Preface to the Annotations upon Revelation

Although some particular heretics, such as Cerdon and Marcyon, have doubted the Divine authority of this mysterious piece of holy writ, and some better men in the primitive times doubted of it, the manuscript copy of it having been at first reserved in few hands, and (as some think) in the fewer because of the affairs and fate of the Roman empire revealed in it; yet, besides its general reception as such by the church in all late ages, there is in it such a harmony, both with Daniel’s prophecy in the Old Testament, and with the types made use of by the holy prophets; such manifest allusions to the whole order and economy of the Jewish church; such an agreement of the doctrine contained in it with the doctrine of the Old and New Testament, concerning God and Christ, the resurrection from the dead, and the day of judgment; and of the promises and threatenings contained in it, with the promises and threatenings in other parts of holy writ; that none who hath not a vanity to question the whole canon of Scripture, can reasonably dispute the Divine authority of this part of it.

It appeareth from Revelation 1:1, that John was the penman of it; and that this John was the beloved disciple, he that was the penman of one of the Gospels, hath been doubted by very few, and with very little reason, as will appear to him that will but wisely consider the terms and phrases used in it almost peculiar to this apostle, and hardly to be found in Scripture any where but in this book and the Gospel of John, such as calling Christ the Word, of which he bare record, etc. Nor is their objection of any validity, who object, that in the Gospel he ordinarily concealeth his name, which this author doth not; considering that in that he wrote a relation or history of things past, to be proved by many eye and ear-witnesses; but here a Revelation or prophecy of things to come, to which his name was necessary, that men might judge by what authority he thus wrote.

For the time of his writing it, himself tells us, Revelation 1:9, that he received this Revelation from God, while he was in Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ; this was (if we may believe history, and we have nothing else to inform us) in the time of Domitian the Roman emperor, about the ninety-fourth or ninety-fifth year after the nativity of Christ; so as this book pleads a prescription of near sixteen hundred years, in which very few ever questioned its Divine authority.

For the scope of it, it is plainly told us, Revelation 1:1, δεῖξαι τοῖς δούλοις αὐτοῦ, δεῖ γενέσθαι ἐν τάχει, to show unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass. The like we have repeated, Revelation 22:6: upon which account it is called a Revelation and a prophecy, neither of which terms agree to a narration or history, the object of which is some thing or things that are already past.

I will not undertake to give the certain and infallible sense of the several passages of this mysterious prophecy: In magnis voluisse sat est, in great things it is sufficient to have willed. But I have proceeded upon these few postulata:

1.  That the whole of this book is no historical relation of things that were past before the year 95 or 96, or at least not long before, but of things to come; which hath made me wholly reject the notions of Grotius and Dr. Hammond, so far as they concerned the siege or destruction of Jerusalem, which was past twenty-six or twenty-seven years before John heard of this Revelation. I cannot understand how this can agree with Revelation 1:1, or Revelation 22:6.

2.  That it contains a prophecy of the most remarkable things that happened either to the Roman empire, or to the church (all which was within the latitude of that in St. John’s time) during the whole time of that; or which should happen after the decay of that, throughout the church, to the end of the world.

3.  That this time is reasonably divided into three periods; the first determining with the Roman empire’s, continuing pagan, 310 or 325 years after Christ: the second with the total ruin of antichrist; when that shall be I cannot tell: the third with Christ’s coming to the last judgment. The first is by some called Regnum draconis ethnicum, the pagan Kingdom of the dragon; the second, Vicariatus draconis antichristianus, the antichristian curacy of the dragon; the third, Regnum Christi, the Kingdom of Christ, or, Status ecclesiæ tranquillus, settled state of the church.

4.  I see no reason to dissent from those eminent men, who think that part of the Revelation which relates to the first period, and is predictive of what happened to the church of God until the time of Constantine the Great, 310 or 325 years after Christ, beginneth with Revelation 4 and endeth with Revelation 7; and that the silence in heaven for half an hour, mentioned Revelation 8:1, relateth to the rest which the church had from Constantine’s time till the end of Theodosius’s reign, about seventy or seventy-five years.

5.  Where to fix the epoch, or beginning, of the one thousand two hundred and sixty years, or forty-two months, I cannot tell. That the mystery of iniquity begun to work in the apostles’ time, is evident from 2 Thessalonians 2:7; and reason will tell us, that Rome, as it now stands, or as it was in the year 606, was not built up in a day, the great corruptions then in it came in and grew up by degrees; but I cannot tell how to count antichrist’s reign, but from the time Phocas humoured the pope with the title and style of “supreme” or “universal bishop;”[1] from which time I should rather reckon the one thousand two hundred and sixty years, than from any time before.

6.  I do agree with those who think the first eleven chapters contain the sum of whatsoever is prophesied concerning the two first periods, though many things falling within them are more particularly and fully opened, Revelation 12-19. Revelation 12 gives us a particular account of the church during the first two periods. Revelation 13 gives us a more particular account of antichrist, both in the secular power and in his ecclesiastical jurisdiction. Revelation 15, 16 more fully open to us what should be done under the sixth trumpet. In Revelation 17 we have a more full description of the beast with two horns, mentioned Revelation 13:11, which signified antichrist as sitting in the temple of God. Revelation 18 more fully describes his fall, summarily before mentioned, Revelation 14. Revelation 19, so far as it concerneth the praise given to God for this, relates to that great dispensation of providence.

7.  I take the third state of the church (to which I cannot conceive we are yet come, which I called its serene and quiet state) to be foretold and described, Revelation 20; after which shall be the battle with all the wicked of the earth, which shall end in Christ’s coming to judge the world, and the general resurrection in order to it.

8.  I take the last two chapters to describe a state of the church agreeing to none but the church triumphant, and have accordingly interpreted them.

If any differ from me in any of these things, it will be no wonder if he disagreeth with me in the explication of the chapters and verses relating to them.

I dare not be positive as to the sense I have given, but shall only say it is what appeareth to me most probable. There have been found some in the tents of Protestants, that have taken much pains to free the papacy from the imputation of antichrist. This I conceive was Grotius’s design, in his interpretation of this book, as if it had been a history rather than a prophecy, and if a prophecy, fulfilled in less than two hundred and fifty years after it was published. As to the papacy being antichrist, I think that great person spake well, who would not be peremptory in the case, but said, it had so many of his marks, that upon a hue and cry for antichrist, he should apprehend him. I shall add, that if he were so apprehended and tried, he could never acquit himself either at the bar of Scripture or reason.

[1] Phocas was the Byzantine Emperor from 602 to 610; in 606/7 he decreed that Pope Boniface III should assume the title of “Universal Bishop”.

Revelation’s Time, Form and Method, and Argument

[8. It is to be inquired concerning the time of writing.]  The Apocalypse was written in the fourteenth year of the reign of Domitian;[1] when he was banished unto the island of Patmos, there he wrote it (Ribera, similarly Pererius, Lapide, Apocalyptic Harmony).  Thus Irenæus’ Against Heresies 5, Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History 3:18, Jerome on the life of John:[2]  Nicephorus’[3] Ecclesiastical History[4] 2:24; 3:9 (Ribera).  Indeed, John afterwards wrote the Gospel, having returned from exile on Patmos, as Jerome, Eusebius, Augustine, etc., relate; and he died two years after.  Hence it is apparent that the Apocalypse was not written before the destruction of Jerusalem, as Johannes Annius,[5] Salmeron,[6] and Hentenius[7] maintain, but a long time after that (Lapide).  [Others think otherwise:]  The Apocalypse was written, not in the time of Domitian, but of Claudius Cæsar,[8] as Epiphanius expressly says (Hammond’s Annotations upon the New Testament “Preface”):  concerning which Reverend Hammond has here many things [which things and others to the same purpose let the reader seek in the things to be Noted on Revelation 13 or 17.  9.  It is to be seen concerning the form and method of the Apocalypse.]  Indeed, the form appears Epistolary.  For it has an Epistolary ἐπιγραφὴν/ inscription and ὑπογραφὴν/outline, and it is concluded with the Epistolary prayer common to the Apostles:  also all the acts of the first vision are ἐπιστολικά/epistolary.  But what things follow after the fourth chapter, where the second vision (which is the first prophetic vision) begins, unto the end plainly have a Dramatic form:  whence the Apocalypse is truly able to be called a Prophetic Drama.  For, as in a Tragedy, to depict matters conducted through diverse scenes some persons come forth into the theatre after others, and withdraw again, likewise various choruses of musicians or singers distinguish the acts.  The same also is done here, etc.  Which those that do not observe wonder what so many hymns signify, what the so often repeated φαινόμενα/ appearances of Angels, the Beast, Babylon, the Final judgment, etc., and they contrive anticipations, recapitulations, etc. (Pareus’ Commentary upon the Divine Revelation of St. John “Proœm” 8).  Now, in the individual visions (but I speak of the six prophetic visions) there is to be a prudent discrimination between the dramatic and prophetic.  I call Dramatic both the introductory things and preparations of the visions, as in Revelation 1:9-20; 4; 5; 8:1-6; 15, and the choruses of the twenty-four elders, and of the four living creatures, and of the Angels, etc., and their prayers, hymns, ἐπινίκια, triumphal odes.  All which things properly regard decorum.  However, I call Prophetic those parts or figures of the visions, by which future events are represented (Pareus’ Commentary upon the Divine Revelation of St. John “Proœm” 10).  Indeed, all the Visions, except the first two, generally have three Acts:  1.  the Tragic ills of the Church; 2.  liberation; 3.  ἐπινίκιον, a triumphal ode, and δοξολογίαν/ doxology (Apocalyptic Harmony).  [10.  It is to be treated of the Argument, or substance, and the division or parts, of this Book.]  1.  This is a representation of future events, not likewise of past events, which are nevertheless sprinkled repeatedly among the future events, with the rationale of the visions so requiring, namely, Revelation 12:1, 2; 17:8, 10; 20.  2.  The Apocalypse is not, as it could seem, one continuous vision, but several, namely, seven distinct visions.  For it is apparent that John was seized by the Spirit several times, neither did he see all things in one place, but some on Patmos,[9] some in heaven,[10] some near the shore of the sea,[11] some in the desert,[12] some finally in a high mountain.[13]  Now, the latter visions are clearer here than the former (Pareus’ Commentary upon the Divine Revelation of St. John “Proœm” 9:36).  3.  The Apocalypsis is nothing other than a commentary on those words of Christ in Matthew 24:3-13 and in Luke 21:25-27.  And thus chapter 20 of this Book is concluded with a prophecy of the final judgment.  But the two final chapters contain the blessedness of the saints after the judgment (Ribera).  4.  The one sequential history of the Church from beginning unto end is continued in this Book (certain interpreters in Pareus’ Commentary upon the Divine Revelation of St. John 37).  That explanation is most certain, which seizes the beginning of the predicted events from the very vision of John, and then progresses by order through the ages following upon the vision unto the very end of the age.  Which thus is demonstrated:  1.  Out of Revelation 4:1, I will show to thee what things are necessary to be done hereafter.  Now, that neatly arranged structure of events is loosened, if what future things are shown to him, either already previously happened, or were not immediately connected to those present events, which had preceded, but are understood to be following finally after many years.  2.  Otherwise the evidence and certitude of the sense will be imperiled.  For if the first alteration, which followed the vision of the Apostle, remarkable and singular among the events of the Church or of the world, God did not foretell, whence will it be apparent that the second or third has been foretold?  3.  The context itself argues an ordered series of times, and of events succeeding themselves.  First, the seals are opened in order, which open the more general oracles about to come upon the entire world.  Next, with the last seal opened, seven Trumpet Angels come forth, proclaiming certain singular judgments of Christ, and remarkable alterations of the Church and world; and under each the plagues are made worse and worse.  And they are nowhere called the last plagues, except finally in Revelation 15 and 16 under the seven vials, which are comprehended in the space of the blast of the seventh trumpet, since during it the end is predicted to be, Revelation 10:6.  Finally, particles of order are inserted repeatedly into the Book. Hereafter, afterwards, finally…I saw, etc., and one vision is always brought out from the other.  Therefore, the visions are not to be mixed, as if the same things were contained in the first and last visions, or what things were previously completed were related later.  Yet I desire not all repetitions and explications to be removed.  For in Revelation 11, 12, and 20, where new visions are begun, certain succinct recapitulations are inserted, by which, on account of the necessary perspicuity of the sense, the occasion and preparation for those things to be done, which properly ought to be explained by the visions, is set down before, and is recalled out of the preceding age (Cluverus’ Apocalyptic Dawn 2:3:22).  There are those that maintain that the first ages of the Church, and the war of the Church with the Synagogue and Paganism are treated separately, and think that the triumph over both enemies is treated, at least from Revelation 5 to 20.  Thus Alcasar[14] (Cluverus’ Apocalyptic Dawn 28, similarly Lapide) [whose opinion Cluverus in this place refutes, which nevertheless some others follow, as we shall hereafter see in its own place.]  From Revelation 6 to 12, they maintain that the abrogation of the Synagogue and Judaism is treated:  from there unto Revelation 20, the ruin of Paganism and the reign of the Church.  Thus Salmeron and Alcasar.  But this opinion, 1.  is new and singular; 2.  makes history out of prophecy, and supposes that John wished to describe an event which happened twenty-five years earlier and was well-known, namely, the destruction of Jerusalem, and that by an obscure and continual enigma; 3.  wrests a great many passages of the Apocalypse, which most clearly speak of most recent times (Lapide).  [Others, therefore, think otherwise:]  The general argument of the Apocalypse consists in two things.  It forewarns the Church concerning approaching calamities, and fortifies it against those with consolations.  The individual visions treat the same (Pareus Commentary upon the Divine Revelation of St. John “Proœm” 10:40).  Now, all the visions represent the same period of the Church and of Ecclesiastical history, as the description of the final judgment, so often repeated, clearly demonstrates.  Yet not all represent the whole; but some the whole, others certain definite intervals.  Also they represent the same period, but now in one way and now in another, according to more eminent histories, now one and now another, and that with various and clearer figures.  The universal visions, or those representing the whole, are four, concerning the seven seals; concerning the seven trumpets; concerning the woman in labor; concerning the Dragon bound and loosed, etc.  But the particular visions, whether they shadow forth later intervals of the whole period, or the tragedy, advance and ruin of Antichrist, are two:  concerning the seven vials; and concerning the judgment of the great harlot, the ruin of Babylon and Antichrist (Pareus’ Commentary upon the Divine Revelation of St. John “Proœm” 9:37).  But that all the visions are ended with the type of the final judgment, which Pareus maintains, I utterly deny.  For, if it be so, what use was it to reserve the figure of that judgment unto the end of the Book?  And if the third Woe includes the eternal punishments of the impious, why in Revelation 15 and 16 are they in the end commemorated as the final plagues, since there are none later than the last plagues of gehenna?  Then, if an undoubted figure of the final judgment will appear to close the vision, this will be done in Revelation 6:12, etc., which nevertheless Pareus explains otherwise.  And why would he not do the same in the individual ones (Cluverus’ Apocalyptic Dawn 23)?  Others:  The Apocalypse is an uninterrupted order of speech describing what things were done thence from the time of the Apostles, and will be done onward unto the end of the world.  He confirms this, 1.  as the genius of the other Scriptures, which all proceed from the beginning, through the middle, unto the end:  2.  because the fourth part of the Earth is injured, Revelation 6:8; the third part, Revelation 8; the whole body, Revelation 16.  Who does not see the order?  3.  The mention of the last plague, Revelation 15:1.  Therefore, what things precede in the book, also precede in time.  This observation is of the greatest utility.  If this be true, on what basis are the vials of Revelation 16 confused with the trumpets of Revelation 8 and 9?  Let us approach closer to the matter.  The Apocalypse begins, Revelation 1.  It is written to the Churches, Revelation 2 and 3.  The Old Testament, Revelation 4.  The New Testament, Revelation 5.  The events begin, Revelation 6 and 7.  They proceed, Revelation 8-11.  The same things are related more extensively, Revelation 12-14.  The Apocalypse is moved forward, Revelation 15 and 16.  With the argument repeated more profusely, Revelation 17, 18, and the first part of 19.  Thence unto Revelation 22 all things are reconsidered.  You see a continuous series.  Moreover, the Apocalypse (strange but true, let me say) is twofold at least, as the twofold epilogue or conclusion relates; indeed threefold, 1.  Expanded, which embraces all things, and concerning them explains most plainly, which, beginning with chapter 4, extends unto Revelation 19:9.  2.  Contracted, which repeats those things more concisely and compactly, in the remaining part of Revelation 19.  3.  Restricted, of which the argument is narrower, and the narrowest, Revelation 21 and part of 22.  In these individuals, moreover, there are classes.  I call a class a series of events, conjoined by the order of succession, and limited by a certain, perfect number.  We have acknowledged classes in the seals, trumpets, vials:  which, therefore, were revealed so that from them we might be led unto others.  Therefore, whatever is contained in chapter 4, and thence unto chapter 22, either is part of a class, or pertains to a class; either, 1.  in the place of a prelude, as in the vials, which begin in chapter 16, although you have παρασκευαστικῶς, by way of preparation, concerning them in chapter 15, and in chapter 16, where before the seventh poured vial we are advised, verse 15, concerning the last day, which will soon be revealed:  or, 2.  in the place of an appendix, as in Revelation 16:14, 16 and 19:9 (Cotterius’ Exposition of the Apocalypse 20, etc.).  Others:  There are those that interpret the Apocalypse to no purpose, as if the events everywhere succeed each other in the same order and series as the Visions.  For here there are many Synchronisms (Mede’s The Key of Revelation in his Works 2:536).  [Concerning which it is here briefly to be explained.]  Those things are synchronous which, beginning from the same time, and thence continuing in unbroken succession, end at the same time.  Now, it is much to be observed that the beginnings and endings of the Synchronous Visions do not require to be understood precisely and Mathematically, so that they might be circumscribed on the hour, day, or year; but are to be taken with greater latitude and are to be defined according to the nature of the Vision out of the circumstances of the Histories.  Thus the beginning or Epoch of the Beast, which was and was not and yet is, coincides with that time in which the ten Kings begin their reign, Revelation 17:12, which was done by degrees, and extended unto a succession of several years (More’s Synchronistic Rationale of the Apocalyptic Visions 1).  Now, the principal thread of the Series and Order of the Apocalyptic Visions is to be established without controversy as the Vision of the seven Seals, which advances directly and plainly from the beginning unto the end of the Apocalyptic course.  For it is apparent that the Vision of Revelation 6:1 is the beginning of the events to be foretold, and that the rest of the Seals follow in their own order.  And hence, since immediately after the opening of the seventh Seal, in Revelation 8:1, the Vision of the seven trumpet Angels is exhibited, it is plain that that very Vision is the Vision of the seventh Seal, and that space of time of the seventh Seal is divided in this manner into seven parts, which are able to be called the times or intervals of the seven Trumpets.  Moreover, the seventh Trumpet (the time of which no one doubted to extend all the way to the end of the World, especially if one rightly understands that passage in Revelation 10:5) is divided into the intervals of the seven Thunders, for these are commemorated as if immediately following the sixth Trumpet.  Whence this manifest Tripartition of this entire, Principal thread of the Apocalyptic Visions arises, namely, in the first six Seals, in the first six Trumpets, and in the seven Thunders (More’s Synchronistic Rationale of the Apocalyptic Visions 2:18).  Now, the Thunders are able to have this use among others, that they are distinct Intervals, to which as many Principal Antisynchronous Visions in the Prophecy of the open Book, might correspond; this I think that hardly anyone will doubt; namely, if as many Visions, advancing in one series from the Beginning of this Interval unto the end, are able to be found in this Prophecy also.  Which indeed I doubt not at all that I have found.  Now, they are, 1.  The pouring out of the seven Vials, five or six of which some gather under the sixth Trumpet, but I would prefer that all be gathered within the seventh Trumpet.  2.  The descent of the New Jerusalem from heaven.  3.  The Millennial Kingdom of Christ on the earth, etc.  4.  The loosing of Satan.  5.  The siege of the beloved city by Gog and Magog.  6.  The advent of Christ unto judgment.  7.  The burning of the earth.  These are the seven principal Antisynchronisms directly corresponding by a reasonable step to the seven Thunders (More’s Synchronistic Rationale of the Apocalyptic Visions 5).  [As far as the special Synchronisms, concerning which the Reverend Mede here treats in his Key, and More in his Synchronistic Rationale of the Apocalyptic Visions, those I cast back to the proper places of each.]  It is a matter most worthy of observation, that the entire Apocalypse from the fourth chapter forward is divided into two Principal Prophecies, each of which proceeds from the same Epoch and beginnings, as it were, and arrives at the same end.  The first is of the Seals, and in those the Trumpets; for the seventh Seal is the Seal of the Trumpets, because the seven trumpet Angels follow the opening of that.  The other Prophecy (or if you prefer, System of Prophetic Visions) is τοῦ βιβλαριδίου, of the little roll, or of the open Book, which Prophecy, commencing from the same beginning, reviews the times of the former Prophecy, which is of the Seals, from Revelation 10:8 unto the end of the Book.  And this repetition of the Prophecy is indicated by that Transition in Revelation 10:11.  Moreover, near the individual beginnings of both of these, likewise also of the first Vision of all concerning the seven Churches, as if of three entire Prophecies, a voice as of a Trumpet is raised, namely, of the first, Revelation 1:10, of the second, Revelation 4:1, of the third, Revelation 10:8, as if the Holy Spirit desired to distinguish by this sign from the rest of the Prophecies, the portions of these principal Prophecies, in which you will see no such thing done (Mede’s The Key of Revelation 528).  Some are amazed that no certain Epoch (as in the Prophecy of Daniel 9:24) is appointed by the Holy Spirit to the Apocalyptic Prophecies; but that it is uncertain whence it is to be begun, whether from the Nativity of Christ, or from His Passion in 33 AD, or indeed from the Destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD, or finally from the time of this Revelation made to John, suppose 94 AD.  But to me the Holy Spirit appears to have prefixed the Epoch, and that especially agreeable to the matters, and expecially suitable to the place (More’s Synchronistic Rationale of the Apocalyptic Visions 6:34), namely, Revelation 17 (More, similarly Mede’s The Key of Revelation 537), which contains the key, as it were, of this whole structure of Prophecies (More’s Synchronistic Rationale of the Apocalyptic Visions 6:34):  which alone of all the Visions the Angel interprets contrary to his custom, so that by it an entrance might be opened to the rest (Mede’s The Key of Revelation 537).  This Epoch is very useful, for it denotes those time in which the Church begins to apostatize unto Idolatrous and Pagan Rites, concerning which times it was of especial interest that Christians be warned.  Now, this Epoch has a sufficiently wide latitude, for this Apostasy gradually came on and emerged, namely, during the space in which the ten Kings took their kingdoms, as it is plainly signified in Revelation 17:12, which began in 365 AD, that ominous year and extraordinary on account of the great earthquake, etc., and ended in 455 AD (More).

[1] Circa 95 AD.

[2] In De Viris Illustribus, the ninth chapter of which treats the life of John.

[3] Nicephorus Callistus Xanthopoulos was a fourteenth century Greek ecclesiastical historian.

[4] Historia Ecclesiastica.

[5] Johannes Annius of Viterbo (c. 1432-1502) was an Italian Dominican theologian, who served as papal theologian.  He was the author of Antiquitates, a collection of historical texts, some of which were forged.  He published Glosa super Apocalypsim.

[6] Alfonso Salmeron (1515-1585) was a Spanish Jesuit and biblical scholar.  He wrote Præludia in Apocalypsin.

[7] Johannes Hentenius (1499-1566) was a Flemish Dominican and biblical scholar.  He produces a Latin edition of Arethas’ Commentary on the Apocalypse.

[8] Claudius (10 BC-54 AD) reigned from 41 to 54.

[9] Revelation 1:9.

[10] Revelation 4:1.

[11] Revelation 13:1.

[12] Revelation 17:3.

[13] Revelation 21:10.

[14] Luis de Alcasar (1554-1613) is said to be the forerunner of modern preterism.  He spent forty years writing Vestigatio Arcani Sensus in Apocalypsi, a massive, nine hundred page commentary on Revelation.

Hermeneutical Rules pertaining to Revelation

6. Since the entire Apocalypse is formed by figures, if in these we be strangers, in vain do we strive to search out the sense of it.  Now, concerning figures, there are these Canons:  1.  A figure is not able to be a figure of a figure, for a figure, inasmuch as it is relative, demands a correlative.  2.  Figures are obtained from things well-known.  3.  Figures have that extent which God prescribed for them, neither are they to be stretched beyond the intention of God.  4.  That one is to be taken as a figure that is attested by the books of the Scriptures (Cotterius’ Exposition of the Apocalypse “Protheoria concerning Types”).  5.  To the figures here and in the Scriptures a change happens, and that complex; inasmuch as, either, 1.  the signification of a figure is changed, as when the moon is a figure both of the Political state, and of the Church; or, 2.  the signification of the figure is somewhat modified by that.  It is rare that the same thing comes twice by the same figure:  which, not observed by Interpreters, caused that they everywhere transformed the entire sense of the Apocalypse:  or, 3.  a figure is changed, and that in the same passage, to signify the same thing, as in Revelation 14:19, 20, where a grape-harvest is changed into a battle; and in Revelation 17:9, where the Angel, about to reveal the figure of the City, names the bridegroom by a figurative locution, which contains the figure.  Thus Christ comes in the form of the Son of man, Revelation 1, in the form of an Angel, Revelation 8; 10 (Cotterius’ Exposition of the Apocalypse “Prolegomena” 27, 28).  7.  The foundations and rules for interpreting the Apocalypse are of this sort:  1.  In those things which have already been fulfilled, since many and various are those things unto which the prophecy of John is able to be adjusted, those things appear especially to be foresignified by it that, 1.  were common either to the whole Church, or to the greatest part of it; and, 2.  were especially eminent either with respect to prosperity, or with respect to adversity; and, 3.  were such things to which the sentences and words of John are able more agreeably to be applied.  2.  All things here are not to be cut to the quick, neither is each and every smallest thing to be scrutinized, nor is one to be fixed on individual words too morosely and anxiously, or by accommodation of all things to that which we intend:  it will be sufficient to indicate the scope of the vision and its principal parts (Pererius).  3.  As in the Prophets, so also in the Apocalypse (Lapide), the Prophetic visions are written, not in an unbroken and direct series, nor according to the order of times and of events conducted; but they are often interrupted, and, with matters quite diverse interjected, there is a return unto the same.  Therefore, in this book there are frequent anticipations, recapitulations, inversions also, and regressions, repetitions, in addition to hasty transitions (Pererius, similarly Lapide).  4.  The same event is prefigured by several and diverse visions and figures, and that partly for the confirmation of the matter and certitude, as in Genesis 41:32, partly so that the diverse conditions of those, or properties and circumstances, which are not equaled by one image, might be signified by diverse images and visions (Lapide out of Pererius).  5.  The whole Apocalypse is filled with allusions to the places, histories, and figures of the Old Testament, particularly to the Temple, the Ark, the Altar, the Sacrifices, and other Mosaic rites (Lapide); but especially to the visions of Ezekiel and Daniel (Lapide, similarly Pererius), of Isaiah and Zechariah also, with which John agrees not only in the visions, but also in words, phrases, and sentences (Pererius).  Wherefore, that interpretation, which most strictly observes the approved examples and known analogy of Prophetic style, is to be preferred to those that are formed according to the private judgment of each (More’s Works 1:9:618).  There ought to be mistrust here for whatever is strange or paradoxical, either taken from one’s private sense, or spoken rashly and freely, or not at all agreeing with those things that are certain and approved by a great many.  6.  As a good many things are here related obscurely and without interpretation, so also there are a few things of which an explication is set near; and that is done, partly so that thence we might seek an understanding of the rest, namely, by a certain analogy, either by reason of similitude, or even of opposition; partly so that we might understand that what thing are related in this book are to be taken, not literally, but figuratively and mystically (Pererius).  Now, the Apocalypse, as it expresses, is to be taken literally, as much as it is able to be done, unless what is said by it would be absurd, taken plainly and simply, or would be repugnant to sound faith and morals (Lapide).  7.  That interpretation is suspect which would vary the signification of the same words in the same vision without any solid reason, and which reiterates the course forwards and backwards; for example, if someone wishes the imagery of the Beast to signify, now a Kingdom or Empire, now a certain singular Person of the empire, but then a certain enormous vice of the Empire:  such deformed patches and equivocations show that the Interpreter imported a meaning into the Text out of a sense of some worldly benefit (More’s Works 619).  8.  Mystical words, plain from the very innermost parts of the Prophecy, like Lamb, Heaven, Fountains and Rivers, Mountains, etc., are to be taken here, not with the usual or common signification, but with an exceptional, mystical and prophetic, signification (Cluverus).  It will be here most useful to have a fixed and determined signification of the Symbols, Imagery, and Similitudes, under which the things themselves are represented.  Now, this is to be sought, 1.  from the use of Scripture:  2.  from Reason, which contemplates the fitness of those for signifying or representing things:  3.  from a comparison of those that have written on the interpretation of dreams, whether mostly from proper reason and observation, as Artemidorus[1] professes; or (which is more suited to the matter) they made a collection of the most ancient Writers of this sort.  Now, the collection of Achmet[2] satisfies above the rest, because he preserves the Oneirocritica of those three most celebrated Interpreters of the Kings of India, Persia, and Egypt; and hence since they are thus ancient and thus Eastern, so it is more likely that those things are going to have a greater affinity with the Prophetic Figures of Sacred Scripture.  The use of which Interpretations was approved by Expositors that otherwise in total method differ and disagree among themselves; I understand Grotius, and Joseph Mede, and to Mede the honor is owed of being the first to open the way in this matter (More’s Works 1:5:595).  [Now, at this point the author exhibits to us the Prophetic Alphabet of images mentioned, which he explains with uncommon erudition, concerning which it is to be related to us, as use requires, in the proper places of each.  However, the reader is able to consult him, just as also what things of this sort Cluverus has in his Apocalyptic Dawn “Prolegomena” 2:5:52, etc., has.  This is the eighth rule of interpretation.]  9.  Various figures and canons are to be noted here:  Of which sort are, 1.  Progress.  This canon is most noteworthy, which obtains both in the whole, and in the parts.  In the whole, for the Apocalypse always goes forward.  In the parts, the Earth and the Sea are injured, Revelation 20:11, and flee, Revelation 21:1.  2.  Φάος/light, when what is spoken more obscurely, elsewhere is made clearer.  A canon of great worth:  Revelation 4 and 5, the Elders and Living Creatures:  Revelation 11, the Two witnesses:  Revelation 14:12, the Words of God, that is, the Law, and the Faith of Jesus.  3.  Ἀνάληψις/repetition, as in Revelation 11 and 12, where, being about to speak concerning a later matter, he begins from earlier things, and finally he descends to that.  4.  Πρόληψις/ prolepsis, which over against those things anticipates what things were to be related later.  5.  Τροπὴ λέξεως, turning of a phrase, when a word changes unto another signification:  thus the testimony of Jesus is taken differently in Revelation 1:2 and Revelation 1:9.  6.  Δύο and δίς, two and twice.  Hardly anything here is singular, but all things doubled, or the same matter set down twice, like the descent of Christ and Jerusalem, Gog and Magog, etc.  7.  Συζυγία, joining together, when two things, agreeing in external form, are brought near to each other as if they were the same in substance, as in Revelation 20:4, 5 and 20:6, 7, in which place see what things are to be said.  8.  Κατάβασις/descent, by which not only is a matter explained more clearly, but also there is a descent, as it were, from the whole unto the parts, as you will see on Revelation 13:11, 12.  Thus in Revelation 15:1, Angels were equipped with vials:  in verse 7, they receive the vials; and in verse 8, they are supposed to pour them out:  in Revelation 16, they are commanded to pour them out, and they pour them out.  9.  Νόημα/thought, when one thing is mentioned, but another is understood; for example, under the piercing of enemies the salvation of the elect is understood, Revelation 6:2.  10.  Παρέμμιξις/mixing, when anything of a foreign nature is inserted, as in Revelation 21:24, 26.  11.  Enallage, either of number, Revelation 1:3, or of tense, Revelation 4:10,[3] or of person, Revelation 5:9, 10.[4]  12.  Συμπλοκὴ/ interweaving, when concerning many things many things are distinctly predicted, which are to be accommodated to those another way by the Law of distribution, as in Revelation 2:22, 23 (Cotterius’ Exposition of the Apocalypse “Prolegomena” 29, etc.).

[1] Artemidorus Daldianus, or Ephesius, was a second century professional diviner, interpreter of dreams, and compiler of divination methods.

[2] Achmet was an eighth century AD Muslim interpreter of dreams.

[3] Revelation 4:10:  “The four and twenty elders fall down (πεσοῦνται, future tense) before him that sat on the throne, and worship (προσκυνοῦσι, present tense in the Textus Receptus; προσκυνήσουσιν, future tense in almost all others) him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast (βάλλουσι, present tense in the Textus Receptus; βαλοῦσιν, future tense in almost all others) their crowns before the throne, saying…”

[4] Revelation 5:9, 10:  “And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us (αὐτοὺς/them, in the great majority of Byzantine manuscripts in in Codices Sinaiticus and Alexandrinus) unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.”

Revelation’s Utility, Difficulty, and Scope

3. Since many judge of this book less candidly and piously than Castalio, and think it, because they understand not the whole, to be entirely useless, and suppose all the studies into it to be superfluous, it will be suitable here to discuss the use and excellence of the Apocalypse in a few words.]  The utility of this book is enormous and exceptional (Pererius, Cluverus), and above (as Jerome says) all praise (Cluverus), as Revelation 1:3 and 22:7 teach (Cluverus, similarly Pererius).  No book was ever written with greater skill, with each and every word, as if in two scales, weighed (More’s Synchronistic Rationale of the Apocalyptic Visions[1] 5:15:181).  The use of this book is, either, 1.  common with the other books of Sacred Scripture, for this book prescribes and inculcates the principles and duties of the whole faith and life (Cluverus’ Apocalyptic Dawn 10), and exhibits a most perfect body of Divinity (Cotterius’ Exposition of the Apocalypse “Prolegomena” 14) [concerning which see Cotterius].  Here it is taught concerning the divine authority and excellence of the Sacred Scriptures, Revelation 1:2, 3, 11; 10:7; etc.; that God is one, and to be worshipped alone, Revelation 4:8, etc.; 5:13, etc.; but that Angels are not to be adored, Revelation 19:10; 22:9; that God is the beginning and the end, the creator and preserver, of all things, Revelation 1:8; 4:11; 5:13; etc.; that the true God is one and triune, Revelation 1:4, 5, the Father, and Christ, Revelation 1:8, 11, 17; 2:8, 23; 3:14; 17:14; 19:12, etc., and the Holy Spirit, Revelation 2:7, 11; 3:1, 6; 4:5, 8, etc.; that the Son of God is very man, Revelation 1:5; 5:5; 22:16; that all men by nature are blind, corrupt and miserable, Revelation 1:17; 3:17; 5:4; but that they are justified freely, and cleansed from sins by the blood of the Lamb, Revelation 1:5, 6; 3:18; 5:9; 7:14, etc.; that Christ is the firstborn from the dead, Revelation 1:5, living forever, Revelation 1:18, the high priest, Revelation 1:5, 6, 13, Prophet, Revelation 2:1, 16; 5:5; 19:11, King, Revelation 1:5, 13; 7:17; 19:12, 15, etc.; that the Kingdom of Christ is spiritual, Revelation 3:18, 20; 20:4-6; that God makes use of Teachers and ministers in the Church, Revelation 1:16, 20; 2:1, 18; etc.; that the duty of Magistrates and Kings is to acknowledge, etc., Christ as King, Revelation 17:16, 17; 21:24; that it is the virtue of the pious to follow Christ in all things, Revelation 14:4, 5, 7, to avoid idolatry, hypocrisy, scandals, etc., Revelation 2:14, 20; 3:1, 15; etc.; and that rewards are reserved for the pious, punishments for the impious, both of this and of the future age, Revelation 2:22; 3:10; 11:11; etc.  Or, 2.  the use is proper and singular, common with few or no books of the Scripture (Cluverus),  to describe all the progress of the Church, and nearly all the eminent situations and events, both prosperous and adverse, which were going to be in the several ages of the Church from its rising unto the setting of the same in the earth, as if to show it on a tower and in one glance:  so that out of such foresight they might have a prepared and fortified soul for suffering evils (Pererius):  so that Atheists, and Jews, and all others, while Paganism, Turkism, and Idolatry might appear to prevail in the earth, might know that nothing of these happens which, previously and clearly foreseen, was not here predicted by God; and thence they are compelled to acknowledge the Providence of God, and the fidelity and vigilance of the Messiah, over His Church (More’s Synchronistic Rationale of the Apocalyptic Visions 198).  Moreover, this book is a clear mirror in which all Christians contemplate equally the Apostasy of the Church, and the way unto its renewal; and at the same time they might learn whether they might thoroughly emerge from that Apostasy, or whether they might remain in it for a certain time, etc. (More’s Synchronistic Rationale of the Apocalyptic Visions 199).  For here the mystery of Antichristian impiety is treated clearly and fully; and the Kingdom of Antichrist, its innate character, place, subordinates and assistants, are accurately described.  Finally, in this book the Temple or Mosaic Tabernacle, and various histories, prophecies, and mysteries of the Old Testament, are studiously inculcated and skillfully explained.  We have illustrious prophecies, for example, Revelation 1:4 and 4:5, 6 concerning the seven lamps and eyes of Zechariah 3:9 and 4:2; Revelation 1:7 concerning that lamentation of Zechariah 12:10; Revelation 2:7, 14, 17 concerning Paradise and the tree of life, concerning Balaam and Balac, concerning Manna; and Revelation 3:5 concerning the book of life; and in other places of this book concerning the key of David,[2] concerning the pillars of the temple,[3] concerning the root of David,[4] concerning Michael the Archangel,[5] and concerning other things a great many:  whence it is apparent that the Apocalypse presents shining testimonies, both for itself and the rest of the Scriptures, of its divine origin (Cluverus).  [Let those who think all labor expended in the study and interpretation of this book to be poorly placed now go and judge more justly, modestly, and reverently.  But the obscurity of the book appears to hinder this study.  In the fourth place, it is to be treated concerning this matter.]  That this book is most obscure all admit, and the matter itself speaks (Pererius).  The cause of which is, 1.  the sublimity of it; 2.  that it is full of symbols and enigmas (Lapide), and its words cannot generally be taken literally, and the visions and images appear to be able to be applied agreeably to many things; 3.  because all Prophecy, says Irenæus, is an enigma before it is fulfilled,[6] as it is evident in the prophecies of the Old Testament concerning Messiah, etc.; but God willed that these prophecies remain hidden until the time of fulfillment, either because it was not fitting that holy things be given to dogs, etc., or because it was not expedient for them to be understood; namely, lest those, against whom many things are predicted in them, be exceedingly provoked, and rage more violently against the people of God (Pererius); or, so that by this method He might stir diligence of attention and examination (Gomar).  God wraps these mysteries in the obscure enigmas of types, 1.  because the mysteries, oracles and Prophecies, for the sake of authority and reverence, ought to be handled mystically:  2.  because with respect to such they were both delighted and accustomed, as the Jews from the style of the Prophets, so also the Gentiles, who also have their own mysteries, oracles, bipods, cauldrons, etc., lest they should think that the Church of Christ to be destitute of all oracles:  3.  because He willed to look after our hunger, so that there might always be something for us to learn, lest we slight the material, despising its ease (Apocalyptic Harmony):  4.  lest these things be disclosed to those other than the servants of God, so that strangers from the covenant, hearing all things in similitudes, might not hear, etc., Mark 4:12 (Cotterius).  Yet this obscurity of the book ought to acquire for it, not contempt, but rather veneration:  and concerning this it could aptly be said what Socrates said concerning the book of Heraclitus,[7] Those things which I understood appeared to me very noble and illustrious, but I believe that what things I did not understand are most excellent.[8]  Knowingly, prudently, and piously Dionysius says, Therefore, I do not reject the Apocalypse because I do not understand it, but I admire it all the more, and suppose that there is a certain more recondite meaning in the words, etc. (Pererius).  Moreover, there are certain things, scattered throughout the entire context, spoken most clearly, and others things intelligible through repetition, from which those abstruse things are able to be searched out, in such a way that to the reader, not obstinate, but candid, it would suffice (Cluverus):  certain things are explained here with sufficient clarity (Gomar), and it is not very difficult to explain many things (Pererius).  And, in general, this prophecy is not inexplicable (Cluverus, similarly Pererius, More’s Works 37), as it is easily proven, 1.  from the promise to the readers, etc., and the blessing, Revelation 1:3:  2.  from the repeated exhortations to consider it, etc., as in Revelation 13:9, 18; 17:9; etc.:  3.  because God did not will that it should be hidden from mortals, but He commanded it to be promulgated and disclosed, Revelation 1:11; 10:11; and He prohibited its sealing, Revelation 22:10.  John received from the Angel the little book no longer sealed, but already opened by the Lamb, Revelation 5:5, 9; 10:2, 8.  For as a book is said to be sealed which is not able to be understood, as in Isaiah 29:11, 12; Daniel 8:26; 12:4, 9; so also on the other hand unsealed, the sentence of which is able to be observed.  4.  From the end of the Divine counsel, which is by no means frustrated.  This was that coming things might be revealed to His servants, Revelation 1:1; 22:6, 16 (Cluverus’ Apocalyptic Dawn 20).  And that the intelligibility of the Apocalyptic prophecies was open and undeniable, it is able to be demonstrated from matters most well known and generally admitted (More’s Works 37).  [Now, you will see the demonstration in the Reverend Author, chapter 7.]  Neither are supports wanting, with which we enter upon the understanding of the more obscure figures, which sort are, as history and experience, so also especially the prophetic Scriptures; so that we might compare the Apocalyptic types with the visions and phrases of the old Prophets, etc. (Pareus).  [The remaining things will be evident from things to be said.  These things concerning the fourth question.  5.  It is to be inquired concerning the scope or end of this book.]  It was, partly, 1.  Prophetic, concerning those things which were going to happen after the advent of Christ, whether only a few ages, or unto the second advent of Christ (Apocalyptic Harmony); so that He might reveal beforehand all the progress of the Church from its beginning unto the completion of the same in the earth, or unto the end of the world (Pererius):  partly, 2.  διδακτικὸς/ didactic, and consolatory, so that by these visions John himself, the Asiatic Churches and all others, are refreshed, and are not terrified by the evils about to come upon the world, and are roused unto perseverance and patience; and so that they would not promise to themselves a worldly kingdom, but would rather prepare themselves for the cross (Apocalyptic Harmony), and by the hope of a blessed immortality would rightly undertake life, etc. (Cotterius’ Exposition of the Apocalypse 35).

[1] Visionum Apocalypticarum Ratio Synchronistica.

[2] Revelation 3:7.

[3] Revelation 3:12.

[4] Revelation 5:5; 22:16.

[5] Revelation 12:7.

[6] Against Heresies 4:26:1.

[7] Heraclitus of Ephesus (c. 535-475) was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher.  At the root of his philosophy is the doctrine of the ceaseless change of the universe; however, this constant flux is governed by law, or logos (the reason in things).  Among the ancients, he was known for his obscurity of expression.  It is said that his book, On Nature, was deposited in the great temple of Artemis at Ephesus.

[8] Diogenes Lærtius’ Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers 2:22.

Revelation’s Authority and Authorship

There are not a few things that are to be set down beforehand for the explication of this book in the place of πρωθεόριας, a preface.  [1.  Concerning the authority of this book.]  Formerly some were rejecting the Divine authority of this book:  first various heretics, like Cerdon[1] and Marcion,[2] as Tertullian[3] testifies;[4] then the Alogi[5] and Theodotiani,[6] as Epiphanius[7] and Augustine testify;[8] then Orthodox men, as Eusebius[9] testifies,[10] especially Caius.[11]  Others doubted concerning the author, and therefore they did not at all admit the Apocalypse among the authentic writings of the New Testament, as formerly the Churches of the Greeks, as Jerome testifies[12] (Gomar).  Why [however] it was doubted concerning the authority and authorship of this book, I believe the reasons to be, that for a long time it was in the hands of a few, not being included the Codices given to the common people, lest the hatred of those ruling should be stirred against Christians as a result of these things which are here predicted concerning Rome.  In the next place, because what things are here said concerning the Resurrection, concerning the Thousand years, concerning Gog and Magog, these things sound like they agree with the Jewish books; and, although here they are set down with another sense, nevertheless they were seized upon by Cerinthus[13] and Christians, Judaizing more than is right unto a sense distinctly Jewish; as also that concerning Jerusalem descended out of heaven (Grotius).  Add that nothing here appears to be of Apostolic dignity and majesty (Erasmus[14] on Revelation 22:20).  Which is remarkable, since nearly all things here have been transcribed verbatim out of the Prophets (Beza).  Indeed, many things contribute to the Canonical authority of this book:  1.  the sanctity of its doctrine, which also agrees with the Canonical books precisely, as far as the person, offices, benefits, worship, etc., of Christ (Gomar):  2.  sayings and formulas of speaking proper to the sacred writers, but never used by others, for example, revelation, as the Prophecy was called a vision; seven spirits; firstborn from the dead, etc.:  Who among men has thus revealed these things?  3.  familiar types of Scripture, not extant in the work of any human author; which are here frequent, as the throne, the four living creatures, the horses, the river, the tree, etc.:  4.  the style, or the structure of speech, which sort was never used by mortals, like Revelation 1:3, Blessed is he that reads…hears…keeps; and Revelation 1:6-8, to Him who love us: Behold He comes in the clouds:  I am the α/Alpha and ω/Omega; you see γοργότητα/ vehemence not human:  5.  κυριολογία, the proper use of words; he discusses the individual matters in a manner suitable to the nature of them, for example, he says that Christ received, not learned, the Revelation, etc. (Cotterius in his “Prolegomena”):  6.  the prophecies concerning the state of the Church, specific and proven by the event, and therefore divine, Isaiah 41:23 (Gomar, similarly Cotterius):  7.  the mysteries here, proper to Sacred Scripture:  8.  a form altogether wise and divine.  And indeed these things are more than sufficient.  Nevertheless, we add the consent of men (Cotterius).  This book was received by the majority, indeed to such an extent that Epiphanius counts those that reject it among the heretics (Beza).  Those that lived in the age closest to John’s were expressly approving it (Gomar), like Justin Martyr[15] in Against Trypho, and Irenæus[16] in Against Heresies 5 (Gomar, thus Cotterius), which two explained this book in commentaries, as Jerome testifies in Concerning Illustrious Men.[17]  These men are followed by Theophilus of Antioch,[18] Melito of Sardis,[19] Origen,[20] and Dionysius of Alexandria,[21] as Eusebius testifies in his Ecclesiastical History 4:23, 25; 6:24; 7:24.  Likewise, Clement of Alexandria[22] in his Pedagogue; Epiphanius in his Against Heresies 51, 54; Chrysostom in his second homily on Psalm 118 (Gomar).  Damascenus,[23] Andreas of Cæsarea,[24] etc., so that the testimony of Jerome, asserting that it was not received in his time by the Greeks, might be understood of the common people and common Bishops.  Of the Latins agree Tertullian, Cyprian,[25] Hillary,[26] Augustine, Jerome, etc.  The Councils of Ancyra and Rome,[27] convened in the fifth century, and the Fourth Council of Toledo, convened in the year 636 (Cotterius).  Now, that some Orthodox men rejected the Apocalypse, it happened in no way by the fault of the writing and rightfully, but on account of the abuse of that, and the errors which were confirmed by arguments sought from it; which arguments some, since they were not able to unloose them, cut the knot, denying its authority, as others rejected the Epistle to the Hebrews because it appeared to favor the Novatians[28] (Gomar).  [2.  It is to be inquired concerning the author, or Writer of the book:]  The Writer was, either, 1.  Cerinthus (certain interpreters in Cluverus), as Caius in Eusebius maintained (Gomar):  which is foolish, because the errors of Cerinthus are here expressly refuted (Gomar, similarly Cluverus).  Or, 2.  John, called the elder (certain interpreters in Ribera).  For there were two Johns, both buried in Ephesus, the Apostle, and the elder, a disciple of the Apostle, as Jerome relates (Ribera).  Or, 3.  the Apostle John (Beza, Grotius, Cluverus, Gothofredus, Ribera, Gomar, Durham), as many things suggest; 1.  The very text of the book (Cluverus):  for his name, John, is set down simply (Cotterius, Durham), and he says that he testified concerning the word of God, and the testimony of Christ, and all that he saw, Revelation 1:2, which agrees especially with the Apostle, from a comparison with John 19:35 (Gomar); 21:24 (Durham); 1 John 1:1-3 (Gomar); and he adds that he was on the island of Patmos, etc., Revelation 1:9, where Irenæus, Eusebius, and all, agree that he was banished by Domitian[29] (Gomar, Cluverus, Cotterius, Durham).  2.  The style, and the many formulæ of speaking familiar to John:  as that he calls Christ the lamb, Revelation 5 (Cluverus, similarly Cotterius, Beza), and the word,[30] as in John 1:1, 29 (Cluverus, Gothofredus); that concerning Him he says, He who loved us, and cleansed us from sins in his own blood,[31] as in 1 John 1:7, and those who pierced Him, etc., Revelation 1:7, as in John 19:37.  3.  It is fitting that the book, which is the proper work of Christ, be exhibited to us by the labor of one from the order of Apostles (Cotterius), and that this most excellent revelation be exhibited by the most beloved disciple (Cluverus).  Add that it belonged to Apostolic authority to write, not to one Church, but to all the Asiatic Churches (Beza).  4.  They believed this book to be the Apostle John’s, to which witnesses credit is deservedly given (Grotius):  Justin in his Against Trypho; Irenæus in his Against Heresies 4:37, 50; 5:30; Tertullian in his Against Marcion 4, and in many other places.  With whom agree Clement of Alexandria (Grotius, thus Cluverus) in his Pedagogue 2:10, 12 (Cluverus), Origen (Grotius, Cluverus) in tractate 12 on Matthew 20 (Cluverus), and after them many others (Grotius).  Epiphanius, Against Heresies 54:  Εἰ γὰρ, etc., If thou wert regenerated, and rightly educated, it was required that thou study the twenty-seven books of the Old Testament, which are numbered twenty-two by the Hebrews, and the four Gospels…and the Apocalypse of John.  Augustine, City of God: Concerning these things the same Evangelist John spoke in that book which is called the Apocalypse, etc.  And, that this was the opinion of all the Latins, Jerome testifies to Dardanus by Epistle[32] (Cluverus).  Dionysius of Alexandria in Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History 7:24 says (Gomar), Ἐγὼ δὲ ἀθετῆσαι, etc., I would not dare to reject this book…. I suppose that a wonderful expectation of future things is contained in the several chapters of it.  When I do not understand it, I consider there to be a certain, higher sense in the words, etc. (Grotius, Gomar).  Now, I believe that this book was preserved by the Elder John, the disciple of the Apostle:  thence it was accomplished that it was believed to be his work by some (Grotius).  [Nevertheless, others deny that John was the Writer of this book, or they doubt it, supported by these arguments:]  1.  Because John in the Gospel never set down his own name, neither in the Epistles; but in the Apocalypse he often impresses it (certain interpreters in Ribera, similarly Erasmus out of Dionysius of Alexandria).  Response:  This reason is empty (Beza).  It is one thing to write a history, another thing to write a prophecy (Beza, Ribera).  The truth of a history depends on sources other than the Author (Beza).  But in a prophecy, the entire authority of which hangs upon the author; the name was necessarily to be set down, otherwise it would be disregarded with him unknown.  Therefore, the prophets always wrote their name at the beginning of their prophecy, and they often impress it (Ribera, similarly Beza).  Hence Jeremiah impresses his name one hundred and twenty times.  Thus after Daniel 7, is repeated in nearly every versicle, I, Daniel.  Thus also Isaiah, etc.  Moreover, the name of John, unless I am mistaken, is only repeated five times, and I, John only three times (Beza).  2.  Because there is a great difference of style between the Gospel and Epistles of John and the Apocalypse (certain interpreters in Ribera); and the former are more refined, the latter quite unrefined (Gomar, similarly Ribera), rough, uncouth, not without solecisms[33] (certain interpreters in Ribera).  Response:  This hinders nothing, for there ought to be a difference of style in history and in prophecy (Ribera, similarly Gomar).  In his Gospel he wished to be similar to the Evangelists, in prophecy to the Prophets (Ribera).  In the Gospel he narrated the things he heard and saw by the inspiration and direction of God, after his own habit of speech, which he had received from the Holy Spirit by the gift of tongues:  However, in the Apocalypse he wrote what things the Angel had dictated, and in such a style as God wished to be used (Gomar).  Add that many things agree with the style of the Evangelist, even indeed the previously listed sentences and words (Gomar, similarly Ribera).  3.  Because in the Greek Codices the title is of John (not the Evangelist, but) the Theologian (Erasmus).  Responses:  1.  That was done for no other reason than that after Origen, Christians gave the title Theologian, which title the Platonists gave to Orpheus,[34] to John with better justification.  This appears to be true out of Origen, Athanasius, Chrysostom, and both Cyrils[35] (Grotius).  2.  No one is ignorant that John the Evangelist κατ᾽ ἐξοχὴν, by preeminence, was called by the ancients the Theologian, for he wrote best concerning the divinity of Christ (Beza, similarly Gomar, Cluverus):  whence Athanasius says, It is called the Apocalypse of John because that very John, the Evangelist and Theologian, saw this revelation on Patmos:  Both in the Complutensian codex[36] and in the Royal Codex[37] the title is, The Apocalypse of the Apostle and Evangelist, Saint John the Theologian (Gomar).  4.  Because Dorotheus omits the Apocalypse in the catalogue of Sacred Scripture:[38]  Anastasius,[39] Dionysius of Alexandria, and Eusebius speak doubtfully concerning it (certain interpreters in Gomar).  Responses:  1.  The unfavorable opinion of a few, more obscure Fathers is not at all to be opposed to the majority of more ancient Fathers, whom we brought forward previously (Gomar).  2.  That without just cause they rejected this book, the reasons for which they, having been agitated, did this, show (Beza); namely, that they are not able by any other method to loosen the arguments of the Chiliasts, etc.  And since they believed that they had received a suitable interpretation of that Millennium in Revelation 20, with authority of the Apocalypse left unimpaired, they rested from the beginning of impiety not easily to be removed with respect to guilt, and to be trembled at with respect to posterity (Mede on Revelation 20).  Concerning questions of who the author of this book was, or when it was written, I am no more solicitus than concerning the cask or time of wine, as long as the wine is good.  I am persuaded that he was a true prophet and disciple of God; and I have no more doubt concerning this than concerning the Gospel of John.  And yet I understand hardly a thousandth part of this book (Castalio[40]).  [These things concerning the second question.

[1] Cerdon was an early second century Docetic Gnostic of Syria.  He taught that there were two Gods:  the vengeful and demanding creator God of the Old Testament, and the loving and merciful God of the New Testament revealed in Jesus Christ.

[2] Marcion (c. 85-160) was a Gnostic heretic from Sinope, Turkey.  He was very influential in the early Church, in spite of being excommunicated.  Marcion asserted that the God of the Old Testament was a lesser demiurge, a God of law, strict justice, and wrath.  The God of the New Testament is a God of love and grace, revealed in Jesus Christ, and purely preached by Paul.  It is not surprising that Marcion rejected all of the Old Testament, and the New Testament books that speak favorably of the God of the Old Testament.  Marcion’s canon consisted of an expurgated edition of Luke and ten of Paul’s epistles.

[3] Tertullian was a Latin Father of the second century.  He labored as an apologist during times of persecution.

[4] Against Marcion 1.

[5] The Alogi, or Alogians, were a group of Christian heretics, flourishing in Asia Minor around 170 AD.  Epiphanius gave them the name “Alogi” both because he considered them to be illogical (anti-logikous), and because they denied the Christian Logos doctrine.  In connection with this doctrine, they denied the Johannine authorship of the Gospel of John and Revelation, attributing them instead to the gnostic Cerinthus.

[6] The Theodotians were followers of Theodotus of Byzantium, a second century heretic.  They believed that the man Jesus became the Christ only after His baptism.

[7] The profound erudition of Epiphanius (c. 310-403) led to his installation as Bishop of Salamis.  He was something of a heresy hunter, combating Apollinaris, the disciples of Origen, and even at one point Chrysostom.

[8] Panarion 54; Concerning Heresies 30.

[9] Eusebius (c. 267-338) was Bishop of Cæsarea, author of that famous Ecclesiastical History, and supporter of Constantine the Great.

[10] Ecclesiastical History 7:25.

[11] Caius, Presbyer of Rome (early third century), was a Christian author; his works survive only in fragments.  It appears that he attributed John’s Gospel and Apocalypse to the heresiarch Cerinthus.

[12] Letter to Dardanus.

[13] Cerinthus (c. 100) was a heretic:  Like the Ebionites, he taught his followers to keep the Jewish law for salvation, and denied the divinity of Jesus (believing that the Christ came to Him at His baptism); like some Gnostics, he denied that the Supreme God made the world, and believed that the bodyless, spiritual Christ inhabited the man Jesus.  He also anticipated a millennium of earthly pleasures after the Second Coming but before the General Resurrection.

[14] Desiderius Erasmus (1467-1536) was a Dutch humanist, a classical scholar, and a Roman Catholic theologian.  Although he never left the Roman Church, he sought the reformation of its corruptions, and he contributed greatly to the Reformation through the production of his various editions of the Greek New Testament and his Annotationes in Novum Testamentum.  He was certainly one of the greatest and most influential scholars of his time.

[15] Justin, also known as the Martyr, was one of the great Greek apologists of the second century.

[16] Irenæus was a second century Church Father, born near Smyrna, but serving as Bishop in Lyon.  He was a disciple of Polycarp, who was in turn a disciple of the Apostle John.

[17] Liber de Viris Illustribus.

[18] Theophilus (second century) was converted to Christianity from paganism, and he was ordained as Bishop of Antioch (c. 168).

[19] Melito (died c. 180) was Bishop of Sardis, near Smyrna in Asia Minor.  Melito provides what may be the earliest surving list of the Christian canon of the Old Testament which closely parallels that received by Protestants, excepting its omission of Esther.

[20] Origen (c. 185-c. 254) succeeded Clement of Alexandria as the head of the catechetical school in Alexandria.  He was perhaps the greatest scholar of his age.

[21] Dionysius of Alexandria (died 267) was a pagan convert to Christianity.  This student of Origen was eventually raised to the bishopric of Alexandria in 247.  Dionysius is remembered for his opposition to the Novatians and Sabellians.  He wrote commentaries on Luke, John, and Revelation.

[22] Titus Flavius Clemens Alexandrinus (died c. 215) was the head of the Christian catechetical school in Alexandria, Egypt.  He was trained in pagan philosophy before his conversion to Christianity.

[23] John Damascenus (c. 676-c. 760) was a monk of St. Sabas, near Jerusalem.  He is remembered for his piety of life, writings, and compilation of chants in the eastern style.

[24] Andreas (563-637) was Bishop of Cæsarea in Cappadocia.  His work on Revelation is the oldest surviving Greek patristric commentary on the book, which preserves older traditional material.

[25] Cyprian (died 258) served as Bishop of Carthage.  He is noted for his refusal to readmit into the Church those who had “lapsed” under persecution.

[26] Hillary, Bishop of Poitiers (died 368), was, among the Latin Fathers, one of the chief defenders of the Nicean theology against Arianism.

[27] The Councils and Ancyra and Rome were held in 314 and 382 respectively.

[28] Novatian (c. 200-258) was a priest and scholar.  He argued against readmission to the church for those who had lapsed during persecution, and this brought him into conflict with the Roman Bishop Cornelius.  Novatian was excommunicated.  The Novatians broke away from the Catholic Church, even rebaptizing converts.

[29] Titus Flavius Domitianus (51-96 AD) was Roman Emperor from 81 to 96 AD.  He was the younger brother and successor of Titus.  He was a ruthless and efficient ruler, zealous for the observance of traditional Roman religion, and a persecutor of Jews and Christians.

[30] Revelation 19:13.

[31] Revelation 1:5.

[32] Jerome’s Epistle 129 (dated 414) is to Dardanus, a prefect of Gaul.

[33] A solecism is a grammatical impropriety.

[34] In Greek mythology, Orpheus was the son of the Thracian river god Oiagros and the Muse Calliope.  He is reckoned as the chief of the poets and musicians, and a pioneer in a great many aspects of civilization, including theology.

[35] Cyril of Alexandria (c. 378-444) was a participant in the third ecumenical council, held at Ephesus.  He repudiated the heretical Nestorian Christology, but tended himself to the monophysitism.  Cyril of Jerusalem (315-386) was elected Bishop of Jerusalem in 350.  He was a significant early theologian, and he is remembered for his Catechetical Lectures.

[36] The Complutensian Polyglot (taking its name from the university in Alcalá [Complutum, in Latin]; 1514) contained the first printed edition of the Septuagint, Jerome’s Vulgate, the Hebrew Text, Targum Onkelos with a Latin translation, and the first printed edition of the Greek New Testament.  The labor of the scholars was superintended by Cardinal Francisco Ximénez de Cisneros.

[37] The Royal Codex is the 1550 edition of the Greek New Testament published by Robert Estienne.  It is called the Editio Regia because of the handsome Greek font used in the printing.

[38] Dorotheus (c. 255-362) was Presbyter/Bishop of Tyre.  In his De Vita Prophetarum et Apostolorum, he did not attribute the Apocalypse to John.

[39] Anastasius Bibliothecarius (c. 810-879) was a papal librarian, who compiled the Chronographia Tripartita from the Greek chronicles of Syncellus, Theophanes, and Nicephorus.

[40] Sebastian Castalio (1515-1563) distinguished himself as a scholar by means of his linguistic talents, evident in his Annotationes in Vetus et Novum Testamentum.  However, the greatness of Castalio’s talents did not extend to the logico-synthetic work of theology, and he ran into controversy with Calvin.  He was inclined towards Pelagianism, and his views were influential in the development of Socinianism.  As a translator of the Bible, he takes overmuch liberty, attempting to mold the speech of the prophets to conform to the standards of classical Latin.

Synopsis Preface: Romans-Revelation

After longer delays than I would have wished, at last by the help of the good God comes forth the second Part of the Fourth and Final Volume of the Synopsis,[1] the Colophon of our Biblical Labor, most longed for by me, long awaited by others, not unwelcome, I hope, which, beginning with the Epistles of Paul, comes to a close in Revelation.  It is not necessary for me to enlarge either my fault, or the injury hitherto brought against thy patience, by the new and unnecessary delays of a prolix Epistle.  The nature and method of the Work is the same here as in the preceding Volumes; the plan entirely the same:  concerning which, since I explained fully in the Preface of the First Volume,[2] it would be vain to repeat the same things here.  The Authors, from whose fields we have reaped these things, some are common to the rest of the Volumes, and especially to the first Part of this Volume, of which sort are the Critical Interpreters published in London,[3] among whom is Grotius, from whom, just as it was done in the first Part, I have transcribed almost all things verbatim, as almost untouched, if you take away the testimonies of others brought forward by himself; the commentaries of Grotius on the New Testament[4] are had in my Synopsis.  Furthermore, Beza;[5] Camerarius;[6] Piscator;[7] Hammond;[8] Schmidt;[9] Louis de Dieu;[10] Mede;[11] Lightfoot[12] in Harmony, Chronicle, and Order of the New Testament; Gataker;[13] Gomar, who wrote Annotations, indeed brief but not at all to be despised, on several Apostolic Epistles and on the first three chapters of Revelation;[14] Junius[15] in Parallels;[16] Calvin, from whom I selected not with a sparing hand, especially in the latter Epistles; Norton Knatchbull,[17] Eques Auratus,[18] whose several Annotations, while in the former portion I set them forth as if gathered out of Hammond, having been advised concerning that matter, and informed by that most Illustrious Knight that his Notes were composed before the Commentaries of Hammond saw the light, I restored the Extracts to that first author, and I wish the credit to be paid to him.  Others proper to this Part in general, who here follow:  In all the Apostolic Epistles, Estius, who illucidated them with prolix and most learned Commentaries;[19] Justinianus, an erudite and prolific interpreter;[20] Strigelius,[21] consulted in the first Volume of my Work; Vorstius, a man keen and erudite, who skillfully investigated the plan of the Sacred Scriptures, and happily achieved in many things, although afterwards he fell to certain inferior doctrines;[22] Dickson the Scot, who interpreted the Epistles, briefly but perspicaciously, ingeniously and with judgment:[23]  On some Epistles of Paul, Zanchius, a Theologian like few others, whose Commentaries, composed with singular erudition and acumen, show their Author to be most learned:[24]  On the Epistle to the Romans, Pererius;[25] Toletus;[26] Willet,[27] previously adorned with his own praises; Pareus,[28] who long since among Theologians won the praise of doctrine and judgment attained; Stephanus de Brais, who recently published his Paraphrastic Analysis of this Epistle, illustrated with his Notes,[29] composed with talent and learning more than ordinary; Loius de Dieu, who composed a proper commentary on this Epistle, and that entirely worthy of such an Author, and was about to do the same in the remaining Epistles, if his life had been sufficiently long:  On Corinthians, our William Sclater[30] and Calixtus,[31] who not rarely covered with their brief little notes those things that you will seek in vain in the prolix Volumes of others:  On the first to the Corinthians, John Lightfoot, by whose lucubrations we were greatly helped in the former Volumes, recently (oh, the grief) snatched away from the literary and Christian Commonwealth, who by his Hebraic Hours elucidated this Epistle[32] in his manner, that is, most learnedly.  Now, since that place concerning manly Hair, 1 Corinthians 11:14, 15, is greatly entangled by the discord of Interpreters, and since the disturbances, stirred in the Church, and in the souls of many, concerning this matter, are not small, it seemed right to seek a more copious explication of that out of Salmasius’[33] Dialogue concerning Hair,[34] and out of Revius’ Disputations;[35] of which authors alone have I here made use, partly because others that had taken up the cracking of this nut were not at hand for me, partly because their other writings of them made them famous, and this writing of Revius went forth, defended by judgment of the rest of the Professors of Leiden.  On the Epistle to the Ephesians, Boyd, a Scot by nation,[36] who interpreted it with great industry, and with no less learning and judgment; Crocius,[37] an Interpreter of note:  On the Epistle to the Colossians, Davenant[38] and Daillé,[39] indeed recent Interpreters, but equal to the ancients, and placed far above my praises:  On the Epistles to the Thessalonians, Sclater:  On the second chapter of the later Epistle, Grotius, in his Dissertation Concerning the Places of the New Testament that Treat, or Are Thought to Treat, of Antichrist;[40] Simplicius Verinus, in Notes written concerning the same passages, the Author of which I hear was believed by many to be Salmasius; Hippolytus Fronto, under which name that most famous man, Peter Molinæus,[41] wished to lie hidden; Henry More of Cambridge, in his most learned Theological Works recently published in Latin:[42]  On the Epistles to Timothy, Magalianus,[43] who interpreted them diffusely and painstakingly; Scultetus[44] and Pricæus,[45] mentioned in the former Part of this Volume:  On the first to Timothy, Danæus, an acute and erudite writer;[46] Gothofredus, a man most renowned by due right,[47] who illustrated that famous place, 1 Timothy 3:15, 16, with most learned Dissertations:  On that to Philemon, Scipione Gentili,[48] who explained that with singular erudition and talent:  On the Epistle to the Hebrews, Ribera,[49] Pareus, Gerhard,[50] previously praised; Tena,[51] who exhibited it, explained with copious and learned commentaries; our William Gouge,[52] in whose prolix Work you will find uncommon learning employed with solid judgment; our Lawson,[53] whose small studies equal the large volumes of others; John Owen,[54] who has set forth now into the light lucubrations composed with uncommon learning on the first five chapters of that Epistle, who hereafter is going to set forth the remaining parts of the work begun, which I hope and long for, for my sake and that of the good public; Frederic Spanheim,[55] a not unequal Son of a Great Parent,[56] who treated ingeniously and most learnedly that famous question concerning the Author of this Epistle,[57] and he has happily untied that knot, most worthy of a liberator, if it is as I conclude; Reverend Buxtorf, who in his most erudite Essays Concerning the Ark, etc.,[58] illustrated that passage, Hebrews 9:4, with interpretations worthy of such an Author.  And since that passage concerning Melchizedek has hitherto vexed Interpreters, by them equally vexed, I gathered many things concerning this question out of Schlegelius, whose Tract concerning this is subjoined in the recent London edition of Tena,[59] out of Cregutus, in Revealer of Secrets,[60] and out of the Theses of Saumur:[61]  On the Epistle of James, Laurentius,[62] from whom I culled some things; and Reverend Gataker, who fully, piously, and, what to him was customary, most eruditely, explained the whole, indeed in sermons held for the people, but which were able to be held for the clergy.  Which κειμήλιον/valuable Manuscript, with others Treasures of that best of men, his most learned Son[63] communicated graciously with me:  On the Epistles of Peter, Gerhard:[64]  On Revelation, from the side of the Pontifical men, Ribera;[65] Pererius;[66] Cornelius à Lapide;[67] Gagnæus, Parisian Doctor;[68] Estius; Menochius;[69] from the side of the Reformers, Matthew Cotterius, a learned and acute man;[70] John Cluverus,[71] in his diffuse and learned Commentaries on this Book; Patrick Forbes, the Bishop of Aberdeen not so long ago,[72] whom his other writings also made famous; Brightman,[73] who, although he was deceived in some passages, which is not to be marveled at in such an obscure portion of the sacred page, but is to be endured, yet in not a few other places he shows both abundance of learning and acumen of talent; Pareus;[74] Gerhard Gravius in Apocalyptic Tables;[75] John Napier, a noble Scot;[76] Cocceius,[77] whom we have previously praised; an unknown author in the Apocalyptic Harmony;[78] James Durham the Scot, illustrious with respect to parentage, talent, and learning,[79] who appears to me to kindle a clear light upon not a few passages of this Book, and explained the whole with great judgment; Henry More, who set forth a great number of δυσνόητα, the hard to be understood, passages of this Book with explantions ingenious and erudite; Peter Molinæus and Maresius,[80] on those passages of this Book that treat of Antichrist; an Anonymous English writer, from whom I culled what things appeared to me to be useful; also another Anonymous writer of our nation, in a most erudite dissertation recently published concerning The Ruin of Antichrist; the most celebrated Downham concerning the passages of Sacred Scripture that regard Antichrist;[81] our Reverend Francis Potter, in his most ingenious tractate concerning the interpretation of the number six hundred and sixty-six.[82]  The great Ussher, Archbishop of Armagh not so long ago, in a small dissertation on the Roman Babylon.[83]  You have, dear Reader, both the Authors and the Books, from which those things, which we gathered in this latter part of our Work, were brought over. Nathaniel Stephens, both in his most learned Dissertation concerning the Name, Character, and Number of the Beast, and in certain manuscript Notes of his, which he benevolently transmitted to me.[84]  Now, since this, now made larger as Necessity has required, required expenses beyond the ordinary, it is just to recall with a grateful heart those that carried part of this burden for me; especially the Most Serene King, who first graciously defended me by His Royal Certificate, and restored me by His most benignant countenance and words, and then, with liberality worthy of such a King, He furnished for me papers free from taxes.[85]  In the next place, the Nobles, some most noble, and others to me men greatly to be honored, who either augmented their former benefits with succeeding ones, or put forth new specimens of their munificence and favor: Arthur, Earl of Anglesey, Keeper of the private Royal Seal, and of the most serene Court, Privy Counselor to His Majesty; John, Earl of Bridgwater, Privy Counselor to the King; Arthur, Earl of Donegal, Privy Counselor to the King (while he was living) in the Kingdom of Ireland; George Morley, the most Reverend Bishop of Winchester, Privy Counselor to the King;[86] John Robarts, Baron of Truro, Privy Counselor to the King; Robert Brooke, Baron; Thomas Clifford, Baron, recently the highest Treasurer in England; Lord Thomas Fairfax, Baron of Cameron; William Morice, Eques Auratus, Privy Counselor to the King; Robert Booth, Eques Auratus, and the highest of the Common Elected Judiciaries in the Kingdom of Ireland; Jacobus Langham, Eques Auratus, and Baronet; John Gell, Baronet; John Maynard, Eques Auratus, a man among Experts in Law of great name deservedly, and one of those serving the King at Law;[87] John Coppleston, Eques Auratus; William Sancroft, most Reverend Dean of the Church of St. Paul in London;[88] John Warner, Professor of Sacred Theology, Reverend Archdeacon of Rochester;[89] Thomas Grove, Armiger; John Vincet, Armiger; Thomas Sanders, Armiger; Samuel Sanders, a Noble; Matthew Robinson, the Reverend Theologian at York.[90]

With respect to what is remaining, Candid Reader, you are both to be advised and entreated.  This is what I would advise you, that, since in various places of the First Volume I set forth my purpose in the first delineation of the Work to make Additions on the end of the work, Concerning weights, measures, coins, etc., but afterwards, with my opinion for just reasons, as I judge, changed, and with my work enlarged beyond due measure and expectation, it was not possible to be done so conveniently; I wish for you to understand that I still consider the same, and in my soul ponder the one and the many other things regarding Biblical substance, of which sort are Chronicles, or a more abundant explication of certain passages of the Old and New Testaments, which would appear by my authors not sufficiently elucidated according to their dignity or difficulty; then certain Notes in the Apocryphal books; moreover, Questions Chronological, Geographical, or others Philological; Concerning the Laws of the Hebrews, concerning the Temple, and other things of this sort which would be able to be of use to the literary and Christian world, of which perhaps a small Volume might be made, which would follow my Synopsis in the place of an Appendix.  Now, I wish for learned men to be entreated, that they might deign to help me with their counsels and advice, either by pointing out those places of Sacred Scripture which they desire to be more fully explained, or by indicating the materials and Authors accommodated to this end, which Authors wrote best concerning this things, or by pointing out other things, as it appears to them.  And, although my Work for Englishmen calls me elsewhere for the present, concerning which I have elsewhere briefly opened my mind, that, since it is convient, I am about to explain more broadly; I will not default on my pledge given concerning things already said, but I will often devote my eyes and soul unto those things which protect the way for that Little Work, or supply material for that.  Finally, for a few things you are to be entreated, and, as I hope, prevailed upon, lest you regard it as a burden to forgive my errors to me, while I confess fault, and suppliantly ask forgiveness of thee.  I perceive that evidently I am able to be treated as guilty upon a twofold account, both of a matter poorly administrated, and of contrived delay.  Concerning the first, although that which I previously promised I trust that I fulfilled, and conducted nothing by evil deceit, nor deliberately altered the opinion of any Author, nor yielded to the prejudices or pursuits of parties; nevertheless, there are many things in which I need the pardon of learned men, for I have dared to undertake a burden plainly unequal to my shoulders; because those things which were translated by me, with a hastening pen, out of the English language into Latin, I too often polluted with a rude and impolite style; because perhaps in smaller matters many παροράματα/errors are able to be discovered, which it is allowed that they might creep into so long Work.  As far as the second is concerned, I do not deny that the patience of the Subscribers was much and often injured; yet I hold what I requite, and what is able to lighten me with respect to some part of the burden, and to excuse in a certain measure:  For I never knowingly enticed anyone with a vain hope, but I, when asked concerning the time of publication of whichever Volume, disclosed freely and earnestly both my wishes and intentions; I certainly would not have deceived anyone, unless I myself had found the burden of the work in substance greater than I had thought.  Although there are those that criticize the delays of this work as too long, the same, if they had come unto part of it, and had taken up some trial of themselves, perhaps they would judge concerning me and my diligence more generously.  Yet this will be to me for a bronze wall, that these and however many delays of the work are not to be ascribed to my idleness, but either to activities absolutely necessary, or to the quarrels of others, or to the carelessnesses of combat, or to my health, or, what is chief, to augments of the Work.  Now, although I might perhaps win some favor among men, yet before thee, the Highest Judge, there is no place of excuse for me, but only of supplication.  Therefore, I entreat thy most holy Divinity, that thou wouldst forgive the errors of whatever sort admitted by me in the whole course of this work for the sake of thine ineffable Clemency:  And I most willingly return to thee the greatest thanks of which I am capable and certainly obliged, for thou didst apply my soul to these most holy and salutary studies of thy Word, because thou hast deigned to impart to me, absolutely undeserving, in these a composed state of soul and body while proceeding, a suitable and favorable leisure in a great degree, and other means and suitable helps; because thou didst conduct this Work, hindered by difficulties neither small nor light, unto its completion.  Cause, Best and Greatest Father, that what was undertaken by thy leading, and completed by thy power, would result in the praise of thee and of the Sacred Scripture, and in the advantage of thy Church.  Amen.

[1] The Synopsis was originally printed in five physical volumes, but the last two, covering the New Testament, were reckoned as two parts of volume four.

[2] The “Preface to the Synopsis:  Genesis-Esther” can be found in Synopsis of Biblical Interpreters: Genesis 1-11.

[3] Critici Sacri.

[4] Hugo Grotius (1583-1645) distinguished himself in the field of international law, but he was interested in many fields of learning, including Christian apologetics, theology, and Biblical criticism and exegesis.  His exegetical talents are displayed in his Annotationes in Vetus et Novum Testamentum.  His dual interest in international law and theology caused him to run afoul of civil authorities:  Embracing Arminian doctrine, he was imprisoned from 1618-1621 after the Synod of Dort declared against the position.

[5] Theodore Beza (1519-1605) served as Rector of the Academy and Professor of Theology in Geneva.  He was the colleague, then successor, of Calvin.  He issued a Greek New Testament, and later published his Annotationes in Novum Testamentum.  He authored notable theological works, such as Tractationes Theologicæ and Summa Totius Christianismi, as well as poems and contributions to the Huguenot metrical psalter of Clement Marot.

[6] Joachim Camerarius the Elder (1500-1575) was a German Lutheran classical scholar, who served as a professor at Nuremberg, and later at Leipzig.  He assisted Phillip Melanchthon in the preparation of the Augsburg Confession, and engaged in efforts to mediate between Catholics and Protestants on behalf of King Francis I of France and Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian II.  He wrote Commentarius in Novum Fœdus.

[7] John Piscator (1546-1626) was a learned Protestant divine.  He held the position of Professor of Divinity at Herborn (1584).  His German version was the first, complete and independent, since that of Martin Luther.  Through the course of his career, his views changed from those of the Lutherans to those of the Calvinists, and from those of the Calvinists to those of the Arminians.  He remains widely regarded for his abilities as a commentator.  He wrote Commentarii in Omnes Libros Veteris et Novi Testamenti.

[8] Henry Hammond (1605-1660), a learned divine, served the Church of England as Rector of Penshurst, Kent (1633), Archdeacon of Chichester (1643), Canon of Christ Church, Oxford (1645), and Sub-dean (1648).  He was invited to sit in the Assembly at Westminister, but he participated instead in the rising at Tunbridge and other efforts in support of Charles I.  He remained a loyal Royalist and Anglican until the day of his death.  He wrote A Paraphrase and Annotations upon the New Testament, briefly Explaining All the Difficult Parts Thereof.

[9] Erasmus Schmidt (1560-1637), a Lutheran and learned philologist, served as Professor at Wittenburg in both Mathematics and Greek.  He wrote Concordantiæ Novi Testamenti Græci and Versio Novi Testamenti Nova ad Græcam Veritatem Emendata, et Notæ ac Animadversione in Idem.

[10] Louis de Dieu (1590-1642) was a Huguenot minister of Dutch origin, and he was a linguist and critic of extraordinary talent and judgment.  He wrote Animadversiones, sive Commentarius in Quatuor Evangelia, Animadveriones in Acta Apostolorum, Animadversiones in Epistolam ad Romanos, Accessit Spicilegium in Reliquas Ejusdem Apostoli, ut et Catholicas Epistolas, and Critica Sacra, sive Animadversiones in Loca Quædam Difficiliora Veteris et Novi Testamenti.

[11] Although most remembered for his work on John’s Apocalypse, The Key of the Revelation, and his escatological views, Joseph Mede (1586-1638) treats texts spanning the entire Bible in his Works.  Mede was first a student, and then a fellow, tutor, and Reader of Greek, at Christ’s College, Cambridge. Works relating to the Apocalypse: Key of the Revelation, Remains of Some Passages in the Apocalypse, A Paraphrase and Exposition of the Prophecy of St. Peter, 2 Epistle, Chapter 3, The Apostasy of the Latter Times, a Treatise on 1 Timothy 4:1, 2, Daniel’s Weeks Explained, Chapter 9:24, etc., Regum Romanum Est Regum Quartum Danielis, Chapter 2:40; Chapter 7:7, etc., Revelatio Antichristi, seu de Numeris Daniels 1290, 1335, Chapter 12:11, 12, Miscellanies of Divinity (including, Hieronymi Pronunciata de Dogmate Millenariorum, De Nomine Antichristi, Commentationes Minores in Apocalypsin, Summary Exposition of the Apocalyse).

[12] John Lightfoot (1602-1675) was a minister and divine of such distinction and learning that he was invited to sit as a member of the Assembly of Divines at Westminster.  He specialized in Rabbinic learning and lore.  He brought that learning to bear in his defense of Erastianism in the Assembly and in his comments upon Holy Scripture.  He had a long and distinguished career at Cambridge, serving as Master of Catharine Hall, and later as Vice-chancellor of the University.

[13] Thomas Gataker (1574-1654) was an English churchman, theologian, and critic, of great reputation in his own day.  On account of his great learning, he was invited to sit as a member of the Assembly of Divines at Westminster.  His abilities as a critic are on display in his commentaries on Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Lamentation, found in the English Annotations.

[14] Francis Gomar (1569-1641), as Professor of Divinity at Leiden (1594), was a colleague and opponent of Jacob Arminius.  After the Arminian conflict, he held a variety of academic posts.  He wrote Analysis et Explicatio Epistolarum et Quinque Priorum Capitum Apocalypseos.

[15] Francis Junius (1545-1602) was a Huguenot divine of great learning.  He suffered the varied fortunes of his people; but he had the opportunity to study in Geneva, and he was eventually appointed Professor of Divinity at Leiden (1592).  He labored with Tremellius in the production of their famous Latin Version of the Old Testament.  He is also remembered for his disputations with Jacob Arminius.

[16] Sacrorum Parallelorum Libri Tres, Quorum Postremus Justum et Methodicum Commentarium Exhibet in Epistolam ad Hebræos.

[17] Norton Knatchbull (1602-1685) was an English scholar; he served in Parliament for the county of Kent and the port of New Romney.  He wrote Annotations upon Some Difficult Texts in All the Books of the New Testament.

[18] Eques Auratus could be translated as Golden Knight; such were allowed to gild their armor.

[19] William Estius (1542-1613) was a Flemish Catholic scholar; he labored first as a lecturer on Divinity, then as the Chancellor at Douai.  In his commentary writing, as exemplified in his Commentarii in Sacram Scripturam and Commentarii in Epistolas Apostolicas, he focuses on the literal meaning of the text; he was highly regarded for his abilities as an exegete.

[20] Benedetto Justiniani (1550-1622) was an Italian Jesuit scholar.  He wrote In Omnes Beati Pauli Epistolas Explantiones and In Omnes Catholicas Epistolas Explanationes.

[21] Victorinus Strigelius (1524-1569) was a Melanchthonian Lutheran scholar; he served as Professor of Divinity at Jena and Wittenberg.  He was embroiled in controversy over his synergistic soteriology and, later in life, over his acceptance of the Reformed doctrine of the Lord’s Supper.  He wrote Hypomnemata in Omnes Libros Novi Testamenti, the second part of which is entitled Hypomnemata in Omnes Epistolas Pauli et Aliorum Apostolorum et in Apocalypsin.

[22] Conradus Vorstius (1569-1622) was a Dutch Arminian, condemned by the Synod of Dort and banished.  It is reported that he openly embraced Socinianism at the end of his life.  He wrote Commentarius in Omnes Epistolas Apostolicas, Exceptis Secunda ad Timotheum, ad Titum, ad Philemonem et ad Hebræos.

[23] David Dickson (1583-1662) was a Scottish Presbyterian divine.  Dickson served his church as a minister and Professor of Divinity at Glasgow and at Edinburgh.  He was ejected in 1662 after the Restoration, and he died later that same year.  He co-authored the Sum of Saving Knowledge, and he wrote commentaries on the Psalms, the Gospel of Matthew, and the Epistles of Paul, including Hebrews.

[24] Jerome Zanchius (1516-1590) was an Italian Reformer.  He had the opportunity to study under Peter Martyr Vermigli, to teach Old Testament in Geneva, and to teach with Zacharias Ursinus in Heidelberg.  He wrote commentaries on Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, and 1 John.

[25] Benedictus Pererius (1535-1610) was a Spanish Jesuit.  In addition to his Commentariorum et Disputationum in Genesim Tomi Quattuor, in which he addresses many of the great difficulties in Genesis, he wrote one hundred and eighty-eight dissertations on Romans (Disputationes in Epistolam ad Romanos), one hundred and eighty-three on Revelation, and twenty-three demonstrating that Mohammed was not the Antichrist of Daniel and Revelation.

[26] Franciscus Toletus (1532-1596) was a Spanish Jesuit theologian and exegete.  He was the first Jesuit Cardinal.  He supervised the production of the Clementine Vulgate, and wrote commentaries on the Gospels of Luke and John, as well as In Epistolam Beati Pauli Apostoli ad Romanos.

[27] Andrew Willet (1562-1621) was a product of Christ’s College, and he went on to serve the Anglican Church in various ministerial posts.  He is noteable for his abilities in Greek and Hebrew, and his familiarity with the literature necessary for the right interpretation of Scripture.  He wrote Hexapla; or, Sixfold Commentarie on Romans.

[28] David Pareus (1548-1622) was a Calvinist, serving the Reformed Church as a minister, churchman, and professor.  He wrote a commentary on the whole Bible, and it was held in high estimation among the Reformed.  His Commentarius in Epistolam ad Romanos was burned publicly at Oxford and Cambridge in 1622 by order of the Privy Council of James I because of his comments on Romans 13 in which he upholds the right of resistance to tyranny.

[29] Stephanus de Brais was a French Huguenot pastor at Nimes and Professor at the Academy of Saumur.  He wrote Epistolæ Pauli ad Romanos Analysis Paraphrastica, cum Notis (1670).

[30] William Sclater (1575-1626) was a fellow of King’s College, Cambridge.  He afterwards served as Vicar of Pitminster, although he was a man of puritanical convictions, rejecting ceremonies and the surplice.  He wrote Utriusque Epistolæ ad Corinthios Explicata Analytica, Una cum Scholiis.  He also wrote on the first four chapters of Romans, the Thessalonian epistles, and Malachi.

[31] Georgius Calixtus (1586-1656) was a German Melanchthonian Lutheran.  He aimed at the reconciliation of Calvinists and Lutherans, as well as of Catholics and Protestants.  He wrote commentaries on Exodus, Acts, Romans, Corinthians, and Colossians.

[32] Horæ Hebraicæ et Talmudicæ in Acta Apostolorum, Partem Aliquam Epistolæ ad Romanos, et Priorem ad Corinthios.

[33] Claudius Salmasius, or Claude Saumaise (1588-1653) was a French Protestant scholar of classical antiquity.  He succeeded Joseph Scaliger in the professorship at Leiden.  He is most remembered for his Defensio Regia pro Carolo I.

[34] Epistola ad Adream Colvium: Super Capitalem Undecimum Primæ ad Corinthios Epistolæ de Cæsarie Vivorum et Mulierum Coma.

[35] James Revius (1586-1658) was a Dutch Calvinist scholar.  He was the first Professor of Theology at Leiden.  He contributed to the translation of the Old Testament portions of the Statenvertaling, published a revised edition of the Danthenus Psalter, composed Notæ in Laurentium Vallam de Collationibus Novi Testamenti, and engaged in polemics with the Cartesians of his day.  He wrote Analectorum Theologicorum Disputationes CCCXXX.

[36] Robert Boyd of Trochrigg (1578-1627) was a divine of the Church of Scotland.  He served as Archbishop of Glasgow, and Professor of Theology, Hebrew, and Syriac at the University of Glasgow.  However, believing that the Church of Scotland ought not to have Episcopal but rather Presbyterian government, he refused to conform to the articles of Perth and lost his preferments.  He wrote In Epistolam ad Ephesios Prælectiones.

[37] Johannes Crocius (1590-1659) was a German Reformed theologian.  He served as Professor of Theology at the University of Marburg.  He wrote Commentarius in Epistolam Sancti Pauli Apostoli ad Ephesios.

[38] John Davenant (died 1641) was Master of Queen’s College, Cambridge.  He represented the Church of England at the Synod of Dort.  Later, Davenant was made Bishop of Salisbury in 1621.  He wrote An Exposition of the Epistle of St. Paul to the Colossians.

[39] John Daillé (1594-1670) was an eminent preacher and controversialist.  He served the Protestant Church at Saumur until 1626, at which time he went to Paris, where he continued to preach and to write until his death.  He inclined to Amyraldism.  He wrote An Exposition of the Epistle to the Colossians and An Exposition of the Epistle of St. Paul to the Philippians.

[40] Commentatio ad Loca Novi Testamenti Quæ de Antichristo Agunt.

[41] Peter Molinæus (1568-1658) was a French Huguenot minister and theologian; he served as Professor of Philosophy at Leiden (1592), Pastor at Charenton, near Paris (1599), Professor of Divinity at Sedan (1620).  Grotius was one of his pupils.

[42] Henry More (1614-1687) was a Fellow of Christ’s College, Cambridge.  He was a learned divine and a Platonic philosopher.  His Theological Works includes An Enquiry into the Mystery of Iniquity.  He wrote several other works dealing with eschatology and the interpretation of the Apocalypse:  An Exposition on the Apocalypse; A Plain and Continued Exposition of the Several Prophecies or Divine Visions of the Prophet Daniel: Which Have or May Concern the People of God, whether Jew or Christian; An Answer to Several Remarks upon His Expositions of the Apocalypse and Daniel; as also upon His Apology; Several Supplements and Defences of His Exposition of the Prophet Daniel; Paralipomena Prophetica; or Supplements and Defences of His Expositions on Daniel and the Apocalpyse; Notes upon Daniel and the Apocalypse, Framed out of the Expositions; Exposition of the Seven Epistles Sent to the Seven Churches in Asia; with a Discourse of Idolatry, with Application to the Church of Rome.

[43] Cosma Magalianus (1553-1624) was a Portuguese Jesuit theologian.  He wrote Operis Hierarchici, sive de Ecclesiastico Principatu Libri Tres, in Quibus Pauli Epistolæ Tres [Una et Secunda to ad Timotheum et Una ad Titum] Commentariis Illustrantur.

[44] Abraham Scultetus (1566-1624) was a German, Calvinist historian, whose Annals of the Renewal of the Gospel throughout Europe provides an account of the first twenty years of the Reformation.  Scultetus was also a professor at the University of Heidelberg and a delegate to the Synod of Dordt.  He wrote Annotata in Epistolas ad Timotheum, Titum, Philemonem and Exercitationes Evangelicæ, quibus Quator Evangelistarum Difficiliora et Obscuriora Loca, partim philologicè, partim theologicè, Illustrantur.

[45] John Pricæus (1600-1676) was born in London and educated at Westminster School.  He was converted to Roman Catholicism and served as Superintendant of the Museum at Florence, and then Professor of Greek at Pisa.  He retired to St. Augustine’s Convent in Rome.  He wrote Annotata ad Psalmos, Matthæum, Lucam, Joannem 10-11, Acta, 1 Corinthios 12, Timotheum, Titum, Philemonem, Jacobum, Johannis, Judam, Apocalypsin.

[46] Lambert Danæus (c. 1530-1596) was a French minister and theologian.  He labored as a pastor and Professor of Divinity at Geneva, and then at Leiden.  He wrote Commentarius in Primam Epistolam ad Timotheum.

[47] James Gothofredus (1587-1652) was a learned lawyer, who served as secretary of state and chief magistrate in Geneva.  His edition of Codex Theodosianus was an important contribution to the field of law.  He wrote Exercitationes de Ecclesia, ad Illustrationem 1 Timothei 3:15, 16.

[48] Scipione Gentili (1563-1616) was an Italian jurist.  He was forced to leave Italy at a young age, due to his Protestant beliefs, settling in Germany.  In addition to the legal treatises that he wrote and edited, he published Commentarius in Epistolam ad Philemonem.

[49] Francis Ribera (1537-1591) was a Spanish Jesuit scholar, most remembered for his commentary on Revelation in which he advances the Futurist scheme of interpretation.  His work on his Commentarius in Epistolam ad Hebræos was interrupted by death; it was finished by other hands.

[50] John Gerhard (1582-1637) was an eminent Lutheran divine.  He held the position of Professor of Divinity at Jena (1616), and he was four times the Rector of the same.  He wrote Commentarius super Epistolam ad Ebræos: in quo Textus Declaratur, Quæstiones Dubiæ Solvuntur, Observationes Eruuntur et Loca in Speciem Pugnantia Concilantur.

[51] Ludovicus Tena (d. 1622) was a Spanish bishop and Professor of Theology at Alcala.  He wrote Commentarius et Disputationes in Epistolam ad Hebræos.

[52] William Gouge (1575-1653) was a learned Puritan divine.  He was one of the Assembly of Divines at Westminster.  He wrote A Learned and very Useful Commentary on the Whole Epistle to the Hebrews.  The last portion of it was completed by his son, Thomas, after his death.  He also contributed the English Annotations on 1 and 2 Kings, 1 and 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, and Job.

[53] George Lawson (1598-1678) was an English divine, and author of Politica Sacra et Civilis, as well as An Exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews.  His religious views tended toward Arminianism, but he worked within the Presbyterian system during the Commonwealth and supported Parliament.

[54] John Owen (1616-1683) sided with the Parliament during the Civil War.  However, he did not embrace the Presbyterianism of the Westminster Assembly, preferring Independency.  He won the esteem of Oliver Cromwell, and Cromwell made him Dean of Christ Church, Oxford (1651) and then Vice-chancellor (1652).  He lost the deanery at the Restoration.  After the Restoration, Owen would suffer the vicissitudes that accompanied his convictions, but his was the most persuasive and respected voice for Independency and toleration.  He wrote Exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews.

[55] Frederic Spanheim (1632-1701) studied at Leiden and took the doctoral degree in 1651.  He was Professor of Divinity at Heidelberg (1655), and later at Leiden (1670), where he replaced Johannes Cocceius, but was a committed Voetian.  He excelled in Historical Theology.

[56] Friedrich Spanheim the Elder (1600-1649) studied at Heidelberg and Geneva.  He served the academy at Geneva, first as Professor of Philosophy, then as a member of the theological faculty, and finally as rector.  In 1642, he was appointed as Professor of Theology at Leiden, and became a prominent defender of Calvinistic orthodoxy against Amyraldianism.

[57] De Auctore Epistolæ ad Hebræos.

[58] John Buxtorf, Jr. (1599-1664) succeeded his father as Professor of Hebrew at Basel (1629-1664), and was perhaps the equal of his father in learning.  He wrote Historia Arcæ Fœderis.

[59] Christopher Schlegelius wrote Quæstiones de Persona Melchisideci; inter Commentaria in Epistolam ad Hebræos Auctore Ludovico Tena, in response to Peter Cunæus’ claim in De Republica Hebræorum that Melchizedek was the Logos, the Son of God.

[60] Antoine Cregut published Revelator Arcanorum ubi Scripturæ Oracula Enucleantur quæ in Pentatucho Continentur.

[61] The Theses Salmurienses was a collection of theses published by Moses Amyraut (1596-1664), Loius Cappel (1585-1658), and Josué de la Place (c. 1596-c. 1665).

[62] Jacob Laurentius (1585-1644) was a Dutch Reformed minister.  He wrote Epistola Jacobi, Perpetuo Commentario Explicata.

[63] Charles Gataker, son of Thomas Gataker, was Rector in the county of Bucks from 1647 to 1680.

[64] Annotationes in Utramque Epistolam Petri.

[65] In Apocalypsin Commentarii.

[66] Disputationes super Apocalypsim.

[67] Cornelius à Lapide (1567-1637) was a Flemish Jesuit scholar.  His talents were employed in the professorship of Hebrew at Louvain, then at Rome.  Although his commentaries (covering all the Roman Catholic canon, excepting only Job and the Psalms) develop the four-fold sense of Scripture, he emphasizes the literal.  His knowledge of Hebrew, Greek, and the commentators that preceded him is remarkable.

[68] Johannes Gagnæus (died 1549) was a French Roman Catholic theologian, librarian to King Francis I, and Chancellor of the University of Paris, who wrote Brevissima et Facillima in Omnes Divini Pauli Epistolas Scholia, ultra Priores Editiones, ex Antiquissimis Græcorum Authoribus, abundè Locupletata: itidem in Septem Canonicas Epistolas et Divini Ioannis Apocalypsin, Brevissima Scholia Recens Edita.

[69] John Stephen Menochius (1576-1656) joined the Society of Jesuits at an early age.  His superiors in the order, recognizing his academic abilities, set him apart for training in the exposition of Holy Scripture.  His Commentarii in Sacram Scripturam displays great learning and sound judgment.

[70] Matthieu Cottière (c. 1580-c. 1650) was a French Huguenot minister at Tours.  He wrote Apocalypseos Domini Nostri Jesu Christi, Expositio Perpetua atque Apodeictica.

[71] Johannes Cluverus (1593-1633) was a German Lutheran Pastor and Theologian; he wrote Diluculum Apocalypticum.

[72] Patrick Forbes (1564-1635) was educated at Aberdeen and St. Andrews.  Although puritanical and inclined to Presbyterianism, he accepted the call to serve as Bishop of Aberdeen (1618); later he became the Chancellor of the University (1635).  He wrote Commentarius in Apocalypsin.

[73] Thomas Brightman (1562-1607) was educated at Queen’s College, Cambridge.  He served as Rector of Hawnes, Bedfordshire.  He was a Puritan divine of some reputation for learning and piety.  He wrote A Revelation of the Apocalypse.

[74] Commentarius in Apocalypsim.

[75] Gerhard Gravius (1598-1675) was a German Lutheran; he served as pastor at Hamburg.  He wrote Tabulæ Apocalypticæ.

[76] John Napier (1550-1617) was a Scottish mathematician, physicist, astronomer, and student of Scripture.  He employed his mathematical skills in his Plaine Discovery of the Whole Revelation of St. John.

[77] Johannes Cocceius (1603-1689) was born in Bremen, Germany, and went on to become Professor of Philology at the Gymnasium in Bremen (1630), held the chair of Hebrew (1630) and theology (1643) at Franker, and was made Professor of Theology at Leiden (1650).  He was the founder of the Cocceian school of covenant theology, bitter rival to the Voetian school.  He wrote a commentary on the Apocalypse.

[78] Christopher Jungnitius published the Harmonia Apocalyptica in 1618.

[79] James Durham (1622-1658) was a Scottish Presbyterian divine.  He served as a minister and Professor of Divinity at Glasgow.  He co-authored the Sum of Saving Knowledge and authored learned commentaries on the Song of Solomon and Revelation (A Learned and Complete Commentary upon the Book of Revelation, Delivered in Several Lectures).

[80] Maresius, or Samuel Desmarets (1599-1673), was a French Huguenot minister and polemist.  He held various ministerial posts, and served as Professor of Theology at Sedan (1625-1636), and at Groningen (1643-1673). Maresius wrote Dissertatio de Antichristo.

[81] George Downame, or Downham (died 1616) was Fellow of Christ College (1585), and later Professor of Logic.  He also served his church as Bishop of Derry (1616).  He wrote A Treatise concerning Antichrist (1603), and Papa Antichristus, sive Diatriba de Antichristo (1620).

[82] Francis Potter (1594-1678) was Rector of Kilmington and a member of the Royal Society, known for inventing an instrument for perspective drawing and a dividing machine which could do thousandths of an inch.  His An Interpretation of the Number 666 is highly praised by Joseph Mede.

[83] James Ussher (1580-1655) was a learned Irish churchman, who eventually rose to the office of Archbishop.  He is most remembered for his Annals of the World; his The Judgment of the Late Archbishop of Armagh, What is Understood by Babylon in Apocalypse 17 and 18 is also preserved.

[84] Nathaniel Stephens (c. 1606-1678) was an English Nonconformist divine, who subscribed the Solemn League and Covenant, and served as rector at Drayton.  He wrote A Plain and Easie Calculation of the Name, Mark, and Number of the Name of the Beast.  Edmund Calamy the Historian published an extract from his unpublished notes on Revelation 11.

[85] See “A Royal Copyright” and “The Author’s Dedication” in Synopsis of Biblical Interpreters: Genesis 1-11.

[86] George Morley (1597-1684) began his career as Canon of Christ Church and then Rector of Mildenhall (1641).  He proved himself to be loyal to the prelatical form of government, engaging in efforts to resist the Parliament’s attempt to advance Presbyterianism.  Consequently, he was deprived (1647), and even imprisoned for a brief time before leaving the shores of England.  He allied himself with the cause of Charles II and was able to regain his living and to advance to become the Bishop of Worcester (1660) and of Winchester (1662).  He was the principal representative of the prelatic party at the Savoy Conference (1661), which Conference failed to compose the differences between the bishops and the Nonconformist ministers.

[87] Sir John Maynard (1602-1690) was an English layer; he was a Presbyterian, serving during the Interregnum, but also for the Crown after the Restoration.

[88] William Sancroft (1616-1693) was fellow of Emanuel College, Cambridge, but during the Civil War he was deprived (1649).  After the Restoration, he began his ecclesiastical advancement:  Master of Emanuel College (1662), Dean of St. Paul’s (1664), and Archbishop of Canterbury (1677). In 1688, Sancroft was among the “Seven Bishops” who petitioned James II against the Declaration of Indulgence.  In 1691, he was himself deprived for refusing to take the oath to William and Mary.

[89] John Lee Warner (1632-1679) was Archdeacon of Rochester from 1660 to 1679.  He was the nephew and heir of John Warner, bishop of Rochester.

[90] Matthew Robinson (1628-1694) was an English divine and physician; he served as Rector of Burneston and was sympathetic to dissenters, having his own scruples about the Act of Uniformity.  He assisted Matthew Poole in the preparation of the Synopsis, but supplemented it with his own Annotations on the New Testament (1690).

Getting the Most out of Matthew Poole on Revelation

Each of the volumes in this series, Synopsis of Biblical Interpreters, is actually composed of two distinct works by Matthew Poole: A Synopsis of Interpreters, Both Critical and Otherwise, of the Sacred Scriptures (known by its Latin title, Synopsis Criticorum, the translated text of which is printed in this regular type) and Annotations upon the Holy Bible (the text of which is printed in bold type).  In the Synopsis Criticorum Aliorumque Sacræ Scripturæ Interpretum, written primarily for students, ministers, and scholars, Poole presents something of a verse-by-verse history of interpretation, setting forth the most important interpreters and interpretative positions.  The Annotations, on the other hand, are written for the use of the common man, giving a summary of the most important interpretive issues and Poole’s own, most mature (being written in the years immediately prior to his death), judgment.  In these volumes, the Annotations have been interspliced into the translation of the Synopsis, creating an omnibus of Poole’s exegetical efforts.

It may already be apparent from this brief description of these volumes that they are intended for study; they are certainly not a light read.  So that every reader, from the unlearned to the scholar, might get the most profit from these volumes, these directions are proffered:


  1. Read and study the prefatory material, especially the “Preface to the Synopsis:  Romans-Revelation.”


In the “Preface to the Synopsis:  Romans-Revelation,” the reader is introduced to the interpreters, writing on these Books of the Bible, who, in Poole’s judgment, are of the greatest significance.  Because the Synopsis is primarily about the history of interpretation, an acquaintance with the interpreters is of the utmost importance.  The translator has provided additional information about these men in the footnotes to aid the reader.  Paul taught the Ephesian Christians that the ascended Lord Jesus provides teachers for the edification of His Church in all ages;[1] this is a synopsis of their teaching and testimony, a thing of surpassing value.


  1. Note that a brief summary of each book and an outline of each chapter has been provided.[2]


This will help the reader get and keep the entire context in view as he studies particular verses.


  1. Study the cross-references.


The Authorized Version of the text has been provided at the beginning of each verse.  In the Annotations, Poole provided a great many cross-references in the printing of the verse itself.[3]  These should not be neglected; they are of great value in gaining an understanding of the verse being studied, and it will be found that the verse being studied has implications for the right interpretation of other texts.[4]  Furthermore, the reader will find the verses, referenced in the Synopsis portion for the illustration of grammatical principles, to be of great help and use.  When the reason for the citation of a particular verse is not clear in English, the translator has provided annotations in the footnotes to aid understanding.


  1. Begin the study of the commentary portion under each verse with the Annotations portion (printed in bold).


Remember that the Annotations were written for the common man, and in them Poole, or the divines that completed the Annotations after Poole’s death,[5] summarizes and gives an evaluation of the most important matters.  Reading the Annotations portion will frequently shed much light upon the mass of raw exegetical material in the Synopsis portion.


  1. Note that Poole often presents a wide variety of interpretive positions in a short space.


In the Synopsis portion, contradictory positions can be presented without any transition.  The intepreters that held a certain view are usually given in parentheses after the presentation of the interpretive position, and this is frequently all that the reader is given with respect to a transition from one position to another.


  1. Make use of the Index as needed.


            An index of relatively obscure people and places has been included for the help of the reader. The index refers the reader back to the page upon which the person or place was first mentioned and footnoted.


  1. Be patient and persevere.


Solomon the Wise teaches in the Proverbs that in some things knowledge and wisdom come only with effort,[6] and penetrating beyond a superficial understanding of the Scriptures will require hard work; but let the Christian give himself to this labor in the assurance of faith, that Jesus Christ is speaking to him through the Word,[7] and that in this study he will taste of the Lord that He is good.[8]

[1] Ephesians 4:11-13.

[2] Poole composed the book outlines from Genesis to Isaiah, but the chapter outlines were not added until the third edition of the Annotations, 1696, by Samuel Clarke and Edward Veale.  Samuel Clarke (1626-1701), one of the ejected ministers under the Act of Uniformity, was well-qualified for this editorial work, having composed his own The Old and New Testament, with Annotations and Parallel Scriptures (1690) and A Survey of the Bible; or, an Analytical Account of the Holy Scriptures, Containing the Division of Every Book and Chapter, thereby Shewing the Frame and Contexture of the Whole (1693).  Edward Veale was one of the divines called upon to complete the Annotations after Poole’s death, writing the portions on Ephesians, James, 1 and 2 Peter, and Jude.  Veale (died 1708) labored in the work of the ministry in both England and Ireland, having been ordained in 1657. He later served as a senior fellow at Trinity College in Dublin, until he was deprived for nonconformity.  After his deprivation, he ministered as chaplain to Sir William Waller, and then as a pastor at Wapping.  He edited and published, with Richard Adams, Stephen Charnock’s Discourse on Divine Providence (1680), and, of course, with Samuel Clarke, the third edition of Matthew Poole’s Annotations (1696).

[3] Samuel Clarke and Edward Veale appear to be responsible for supplemental cross-references, added to Poole’s own.  All of the cross-references have been provided in this text.

[4] Westminster Confession of Faith 1:9:  “The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself:  and therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of any Scripture (which is not manifold, but one) it must be searched and known by other places that speak more clearly.”

[5] This portion of the Annotations was composed by Dr. John Collinges (1623-1691), who played a large role in the completion of Poole’s English Annotations, left unfinished on account of Poole’s untimely death in 1679.  Dr. Collinges composed the portions on Isaiah 61-66, Jeremiah, Lamentations, the Gospels, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, and Revelation.  Dr. Collinges was a nonconformist divine, of exemplary learning and life.  He was educated at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where he was awarded the degree of Doctor of Divinity in 1658. He participated in the Savoy Conference.  Like Poole, he was ejected for nonconformity from his charge, at St. Stephen’s, Norwich, in 1662. During the 1670s he was described by his enemies in Norwich as the ‘Conventickling doctor’, and he was arrested repeatedly before meeting the requirements to preach under the 1689 Act of Toleration.  He wrote a noted work on providence, Several Discourses Concerning the Actual Providence of God (1678), a sermon on Psalm 133, “The Happiness of Brethren Dwelling Together in Peace and Unity” (1639), a tract against Christmas and in support of the Christian Sabbath, Responsoria ad Erratica Piscatoris: Or, A Caveat for Old and New Prophanenesse (1653), A Modest Plea for the Lord’s Day as the Christian Sabbath (1669), A Plea for the Nonconformists, Justifying Them from the Charge of Schism (1674), and English Presbytery; or, An Account of the Main Opinions of Those Ministers and People in England Who Go under the Name of Presbyterians (1680).

[6] Proverbs 2:1-5.

[7] 1 Peter 1:11.

[8] 1 Peter 2:3.