Excerpt from The Comprehensive Commentary on the Holy Bible, Vol. 3: Containing the Text According to the Authorised Version; Scott's Marginal References; Matthew Henry's Commentary, Condensed, but Retaining Every Useful Thought; Matt.-John
We ordinarily speak of these under the designation of 'the four gospels.' But there is hazard of leaving an impression on the uninformed or inattentive mind, that these are distinct systems of faith. Now, it pleased God simply to commission four individuals to w_rite the life of Christ. The display in Him of the divine mercy to men in their redemption, is the grandest work of God. But, as there never was but one way of salvation for sinners, men fallen from happiness and the favor of God by transgression; so there can be but one Gospel. Salvation began to dawn in the days of Adam; it brightened through succeeding ages, in prophecy, types and ceremonies; but when the Messiah came, it shone in its perfect splendor. And though it was the same in the respective ages of the patriarchs, prophets, and apostles, yet Christians have high advantages over the ancient church. \ve live more than they, under the dispensation of the Holy Spirit, who 'takes of the things of Christ, and shows them unto us.' The work of the evangelists was, to give a faithful representation of Emmanuel, the Savior. Fully have they proved, that He has done all that was necessary to redeem the world, to work out a finished salvation, and to bring in an everlasting righteous ness, 'that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.' Yet each adopts his own plan and style, and records some things which the rest omit. They vary, it maybe, with regard to circum stances, but all agree invariably as to facts.t They were competent witnesses of the facts themselves, and it is plain were neither enthusiasts nor fanatics; their whole manner and appearance, as they exhibit themselves, being, in the furthest degree, removed from such a character. They evidently relate with integrity and sincerity what they knew; had no earthly advantage to gain by imposing on men appealed to miracles which were undeniable, and to other notorious proofs, and suffered every thing for the truth of their narration, even death itself.
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