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7.  What Good Things are Announced in the Gospels.

But it is time we should inquire what is the meaning of the designation “Gospel,” and why these books have this title.  Now the Gospel is a discourse containing a promise of things which naturally, and on account of the benefits they bring, rejoice the hearer as soon as the promise is heard and believed.  Nor is such a discourse any the less a Gospel that we define it with reference to the position of the hearer.  A Gospel is either a word which implies the actual presence to the believer of something that is good, or a word promising the arrival of a good which is expected.  Now all these definitions apply to those books which are named Gospels.  For each of the Gospels is a collection of announcements which are useful to him who believes them and does not misinterpret them; it brings him a benefit and naturally makes him glad because it tells of the sojourn with men, on account of men, and for their salvation, of the first-born of all creation,44854485    Col. i. 15. Christ Jesus.  And again each Gospel tells of the sojourn of the good Father in the Son with those minded to receive Him, as is plain to every believer; and moreover by these books a good is announced which had been formerly expected, as is by no means hard to see.  For John the Baptist spoke in the name almost of the whole people when he sent to Jesus and asked,44864486    Matt. xi. 3. “Art thou He that should come or do we look for another?”  For to the people the Messiah was an expected good, which the prophets had foretold, and they all alike, though under the law and the prophets, fixed their hopes on Him, as the Samaritan woman bears witness when she says:44874487    John iv. 25.  “I know that the Messiah comes, who is called Christ; when He comes He will tell us all things.”  Simon and Cleopas too, when talking to each other about all that had happened to Jesus Christ Himself, then risen, though they did not know that He had risen from the dead, speak thus,44884488    Luke xxiv. 18–21. “Dost thou sojourn alone in Jerusalem, and knowest not the things which have taken place there in these days?  And when he said what things? they answered, The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth,44894489    Ναζαρηνοῦ. which was a prophet, mighty in 301deed and in word before God and all the people, and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him up to be sentenced to death and crucified Him.  But we hoped that it was He which should redeem Israel.”  Again, Andrew the brother of Simon Peter found his own brother Simon and said to him,44904490    John i. 42. “We have found the Messiah, which is, being interpreted, Christ.”  And a little further on Philip finds Nathanael and says to him,44914491    John i. 46. “We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, wrote, Jesus the son of Joseph, from Nazareth.”


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