« הקודםהמשך »
mentioned that Papias had reported some doctrines and parables of our Saviour, not contained in the Gospels, but learnt by oral tradition,
these some things that are fabulous, classes among the latter his Millenarian doctrine, That, after the resurrection of the dead, “ Christ will reign in person a thousand years " on earth.” “ I suppose,” adds Eusebius, “ 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, 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 unfounded. “ 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, « bave much better
“ suited his purpose,” why may we not, withi equal reason suppose, that he found it did suit his purpose ? Certainly 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 l'apias, upon which he could found his notions of Christ's millenary reign on earth. But Eusebius may be mistaken in this supposition, because be is evidently so in another, which is contained in the same passage. le supposes Irenæus to have founded bis Millenary notions on the tradition and authority of Papias : but Irenæus lappens to have told us otherwise. For, in his fifth book against the heretics, chapters xxxii, xxxiii, xxxiv, xxxv, xxxvi, he rests this doctrine, partly indeed upon 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 “ modern ages have principally grounded their u 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
consideration of the times of Papias. 1. The Millenary doctrines appear then first to have taken that form, agreeably to the xxth chapter of the Apocalypse, which, literally interpreted, would supply those notions. 2. If the Apocalypse had been written after the times of Papias, after the times when he had broached these doctrines, and had not been a work of divine origin, the ingenious author of it, (who will be supposed, from this passage, to have favoured the Millenarian tenets,) would not have contented himself with that short description of the terrestrial reign of Christ, which is contained in three verses of his xxth chapter. He would have enlarged on a topic so flattering to the Christians, in the manner used by Papias, or his followers, and not have left the description restricted to that brevity and obscurity, which bespeak a work published before these notions had prevailed. I may
have detained the reader too long with what relates to the evidence of Papias: but it seemed to me to require a particular examination ; because Michaelis, when he sums up the evidence for and against the Apocalypse, still takes it for granted, that Papias knew nothing of this book; and considers this circumstance as sufficient to balance against the express testimonies of the learned Origen, a determined Anti-millenarian, in its favour.
ATHENAGORAS, OF THE CHURCHES IN GAUL, OP MELITO, THEOPHILUS, APOLLONIUS, CLEMENS OF ALEXANDRIA, AND TERTULLIAN.
I SHALL now produce the testimony of a writer, who was contemporary with all those whom we have reviewed*. If any thing shall have appeared defective in any of their testimonies, such objection cannot be made here. The testimony which Justin Martyr affords is full, positive, and direct. He received the Apocalypse as the production of “ John, one of the “ Apostles of Christ.” He expressly names this John as the writer of itf. He appears also, from the testimony of Jerome, to have interpreted some parts of this mystical book: although no work of this kind has come down to us.
* It is probable that Justin Martyr was born in the first century, and before the Apocalypse was written, and that he suffered Martyrdom about the middle of the second century. See Cave, Fabricius, Tillemont, Lardner. Euseb. describes him as ó per a woru twv ansoolotas. lib. ii. c. 13. Michaelis says he wrote in the year 133, ch. ii. sect. 6. p. 32.
+ Dial. cum Tryphon. lib. vi. c. 20. # Catal. Script. Eccles. c. 9.
Some writers have supposed, from the words of Jerome*, that Justin published a commentary on the Apocalypse; but there seems not sufficient foundation for this opinion, since such a work is mentioned by no early writer of the Church. But it has, on the contrary, been too hastily concluded, that Justin wrote no other interpretation of the Apocalypse, than that which is to be found in the single passage of his Dialogue with Trypho, already referred to. But Jerome would not be justified, in calling him an interpreter of the Apocalypse, from this passage only, which contains a reference to Rev. xx, but no interpretation. . It is probable therefore that, in some other work, now lost, he had attempted an interpretation of some parts of it, in the manner of Irenæus t. If this be admitted as probable; the testimony of Justin, which is sufficiently clear and direct, becomes also more extensive.
ATIIENAGORAS, who was contemporary with Polycarp and Justin Martyr, is admitted by Michaelis, from the allusion produced by Lardner, to have been acquainted with the Apocalypse.
* Scripsit (Johannes) Apocalypsin, quam interpretantur Justinus Martyr et Irenæus.
+ Some account of Justin's works, which are now lost, may be seen in Grabe's Spicileg. vol. ii. p. 166. ☆ Cred. Gosp. Hist. art. Athenagoras,