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OUR LORD'S CONDUCT
A DIVINE INSTRUCTOR:
HIS MORAL CHARACTER.
WILLIAM NEWCOME, D.D.
LATE ARCHBISHOP OF ARMAGH.
A NEW EDITION.
AT THE UNIVERSITY PRESS.
THE following work is designed to assist speculative inquiry and pious meditation: it proposes to the lover of truth and goodness the doctrines of Christ in their native simplicity; and his character, as it arises from facts recorded by the evangelists: it states those evidences for our Lord's divine mission to which he himself appealed: and it contains a discussion of many difficulties relating both to the phraseology and to the subject-matter of the gospel history.
My quotations from the evangelical writers are large; and the distribution of my subject requires that the same passage should be placed in different lights. My reader will hence derive the benefit of reviewing, in a great measure, those inestimable writings which furnish my materials; and of thus becoming more conversant with the most important part of the most important book. Though in these extracts I have made the English version my groundwork, I have freely departed from it; not indeed with the strict and uniform attention of a translator, but as it occasionally seemed to admit of improvement. For notwithstanding its intrinsic merit, which we cannot but think extraordinary when we consider the age in which it was produced, every competent judge will acknowledge that
a sober and accurate revisal of it would essentially serve the cause of religion; as it would facilitate and recommend a perusal and study of the scriptures, many parts of which at present abound with invincible difficulties to the English reader.
It should be constantly recollected that the doctrines and precepts which our Lord himself delivered do not constitute the whole of what his religion teaches on any particular subject. It is true, that to every serious Christian they must appear peculiarly authoritative and affecting: but the words of Christ's inspired disciples rest on the same divine authority with his own: and the discoveries of God's perfections, and the general lessons of religion and morality, which occur in the Hebrew scriptures, are parts of that grand system which Christianity invites all mankind to embrace.
In the prosecution of my present subject many learned and excellent men have gone before me. The industry of some has comprehended the whole of our Lord's history; while the object of others has coincided with my own, in exhibiting to their readers only select parts.
Bishop Taylor's "Exemplar of Sanctity in the History of Christ" is a pious, eloquent, and learned work a: but, notwithstanding much weighty instruction, and occasional emanations of a sublime genius, its diffuse and digressive manner is alone sufficient to disgust readers of no very fastidious taste.
The sketches of our Lord's life by Dupin', Cal
a This book has gone through many editions.
b The Life of our blessed Saviour Jesus Christ, &c. Written
mete, Tillemont, Le Clerce, Lenfant and Beausobre, the Abbé de St. Reals, and Baileyh, are recitals, paraphrases, or abridgments of the four Gospels; and they furnish explications of the text, sometimes interwoven with the narration, and sometimes subjoined in notes.
Stackhouse's History of the Bible contains a copious and useful life of Christ, with dissertations, notes, and replies to objections.
Dr. Benson's Life of Christk consists of discourses or dissertations on important subjects or difficult passages in the Gospels; but death prevented the laborious, learned, and judicious author from perfecting his comprehensive design. There is an excellent remark in the Introduction to this work1; "That if the several hints of things of the like kind (which occur in the Gospels) be faithfully collected together, and considered in one view, they give such a light and lustre to one another, as to make the life of Christ appear to amazing advantage." This author's method, of reducing under distinct heads detached and similar circumstances in our Lord's history, is like collecting scattered rays to a
c Prefixed to his Commentary lected by Caleb Bailey, esq. 1732.
on the Gospels.
d Histoire Ecclésiastique; tome prem. 120. 1706. Bruxelles.
e Historia Ecclesiastica. 4o. Amst. 1716.
Abrégé de l'Histoire Evangélique prefixed to their New
The narration is a compound text of the four Evangelists, in the words of the English ver
i London, 2 vols. fol. 1752. k London, 4o. 1764. Printed for Waugh. Page 2.