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ed soon after : the second would put upon the English word gospel, a sense which it once had, but now has not.
That this is the case is evident. Should one, for example, bring us word ?" that an end is put to hostilities, and that the powers at war have at last agreed upon a peace, ought we, in reporting this intelligence, to say, that one had come preaching to us the gospel of peace? Whoever should express himself thus, would, I am afraid, be thought to talk both absurdly and prophanely. At least, he would be said to employ a very bold and far-fetched metaphor. Yet, not the metaphorical, but the proper expression, in the language of the Apostles, would be, ευηγγελισατο ημιν ειρηνην, or even εκηρυξεν ημιν το ευαγγελιον της ειρηνης. Josephus, in his History of the Jewish War ?, acquainting us that Titus sent to his father the good news of his taking Tarichea, says, Titos de exmteuas Tiva των ιππεων ευαγγελιζεται το πατρι το εργον. How would it sound in our ears to render it, preached to his father the gospel of the action ? Nothing can be a stronger evidence that the Greek phrases above mentioned, and the English preached the gospel, are not equivalent. All, therefore, that can be concluded from the primitive import of the word Gospel, in a different, though related, language, is that, in the Anglo-Saxon, not the English, version of the New Testament, the word evayye2lov was rightly so translated. Certain it is, however, that the error remarked in the English version, runs through all the modern translations, as well as the Vulgate which gave it birth, and is a remarkable instance of the truth of an observation formerly made 22 that, sometimes, by consulting other versions, we may be confirmed in an error, instead of having it corrected. Indeed the old Latin translation has seryed, in many things, as will appear more fully afterwards, as a model to the translators in the West.
20 This was written towards the end of the American war.
21 Lib. iji. ch. 31.
§ 9. But, though the noun evayye lov was equally unequivocal with the verb evayye2isw, in its acceptation in the Old Testament, and commonly in the Evangelists, it must be owned that, from its original signification, it came insensibly afterwards to vary and receive other meanings, in the way I shall now attempt to explain. The word occurs very often in the New Testament, where, as it is a term of principal importance, its different significations deserve to be investigated, with the greatest accuracy. That the radical signification, good news, is not only the most common, but, in some respect, a concomitant of every other meaning affixed to the word, must be evident to every one who is conversant with the original. Yet this allusive concomitance, if I may so express myself, is an advantage which cannot be obtained in a translation. As use, which governs language, will not bend to our inclinations, we must
22 Diss. II. Part III. $ 6.
change the word in the version, when the import of the original name is so far different, that the same term, in another language, will not answer; yet, by changing it, we may lose the emphasis, which results from the allusion to the primitive and predominant application of the word. It will sometimes happen, in a train of reasoning, where the same word is used in the original, in different, but related, senses, that the change of the corresponding term, in the version, will hurt perspicuity, and yet may be necessary, because the same word in another language, whose idiom does not admit the same extent of signification, would hurt it more.
§ 10. The first meaning of the word then in the New Testament, especially in the Gospels, is, as has been observed, good news, a signification which, though always implied, is not always what is chiefly intended; and therefore the word cannot, without a sacrifice of propriety, be uniformly rendered so. The name, from being expressive of an eminent quality in the dispensation introduced by the Messiah, and from being most frequently applied to it, came gradually to serve as a name for the dispensation itself. When it is thus employed, it is in our tongue properly rendered gospel. This is the second meaning of the word. Of the other senses which it has in Scripture, I shall take notice afterwards. The two above mentioned are the chief. And, first, I shall consider the cases wherein that
which I call the literal and primitive signification, ought to be retained.
§ 11. FIT then, this sense ought to be retained in the version, when the word evayyelov is construed with a noun serving to limit or explain its nature, as to evayyahlov TNS Elpnuns, the good news of peace, το ευαγγελιον της βασιλειας, the good news of the reign. It was observed, on the explanation of the word Baoikela, that the Christian economy was foretold under the denomination of the reign of God, and the reign of Heaven ; and I. may add, in the typical language of the Psalms, the reign of David. Now, there were, about the time of our Saviour's appearance, many who, from the predictions of the Prophets, and signs of the times, waited, with pious confidence, for the consolation of Israel, that is, for the coming of the Lord's Messiah, and the commencement of his glorious reign. This was the great subject of comfort to them, amidst all the distresses and oppressions, personal or political, under which they groaned. For, how erroneous soever the prevalent notions concerning the person of the Messiah, and the nature of his reign, were'; they agreed in this, that they exhibited him as a deliverer, in whose time, the principal grievances of the nation were to be redressed; and, in consequence of this, the people looked forward with faith and hope, but not without a mixture of impatience, to that longdeferred, as they then thought, but happy era, the mission and consequent reign of the Messiah. Frec
dom to the slave, release to the prisoner, pardon to the convict, could not be more welcome, or afford matter of greater joy, than the tidings, well authenticated, that that blessed period, spokengf in raptures by their Prophets, and described in the most glowing colours of Eastern poetry, was at length arrived. Hence it is not improbable that, even some time before the birth of Jesus, this much wished event came to be denominated, by those who expected it, perhaps the majority of the nation, the good neu's (being such in an eminent manner), and more explicitly the good news of the reign of God, that is, of the new dispensation that would obtain under the promised Messiah.
§ 12. A NUMBER of suchlike phrases, borrow. ed from the Prophets, and from the Psalms, relating to this event, had become current among the people, and were adopted both by our Lord and by John his harbinger. Thus the Messiah himself is styled 'O EPXouevos, he that cometh, not he that should come, as it is less properly rendered in the common version, it being an abbreviation of that expression of the Psalmist 23, He that cometh in the name of the Lord. Now it is manifest that, when first the Baptist, then our Lord himself, and lastly his Apostles, in his lifetime, announced publicly the approach of this reign ; they announced what the generality of the people would immediately, and without difficulty, apprehend. I do not mean, that they
23 cxviii. 26.