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AMONGST all the various helps to the study of the Scriptures, which abound in the present age, it is not easy to find a work conveying in a simple form the information necessary for a right understanding of any one portion, and given in connection with it. Commentators have generally written upon the supposition, that their readers have more knowledge than is usually possessed by a numerous class. Very many who would willingly avail themselves of their labours, have not time to search into many points that are passed over as matters known of course. The frequent evidence of the hindrances resulting from this, gave rise to the work, entitled "The Cottager's Guide to the New Testament." The publication of that work went on in monthly numbers, until by God's blessing the whole of the four Gospels arranged in harmony were explained; it was comprised in six volumes, the last of which has just been completed.
The work was carried on under a grateful sense of the continued encouragement which cheered its progress. It was called for with an abiding patience, month after month, for ten years; and it drew forth many unexpected testimonies of usefulness, for which the author desires to offer heartfelt thanks to Him to whom in every case belongs the glory of these results. It becomes therefore a pleasing duty to continue a work, which seems to be sanctioned by
a blessing from the Lord, and by the acceptance of His people; and as the progressive publication of "the Cottager's Guide to the New Testament" has drawn forth many observations from christians of valued judgment, the close of the Gospel History, and the opening of that of the Acts of the Apostles, seems to afford a proper occasion to profit by the counsel thus obtained.
The experience derived from the publication of the former work has entirely justified the opinion, that such a work was needed; and it appears that many persons of a class far more instructed than that implied by the term 'Cottager,' have found benefit from the plan upon which the explanation has been given "without supposing any preparatory information." Still it has been observed, that the title of "the Cottager's Guide" has sometimes had the effect of making persons of a higher position in society consider it as not adapted for their instruction; while they have been seeking for precisely such a help for themselves as the work is calculated to supply. At the suggestion of many friends therefore, the title of the present portion of the work is changed so far as to leave undefined the class of the readers for whom it is designed. Some modification has been made in the arrangement, conformable to this alteration in the title. While great simplicity and plainness of style will be cultivated, there will be less of that homeliness of expression which seemed desirable in addressing a Cottager-the "meaning" of the more difficult words, given before at the head of each portion, will be omitted--and no suggestion will be made for "Repetition."
In the former work, every incidental reference in the Scriptures to matters which supposed previous information, was made the occasion of supplying the information required however commonly known it might be considered. It