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Epistle to the Hebrews among the canonical scriptures, so with equal freedom, the Greek churches do not receive John's Apocalypse. I, however, acknowledge both; for I do not follow the customs of the times, but the authority of older writers, who drew arguments from both, as being canonical and ecclesiastical writings, and not merely as Apocryphal books are sometimes used.” 1
The authority of two or three councils should here, perhaps, be attended to. That assembled at Hyppo in 393 is full and explicit in respect to the canonical character of the Apocalypse. That held at Carthage in 397 is equally explicit.3 In both these cases, as a matter of courtesy, they defer to the church at Rome;- but what the decision at Rome would be does not seem to be doubtful, since Innocent, bishop of Rome, in a letter to Exuperius, bishop of Toulouse, gives a catalogue of canonical books, in which the Apocalypse is included. There cannot be much doubt that from this time, the beginning of the fifth century, the Apocalypse was generally received by the churches. We will merely enumerate Sulpitius Severus, Innocent I., Primasius, Cassiodorus, the Synod of Toledo in 633, Isidorus of Seville, about 630, Nilus, Isidore of Pelusium, Dionysius the Areopagite, Cyrill of Alexandria, Andreas of Caesarea, Arethas, the fourth Council of Carthage, Jacob of Edessa, John of Damascus, Theophylact, Novatus and his followers, the Donatists, and Arians — persons of different countries and various phases of culture and modes of thought, who all received the Apocalypse as canonical and the work of John the apostle and evangelist.
The alleged Testimony against the Authorship of the Apostle.
In the last half of the second century the first intimation of any question in reference to the authenticity of the Apoc
Non ut interdum de apocryphis facere soleat, sed quasi canonicis et ecclesiasticas.
2 See Mansi Nov. Collect. Concil., III. 924, Canon XXXVI.
alypse is found; and indeed until the middle of the third century there is nothing which deserves the name of author. ity, or is really of any weight in an argument of this kind. The Montanists, as is well known, made their appearance as a sect toward the end of the second century. Montanus, the founder of the sect, supported his claim to be the Paraclete by John's Gospel, and drew proofs for the personal reign of Christ on the earth of a thousand years from the Apocalypse. The opponents of this sect, instead of wrest . ing these books from them by properly explaining them, and refuting their claims, took the short method of rejecting them both from the canon. From their rejection of these books they subsequently received the appellation Alogi ("Aloyol). It is plain that the only ground of their opposition to these books was the perversion of them by those whom they opposed, and their inability so to interpret them that their heresies should not receive support from them. They ascribed the writings of John to Cerinthus.
“ It is obvious," as Davidson says, “ that they had no critical grounds for their decision. They appealed to no historical testimony. They relied upon doctrinal reasons alone; and these were of the weakest nature.» But it is unnecessary to delay upon this part of our argument, as even the present opponents of the Apocalypse, as Lücke and Credner, acknowledged that the opposition of the Alogi is “a mere makeshift,” and that “it is as clear as the light, that they rejected it, not on any historical ground, ..... but only and simply because of their exegetical ignorance of it, and from lack of being well informed in matters pertaining to polemical theology." 2
The rejection of it by Marcion, who also mutilated Luke's Gospel, is merely accidentally mentioned by Tertullian, and passed over with the remark that John, the author
1 Introd., Vol. III. 545.
2 See Stuart's Introd. to Apoc., $ 17. Lücke's Comm., p. 306. llengstenberg's Commentary, Vol. II. 424.
of it, was the first bishop of the seven Asiatic churches;" 1 thus showing that he considered the doubt as utterly unfounded, and unworthy of further notice. It need only be added that the doubt of Marcion belongs to about the same time and cause as those of the Alogi previously spoken of.
Caius, a presbyter of Rome, who wrote at the beginning of the third century, in a Dialogue against the Montanist Proclus, according to Eusebius, says : Moreover, Cerinthus, by revelations, as if written by a great apostle, deceptively imposes upon us narrations of wonderful things as shown to him by angels, saying, that after the resurrection Christ will reign on the earth, and that under this dispensation men will give themselves up to the enjoyment of the sensuous desires and pleasures at Jerusalem; and as an enemy to the holy scriptures, and wishing to lead astray, he asserts that a space of a thousand years will be spent in marriage feasts,” 3 etc. The question has been much discussed whether the Apocalypse of John is here referred to and attributed to Cerinthus, or whether a forged Apocalypse of Cerinthus was then in existence, but has since been lost, or, what is much the same thing, whether Cerinthus was guilty of corrupting the Apocalypse of John, so as to make it assume his peculiar notions. A very brief view of the arguments used in respect to this matter is all that our limits allow.
The whole manner and import of the passage would seem to indicate that it does not refer to the Apocalypse, but to a work of Cerinthus. Cerinthus, by revelations (not
1 Si Apocalypsin ejus Marcion respuit, ordo tamen episcoporum ad originem recensus, in Johannem stabit auctorem.
? Eccl. llist., III. 28.
8 'Αλλά και Κήρινθος, και, δι' αποκαλυψέων ώς υπό αποστόλου μεγάλου γεγραμμένων, τετραλογίας ημίν ως δι' αγγέλων αυτω δεδειγμένας ψευδόμενας επεισάγει, λέγων· Μετά την ανάστασιν επείγειος είναι το βασίλειον του Χριστού, και πάλιν επιθυμίαις και ηδοναίς εν Ιερουσαλήμ την σάρκα πολιτευομένην δουλεύειν. Και εχθρός υπάρχων ταις γραφείς του θεού αριθμόν χιλιονταετίας εν γάμω εορτής θέλων πλανών λέγει γίνεσθαι. . Vol XXI. No. 82.
a revelation, as Eusebius, in whom this passage is found, always designates the Apocalypse of John), as if written by a great apostle, deceptively imposes upon us, etc. And then the sentiments are so different from those obtained by any just interpretation of the work of John — the reign of Christ on the earth after the resurrection, and devotion of men to sensuous desires and pleasures at Jerusalem, and a thousand years spent in nuptial feasts. On the other hand, if Cerinthus had written such revelations, we should expect other notices of them in writers of the time. Only one author, as far as is known, makes any allusion to such a work of Cerinthus. Theodoret says: “ Cerinthus forged certain revelations, as if he himself had seen them, and added descriptions of certain monstrous things, and declares that the kingdom of the Lord will be established on earth," 1 etc. There does not, then, seem to be data for a positive opinion either, for or against the reference of this passage to the Apocalypse. Paulus, Hartwig, Hug, Barnes, and others maintain that it does not refer to the Apocalypse of John. Hug says: “ Cerinthus, then, invented revelations in the name of a great apostle. The language is so general that it may have reference to Peter's Apocalypse, or Paul's, or even one bearing John's name, and still not the one now in our possession. But, it will be said, the sequel points more definitely to John.
It rather evinces the contrary. The reign of a thousand years in the midst of sensual delights, which he (Cerinthus) cunningly devised out of enmity to the holy scriptures, seems to intimate a composition which was intended as a kind of counterpart to our Apocalypse. For if he maliciously invented a sensual reign of a thousand years out of opposition to the sacred scriptures, this opposition must have reference to John's Apocalypse, which alone assigns to departed spirits a thousand years reign with
1 Κήρινθος και αποκαλύψεις τινάς ως αυτός θεασάμενος έπλάσατο, και απειλών τινων διδασκαλίας συνέθηκε, και του κυρίου την βασιλείαν έφησεν επίγειον έσεσθαι. Fab. Haeret., II. 3.
Christ (xx. 4, 5). Lücke, De Wette, Davidson, and others adopt the contrary opinion. But the question is hardly worth the time we have given to it, for the opinion of Caius is of very little importance, as it is plain that, if he referred to the Apocalypse of John, his opinion was the result of his opposition to Chiliasm, and of no more weight than that of the Alogi above referred to.?
The testimony of Dionysius of Alexandria is really the first of any weight, and when all the circumstances are considered, even this is shorn of most, if not all, of its critical value. He was a pupil of Origen, and bishop of Alexandria from 248 to 265. His work against Nepos, an Egyptian bishop, and a strenuous advocate of a literal millennium and earthly reign of Christ, led him to speak of the Apocalypse, upon which Nepos and his followers based their theories, and whose credit he therefore seemed to think it necessary to invalidate. He first refers to the opinions that had been previously promulgated, and says: “Some of those before us have rejected the book," etc. “The very inscription, they aver, is false, for John is not the author.3 ..... On the other hand, Cerinthus, he from whom the heresy was derived which is called after his name, gave to this his own work a name that was venerable, in order to obtain credit for it. For this is the purport of his doctrine, that Christ will reign on the earth, and that his kingdom will consist of those things which he, with his animal and carnal appetites, gloated over, - the gratification of the appetite, and sensual pleasures, i.e. in meats and drinks and marriage, and (as means by which such desires may be more decently gratified) in feasts and sacrifices and the slaughter of victims."
The whole account of the opinion of those designated
See Hug’s Introd., p. 660, and G. Paulus, Comm. Theol. Hist. Cerinthi. illustr., Pars prior, $ 30.
? See Stuart's Commentary, Introd., § 17 (2).
3 He does not here say the ancients (åpxaioi óvopes, or some such phrase), but mcrely Tuvės Tūv apo nuôv, some of our predecessors, those of the preceding generation. See Hug's Introd., p. 655.