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under the old dispensation of the law of Moses; the New Testament contains those published under the new dispensation of the Gospel.
The New Testament, containing the inspired books, writ. ten after Christ's ascension into heaven, is a title, which was early borrowed by the church from scripture, and authorized by St. Paul himself.
This title, according to the passages of scripture whence it is taken, should be rendered covenant. And in this view the new covenant signifies, “ A book containing the terms of the new covenant between God and man. But accord. ing to the meaning of the primitive Church, which bestowed this title, it is not altogether improperly rendered New Testament ; as being that, wherein the Christian's inheritance is sealed to him, as a son and heir of God, and wherein the death of Christ, as a testator, is related at large, and applied to his benefit. As this title implies, that in the Gospel unspeakable gifts are given, or bequeathed to us, antecedent to all conditions required of us; the title of testament may be retained, although that of covenant is most exact and proper.
The sacred writings of the New Testament are all handed down to us in the Greek language, which was that, most generally understood at the time they were written. They are historical, epistolary, and prophetical. Of the former are the Four Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and the Acts of the Apostles.
The Greek word, which signifies joyful tidings, is exactly answerable to our English word gospel, which is derived from the Saxon word god, which signifies good, and spel, which signifies speech or tidings. In the New Testament this term is confined to the glad tidings of the actual coming of the Messiah ; and is even opposed to the prophecies concerning Christ, Rom. i. 1-2. So in Matt. xi. 5, our Lord says, the poor have the Gospel preached to them; that is, the coming of the Messiah is preached to the poor.
Hence the church gave the name of Gospel to the histories of Christ, that is, to those sacred histories wherein the good news of the coming of the Messiah, with all its joyful cir. cumstances, are recorded.
The following table shows, at one view, the time when, the
places where, and the objects, for which the five historical books of the New Testament were written, according to Michaelis.
A. D. St. Matthew Judea, or near it
61 In Hebrew, or Syro-Chaldaic, for the use of the
Hebrews. St. Mark Rome
61 In Greek for the use of the Romans, who did not
understand Hebrew. St. Luke Alexandria
63 or 64 In Greek for the use of the Gentile Christians in
Egypt, Greece, &c. St. John Ephesus
69 To refute the errors of Cerinthus and the Gnostics. The Acts by St. Luke Alexandria
63 or 6+ For the use of the churches
A Chronological Account of the books of the New
39 43 52 52 56 56
sians, Ephesians, and Hebrews
the Second Epistle general of Peter The Epistle of James, and that of Jude, about John's Gospel
63 66 69 93 94
ORDER OF ALL THE BOOKS
PROPER NAMES, AND NUMBER OF CHAPTERS.
Matthew hath chapters 28 || 1. Timothy
16 II. Timothy Luke
24|| Titus John
21 Philemon The Acts
28 || To the Hebrews Epistle to the Romans 16 The Epistle of James I. Corinthians
16|| I. Peter II. Corinthians
13 || II. Peter Galatians
6 || 1. John Ephesians
6 II. John Philippians
4 III. John Colossians
4 | Jude I. Thessalonians
5) Revelation II. Thessalonians
5 3 5 1 1
St. Matthew's Gospel was written before the other three. The author was an eye-witness of most of the facts, which he relates, being early called to the apostolic office, by Christ himself. Besides the name of Matthew, he had also that of Levi, being the son of Alpheus; but not of that Alpheus or Cleophas, who was the father of James. He was originally by profession a Publican, or collector of the Roman Taxes. 'Hisbusiness was to collect the customs of such commodities, as came by the sea of Galilee, and to receive tribute from such passengers, as went by water. This lucrative office he cheerfully left for the sake of Christ, to whom he became a faithful attendant, and an eye-witness of all his miracles.
St. Matthew's Gospel was, according to the best judges, written between A. D. 61 and 64, at a time when the Hebrews were suffering a heavy persecution, which almost drove them to apostacy, and which induced St. Paul to write his Epistle to them. In these circumstances nothing could be more necessary
and useful to them, than a history of the miracles and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is probable, therefore, that both this Gospel and the Epistle to the Hebrews were written with the same view, which was to preserve and confirm the Christians of Judea in the faith.
This Gospel contains several plain predictions of the miseries and desolations about to come upon Jerusalem, and of the destruction of the temple; besides many other figurative intimations of the same thing, which could not safely be published, till towards the conclusion of the Jewish state.
St. Matthew wrote this Gospel for the service of the Jews in Palestine, with a view to confirm those, who believed, and to convert, if possible, those who did not believe. This opinion is supported by several passages of his Gospel. Thus this evangelist begins with the genealogy of Christ from Abraham; which, agreeably to the Jewish custom, he gives according to his legal descent by Joseph his supposed father; deducing it down from Abraham through David, to shew his title to the kingdom of Israel. Thus also he often refers to Jewish customs; relates most of our Saviour's discourses against Jewish
of Christ. errors and superstitions ; (See chapter xxiii. 1–33.) quotes the greatest number of passages from the Jewish Scriptures ; answers the most considerable Jewish objections; and frequently makes use of the terms and phrases of Jewish theology.
Nothing certain is known of the death of St. Matthew. Some have supposed he suffered martyrdom in Persia, others, that he died in Abyssinia, after having there preached the Gospel.
THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ST. MATTHEW.
8 And Asa begat Josaphat, 1 The genealogy of Christ: and Josaphat beat Joram, and
18 his conception and birth; Joram begat Ozias,
and Joatham begat Achaz, and VHÈ book of the genera. Achaz begat Ezekias,
tion a of Jesus Christ, the 10 And Ezekias begat Mason of David, the son of Abra- nässes, and Manasses begat ham.
Amon, and Amon begat Josias, 2 Abraham begat Isaac, and 11 And Josias begat JechoIsaac begat Jacob, and Jacob nias and his brethren about the begat Judas and his brethren, time they were carried away
3 And Judas begat Phares to Babylon : and Zara of Thamar, and Pha 12 And after they were res begat Esrom, and Esrom brought to Babylon, Jechonias begat Aram,
begat Salathiel, and Salathiel 4 And Aram begat Amina- begat Zorobabel, dab, and Aminadab begat Na 13 And Zorobabel begat Aasson, and Naasson begat Sal- biud, and Abiud begat Eliamon,
kim, and Eliakim begat Azor, *5 And Salmon begat Booz 14 And Azor begat Sadoc, of Rachab, and Booz begat and Sadoc begat Achim, and Obed of Ruth, and Obed begat Achim begat Elind, Jesse,
15 And Eliud begat Elea6 And Jesse begat David the zar, and Eleazar begat Matking, and David the king begat than,and Matthan begat Jacob, Solomon of her that had been 16 And Jacob begat Joseph the wife of Urias,
the husband of Mary, of whom 7 And Solomon begat Ro- was born Jesus,b who is called boam, and Roboam begat Abia, CHRIST.C and Abia begat Asa,
17 So all the generations, a Generation. The history or line b Jesus. That is, Saviour. age of Jesus Christ.
Christ. Messiah, or Anointed.