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In this I have distinguished Paul's five apostolical journeys, which ought to make fo many different sections of Paul's history, and is the only way by which the method observed by St. Luke in writing that part of it can appear. And, that St. Paul's history might yet be more easily be traced, I have also given a short Abstract of this Abstract, that so it might be seen at one view; and that the reader might consult one or the other as he should find occasion. And because the Abstract of the Abstract is capable of being represented in one view, I have divided that into those greater and their lesser periods, of which I shall say more presently. But I could not divide it conveniently into St. Paul's five apostolical journeys, without rendering the periods somewhat confused; as the periods, on the other hand, would have been of little use in an Abstract consisting of several sheets. However, either of these defects may be easily supplied, by turning either to the Abstract, or the Abstract of the Abstract, as there is occasion. And that St. Paul's five apostolical journeys (on which the order that St. Luke writes his history in depends) might be the more easily traced, I have added a map of his journeys and voyages, where, I hops, by the method I have taken, the
pre. fently find them,
WHILE the learned authors I have just now mentioned, and others, have made use of this chronological method themselves, to the great advantage of christianity, in several of their excellent labours; and while others have done the like from the assistance they have had from them; yet several things perhaps have escaped their observation, which, by a more careful attention to this method, might have offered themselves to their notice. Whether they have or no, I must leave the world to judge; now that I have been prevailed on to publith thesc papers by some of my learned friends, to whom I communicated my thoughts (after I had finished them for my own private use), that fo I might have their opinion cn subjects which are so nice and difficult in themselves, and on my manner of considering them; but without any intention of communicating them to the world.
I HAVE been led to the notions that run through them, from considering the history of the apostles in the order in which the several transactions that are recorded about them happened, either under the ministry of Jesus or of the Spirit. I dare say the reader, on perusing them, will find several new interpretations given to a great many texts, some of which have been generally thought very difficult and obscure. If the turns that
are given them are as judicious as they are ,new, I flatter myself, it will fully answer my end, and effectually recommend the study of the scriptures according to this method, to which I owe those turns, if there be any thing in them: most, if not all, of them occurring to me on my considering the scripture in this view; though I have met with some few of them afterwards, on consulting the critics and commentators. I say this, purely to recommend this method of studying the scrip
On the other hand, I am persuaded, the rule or method I have proposed for reading the Gospels and the Acts, as well as several parts of the Epistles, will be found a very good one; though I should often appear to misapply it, either for want of greater leifure or ability.
I BELIEVE it will be always found to be of ufe, to confider in what year the books and epistles of the New Testament were written, or that any thing happened that is recorded in them of which we desire to make ourselves masters. This, I confess, has been recommended to us by the best critics; who have often reminded us, that when we read any of the sacred authors, as well as others, we must put ourselves in the same situation in every respect that the writer was when he wrote: though, I think, scarce any of those
critics have attended so exactly to their own rule as they ought; and when they attend to their own rule, it is still very difficult to follow it. But what I principally aim at is, to engage my reader to divide the apostolical times not barely into the order of time, but chiefly by that means into the period of the ministry of Jesus, and the ministry of the Spirit; and particularly the latter (for it is Dot necessary to speak of the subdivision of the former here), into the three great periods; which, though very remarkable in scripture, have not been ever taken notice of by any one, as far as I know, at least to this purpose. I mean, the time from the descent of the Holy Ghost, while Christ was preached only to the Jcws, either by birth or profelytism, in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria, according to our Saviour's parable ?, and his express predi&tion b; and at last out of Judea, as far as Antiocho; the time that it was preached not only to the Jews, but to those who were Heathens by nation, but had quitted the Pagan Religion, without embracing the Jewish, called the Devout Gentiles, or Proselytes of the Gate; and the time that it was preached to those two, and to the idolatrous Gentiles also.
+ Ads i. 8.
a Luke xiv. 16-25. • Ibid. xi. 19.
The persons who preached to these different forts of people, the characters and circumstances of these people to whom they preached, the obligation that they were under, the doctrine that was preached to them, and the manner and stile of preaching, were all different, as well as the periods in which these teachers preached : so that, if I am not very much mistaken, smaller or larger portions of the Acts, read with a regard to those three periods of time, and to the three different forts of persons they concern, will often cast a great light on them; as the not regarding, or confounding these periods has, in my opinion, been the occasion of many gross mistakes about them. And I cannot but think, that as it will give one of the best clues to the finding out the true sense and meaning of the Gospels and AEts, to consider them with a view to these periods, so it will be a great help to us in reading the Epistles, to carry it always in our eye, to which of these sorts of persons they were written; and particularly, that St. Paul wrote his epistles to the Romans, Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, Ephesians, Colossians, and Theffalonians, chiefly with a view to the idolatrous Gentiles, but now and then with a regard to the proselyted Gentiles; that St. Peter wrote to the profelyted Gentiles; and that the other apostles wrote to the Jews, at least those who