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The Holy Gospels contain the history of our Lord and Saviour who shed His blood on the cross for our salvation. The narrative handed down to us is only brief, “ but if all He did should be written, not even the world itself would contain the books that should be written.” But sufficient has been recorded to prove to us, that He was the Christ, the Messiah, the only begotten Son of God, who came to fulfil God's law, and offer Himself a sacrifice for the sins of the world, “that whosoever believeth on Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” His agony in the garden of Gethsamene, His betrayal and sufferings on the cross, are faithfully and minutely portrayed. With what devout contemplation should we regard Him who laid down His life, that we might be saved from Hell, and thus obtained for us, and promised to give us happiness, and glory with Him in Heaven. What an unspeakable mercy, to be rescued from devils and from sinners, to live with Jesus and His holy saints, without end. May all that love the Scriptures be clothed with the beautiful garments of salvation, that they may not be found in their own raiment at the wedding feast, and be cast into outer darkness. Let each word of the Holy Gospel be eagerly learnt, with prayer to God that of His loving kindness and tender mercy He will engrave on our hearts as with a pen of iron on lead, each warning, and each blessing and promise, every truth and doctrine contained in it. The beauty and simplicity of the Gospels, charm every unprejudiced heart. We should read them often, and each time with more attention, that the faithful portrait of His character, who was chief among ten thousand and altogether lovely, may excite admiration and love in our hearts, and self-denying devotion to His cause. Let faith and love precede virtue ; let good
works manifest the fruits of the Holy Spirit, whom our Saviour has promised to send to His disciples, to lead them into all truth.
The following pages contain a continuous narrative of our Saviour's life on earth from the four Gospels, and in the words of the authorized version. The “ Harmonia Evangelica,” by Greswell, has been followed, with one or two exceptions. It is hoped that it may tend to give younger students a clear idea of the History; and as the chapters from which any paragraph is taken are marked at the beginning of each section, they can refer to their Bibles for the full account of each Gospel. The Harmonia Evangelica is arranged in parallel columns, and line for line, so that where any word or line occurs in one Gospel more than another, it is seen at one view. In this volume, the narrative is continuous from the four Gospels, without putting in two words of the same meaning, but different, but never omitting an additional line. Several Tables and Indices have been added, which will make the Book complete in itself, as a handbook for the study of the Gospel History.
Having the Bible, we need only our plain natural understanding to comprehend its contents; by reference from one part to another the Scriptures explain themselves, and every true doctrine taught in the Church of Christ may
be proved thereby “ The Bible and nothing but the Bible is the religion of Protestants.” In the Bible are revealed, the nature and attributes of God; the character and prospects of man, and the great work of man's Redemption. All these things can be as plainly understood, as another book, by the light of our natural understanding. But spiritually to discern them, to feel the exceeding sinfulness of sin, and
repent of it, to feel the need of a Saviour, and to flee to Him for safety ; to partake of the benefits of His death and passion, and be united to Him as the living Head ; to bring forth holy fruits, love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance,--this is the gift of the Holy Spirit alone, and is of the grace of God. “By grace are ye saved through faith and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man shall boast, for we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
“Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God." The preaching of faithful ministers adds many to the Church who shall be saved ; let us most diligently wait on them, devoutly praying for God's blessing on them and their preaching, that eloquence and power may be given them in delivering the message of salvation, and that their holy lives may exemplify the doctrine taught.
But let us never neglect the daily reading of God's word in the closet and family. “Search the Scriptures” should be our motto, “for in them ye think ye have eternal life, and they are they which testify of me." The study of the 119th Psalm would be a profitable exercise for every young christian ; that especially, and all the Psalms teach us the true spirit of a servant of God, and the awful state of those that rebel against Him.
We should remember in reading the Holy Gospels, that our Saviour is the living head of His Church; that though invisible to the natural eye, by the eye of faith we behold Him who was despised and rejected of men, sitting on the right hand of God, interceding for His people. By faith
which is the gift of God, we are united to Him, become one with Christ and Christ with us, He dwelleth in us, we are clothed with Christ ; of his fulness we receive and advance from grace to grace.
Let us bear in mind His living presence in humility on earth, His exalted glory in Heaven, His invitation to sinners to come to Him, and the terror of His wrath when coming to judge those that reject His kingdom. “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill towards men.