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ing the Apocalypse. This silence, in these short fragments of his works, would be no evidence against it, even if we had no assurance that he received it as holy writ. But such assurance we have from Andreas of Cæsarea. 1
JUSTIN MARTYR was contemporary with the apostolical Fathers whose evidence we have been reviewing. His testimony is full, positive, indubitable. He accounted the Apocalypse to be the production" of John, one of the apostles of Christ. He names expressly this John as the writer of it.” He appears also, from the report of Jerome, to have commented on some parts of this mystical book ; but no work of this kind has come down to us."
ATHENAGORAS, contemporary with Polycarp and Justin Martyr, is admitted by Michaelis to have been acquainted with the Apocalypse.
Michaelis has passed over in silence the evidence obtained from that valuable remnant of ecclesiastical antiquity, THE EPISTLE FROM THE GALLIC CHURCHES, which relates the sufferings of their martyrs, about the year 177, eighty years after the publication of the Apocalypse. We owe to Eusebius the preservation of a great part of this letter, in which Lardner has remarked this passage, Akol s0wv τη Αρνιω οπε αν υπαγη. They are the very words of ApviQ ÓTT8
. the Apocalypse, (ch. xiv. 4.), and so peculiar in idea and expression, as evidently to be derived from no other source. To this quotation, and another
| From this testimony we collect, that Papias had commented upon the Apocalypse : en lečews on the text. See cap. xxxiv. Serm. xii. of And. Cæs. Some other objections of Michaelis are reported in the Dissertation, and there answered, it is hoped, satisfactorily. But as they are of a minor character, there is no need to abridge them here.
2 Dialog. cum. Tryphone, lib. vi. c. 20. 3 Catal. Script. Eccles. c. 9.
4 This Epistle is supposed by some to be written by Irenæus, at that time a member of that church, but there is no proof of this.
reported in the Dissertation, I have added a third, which had not been noticed before. In Rev. i. 5. iii. 14.
In the Epistle, Our Lord Jesus Christ is called The martyrs give place to Jesus Christ, as, “Ο μαρτυρ, και πιστος,και αληθινος, και Τω πιστω και αληθινή μαρτυρι, και προτοτοκος εκ των νεκρων.
προτοτοκή των νεκρών. The perusal of these quotations cannot fail to convince us that the Churches of Gaul received the Apocalypse into their canon; and their testimony is of the greater importance in this inquiry, because these Churches received their articles of faith from the Churches in Asia. The epistle is addressed to the Churches of Asia and Phrygia.
And there appears to have been another epistle, from the martyrs, with the same address, but on a different subject, written at the same time. The Gallic Churches render account to those of Asia, as colonies to their mother country. They agreed with them in receiving the Apocalypse as of divine authority, otherwise they could not have quoted from it as such. The Church of Lyons had received her venerable bishop Pothinus from Asia,' who being martyred at the age of ninety years, was succeeded by the Asiatic Irenæus. It is important to impress this fact, that the Churches, colonized from the Seven Churches in Asia, received the Apocalypse as a divine book.
Melito, after some hesitation, is admitted by Michaelis as a witness in favour of the Apocalypse. He is stated to have flourished about the year 170,” and might be living at the time the Gallic Epistle was received by the Asiatic Churches, of one of which (Sardis) he was bishop. He was a bishop of the highest reputation in the Christian world, according to the testimonies of Polycrates, Tertullian, and Eusebius. He wrote upon the Apocalypse,
I Mosheim, Eccl. Hist. Cent. ii. part 1. ch. 1.
and was esteemed, says Tertullian, a prophet by many Christians.
THEOPHILUS, who was bishop of Antioch about ninety 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 tan, the Serpent and the Dragon." This connexion of names is only to be found in the book of Revelation, (ch. xii. 9. and xx. ii.) Michaelis admits Theophilus among those who undoubtedly received the Apocalypse.
APOLLONIUS is not mentioned by Michaelis : 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 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 as Clement. Michaelis allows his evidence for the Apocalypse to be undoubted; and it is certainly very valuable. He is the most ancient of the Latin
1 Euseb. H. E. lib. iv. 24. 2 Lardner, Cred. art. Theophilus. 3 P. 467. 4 Euseb. H. E. lib. v. c. 18, 21. 5 Lardner, art. Apollonius. 6 P. 467
fathers, whose works have descended to our times. He quotes, or refers to the Apocalypse, in more than seventy passages in his writings, appealing 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 Churches of Asia, 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 par
” ticular, it may be observed that he has quoted Rev. i. 6. Quia sacerdotes nos et Deo et Patri fecit,” as a passage common in the mouths of the laity of his time. This frequent and popular appeal to the Apocalypse, shows it to be a book much read, and generally received in the African Churches.
We are now returned again to the times of Irenæus, whose single testimony appeared to have such deserved influence in settling the question before
But the retrospect, which we have been enabled to take of the writers who preceded him, has added great weight to the evidence. Testimonies have been drawn abundantly from every generation of writers throughout the first century after the Apocalypse was published; and from almost all parts of the Christian world ; from Asia, where it made its first appearance; from Syria; from Italy; from Gaul, and from Africa; where it seems to have had a wider circulation and reception."
1 Habemus et Johannis alumnas ecclesias; nam etsi Apocalypsin ejus Marcion respuit, ordo tamen episcoporum, ad originem recensus, in Johannem stabit auctorem. Adv. Marcion, lib. iv. c. 3.
2 Tertull. de Monog. c. 12.
3 From a passage in Michaelis's Introduction, ch. xxvi. sect. 8, we collect the names of the ancient authors, whose testimony he esteemed most decisive to the authenticity of the books of the New Testament. These are, Irenæus, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, and Origen; by all of whom we find the Apocalypse most completely received as the writing of John the Evangelist.
Contemporary with Irenæus, Clemens of Alexandria, and Tertullian, were Hippolitus and Origen; but rather of a later date, so as to belong more properly to the first part of the third century of the Christian æra. We will proceed with them, as completing the essential evidence concerning the claims of the Apocalypse ; for after this period, the evidence must depend upon appealing to those writers who have lived nearer to the time of its publication.
But first, we will observe, that during the one hundred years, from the publication of the Apocalypse, which have passed under our examination, wonderful as it may appear, there is not one writer of the pure primitive Church, no father, no ecclesiastical author, who appears to have questioned its authenticity. Yet the fathers, before the times of Caius and Dionysius, could discover the same causes of objection which they afterwards urged, that it was obscure, and to them no revelation, and not altogether the same Greek as St. John's Gospel. But such was the weight of its external evidence, in these early times, when inquiry would easily trace the book to its author, that although they could not understand the contents of it, they received it, with faith and reverence, and transmitted it, sanctioned by their own names, to posterity. This was the golden age of external evidence in relation to the claims of authenticity advanced in favour of any book, pretending to divine inspiration. A silver age followed, and we of these times are under a lower degeneracy, and can only settle our opinions, so far as evidence external is concerned, by a diligent and faithful inquiry into those of the holy fathers of this period.
But the Apocalypse thus cherished by the orthodox members of Christ's Church, was rejected by some heretics : by Marcion, a Gnostic, who, to serve