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the great diversity which is presented : nay, I fairly own, that taken alone, they are not: and that the difficulty has never yet been thoroughly solved. Still I do not conceive that we are at liberty to cut the knot by denying the Apostolic Authorship, which primitive tradition has so firmly established. Far better is it to investigate patiently, and not, by blind partisanship on either side, to stop the way against unfettered search for a better account of the phænomena than has hitherto been given.
105. It has been shewn more than once, and in our own country by Dr. Davidson in his Introduction, pp. 561 ff., that the roughnesses and solæcisms in the Apocalypse have been, for the purposes of argument, very much exaggerated: that there are hardly any, which may not be paralleled in classical authors themselves, and that their more frequent occurrence here is no more than is due to the peculiar nature of the subject and occasion. This consideration should be borne in mind, and the matter investigated by the student for himself.
106. Our second question asked above was, whether there are any marks of identity of Authorship linking together the Gospel, Epistle, and Apocalypse, notwithstanding this great and evident dissimilarity ?
107. The individual character of the Writer of the Gospel and Epistle stands forth evident and undoubted. We seem to know him in a moment. Even in the report of sayings of our Lord common to him and the other Evangelists, the peculiar tinge of expression, the choice and collocation of words, leave no doubt whose report we are reading. And so strongly does the Epistle resemble the Gospel in these particulars, that the criticism as well as the tradition of all ages has concurred in ascribing the two to the same person.
108. If now we look at the Apocalypse, we cannot for a moment feel that it is less individual, less reflecting the heart and character of its Writer. Its style, its manner of conception and arrangement of thought, its diction, are alike full of life and personal reality. So that our conditions for making this enquiry are favourable. Our two objects of comparison stand out well the one over against the other. Both are peculiar, characteristic, individual. But are the indications presented by them such that we are compelled to infer different authorship, or are they such as seem to point to one and the same person ?
109. The former of these questions has been affirmed by Lücke and the opponents of the Apostolic authorship: the latter by Hengstenberg, and those who uphold it. Let us see how the matter stands. And in so doing (as was the case in the similar enquiry in the Introduction to the Epistle to the Hebrews), I shall not enter fully into the whole list of verbal and constructional peculiarities, but, referring the reader for these to Lücke and Davidson, shall adduce, and dwell upon, some of the more remarkable and suggestive of them.
110. The first of these is one undeniably connecting the Apocalypse with the Gospel and the Epistle, viz. the appellation the Word of God given to our Lord in ch. xix. 13 (see John i. 1; 1 John i. 1). This name, “ the Word,” for our Lord, is found in the New Test., only in the writings of St. John. I am aware of the ingenuity with which Lücke has endeavoured to turn this expression to the contrary account, maintaining that it is a proof of diversity of authorship, inasmuch as the Evangelist never writes “ the Word of God :” but I may leave it to any fair-judging reader to decide, whether it be not a far greater argument for identity that the remarkable designation " the Word” is used, than for diversity that, on the solemn occasion described in the Apocalypse, the hitherto unheard adjunct “ of God” is added.
111. Another reply may be given to our deduction from the use of this name: viz. that it indicates not necessarily John the Apostle, but only one familiar with his teaching, as we may suppose that other John to have been. All I can say to this is, that which I cannot help feeling to apply to the whole hypothesis of the authorship by the second John, that if it be so,-if one bearing the same name as the Apostle, having the same place among the Asiatic churches, put forth a book in which he also used the Apostle's peculiar phrases, and yet took no pains to prevent the confusion which must necessarily arise between himself and the Apostle, I do not well see how the advocates of his authorship can help pronouncing the book a forgery, or at all events the work of one who, in relating the visions, was not unwilling to be taken for his greater and Apostolic namesake.
112. Another link, binding the Apocalypse to both Gospel and Epistle, is the use of "he that overcometh," in the Epistles to the churches, ch. ii. 7, 11, 17, 26, iii. 5, 12, 21 (twice): and ch. xii. 11, xv. 2, xvii. 14, xxi. 7. Compare John xvi. 33; 1 John ii. 13, 14, iv. 4, v. 4 (twice), 5. It is amusing to observe again how dexterously Lücke turns the edge of this. “ He that overcometh” is never used absolutely in Gospel or in Epistle, as it is in the Apocalypse : therefore it again is a mark of diversity, not of identity. But surely this is the very thing we might expect. The “overcoming the world,” “ the wicked one,” “ them,” &c.,—these are the details, and come under notice while the strife is proceeding, or when the object is of more import than the bare act: but when the end is spoken of, and the final and general victory is all that remains in view, nothing can be more natural than that he who alone spoke of “ coming the world,” “the wicked one," " them,”-should also be the only one to designate the victor by " he that overcometh.” Besides which, we have also the other use, in Rev. xii. 11.
113. A third remarkable word, true, in the sense, more or less, of genuine (aléthinos), is once used by St. Luke (Luke xvi. 11), once by St. Paul (1 Thess. i. 9), and three times in the Epistle to the Hebrews
(Heb. viii. 2, ix. 24, x. 22): but nine times in the Gospel of St. John', four times in the Epistle', and ten times in the Apocalypse. Here again, it is true, Lücke adduces this on the other side, alleging that while the Evangelist uses the word only in the sense of genuine" the true God,” “ the true light,” “the true bread,”—the Author of the Apocalypse uses it of Christ as a synonym with "faithful,” righteous," “ holy," and as a predicate of the “ words," “ judgments," " ways" of God. This latter is true enough; but the former assertion is singularly untrue. For in four out of the nine places in the Gospel, the subjective sense of the word must be taken : viz, in iv. 27, vii. 28, viï. 16, xix. 35 : and in the last of these," his testimony is true," the word is used exactly as in Rev. xxii. 6, “these sayings are faithful and true.”
114. The word lamb (literally, little lamb), which designates our Lord 29 times in the Apocalypse, only elsewhere occurs in John xxi. 15, not with reference to Him. But it is remarkable that John i. 29, 36 are the only places where he is called by the name of a lamb, another Greek word being used, in reference doubtless to Isa. liii. 7 (Acts viii. 32), as in one other place where He is compared to a lamb, 1 Pet. i. 19. The Apocalyptic writer, as Lücke observes, probably chooses the diminutive, and attaches to it the epithet “slain,” for the purpose of contrast to the majesty and power which he has also to predicate of Christ : but is it not to be taken into account, that this personal name, the Lamb, whether in one form or the other, whether with or without the adjunct “of God," is common only to the two books ?
115. To these many minor examples might be added, and will be found treated at length in Lücke, p. 669 ff., Davidson, p.561 ff. The latter writer has succeeded in many cases in shewing the unfairness of Lücke's strong partisanship, by which he makes every similarity into a dissimilarity: but on the other hand he on his side has gone perhaps too far in attempting to answer every objection of this kind. After all, while there certainly are weighty indications of identity of authorship, there is also a residuum of phænomena of diversity quite enough for the reasonable support of the contrary hypothesis. If the book stood alone in the
1 John i. 9, iv. 23, 37, vi. 32, vii. 28, viii. 16, xv. 1, xvii. 3, xix. 35.
* I have observed the following which I have not seen elsewhere noticed, occurring only in the three books, or only in the peculiar sense :1. “Ye cannot bear them yet,” John xvi. 12. “ Thou canst not bear wicked men,” Rev. ii. 2.
Weary from his journey,” Joliu iv. 6. “ Thou hast not (literally) grown weary,” Rev. ii. 3. 3. “ Two angels in white,” John xx. 12.
“ They shall walk with me in white," Rev. iii. 4. 4. Compare Rev. iii. 18 with 1 John ii. 20, 27, as to the anointing and its effects.
matter of evidence, I own I should be quite at a loss how to substantiate identity of authorship between it and the Gospel and Epistle. But as it is, our main reliance is on the concurrent testimony of primitive tradition, which hardly can be stronger than it is, and which the perfectly gratuitous hypothesis respecting a second John as the author entirely fails to shake.
116. Our question respecting the internal evidence furnished by the book itself is thus in a position entirely different from that which it occupied in the Introduction to the Epistle to the Hebrews. There, we had no primitive tradition so general, or of such authority as to command our assent. The question was perfectly open. The authorship by St. Paul was an opinion at first tentatively and partially held: then as time wore on, acquiring consistency and acceptance. Judging of this by the book itself, is it for us to accept or to reject it? In lack of any worthy external evidence, we were thrown back on this as our main material for a judgment.
117. But with regard to the Apocalypse, external and internal evidence have changed places. The former is now the main material for our judgment. It is of the highest and most satisfactory kind. It was unanimous in very early times. It came from those who knew and had heard St. John himself. It only begins to be impugned by those who had doctrinal objections to the book. The doubt was taken up by more reasonable men on internal and critical grounds. But no real substantive counter-claimant was ever produced : only one whose very
existence depended on the report of two tombs bearing the name of John, and on a not very perspicuous passage of Papias.
118. This being so, our enquiry neeessarily has taken this shape :--I8 the book itself inconsistent with this apparently irrefragable testimony ? And in replying to it, we have confessed that the differences between it and the Gospel and Epistle are very remarkable, and of a character hitherto unexplained, or not fully accounted for : but that there are at the same time striking notes of similarity in expression and cast of thought: and that perbaps we are not in a position to take into account the effect of a totally different subject and totally different circumstances upon one, who though knowing and speaking Greek, was yet a Hebrew by birth.
119. Thus, all things considered, being it is true far from satisfied with any account at present given of the peculiar style and phænomena of the Apocalypse, but being far less satisfied with the procedure of the antagonists of the Apostolic authorship, we are not prepared to withhold our assent from the firm and unshaken testimony of primitive tradition, that the author was the Apostle and Evangelist St. John.
PLACE AND TIME OF WRITING.
1. The enquiry as to the former of these is narrowed within a very small space. From the notice contained in the book itself (ch. i. 9) the writing must have taken place either in Patinos, or after the return from exile. The past tenses,“ bore witness" in ch.i. 2, and “ I was " in i, 9, do not decide for the latter alternative; they may both be used as from the point of time when the book should be read, as is common in all narratives. On the other hand, it would be more probable, jadging from without, that the writing should take place after the return, especially if we are to credit the account given by Victorinus, that St. John was condemned to the mines in Patmos. We have no means of determining the question, and must leave it in doubt. If the style and peculiarities are to be in any degree attributed to outward circumstances, then it would seem to have been written in solitude, and sent from Patmos to the Asiatic churches.
2. The only traditional notice worth recounting is that given by Victorinus (cent. iv.): on Rev. x. 11: where he relates that John saw the Apocalypse in Patmos, and then after his release on the death of Domitian, “afterwards delivered down the same Apocalypse which he had received from the Lord.” Arethas indeed (cent. x.) says on Rev. vii., “The Evangelist prophesied this in Ionia which is by Ephesus :" but this is too late to be of any account in the matter.
3. It has been remarked", that the circumstance of John having prepared to write down the voices of the seven thunders, Rev. x. 4, appears to sanction the view that the writing took place at the same time with the seeing of the visions.
4. As regards Patmos itself, it is one of the group called the Sporades, to the S. of Samos. It is about thirty Roman miles in circumference. A cave is still shewn in the island (now Patmo) where St. John is said to have seen the Apocalypse. See the Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography
5. With regard however to the time of writing, there has been no small controversy. And at this we need not be surprised, seeing that principles of interpretation are involved. We will first deal with ancient tradition, as far as it gives us any
indi. cation as to the date.
6. Irenæus, in a passage already cited (§ i. par. 7), tells us that the Apocalypse “ was seen close upon our own generation, at the end of the reign of Domitian."
s Stuart, p. 215.