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their care and attentions; which was opposed by Diotrephes, an overbearing leader, who not only resisted the Apostle's recommendation, and "prated against him with malicious words," disclaiming his authority; but even proceeded such lengths, as to "excommunicate *the persons who were willing to entertain the strangers." Whom, therefore, the venerable Apostle, with unusual warmth, threatens to correct, at his coming, by his Apostolical authority, ver. 9, 10. This very Diotrephes might have been the leading opponent of Paul, at Corinth; whom he forebore to name out of delicacy, though he censured, 1 Cor. iii. 3-5, iv. 6, &c.
According to this simple and consistent hypothesis, we may date this Epistle still earlier than the second: but about the same year, from the sameness of the doctrinal parts, and of the expressions in both. They all might have been written about A.D. 68 †, three years after the martyrdom of Peter and Paul, and from Ephesus; the two first, to the Mother Church of Judea; the last, to the Mother Church of Achaia. "And since Corinth lay almost opposite to Ephesus; and St. John, from his former occupation, before he became an Apostle, was accustomed to the sea; it is not improbable that the journey which he proposed to take, ver. 14, was a voyage by sea, from Ephesus to Corinth," as ingeniously remarked by Michaelis, IV. p. 456.
The external, or historical evidence in favour of the authenticity of this most sublime, most mysterious, and most important chain of prophetic visions vouchsafed to the Apostle John, has been partly anticipated in the foregoing article of the two resurrections; where the doctrine of the Millennium was immediately deduced from it by the primitive Fathers, Justin Martyr, Irenæus, and Tertullian, and the work itself attributed by them to the Apostle John, who was banished to the Isle of Patmos, (as he himself relates, Rev. i. 9,) in the most clear and explicit
mon rendering is more grammatical, and consistent with the context, and aggravates the offence.
* Εκβάλλει εκ της εκκλησίας, is applicable only to the actual members of the Church: not to the strangers, Michaelis, p. 454.
+ Whiston and Lardner date these Epistles between
A.D. 80 and A.D. 90. 92.
To these ancient and powerful testimonies a multitude may be added, both from the eastern and western Church; such as Papias*, Bishop of Hierapolis, A.D. 116, one of John's own disciples; Melito, Bishop of Sardis, one of the seven Churches, A.D. 177, who wrote a commentary thereon; Theophilus, Bishop of Antioch, A.D. 181; Clemens Alexandrinus, A.D. 194; Origen, A.D. 230; Hippolytus the martyr, A.D. 210; Bishop of Ader, and metropolitan of the Arabians, who also wrote a commentary thereon †. All these flourished in the course of 120 years after John's death, and were men of the greatest note for learning and information in those times. Soon after Victorinus Pictaviensis, A.D. 290, wrote another commentary on it, who lived in the time of Diocletian. "This may suffice, surely," says Sir Isaac Newton, " to shew how the Apocalypse was received and studied in the first ages: and I do not find, indeed, any other book of the NEW TESTAMENT so strongly attested, or commented upon so early as this.” as this." Observations on the Apo
calypse, p. 247.
The mass of positive evidence in its favour is ably collected by Lardner, VI. p. 627–637. And the counter-evidence by Michaelis, in a long and elaborate article, IV. p. 457-544, the great preponderance of the former evidence is no less striking than the prepossession of Michaelis, that could set them on a par, or even give a preference to the latter! But, as we observed before, he was a most unequal critic, and here, as usual, has furnished arguments in abundance to overturn his own cion that it is spurious," p. 487.
From Michaelis and Newton we may collect a satisfactory account of the causes that naturally contributed to impair the early reputation of this wondrous Revelation, which were partly noticed before.
1." When the Apocalypse was first published, the encouragement to study it was strong: 'Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep the things
See the character of Papias ably vindicated from the misrepresentations of Eusebius, by the learned and acute Henry Taylor, in his Thoughts on the Grand Apostacy, p. 61, 62.
A statue of Hippolytus was discovered at Rome in 1551, on which are engraved the titles of his writings, and among them περί του κατά Ιωάννην ευαγγελίου και αποκαλύψεως. Concerning the Gospel and Revelation according to John." This shews his celebrity in Europe. And his authority contributed greatly to the reception of the Apocalypse, Lardner VI. p. 404; Michaelis IV. p. 478.
that are written therein,' Rev. i. 3. This animated the first Christians to study it so much; but they were soon disheartened and deterred by its insurmountable difficulties and abstrusenesses." Newton, p. 247.
For it is an unquestionable axiom in sacred criticism, that no historical series of prophecy can be thoroughly understood before its full accomplishment, until it be explained by the event, which is most strictly true of this.
Thus "they wearied themselves to find the door" to the mystery of the two wild beasts, and image of the beast, and the number of the beast, 666; before the great ecclesiastical persecuting powers sprung up in the western and eastern Church, and their genuine offspring, namely, the Papal, Mahometan, and Infidel powers. Nor is the meaning of this mystical number yet ascertained, though the "Man's name," Mahomet, in Greek, Maoμeriç, seems to have the fairest claim hitherto, in the amount of its numeral letters, exactly corresponding.
Hence they might, perhaps, have exclaimed with the objectors to the symbolical prophecies of Ezekiel, so finely applied in these visions:
"Ah LORD, doth he not speak parables or riddles !" and so, at length, consider it like Daniel's "sealed book," as not to be realized neither in that nor in any age, but as merely allegorical. Michaelis, IV. p. 475.
2. The natural and necessary results of its mysterious nature, were the mistaken notions that sprung up early in the eastern and western churches respecting the momentous doctrine of the Millennium; which began to be corrupted by gross and mischievous interpretations. A Paradise of delights, or all manner of sensual enjoyments in eating, drinking, marrying, &c. became the prevailing notion of the Millenary state among the western, as well as the Mahometan heretics. This gave great offence, at a time when the opposite errors of celibacy and the mortifying austerities of monks and hermits began to be fashionable in both Churches. No wonder, then, that the succeeding monkish Fathers of the fourth, fifth, and sixth centuries, (on whose evidence Michaelis chiefly relies,) not only neglected the Apocalypse, but began to decry both its authenticity and orthodoxy, as contrary to the purity of the Gospel; and some went so far as to ascribe it even to the heretic Cerinthus, the adversary of the Apostle. Michaelis IV. p. 469.
3. Another, and more mischievous corruption of its genuine doctrines, were the revolutionary notions that began to be entertained of the Kingdom of the Saints, as designed "to smite in pieces and destroy" all subsisting governments, like Daniel's stone," the image," or the four great monarchies that preceded it; which were afterwards carried to such an excess (as we have seen in the foregoing article of the two resurrections) by the Anabaptists of Munster *. This completed the disgrace of the Apocalypse, by the odium which its misinterpretation brought upon the Reformation. This odium was artfully fomented by the advocates of the Church of Rome, in their controversies with the reformed.
To this principally may we attribute the prejudices of Luther himself against it, although it so strongly depictured the abominations of popery, and pointed him out as the third angel of the Reformation, (see Vol. II. page 526.) It was considered, indeed, by several of the reformers, as supporting not merely speculative, but dangerous practical errors. "For the expectation of a kingdom in which pure saints should rule over the unregenerate children of the world, began to excite a spirit of sedition, (as it is very easy for the unruly members of a discontented party to fancy that they themselves are the saints, and their opponents the unregenerate:) and for this very reason, the Augsburg Confession, (Art. XVII. De Reditu Christi ad judicium) condemns the doctrine of the Millennium in express terms." Michaelis IV. p. 542.
4. This prejudice was supported by the objections drawn from the peculiar style of the Apocalypse. Dionysius, Bishop of Alexandria, in A.D. 247, (whom Michaelis evidently follows) took a middle course between the opposite opinions, either that the Apocalypse was written by John the Apostle, or by Cerinthus; he admitted it to be a divinely inspired work, written, perhaps, by some other John; but he contended that it could not be the Apostle, from the difference of the style between this and his genuine writings, the Gospel and Epistles. And his authority had considerable weight with the Greek Fathers after him: though Origen, his much more learned preceptor, ad
* In addition to the foregoing references, the curious may see their doctrines and practices stated by the judicious Hooker, Preface, p. 47-49, in an excellent abridgment of Guy de Bres, contre l'erreur des Anabaptistes.
mitted the authenticity of the book, notwithstanding his warm opposition to the doctrine of the Millennium; which is more than a counter-balance to the opinion of Dionysius, Michaelis IV. p. 480–486; especially, if we add " the celebrated names of Jerom and Augustine," who received it after more cautious examination, and appealed, in support of its authenticity, to ancient testimonies, p. 493.
This difference of style is reducible to its alleged solecisms and figurative language, if compared with the simple and more classical style of the Gospel, which Dionysius contended was perfectly pure Greek; going too far on the other side, p. 529,
But these alledged solecisms, or "harsh constructions," are mere Hebraisms, common in the Alexandrine Greek, as we have noticed before, p. 31 of this Volume. Thus aro Inooν Xpισтоν, оμαρTvs ὁ πιστος, Rev. i. 5, in classical language would be του μαρτυρος TOV TITOν, the latter genitive being in apposition to the former, but the given construction is perfectly grammatical, ó wv, being understood before the nominative, "from JESUS CHRIST [who is] the faithful witness." The same construction is found in the Alexandrine Sept. δρασις του ενυπνίου αυτού, 8 αρχιοινοχοος και ο αρχισιτοποιος. "The vision of his dream [who was] the chief buller and the chief baker," Gen. xl. 5, where the Vatican copy alters the nominatives to genitives, according to classical usage, του αρχιοινοχοου, &c. It is also found in the Gospel: ύμεις φωνειτε με, ὁ διδασκαλος, και, ὁ κυριος. "Ye call me THE TEACHER, and THE LORD; and ye say rightly, for I am," John xiii. 13, which, in classical Greek, would be, rov diSaokaλov, in apposition with uɛ, the preceding accusative case ; but like the Alexandrine, ov aç, " thou art," is plainly understood before the nominatives, as remarked in a foregoing note, p. 260 of this Volume.
The figurative language of the Apocalypse is admirably explained by Michaelis himself; and we cannot withhold from the reader the pleasure his remarks must give them, (as they have already given us,) in the words of his excellent translator.
"The language of the Apocalypse is both beautiful and sublime, is affecting and animating; and this, not only in the original, but in every, even the worst translation of it. Who can read, if he reads without prejudice, the following address of JESUS to John, sinking to the ground through fear, and not be