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A CONCISE REVIEW
OF THE EVIDENCE FOR THE AUTHENTICITY AND DIVINE
The Apocalypse ;
A VINDICATION OF IT FROM THE OBJECTIONS OF THE LATE
PROFESSOR J. D. MICHAELIS
I have already mentioned, that this work was undertaken at the suggestion of the Bishop of Durham, and that his lordship had kindly consented to give some directions as to the best mode of conducting it. Among these was a proposal, “ that a concise abridgement of the preliminary Dissertation should precede the annotations; more especially, as it successfully controverts the opinions of Michaelis, whose work is generally recommended to young students, and carries with it a high authority.
Michaelis's Introduction to the New Testament first appeared in the English language under the translation of a distinguished critic and divine,' who had accompanied one half of it with valuable notes, correcting the errors of his author; but the remainder, containing in its last chapter an elaborate attack on the scriptural authenticity of the Apocalypse, had not yet received the benefit of any such comment.
The character of the German Professor for deep learning and acute criticism was such, as to justify an alarm, that his objections to the Apocalypse, if unrefuted, would obtain an extensive influence.
Herbert Marsh, B.D., now Lord Bishop of Peterborough, and Margaret Professor of Divinity in the University of Cambridge,
The refutation of them appeared to me important; and as I felt, that my long engagement in apocalyptic studies had in some degree prepared me for the undertaking, I turned my thoughts to the subject. I did not however hope to dispose of the question altogether, but only to afford a temporary check to the progress of these German opinions in this country, until the learned editor should resume his notes, and, as I confidently expected, set the matter to rest. Under these impressions I addressed a series of letters to Mr. Marsh, suggesting such arguments as had occurred to me, and expressing a hope that he would complete his notes and observations, and more especially that he would employ his superior talents and advantages on the misconceptions of his author, with respect to the Apocalypse.
These letters were published anonymously; but in a short time I was gratified by receiving, through my publisher, the following message addressed by Mr. Marsh to the unknown writer :-" that he had read the pamphlet with very great pleasure, and that in his opinion the author had performed his task so well, that it would be unnecessary for him to attempt any thing further.”
Thus encouraged, I determined to correct and enlarge what I had written, and in the form of a Dissertation, to prefix it to my commentary.
I will now proceed to offer to my readers an abstract of it; and should any of them be inclined to
After the appearance of my book, Mr. Marsh was pleased to send me a very obliging letter, which he concluded with these words :-" The friendly and flattering invitation which you gave me in the first letter of your pamphlet, it is even unnecessary for me to accept, after what you yourself have done on the same subject."
About the same time I was favoured by a letter from another professor of divinity at Cambridge, the late eminent Dr. Watson. Lord Bishop of Llandaff. Speaking in particular of the Disserta
see the arguments more largely developed, and to exercise his critical powers more fully on this question, he must be referred to the Dissertation.
The evidence to be examined divides itself into two parts, the external and the internal. The external is that which is derived from credible witnesses, from the early writers and fathers of the Church. The internal is that which results from a perusal of the book.
I. OF THE EXTERNAL EVIDENCE.
The evidence external, for the authenticity and divine inspiration of the Apocalypse, is to be collected from the testimonies of those ancient writers, who, living at a period at no great distance from the time of its publication, appear, by their affirmations, quotations, or allusions, to have received it as a book of sacred scripture. This was the test by which the primitive Church was accustomed to determine the claims of all writings pretending to divine authority. All such were rejected, which appeared not to have been received by the Orthodox Christians of the preceding ages.'
But to enable us to judge of the force of this evi
tion, he thus writes:-" The testimonies of Justin and Irenæus I have for many years considered as very much to be relied on respecting the author of the Apocalypse, from their having lived so near the time in which it was written ; and your work has not only confirmed me in my opinion, but probably laid the question at test."
The opinions of these superior judges are inserted in order to in cline the student to give a more decided attention to this part of the work; and thus to place himself upon his guard against any false notions, concerning the claims of the Apocalypse to a divine
Eusebius, Hist. Eccles. lib. iii. c. 3.