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most thankfully to acknowledge, I ended the first
copy of the Family Expositor, Dec. 31, 1748, exactly two years after I began to write upon the Romans ; having pursued it during that time, without the interruption of one single day ; such health and such resolution did it please God to give me, amidst the various scenes of business, danger, and amusement, through which I passed !
grace raise to himself a monument of praise from this feeble effort to explain, illustrate, and enforce his word! And under ; “I ended my Notes on the books I had thus paraphrased and improved, Aug. 21, 1749, having daily pursued the work in like manner, whether at home or abroad.” He had transcribed for the press, the Paraphrase, Improvements, and Notes, of the two first volumes, as now published ; the Paraphrase and Improvements of the epistle to the Hebrews, and the two first epistles of John. The Notes on these three epistles, together with the Paraphrase, Improvements, and Notes, on the remaining epistles, and the Revelation, were transcribed from his short hand copy, by my own hand, or under my inspection, by some of his pupils ; and I carefully revised the transcript several times, and compared it with his short hand copy. I can assure the subscribers, that the utmost caution has been used, that no one sentiment of the author should be suppressed or changed, and only such expressions varied, as to avoid tautology, and for the sake of perspicuity and accuracy, it might be presumed the author would have varied, had he transcribed this part of the work, and given it his finishing hand. In the margin of the short hand copy, he had wrote hints of some alterations to be made in the phraseology and length of some sentences, as
BY THE EDITOR.
well as of Notes he intended to add when he transcribed it for the press. I have endeavoured to follow these hints in the best manner I could ; and accordingly a few Notes have been added to vindicate or illustrate his Version or Paraphrase, and references inserted to other critics ; most which were taken from his notes, according the directions mentioned above. On the whole, I hope the attentive reader, who is acquainted with his style and spirit, will discover nothing in the latter part of the work unsuitable to either ; and will join with me in thankfulness to God, who spared his life, till he had completed this important and useful undertaking.
There is one occurrence relating to it, which my own judgment, and that of many of the autbor's friends, forbid me to conceal, and the rather, because it has been greatly misrepresented. During the author's life (in Fune, 1750) a fire, occasioned by a wax candle being left on his writing desk, broke out in his study, and consumed many. of his papers, and part of one volume of the short hand copy of this work ; but the light of the fire being providentially discovered by an opposite neighbour, who gave an immediate alarm, it was speedily extinguished. When the author was informed of this accident, he seemed most anxious about the preservation of this manuscript ; and when the flames were extinguished, to his great joy and surprise, it appeared, that the part of this volume, and that only which was destroyed, had been transcribed, and the transcript lay in another place out of danger, and all the untranscribed pages were perfectly legible, and only the edges of them singed. Being an eye witness of the danger and deliverance, I record this account of it,
partly for the satisfaction of the subscribers with regard to the exaggerated report, but chiefly as it seems to denote a particular care of Providence in preserving this work, and a favourable omen, that God intends it for extensive and lasting usefulness. Whoso is wise, and will observe such things, even they shall understand the loving kindness of the Lord. Psalm cvii. 43.
In the name of the author's family, I heartily thank the subscribers for their encouragement of this work, and the gentlemen who have kindly superintended the press ; and I pray that it may answer those pious and benevolent ends for which it was composed, and is now published.
J. ORTON: SALOP, Nov. 21, 1755.
THE EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE
CRITICAL NOTES, AND A PRACTICAL IMPROVEMENT
OF EACH SECTION.