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Introduction

\\INTRODUCTION TO REVELATIONS\\

That this book was written by the Apostle and Evangelist John, is
clear not only from the express mention of his name, and from his
office, a servant of Jesus Christ, \\#Re 1:1\\; but also from the
character this writer gives of himself, \\#Re 1:2\\; as being an
eyewitness of the essential Logos, or Word of God, and who bore a
faithful record of him as such, as John did in his Gospel, in a very
peculiar and remarkable manner, and from this writer's being in the
isle of Patmos when he wrote, \\#Re 1:9\\; for of what other John can
this be said? to which may be added the testimonies of the ancient
writers, as Justin Martyr {a}, who lived within fifty years of the
apostle, and Irenaeus {b}, who was the disciple of Polycarp, an
hearer of this apostle, and Clemens Alexandrinus {c}, Tertullian
{d}, Origen {e}, and others, who ascribe it to him. It was a most
monstrously stupid notion of Caius, Dionysius of Alexandria mentions
{f}, that it was written by Cerinthus the heretic, when his heresies
concerning the divinity and humanity of Christ are most strongly
refuted in it. What seems to have led to such a thought is, that the
account of the thousand years' reign, and the descent of the new
Jerusalem from heaven, seemed to favour the judaism of this man, and
his carnal notions of an earthly paradise, whereas they have no such
tendency. And as for its being written by another John, who is said
to be presbyter at Ephesus, after the apostle, it is not certain
there ever was such a man; and if there was, he must be too late to
be the writer of this book; nor to him can the above characters
agree. What is observed in favour of him, that the penman of this
book is called, in the title, John the divine, and not the
evangelist, or apostle, will do him no service; for to whom does
this character so well agree, as to the Evangelist John, who wrote
of divine things in so divine a manner, and particularly concerning
the divinity of Christ? hence this book was sometimes called
\~yeologia\~, "Divinity" {g}: besides, the title of the book is not
original, but is what has been affixed to it by others, and varies;
for in the Complutensian edition it runs thus,

``the Revelation of the holy Apostle and Evangelist John the
Divine.''

In the Vulgate Latin version it is called the Apocalypse of the
blessed John the Apostle; and in the Syriac version, the Revelation
which was made to John the Evangelist; and in the Arabic version,
the Vision of John, the Apostle and Evangelist, to wit, the
Apocalypse. All which acknowledge the Apostle John to be the writer
of it, and show the sense of the ancients concerning it. Nor is it
of any moment what is alleged, that this writer makes mention of his
name several times, whereas it was usual with John, both in his
Gospel and epistles, to conceal his name; since there is a wide
difference between writing an history and epistles to friends, and
prophecy which requires the author's name, on whom the authority and
truth of the prophecy greatly depend: and so likewise the
disagreement of style observed in this book, with the other writings
of John, has no force in it; since the prophetic style is always
different from an historical and epistolary one; and yet, after all,
in many things, there is an agreement; John in this, as in his other
writings, speaks of Christ as the Word and Son of God and under the
character of the Lamb; and likewise the following: passages may be
compared together, as \\#Re 1:2\\ with \\#Joh 19:35\\ and \\#1Jo 1:1,2\\
\\#Re 1:5\\ with \\#1Jo 1:7\\. All which being observed there no room to
doubt, neither of the writer nor of the authority of this book;
especially when the agreement of the doctrine contained in it with
other parts of the Scripture, the majesty of its style, and above all
the many prophecies of things to come to pass in it, several of which
have been already fulfilled, are considered; and though it was called
in question and rejected by some heretical men, because some things in
it did not suit with their tenets, yet we have not the least reason to
doubt of its being authentic who have lived to see so much of it
already accomplished and which could come from no other but God. As for
the time of its writing this is not agreed upon on all hands; the place
where, seems to be the isle of Patmos, which yet some question. Some
think it was written in the times of Claudius Caesar {h}, before the
destruction of Jerusalem. In the title of the Syriac version, this
revelation is said to be made to John in the isle of Patmos, into which
he was cast by Nero Caesar. But the more commonly received opinion is,
that he had this vision there, at the latter end of Domitian's reign
{i} by whom he was there banished, about the year 95, or 96. But be
this as it will, the book is certainly of divine authority, and
exceeding useful and instructive; and contains in it the most momentous
and important doctrines of the Gospel, concerning a trinity of persons
in the Godhead, the deity and sonship of Christ, the divinity and
personality of the Spirit, the offices of Christ, the state and
condition of man by nature, justification, pardon, and reconciliation
by the blood of Christ; and it recommends the several duties of
religion, and encourages to the exercise of every grace and gives a
very particular account of the rise, power, and fall of antichrist, and
of the state of the church of Christ in all the periods of time to the
end of the world. And though it is written in an uncommon style,
yet may be understood, by the use of proper means, as by prayer and
meditation, by comparing it with other prophetic writings, and the
history of past times, by which many things in it will appear to have
had their accomplishment; and it ought to be observed, that it is a
revelation, and not a hidden thing; that it is now not a sealed book,
but an open one; and that such are pronounced blessed that read and
hear it, and observe the things in it, \\#Re 1:3\\; and which is no
small encouragement to attempt an explanation of it.

{a} Dialog. cum Tryph. p. 308.
{b} Adv. Haeres. l. 4. c. 37, 50. & l. 5. c. 30.
{c} Paedagog. l. 2. c. 12.
{d} Adv. Marcion. l. 4. c. 5.
{e} Comment. in Matt. p. 417. Ed. Huet.
{f} Apud. Euseb. Hist. Eccl. l. 3. c. 28. & l. 7. c. 23.
{g} Suidas in voce \~iwannhv\~.
{h} Vid. Epiphan Haeres. 51.
{i} Irenaeus adv. Haeres. l. 5. c. 36. Euseb. Eccles. Hist. l. 3. c. 18.

\\INTRODUCTION TO REVELATION 1\\

This chapter contains the preface and introduction to the book, and
the first vision in it. The preface begins with the title of the
book, in which the subject matter of it is pointed at, a Revelation;
the author of it, Jesus Christ, who had it from his Father; the
minister of it, an angel: the person to whom it was made known,
described by his name, office, and the testimony he bore to Christ, his
Gospel, and to whatever he saw; and for encouragement to persons to
read, hear, and observe it, happiness is pronounced to them \\#Re 1:1-3\\;
the inscription of the book follows, in which are the name of the
writer, and the place where the churches to whom it is inscribed
were, with a salutation of them; in which grace and peace are wished
for them, from God the Father, from the Holy Spirit, and from Jesus
Christ; who is described by characters expressing his prophetic,
priestly, and kingly offices, and by the benefits, favours, and
honours bestowed by him on his people, to whom a doxology or
ascription of glory is made, \\#Re 1:4-6\\; who is further described,
first by his future visible coming in the clouds, which will greatly
affect the inhabitants of the earth, and then by himself, as the
eternal and almighty God, \\#Re 1:7,8\\; and in order to introduce the
vision, hereafter related in this chapter, he that saw it gives an
account of himself, by his name, by his relation to the churches,
and by his partnership with them in affliction, and of the place he
was in; and for what, and of the time when he had the vision, and the
frame he was in, and what awakened his attention to it, \\#Re 1:9-11\\;
and how, that adverting to it he saw seven golden candlesticks, and in
the midst of them one like the son of man, who is described by his
clothes and girdle, by his head, hair, and eyes, by his feet and voice,
by what he had in his right hand, and by what went out of his mouth,
and by his face shining like the sun in its strength, \\#Re 1:12-16\\,
next is related the effect this vision had on. John, who upon it fell
down as one dead, but was comforted by Christ, laying his right hand on
him, and telling him who he was, and bidding him write what he had
seen, or should see, \\#Re 1:17-19\\; and the chapter is concluded with
an interpretation of the mystery of the seven stars, and the seven
candlesticks, \\#Re 1:20\\.