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THE FOUR GOSPELS.
W. H. FURNESS.
A great deal is said about the beauty of the Scriptures, without reference
'CAREY, LEA & BLANCHARD.
ENTERED, according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1836, by W. H. FURNESS, in the Clerk's office of the District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
I HAVE endeavoured in this examination of the Christian Scriptures to realise in a degree the state of mind, with which they would be read by one who should open them for the first time. It is perhaps impossible completely to project the mind beyond the atmosphere, which it has breathed from the cradle; or it can only be done at the imminent hazard of transcending the true point of view. To weigh with equal independence and candour the claims of the religion of one's age and country requires an almost incredible effort, especially from those whose office it is to uphold, in one form or another, the established faith. I can only say that I am not ignorant of the biases to which an inquirer, born and brought up in a Christian community, is exposed. I have tried to guard against them; to look into the Christian Records, as if they had just been placed before me, at least with no disposition in their favour-but that produced by the undisputed excellence of their morality; and to ascertain the precise truth as nearly as possible, unswayed by that veneration for authority which leads us to take too much for granted on the one hand, or by that love of novelty, so fruitful of doubt and denial on the other.
There are numbers who give no credit to the accounts of the Life of Jesus Christ. They barely admit his existence. There are many more whose faith rests only on tradition. I do not doubt, therefore, that works, like the present,