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was not, what it pretended to be, the production of an Apostle.
Dionysius of Alexandria, who wrote about the middle of the third century, says,
“ Some, before “ our times *, have utterly rejected this book ;” and he has been thought to intend Caius, an ecclesiastical man at Rome t, who certainly ascribed some Apocalypse, and not improbably our Apocalypse (though this matter has been much doubted) to the heretic Cerinthus I. But whatever may be determined concerning the opinions of Caius, it seems clear, that before Dionysius wrote, that is, in the former part of the third century, some persons in the Christian Church had begun to doubt concerning the authenticity of the Apocalypse; to question whether it were the production of St. John, or of any apostolical, or even pious man; and to ascribe it, as the Alogi had done before them, to Cerinthus g.
But it does not appear that they alleged any external evidence in support of these extraordinary opinions. They rested them on the basis of internal evidence only. “ The Apocalypse," said they, " is obscure, unintelligible, and inconsistent, “ and improperly entitled a revelation. It au
Toves ago nalewe. Euseb. lib. vii. c. 25.
Michaelis has chosen to place these objectors in the second century, but on no solid ground of evidence; for the first objector, of whom we have any account, is Caius, and the earliest me assigned to him is A. D. 210. Cave, Hist. Lit, art, Caius. $ Euseb. H. E. lib. vii. c. 24.
“thorises notions of an impure, terrestrial mil“ lennium, unworthy of an Apostle of Christ. “ But Cerinthus adopted such notions, and to “ propagate them the more successfully, he wrote “ the Apocalypse, and prefixed to it the honour“ able name of John."
All the arguments here used, excepting the affirmation that Cerinthus is the author, (which has no proof whatever to support it *,) will be observed to rest on internal evidence, and there, fore belong not to this present inquiry. In a future chapter they will be examined, But I mention them in this place, because they preyailed in the times of Hippolitus and Origen, whose testimony is now to be adduced. These two learned men had the opportunity of knowing and of considering all the arguments, which these novel objectors had alleged against the authenticity of the Apocalypse. We shall see what in fluence they had on the minds of these able diyines.
HIPPOLITUS flourished early in the third cențury t, 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
* See this affirination perfectly refuted by our author, p 469.
+ One work of his is shewn to have 299 for its date. See Lardner, ari. Hippolitus.
Greck, and not improbably in the eastern parts of the Christian world, where his writings were long held in the highest esteem *. He is in all respects as credible 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 t. Michaelis admits his evidence, and attributes to his influence and exertions, much support of the Apocalypse 1. He could produce no new external evidence in its favour, but he probably appealed to, and arranged that evidence which had gone before, and endeavoured to take away, in some measure, a popular objection to the book, by explaining parts of it; thus rendering it less obscure 8. His studies qualified him for this office; for, as Michaelis observes, he commented on other prophccies. His genuine works, except a few fragments, appear not to have come down to us, but they were read both in Greek and in Syriac for many ages. And it appears, by the evidence of Jerome and Ebed-jesu, that one, if not two of his books were written in defence of the Apocalypse. Micbaelis is inclined to believe that he left two
* P. 479.
+ See the testiinonies as 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.
I P. 478.
$ What remains of Hippolitus in this kind, is to be seen in the Commentary of Andreas Cæsariensis on the Apocalypse, who professes to have followed him,
works on this subject, one in answer to Caius, the other against the Alogi*. He says nothing which tends to invalidate the evidence of Hippolitus in favour of the Apocalypse, 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 acknowledged to have been the most acute, the most diligent, the most 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, and of the authenticity of the books and of the text, which is now become a voluminous part of theological studies. He was in a great degree the Father of Biblical learning. Such a man could not be ignorant of the objections urged by Caius and others, against the authenticity of the Apocalypse. He was inclined to allow all the weight of their popular argument against it, which was, 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 him to envelope the unspeakable “ mysteries of the Apocalypset.” But these
. P. 479
+ See a fragment of Origen, preserved in his works, and quoted by Lardner, art. Origen.
objections, whatever other influence they might have in the mind of Origen, did not induce him to reject the book. He received it readily and implicitly. He quotes it frequently as “ the “ work of the Apostle John, of the author of " the Gospel of John, of the Son of Zebedee, of “ bim who leaned on the bosom of Jesus*.” But to what shall we ascribe this decided conclusion of Origen, so hostile to his own prepossessions ? To what, but to the irresistible weight of external evidence, which obliged him to acknowledge the Apocalypse as the undoubted production of John the Apostle? No one, who has taken into consideration the weight of this evidence (even as it now appears to us), and the superior qualifications of this learned and inquisitive Father to judge of it, can ascribe the testimony, which we derive from Origen, to any other cause.
And every candid person must be surprised and sorry at the cavilling questions advanced by Michaelist, by which he endeavours to represent the well-considered and respectable evidence of Origen, as depending solely on the authority of his master Hippolitus, or (which is still more extraordinary) to be the result of that duplicity, which our author attributes (unjustly,
* Euseb. H. E. lib. vi. c. 25. Orig. Hom. in lib. Jer. ; Com. in Joh. p. 14; Com. in Mat. p. 417 ; Cont. Celsum, lib. vi,
+ P. 480.