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REV. P. DODDRIDGE, D.D.
A PARAPHRASE ON THE REMAINING PART
ACTS OF THE APOSTLES;
THE EPISTLE OF
AND PART OF HIS
FOR THE EDITORS; CONDER, BUCKLERSBURY; BUTTON, PATERVOSTER-ROW;
ABEL, NORTHAMPTON; AND
THE nature and design of this work, and the principles on which it hath
I been undertaken and conducted, have been so largely represented in the preceding volumes, that it is unnecessary here to enlarge upon them. But, as that I now present to the reader concludes the historical part of the New Testaseat, this seems a very proper place to recollect the promise which I long since made, of offering sonie rentarks on the ercellence and usefulness of that history, which may dispose the reader more frequently to review it, and to study it with the greater application.
It must be universally granted, that the excellence of any performance is to be estimated, by considering its design, and the degree in which it is calculated to arriver it. The design of the gospel history is summed up in the words which I have placed for my motto ; which, though they are taken from the conclu. sion of St. John's gospel, are applicable, not only to all the other Evangelists. but likewise to the Acts of the Apostles, that invaluable appendix to them These things are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name,
I shall beg leave to shew, how admirably the history before us is calculated to answer both these ends, viz. to produce a conviction of the truth of christ. ianity, and to make those good impressions on the heart, which may secure the eternal life, and happiness of the reader ; which no speculative conviction, Even of the most sublime, comprehensive, and important truths, will itself be able to do. I apprebend, that, in proportion to the degree in which these two premises can be illustrated, the excellence and value of this history will immediately appear; for no man is so far infatuated as to dispute, whether obtaining life, eternal litt, be an end of the highest importance ; how light soever he may in fact make of it, and how wantonly soever he may barter it away for every trifle, that strikes his imagination, or fires his passions. Obvious as the hints are which occur on these heads, I will touch a little upon theni ; that We may more evidently see, how much we are indebted to the Divine Wisdom and goodness in giving us so invaluable a treasure as these books contain, and bow highly we are concerned to attend diligently to the contents of them.
First, Every intelligent reader of this evangelical history, must have seen, that it is admirably adapted to produce and support in all attentive and impartial minds a strong conviction of the truth of christianity, and by consequence of the divine glories of Jesus the Christ, as the Son of God.
It is evident, that our most material arguments for the demonstration of the truth of christianity are drawn from miracles, from prophecies from the charac. ter of its founders, and from the genius of the religion itself. Now though all these receive great illustration from the epistolary parts of the New Testament,
* As the first edition was printed in Six Volumes, the Third Volume began with the first chapter of the Acts, and concluded with that book.