Preface to the Synopsis: Romans-Revelation

Updated: Mar 30, 2019

After longer delays than I would have wished, at last by the help of the good God comes forth the second Part of the Fourth and Final Volume of the Synopsis,[1] the Colophon of our Biblical Labor, most longed for by me, long awaited by others, not unwelcome, I hope, which, beginning with the Epistles of Paul, comes to a close in Revelation. It is not necessary for me to enlarge either my fault, or the injury hitherto brought against thy patience, by the new and unnecessary delays of a prolix Epistle. The nature and method of the Work is the same here as in the preceding Volumes; the plan entirely the same: concerning which, since I explained fully in the Preface of the First Volume,[2] it would be vain to repeat the same things here. The Authors, from whose fields we have reaped these things, some are common to the rest of the Volumes, and especially to the first Part of this Volume, of which sort are the Critical Interpreters published in London,[3] among whom is Grotius, from whom, just as it was done in the first Part, I have transcribed almost all things verbatim, as almost untouched, if you take away the testimonies of others brought forward by himself; the commentaries of Grotius on the New Testament[4] are had in my Synopsis. Furthermore, Beza;[5] Camerarius;[6] Piscator;[7] Hammond;[8] Schmidt;[9] Louis de Dieu;[10] Mede;[11] Lightfoot[12] in Harmony, Chronicle, and Order of the New Testament; Gataker;[13] Gomar, who wrote Annotations, indeed brief but not at all to be despised, on several Apostolic Epistles and on the first three chapters of Revelation;[14] Junius[15] in Parallels;[16] Calvin, from whom I selected not with a sparing hand, especially in the latter Epistles; Norton Knatchbull,[17] Eques Auratus,[18] whose several Annotations, while in the former portion I set them forth as if gathered out of Hammond, having been advised concerning that matter, and informed by that most Illustrious Knight that his Notes were composed before the Commentaries of Hammond saw the light, I restored the Extracts to that first author, and I wish the credit to be paid to him. Others proper to this Part in general, who here follow: In all the Apostolic Epistles, Estius, who illucidated them with prolix and most learned Commentaries;[19] Justinianus, an erudite and prolific interpreter;[20] Strigelius,[21] consulted in the first Volume of my Work; Vorstius, a man keen and erudite, who skillfully investigated the plan of the Sacred Scriptures, and happily achieved in many things, although afterwards he fell to certain inferior doctrines;[22] Dickson the Scot, who interpreted the Epistles, briefly but perspicaciously, ingeniously and with judgment:[23] On some Epistles of Paul, Zanchius, a Theologian like few others, whose Commentaries, composed with singular erudition and acumen, show their Author to be most learned:[24] On the Epistle to the Romans, Pererius;[25] Toletus;[26] Willet,[27] previously adorned with his own praises; Pareus,[28] who long since among Theologians won the praise of doctrine and judgment attained; Stephanus de Brais, who recently published his Paraphrastic Analysis of this Epistle, illustrated with his Notes,[29] composed with talent and learning more than ordinary; Loius de Dieu, who composed a proper commentary on this Epistle, and that entirely worthy of such an Author, and was about to do the same in the remaining Epistles, if his life had been sufficiently long: On Corinthians, our William Sclater[30] and Calixtus,[31] who not rarely covered with their brief little notes those things that you will seek in vain in the prolix Volumes of others: On the first to the Corinthians, John Lightfoot, by whose lucubrations we were greatly helped in the former Volumes, recently (oh, the grief) snatched away from the literary and Christian Commonwealth, who by his Hebraic Hours elucidated this Epistle[32] in his manner, that is, most learnedly. Now, since that place concerning manly Hair, 1 Corinthians 11:14, 15, is greatly entangled by the discord of Interpreters, and since the disturbances, stirred in the Church, and in the souls of many, concerning this matter, are not small, it seemed right to seek a more copious explication of that out of Salmasius’[33] Dialogue concerning Hair,[34] and out of Revius’ Disputations;[35] of which authors alone have I here made use, partly because others that had taken up the cracking of this nut were not at hand for me, partly because their other writings of them made them famous, and this writing of Revius went forth, defended by judgment of the rest of the Professors of Leiden. On the Epistle to the Ephesians, Boyd, a Scot by nation,[36] who interpreted it with great industry, and with no less learning and judgment; Crocius,[37] an Interpreter of note: On the Epistle to the Colossians, Davenant[38] and Daillé,[39] indeed recent Interpreters, but equal to the ancients, and placed far above my praises: On the Epistles to the Thessalonians, Sclater: On the second chapter of the later Epistle, Grotius, in his Dissertation Concerning the Places of the New Testament that Treat, or Are Thought to Treat, of Antichrist;[40] Simplicius Verinus, in Notes written concerning the same passages, the Author of which I hear was believed by many to be Salmasius; Hippolytus Fronto, under which name that most famous man, Peter Molinæus,[41] wished to lie hidden; Henry More of Cambridge, in his most learned Theological Works recently published in Latin:[42] On the Epistles to Timothy, Magalianus,[43] who interpreted them diffusely and painstakingly; Scultetus[44] and Pricæus,[45] mentioned in the former Part of this Volume: On the first to Timothy, Danæus, an acute and erudite writer;[46] Gothofredus, a man most renowned by due right,[47] who illustrated that famous place, 1 Timothy 3:15, 16, with most learned Dissertations: On that to Philemon, Scipione Gentili,[48] who explained that with singular erudition and talent: On the Epistle to the Hebrews, Ribera,[49] Pareus, Gerhard,[50] previously praised; Tena,[51] who exhibited it, explained with copious and learned commentaries; our William Gouge,[52] in whose prolix Work you will find uncommon learning employed with solid judgment; our Lawson,[53] whose small studies equal the large volumes of others; John Owen,[54] who has set forth now into the light lucubrations composed with uncommon learning on the first five chapters of that Epistle, who hereafter is going to set forth the remaining parts of the work begun, which I hope and long for, for my sake and that of the good public; Frederic Spanheim,[55] a not unequal Son of a Great Parent,[56] who treated ingeniously and most learnedly that famous question concerning the Author of this Epistle,[57] and he has happily untied that knot, most worthy of a liberator, if it is as I conclude; Reverend Buxtorf, who in his most erudite Essays Concerning the Ark, etc.,[58] illustrated that passage, Hebrews 9:4, with interpretations worthy of such an Author. And since that passage concerning Melchizedek has hitherto vexed Interpreters, by them equally vexed, I gathered many things concerning this question out of Schlegelius, whose Tract concerning this is subjoined in the recent London edition of Tena,[59] out of Cregutus, in Revealer of Secrets,[60] and out of the Theses of Saumur:[61] On the Epistle of James, Laurentius,[62] from whom I culled some things; and Reverend Gataker, who fully, piously, and, what to him was customary, most eruditely, explained the whole, indeed in sermons held for the people, but which were able to be held for the clergy. Which κειμήλιον/valuable Manuscript, with others Treasures of that best of men, his most learned Son[63] communicated graciously with me: On the Epistles of Peter, Gerhard:[64] On Revelation, from the side of the Pontifical men, Ribera;[65] Pererius;[66] Cornelius à Lapide;[67] Gagnæus, Parisian Doctor;[68] Estius; Menochius;[69] from the side of the Reformers, Matthew Cotterius, a learned and acute man;[70] John Cluverus,[71] in his diffuse and learned Commentaries on this Book; Patrick Forbes, the Bishop of Aberdeen not so long ago,[72] whom his other writings also made famous; Brightman,[73] who, although he was deceived in some passages, which is not to be marveled at in such an obscure portion of the sacred page, but is to be endured, yet in not a few other places he shows both abundance of learning and acumen of talent; Pareus;[74] Gerhard Gravius in Apocalyptic Tables;[75] John Napier, a noble Scot;[76] Cocceius,[77] whom we have previously praised; an unknown author in the Apocalyptic Harmony;[78] James Durham the Scot, illustrious with respect to parentage, talent, and learning,[79] who appears to me to kindle a clear light upon not a few passages of this Book, and explained the whole with great judgment; Henry More, who set forth a great number of δυσνόητα, the hard to be understood, passages of this Book with explantions ingenious and erudite; Peter Molinæus and Maresius,[80] on those passages of this Book that treat of Antichrist; an Anonymous English writer, from whom I culled what things appeared to me to be useful; also another Anonymous writer of our nation, in a most erudite dissertation recently published concerning The Ruin of Antichrist; the most celebrated Downham concerning the passages of Sacred Scripture that regard Antichrist;[81] our Reverend Francis Potter, in his most ingenious tractate concerning the interpretation of the number six hundred and sixty-six.[82] The great Ussher, Archbishop of Armagh not so long ago, in a small dissertation on the Roman Babylon.[83] You have, dear Reader, both the Authors and the Books, from which those things, which we gathered in this latter part of our Work, were brought over. Nathaniel Stephens, both in his most learned Dissertation concerning the Name, Character, and Number of the Beast, and in certain manuscript Notes of his, which he benevolently transmitted to me.[84] Now, since this, now made larger as Necessity has required, required expenses beyond the ordinary, it is just to recall with a grateful heart those that carried part of this burden for me; especially the Most Serene King, who first graciously defended me by His Royal Certificate, and restored me by His most benignant countenance and words, and then, with liberality worthy of such a King, He furnished for me papers free from taxes.