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3. The third objection is, that “ the Revelation does not mention the Catholic Epistle, nor the Catholic Epistle the Revelation."
This objection Lardner has pronounced to be “ of little moment." Michaelis seems to have thought so, for he has not noted it. If the reader should think that there is any weight in it, he must be referred to the answer given by Lardner.
4. Fourthly, it is objected, 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."
This is the most formidable objection that has been produced. The answers given to it either deny the fact, or maintain that the difference is to be accounted for in the difference of style
which belongs to a prophetical work.
These answers take only a general view of the question. In my Dissertation I felt it necessary to enter more particularly into it. I there remarked, that the sentiments, the notions, and images presented in the book, are, in very few passages, those of the writer, (such, I mean, as had been formed and digested in, and thus arose out of his own mind,) but of that holy Spirit, or of those heavenly inhabitants, who expressed them to him by symbols, or declared them in speech. The pen of St. John merely narrates, and frequently in the very words of the heavenly minister. “That which he sees and hears" he writes, as he is commanded to do, (ch. i. 19,), but they are not his own ideas from which he writes; he relates simply, and, with little or no comment, the heavenly visions he had beheld, or the words which he had heard. Even in those parts of the book, where we should expect to meet with the original sentiments of the writer, we perceive his mind teeming (as indeed was natural) with the newly-acquired images. He uses such at the very outset of the work, even in his epistolary address, which is full of those images which had been exhibited to him in the visions. The same thing occurs again at the close of his book; and indeed, it is difficult to find many passages wherein the writer has recourse to his own sentiments, and previous store of imagery.
tenderly affecting his Christian flock, then suffering persecution“ a brother and companion in tribulation.” So St. James, although an acknowledged apostle, mentions himself only “a servant of God, and of the Lord Jesus Christ.” (James i. 1.)
i l'ol. iv. p. 707.
The whole of the second and third chapters, and a great part of the first, is delivered in our Lord's own words, and contains his sentiments, his doctrines, not those of the writer, who is commanded to write down the words of the great Visitor of the Churches. We have indeed other words of our Lord, written by St. John in his Gospel, with which it may be thought that these words in the Apocalypse may be properly compared. But it must be remembered, that the character and office which our Lord is seen to assume in the Apocalypse, is very different from that which he had borne in the Gospel. He is now no longer the “Son of Man" upon earth, the condescending companion and instructor of his disciples, but the glorified King of Heaven, the omniscient Visitor of his Church, the omnipotent Judge of the world.'
of the world. And in the remaining 1 We are to expect this difference of character and appearance, if we advert to similar circumstances exhibited in the Gospels. After our Lord's resurrection, his appearance before his disciples was accompanied with so superior a sublimity in look and manner, that they could not immediately acknowledge him. See the last chapter of St. Luke, and the two last of St. John.
parts of the book, what does the writer present to us ? Not his own thoughts and conceptions, but “ the things which shall be hereafter,” the symbols and figurative resemblances of future events; and when he uses explanation, it is in the words of his heavenly conductors.
If any passage can be pointed out, wherein he forsakes his apocalyptic ideas, and reassumes his own, it may perhaps be ch. i. verse 7.; and it is remarkable that he is here led to quote from Zech. xii. 10, and in the very manner which has been observed by the critics to be peculiar to St. John. Michaelis has noted these peculiar circumstances, and allowed to them considerable weight;? but he was not awarė, that this is one of
passages which can properly be compared with the former writings of St. John, so as to deduce evidence of the authenticity of the work.
But although, from the reasons now assigned, we may think it improper to look for any nice resemblance in sentiments and ideas, between the Apocalypse
and other writings of St. John, yet some similarity in the mode and character of narration, may perhaps be reasonably expected; and this will be seen in the plain, unadorned simplicity with which the Apocalypse is written.
There is at the same time a difference, which seems to consist chiefly in that circumstance which Jortin has pointed out, that “the Apocalypse, like the Septuagint, follows the Hebrew phraseology, using copulatives continually; whereas the Gospel, instead of kar, uses de, or sv, or is written aovvdetws." But some passages in the Gospel may be seen, where the copulative kar is used almost as profusely
1 P. 535. Note.
Discourse on the Christian Religion.
και ειπεν ο Οφις, και, &c.
as in the Apocalypse. They are those wherein the mind of the writer appears charged with surprising ideas, following each other in rapid succession; and, as he pours them forth, he couples them together with the conjunction. In the fifth chapter of his Gospel, this Evangelist describes a poor cripple, who for thirty-eight years had been in vain expecting a cure from the waters of Bethesda. The circumstances are related calmly, without any extraordinary use of the copulative kai, till we come to verse the ninth ; when the cure having been pronounced by our Lord, the surprising events follow in rapid succession, and the copulative is employed incessantly. Και ευθεως εγενετο υγιης και Ανθρωπος, και ηρε τον κραββατον αυτε, και περιπατει. Thus also at the raising of Lazarus, all proceeds calmly, and without the copulatives, until the great event; but this is narrated (ver. 44.) with kae repeatedly.
If this be admitted, it may serve to show, that this copulative style, being the language used by St. John when wonderful scenes are related by him, we ought rather to expect it in the Apocalypse, where every scene is full of wonder and amazement.
We have no information from the ancients, in what language the Apocalypse was originally written. It might be, as St. Matthew's Gospel is said to be, in Hebrew. Certainly the divine Saviour, when he appeared to St. Paul at his conversion, spoke to him in “ the Hebrew tongue.”! And he, and the angels after him, may have used the same language to St. John; and this, translated into Greek, with the literal care required for such purpose, would produce the very kind of Greek which we now read in the Apocalypse.
These observations may be considered as entitled to but little weight. But let us advert to the objec
1 Acts xxvi. 14.
tions themselves : of what weight and authority are they? They consist only of doubts, which sprang up one hundred and fifty years after the Apocalypse had been published; during all which time it was universally received by the Church as the work of the apostle John. The fathers who had personal access to this apostle upon his return to Ephesus, and those who followed them in succession, had the most undeniable means of settling this question. They were satisfied; and on such a point, it is in vain for the writers of the third century to urge their doubts, and for the German sceptics of our times to renew them.
5. The same general answer may be given to the fifth objection, “That the Gospel of St. John is elegant Greek, but that the Apocalypse abounds with barbarisms and solecisms.” And in particular it may be observed, that the attention of modern critics has tended greatly to lessen the force of what is here advanced. For such irregularities of grammar, as are here objected against the Apocalypse, are observed also in the Septuagint, and in other books of the New Testament. To vindicate them is unnecessary. The Holy Scriptures must be allowed to speak a language of their own,“ not with the enticing words of man's wisdom.”? They use for the most part an Asiatic Greek, plentifully mixed with Hebraisms. A pure Attic phraseology would not give them greater credibility; for in these days we should not admit the plea of Mahomet, and conclude them divine, because elegantly composed. Many of the expressions, which, upon this ground,
1 See Michaelis, p. 530. And Blackwall, in his Sacred Classics, where attempting to vindicate St. John from this charge, in his Gospels and Epistles he has been obliged to examine above forty passages, in some of which only he has been successful.
2 1 Cor. ii. 4.