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Hearts of our Princes, our Parliaments, our Clergy, and our People!
My Lord! The Pleasure I do my Self in mentioning what the World allows to be but a Piece of Justice due to You, must not draw me to forget the Discharge of a Higher Duty Your Lordship’s Goodness demands of Me in particular; the Duty of Gratitude for Personal Favours. A generally neglected Virtue, but which has still some Place in Human Breasts; remaining fix'd as a Principle in (I hope) not a few, and which filled them, under the worst Face of Things, with ardent Hope and strong Assurance of what we now fo joyfully behold; How steadily the Eye of Heaven is fixed upon the Generous and the Good, upon the FRIENDS OF THEIR COUNTRY, the
Patrons of Truth and Liberty, and the Ornaments of our Holy Religion.
That God would bless Your Lordship, with the longest Period that Mortality permits, wherein to fee. our Nation Aourish, and reap happy Fruits from all the Publick and Private Good You have done, is the Earnest Prayer of all grateful People, and of none more than of,
Your Lordship's most obliged,
And bumble Servant,
CLEAR and familiar Expli
cation of the most useful Parts
of Holy Scripture, for the Ad-
such Benefit to Religion in
general, and to our Protestant Church in particular ; that I need only appeal to the Experience of those Families, or private Persons, that have reaped the Labours of any of our excellent and pious Divines in this Way. I am so much an Enemy to keeping the Vulgar in Ignorance of these Writings which are the only Rule of Faith; that I esteem no Performances beyond those that tend to make every one's Principles in Religion their own. The History and Doctrines of our blessed Saviour in the Four Gospels, are brought down to the Understandings of all People with such
Exactness of Judgment, and so happy a PerSpicuity of Stile and Method, in the Paraphrase of Dr. Clarke on those Books, that I no sooner read that Work, but I congratulated all the more unlearned Members of this Church, upon so blessed an Advantage of Light and Knowledge; wished it in every House ; and desired nothing more than to see the remaining Parts of the New Testament put into all Hands in the fame Dress of Clearness and Simplicity. By his Want of Time and Lei-, fure, and from bis Encouragement upon my Inclinations towards so good a Work, I am induced to venture at carrying on, what is begun with an Exałtness few can pretend to, and a Success I can never hope for. Yet I mall promilė, to my utmost, to follow his Example, in giving the Sense of these Sacred Writings with the most unprejudiced Mind, and with all sincere Regard to Plainness and Truth.
HE FOUR GOSPELS are indeed a sufficient Account of the
Life and Death, the Doctrines T
and Religion of the Holy Jesus. But neither would the Actions of his Life have been confirmed to
succeeding Generations, as Faets sufficient to build a Religion upon, nor could his Doctrine or his Death have extended their noble Effects any further than the little Corner of Judea (and that but to one Generation of Men) had he barely lived, and preached, and died. A Religion designed for the whole World, must be propagated to all, after it had been communi-cated to come. This must be done by Persons qualified and endowed with proper and equal Powers for so great a Work, with Powers to convince the present Age of its FaƐts and Doctrines, and to convey them with full Testimony to future Generations.
This is enough to satisfy the Christian Reader, of the Necessity, Usefulness, and particular Advantage of this Book to the Christian Church, as well as of the Four Gospels. It contains a History of the Propagation of our most holy Religion for the first thirty Years after our Lord's Ascension. And when you have duly considered the three