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In short, so far as the question concerning the Apocalypse is to be determined by external evidence, we may indubitably pronounce that the book is to be received as Divine Scripture, communicated to the Church by John the Apostle and Evan. gelist,
THE INTERNAL EVIDENCE RESPECTING THE
APOCALYPSE; FROM THE COMPLETION OF ITS PROPHECIES; FROM ITS CORRESPONDENCE IN POINT OF DOCTRINE AND OF IMAGERY
THENCE DERIVED; COMPARISON OF THE A POCALYPSE WITH OTHER WRITINGS OF THE
SAME AGE: HERMAS AND SECOND BOOK OF
ARISING FROM THE
OBSCURITY OF THE BOOK ANSWERED.
We now proceed to the internal evidence: In the examination of which, we no longer rely on external witnesses : we search the work itself; we try its interior marks and character; and determine, by the judgment thence arising, whether it be of divine authority. The inquiry will be two-fold. 1st, Whether,
1st, Whether, from the internal form and character of the Apocalypse, it appears to be a book of divine inspiration. 2dly, Whether it appears to have been written by the Apostle John. H 2
I. If all, or indeed most Christians, were agreed upon the same interpretation of the Apocalyptic Prophecies, this question might be determined by a short and summary proceeding. It would only be necessary to ask-Have these prophecies been fulfilled ? for, if it be answered in the affirmative, the consequence immediately follows; the Prophet was inspired, and his book is divine.
This criterion may, in some future time, when the Apocalyptical Prophecies have been more successfully studied, produce sufficient evidence to the point in question. But it cannot be applied at present, so as to produce general conviction. We must argue from points in which there is a more general agreement. Omitting there. fore for the present, the important question (which it would take a very large compass to discuss) whether the prophecies have been generally fulfilled or not, we may consider the book independently of this evidence. We may compare the doctrines which it exhibits, and the pictures and images which it presents, with those contained in other writings universally acknowledged to be of divine authority.
To do justice to this topic, would require a regula: examination of the whole book, a particular induction of passages, by a comparison of which with other texts of Scripture, their agreement or dissimilarity would appear, and arguments be derived, to determine whether it came from the same source. This proçeçding would be too ex
tensive and voluminous for the sketch I now
Michaelis has allowed that the internal struc
It is attempted in some measure in the Annotations which
ture of the Apocalypse is noble and sublime; that “ the imitation of the ancient Prophets is, for the “ most part, more beautiful and more magnificent -“ than the original *; more short, more abounding in picturesque beauties t." Whilst I
Whilst I agree with him in this decision, I would point out the cause of it. It is not to be accounted for from the superior ability or art of the writer (for there is in him no aim at eloquence), he drew simply, nay, with rude lines, from the heavenly ojects before him; they were frequently the same objects from which other sacred penmen had coloured ; but they were presented to the writer of the Apocalypse in a more noble attitude and appearance, by his Divine Conductor.
The DocTRINES OF CHRISTIANITY are by no means a principal subject of the Apocalypse; but if we advert to the doctrines delivered in this book, we shall find a perfect congruity with those delivered in other apostolical writings. No doctrines are herein taught, which are in the least degree at variance with any divine revelation of the New Testament. Michaelis entirely acquits the Apocalypse of the general and unfounded charge advanced by Luther, that “ Christ is not “ taught in it;" but I am sorry to observe that he afterwards qualifies this just concession, by asserting that “ the true and eternal Godhead of “ Christ is certainly not taught so clearly in the “ Apocalypse, as in St. John's Gospel.” Could * P. 533, 534, + P. 543. # P. 538.