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the Apocalypse ; but that many good reasons, arising from internal evidence, and concurring with the forcible arguments drawn from the testimonies of the ancients, require us to receive it as a book of divine inspiration :“But whether as the work of John the Apostle and Evangelist, will be the subject of inquiry in the noxt chapter.
CHAP. CHAP. IX. '
OF THE INTERNAL EVIDENCE RESPECTING
THE QUESTION, WHETHER THE APOCALYPSE WAS WRITTEN BY ST. JOIN. DR. LARDNER'S OPINION ; OPINIONS OF OTHERS. ARGUMENTS OF DIONYSIUS OF ALEXANDRIA UNDER FIVE HEADS; ANSWERS THERETO, AND TO THE OBJECTIONS OF MICHAELIS. INQUIRY WIETHER JOHN THE EVANGELIST, AND JOHN THE DIVINE, WERE BY THE ANCIENTS ACCOUNTED THE SAME PERSON. EVIDENCE FROM A PASSAGE IN THE BOOK THAT IT WAS WRITTEN BY ST. JOHN. RECAPITULATION AND CONCLUSION.
The next, and, I believe, the only subject remaining to be considered is, whether, if we admit the Apocalypse to be an inspired book, we are also to receive it as the writing of John, the Apostle and Evangelist.
We have already seen it expressly declared to be such, by unexceptionable witnesses, who lived in or near to the times when it was first received by the Seven Churches ; who had ample means of information; and were interested to know from whom the Churches had received it.
Such were Justin Martyr, Irenæus the disciple of Polycarp, Tertullian, Origen, and others who preceded them. This external evidence appcared of such preponderating weight to the candid and judicious Lardner, (who entertained no prejudice in favour of the Apocalypse, which be appears to have little studied or understood*) as to have drawn from him this conclusion, twice repeated ; “ It may be questioned, whether the “ exceptions founded on the difference of style, " and such like things, or any other criticisms “ whatever, can be sufficient to create a doubt “ concerning the author of this book, which was " owned for a writing of John, the Apostle and “ Evangelist, before the times of Dionysius and “ Caius, and, so far as we know, before the most “ early of those who disputed its genuineness t."
But it is a part of our proposed plan to consider these exceptions and criticisms. They arose in the third ceptury, and are detailed in the writings of Dionysius of Alexandria ; and the objections are by him placed in so strong a light, that little has been added to them by subsequent critics. The answers to them that I have seen are those by Mill, in his Prolegomena to the New Testament; by Bishop Gibson, in his Pastoral Letters ; by Blackwall, in his Sacred Classics ; which, with those of other writers, * Supplement, vol. iii. p. 372. .
+ Cred. Gosp. Hist. vol. iv. p. 733. Supplement, vol. iii. p. 364.
have been abridged and presented to the public, with useful additions, by Lardner, in his Credibility of the Gospel History*. I shall state the objections of Dionysius, as reduced by Lardner to five heads t. I shall subjoin to them, in a short compass, such answers as appear to me to, have been satisfactorily produced, or I shall substitute others; and I shall note occasionally those objections of Michaelis, which have not yet been answered.
I. “ The Evangelist John has not named himself, “ in his Gospel, nor his catholic Epistle ; but the “ writer of the Revelation nameth himself more “ than once.”
This argument appears to me to stand on very weak and untenable foundations; yet Michaelis has thought proper to repeat it I Is it possible for us to know, at this distance of time, with no historical information on the subject, what special or private reasons, then existing, occasioned an apostolic writer, either to disclose or conceal his name? Thus far the answer is general: but let us enter more particularly into the charge. 1. “ 'The Apostle who put his name “ to the Apocalypse, bas omitted to do so to “ the Gospel.” But was it usual for the Evangelists to put their names to their Gospels ? Is any other Gospel published with the name of its
* Art. Dionysius of Alexandria.
author ? Not one. It was not the apostolic practice: yet John, of all the Evangelists, approaches nearest to a disclosure of his name ; he discloses by various circumlocutions, that le, the Apostle John, wrote that Gospel; and this we know, from what he has delivered to us by such circumlocution, as clearly, as if he had expressly written his name*. 2. “ But though " this answer may be satisfactory respecting St. " John's Gospel, can we defend by it the same comission in his Epistles ?” An epistle, indeed, generally requires the name of its author to be inserted; and for that reason, among others, the name of John is inserted in the Apocalypse, which is written in the form of an epistle. Yet there may be exceptions to this gcncral rule; and we see such evidently in the Epistle to the Hebrews, which is written without a name. But the omission, if such, in the thrce Epistles of St. John, need not be sheltered under this precedent. We may otherwise account satisfactorily for their being published without his name.
The two last Epistles are short letters, familiarly addressed to individuals t; and the writer calls himself, not by the name of John, but by the appellation of the Elder, by which he was probably as well known, in the familiar confee
* John xxi. C, &c. xix. 96. xiii. 23, &c. † Sic iclaclis, Introd. ch. xxxii. sect. iii.