- The four canonical records of the Life of our Lord written by St. Matthew, St. Mark, St. Luke and St. John. The first three are called the "Synoptic Gospels," because they all look at the events they describe from the same point of view; while the standpoint of St. John is quite different. His purpose was not to give the history of our Lord as did the other Evangelists, but to teach the mysteries arising out of that history. For example, St. John says nothing about the circumstances of our Lord's Birth, but he sets forth the mystery which those circumstances embraced, -- the Incarnation of the Word, or eternal Son of God. For this reason, the Fourth Gospel is called by ancient writers a "Spiritual Gospel," because it contains less of historical narrative than the others and more of Doctrine.
American Church Dictionary and Cyclopedia. — New York, Thomas Whittaker. William James Miller, M.A., B.D.. 1901.
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