« הקודםהמשך »
being addressed “ to the Churches of Asia and “ Phrygia*." And there appears to have been another Epistle from the Martyrs themselves of these Churches, with the same address, but upon another ecclesiastical subject, written at the same time. These were not letters from individuals to individuals, but from societies to other ecclesiastical communities. The Gallic Churches give account to the Asiatic Churches, as colonies to their mother country. We may collect also from names, casually mentioned in this Epistle, that the Gallic Churches had among them Asiatic Greeks, men of the first rank and character, then teaching in Gaul, Attalus of Pergamus, (one of the Seven Churches,) and Alexander, a P hry. gian. Pothinus appears to a be Greek namet; this venerable Bishop of Lyons was more than 90 years of age, when he suffered martyrdom, and therefore born ten years before the Apocalypse was published. But it appears, from the evidences now produced, that the Gallic churches believed it to be a book of divine authority. We may add too, that they believed the Asiatic Churches to have received this book into their canon, otherwise they would not have quoted from it in a letter addressed to them. Iren
• Laodicea, one of the seven Churches addressed in the Apo. calypse, was situated in Phrygia.
+ The accurate historian Mosheim relates it as a fact that Pothinus came from Asia; and produces his authorities. Eccl. Hist. Cent. . part i, ch, i,
næus likewise the auditor of Polycarp, was a Presbyter of the Church at Lyons at this time, and succeeded Pothinus in the bishoprick; and we have already made ourselves acquainted with his creed, respecting this book.
Thus there is strong reason for concluding, that these Gallic Churches held the same canon of Scripture with the Asiatic; and consequently, that the Asiatic Churches, to whom the Apocalypse appears to have been addressed, received it as divine Scripture, and with Irenæus, as the work of Jobn the Apostle. This will be confirmed by the article which follows.
Melito, after some doubt and hesitation, is at last admitted by Michaelis, as a witness in favour of the Apocalypse; he is stated to have flourished about the year 170 *, and probably might be living at the time the Gallic Epistle was received by the Asiatic Churches; of one of which (of Sardis) he was Bishopt. He was a Bishop of the highest reputation in the Christian world, according to the testimonies of Polycrates 1, of Tertullians, of Eusebius II. He wrote upon the A pocalypse, and was esteemed, says Tertullian,
• Cave, Hist. Lit.
+ See what is said by Mr. Marsh on the subject of an Epistle being received at a place to which it was addressed, vol. i. p. 368.
Euseb. v. 24.
a Prophet by many Christians; probably, because he had interpreted and applied the divine prophecies of this book, with some apparent success. His works are unfortunately lost. .
THEOPHILUS, who was Bishop of Antioch about 90 years after the publication of the Apocalypse, appears to have written upon, and to have quoted from it, as of divine authority, in his treatise against Hermogenes *. This treatise is not extant; but Lardner has produced one passage, from another work of his, in which he calls the Devil, “ Satan, the Serpent, and the Dragon ;" which seems taken from Rev. xii. 9t. Michaelis admits Theophilus among those who undoubtedly received the Apocalypse I,
APOLLONIUS is not mentioned by our author. But Eusebius, who speaks of him as a learned man, represents him also as supporting the Apocalypse, by testimonies taken from it §. He suffered martyrdom about the year 186 ||, and is a valuable addition to our evidence.
CLEMENS OF ALEXANDRIA is admitted by Michaelis as an undoubted evidence for the Apocalypse. He has frequently quoted from it, and referred to it, as the work of an Apostle. He was an inquisitive, and well-informed writer, and
* Euseb. H. E. lib. iv. 24.
having flourished within the first century after the publication of the Apocalypse, is an important evidence in its favour.
TERTULLIAN wrote about the same time with Clement; but his long life extended farther into the next century. Michaelis allows his evidence for the Apocalypse as undoubted ; and it is certainly valuable. He is the most ancient of the Latin Fathers, whose works have, descended to our times. He quotes, or refers to, the Apocalypse, in above seventy passages of his writings; and he appeals to it expressly as the work of the Apostle John. He defends the authenticity of the book against the heretic Marcion and his followers, by asserting its external evidence. He appeals to the Asiatic Churches, and assures us, that “ though “ Marcion rejects it, yet the succession of Bishops, “ traced to its origin, will establish John to be its author*. In particular, it may be observed, that Tertullian has quoted Rev. i. 6, “ Quia sa“cerdotes nos et Deo et patri fecit," as a passage common in the mouths of the Laity of his time t. This frequent and popular appeal to the Apocalypse, shews it to be a book much read, and generally received, in the African Churches 'of the second century.
* Habemus et Johannis alumnas ecclesias: nam etsi A pocalypsin ejus Marcion respuit, ordo tamen episcoporum, ad Originem recensus, in Johannem stabit auctorem. Adv. Marcion. lib. iv. c. 5. $ Tertull. de Monog. cap. 12.
We are now returned again to the times of Ire. næus, whose single testimony appeared to have such deserved influence in settling the question before us *. But the retrospect, which we have been able to take of the writers who preceded him, has added great weight to the evidence. For testimonies have been drawn abundantly from every generation of writers, through the first century after the Apocalypse was published. They have been produced from almost all parts of the Christian world: from Asia, where it made its first appearance ; from Syria ; from Italy; from Gaul; and from the Churches of Africa, where it seems to have had an universal reception, and a more than ordinary circulation. .
I now present the reader with a sketch, drawn after the manner of Priestley's Biographical Chart, and those of Playfair's Chronology; by which he may see, in one view, the writers whose testimonies we have hitherto collected. He will hereby be enabled to estimate the force of that numerous, unbroken, concurring chain of evidence, which we have laid before him. Besides those writers already reviewed, he will see also, in the chart, the names of Hippolitus and Origen,
* In a passage of Michaelis, ch. xxvi. sect. 8. on the Epistle of Saint James, we collect the names of the ancient authors, whose testimony he esteems most decisive to the books of the New Testament. These are Irenæus, Tertullian, Clement of Alex. andria, and Origen ; by all of whom we shall find the Apocalypse fully received as the writing of St. John.