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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, written 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 according 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 circumstances, 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.
Judea, or near it
In Hebrew, or Syro-Chaldaic, for the use of the
In Greek for the use of the Romans, who did not
63 or 64
In Greek for the use of the Gentile Christians in
To refute the errors of Cerinthus and the Gnostics.
The Acts by St. Luke
For the use of the churches every where.
63 or 64
A Chronological Account of the books of the New
First Epistle of Peter
Paul's First and Second Epistles to the Thessalonians
Paul's Epistle to the Galatians
Paul's two Epistles to the Corinthians, and that to the
Paul's Epistle to the Philippians, to Philemon, Collos
sians, Ephesians, and Hebrews
Acts of the Apostles by St. Luke
Paul's two Epistles to Timothy, the one to Titus, and the Second Epistle general of Peter
The Epistle of James, and that of Jude, about
St. John in the Isle of Patmos wrote the Revelations.
ORDER OF ALL THE BOOKS
PROPER NAMES, AND NUMBER OF CHAPTERS.
MATTHEW hath chapters 28 || I. Timothy
16 II. Timothy
TO THE GOSPEL OF ST. MATTHEW.
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. His business 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, and Josaphat beat Joram, and Joram begat Ozias,
9 And Ozias begat Joatham, and Joatham begat Achaz, and Achaz begat Ezekias,
10 And Ezekias begat Manasses, and Manasses_begat Amon, and Amon begat Josias,
11 And Josias begat Jechonias and his brethren about the time they were carried away to Babylon:
12 And after they were brought to Babylon, Jechonias begat Salathiel, and Salathiel begat Zorobabel,
13 And Zorobabel begat Abiud, and Abiud begat Eliakim, and Eliakim begat Azor,
14 And Azor begat Sadoc, and Sadoc begat Achim, and Achim begat Eliud,
15 And Eliud begat Eleazar, and Eleazar begat Matthan,and Matthan begat Jacob,
16 And Jacob begat Josephi the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus,b who is called CHRIST.c
17 So all the generations, b Jesus. That is, Saviour.
c Christ. Messiah, or Anointed.