« הקודםהמשך »
as we shall endeavour to prove) to · Dionysius *.
But from other passages it appears, that Michaelis felt the force of Origen's testimony respecting the Apocalypse. In these he acknowledges it to be “ greatly in its favourf;" and so it will remain; for, the counterpoise to it, which he has proposed, arising from the silence of Papias, has been shewn to have very little weight
I shall now request my readers to review the Biographical Chart presented to them at page 52. They will there observe, that by the addition, which is made to the writers of the second century, by the testimonies of Hippolitus and Origen, the evidence is carried down 150 years from the first publication of the Apocalypse. This evidence is abundant, (surprisingly so, considering the mysterious nature of the
† Nothing can be more express and positive than the testimony of Origen ; even in his last work, his book against Celsus, when he had probably seen the objections of Dionysius. For Dionysius wrote probably before the rage of persecution came on in 250, which pursued himn alınost to his death, in 264; but Origen wrote his last work in 232, the year before he died : but whether or not Origen lived to see this book of Dionysius, he was doubtless acquainted with the arguments which it contains, respecting the authenticity of the Apocalypse, for they had then been inany years current in the world,
† P. 486.
book); book); it is constant and uninterrupted*. At no time does it depend upon any single testimony; many writers testify at the same period; and these witnesses are nearly all the great names of ecclesiastical antiquity t. To their evidence, which is for the most part positive and express, no contradictory testimony of an external kind has been opposed. No one has alleged against the Apocalypse such arguments as these :“ It “is not preserved in the archives of the Seven “ Asiatic Churches. The oldest persons in those “ cities have no knowledge of its having been “ sent thither: no one ever saw it during the “ life of John. It was introduced in such and
* It may be observed, that although many writers give their testimony, yet a very few witnesses may be selected, who can be supposed to have delivered down the evidence in succession, during the first one hundred and fifty years of the Apocalypse. For instance, these three, Polycarp, 'Irenæus, Origen ; or, Justin Martyr, Tertullian, Origen. A long tradition has more credibility attached to it, when it has passed but through few hands.
+ Every writer quoted by Lardner in the first volume, part ii. of his Credibility of the Gospel History, except two or three, of whom short fragments only remain, is to be found in our list, and this volume contains all the writers who gave testimony to any of the sacred Scriptures, during almost the whole of the first century after the Apocalypse was published. Sir Isaac Newton asserts truly, that “no other book of the New Testament “ is so strongly attested, or commented upon, as this.” Sir Isaac Newton on Daniel and the Apocalypse, part ii. 6. 1. p. 219.
“ such a year, but it was contradicted as soon “ as it appeared *."
These arguments are candidly and judiciously suggested by Michaelis, and he allows considerable weight to them. (p. 484.) But, in a note subjoined, he endeavours to in validate them by observing,
1. That “only a few extracts from the writings of the ancient adversaries of the Apocalypse are now extant, the writings themselves being lost.”
2. That “ the ancient advocates for the Apocalypse have likewise not alleged any historical arguments in its defence.”
To these objections we will answer shortly :
1. If the learned professor had allowed any weight to this kind of argument, when he reviewed the evidence of Ignatius and Papias, he could not have pronounced their silence “as a decisive argument," against the Apocalypse. But there is a difference in the two cases, a difference, which is in favour of the Apocalypse. The short writings, or extracts now extant, may easily be supposed not to contain all, or perhaps any, of the testimonies which they bore to this book, which, from its mysterious contents, they cannot be expected often to have quoted. And if such testiinonies were lost, they would not be renewed by subsequent authors, from whom all that we should have to expect would be such a general testimony as Andreas Cæsariensis gives of Papias, namely, that Papias bore evidence to the Apocalypse. But if in any of the writings of the ancient adversaries of the book, any such arguments as these suggested by Michaelis had been inserted, they could not have sunk into oblivion. A book asserted to be divine, yet having at the same time such internal evidence against it, as Dionysius has produced, would be ever regarded with a jealous eye; and if the Alogi, or Caius, or Dionysius, (and these are all the adversaries of whom we hear,) had recorded any such allegation against the Apocalypse, it would have been repeated and reechoed by its adversaries through all the ages of the Church.
Upon the whole, the candid examiner cannot but perceive, that the external evidence for the authenticity and divine inspiration of the Apocalypse is of preponderating weight; and that Michaelis is by no means justifiable in representing it, when placed in the scale against the contrary evidence, as suspended in equipoise. It is a complete answer to the assertions of his third section*, to affirm, (and we now see that we can truly affirm it,) that the authenticity of the book was never doubted by the Church, during the first century after it was published: and that it was received with especial reverence, as divine Scripture, by the Asiatic Churches, to which it was addressed, and by their colonies.
But if there were any foundation for such allegations, Polycarp and Melito, bishops of the Seven Churches, would not have suffered the Apocalypse to pass in their days to Irenæus, as a work received by those Churches from Saint John. 2. On the second objection we may observe, that where there
no contradiction, there most certainly needed no proof. The silent adınission of the Apocalypse, by the early fathers, inakes greatly in its favour. No controversy, shews no doubt. And how stands the evidence in the case of other acknowledged books of the sacred canon? Are we expected to prove that all the epistles of Saint Paul were deposited in the archives of the respective Churches to which they were written ? Far otherwise: no such proof is made ; none such is reasonably expected. We shew that the epistles were undoubtedly received by the early writers of the Church; this is proof sufficient; and we have this proof abundantly for the authenticity of the Apocalypse. * P. 486.
THE TESTIMONIES OF GREGORY OF NEOCESA
REA; AND OF DIONISIUS OF ALEXANDRIA; OF HIS PRIVATE OPINION; THE TESTIMONIES OF OTHER WRITERS IN ТІНЕ SAM E CENTURY, OF EUSEBIUS, AND THE WRITERS IN HIS TIME, AND AFTER HIM; OF THE RECEPTION OF THE APOCALYPSE AT THE RE
WITH the last chapter I might have fairly closed all that need be said, to defend the authenticity of the Apocalypse, by external evidence. For what addition of historical testimony can we require? what original documents are we likely to procure? or what weight of contradictory external evidence can wc expect to encounter, in the times beyond those we have examined? Who, in these after-ages, can give us information, which will bear comparison with that which we have already received ? or whom of the succeeding Fathers can we esteem equal judges with Hippolitus and Origen, whether it be of the evidence already produced, or of the questions agitated in their