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LETTER XXI. On the parable of the marriage supper

141 LETTER XXII. On the parable of the pharisee and publican 149

LETTER XXIII. On the parable of a nobleman who went to receive a kingdom

157 LETTER XXIV. On the funeral rites of the Jews


On the character of Herod, tetrarch of Galilee



Account of Pilate


LETTER XXVII. On the miracles of our Saviour


LETTER XXVIII. On the symbolical character of our Lord's miracles 192

LETTER XXIX. Of our Lord's prophecies

195 LETTER XXX. Of the forms of salutation in the East, and our Lord's farewell address to his disciples


Questions for the Letters on the Gospels




The Importance of studying the New Testa



From your earliest years, you have been the objects of my tenderest solicitude; and your advancement in virtue and knowledge lies near my heart. I am gratified with the proficiency you have made in several branches of useful learning ; but I entreat you not to forget, that the knowledge of the Sacred Scriptures, particularly of the New Testament, is inanitely more important than any other kind of knowledge. The Gospel is emphatically styled “glad tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.” While attentively perusing the New Testament, always bear in mind, that the Gospel was first preached to the Jews, in Judea ; and that the Evangelists and Apostles, with the exception perhaps of St. Luke, were all of the Hebrew nation. Much of the peculiar beauty of the inspired writings cannot be perceived, unless the history, condition, and character of the Jews have become objects of your attention, not only during the period of the Mosaic dispensation, as recorded in the Old Testament, but at the time of our Lord's appearance. It is also important to understand the frequent allusions in the New Testament to their opinions, habits, manners, and ceremonies. A view of the darkness and depravity which prevailed in the world, both among Jews and Gentiles, at the period when our Saviour appeared upon earth, will enable you to appreciate more justly the Divine excellence of the christian dispensation. I shall be highly gratified, if the historical sketches, I propose to give you, in a series of Letters, to illustrate the Evangelists, induce you to apply with renewed ardour to the study of the New Testament.


State of the World at the Time of our Saviour's


MY DEAR Nieces,

I will now fulfil the promise in my preceding letter, and give you a brief account of the ignorance and depravity which overspread the earth, until the Sun of righteousness arose, and opened new and celestial prospects to the benighted world.

When the Son of God was born in Judea, the greatest part of the habitable earth was subjected to the Romans; and their vast dominions were styled, all the world, as in Luke i. 1. The sceptre of universal power was then swayed by Augustus Cæsar, who, after he had conquered his enemies, gave peace to the nations. This event took place in the year in which our Saviour was born, The Roman empire was then in the zenith of its prosperity and splendor; and the benign in

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