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written before the Destruction of Jerufalem, and that former Commentators had expounded the fixth Seal of that Destruction. With the opinion of the first Commentators, agrees the Tra. · dition of the Churches of Syria, preserved to this day in the Title of the Syriac Verfion of the Apocalypse, which is this; “ The Reve« lation which was made to Jobn the Evangelift 66 by God in the Inand Patmos, into which he “ was banished by Nero the Cæsar."
This Opinion, says Sir Isaac, is further supported by the Allusions in the Apocalypse to the Temple and Altar, and Holy City as then standing; and to the Gentiles, who were soon after to tread under foot the Holy City, and outward Court. 'Tis confirmed also by the Stile of the Apocalypse itself, which is fuller of Hebraisms, than his Gospel. For thence it may be gathered, that it was written when Jobn was newly come out of Judea, where he had been used to the Syriac Tongue; and that he did not write his Gospel till by a long con. verse with the Asiatick Greeks he had left off most of the Hebraisms. It is confirmed also by the many false Apocalypses written in imitation of the true one. :
AFTER thefe Arguments our Author offers another, which, says he, to considering Men may seem a good reason, to others not. This reason is, that the Apocalypse seems to be alluded to in the Epistles of Peter, and in that to the Hebrews, and therefore to have been written before them. Sir Isaac undertakes to prove this by several Instances, which I think it needless to transcribe here: the Reader may easily find those Allusions, by comparing those Epistles with St. John's Revelation.
Our Author tells us afterwards, that Peter and John being Apostles of the Circumcision, it is probable, they staid with their Churches in Judea and Syria, till the Romans made War upon their Nation, that is, till the twelfth Year of Nero; that they then followed the main Body of their flying Churches into Asia, and that Peter went thence by Corinth to Rome; that the Roman Empire looked upon those Churches as Enemies, because y ews by Birth; and therefore to prevent Insurrections, secured their Leaders, and banished John into Patmos. It seems also probable, that the Apocalypse was there compofed, and that soon after the Epistle to the Hebrews, and those of Peter were written to these Churches, with reference to this Prophecy, as what they were parcicularly concerned in. For it appears by these Epistles, that they were written in times of general Amiction and Tribulation under the Heathens, and by consequence, when the Empire made War upon the Jews; for till then the Heathens were at peace with the Christian Jews, as well as with the rest. The Epistle to the Hebrews, since it mentions Timotby, as related to those Hebrews, must be written to them after their fight into Aria, where Timothy was Bishop; and by consequence after the War began, the Hebrews in Judea being Strangers to Timothy. Peter seems also to call Rome Babylon, as well with respect to the War made upon Judea, and the approaching Captivity, like that under old Babylon, as with respect to that name in the Apocalypse ; and in writing to the Strangers, scattered Ibroughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bythinia, he seems to intimate that they were the Strangers newly scattered by
the Roman Wars ; for those were the only Strangers there belonging to his Care.
HAVING determined the time of writing the Apocalypse, oùr Avihor did not think it neceffary to fay much about the Truth of it, since it was in such request with the first Ages, that many endeavoured to imitate it, by feign- . ing Apocalypses under the Apostles Names ; and the Apostles' themselves, as the Author has fhewed, studied it, and used its Phrases; bị which means the Stile of the Epistle to the Hebrews became more mystical than that of St. Paul's other Epistles, and the Stile of Jobn's Gospel more higurative and majestical, than that of the other Gospels. Nevertheless our Author quotes fome Passages from anciene Authors, as Justin Martyr, Papias, Melito, Irenæus and others; whence he concludes, that the Apocalypfe was received and ftudied in the first Ages, and that no other Book of the New Teftament is so ftrongly attested, nor has been commented upon so early as this. The Prophecy laid, Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the Words of this Prophecy, and keep the things which are written therein. This animated the first Christians to study it fo much, till the Difficulty made chem remit, and comment more upon the other Books of the New Teftament. This was the state of the ApocaTypse, till the thousand Years Reign being mis-, understood, brought a Prejudice against it; and Dionyfius of Alexandria noting how it abounded with Barbarison, that is, with Hebraisins, promoted that Prejudice so far, as tò cause many Greeks in the fourth Century to doubt of the Book. But whilft the Latins, and a great part of the Greeks always retained the Apocalypse,
and the reft doudted only out of Prejudice, it makes nothing against its Authority. . ...?
This Prophecy, says out Author, is called the Revelation, with regard to the Scripture of Truth which Daniel was commanded to put up and feal till the time of the End; and until that time comes; the Lamb is opening the Seals : and af terwards the two Witnesses prophesy out of it a long time in Sack-cloch, before they ascend up to Heaven in a Cloud. All which is as much as to say, that these Prophecies of Das niel and John should not be understood tiff the time of the End; but then some should pro phesy out of it in an afflicted and mournful State for a long time, and that but darkly, fo as to convert but few.--.'Tis therefore a part of this Prophecy; char it should not be unders ftood before the last Age of the World; and therefore it makes for the Credit of the Prophecy, that it is not yet understood. But if the last Age, the Age of opening these things be now approaching, as by the great Successes of late Interpreters it seems to be, we have more Encouragement than ever to look into these things. If the general preaching of the Gospel be approaching, it is to us and our Posterity that those Words mainly belong, In the time of the End the Wife pall understand, but none of the Wicked Mall understand*..
The Folly of Interpreters, according to Sir Isaac, has been to foretel times and things by this Prophecy, as if God designed to make them Prophets ; by this rashness they have not only exposed themselves, but broughi the Prophecy also into Contempt. The Design of God was much otherwise. He gave this, and
is the ' # Daniel xii. 4, 10. See alfo, Apoc, i. 3. . .
the Prophecies of the Old Testament, not to gratify Men's Curiosity, by enabling them to foreknow things, but that after they were fulfilled, they might be interpreted by the Events, and his own Providence, not the Interpreters, be chen manifested chereby to the World. For the Event of things predicted many Ages before, will then be a convincing Argument, thac the World is governed by Providence. For as the few and obscure Prophecies concerning Christ's first coming were for setting up the Christian Religion, which all Nations have since córrupted ; so the many and clear Prophecies concerning the things to be done at Christ's second, coming, are not only for predicting, but also for effecting a recovery and re-establishment of the long-loft Truch, and setting up a Kingdom, wherein dwell's Righteousness. The Event will prove the Apocalypse; and this Prophecy, thus proved and understood will open the old Prophets, and all together will mako known the true Religions, and establish it. For he that will understind the old Prophets, must begin with this, but the time is not yet come, for understanding them perfectly, because the main Revolution predicted in them is not yec come to pass. In the Days of the Voice of the seventh Angel, when he shall begin to found, the Mystery of God shall be finished, as he has declared to his Servants the Prophets; and then the Kingdoms of this World Thall become the Kingdoms of our Lord and his Christ, and he thall reign for ever. Apoc, x. 7. xi. 15.
Chap. ii. treats of the Relation which the Apocalypse of John has to the Book of the Law of Mofes, and to the Worship of God in the Temple, The Apocalypse of John, says our
calypse of foco the Word of John, layuthors