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may be placed with great probability between the year 70, and the year 75.
Witsius thinks it a was written in this apostle's old age, and in the last age of the apostles of Christ, and when few, or perhaps none of them, were living, besides St. John.
To the like purposeb Estius.
(Ecumenius in his note upon ver. 17, 18, of this epistle, "Remember the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ: that they told you there should be mockers in the last time," — « Meaning,' says he,
*by c Peter in his second epistle, and by Paul in almost all 'his epistles. Hence it is evident, that he wrote late, after * the decease of the apostles.'
If St. Jude referred here to St. Peter's second epistle, it must be allowed that he had seen it, and wrote after St. Peter: which indeed is the opinion of many. So (Ecumenius appears to have thought. So also says d Estius. Dr. Benson expresseth himself after this manner: ' that e it seems
* highly probable, that St. Jude had seen and read the se
* cond epistle of St. Peter. For there are found in St. Jude 'several similar passages, not only to those in the second
*chapter of the second of St. Peter, but also in the other 'parts of that epistle.'
Nevertheless, I must still say, this appears to me doubtful. For it seems very unlikely that St. Jude should write so similar an epistle if he had seen St. Peter's. In that case St. Jude would not have thought it needful for him to write at all. If he had formed a design of writing, and had met with an epistle of one of the apostles, very suitable to his own thoughts and intentions, 1 think he would have forborne to write.
Indeed the great agreement in subject and design between these two epistles affords a strong argument that they were written about the same time. As therefore I have placed the second epistle of St. Peter in the year 64, I am induced to place this epistle of St. Jude in the same year, or soon after, in 65 or 66. For there was exactly the same state of things in the christian church, or in some part of it, when both these epistles were written.
* Tempus script® hujus epistolae, uti ad postremam apostolorum aetatem referendum est, quod colligitur ex ver. 17, ita ad extremam quoque Judae senectutem pertinet, &c. Wits, in Jud. num. ix.
b Caeterum apostolis fuit posterior, non omnibus, sed plerisque jam ante vita defunctis, ut Petro, et Paulo, et Jacobo. Nam Joannes adhuc supererat. Est. ad Jud. ver. 17.*
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d Convenit argumentum hujus epistolae cum iis, quae B. Petrus scribit in secunda epistola, praesertim capite 2, et initio tertii. Nam quae hie scribuntur, adeo cum illis similia sunt, ut hujus auctor S. Judas eam non solum legisse videatur, verum etiam, partim contrahendo, partim extendendo, partim iisdem vocibus et sententiis utendo, imitatus fuisset. Est. Argum. Vid. eund. ad ver. epistolae 17. e Preface to St. Jude, sect. iii.
I do not insist upon the expression, "in the last time," which is in ver. 18. Some would understand thereby the last period of the Jewish state and constitution, immediately preceding the destruction of Jerusalem. But I cannot interpret the phrase, " the last time," in Jude, or " the last days," in St. Peter iii. 3, in so limited a sense. I think that thereby must be meant the days of the Messiah, or the late ages of the world.
However, undoubtedly, that exhortation, ver. 17 and 18, "But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before by the apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ: that they told you there should be mockers in the last time:" do imply, as Witsius and Estius observe, that it was then the last age of the apostles: when several of them had left the world, and few of them were still surviving. Which well suits the date before mentioned, the year 64, or 65, or 66.
When St. Jude adviseth the christians to recollect, " and be mindful of the words of the apostles of Christ," he may intend their preaching, which these christians had heard, or the writings of apostles, which they had read, and had in their hands. Such discourses of St. Paul may be seen recorded in Acts xx. 29, 30. And he writes to the like purpose 1 Tim. iv. 1—5, and 2 Tim. iii. and iv. They who suppose that St. Jude had seen and read the second epistle of St. Peter, must think that he refers also to 2 Pet. ch. iii. 1—5.
There are some other expressions in this epistle which may deserve to be here taken notice of by us. Ver. 3, " Tt was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you, that you should earnestly contend for the faith once delivered to the saints;" and ver. 5, " I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this." These expressions seem to imply, that now some considerable time had passed, since the whole scheme of the christian doctrine had been published to the world, and since the persons to whom the apostle is writing were first instructed m it.
Upon the whole, as before said, this epistle might be written in the year of Christ 64, or 65, or 66.
THE REVELATION OF ST. JOHN.
I. Its genuineness shown from testimony. II. From internal characters. III. Its time.
I. WE are now come to the last book of the New Testament, the Revelation: about which there have been different sentiments among christians, many receiving it as the writing of John, the apostle and evangelist, others ascribing it to John a presbyter, others to Cerinthus, and some rejecting it without knowing to whom it should be ascribed.
I shall therefore here rehearse the testimony of ancient christians, as it ariseth in several ages.
It is probable, that Hernias had read the book of the Revelation, and imitated it. He has many things resembling it, vol. ii. p. 69—72. It is referred to by the martyrs at Lyons, p. 164. There is reason to think it was received by Papias, p. 118,123. Justin Martyr, about the year 140, was acquainted with this book, and received it, as written by the apostle John. For in his dialogue with Trypho he expressly says: 'And a man from among us, by name
*John, one of the apostles of Christ, in the revelation made 'to him, has prophesied, that the believers in our Christ * shall live a thousand years in Jerusalem, and after that
* shall be the general, and, in a word, the eternal resurrec
* tion and judgment of altogether,' p. 136, 137. To this very passage we suppose Eusebius to refer in his ecclesiastical history, when giving an account of Justin's works, he observes to this purpose: 'He also mentions the Revelation 'of John, expressly calling it the apostle's.' See p. 137, note (s.) Among the works of Melito, bishop of Sardis, one of the seven churches of Asia, about the year 177, Eusebius mentions one, entitled, * Of the Revelation of John,' p. 159. It is very probable, that Melito ascribed this book to the apostle of that name, and esteemed it a book of canonical authority. Irenaeus, bishop of Lyons in Gaul, about 178, who in his younger days was acquainted with Polycarp, often quotes this book as 'the Revelation of John,
*the disciple of the Lord,' p. 181. And in one place he says: 'It was seen not long ago, but almost in our age, at 'the end of the reign of Domitian.' Ibid. And see p. 167.
Theophilus was bishop of Antioch about 181. Eusebius, speaking of a work of his against the heresy of Hermogenes, says, ' he therein made use of testimonies or quoted passages, from John's Apocalypse,' p. 204. The book of the Revelation is several times quoted by Clement of Alexandria, who flourished about 194, and once in this manner: 'Such an one, though here on earth he is not honoured with 'the first seat, shall sit upon the four and twenty thrones * judging the people, as John says in the Revelation,' p. 245. Tertullian, about the year 200, often quotes the Revelation, and supposeth it to have been written by St. John, the same who wrote the first epistle of John, universally received, p. 295. Again; 'the apostle John in the Apocalypse de
*scribes a sharp two-edged sword coming out of the mouth
* of God,' ibid. He also says, * We have churches, that are < disciples of John. For though Marcion rejects the Reve'lation, the succession of bishops, traced to the original, will 'assure us, that John is the author:' ibid. By John undoubtedly meaning the apostle.
From Eusebius we learn, that Apollonius, who wrote against the Montanists about the year 211, quoted the Revelation, p. 393. By Caius, about the year 212, it was asscribed to Cerinthus, p. 401. It was received by Hippolytus, about the year 220, p. 436, and by Origen about 230,
G. 495. It is often quoted by him. He seems not to have ad any doubt about its genuineness. In his commentary upon St. John's gospel, he speaks of it in this manner: 'Therefore John, the son of Zebedee, says in the Revelation,' p. 512. Se also p. 513, 577.
Dionysius, bishop of Alexandria, about the year 247, or somewhat later, wrote a book against the Millenarians, in which he allows the Revelation to be written by John, a holy and divinely inspired man. But he says ' he cannot 'easily grant him to be the apostle, the son of Zebedee, 'whose is the gospel according to John, and the catholic 'epistle,' p. 694. He rather thinks it may be the work of John, an elder, who also lived at Ephesus, in Asia, as well
as the apostle, p. 695. See likewise p. 718, 719,720. Moreover, it appears from a conference, which Dionysius had with some Millenarians, that the Revelation was about the year 240, and before, received by Nepos, an Egyptian bishop, and by many others in that country, p. 654, 692, 693, and that it was in great reputation, p. 718, 719. It was received by Cyprian, bishop of Carthage, about 248, and by the church of Rome in his time, vol. iii. p. 47, 48, and by divers Latin authors, whose history is written in the third volume of this work. As may be seen in the alphabetical Table of Principal Matters, in the article of the Revelation.
The Revelation was received by Novatus, and his followers, p. 118, 119, and by divers other authors, whose history is written in that volume.
It is also probable, that it was received by the Manichees, p. 404.
It was received by Lactantius, p. 541. and by the Donatists, p. 565, by the latter Arnobius, about 460, p. 480, and by the Arians, p. 581.
In the time of Eusebius, in the former part of the fourth century, it was not received by all. And therefore it is reckoned by him among contradicted books, vol. iv. p. 97. Nevertheless it was generally received, p. 103, 125. Eusebius himself seems to have hesitated about it. For he says, ' It is likely, that the Revelation was seen by John the elder, if not by John the apostle,' p. 125. It may be reckoned probable, that the critical argument of Dionysius of Alexandria, was of great weight with him, and others of that time. See p. 127, 128. The Revelation was received by Athanasius, p. 155,157, and by Epiphanius, p. 187,190, 191. But we also learn from him, that it was not received by all in his time, p. 190,191. It is not in the catalogue of Cyril of Jerusalem, about 348, and seems not to have been received by him, p. 173—175. It is also wanting in the catalogue of the council of Laodicea, about 363, p. 182. Nevertheless I do not think it can be thence concluded, that this book was rejected by the bishops of that council. Their design seems to have been to mention by name those books only which should be publicly read. And they might be of opinion, that upon account of its obscurity, it should not be publicly read, though it was of sacred authority. And some may be of opinion, that this observation should likewise be applied to Cyril's catalogue just taken notice of.