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surrection of Jesus Christ, his victory over the enemies of our salvation, and his purchase of spiritual and eternal blessings, by his blood; of all which the Apostles were then ignorant, and against most of which, when first informed of them, they were as much prejudiced as any Pharisee, what will remain of that which we denominate the Gospel, in contradiction to Judaism ? The doctrine of the Gospel is, manifestly, what the Apostles were not qualified to teach, till they were enlightened by the descent of the Holy Ghost, on the day of Pentecost, after our Lord's ascension. Nay, they were, after his resurrection, when they knew more than formerly, expressly commanded, before they should attempt to teach that doctrine, to wait the promised illumination from above 25. But they had been, long before, sufficiently qualified to announce the approach of this dispensation, and to warn men to forsake their sins, and to prepare for the appearance of their Lord and King. Further, if the term gospel here be rather indefinite, how does this addition, of the kingdom, serve either to illustrate or to limit the import of that term ? And an addition, which answers neither of these purposes, cannot fail still farther to darken it.
§ 15. But, secondly, that expression in our language is, in those instances, also improper ; because there is no meaning which use has affixed to the Eng
25 Acts, i. 4. 8.
lish word gospel, that expresses the sense of the original. And, as it has been shown that our term does not there suit the word evaygehlov, I mean af. terwards to show that the word preaching does not exactly convey the sense of xnpuoow. At the same time, it is acknowledged, on the other hand, that the word evayyencov is, in many places, in the Epistles of Paul, rightly rendered Gospel. But this is manifestly, as has been shown, a secondary sense of later date.
| 16. I OBSERVED that, when the word evayyealov is construed with a noun serving to limit or explain its nature, it ought to be rendered good
But every regimen is not to be understood as serving this purpose. Thus, when it is followed with Ιησε Χρις8, with τα Κυριε, or τα Θε8, which denote the author, it is justly regarded as a name for the dispensation, and properly rendered Gospel. In the phrase to evayyehcov To Xpise, not preceded by Inos, the regimen may denote either the author or the subject. In the first view, it is the Gospel of Christ, that is, instituted by him; in the second, the good news of the Messiah, that is, concerning him. There are, perhaps, a few other cases in which the choice may be a matter of indifference. But, in most cases, the regimen ascertains the sense. Thus, to evayye uov ins Eupnunis 26 can be no other than the good news of peace. The addition
Eph. vi, 15.
plainly indicates the subject. For the same reason, το ευαγγελιον της χαριτος Θε8 21, is the good neius of the favour of God; το ευαγγελιον της σωτηρίας vuoros, the good news of your salvation. The words in the common version, the gospel of your salvation, are mere words, and convey no meaning to English ears.--The second case wherein the word always may, and commonly should, be rendered good news, and not gospel, is when it is construed with unpvoow I proclaim or publish. The justness of this observation will be manifest, from what I shall afterwards observe on the import of that verb in the Gospels and Acts.
§ 17. The third case is, when it clearly refers to a different subject from what is commonly with us denominated the Gospel. Under this, perhaps, may be ranked some of the examples which also come under the first case mentioned. For instance, το ευαγγελιον της σωτηρίας υμων, the good news of your salvation. For here the tidings to which the apostle refers, was not the embassy itself of peace by Jesus Christ; but it was the cordial reception which the Ephesians had given to that embassy, and which was to him who loved them, good news, because a pledge of their salvation. Under the same case also, in my opinion, we ought to class that famous passage in the Apocalypse ?, I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel
27 Acts, xx. 24.
26 Epb. i. 13.
2° xiv. 6,7.
(so are the words εχοντα ευαγγελιoν αιωνιον rendered in the common version), to preach to them that dwell on the earth; and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, Fear God and give glory to him, for the hour of his judgment is come, and worship him, &c. My reasons are, first, we are expressly informed what the angel had to proclaim, xmpvogelv, which is all contained in the 7th verse, and relates to a particular event long posterior to the first propagation of the Gospel, namely, the vengeance God would take on the persecutors of his church, expressed in these words, The hour of his judgment is come. The rest of the verse is to be understood merely as a warning naturally suggested by the occasion. Nor let it be urged, that the approach of the hour of judgment looks rather like bad news than good. It frequently holds, that the tidings which to one are the most doleful, are to another the most joyous. The visions and prophecies of that Book are all directed to the churches of Christ, and intended for their use. To crush their enemies, was to relieve the churches : the defeat of the one, was the victory of the other. Secondly, what the angel had to promulgate, is not called to evayyanlov, as the word is almost uniformly used, when referring to the Christian dispensation, but simply evayyencov, not the gospel, the institution of Christ,.--not that which is emphatically styled the good news, but barely good news. It is styled alovlov, everlasting, with the same propriety, and in the same latitude, as things of long duration, or of permanent
consequences, are often, in Scripture, so denominated.
§ 18. Again, let it be observed that, by the English word gospel, we do not always mean precisely the same thing. The predominant sense is doubtless the religious institution of Jesus Christ. But this is not invariably its meaning. Early, in the church, the word evayyeziov was employed to de. note, and, in one passage of the New Testament, actually denotes, the history of the life, teaching, death, and resurrection of the Son of God. It is in this sense that the four histories or narratives, written by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, containing memoirs of that extraordinary Personage, have, from the earliest antiquity, been titled evayyeżia, Gospels. The word is thus used by Mark 3), Αρχη το ευαγγελια Inox Xp158, The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I confess, however, that it would not be easy to decide, whether this ought to be accounted part of the sacred text, or a title afterwards prefixed (as were the names of the penmen, by some of the first transcribers), which may have been inadvertently admitted into the text. But whether this application be scriptural or not, it is very ancient, and has obtained universally in the church. The English word has precisely the same application. It may be proper here to remark that, though the Greek word evayyeacov has been adopted by the Syriac interpreters,
30 i. 1.