Слике страница
[ocr errors]

matter of mucb niceness, about which very few are able to judge, and about which even the learned are not agreed, we have not much insisted upon it; nor did Dionysius enlarge, or enter into, particulars here. As for the first, several things bave been alleged by way of answer to it; but whether that answer be full and complete, inay be

questioned. As for the second objection, several things also have been observed sufficient to weaken, if not to confute and overthrow it. With regard to the fourth objection, it has been observed, that the subject matter and design of the Revelation being very different from those of the acknowledged pieces of the evangelist John, that must needs occasion some considerable difference in sentiment and expression; but that the difference is not so great as represented by Dionysius. Nevertheless, I am of opinion, that this difficulty has not been quite removed: and I must acknowledge, that the Revelation, when compared with the apostle's unques. tioned writings, has an unlikeness not easy to be accounted for.

Dionysius's own opinion is, that the Revelation was written by some holy and inspired person named Jobn; but who that John was he does not know; he might be John

; the elder, said to have resided for some time at Ephesus in Asia ; but the reasons before inentioned satisfied Dionysius he could not be John the apostle. Of this judgment of our author we have lately spoken ; and have now nothing more to add, beside the two following general remarks.

First, If the writer of the Revelation be supposed not an apostle, then this book is greatly degraded, its authority is lessened, and it can no longer be reputed canonical. Doubtless, Dionysius knew what he was about; he did not take all these pains to show that the Revelation was not written by an apostle for no end and purpose. If the book of the Revelation was not the writing of an apostle, but of some other John, who at the most was only an elder, or a prophet, its authority would be diminished; the Millenarians themselves, if they could be persuaded to come into this opinion, would not have retained the same value for it they had formerly, nor would they be quite so diligent in the study of it; nor would their adversaries, the Allegorists, pay so great a regard to any arguments or particular opinions founded upon it. In one word, then, this book would be no longer a part of the rule of faith and practice to christian people.

Learned men therefore are in the right, to produce every thing tending to justify and support the common opinion

[ocr errors]


concerning the writer of this book, and to observe all evidences internal and external of its being the work of Jobn the apostle.

Secondly, as I said before, It may be questioned whether this critique of Dionysius, or any other critique whatever, can be sufficient to create a doubt concerning the author of this book; which was owned for a writing of John the apostle and evangelist by many ancient writers before Dionysius, and before Caius, and, so far as we know, before the inost early of those who disputed its genuineness. This observation is agreeable to the judgments of several very eminent inen, Grotius, Flacius Illyricus, and Socinus; whose words, in part at least, have been alleged by Mr. Simon in a like argument, and cannot be omitted in this work. It is likewise agreeable to the sentiment of u Stephen Le Moyne, "Mill, and other learned men, whose words need not to be transcribed at present. XVII. Dionysius then received, as sacred and divine

, scriptures, the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John; the Acts of the Apostles, the epistles of Paul, and particularly the epistle to the Hebrews, as a writing of that

P See p. 698.

9 Apostoli Johannis esse hunc librum credidere illi, quibus merito creditur, Justinus contra Tryphonem, Irenæus, Tertullianus adversus Marcionem iv. et aliis multis in locis; quibus consentiunt Clemens Alexandrinus, Origenes, Cyprianus, et post eos alii multi. Grot. Annot. in Tit. Apocal.

"Si iis habeatur fides patribus, qui proprius ad hoc accesserunt seculum, uti certe æquissimum est, quales sunt Justinus, Tertullianus, Irenæus, Apollonius Theophilus, Antiochenus-affirmari poterit eam ut Johannis apostoli illo primo seculo habitam. Cur enim tam certo Johannis apostoli esse confirmarent, si dubias de eâ extitisse sententias antecessorum cognovissent ? Flac. Illyr. Arg. in Apoc.

• Non videtur propter parvam aliquam, aut etiam magnam dissimilitudinem rationis scribendi in universum ac styli ab aliis ejusdem Johannis scriptis longe diversi ris debere aut posse dubitari, quin ejus sit opus, maxime cum simul adsint tot alia testimonia. Socin. Lect. Sacr. p. 306. Quocirca non videtur, propter parvam, aut etiam magnam dissimilitudinem rationis scribendi in universum, ac styli ab aliis ejusdem Johannis scriptis longe diversi generis, (quæ omnium fortasse rationum potissima est, quæ afferuntur ad probandum scriptum illud non esse ipsius,) debere aut posse dubitari quin ejus sit opus. Id. De Auct. Sacr. Scrip. cap 1. n. ii. p. 269.

i Hist. Crit. du Texte du N. T. c. 19.

u Quod mirum, cum reverà aliter senserint viri et antiquitate et meritis gravissimi ante Dionysiuin. Sic enim Justinus Martyr, exeunte seculo secundo. Sic labente et fere lapso eodem seculo Theophilus Antiochenus, Clem. Alexandrinus, et Irenæus. Sic ineunte seculo tertio Origenes. Sic adulto eodem seculo Melito Sardensis episcopus. Qui omnes, Dionysio Alexandrino priores, et superiores, et ætati Johannis apostoli viciniores et propiores, illi Apocalypsim constanter tribuerunt. Sic etiam Hippolytus noster, qui annis etiam plurimis ætatem Dionysii superavit. Le Moyne, Var. Sacr. T. ii. p. 1014. v Mill. Prol. n. 227-229. VOL. II.

3 A

apostle. Concerning the seven catholic epistles, we do not certainly know his judgment; but he has inentioned expressly and often the three epistles of the apostle Johụ; the first as unquestionably genuine and received by all, the other two as well known. And it may be justly taken for granted that he received the first epistle of the apostle Peter, it having been all along universally received by catholic christians. As for the rest we can say nothing positively of bis opinion about them. The Revelation be allowed to be the work of John, a boly and divinely inspired person; but he was not satisfied that it was written by John the son of Zebedee, apostle and evangelist. However, in his argument concerning that book, he lets us know that it was then generally received by christians as written by John the apostle. In Dionysius we have seen, likewise, evidences of that peculiar respect showed by christians to the sacred scriptures: which they looked upon as the rule of judginent in things of religion, by which all points in controversy were to be decided. And what those scriptures were, he shows by these general titles and divisions of them : • The Law and the Prophets, the Gospels and Epistles of Apostles.' Nor have we perceived, in the remaining works and fragments of this great and learned bishop of Alexandria, any marks of respect for any christian apocryphal writings.



« ПретходнаНастави »