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harmony, whose smile is life,
whose will is law, and whose law
is love, is coming! And murder
and oppression, and superstition
and ignorance, shall die at his
feet—his throne shall be established
in righteousness, and his people
shall dwell in peace—man shall be
restored to his right position in
the world; the world to its right
: position in the universe; and the
illimitable universe shall break
forth into joy and praise over a
world that was lost but is found!
'• O Thou, who art the joy of the
; universe, the Saviour of the lost,
: whose right it is to reign, come,
: wear thy many crowns! Thy
< saints are waiting for thy coming! 'The earth groans for thy coming!
< Hell is moved at thy coming!
< Heaven is silent for thy coming!
< < Come Lord Jesus, come quickly!'"
Thus concludes this eminently gifted man, whose words I have quoted. Brethren, let us not lose the season, but with a spirit suiting the solemnity and urgency of the times in which we live, let us gird ourselves to work the work of him that hath called us while day holds out; knowing this, that the shadows of evening are spreading themselves—that "the night is far spent, and the day is at hand."
REVIEW OF BOOKS, &c.
(4) Dissertations introductory to the study and right understanding of the language, structure and contents of the Apocalypse. By Alexander Tilloch, L. L. D. $c. %c. be
8vo. pp. 380. 12s. London, Longman & Co. 1823.
We have perused the above work with considerable pleasure, and regret that it is so little known by students of prophecy, and we may say by students of divinity in general. Our satisfaction does not arise from any decided conviction of the correctness of all those views which the Author specially advocates; (for we have difficulties, not to say objections, in the wray of the reception of some points, which we shall presently bring forward ;) but because the Dissertations contain many valuable remarks, which are well worthy of serious consideration.
The principal objects of the Treatise are to investigate the verbal language and the structure of the Apocalypse; previous to which, as an important preliminary measure, particular inquiry is instituted as to its date. As these are points well deserving the attention of all, who would enter upon a thorough examination of that wonderful prophecy, we propose to bring them briefly before the Reader.
I. First, as to the Date. The opinion which has been most commonly received by later writers is, that this prophecy was not delivered to St. John, until the reign of Domitian, about A. D. 95.
This opinion chiefly rests for its foundation on the testimony of Irenseus, (one of the earliest of the Fathers whose works are extant,) who mentions John being banished to Patmos in the reign of Domitian; whilst there is evidence in the Apocalypse itself, (chap, i, 9,) that the Apostle certainly was in Patmos at the time when the prophecy was revealed to him. If the Reader has perused the ** Observations on the Apocalypse" by Sir Isaac Newton, published in the Investigator for December last, he will probably have remarked, that Sir Isaac is disposed to assign to it an earlier date; and it is his ground which our Author takes up and pursues.
To our own minds, before we had read Newton's Works, there was always a difficulty in that well-known expression in 1 Cor. xv, 52 ;—" The last trump." With its supposed parallel in 1 Thess. iv, 16, "The trump of God," we experience no difficulty; but the word 'last/ in the former passage, apparently implies a relationship to some seizes of trumpets, or blasts, of which this is to be the final one; and no such series can we find to be the subject of prophecy, except the seven trumpets blown by the Apocalyptic angels, the last of which ushers in the consummation of the present dispensation. But our mind has always been prevented from resting in the notion of there being any direct reference to it, by the facts already stated; viz. the testimony of Irena?us, and the circumstance that John certainly was in Patmos when he wrote this Book. This has compelled us to conclude, that the Book is necessarily of so late a date, as to render quite impossible any reference to it in the Epistles of St. Paul.
To obviate this difficulty, Bachmair has supposed, that, as the previous name of Nero was Domitius, Irenseus originally wrote it so; and that transcribers have made it Domitkwus. But our Author brings forward a bolder hypothesis.
Supposing that John were really banished to Patmos so late as the time of Domitian; he insists it does not follow, that he had never been in Patmos before: and as the Author concludes, that he has indubitable evidence, that the Revelation must have been written before this period; so he infers that John must have previously visited the island on some voluntary mission.
We cannot say this carries conviction to our minds. For though Rev. i, 9, is not altogether conclusive; yet does John's statement, "that he is a brother and companion 'in tribulation, and in the kingdom 'and patience of Christ;"—that he was also in the isle of Patmos "for 'the word of God and for the testi'mony of Jesus Christ;"—more decisively, in our judgement, coincide with the opinion, that he was at that time suffering punishment for his testimony for the Lord. Besides which, Irenseus in his fifth book against heresies, says that John saw his vision of the Revelation almost in his, Irenseus's, time; which greatly makes against the supposition of Bachmair, that Irenseus wrote Domitius and not Domitianus.
A plausible argument of which the Author avails himself is derived from the fact, that Eusebius relates, out of Clemens Alexandrinus, the well-known anecdote of John, on his return from Patmos, committing a hopeful disciple of his to the care of a certain bishop; which disciple, in process of time, became captain of a band of robbers, and was reclaimed b}r John a long while after. "This is a story (he says) of many years: but between the death of Domitian and that of John, there were but two years and a half."
"In bis latter years too, John was so very weak and infirm that with difficulty he could be carried to Church, where he could hardly speak a few words to the people. The inference seems obvious. His return from Patmos (after which the circumstances related, respecting the young man, are stated to have happened) must be referred to some earlier period than the reign of Domitian. For John died near 100 years old, and it seems physically impossible that, in his latter years, he could have mounted a horse and rode briskly after a young robber; even were we to suppose that he survived Domitian for a period long enough to have allowed these events to intervene before his own death."
The circumstance brought forward by our Author, that in the Syriac version of the Apocalypse the title of it runs thus—" The Iie'velation which was made to John 'the Evangelist by God in the island 'of Patmos, into which he was ban* ished by Nero the Caesar"—is far more persuasive with us towards assigning it an earlier date: for the Syriac version must at least have existed in the time of Ephraim the Syrian; (say A. D. 370 ;) for he quotes it.
In noticing the objections urged to an early date, the Author reviews the substance of ecclesiastical tradition on this point, and the arguments which have been drawn from the supposed state of the Asiatic Churches. He argues, that there were but seven Churches, in existence in Asia, when the Epistles to the seven Churches were sent; and that as Colosse is not enumerated, the Book must at least have been written prior to the founding of that Church. He presses this point from the ordinary construction and usage of the Greek; insisting that rate Stttci eKKXrjaicug TAIS EN TH ASIA, must include all the Churches in Asia at that time.
Having disposed of objections, he next proceeds to examine the internal evidence of the Epistles for direct proof, that the Apocalypse must be of a date anterior to most of them; and after noticing the apparent coincidence between passages, pointed
out by Sir Isaac Newton in the Epistle to the Hebrews and in the general Epistle of Peter, he insists, that the view which Sir Isaac advances as a probable conjecture, may be confirmed by indubitable evidence.
We select from his observations on the Epistle to the Hebrews one which to us appears the most weighty:
"In Hebrews xi, 10, it is said, that Abraham "looked for a city which hath foundations." But the Greek runs thus: 'For he expected rijv rovg Qe^tXiovg sy^ovaav rroXiv—Cecity having ^efoundations,'—exhibiting the article both before 'city' and ' foundations ;' which the writer could not possibly have done had not * the city having the foundations' been a subject familiar to those to whom he was writing."
Of this passage he afterwards says, that the inquiry he would institute concerning it is not, why the community of believers after the judgment shall (according to Macknight) be called "a city which hath foundations;" but why it is here called "the city having the foundations." In the Prophets he conceives there is no passage to be found from which the mode of expression there employed could have been derived: (unless it be Isaiah liv, 11, 12 :) and that it had a prototype will be admitted, he conceives, by all who are acquainted with the laws which regulate the use of the Greek article.
Having quoted Sir Isaac Newton's remarks on the Epistle of Peter; (See pp. 240—24 6 of his " Observations," &c.) and which Sir Isaac considered obscure allusions; our Author says, that to him they appear far otherwise: and indeed he seems to rest the main strength of his hypothesis on these portions of Scripture. We must first present some extracts to the Reader. Having noticed verses 3—5, of chap, i, of the first Epistle, which verses terminate with the words—" ready to be revealed in the last time,"—he says:
"The sixth and seventh verses are thus rendered in the common version:
* wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now 'for a season (if need be) ye are in 'heaviness through manifold temptations;
* that the trial of your faith, being much 'more precious than of gold which 'perisheth, though it be tried with fire, 1 might be found unto praise, and honor,
* and glory, at the appearing of Jesus
* Christ.' This version fails, however, in giving the true sense of the original. The passage should be thus rendered.— i In which' [last time; for the pronoun is masculine, as is the time, but the salvation is feminine]—' in which [last 'time] exult ye (though for a short time, 'since it is necessary, suffering sorrow by
* divers trials, that the proving of your 1 faith, more precious than of gold which 'perisheth, though proved by fire, may be
* found unto praise, and honor, and 'glory) ev airoica\i>\pEL irjaov Xpiarov, 'through the Apocalypse of Jesus Christ:' that is, the Apocalypse being the cause of, or furnishing the cause for the exultation, by what is therein stated respecting the last time; for all the intermediate words are evidently a parenthesis, as I have marked them. The sense is:—though now suffering sorrow by divers trials, this being necessary for the trial of your faith, &c. rejoice greatly in the things brought to your knowledge, respecting the last time, in (by or through) the Apocalypse of Jesus Christ. Here then we have the book of the Revelation referred to by the very title which John himself has given it in Rev. i, 1."
"The 13th verse, in which the exhortation is resumed, is so striking as only to require to be exhibited in a true version to prove the general correctness of all the passages, alluded to by Sir Isaac Newton, as having reference to the Apocalypse. It is thus rendered in the common version: (and indeed all the translations I have met with give the same sense:) 'Wherefore gird 'up the loins of your mind, be sober, and 1 hope to the end, for the grace that is to be 'brouglitunto you atthe revelation of Jesus * Christ.' This version, so far as respects the first three verbs, is quite correct; but that it does not, throughout, convey the true sense of the original, a very little consideration will demonstrate. The word
Qspofievrjv, which is here rendered " to be brought," as if it were the future infinitive passive of the verb, is the accusative singular of the present participle passive. Of this our translators could not possibly be ignorant, and therefore the translation which they have given of this word must be ascribed to their missing the sense of some other term in the passage. The present participle, as every one knows, instead of having exclusively a future signification, embraces present and even past time; but the present time most prominently. Observe,—the grace spoken of in the text is not indefinite; it is not grace or favor generally that these believers are exhorted to hope for; but, specifically, the grace that comes to them ev ctTTOKaXv-tpei Irjcrs ILpturov in (by or through) the Apocalypse of Jesus Christ. The verb cpepio (whence the participle in the passage under consideration) means to bear, bring, cause to come, in almost any way that can be expressed; but the mode of bringing can be learnt only by the context. When it has reference to any communication received by the ear, or brought in writing, it means to state, purpose, relate, announce; &c. but when used passively, in a forensic sense, which it frequently is; or technically in reference to any instrument or writing; then the verb intimates the thing spoken of to be proved, recorded, published, declared, or announced, (&c.) as the case may be. It is necessary to be thus particular respecting the varied applications of this verb, that we may obtain the true sense of the passage before us. As already noticed, the grace exhorted to be hoped for is a specific grace announced in the Apocalypse of Jesus Christ,—that prophecy being the record in which it is declared and described." "I have insisted the more particularly on the declaration in ver. 13, not because it is more explicit than that in the 7th verse, when the latter is properly understood; but because the construction, harmonizing perfectly with the English mode of speaking, leaves no room whatever for doubt or cavil. It refers to a book by its own proper name—" The Apocalypse of Jesus Christ,"—as the instrument, bringing to them the gift for which they are exhorted to hope ; it is ev, in, through, or by, this that the grace comes to them; and the existence of this record is not only assumed as that which embraces the promised grace, but is assigned as the reason why they should gird up the loins of their mind, be vigilant, and hope perfectly for it.
Can any further evidence be possiblyrequired to prove, that Peter's first Epistle was written subsequently to the Apocalypse, —a book to which he actually refers by name?" P. 71.
It is due to the Author to state, that the arguments in the foregoing extracts are sustained by collateral observations, which our space does not permit us to exhibit. We cannot say these things amount to demonstration to our minds: we can only entertain them as conjectures. As regards verses 6 and 7, even if we admit the parenthesis suggested by the Author, yet does the language appear forced and harsh: "In which last time exult ye, through the Apocalypse of Jesus Christ." The 13th verse (as he proposes to read it, the propriety of which we admit) forms a more specious case: though of both these instances we would say, that, according to the principle urged by the Author in regard to "the city having the foundations," one would expect to find in express allusions to "the Apocalypse" the definite article also used; whereas it is in both cases omitted.
Further, the noun ciTrokxckinpiQ is of frequent occurrence in the Scriptures; and if the Author's argument be valid, we conceive he ought to be prepared to shew, that it has a reference to the same Book in some other instances, if not in every other instance. We would refer more especially to 1 Cor. i, 7; Gal. i, 12 ; 2 Thess. i, 7 ; and 1 Pet. iv, 13; the last of which instances we adduce, because it occurs in the same Epistle from which the two cases are quoted on which the Author lays his stress; and no more reference to the Book may be intended in the one instance than in the other. If indeed we understand
the Author, especially at p. 95, we conceive he does conclude this word to have such a meaning wherever he finds it.
But besides confirming and following out the coincidences noticed by Newton, our Author examines many other Epistles, in which he imagines he finds similar marks of designed reference: for indeed he is inclined to suppose the Apocalypse the earliest written of all the books of the New Testament. We doubt however, if, in any of the instances alleged, there is anything more than that harmony, which necessarily results from the Apostles having been all instructed by the same Spirit.
Indeed in some instances the Author appears to us decidedly to argue from false premises. For example, he concludes the Epistle to the Ephesians to be later than the Apocalypse, because chap, iv verse 14 betrays though the inference is not very obvious, that they could now "bear them that are evil;" whereas in Rev. ii, 2, they are praised because they could not bear them. But by a series of arguments, far more conclusive to our minds than those which Dr. Tilloch here advances, Paley has shewn, that this Epistle, though it has come to have the title of " to the Ephesians" affixed to it, was not originally written to that Church; but more probably to that of Laodicea or some other of the Asiatic Churches :* in which case any reasoning built upon a comparison of passages in that Epistle, with others in the message to the Angel of the Church of Ephesus, necessarily falls to the ground.
As the Author lays particular emphasis on the evidence supplied by the Epistle to the Colossians, we shall give the whole section,