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of the Reformers had becn matured into safe opinions, by the progress of time and of truth *. But the Church of England had no hesitation to place the book of Apocalypse in her sacred canon; and, I doubt not, her sons will continue to supply her with irrefragable reasons for retain. ing it.
And here I close what I have been able to collect of the external evidence for the Apocalypse.
We have seen its rise, as of a pure fountain, from the sacred rock of the apostolical Church. We have traced it through the first century of its passage, flowing from one fair field to another, identified through them all, and everywhere the same. As it proceeded lower, we have seen attempts to obscure its sacred origin, to arrest or divert its course, to lose it in the sands of antiquity, or bury it in the rubbish of the dark ages. We have seen these attempts repeated in our own times, and by a dextrous adversary f. But it has at length arrived to us, such as it flowed forth at the beginning.
* This is a remarkable instance of good coming out of evil. The advantage arose from the subjugated state in which this Church was holden, at the beginning of the Reformation, by the tyrannical handof Henry the Eighth. This retarded the settlement of our ecclesiastical opinions, till they were more maturely considered, during thirty years of inquisitive research into every subject of this nature. t Kai Fibou foa sixas a fan, welforov, H* casso, ouxo, oga was rivX' assa' AW o os ovaro Fox, uzoa wig Partaww. Iliad. O. 615.
. In short, so far as the question concerning the Apocalypse is to be determined by erternal evidence, we may indubitably pronounce that the book is to be received as Divine Scripture, communi
cated to the Church by John the Apostle and Evangelist.
THE INTERNAL EVIDENCE RESPECTING THE
A PoCALYPSE; FRom The com PLETIon of ITs .
PROPHE CIES ; * FROM IT'S CORRESPONDENCE IN POINT OF DOCTRINE AND OF IMAGERY WITH OTHER BOOKS OF DIVIN E AUTHORITY: OBJECTIONS OF MICHAELIS ANSWERED ; TRUE CHARACTER OF THE BEAUTY AND SUBLIMITY IN THIS BOOK ; ARG UMENT THENCE DE R1 v ED; com PARIson of THE APOCALYPSE WITH OTHER WIRITINGS OF THE SAME A.G.E : HERMAS AND SECOND BOOK OF ESDR.A.S. OBJECTION ARISING FROM THE OBSCURITY OF THE BOOK ANSW ER ED.
We now proceed to the internal evidence: In the examination of which, we no longer rely on erternal witnesses: we search the work itself; we try its interior marks and character; and determine, by the judgment thence arising, whether it be of divine authority. The inquiry will be two-fold. 1st, Whether, from the internal form and character of the Apocalypse, it appears to be a book of divine inspiration. 2dly, Whether it appears to have been written by the
I. If all, or indeed most Christians, were agreed upon the same interpretation of the Apocalyptic Prophecies, this question might be determined by a short and summary proceeding. It would only be necessary to ask—Have these prophecies been fulfilled 2 for, if it be answered in the affirmative, the consequence immediately follows; the Prophet was inspired, and his book is divine. This criterion may, in some future time, when the Apocalyptical Prophecies have been more successfully studied, produce sufficient evidence to the point in question. But it cannot be applied at present, so as to produce general conviction.' We must argue from points in which there is a more general agreement. Omitting therefore for the present, the important question (which it would take a very large compass to discuss) whether the prophecies have been generally fulfilled or not, we may consider the book independently of this evidence. We may compare the doctrines which it exhibits, and the pictures and images which it presents, with those contained in other writings universally acknowledged to be of divine authority. To do justice to this topic, would require a regula: examination of the whole book, a particular induction of passages, by a comparison of which with other texts of Scripture, their agreement or dissimilarity would appear, and arguments be derived, to determine whether it came from the same source. This proceeding would be too extenSlve
tensive and voluminous for the sketch I now offer”; but, as I am not altogether unpractised in these researches, I feel myself justified in making this general assertion, that, upon comparing the Apocalypse with the acknowledged books of divine Scripture, I have almost universally found the very same notions, images, representations, and divine lights, as in other sacred Scriptures; yet not delivered in such a manner as to be apparently copied from other inspired writers, but from some original prototype of the same kind, which these other writers also seem to have copied. There is, in short, between the writer of the Apocalypse, and his predecessors in the sacred office of Prophet, that concordia discors, that agreement in matter, but difference in manner, which is observed in painters, who delineate and colour in different stations from the same original object; and this will be allowed to be a strong internal evidence of the divine origin of the Apocalypse, I should feel myself obliged to treat more at large this subject, if much had been advanced by the adversaries of the Apocalypse, to deny this fact. The ancient objection made by some before Dionysius, that “the Apocalypse is unworthy of any “sacred writer,” is not now persisted in, and deserves not a particular refutation; it will indeed be refuted in every step as we proceed. Michaelis has allowed that the internal struc.
* It is attempted in some measure in the Annotations which follow, ture.