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From these instances perhaps some confirmation is derived, that Polycarp, and his disciples of the Church of Smyrna, received the Apocalypse.
Papias belongs likewise to the apostolical age, and is said to have been an Auditor of St. John*, This Father is asserted by Andreas, Bishop of Cæsarea, who wrote in the fifth century, to have given his testimony to the Apocalypse t; and is classed by this writer in the list of those who are well known to have testified in its favour; with Irenæus, Methodius, and Hippolitus. What writings of Papias had descended to the time of Andreas, we do not know; but to us there have come down only a few very short fragments preserved by Eusebiust. In these we have no mention of the Apocalypse. They treat of other subjects ; of the Gospels chiefly. And to two only, of the four Gospels, has Papias given evidence. Yet no one has doubted, for this reason, whether Papias received the other two. Yet, as Papias was then treating on the Gospels, it is stronger evidence against St. John's Gospel, that he did not mention that Gospel, than that he omitted to mention his Apocalypse. The same is the case with the quotations of Papias, from the Epistles of the New Testament. It is said by Eusebius, that Papias quoted from
* Irenæus, lib. v. 33. Euseb. H. E. lib. iii. c. 39. + Proleg. ad Apoc.
H. E. lib. iii. 39.
the First Epistle of Peter and the First of John, and no other of the epistles are mentioned as quoted by him. Yet no notion has thence been entertained, that he rejected the other Epistles of the Sacred Canon. " He confirms these “ which he has mentioned,” says Lardner *, “ without prejudicing the rest.”
Upon the same footing stands his silence concerning the Apocalypse. And this silence, in these short fragments of his works, would be no evidence against it, even if we had no assurance that he received it as holy writ. But such assurance we have, from Andreas of Cæsareat.
Michaelis collects, from some expressions of Eusebius, that Papias had no where cleared up
Cred. Gosp. Hist. art. Papias. † Michaelis is willing to suppose (p. 466) that Andreas had no proof of what he asserts, and that he concluded Papias to be an evidence in favour of the Apocalypse, merely because Papias was a Millenarian. This is, at most, a conjecture, for the support of which he refers us to what is afterwards said by him of Andreas, when he coines to speak of Gregory of Nazianzum. When we turn to that passage (page 490) which is designed to invalidate the testimony of Andreas by this argumerit, “ that he
who had falsely represented Gregory, as an evidence for the " A pocalypse, may be supposed to have done the same concern“ing Papias ;" we find that, even by the admission of Michaelis, Gregory has quoted the Apocalypse in two passages of his writings. Which quotations will be found (when we come to examine Gregory's evidence) more than sufficient to counterbalance the circumstance of the Apocalypse not being mentioned in his Metrical Catalogue. Michaelis, at last, leaves the question undecided. And so the testimony of Andreas remains unima peached by him. Papias appears also by the testiinony of And. Cæs. to have commented on the Apocalypse ; 871 dežews on the text, See cap. xxxiv. Serm. xii, of And. Cæs.
# P. 464. E
the important question, whether John the Pres. " byter, who also lived at Ephesus, was the writer “ of the Apocalypse.” But how can we expect such determination from Papias, when it appears that the question was never agitated in his time? Eusebius himself, in the fourth century, first started it. Dionysius of Alexandria, in the century preceding, had mentioned some other John as, perhaps, the author of the book; but even he does not mention John the Presbyter. Nor is there any evidence that it was ascribed to any other than to John the Apostle, by any orthodox writer of the Church, during the first century of its appearance in the world. The Alogi, a sect of heretics, ascribed it to Cerinthus; but no one of the orthodox, before the third century, (as far as we know) assigned to it any other than John the Evangelist. That Papias, therefore, never entered into the merits of this question, is of no disservice to the Apocalypse. On the contrary, that little is said by him, and by the ancient Fathers, concerning the writer of the Apocalypse, shews, that no doubts arose, in the early times, concerning the person who wrote it. All, who have spoken upon the question, have asserted John the Evangelist to be its author; and they were not contradicted.
But that the Apocalypse was unknown to Papias, our author attempts also to prove from another passage of Eusebius*; who, having
Lib. iii. c. 39.
mentioned that Papias had reported some doctrines and parables of our Saviour, not contained in the Gospels, but learnt by oral tradition, and among these some things that are fabulous, classes among the latter his Millenarian doctrine, “ That, after the resurrection of the dead, “ Christ will reigo in person a thousand years
on earth.” “ I suppose,” adds Eusebius, " that " he acquired this notion from his inquiring “ into the saying of the Apostles, and his not
understanding what they had delivered figu
ratively.” From this passage it is inferred, that Papias was ignorant of the Apocalypse ; “ for why,” it is said,
66 should he have recourse " to oral tradition for the support of these prin
ciples, when the 20th chapter of Revelation “ would, literally interpreted, have much better “ suited his purpose ?” But this mode of proving is somewhat like that which we have lately examined, which was found to rest only on a conjecture of Eusebius. For this rests only on a supposition of the same writer, equally unfound. ed. “ I suppose," says Eusebius, “ that he ac
quired his millenary notions from oral tradi“tion:" but there is no other ground for this supposition, than that Papias had appeared to acquire some other information, and some other fabulous notions, by this method. But, if the 20th chapter of the Apocalypse, verses 4, 5, 6, literally interpreted, would, according to the confession of Michaelis, “ have much better
" suited his purpose," why may we not, withi equal reason suppose, that he found it did suit his purpose ? Certaimly we can shew, in this chapter, a passage, which, literally taken, would be a groundwork for Papias's millenary doctrines; but neither Eusebius, nor Michaelis, were able to prove any such oral tradition received by Papias, upon which he could found his notions of Christ's millenary reign on earth. But Eusebius may be mistaken in this supposition, because he is evidently so in another, which is contained in the same passage.
Irenæus to have founded bis Millenary notions on the tradition and authority of Papias : but Irenæus happens to have told us otherwise. For, in his fifth book against the heretics, chapters xxxii, xxxiii, xxxiv, xxxv, xxxvi, le rests this doctrine, partly indeed
the tradition of the Elders, but chiefly on the promises of Scripture, which he quotes abundantly, producing also this passage of the Apocalypse; “ In the Apocalypse, and the Apocalypse alone,” (says Michaelis, speaking of the Millenarian system,)," is this doctrine discoverable, “ if we take all the expressions used in the xxth
chapter in a strictly literal sense ; and this is “ the chapter on which all the Millenarians of 46 modern
have principally grounded their “ opinions.” And why, then, not Papias ?
To me, there appear to arise two powerful arguments in favour of the antiquity and divine origin of the Apocalypse, to be derived from a