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book were seem at several times, and afterwards joined together in one book, in like manner as the visions and prophecies of some of the prophets of the Old Testament.
Concerning this opinion it is not proper for me to dispute, though there appears mot any foundation for it in the book itself, as q Vitringa has observed. But that the book of the Revelation, in its present form, sent as an epistle to the seven churches of Asia, ch. i. ver. 4, was not composed and published before the reign of Domitian, appears to me very probable from the general, and almost universally concurring testimony of the ancients, and from some things in the book itself.
Now therefore I shal] transcribe * a part of L'Enfant's and Beausobre's preface to the Revelation, at the same time referring to Vitringa * in the margin, who has many like thoughts.
usque, &c. Ejusdem Annot. ad cap. iv. init. Vid. et ejus Commentatio ad loca quæd. N. T. &c. citat. in hujus Supplementi volumine primo, p. 176. 9 Et vero Grotius et Hammondus ipsi causam suam produnt, ubi posteriorem Apocalypseos partem sub Vespasiano Ephesi scriptam concedunt. Quis enim illos docuit, Visa Joannis in Apocalypsi hoc modo distinguere, et diversa illis et tam longe dissita assignare tam tempora quam loca ? Nullum indicium, nulla significatio illius rei in ipsâ Apocalypsi exstat. Contra dicitur Joanmes, quæ vidit, * vidisse im insulâ Patmo.' Vitr. ib. p. 11, 12. * Preface sur l' Apoc. de S. Jean. p. 613, 614. * Primo dubium non est, quin si testimoniis Veterum res conficienda sit, communis antiquæ ecclesiæ traditio, firmata auctoritate Irenæi, hic multum præponderet testimonio Epiphanii. Irenæus enim temporibus Joannis apostoli propior fuit, tanquam qui eodem adhuc seculo cum Joanne vixerit, et traditionem nobis retulit suâ ætate communem, et omnibus notissimam. Sed, quod plus etiam momenti causæ nostræ addit, non nititur nostra hæc sententia de tempore scriptæ Apocalypsis solâ traditione Veterum. Potest ilka ex ipso hoc libro, etiam absque ullâ traditione veteris ecclesiæ, demonstrari. Quare secundo observari velim, ex ipsâ Apocalypsi evidentissimas adduci posse probationes, ex quibus evincatur, hunc librum non utique sub Claudio, sed omnino post Claudii et Neronis tempora, quinimo sub Domi. tiano, demum in lucem editum esse.—Quo tempore scripta est Apocalypsis, ecclesiæ jam per Asiam inferiorem in celeberrimis locis non tantum erant fundatæ et constabilitæ, sed jamdudum fundatæ et stabilitæ fuisse supponuntur. Redarguuntur enim pleræque a Domino gravium vitiorum et criminum, quæ tractu longioris temporis ecclesias illas obrepserant. Ephesina jam * reliquerat primam suam caritatem.' Sardicensis dicebatur, * nomine vivere, sed Vere mOrtua esse.' Laodicenam * magnus occupaveret tepor,' eratque * ærumnosa et miserabilis.' Hæc vero quam belle conveniunt temporibus Claudii ! Ex ecclesiis enim septem, quæ hic memorantur, in Actibus Apostolorum, aliarum mentio non est, quam Ephesinæ et Laodicenæ. Ephesina autem a Paulo apostolo demum fundata est, secundum Annales Cestriensis, anno Claudii Imperatoris extremo. Liquet ex iisdem epistolis Joannis, illo tempore, quo edita est Apocalypsis, Gnosticorum hæreses quæ dicuntur, in florentissimis Asiæ ecclesiis altas jam egisse radices. Ad illas enim carnalium hominum doctrinas sub mysticis nominibus Bileamitarum et Nicolaïtarum in
Having quoted Irenæus, Origen, Eusebius, and divers other ancients, placing St. John's banishment in Patmos in the latter part of the reign of Domitiam, and saying, that he there saw the Revelation, they say : * To these incon* testible witnesses it is ueedless to add a long list of others, * of all ages, and of the same sentiment : to whom the au* thority of Epiphanius is by no means comparable.' And then they go on: “ We must add to so constant a tradition * other reasons, which farther show, that the Revelation was * not written, till after Claudius, and Nero. It appears from * the book itself, that there had been already churches for a * considerable space of time in Asia: forasmuch as St. John * in the name of Christ reproves faults, that happen not but
* after a while. The church of Ephesus * had left her first
variis locis alluditur. Illam hæresim prævidebat Petrus in ecclesiâ brevi exorituram, quando epistolam suam scribebat posteriorem, non longe ante Hierosolymorum excidium. Judas, qui epistolam suam edidit, ut probabilis ratio suadet, post Hierosolymorum illud excidium, hoc semen in primâ vidit herbâ. Sed quo tempore scripta est Apocalypsis, non nata tantum, sed confirmata erat hæc hæresis, et præcipuas Asiæ ecclesias inquinaverat. Quare si Judas apostolus epistolam suain scripsit sub Vespasiano, quis neget, Apocalypsin editam esse sub Domitiano ? In ipsis illis epistolis passim supponuntur afflictiones graviores, quas ecclesia Christi religionis suæ causâ jam sustinebat, et ustinuerat ; et inter illas supplicium capitale, quo confessores veritatis afficiebantur. Sic Dominus ad angelum ecclesiæ Ephesinæ : * Novi laborem tuum, kat rnv ύττομονην σε, et tolerantiam in afflictionibus.' Ad angelum Smyrnensis: * Novi opera tua,' et rmv θλιψιν, * afflictionem, et paupertatem.' Ad angelum Pergamenæ : * Nec abnegâsti fidein meam, ne quidem in diebus, quibus Antipas, testis meus fidelis, atteicrau0n, occisus est.' Supponunt hæc manifeste, tempore editæ Apocalypsis Gentiles jam cœpisse in christianos sævire, et ipsam etiam mortem pœnæ loco illis quandoque solemnibus judiciis irrogâsse. Id vero hactenus non liquet factum esse imperante Claudio. Nero, postquam humanitatem exuisset, sanguinem christianum primus bibit ; Romæ tamen, magis quam in provinciis. Post Neronem Domitianus, ultimis imperii sui, idem tentavit. Ad quas postremas Domitiani persecutiones in his locis haud dubie alluditur. Neronis enim illam persecutionem in provinciis Romani Imperii æque ac Romæ arsisse, nec liquet, nec probabile est. Ad Domitiani itaque persecutionem hic manifeste alluditur. Quod argumento est, Apocalypsin hanc sub ipso editam esse. Ejusdem hujus Domitianæi temporis manifestum habemus characterem in Joanne. Dicit enim exerte, * se accepisse hanc revelationem a Domino Jesu, cum ob confessionem veritatis evangelicæ ageret in insulâ Patmo.' Vocatque se christianorum, illo tempore * afflictorum, socium in afflictione, regno, et patiente exspectatione Jesu Christi.' Fuit igitur Joannes * in exilio,' causâ veritatis relegatus in insulam Patmon. Id vero quo modo accideret sub Claudio ? Illum enim in christianos in provinciis aut exilio aut cæde sævisse, nullibi legitur. Domitiani igitur hic, et nullius alius Imperatoris character est. Nero enim christianos capitali supplicio Romæ affecit : sed Domitianus plures exilio, paucos morte punivit, ut certi testes sunt Dio et Eusebius, et pluribus prosecutus est Dodwellus. Diss. xi. De Pauc. Mart. sect. xvii. Quid cessamus itaque, tam evidentibus probationibus convicti, fidem adhibere traditioni Veterum apud Irenæum ? Vitring. in Apoc. cap. i. ver. 2. p. 9—11.
love.” That of Sardis “ had a name to live, but was dead.” The church of Laodicea was fallen into lukewarmness and indifference. But the church of Ephesus, for instance, was not founded by St. Paul, before the last years of Claudius. When in 61, or 62, St. Paul wrote to them from Rome, instead of reproving their want of love, he commends their love and faith, ch. i. 15. 2. It appears from the Revelation, that the Nicolaitans made a sect, when this book was written, since they are expressly named : whereas they were only foretold, and described in general terms by St. Peter in his second epistle, written after the year sixty, and in St. Jude's about the time of the destruction of Jerusalem by Vespasian. 3. It is evident, from divers places of the Revelation, that there had been an open persecution in the provinces. St. John himself had been banished into Patmos for the testimony of Jesus. The church of Ephesus, or its bishop, is commended for their “labour and patience,” which seems to imply persecution. This is still niore manifest in the words directed to the church of Smyrna, ch. ii. 9, “I know thy works and tribulation.” For the original word always denotes persecution, in the scriptures of the New Testament: as it is also explained in the following verse. In the thirteenth verse of the same chapter is mention made of a martyr, named Antipas, put to death at Pergamus. Though ancient ecclesiastical history gives us no information concerning this Antipas, it is nevertheless certain, that according to all the rules of language, what is here said, ought to be understood literally.—All that has been now observed concerning the persecution, of which mention is made in the first chapters of the Revelation, cannot relate to the time of Claudius, who did not persecute the christians, nor to the time of Nero, whose persecution did not reach the provinces. And therefore it must relate to Domitian, according to ecclesiastical tradition.’ The visions therefore here recorded, and the publication
of them in this book, must be assigned, so far as I can see, to the years of Christ 95, and 96, or 97.
CHA P. XXIII. THE ORDER OF THE BOOKS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT.
I. Their order in ancient authors. II. General observations upon their order. III. The order of the several parts of the N. T. 1. The gospels. 2. The Acts. 3. St. Paul's epistles in general. 4. Their order severally. 5. Of placing them in the order of time. 6. The order of the catholic epistles. 7. The Revelation.
I. IN showing the order of the books of the New Testament, I begin with a passage of Eusebius, in a chapter, which is ‘entitled, Concerning the * divine scriptures, which are uni‘ versally received, and those which are not such.” “But,’ says he, “it will be proper to enumerate here in a summary way “ the " books .."the New Testament, which have been already ‘mentioned. And in the first place are to be ranked the “sacred four gospels. Then the book of the Acts of the ‘Apostles. After that are to be reckoned the epistles of * Paul. In the next place, that called the first epistle of ‘John, and the [first] epistle of Peter, are to be esteemed ‘authentic. After these is to be placed, if it be thought ‘ fit, the Revelation of John, about which we shall observe ‘the different opinions at a proper season. Of the contro“verted, but yet well known, [or approved by the most, “ or many,I are that called the epistle of James, and that of ‘Jude, and the second of Peter, and the second and third ‘ of John ; whether they are written by the evangelist, or ‘ by another of that name.’ This passage, as my readers may well remember, was transcribed by us" formerly. And here the order is very observable: the four gospels, the Acts, St. Paul's epistles, the two catholic epistles of St. John and St. Peter, which were universally received, and then the books that were controverted, that is, not received by all, though by many. The same order seems to have been followed by that ancient writer Irenaeus. For in the third book of his works
against heretics, where he is confuting the Valentinians, he " in several chapters argues from the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Then in the twelfth chapter of that book he largely quotes the book of the Acts. After which he considers the authority of the apostle Paul, and quotes both him and Peter. In the festal epistle of Athanasius, the books of the New Testament are enumerated in this order. ‘The * four gos‘pels, the Acts of the Apostles, the seven catholic epistles, ‘the fourteen epistles of the apostle Paul, and the Revela‘tion.” They stand exactly in the same order in the Synopsis ascribed to him, though not composed till more than a hundred years after his time. The same is the order § of our Alexandrian manuscript. So likewise in " Cyril of Jerusalem: “the four gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, seven ‘ catholic epistles, and the fourteen epistles of the apostle * Paul.” He omits the Revelation. The same is the order of the catalogue of the council of Laodicea, omitting also the Revelation. So likewise in the * catalogue of John Damascenus: ‘the four gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, the ‘ catholic epistles, fourteen epistles of the apostle Paul, and “ the Revelation.” The same is the order of Leontius. And in the Syrian catalogues as given by " Ebedjesu: ‘the ‘ four gospels, the Acts, three catholic epistles, and the four‘ teen epistles of Paul.” Rufinus's order is ‘the "gospels, the Acts, Paul's epis‘tles, the catholic epistles, and the Revelation.” The same order is in " the catalogue of the third council of Carthage. In Gregory Nazianzen P also ‘the four gospels, the Acts, the “fourteen epistles of Paul, the catholic epistles.” The Revelation is wanting. The same order is in the catalogue of " Amphilochius, with the Revelation at the end, mentioned as doubtful. In the Stichometry" also of Nicephorus, patriarch of Constantinople about the year 806, ‘the four gos‘pels, the Acts, Paul’s fourteen epistles, and the seven ca‘tholic epistles.’ That is the order of Eusebius, and probably of Irenaeus likewise, as before shown, consequently, the most ancient. It is also the order which is now generally received. And to me it appears to be the best.
* Iren. J. 3. cap. ix.x. xi. * Vol. iv. p. 155. f P. 163. 3 Vol. v. p. 82. * Vol. iv. p. 173. i P. 182. k
Vol. v. p. 147. | P. 142. " Vol. iv. p. 321.
n P. 483, 484. o P 487. P P. 287. a P. 292, 293. " Vol. v. p. 86.