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And perhaps Dionysius's collection of this kind might be enlarged; for the verb pevw, " abide,” or “ dwell,” is very
, common in St. John's gospel y and first epistle, but scarce occurs at all in the Revelation, except one place, ch. xvii. 10, which I suppose does not deserve particular notice here. Moreover, as Mr. Blackwall says, St. John often
takes one thing two ways, both in the affirmative and nega• tive; 1 Joh. v. 12, “He that hath the Son, hath life ; and • be that bath not the Son, hath not life.' This is the only example alleged by Mr. Blackwall; but he says St. Jobin does so often; and it is certain there are several such instances in his a first and a second epistle, and others in bis gospel. Thus, of John the Baptist he writes ; (Joh. i. 20 ;) "And he confessed, and denied not, but confessed, I am not the Christ.” And our Lord says to Thomas, (chap. xx. 27, ) “ And be not faithless, but believing ;" but I do not remember such forms of speaking in the Revelation.
It may be also said to the advantage of Dionysius, that bis critique does not consist of minute particulars, but of such things as are very considerable, and inust hold, I think, as proofs of a great agreement of sentiments and expressions between St. John's gospel and first epistle, and of a remarkable difference of the Revelation, and the unquestioned writings of the evangelist.
Mr. Blackwall however says, “Theb Revelation is written much in the same style with St John's gospel and epistles. On the contrary, Joachim Camerarius says, • The difference of the style of the Revelation from that of
the gospel and epistle is manifest, and may be easily, per• ceived by any one who has attained to only a moderate
knowledge of the Greek language.' And he d speaks of these critical remarks of Dionysius in terms of great respect.
Beza, likewise, in his preface to the Revelation, baving answered divers objections to the genuineness of this book, concludes, that he cannot but think it most probable,
y See Sac. Classics, Vol. i. p. 333.
? See 1 John i. 5, 6; iv. 2, 3, 6, 7, 8. a 2 John, ver. 9.
b As before, p. 334. c Sane orationem hujus dissimilem esse ejus, quâ conscripta extat evangelii expositio et epistolæ compositio, evidens est, atque perspicitur facile ab aliquo, qui non etiam peritissimus linguæ Græcæ, sed illius mediocrem saltem notitiam consecutus est studio suo. Joach. Camer. ad Apoc.
d Sed nihil est opus nostra disputatione longiore, cum, ut opinor, ea, quæ debeant et possint dici de hoc libro, exstent commemorata in libro. vii. Historiæ Eusebii, excerpta ex quâdam epistolâ Dionysii Alexandrini. Id. ib.
e Quæ cum ita se habeant, quamvis non censuerim quidem ego pertinacius de scriptoris nomine litigandum, tamen Johanni apostolo potius quam cuiquam ·
• that it was written by John the apostle; but that if a con'jecture was to be made from the style, who else could be
reckoned most likely to be the writer; he should think of • Mark, who was also called John, there being a great re• semblance in words, phrases, and manner of writing, be*tween this book and Mark's gospel.'
And this I suppose to be the more general opinion of learned men, that there is a considerable difference of sentiments, and words, and manner, in the Revelation and the acknowledged pieces of the apostle John, whatever this difference is owing to; whether it be that these writings are not all the compositions of one and the same author; or that it is entirely owing to the diversity of subject and design, which was mentioned f formerly, or to some other cause. I shall, however, mention another thing to be considered. If there were any reason to think that there was some considerable distance of time between the composing of any of these books, that might be one good way of accounting for differences of style: for it is not unlikely that one and the same person, writing upon different arguments, and at a great distance of time, especially if he be one who does not frequently exercise his style, or write in the intermediate space, should have a very different manner in his several performances.
Thus far then of the argument concerning difference of sentiment and expression.
5. Dionysius's last objection is founded upon the diction or language of the Revelation : for he says that the gospel and epistle of John are written correctly, and not only according to the propriety of the Greek tongue, but with elegance of phrase, argument, and composition ; quite free from barbarism and solecism, and even idiotism of language: but the writer of the Revelation discovers no accurate skill in the Greek tongue; on the contrary, he has barbarisms, and some solecisms.
In answer to this, several things bave been said by learned men of late times ; for Mills allows that there are solecisms in the Revelation. It is a thing, he says, too manifest to be denied; but then, as he adds, the other writers of the New Testament are not free from the like defects: no, not John
alii hunc librum tribuerim.--Quod si quid aliud liceret ex stylo conjicere, nemini certe potius quam Marco tribuerim, qui et ipse Johannes dictus est : adeo non in verbis tantum, sed etiam in formulis dicendi plerisque similis, ac pene idem est evangelii Marci et hujus libri character. Bez. Pr. in Apoc. 710.
8 Et certe Apocalypten subinde minus Græce scribere, etiam et oulouki selv, notius est quam ut negari possit. Proleg. n. 179.
the evangelist, the purity and elegance of whose language is so commended by Dionysius. Mr. Twells'sh answer here is to the like purpose. We do not pretend,' he says, ' to * assert that the language of the Revelation is pure Greek.' But he is persuaded that it is now much worse than when Dionysius passed his censure upon it: nay, he supposeth that there were not half the solecisms in the copies of Dionysius's times that now occur in the printed copies; and that our printed copies abound with solecisms. But then, as the Greek of the Revelation was always far from being pure, so Dionysius has beyond measure extolled that of St. John's gospel and canonical epistle, which has its faults likewise.
So write those two learned men. But Mr. i Blackwall blames Dr. Mill for striking in so far with Dionysius as to allow there is false Greek and solecisms in the Revelation; and he offers solutions of several constructions in that book which have been supposed ungrammatical ; and Mr. Wolff, in a note k upon bis Latin translation of this part of Mr. Twells's work, gives a caution against receiving that supposition, that there are solecisms in the Revelation.
Thus critics are divided upon points of this nature. I think, therefore, we may set aside this part of the argument until they are better agreed among themselves.
Before that is done it seems needless to inquire after the reasons of the imperfections of the language of the Revelation, or to examine those reasons which have been assigned. However, to observe somewhat briefly relating to this matter may not be amiss. Mr. Twells' says, “That if this book • be found to have rather more of these imperfections than • St. John's other writings, two causes may be assigned for • it. First, that being of the prophetical sort, the Holy • Ghost thought it most congruous to use the same forms of
speech as the prophets of the Old Testament do, which • occasions more Hebraisms in it. Secondly, as prophetic language is generally least cultivated in point of beauty and perspicuity, so we are not to wonder if the same neg• ligence should appear in the grammar of it. A writer, big • with the mysteries he relates, may well be supposed less • attentive to diction, than when he draws up a history or an epistle.' So Mr. Twells. • As for the language of the
h As before, p. 113, 114, 115.
See Sacred Classics, Vol. i. p. 140—142. k Cave, heic Twelsii judicium probes. Omnem enim solæcismorum suspicionem ab illis, qui illorum postulantur, locis alienam esse infra ex notis apparebit. Wolf. Cur. T. iv. p. 417.
As before, p. 115, 116.
• Revelation,' says
Tillemont, • beside other reasons that • might be alleged, may it not be said, that, being banished • into Patmos, Št. John had not by him the same persons be • had at Ephesus to assist him in the choice of terms and 'expressions ? And possibly, too, the power of the Spirit of • God constrained hiin to write quickly what he had seen, • without concerning himself about purity and elegance of speech, which are of no value in the sight of God.'
I own I have no great opinion of these reasons; but, as before observed, since learned men are not as yet agreed about the fact, there is no iminediate necessity that we should scrupulously examine the supposed causes of it. I therefore pass on.
8. We are now to observe, after all, Dionysius's own opinion of the author of this book.
In his critique upon the Revelation he says, he dares not reject it, and we find that he actually made use of it in his writings. Eusebius informs us, that in a letter to Hermammom, speaking of Valerian and his persecution, Dionysius saitb : • Aud » John had a revelation to this
“ And there was given unto bim,” saith he," a mouth, speaking
a great things, and blasphemies : and power was given unto bim to continue forty and two months.” Rev. xiii. 5. It is wonderful to see both these things in Valerian.' So Dionysius. This passage is a proof that the Revelation was then well known, and in great reputation.
Among these bis critical observations he likewise acknowledgeth this book to be the work of some holy and divinely inspired person ; but, he thinks, not the work of John the apostle the son of Zebedee; but, rather, of some other Jobn who had his chief residence in Asia.
And, certainly, Dionysius is in the right to own, that the writer was a truly good and holy inan. I think the book itself puts that out of question.
Consequently also, he was divinely inspired; for he says he “ was in the spirit;" Rev. i. 10. And the book is declared to be, or contain, (v. 1,)“ the Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to show unto his servants things which must shortly coine to pass ; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John." It is added afterwards, (v. 19,)“ Write the things which thou hast
and the things which shall be hereafter.” Again, (chap. iv. 1,) " I will show thee things wbich must be herem See Mem. Ec. T. i. P. iii. p. 1089. St. Jean l'Evangeliste, note ix.
τω Ιωαννη δε ομοιως αποκαλυπτεται. Και εδoθη γαρ αυτω φησι, σομα. -Αμφοτερα δε εσιν επι Ουαλεριανφθαυμασαι. ap. Euseb. Η. Ε. 1.7.C. 10. init.
after.” It is also calledo a “prophecy.” Now prophecy is not an human attainment, but the gift of God.
Nevertheless, Dionysius thinks it not the writing of the apostle, but of some other John, whom he does not certainly know, but probably of that other John who is said to have bad bis residence in Asia, there being two tombs at Ephesus with that name.
Against this supposition should be observed all the arguments above mentioned relating to the inscription ; that there are many ancient writers who receive the Revelation as the writing of John the apostle and evangelist ; that we have no particular account of any John having been an exile in the isle of Patios about that time except John the apostle, and the writer calling himself John, without any, particular characteristics, gives ground to conclude he is the principal person of that name then living : and it may be judged very unlikely, that the Spirit of God should admonish and reprove the seven churches of Asia by John the elder, (allowing that there was such a person,) whilst John the apostle was living and presided in those parts.
XVI. I suppose I have now paid a due regard to this critique of Dionysius : but before I proceed, I will take a brief review of it, and add two or three remarks.
This whole critique may be said to consist of three parts : objections of some before Dionysius; then his own objections; and, lastly, his own judgment or opinion.
The objections of those before Dionysius I suppose to have been fully answered ; and their opinion, that Cerinthus was the writer of the Revelation, confuted.
But Dionysius's own objections are more material : they are five in number. First, that the evangelist John bas not named himself, neither in his gospel nor in bis catholic epistle, but the writer of the Revelation nameth bimself more than once. Secondly, that though the writer of the Revelation calls himself John, he has not shown us that he is the apostle of that name. Thirdly, that the Revelation does not mention the catholic epistle, nor that epistle the Revelation. Fourthly, that there is a great agreement in sentiment, expression, and manner, between St. John's gospel and epistle ; but the Revelation is quite different in all these respects, without any resemblance or similitude. Fifthly, that the Greek of the gospel and epistle is pure and correct, but that the Revelation has barbarisms and solecisms.
These are Dionysius's objections. The third we have supposed to be of little force. The fifth depending upon a
• See Rev. ch. i. 3; xxii, 7, 10, 18, 19.