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exposition of the accounts, contained in the respecta ive histories of Matthew and Luke, of the miraculous birth of Jesus Christ. The reason is that, with the exception of the preface to Luke's gospel, he did not look upon the chapters in question as the productions of those evangelists, but as fabrications by an unknown, though early, hand. For this sentiment he thought that he was in possession of suffi. cient evidence, which he principally derived from the publications that are cited in the note below*.
For the purpose of rendering this Exposition more useful to the reader, four indexes have been added to it; together with two chronological tables, the former of which is framed upon the hypothesis adopted by the author respecting the duration of our Lord's ministry. By the insertion of this table, however, the editor must not be understood as even intimating his own opinion with regard to the merits of the controversy between Dr. Priestley and the late archbishop of Armagh; his single object being to illustrate the author's exposition in the manner which, he is assured, would have been most consonant with the author's wishes.
Of the diligence and ability of Mr. Kenrick as an interpreter of the scriptures, of his happy art of deducing from them, with simplicity and effect, the
* Priestley's History of Early Opinions, &c. Vol. iv. p. 1-69 Evanson's Dissonance, &c. (first edit.) p. 32–55. 118129. Jones's Developement, &c. Vol.i. p. 329-408. 482-,
most instructive lessons, of the manly freedom with which he thought for himself, of his strong attachment to what he considered as divine truth, and of his earnest desire to promote the devout and benevolent, the pure and heavenly spirit of the uncorrupted religion of Jesus Christ, this work, it is presumed, will be a standing and acceptable memorial: and there is reason to hope that it will be found of eminent advantage to the pious and reflecting Christian, in his moments of retirement, to heads of families, at the seasons of domestic worship, and to students and ministers, in their endeayours to understand the last and most valuable revelation of their Maker's will, and to feel as well as to diffuse the efficacy and consolations of religion.
As some account of the author of the fola lowing Exposition may gratify and instruct the reader, it has been judged proper to prefix a me. morial of his life and character.
TIMOTHY KENRICK was born, January 26th, 1759, at Wynn Hall, in the parish of Ruabon in Denbighshire, and received his grammar learning at a private school in Wrexham. As his parents, with wisdom and affection which have secured honour to their memories, cherished his early love of knowledge and his susceptibility of religious impressions, he soon discovered a predilection for the Christian ministry, as exercised among Protestant Dissenters; an office which had been sustained with eminent credit and usefulness by his paternal grandfather *
In his sixteenth year he became a pupil in the dissenting academy at Daventry, then under the care of the Rev. Dr. Ashworth, and shortly after
* The Rey. John Kenrick, at Wrexham.
wards of the Rev. Thomas Robins. Here he pursued his studies with signal reputation and advantage; being distinguished by the excellence of his temper, the correctness of his judgment, the diligence of his application, and the extent and solidity of his attainments. From the first he seems to have cultivated a habit of devotion with singular assiduity; making himself master of a rich variety of scriptural expressions, for the purpose of introducing them into his prayers in the family and in public;—a practice in which he was remarked for considerable propriety of selection,
It was a proof of the high sense entertained of his acquirements and virtues that he was chosen an assistant-tutor in the academy before he had completed his own course of study, and was further appointed to read lectures, during one year, for Mr. Robins, who then laboured under the bodily indisposition which occasioned him, soon afterwards, to resign the offices of divinity-tutor and superintendant of the family. On the election of the Rev. Thomas Belsham to these stations, Mr. Kenrick continued his services, first as classical and next as mathematical tutor; and by his punctuality, zeal and accuracy, united with great firmness of purpose and a mild and happy manner of reproof, he gained in an uncommon degree the attachment of his pupils. Having the stated exercise of his profession, however, still in view, he was soon called to another sphere of duty.
The Rev. Micaijah Towgood-a name ever dear to the cause of Christian piety and virtue and of religious freedom—had retired in 1782 from the co-pastorship of the two united congregations of Dissenters in Exeter, after the labours of more than sixty years in the ministry of the gospel. This vacancy Mr. Kenrick was invited to fill; and his relation to the societies who had made a choice thus honourable to their discernment commenced with the beginning of 1784. In the summer of the following year he was ordained at Exeter. Upon this occasion he delivered a statement of his religious belief, which at that time was far from being directly opposed to the received opinions. One subject certainly which he afterwards viewed in a different light, was the propriety of ordination itself, as it is usually observed among Dissenters. Not that he disapproved of a religie ous service in order to introduce the connection between a pastor and his flock: for in such a service he was himself to have engaged in the autumn of 1804, had not his death intervened. He was persuaded, however, that unscriptural sentiments of the positive institutions of the gospel, are considerably promoted by the custom of ministers not being permitted to celebrate baptism and the Lord's-supper previously to the ceremony denominated ordination.
A candid and accurate observer of mankind* remarks: “ I have had occasion to see and to lament,
• Dr. Kippis's Charge at Bridport, July 1788, pp. 6,7..