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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,

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CHAP. VIII.

THE INTERNAL EVIDENCE RESPECTING THE

APOCALYPSE; FROM THE COMPLETION OF ITS PROPHECIES; FROM ITS CORRESPONDENCE IN POINT OF DOCTRINE AND OF IMAGERY

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THENCE DERIVED; COMPARISON OF THE A POCALYPSE WITH OTHER WRITINGS OF THE

SAME AGE: HERMAS AND SECOND BOOK OF

ESDRAS.

OBJECTION

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

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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

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tensive and voluminous for the sketch I now
offer* ; but, as I am not altogether unpractised
in these researches, I feel myself justified in mak-
ing this general assertion, that, upon comparing
the Apocalypse with the acknowledged books of
divine Scripture, I have almost universally found
the very same notions, images, representations,
and divine lights, as in other sacred Scriptures ;
yet not delivered in such a manner as to be ap-
parently copied from other inspired writers, but
from some original prototype of the same kind,
which these other writers also seem to have co-
pied. There is, in short, between the writer of the
Apocalypse, and his predecessors in the såcred
office of Prophet, that concordia discors, tbat agree
ment in matter, but difference in manner, which
is observed in painters, who delineate and colour
in different stations from the same original object;
and this will be allowed to be a strong internal
evidence of the divine origin of the Apocalypse.
I should feel myself obliged to treat more at large
this subject, if much had been advanced by the
adversaries of the Apocalypse, to deny this fact.
The ancient objection made by some before Dio-
nysius, that “ the Apocalypse is unworthy of any
" sacred writer," is not now persisted in, and de-
serves not a particular refutation; it will indeed
be refuted in every step as we proceed.

Michaelis has allowed that the internal struc

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1

It is attempted in some measure in the Annotations which

follow,

ture

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.

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