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Apocalypse *. But a particular comparison of the passages in each writer would involve us in too long a disquisition. I mention these books, that the reader may compare them at his leisure.
By the preceding observations we may appear fully to have answered the objection to the Apocalypse, which first proceeded from the Alogi, and was afterwards taken up by some of the Church, that not Saint John, or any Apostle, but that Cerinthus, or some false fabricator, was the author of the workt.
I pass on to the consideration of an objection against the Apocalypse, which is also connected with its internal evidence; preferred against it in very early times, and often repeated even to this day, the obscurity of the book. This was the grand stumbling block with the ancient Fathers; and it continues to be such with Michaelis, who frequently repeats it ..
To this general charge of obscurity, a general answer may be given. How can you expect a series of prophecies, extending from the apostolical age to the consummation of all things, to be otherwise than obscure ? It is the nature of such prophecy to give but an imperfect light S,
* See Mr. Gray's learned and judicious account of this book. Gray's Key to the Old Testament.
+ Michaelis has shewn, from internal evidence, that Cerinthus could not be its author, p. 469.
# P. 459, 502, 503, 511.
even in the case of prophecies fulfilled ; because
* See this explained in Bishop Lowth's Prelections, p. 69, 70, and in Bishop Hurd's Sermons on Prophecy. † Sir Isaac Newton on Daniel, &c. p. 251.
The Jewish Sanhedrim doubted at one tiine whether they should not reject the book of Ezekiel from their Cano!of Scripture ; and one principal argument of this debate was the extreme obscurity of the book. Calmet's Dissert. vol. ii. p. 369. Sir Isaac Newton argues otherwise concerning the Apocalypse ; he argues from internal evidence, that " it is a part of this pro"phecy, that it should not be understood before the last age of
The book of Daniel, which has our Saviour's seal to it *, must be rejected with the Apocalypse, if it be a sufficient objection to it, that it is yet in many places obscure.
But with respect to the Apocalypse, Michaelis has helped us to some specious arguments, whereby to shew that the difficulties of the book have not yet been fairly encountered ; that the men, who have attempted to explain it, have not been possessed of the necessary requisitest. To those who entertain this opinion, that “ the prophecies of the Apocalypse bave “ not been satisfactorily interpreted,” this might be a sufficient answer; for by such persons a hope may be yet entertained that, as the failure in expounding the Apocalypse is to be accounted for, by the want of proper qualifications in the expounders, this defect may in time be obviated. But the greater part of learned Christians who have applied themselves to the study of the Apocalypse, are not of this opinion. They are persuaded that a part of these prophecies have received their completion. But if that were not the case, if no such conviction were obtained; surely they would not be justified in rejecting a book so authenticated as
" the world; and therefore it makes for the credit of the pro“phecy that it is not yet understood.” Sir I. Newton on Prophecy, ch. i. p. 251.
* Matt. xxiv. 15. of P. 503-511,
divine, merely because they do not yet under-
We cannot know what ages of Christianity are
We may, therefore, conclude, that no just cause has been assigned to induce us to reject
the Apocalypse ; but that many good reasons, arising froin internal evidence, and concurring with the forcible arguments drawn from the testimonies of the ancients, require us to receive it as a book of divine inspiration :- But whether as the work of John the Apostle and Evangelist, will be the subject of inquiry in the next chapter.