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weight could be allowed to such a conjecture, unsupported by any historical evidence, and not given to the world till above two hundred
years after the Apocalypse was written ? Eusebius, indeed, seems to lay little stress upon it, for he adds immediately afterwards, “ If it be not insisted
upon to be the former John,” that is, John the Apostle.
Upon the whole, we are not to be surprised that, in Eusebius's time, the claims of the Apocalypse to its situation in the sacred canon, should meet with some opposition. Two hundred years had now elapsed since it had been published to the world; many of the authentic documents which supported its authenticity, had probably perished in the Dioclesian persecution *; the prophecies which it contained were still dark and apparently unfulfilled *.; they had been abused by the Millenarians; the style and manner had been pointed out to be unlike that of St. John; the criticisms of Dionysius had influence with many; yet no one, however desirous, from these and other concurring causes, of invalidating the authority of the book, appears to have been able to produce any external evidence which might suit the purpose.
• See the devastation made at that time in the records of the Church, as described by Eusebius, H, E. lib. viii. cap. 2.
* Epiphanius mentions the Alogi, as rejecting the Apocalypse, among
other δια τα εν τη αποκαλυψει βαθεως και σκολεινως ασημενα: (Hær, 51.) and he seems, in some ineasure, to admit the reasonableness of their excuse,
It was received, after the times of Eusebius, by the Latin Churches, almost without exception. Jerome, the most learned and diligent inquirer of that century, pronounced positively in its favour; and was followed universally by the Fathers of the Western Churches : and from him we learn the grounds upon which he received the Apocalypse, which he assigns to be “ the authority of “ the ancients *,” that is, external evidence ; and he tells us at the same time, that he does not follow " the fashion of his times," that fashion by which some of the Greek Churches were induced to reject the Apocalypse.
This fashion of the times seems to have consisted in a daring contempt of the testimonies of the ancient Church, and a ready acquiescence in those arguments which were confidently drawn from internal evidence. Yet, notwithstanding this fashion, which appears to have had considerable prevalence in the Greek Church, and perhaps to have influenced those eminent men, Cyril of Jerusalem, and John Chrysostom, (neither of whom appears to have quoted the Apocalypse,) many of great name in the Greek Church appear still to have received it; and, in the fourth century, it is supported by testimonies in this Church from Athanasius, Basil,
* Nequaquam hujus temporis consuetudinem, sed veterum auctoritatem sequentes. Hierom. Epist. ad Dardan. tom. ii.
Epiphanius, Gregory of Nyssa, and Gregory of
Yet * Michaelis says, “ Gregory of Nyssa places the Apocalypse
among the apocryphal writings ;” but he omits to tell us, that, in the very same passage, this Father quotes Rev. iii. 15, as the work
of John the Evangelist.” Ηκωσα τα ευαγγελισ Ιωαννε εν αποκρυφους ρος τες τοιΒτες δι' αινιγματος λεγοντος *. If the Apocalypse were apocryphal in the opinion of Gregory, he could not attribute it to John the Evangelist, but he calls it apocryphal, because it was now accounted such by many of the Greek Church. There are books of the Old Testament which are called apocryphal by our Church; yet some of these have been deemed divinely inspired by our own writers. If such a writer should quote from such a book, for instance, from the Second Book of Esdras, and intro. duce his quotation after the manner of Gregory; “ I have heard " the Prophet Ezra, in the Apocrypha, say,” we should conclude that he esteemed the Second of Esdras as the work of Ezra the Scribe, and an inspired writer in the Old Testament, the work of a divine Prophet. Somewhat of this kind has, I believe, hapo pened in our own times.
The testimony of Gregory of Nazianzum has been accounted doubtful, and is considered as such by our author. The evidence which places this Father against the claims of the Apocalypse, is this, that it is not to be seen in his catalogue of canonical books. But, on the contrary, we collect from the representation of Andreas Cæsariensis, and of Arethas, in their respective commentaries on the Apocalypse, that Gregory received it; and Lardner has produced two passages from his works, in which it is clearly quoted as of Divine Authority t. Surely the weight of evidence preponderates on this side. And I have some suspicion that the Apocalypse had a place originally in Gregory's Catalogue, but that it was erased from it by the zeal of some Greek Christians,
* la suam Ordinat. t. ii. p. 144. + See them in. Lardner's Cred. Gosp. Hist. art. Greg. Nazianz.--'0w, o mv, • is zouer@, rý ó WartoxĘTap. These words of Rev. i. 8. are quoted by Greg. Naz. as spoken of the Son. Orat. xxxv. edit. Morelli, p. 573.
Yet it will easily be conceded, that many of the Greek Church, for some centuries after Eu: sebius, and probably upon the authority of those who in his time determined from internal evidence that the Apocalypse was not to be referred to his first class of sacred books, rejected the Apocalypse *
Of the Syrian Churches we have no satisfactory information, how early or to what extent they received the Apocalypse. In the fourth century, it
appears by the testimony of Ephrem that it was received by them, and probably much sooner, since the translated works of Hippolitus, that
who rejected the Apocalypse. In this Catalogue we read these words, describing St. John,
κηρυξ μεγας Ουρανοφοίτης, , which may be literally translated, “ The great Herald, or Mes
senger, who went to learn in heaven;" but where, or when, is it said that the Evangelist, St. John, ascended to heaven, to be divinely instructed, and to be the Messenger and Herald of Divine information ? No where but in the Apocalypse, where he is called thither by the heavenly voice, avaba wds, Rev. iv. 1. The zeal of a transcriber may have carried him to omit the passage,
in which Nazianzene mentions the Apocalypse : but this expression remains as it was written, and seems to indicate that such a pase sage once existed, and that Gregory received the Apocalypse as the work of John the Evangelist.
* It has commonly been urged, as a testimony against the Apocalypse, that it was rejected by the Council of Laodicea in 363. But Michaelis professes himself satisfied that the Catalogue of Sacred Writings annexed to the canons of that Council, has been clearly shewn to be a forgery, p. 489.
DOSTAW has peculiarly this sense ;
reñowned champion for the book, were much read, and in high request among those Christians who used the Syriac language
It is useless to pursue the history of the Apocalypse, through the dark ages of the Church. No external evidence is to be expected from such times. At length the light of the Reformation followed the reproduction of learning, and a free and critical inquiry was instituted into the testimony of the ancients, as well as into the internal evidence of the book. And what was the result? The Apocalypse is generally, and, I believe, almost universally received as canonical Scripture. Luther, and some of the first Reforiners, had their doubts concerning it; but these soon subsided, being over-ruled by the more profound and accurate examination of other learned men.
And although the Articles of the Lutheran Church are represented by Michaelis to leave the question open; yet he tells us at the same time, “ that the greater part of the Lutheran “ divines refer the Apocalypse, without doubt or
scruple, to the class of canonical writings of the 66 New Testament t."
The CHURCH OF ENGLAND was blessed with the important privilege of settling her articles and her canon of Scripture at a later period ; at a time when the testimonies of the ancients concerning the books of Scripture, were more accurately ascertained; when the first crude notions