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VARIOUS modes of arranging the books of the New Testament have obtained at different times; 'nor does the order in which they are to be found in manuscripts correspond with that in which they occur in the printed copies and modern translations. In the time of Ignatius (who flourished A. D. 107), the New Testament consisted of two codes or collections, called 'Gospels,' and 'Epistles,' or 'Gospels' and ' Apostles ;" the same division prevailed in the time of Tertullian, A. D. 200 (the Acts being included in the latter division), who called the Gospels “our Digesta,” in allusion, as it seems, to some collection of the Roman laws digested into order. This division also obtained in the time of Cyprian, who flourished soon after Tertullian.3 About a century afterwards, Athanasius, or the author of the Synopsis of the sacred Scriptures attributed to him, makes the New Testament to consist of eight volumes or parts, viz. the four Gospels; the fifth book is the Acts of the Apostles; the sixth contains the seven Catholic Epistles; the seventh, the fourteen Epistles of Saint Paul ; and the eighth, the Revelation of Saint John.' In a later age, Leontius of Byzantium* (or Constantinople) distributed the books of the New Testament into six books or parts, the first of which comprised the Gospels of Matthew and Mark; the second, those of Luke and John; the third, the Acts of the Apostles; the fourth, the seven Catholic Epistles ; the fifth, the Epistles of Saint Paul; and the sixth the Apocalypse. But the more modern, and certainly more convenient arrangement, is that of the Historical, Doctrinal, and Prophetical Books.

The Historical Books are such as contain principally matters of fact, though points of faith and doctrine are also interwoven. They consist of two parts; the first, comprising the four Gospels, relates the transactions of Jesus Christ. These, when formed into a volume,

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1 See the passages in Dr. Lardner's Works, 8vo. vol. ii. pp. 81, 82. ; 4to. vol. i. pp. 322, 323.

2 Ibid. 8vo. vol. ii. pp. 278-282. ; 4to. vol. i. pp. 431–433. 3 Ibid. 8vo. vol. iii. pp. 179, 180.; 410. vol. ii. pp. 28, 29.

4 De Sectis, art. 2. cited by Heidegger, Manuale Biblicum, p. 441. and Rum. pæus, Com. Crit. ad Libros N. T. p. 97.

have sometimes been collectively termed Evavyssov, the Gospel, and Evavyew Igaon, the Scripture of the Gospels. The second part of these historical books relates the transactions of the Apostles, especially those of Peter and Paul, and comprises the books called the Acts of the Apostles. The Doctrinal Books include the fourteen Epistles of Saint Paul, and also the seven Catholic Epistles, so called because they were chiefly addressed to the converted Jews, who were dispersed throughout the Roman empire. The appellation of Catholic Epistles is of considerable antiquity, being mentioned by Eusebius, Jerome, and the Pseudo-Athanasius. I'he Revelation of Saint John forms the prophetical class of the books of the New Testament.

On the preceding classification we may remark, that the appellation of historical books is given to the Gospels and Acts, because their subject-matter is principally historical ; and that the Gospels are placed first, on account of the importance of their contents, which relate the history of the life, discourses, doctrines, miracles, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ, which form the primary articles of the Christian faith. The Acts of the Apostles are placed second in order, because they continue and confirm the history delivered in the Gospels, and give an account of the churches which were planted by the Apostles. The Epistles hold the third place, Decause they contain instructions to the newly planted churches, and more fully explain, confirm, and apply the doctrines of the Gospel. In the fourth place comes the Apocalypse, which, Dr. Mill remarks, is fitly placed last, because it predicts things that are hereafter to be fulfilled, and is therefore of a different kind from the rest : and also because it has, towards the end, that remarkable clause (Rev. xxi. 18, 19.) against adding to or taking from it, which may be applied to all the books of Scripture : to which observation we may add, that there are strong reasons for believing it to be the last written of all the books of the New Testament.3

With respect to the order in which particular books (especially Saint Paul's Epistles) are to be placed under these respective classes, there is a considerable difference of opinion among learned men, in consequence of the diversity of the dates when the books are su; posed to have been written. As these dates are particularly considered in the account of each book, given in the following pages, it may suffice at present to remark that the order now generally received, is the most antient, being that adopted by Eusebius in the early part of the fourth century, as it had probably been the order adopted by Ignatius, who lived at the close of the first and during the former half of the second century.

Dr. Lardner (in whose judgment


1 Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. lib. ii.c. 23. Hieronymi, Cat. Script. Eccles. (Opp. tom. i. pp. 169, 170. Francof. 1684. Pseudo-Athanasii Synops. Sacr. Script. in Athanasii Opp. p. 59.

2 Millii Prolegom. ad Nov. Test. 0 239. 3 Rumpæi Comm. Crit. ad Nov. Test. pp. 98–120. Moldenhawer, Introd. ad Lib. Bibl. pp. 204-206. Heidegger, Manuale Biblicum, pp. 441-447.

Bishop Tomline has acquiesced) is of opinion that the received order is the best; and although it is both entertaining and useful to know the order in which St. Paul's epistles were written, yet he is of opinion that we should not deviate from that arrangement which has been so long established in all the editions of the original Greek, as well as in all modern versions, partly on account of the difficulty which would attend such an alteration, and also because the order of time has not yet been settled beyond the possibility of dispute.

The following table will perhaps be useful to the student, as exhibiting at one view the various classes of the books of the New Testament above enumerated.

1 Elements of Christian Theology, vol. i. p: 276. 2 Dr. Lardner's Works, 8vo. vol. vi. pp. 641—649. ; 4to, vol. üi. pp. 454 458.

The Books of the New TESTAMENT are,

Matthew, | Jesus Christ, the head of the Church ; whose genealogy, birth, life, doctrine, Mark,

miracles, death, resurrection, and ascension are recorded by the four evangelists. Luke, I. HISTORICAL, describing the history of

John. 2. The Christian Church, whose primitive plantation, state, and increase, both

Acts of the Apostles. among Jews and Gentiles, are declared in the

II. Corinthians. (1. General, which Paul wrote unto whole churches about matters of general and Galatians. public concernment, as the Epistles to the

II. Thessalonians.
1. To believ.



2. Private, or Economical affairs, as his Epistle to
prising all the Epis-
1. The Epistle, written by Paul to the

tles written by the

Apostles, either,

2. To the be-

I. Peter.
lieving Jews, as 2 The soven

II. Peter
it is probable all Epistles, com-

General I. John. these Epistles monly called Ge. neral, or the Ca- John

tholic Epistles of

III. John

I. Corinthians.

I. Thessalonians.

1. Timothy
II. Timothy

SII. John.


ing Gentiles, as 2. Particularet. S 1 Public, or Ecclesiastical affairs, as his Epistles to




were, viz.

III. PROPENE TICALforetelling what shall be the future state and condition of the Church of Christ to the end of the world; } The Revelations.

written by John






ON THE NAME AND NUMBER OF THE CANONICAL GOSPELS. 1. Observations on the general appellation of GoSPEL, as applied to the histories of Jesus Christ. - II. General Scope of the Gospels.

III. Their number. – IV. Importance of the Gospels. 1. THE word ETAITEAION, which we translate Gospel, among Greek profane writers, signifies any good tidings (from su, good, and aygeda, a message or tidings), and corresponds exactly with our English word Gospel, which is derived from the Saxon words 306, God or Good, and j'pel, word or tiding, and denotes God's word or good 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.) Thus, in Matt. xi. 5. our Lord says, “the poor have the Gospel preached 10 them," - that is, the advent and doctrines of the Messiah or Christ are preached to the poor. Hence ecclesiastical writers gave the appellation of Gospels to the lives of Christ, – that is, to those

sacred histories in which are recorded the good tidings of great joy to all people," of the advent of the Messiah, together with all its joyful circumstances; and hence the authors of those histories have acquired the title of EVANGELISTS. Besides this general title, the sacred writers use the term Gospel, with a variety of epithets, which it may be necessary to mention.

Thus it is called the Gospel of Peace (Eph. vi. 15.), because it proclaims peace with God to fallen man, through Jesus Christ; - The Gospel of God concerning his Son (Rom. i. 1. 3.), because it relates every ihing concerning the conception, birth, preaching, miracles, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ;- The Gospel of his Son (Rom. i. 9.); – The Gospel of Salvation (Eph. i. 13.), because it offers salvation to the lost or miserable ; The Gospel of the kingdom of God (Matt. iv. 23. ix. 35. xxiv. 14. Mark i. 14.), because it proclaims the power and dominion of the Messiah, the nature and privileges of his kingdom, its laws, and the duties of its subjects ; — The Word or Doctrine (Royos) of the Gospel (Acts xv. 7.); – The Word of Reconciliation (2 Cor. v. 19.), because it makes known the manner and terms by which God is reconciled to sinners; – The Gospel of Glory (or the glorious Gospel) of the

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1 On the various meanings of the word Evayyedcov, Schleusner's and Parkhurst's Greek Lexicons, or Leusden's Philologus Græcus (pp. 133–135.), may be advantageously consulted. 2 Rosenmüller, Scholia in N. T. tom. i. pp. 2, 3. Michaelis, vol. iii. pp. 1, 2



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