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new-moons, which are by the Hebrews ftiled the beginning of months !! We meet with some footsteps of these festivals in the remoteft periods ! of 'eathen antiquity (i), but they were consecrated to the moon, as hak been already faid. We have also observed before, that the ancient Jews were not used to have recourse to an astronomical calculation, to find out the new-moon, but discovered it by its phafis, or appearance, when it begins to emerge out of the rays of the sun, which was by them observed with a superstitious exactness. These festivals were celebrated with the same ceremonies as were observed on the first day of the year, bating some few differences, which may be easily discerned by comra. ring the twenty-eighth and twenty-ninth chapters of the book of Numbers together. We do not find that the feast of new-moons had any tipical meaning. It seems moreover not to have been so much a law, as a custom already received, which the supreme Lawgiver did not think fit to oppose, but only to prescribe what ceremonies were to be tha observed (*). When therefore St. Paul ranks the new moons among those observances, which were only figures of things to come (E), he means the whole body of the ceremonial law, whereof the new-mocts were a part. The feast of
We are now come to those Jewish festivals, which were
of human institution only. The first is that of lots, called oriols in Hebrew purim (+). The occasion of which name w33 taken from Haman's enquiring by lot, when it would be the fittest time for destroying the Jews. It was instituted by Mordecai, in remembrance of the signal deliverance which Esther had obtained for that nation, when it was just going to fall a victim to the pride and cruelty of Hamas. They celebrated it on the fourteenth and fifteznth of the month Adar's, because on those days the consternation of the Jews was changed into joy, by the unexpected victory, which God granted them over their enemies (II). The whole book of Esther was read in the synagogue upon this occalion (*), and some passages concerning Amalek. The rest of the time was spent in feastings and rejoicings. The feast of ; The feast of the dedication, spoken of by St. John'm', dedication was appointed by Judas Maccabeus, in imitation of those of
for destroying eliverance wa victim to tod fifteonth of was changed the
delive Jews. It ung by lot, boccafic
() Exod. xi. 2. Numb. x. 10. xxviij. ij. Ifai. i. 13, 14.
(i) Eurip. 12. Troad. Chor. 5. Hefiod. Dier. v. 6. Herodot. Vit. Hon. C. 33.
i*A famous Caraite doctor named Elias, imagined that the new moors were observed even in the time of Noah and Abraham.
(k) Coloff. ii. i6.
(11) This probably happened under Artaxerxes Longimanus, who is fupa posed to have been the same as Ahasuerus, about goo years before Christ..
(*) And as often as the children heard the name of Haman, they struck the benches of the synagogue with as much joy, as they would have ftruck Haman's head, if it had been before them. Lamy. p. 137. When the year had 13 months, this feast was twice celebrated, both in the first and 1 cond Adar. Id.
(m) John. X, 22. 1 Mac. iv. 59.
Solomon and Ezra, for: a than!:ful remembrance of the cleansing of the temple and altar, after they had been profaned by Antiochus (t). It began the twenty-fifth of Cilleu, or December, and lasted eight days. They called it otherwise the feast of lights, either because during it they illuminated their houses (II), or, according to Jofephus (†), because of the extreme happiness of those times. The whole feast was spent in singing hymns, offering sacrifices, and all kinds of pastimes and diversions.
These are all the Jewish festivals that deserve our notice. They had others of a more modern institution, but we shall pass them over here, as having no relation to our present design.
(+) The Jews celebrated four of these feasts. The first was that of the temple built by Solomon in the month Tisri; the second, that of the temple rebuilt by Zorobabel, in the month Adar; the third, that of the altar rebuilt by Judas Maccabeus, on the twenty-fifth day of the month Cilleu; and the fourth was that of the temple of Herod. Lamy, ib.
(1) By setting up candles at every man's door. See Prid. Connect. P. 2. B. 3. under the year 165.
() Joseph. Ant. xii, 11,
Concerning the HE first part of this Introduction hath but an New Testament | indirect relation to the New Testament, but this in general. 1 second part will more particularly refer thereto. Thefour Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, fourteen Epistles of St.Paul(*), one of St. James, two of St. Peter, three of St. John, one of St. Jude, and the Revelations of St. John, make up that facred collection which goes under the name of the New Covenant, or New Testament. This title was not given by the Evangelists or Apostles, since in their time the canon of the books of the New Testament was not yet composed, it being not done till the end of the first, or beginning of the second century. li is notwithstanding of a very ancient date, and occasioned undoubtedly by a passage of Jeremiah, wherein God promises to make a new covenant with his people (a). In the old Latin version the original Greek word(") is rendered by that of Testament, in allusion to that passage of the Episke to the Hebrews, wherein it is said, that the New Testament was ratified
gore was not given, of the New Teor begi
not done the books of the Frangelists of ant or New Telia
(*) We have proved in our preface to the Epistle to the Hebrews, that cha cpistle was written by St. Paul.
(a) Jerem, xxxi. 32.
(*) Avbmum. This word signifies both a law, and an agreement, a cores nant, and a testament,
by the death of the Testator (b). It is called New in opposition to that collection of the sacred Hebrew writings, which are by St: Paul named the Old Testament, or Ancient Covenant (c), because it contains the conditions of the covenant which God had made with the children of Ifrael by the ministry of Moses; as Jesus CHRIS'T gave the name of New Covenant, to that which God inade, through his mediation, with mankind (d). The New Testament therefore, or the New Covenant, are those books which contain the last will of our heavenly Father, revealed by his Son JESUS CHRIST; the benefits which, through him, are conferred upon us here below, thofe which are promised to us hereafter, our obligations to God; in a word, the conditions of the evangelical covenant or economy. The Old and New Testament may properly be ftiled the facred deeds, and the originals of the two covenants mentioned by St. Paul-in his epistle to the Galatians (e). ..
But here we must observe, that when those laws which God hath at different times delivered to mankind are named a Covenant or Tefta. ment (f), these words are not to be taken in a strict and literal, buc in a figurative sense (8): that is, as far as God's dealing with his creatures, and the laws he hath given them, may be said to have a conformity with a testament or covenant. The name of Teftament, for instance, which is but improperly applicable to the first Covenant, does exactly belong to the New, because in this the death of the Testator intero vened (h), which happened in the first only in a very figurative manner. There are other respects in which the name of Teftament cannot be ape plied to either of the covenants. An heir is at liberty to accept or reject a 'will. But under the law and the gospel the will of God cannot be rejected without rebellion and napicty. As for the name of Covenant; it may be applied two ways, both to the Old and New. 1. They con. tain reciprocal conditions. God makes promises, and requires fome certain duties. 2. They were both ratified with blood, as covenants used formerly to be. But there is this difference between the covénants that are made between 'man and man, and those which God hath been pleased to make with mankind; That in human covenants the cons , tracting parties are at liberty, and have nearly the same right of propose ing the conditions upon which they are willing to agree and covenant together. The case is otherwise here. God is the Creator, and men his creatures.; he is the supreme Monarch, and they his subjects. He is the sovereign Lawgiver, muft be obeyed absolutely, and without re* ferve. When therefore God says that he makes a covenant with man, kind, his meaning is, that out of condescension and mere goodness, he is pleased to descend from his supreme Majesty, and not use his power, that ... he may engage them to obedience by a principle of gratitude and love.
We must pass the same.'judgment upon the words oeconomy and difi penfation, that are used to exprels the different states of mankind under God's direction, and the feveral methods he hath followed in the govern,
(6) Heb.rix. 15, 16.
(c) 2 Cor. iii. 11.'.
ment of them. The term weconomy is very ambiguous in our language; we have therefore thought fit to change it into that of distentatis, which is more plain. These words are taken from the language and customs of mankind, and are to be figuratively understood, accord. ing to the nature of the things in question. · The meaning of them is that God, like a prudent Father, deals differently with his childrer., according to the difference of times and places; according to their age, strength and capacity. A governor may alter his laws and government and still remain very constant and unchangeable, because he hath ock always the farne subjects to govern, or because their condition may alte:. Before men entered into society, when there was only Adam and Eve, just come out of the hands of God, and consequently incapable of tranígressing any article of that law, which God gave afterwards to his people, it was necessary that their obedience should be tried by a law pecu. liar to them alone. After the first inhabitants of the world had departed from that law of nature, which God had implanted in the when he made them reasonable creatures, it was necessary they shou's be brought back by an express revelation. God having brought bis people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt, where, through a long ilaver, they had been used to the manners and sinful ceremonies of the Egstians, it was expedient.another course should be taken with them, then would have been with persons that were not in the same circumstances, or were not appointed for the same ends. . Besides, whoever designs : go about any great undertaking, ought beforehand to get all things rear towards it. When a man intends to build, he must erect scattek which must again be taken down, when his building is once finishes This is the reason which the New Testament alligns for the differenc: there is between the two covenants. And here I shall observe, that it is all one, whether we suppose only two covenants, or three, and exer four, provided we understand by them the different methods on God's dealing with men according to their various circumstances; and that, instead of difputing about words, we exactly perform the conditions of the covenant which God hath been pleased to honour us with. . · The prefaces which we have placed before each of the books of the New Testament, render it unnecessary for us to enter into à paro ticular examination of them here. We have shewn who were the authors of them; given an abstract of their lives; pointed out their character; spoken of their style; and made a kind of an analysis of the writings. The truth of the Having in cach of these prefaces particularly applied books of the New ourselves to thew, that the books of the New Tefta Testament. . ment were written by those whose names they bear, this must go a great way towards proving the truth of them, and cont. quently that they were written by divine inspiration. When the persons that relate any matter of fact, or the authors of a new doctrine, are once well known, we may easily judge by their character, whether they are to be believed, or not. When, besides honesty, there appear in witnesses all the wisdom and knowledge requisite in order to attett cere tain truths and matters of fact; when we may be certain, that they do