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THE design of the following work is to enable the busy, or the young, to study the Life and the Teaching of our blessed Lord with clearness and facility, and in the very words of inspiration. The contents of the Four Gospels are combined into one continued narrative, in which no incident or precept is omitted, nor any repeated a second time. The modern division into chapters and verses is exchanged for one which appeared to the Editor more natural, and often more emphatic. Each section is introduced by a brief prayer, and concluded by a suitable thanksgiving or prayer, selected from the Liturgy of our Church, in the hope of rendering this Compendium of the Scriptures a manual of intelligent devotion, as well as of religious knowledge.
At the close of every section a series of questions on its subject-matter is set down: this is intended primarily for the use of children; but it may, perhaps, be employed mentally, by grown persons also, with some advantage.
Biographical notices of the Four Evangelists, and of St. John the Baptist, are prefixed. Some of the principal prophecies relating to the Messiah are given in their connected form; and, besides occasional notes upon any seeming difficulty in the text, an Index is added, explanatory of the names of persons, places, and whatever else appeared to require elucidation, for the more perfect understanding of the Sacred Volume. The Church Catechism is also annexed, for reasons which will be found detailed in the following Introduction *; and a brief form of family, or private, worship is subjoined.
It is to be observed that no claim to originality, or authorship, is set up for any part of this simple Selection. It is meant for the use of the young, or of the uninstructed, whatever be their age; and truth, not novelty, is the end of religious teaching.
The profits of the publication, if any, will be applied to the gratuitous circulation of the Scriptures among the poor.
It has been found expedient, for convenience of arrangement, to place the Catechism, and the matters connected with it, at the close of the volume, instead of the beginning, as assumed in the Introduction.
PERSONS, PLACES, AND THINGS,
THE LIFE OF CHRIST.
APOSTLE, a missionary, or envoy, sent forth to preach the gospel.
ARIMATHEA, the city whence Joseph came, the just and honourable counsellor, who buried the body of our Lord. St. Jerome places it between Lydda and Joppa. Modern travellers mention a city called Ramatha, supposed the same, between Joppa and Jerusalem, on a mountain. The name Arimathea means the light of the death of the Lord, from the Hebrew words aur light, muth death, and Jah Jehovah.
BETHABARA, beyond Jordan, where John baptized. The word Beth, which occurs in so many Hebrew names, means house or temple; thus Jacob called the place where he saw the vision of angels, Beth-El, that is, the house, or temple, of God. So, also, Bethabara signifies the house of the ford, being the spot where the Israelites passed the Jordan, under Joshua, A.M. 2553, in the fortieth year of the exodus from Egypt.
BETHANY, where Martha and Mary dwelt, with Lazarus their brother. It was about two miles east of Jerusalem, at the foot of the Mount of Olives.
BETHPHAGE, a little village close to Bethany, between it and Jerusalem.
BETHLEHEM, (called also Bethlehem-Judah, and Bethlehem-Ephratah, or the fruitful, to distinguish it from another Bethlehem in Zebulun,) a city on the slope of a deep and winding valley, not quite six miles south of Jerusalem. Here, in the stable of a caravanserai, or inn, where guests were received gratis, but where shelter only was provided them, the Saviour of the world was born, according to the sure word of prophecy uttered above seven hundred years before: "But thou, BethlehemEphratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall HE come forth unto me that is to be Ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. Micah, v. 2.
BETHSAIDA, a town on the lake of Tiberias, or sea of Galilee.
CÆSAREA PHILIPPI, a town of Upper Galilee at
the foot of Mount Hermon, and about twelve miles southward from the springs of Jordan. It is now called Banias.
CALVARY, an eminence outside the Bethlehem-gate of Jerusalem; on it our Lord was crucified.
CANA, a neat little village of Galilee, about five miles north of Nazareth.
CAPERNAUM, the town where Christ principally abode during the three years of his ministry, and where he called St. Matthew. It lay on the eastern border of the Sea of Galilee, on the confines of Zebulun and Naphtali. CEDRON, or KIDRON, a winter brook (or rather a deep and narrow gully, scooped out by rain torrents,)