« PreviousContinue »
OF THE INTERNAL EVIDENCE RESPECTING
TIE QUESTION, WHETHER THE APOCALYPSE
DENCE FROM A PASSAGE IN THE BOOK THAT
The nest, and, I believe, the only subject
We have already seen it expressly declared to
Such were Justin Martyr, Irenæus the disciple of Polycarp, Tertullian, Origen, and others who preceded them. This external evidence appeared of such preponderating weight to the candid and judicious Lardner, (who entertained no prejudice in favour of the Apocalypse, which he appears to have little studied or understood*) as to have drawn from him this conclusion, twice repeated; “ It may be questioned, whether the
exceptions founded on the difference of style, " and such like things, or any other criticisms “ whatever, can be sufficient to create a doubt
concerning the author of this book, which was “ owned for a writing of John, the Apostle and
Evangelist, before the times of Dionysius and “ Caius, and, so far as we know, before the most
early of those who disputed its genuineness t."
But it is a part of our proposed plan to consider these exceptions and criticisms. They arose in the third century, and are detailed in the writings of Dionysius of Alexandria ; and the objections are by him placed in so strong a light, that little has been added to them by subsequent crities. The answers to them that I have seen are those by Mill, in his Prolegomena to the New Testament; by Bishop Gibson, in his Pastoral Letters ; by Blackwall, in his Sacred Classics; which, with those of other writers,
* Supplement, vol. iii. p. 372.
have been abridged and presented to the public,
compass, such answers as appear to me to
I. “ The Evangelist John has not named himself, " in his Gospel, nor his catholic Epistle ; but the “ writer of the Revelation nameth himself more " than once.'
This argument appears to me to stand on very weak and untenable foundations : yet Michaelis has thought proper to repeat it. Is it possible for us to know, at this distance of time, with no historical information on the subject, what special or private reasons, then existing, occasioned an apostolic writer, either to disclose or conceal his name? Thus far the answer is general: but let us enter more particularly into the charge. 1. “ The Apostle who put his name “ to the Apocalypse, has omitted to do so to * the Gospel.” But was it usual for the Evangelists to put their names to their Gospels ? Is any other Gospel published with the name of its
* Art. Dionysius of Alexandria.
author ? Not one. It was not the apostolic practice: yet John, of all the Evangelists, approaches nearest to a disclosure of his name; he discloses by various circumlocutions, that be, the Apostle John, wrote that Gospel; and this we know, from what he has delivered to us by such circumlocution, as clearly, as if he had expressly written his name*. 2, “
But though " this answer may be satisfactory respecting St. “ John's Gospel, can we defend by it the same “ omission in his Epistles?” An epistle, indeed, generally requires the name of its author to be inserted ; and for that reason, among others, the name of John is inserted in the Apocalypse', which is written in the form of an cpistle. Yet there may be exceptions to this general rule; and we see such ovidently in the Epistle to the Hebrews, wbich is written without a naine. But the omission, if suchi, in the three Epistles of St. John, need not be sheltered under this precedent. We may otherwise account satisfactorily for their being published without his name,
The two last Epistles are short letters, familiarly addressed to individuals t; and the writer calls himself, not by the name of Johy, but by the appellation of the Elder, by which he was probably as well known, in the familiar confce
* Jobn xxi. 20, &c. xix. 26. xiii. 23, &c. † Sce Michaelis, Introd. ch. xxxii. sect. fi.
rence which he held with these his correspondents,
But what shall we say to the omission of
See his arguments at large, vol. iv, ch. xxx. sect, ii. B. 400,