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in the critical study of the Old and New Testaments. I have since read all the accessible literature that seemed to me able to throw any light on the circumstances surrounding the origin of the four Gospels. Nor was it long before I began to endeavour to make my discovery known. In the years 1893 and 1894 I contributed to the Baptist a series of articles on “The Origin of the Four Gospels.” The substance of these articles is included in the following pages ; it forms, however, but a small portion of the book, and but little of it is repeated in the shape in which it originally appeared.

For a while it was the Chief Problem only for which I was able to find a solution. The explanation of the Synoptic Problem seemed as far off as ever; nevertheless I hoped that, if only the investigation of the subject were followed on the right lines, the solution of this difficulty also would at length be arrived at. In course of time the clue gradually appeared. In the ninth of my articles, written in August, 1893, I ventured to broach the suggestion that it may have been in the reporting in company, by those of the disciples who were accustomed to take notes of the oral narrations of their fellow-disciples, that many of the more perplexing features of co-incidence and variation in the Synoptic Gospels originated. As I continued to unravel the question, I became more and more satisfied that herein lay the solution of the Second Great Problem, till at last all doubt was removed, and I became fully convinced that such was really the case.

There still remained the Chronological Problem, which, I confess, caused me much perplexity. It was quite two years from the time of my first discovery before I found the true explanation of this difficulty. And not even then, nor for some time after, did I notice that many of the transposed sections in Luke are of nearly equal length, making in the nonpareil 32mo edition of the Revised New Testament paragraphs of from 12 to 16 lines each, and so indicating the size of the sheets of papyrus upon which the original notes were written.

Throughout the whole of the time during which I was gradually gaining light on the methods and circumstances in which the Gospels were composed, I never met with anything that tended for one moment to shake my first conclusion as to the date at which the original records were written. Every fresh feature that I noticed in the Gospels themselves, every new book or article that I read, bearing directly or ever so remotely on the subject, added to the certainty of my belief, and increased my wonder that any other opinion could ever have been entertained.

Of the evidential value of the facts herein presented it is needless for me to speak. But I cannot omit to express my profound and reverent admiration of the Providence which has reserved for this critical age the discovery of facts of such supreme importance, and of the Wisdom which has treasured up in the Gospels themselves, even in those very features which were most enigmatical, convincing demonstration of their authenticity, and of the absolute certainty of those great historic events which they record. For it is utterly impossible to imagine that the writers of the Gospel narratives could have perverted, at the very time they were spoken and acted, the words and facts which they daily heard and saw, or have intermixed with them inventions of their own imagination.

I speak in these confident terms because I am well assured that, whatever may be the fate of this book, the truth for which it contends cannot much longer remain hidden from the world, and that the time is not far distant when the prejudice and superstition that have grown up around the subject of the Gospel histories will have died out, and when it will be universally seen that there was nothing mysterious or unusual in their origin, but that they were honestly composed of reliable materials in a simple and natural manner, like other books of history and biography.

Although I have read much, I have not in the following pages consciously quoted without acknowledgment. I desire to testify to the great assistance I have derived from Mr. S. J. Andrews' Life of Our Lord upon Earth, a work that should be in the hands of every student of the subject on which it treats. I have made constant use of Alford's Greek Testament, and Smith's Dictionary of the Bible, and, to verify my facts, have had frequent recourse to other works too numerous to mention.

In my Scripture quotations I follow usually the Revised Version. The Greek quotations are from Westcott and Hort.

I have to thank Mr. J. G. Griffin, a practised writer for the press, for reading my manuscript and making many suggestions of a literary character, upon most of which I have acted.

August 30, 1898.

tics and John.

VI. Summary :

VII. Outcome of the argument .

131

139

141

PART IV

THE SECOND SPECIAL KEY; THAT THE RECORDS

IN THE SYNOPTIC GOSPELS LARGELY CONSIST OF

THE UNITED TESTIMONY OF THE APOSTLES GIVEN

AT THE TIME IN COMPANY AND SEVERALLY RE-

PORTED BY THE WRITERS

Chapter 1. Brief statement

II. A diary of two days

145

148

PART V

The THIRD SPECIAL KEY; THAT THE CHRONO-

LOGICAL DISORDER IN MATTHEW AND LUKE' is

OWING TO THE NOTES USED IN THE COMPILATION

OF THOSE GOSPELS HAVING BECOME DISARRANGED;

AND IN THE CASE OF LUKE THROUGH THE ORIGI-

NAL WRITER THEREOF BEING BY REASON OF

DEATH OR SOME OTHER CAUSE UNABLE TO ASSIST

IN THEIR REDACTION

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