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and was esteemed, says Tertullian, a prophet by many Christians.
THEOPHILUS, who was bishop of Antioch about ninety years after the publication of the Apocalypse, appears to have written upon, and to have quoted from it as of divine authority, in his treatise against Hermogenes.' This treatise is not extant; but Lardner has produced one passage from another work of his, in which he calls the Devil" Satan, the Serpent and the Dragon." This connexion of names is only to be found in the book of Revelation, (ch. xii. 9. and xx. ii.) Michaelis admits Theophilus among those who undoubtedly received the Apocalypse.3
APOLLONIUS is not mentioned by Michaelis: but Eusebius, who speaks of him as a learned man, represents him also as supporting the Apocalypse by testimonies taken from it. He suffered martyrdom about the year 186,5 and is a valuable addition to our evidence.
CLEMENS OF ALEXANDRIA is admitted by Michaelis as an undoubted evidence for the Apocalypse. He has frequently quoted from it, and referred to it," as the work of an apostle. He was an inquisitive and well-informed writer, and having flourished within the first century after the publication of the Apocalypse, is an important evidence in its favour.
TERTULLIAN wrote about the same time as Clement. Michaelis allows his evidence for the Apocalypse to be undoubted; and it is certainly very valuable. He is the most ancient of the Latin
fathers, whose works have descended to our times. He quotes, or refers to the Apocalypse, in more than seventy passages in his writings, appealing to it expressly as the work of the apostle John. He defends the authenticity of the book against the heretic Marcion and his followers, by asserting its external evidence. He appeals to the Churches of Asia, and assures us, that "though Marcion rejects it, yet the succession of bishops, traced to its origin, will establish John to be its author."1 In particular, it may be observed that he has quoted Rev. i. 6. Quia sacerdotes nos et Deo et Patri fecit," as a passage common in the mouths of the laity of his time. This frequent and popular appeal to the Apocalypse, shows it to be a book much read, and generally received in the African Churches.
We are now returned again to the times of Irenæus, whose single testimony appeared to have such deserved influence in settling the question before
But the retrospect, which we have been enabled to take of the writers who preceded him, has added great weight to the evidence. Testimonies have been drawn abundantly from every generation of writers throughout the first century after the Apocalypse was published; and from almost all parts of the Christian world; from Asia, where it made its first appearance; from Syria; from Italy; from Gaul, and from Africa; where it seems to have had a wider circulation and reception.3
1 Habemus et Johannis alumnas ecclesias; nam etsi Apocalypsin ejus Marcion respuit, ordo tamen episcoporum, ad originem recensus, in Johannem stabit auctorem. Adv. Marcion, lib. iv. c. 3. 2 Tertull. de Monog. c. 12.
3 From a passage in Michaelis's Introduction, ch. xxvi. sect. 8, we collect the names of the ancient authors, whose testimony he esteemed most decisive to the authenticity of the books of the New Testament. These are, Irenæus, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, and Origen; by all of whom we find the Apocalypse most completely received as the writing of John the Evangelist.
Contemporary with Irenæus, Clemens of Alexandria, and Tertullian, were Hippolitus and Origen; but rather of a later date, so as to belong more properly to the first part of the third century of the Christian æra. We will proceed with them, as completing the essential evidence concerning the claims of the Apocalypse; for after this period, the evidence must depend upon appealing to those writers who have lived nearer to the time of its publication.
But first, we will observe, that during the one hundred years, from the publication of the Apocalypse, which have passed under our examination, wonderful as it may appear, there is not one writer of the pure primitive Church, no father, no ecclesiastical author, who appears to have questioned its authenticity. Yet the fathers, before the times of Caius and Dionysius, could discover the same causes of objection which they afterwards urged, that it was obscure, and to them no revelation, and not altogether the same Greek as St. John's Gospel. But such was the weight of its external evidence, in these early times, when inquiry would easily trace the book to its author, that although they could not understand the contents of it, they received it, with faith and reverence, and transmitted it, sanctioned by their own names, to posterity. This was the golden age of external evidence in relation to the claims of authenticity advanced in favour of any book, pretending to divine inspiration. A silver age followed, and we of these times are under a lower degeneracy, and can only settle our opinions, so far as evidence external is concerned, by a diligent and faithful inquiry into those of the holy fathers of this period.
But the Apocalypse thus cherished by the orthodox members of Christ's Church, was rejected by some heretics by Marcion, a Gnostic, who, to serve
his unrighteous purposes, rejected, or mutilated other books of sacred Scripture.'
It was rejected also by a sect who obtained the name of Alogi, because they rejected also the Gospel of St. John; but not from any supposed failure of its external evidence, but on account of the Logos, or Eternal Word, revealed to us in both of these sacred books.2
The arguments used by these heretics to invalidate the claims of the Apocalypse, were current in the times of Hippolitus and Origen, the two remaining witnesses now to be produced, and who will complete an invincible phalanx of external evidence. We shall see what influence they had on the minds of these able divines.3
Hippolitus flourished early in the third century, and probably lived and taught during a considerable part of the second; for he was an instructor of Origen, who was set over the catechetical school in Alexandria in the year 202. He had been the disciple of Irenæus, and probably was a Greek by birth, for he wrote in Greek, and in the eastern parts of the Greek colonies his writings were long held in the highest esteem. He is in all respects as perfect a witness, as the times in which he lived could produce. He received the Apocalypse as the work of St. John, the apostle and disciple of the Lord. Michaelis admits his evidence, and attributes to his in
1 Tertullian adv. Marcion. Irenæus adv. Hær. Epiphanius, Hær. 42. Origen. cont. Celsum, ii. 27.
2 An objection to the Apocalypse by these Alogi is attempted to be maintained by Michaelis; the reader, who may wish to see it, is referred to the Dissertation, with the answer to it, which is believed to be satisfactory.
3 These arguments rest on internal evidence, and will be examined in particular under that head.
4 See the testimonies collected by Lardner, who says, that the testimony of Hippolitus is so clear in this respect, that no question can be made about it. Cred. G. H. art. Hippolitus.
fluence and writings much support of the Apocalypse.1 He defended this sacred book from the injurious notions which had been started against it in his days. He endeavoured to explain some parts of it, and to take away a popular objection, by rendering it less obscure. Michaelis is inclined to believe that he left two works on this subject. He says nothing which can tend to invalidate the evidence of Hippolitus, but much to confirm it.
ORIGEN was born in the year 184 or 185, and lived to his 70th year. Of all the ancient Fathers, he is generally allowed to be the most acute, diligent, and learned; and he applied these superior qualifications to the study of the Holy Scriptures. He studied them critically, with all that investigation of their evidences, of the authenticity of the books and of the text, which now form a voluminous part of theological inquiry. He was in a great degree the father of biblical learning. He could not be ignorant of the objections urged by Caius and others against the Apocalypse; and he might be inclined to allow some weight to the popular objection, that it encouraged the Millenarians; for Origen was a decided Anti-millenarian. He appears likewise to have felt the full force of another of their objections he acknowledged, and was distressed by, the dark veil which appeared to "envelope the unspeakable mysteries of the Apocalypse." But these objections did not induce him to reject the book, or to speak doubtfully of it. He quotes it frequently as the work of the apostle John, of the author of the Gospel of John, of him who leaned on
1 P. 478, 479.
What remains of Hippolitus of this kind is to be seen chiefly in the Commentary of Andreas Cæsariensis on the Apocalypse, who professes to have followed him.
3 See a fragment of Origen, preserved in his works, and quoted by Lardner. Art. Origen.