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book); it is constant and uninterrupted*. Ar no time does it depend upon any single testimony; many writers testify at the same period; and these witnesses are nearly all the great names of ecclesiastical antiquity t. To their evidence, which is for the most part positive and express,
, no contradictory testimony of an external kind has been opposed. No one has alleged against the Apocalypse such arguments, as these :—“ It “is not preserved in the archives of the Seven “ Asiatic Churches. The oldest persons in those “ cities have no knowledge of its having been "sent thither: no one ever saw it during the “ life of John. It was introduced in such and
* It may be observed, that although many writers give their testimony, yet a very few witnesses may be selected, who can be supposed to have delivered down the evidence in succession, during the first one hundred and fifty years of the Apocalypse. For instance, these three, Polycarp, Irenæus, Origen; or, Justin Martyr, Tertullian, Origen. A long tradition has more credibility attached to it, when it has passed but through few hands.
† Every writer quoted by Lardner in the first volume, part ii. of his Credibility of the Gospel History, except iwo or three, of whom short fragments only remain, is to be found in our list, and this volume contains all the writers who gave testimony to any of the sacred Scriptures, during almost the whole of the first century after the Apocalypse was published. Sir Isaac Newton asserts truly, that " no other book of the New Testament " is so strongly attested, or commented upon, as this.” Sir Isaac Newton on Daniel and the Apocalypse, part ii. c. 1. p. 219.
“ such a year, but it was contradicted as soon “ as it appeared*.”
* These arguments are candidly and judiciously suggested by Michaelis, and he allows considerable weight to them..(p. 484.) But, in a note subjoined, he endeavours to invalidate them by observing,
1. That “only a few extracts froin the writings of the ancient adversaries of the Apocalypse are now extant, the writings themselves being lost.”
2. That “the ancient advocates for the Apocalypse have likewise not alleged any historical arguments in its defence.”
To these objections we will answer shortly :
1. If the learned professor had allowed any weight to this kind of argument, when he reviewed the evidence of Ignatius and Papias, he could not have pronounced their silence
as a decisire argument,” against the Apocalypse. But there is a difference in the two cases, a difference, which is in favour of the Apocalypse. The short writings, or extracts now extant, may easily be supposed not to contain all, or perhaps any, of the testimonies which they bore to this book, which, from its mysterious contents, they cannot be expected often to have quoted. And if such testimonies were lost, they would not be renewed by subsequent authors, from whom all that we should have to expect would be such a general testimony as Andreas Cæsariensis gives of Papias, namely, that Papias bore evidence to the Apocalypse. But if in any of the writings of the ancient adversaries of the book, any such arguments as these suggested by Michaelis had been inserted, they could not have sunk into oblivion. A book asserted to be divine, yet having at the same time such internal evidence against it, as Dionysius has produced, would be ever regarded with a jealous eye; and if the Alogi, or Caius, or Dionysius, (and these are all the adversaries of whom we hear,) had recorded any such allegation against the Apocalypse, it would have been repeated and reechoed by its adversaries through all the ages of the Church.
Upon the whole, the candid examiner cannot but perceive, that the external evidence for the authenticity and divine inspiration of the Apocalypse is of prepondérating weight; and that Michaelis is by no means justifiable in representing it, when placed in the scale against the contrary evidence, as suspended in equipoise. It is a complete answer to the assertions of his third section*, to affirm, (and we now see that we can truly affirm it,) that the authenticity of the book was never doubted by the Church, during the first century after it was published: and that it was received with especial reverence, as divine Scripture, by the Asiatic Churches, to which it was addressed, and by their colopies.
But if there were any foundation for such allegations, Polycarp and Melito, bishops of the Seven Churches, would not have suffered the A pocalypse to pass in their days to Irenæus, as a work received by those Churches from Saint John.
2. On the second objection we may observe, that where there was no contradiction, there most certainly needed no proof. The silent adınission of the Apocalypse, by the early fathers, makes greatly in its favour. No controversy, shews no doubt. And how stands the evidence in the case of other acknowledged books of the sacred canon? Are we expected to prove that all the epistles of Saint Paul were deposited in the archives of the respective Churches to which they were written ? Far otherwise: no such proof is made ; none such is reasonably expected. We shew that the epistles were undoubtedly received by the early writers of the Church; this is proof sufficient; and we have this proof abundantly for the authenticity of the Apocalypse. * P. 486.
THE TESTIMONI ES OF GREGORY OF NEOCESA
REA ; AND OF DIOŃ YSIUS OF ALEXANDRÍA ; OF HIS PRIVATE OPINION; TIIE TESTIMONIES OF OTHER WRITERS IN THE SAME
CENTURY, OF EUSEBIUS, AND TIIE WRITERS IN HIS TIME, AND AFTER HIM; OF THE RE
CEPTION OF THE APOCALYPSE AT THE RE
WITH the last chapter I might have fairly closed all that need be said, to defend the authenticity of the Apocalypse, by external evidence. For what addition of historical testi. mony can we require? what original documents are we likely to procure? or what weight of contradictory external evidence can we expect to encounter, in the times beyond those we have examined ? Who, in these after-ages, can give us information, which will bear comparison with that which we have already received ? or whom of the succeeding Fathers can we esteem equal judges with Hippolitus and Origen, whether it be of the evidence already produced, or of the questions agitated in their
times, concerning the authenticity of the Apocalypse* ?
Yet I shall pursue the subject, because it has been pursued further by Michaelis. It is, at least, curious, to know the sentiments of later writers on the external evidence; though the same accuracy in examining them may not be required,
GREGORY of Neocæsarea, surnamed Thaumaturgus, not mentioned by Michaelis, is supposed to have referred, in his Panegyrical Oration, to Rev. iii. 7. if not to Isa. xxii. 22. The observation is Lardner'st, who remarks also that Gregory, having been the pupil of Origen, and much attached to that great man, probably received the same Canon of Scripture.
DIONYSIUS, of Alexandria, was another pupil of Origen, and, like Gregory, a man of eininence. He received the Apocalypse as a divine prophecy, which he represents to be dark indeed and ænigmatical, and above his comprehension, yet certainly divine ; and he says he could not dare to think otherwise of it, since many of the brethren held it in the highest esteem I. He appeals to it, likewise, as containing a divine prophecy, which he believes to have
* Dr. Less, in his History of Religion, closes his evidence with Origen, and Mr. Marsh observes, that further testimony is unnecessary. See Introd. vol. i. p. 361. + Cred. Gosp. Hist, art. Greg. of N. C. Euseb. H. E. lib. vii. c. 25. G