« הקודםהמשך »
A Biographical Chart of Writers in the carly Christian Church who appear to have affordded
Evidence in favor of the Apocalypse.
Trajan. Adrian, Ant.P., MAnt. Com The Dotted line marks the year 97, when the Apocalypse was published. The lines under cach Hame show the years when the writers lived to be measured upon the Senle belou: When the birth or death of a river in incertain that uncer tainty in wahrefsed by Joke, before or after the line'!
because in that century they chiefly wrote and flourished. But they lived also in this century. They are important evidences in favour of the Apocalypse. They carry on the testimony by a strong and regular concatenation to the middle of the third century after Christ; after which time, we can expect little or no accession of external evidence, concerning any inspired book.
The testimonies of Hippolitus, and of Origen, will be exhibited in a succeeding chapter.
THE EVIDENCE AGAINST THE APOCALYPSE.
DURING ITS FIRST CENTURY; THE REJECTION OF IT BY MARCION AND BY THE A LOGI; THEIR OBJECTIONS, SO FAR AS THEY RELATE TO EXTERNAL EVIDENCE, EXA• MINED.
Having reviewed the external evidence in favour of the Apocalypse, during the first century after its publication, it will be useful to pause, before we produce subsequent witnesses, and to afford opportunity of examining any testimonies of the same period, by which its authenticity and divine inspiration have been denied. The examination of this evidence will soon be dispatched. For, wonderful as it may appear, there is not one writer of the pure Primitive Church, no Father, no Ecclesiastical Author, who, during this period, seems to have questioned its authenticity. Yet there was ground then for the same objections, which afterwards induced some persons to reject it in the third and fourth centuries. The Fathers, before the times of Caius and of Dionysius, could discover that the Apocalypse was obscure ; that it was to them no revelation ; that the Greek of it appeared different
from that of Saint John's Gospel; but, notwithstanding these circumstances, which they were well qualified to appreciate, they received it with pious acquiescence as divine Scripture, communicated by the beloved Apostle ; and they delivered it as such to the succeeding century.
Now, to what can we attribute this conduct, but to the powerful operation of that external evidence by which it was then supported ? The writers of the first part of this century had the opportunity of hearing from apostolical men, from “ those who had seen the face of John," as Irenæus expresses it, to what author they ascribed the Apocalypse. In the latter part of the century, the tradition was still warm, depende ing upon the living testimony of those who had seen apostolical men; and an inquisitive author could satisfy himself, from the narration of others, upon what grounds of external evidence the book had been so universally received. It had been produced publicly into the world. It was to be found, not in the archives of one insignificant Church, but of the seven flourishing Churches of Asia ; “ This thing was not done in a corner.” From the mode of its publication, it challenged observation, and defied detection. And we may suppose, that as none of the early Fathers objected to the evidence, all were satisfied. They received and transmitted to others those prophecies, which they themselves could not understand. Under these circumstances, we may be more