 279. Text, v. 17. a Comma after him Pag. 280. Par. 1. 27. would r. wouldīt Pag. 281. Par. l. I. r. who might Pag. 283. Text, l. 4. dele Comma after Lazarus, Pag. 284. Not. (c) 1. 3. r. Thewn,) Pag. 286. Not. I. 2.1. Tautology,) Pag. 559. Text, l. 16. r. XXVII. 38. Pag. 563. Text, 1. 15. r. XIX. 19.