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This harmony is intended to promote and facilitate the historical study of the gospels. The Life of Christ is now engaging the attention of Biblical scholars to a remarkable degree. But it is to be remembered that the principal textbook is the fourfold gospel. The study of the Life of Christ is primarily the historical study of the four gospels, which implies the tracing of the events they narrate in their chronological sequence and in their organic connection. For this purpose a constant comparison of the four narratives is necessary, and a synopsis or harmony becomes in the very nature of the case indispensable. The proper object of a harmony of the gospels is not to harmonize them, if by that is meant bringing them into agreement. It is simply an arrangement by which the corresponding parts of different documents may be brought together before the eye and compared-a method not peculiar to Biblical study, but familiar to all students of literary and historical documents. Accordingly we have made no attempt to harmonize what is not harmonious, but simply to exhibit the facts. Whatever discrepancies the four narratives contain, we have preferred to let the printed page display them equally with the agreements, rather than adopt an arrangement or a dissection which should withdraw them from view. Wherein the four writers differ, and how they differ, is precisely what the intelligent reader wishes to know; eventually he comes to value their writings even more for their differences than for their verbally exact agreements. -from the Preface
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