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Most Reverend Father in GOD,
May it please Your Grace,
HO I have ventur’d to prefix Your Grace's Name
to the following Book, yet my design is not, like
others, to swell a Dedication with an Encomium of the subject matter of it, or the Virtues of the Patron to whom 'cis offer'd. For should I attempt to recommend the Gospels, I should be doubly frustrated in the Undertaking, since I could never be able to express their true Worth: and all I could say would be needless to the Christian Reader ; but efpecially to so Religious a Prelate, who is well known to have spent the greatest part of his time in the study of them. Whilft I was compiling this my Harmony, I was so struck with admiration of the excellent Discourses of fesus, so inflam'd with Love of his most Holy Doctrin, chat methoughts I but just then be gan to be acquainted with what I scarce ever laid out of my hands from my Infancy. The Works of Men, how ever exquisite and perfect in their kind, have their Faults and Blemishes, which are: eafily discernable upon a strict examination, altho they are wone to escape a transient View;
whereas'cis che peculiar Privilege of these Divine Writings, that the more they are examin'd, and the better Light they are plac'd in, the more admirable they appear to all fincere Lovers of Truth.
And now, should I enlarge upon Your Grace's Learning and Eloquence, and the exemplary discharge of Your Sacred Function, the Repecition would not be displeasing, but certainly unnecessary to those who have bin so often inform’d of them, and which your own Modesty would rather have me pass by in silence.
Should I plead, co excuse the trouble I now give You, that I owe You this Publick Acknowledgment for the Favour You have done me, in fignifying char You do not disapprove my Labours, Your Grace has bin so general a Promoter and Encourager of Learning, that You might expect very many Addresses of this nacure ; bue chere is a much better way of expresling a just sense of Favors receiv’d, and I will no longer crespass upon your Grace's Pacience in this. That God would grant You a fteddy Course of Health, chat You may long continue a Patron of Learning, and the Ornament, not of Your Country alone, but che whole Christian World, whose Eyes have now for some time bin turn'd cowards England, shall be the hearty Prayers of,
May it please Your Grace,
and obedient Servant,
4. Le Clerc,
R E A D E R.
HILE I was lately bufied in translating into Latin Dr. Hammond upon the New Testament, it frequently came into my
mind that there was yet wanting a convenient Harmony of the Gospels, which might be of use to those who apply themselves to the study of the Holy Scriptures. I found by experience
, that without such an alistance it was impossible for a man with the utmost at. tention of mind so to remember the Series of the Narrations in the Gospels, and compare the several Relations of the Evangelifts together, as to have a clear and distinct Notion of them; and that this was not to be remedied by the greatest diligence of Commentators, while the Gospels continued to be read in the order they were written and publish’d. I know
well that there have appeared fever al Harmonies of the Gospels in this and the last Century, but none of them that I have seen is without these two very great Inconveniencies: First, the Learned Editors of them contented themselves with exhibiting to our
view in distinct Columns, the Actions and Discourses that were alike
in the several Evangelists, without regard to Chronology and the Time when they were performd ; and some of them quite omitted St. John, as wholly useless to their purpose, from whom alone nevertheless we are able to distinguish the Years of Christ's Miniftry. And secondly, those Harmonies were cumbred with tedious Commentaries, no way to be compar’d with the modern Annotations, and which moreover did not shew us the connexion and dependance of one Story upon
another. Neither was the Text of the Gospels well dispos’d, and we are forcéd to read the words several times over before we can perceive wherein they agree and in what they differ ; so that upon the whole I did not think them of so great use as they might have been made, and I will’d that some one or other would set about this task: but having waited a long time in vain, I attempted it my self, and having compos’d the
Harmony of the Text, I added a Paraphrase to explain the meaning of the Words and the connexion of the Text. My design in it, and the Method I prescrib'd to my self, is the subject of the second Dissertation at the end of the Book. I persuade my self I have avoided those Inconveniencies which I noted in the other Harmonies, and have all along taken what care I could not to indulge my self in making Conjectures. I have added two other Dissertations, the one concerning the Chronology of Christ, and the other concerning the Evangelists: in the former I have fixed the Year of Christ's Nativity, having followed in this particalar the Sentiments of several very Learned Men, so as to leave the matter without dispute. In the latter I have prov'd the Genuinness of the Gospels, and the antient Custom of their being read in publick, by Testimonies
of the greatest Antiquity, in opposition to what Mr. Dodwel has advanced in his Dissertations on Irenæus. Now tho I do not think I have made any considerable "Error as to the main, yet in some particulars 'tis possible I have committed some Mistakes, which I will correct as soon as I am advis'd of them; but if any one sball only rail at me, or detract
from my good Name, he is not to expect'l shall contend with him at those Weapons. If it be most convenient I will hold my peace; and make no reply, unless it may be of some benefit to the impartial Lovers of Truth.
HE Author's Supplement to Dr. Hammond's Paraphrase and Annotaimportant Passages is freely and impartially examind, and the Sacred Text further explain'd, by new Remarks upon every Chapter : in 4°. is Printed for Sam. Buckley, in St. Paul's Church-yard.