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upon the Principles and Arrangement of a Harmony of the Gospels" are likely to afford them the information they may desire to obtain from the work ; and partly as a justification of some of our strictures in our former article .
Subjoined to the Preface is a " Synopsis of the Preliminary * Dissertations , ' which is designed to " facilitate the comprehension of their mutual coherency , and to give the reader a clearer perception of the number and variety of the topics discussed . " The work , the author says he is aware , must at first sight appear " irregular and unconnected ; " but he maintains that " there is , in reality , an intimate relation between the several subjects of the Dissertations , and the order in which one follows or precedes another . " Notwithstanding the aid of the Synopsis , however , it seems by no mean 3 Feasible to frame any thing like a consistent , orderly whole from the treatises farming this work ; and nothing that appears in it countenances the belief that Mr . Greswell ' s whole plan was laid before he commenced the execution of it . Even if method and coherency can be discovered in the general arrangement of the work , there is often a great want of unity in the parts of
the several Dissertations . And separate from the author ' s extreme diffuseness , and immethodical style of writing , there is much which , for the object , is totally irrelevant , having no further connexion with it than that which earnestness of investigation sometimes establishes in the mind of the inquirer , by magnifying distant parts till they appear to him at least contiguous , while , in reality , they have little or no relation to each other . The «* fundamental principle" of his work , he states ( p . xiii ) , rests " on the truth of the following propositions : 1 . That the three last Gospels are regular compositions : 2 . That St . Matthew's Gospel is partly regular and partly irregular : 3 . That each of the Gospels was written in the order in which it stands : 4 . That the Gospels last written in every instance were supplementary to the prior . " Mr . G . means to assert , in the last proposition , that each Gospel is supplementary to those preceding it in ihe order of composition ; which order , he maintains , is the same as that in which we find tlie Gospels in the common text ; so that Mark was supplementary to Matthew , Luke to Matthew and Mark , and John to all the three . That the Gospel of Mark was supplementary to the Gospel of Matthew is obviously inconsistent with the phenomena of each ; and that Mr . G . should burden the system of his Harmony with so gratuitous a difficulty , must be truly surprising to those who have not observed that , by the strength of his conviction , and the facility with which he overlooks difficulties , he often contrives to transmute objections against his opinions into imposing arguments for
them . The " fundamental principle" to which Mr . Gresweli refers , we have not discovered ; unless , indeed , it consists of the four propositions on which it rests : but this is not improbable , as there runs throughout his work a hasty vagueness of expression , by which , we apprehend , he has often deceived himself , and may mislead some of his readers .
The first volume consists of thirteen Dissertations , •* with a number of Appendixes , or Supplementary Dissertations , where the nature of the case required them . " •« The first three ( the author says ) are all subservient to the fundamental principle of the work , considered as preparatory to a
Har-This epithet , no where else employed , refers to the HarmoHy which was framed aareeably to the Dissertations .
On the Chronology and Arrangement of the Gospel Narratives . 35
Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), Jan. 2, 1831, page 35, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct2593/page/35/