« PreviousContinue »
diately imparted the glad tidings of the Mesa
siah's appearance to his brother Nathaniel, The Transactions of St. Philip, from his and conducted him to him.
Birth to his being called to the Apostleship.
After being called to the apostleship we
have very little recorded of him by the THIS apostle was a native of Bethsaida,
evangelists. It was, however, to him that the city of Andrew and Peter. He had our Saviour proposed the question, 'where the honour of being first called to be a disci. they should find bread sufficient to satisfy ple of the great Messiah, which happened
the hunger of so great a multitude ? Philip in the following manner : Our blessed Sa
answered, that it was not easy to procure viour, soon after bis return from the wilder so great a quantity; not considering that ness, where he had been tempted by the de
it was equally easy for Almighty power to vil, met with Andrew and his brother Peter,
feed double the number, when it should be
bis divine will. It was also to the same and after some discourse parted from them. The next day, as he was passing through apostle that the Gentile proselytes, who Galilee, he found Philip, whom he present
came up to worship at Jerusalem, applied, ly commanded to follow him, the constant
when they were desirous to see the Saviour form he made use of in calling his disciples,
of the world. And it was with him our
Lord had the discourse a little before the and those that inseparably attended him. So that the prerogative of being first called,
paschal supper. evidently belongs to St. Philip, he being the first of our Lord's disciples ; for though
The compassionate Jesus had been fortie Andrew and St. Jobn were the first that
fying their minds with proper considerations came and conversed with the Saviour of the
against his departure from them, and had
told them that he was going to prepare for world, yet they immediately returned to
them a place in the mansions of the heaventheir occupation, and were not called till
ly Canaan; that he was "the way, the a whole year after.
truth, and the life ; and that no man could
come to the Father but by him.” It cannot be doubted, that notwithstanding St. Philip was a native of Galilee, yet he Philip, not thoroughly understanding the was excellently skilled in the law and the
force of his Master's reasonings, begged of prophets. Metaphrastes assures us, that he
him, that he would shew them the Father. bad, from his childhood, been excellently educated : that he frequently read over the Our blessed Lord ger.tly reprored his books of Moses, and attentively considered ignorance, that after attending so long the prophecies relating to the Messiah. to his instructions, he should not know that
he was the image of bis Father, the express Nor was our apostle idle after the bo character of bis infinite wisdom, power, and pour be bad received of being called to at goodness appearing in him ; that he said and tend the Saviour of the world; be imme. did nothing but by his Father's appointment;
which if they did not believe, his miracles calling on the name of Christ, he procured were a sufficient evidence : that such de the death, or, at least, the vanishing, of mands were therefore, unnecessary and an enormous serpent, to which they paid impertient : and that it was an indication of adoration. great weakness in him, after three years' education under his discipline and institu Having thus demolished their deity, he tion, to appear so ignorant with regard to demonstrated to them how ridiculous and these particulars.
unjust it was for them to pay divine honours to such odious creatures; shewed them that God alone was to be worshipped as the
great parent of all the world, who, in the CHAP. II.
beginning made man after his glorious
image, and when fallen from that innocent The Transactions of St. Philip to the and happy state, sent his own Son into the Time of his Martyrdom.
world to redeem him : that in order to per
form this glorious work, he died on the THE
ancients tell us, that in the distri cross and rose again from the dead, and bution made by the apostles of the at the end of the world, will come again to several regions of the world, the Upper raise all the sons of men from the chambers Asia fell to his share, where he laboured of the dust, and sentence them to everlastwith indefatigable diligence and industry: ing rewards or punishments. This dis. By the constancy and power of his preach course roused them from their lethargy, ing, and the efficacy of his miracles, be they were ashamed of their late idolatry, gained numerous converts, whom he bap. and great numbers embraced the doctrines tized into the Christian faith, curing at of the gospel. once their bodies of infirmities and distempers, and their souls of errors and idolatry. This provoked the great enemy of manHe continued with them a considerable kind, and he bad recourse to his old methods, time in settling churches, and appointing cruelty and 'persecution. The magistrates them guides and ministers of religion. of the city seized the apostle, and, baving
thrown him into prison, caused him to be Afterseveral years successfully exercising scourged. When this preparatory cruelty his apostolical office in all those parts, he was over, he was led to execution, and, came at last to' Hieropolis, in Phrygia, a being bound, was banged against a pillar: city remarkably rich and populous, but at or, according to others, crucified. The the same time over-run with the most enor apostle being dead, his body was taken mous idolatry.
down by St. Bartholomew, his fellow-labour
er in the gospel, and Mariamne, St. Philip's St. Pbilip, being grieved to see the peo sister, the constant companion of bis travels, ple so wretchedly enslaved hy error and su and decently buried; after which they conperstition, continually offered his addresses firmed the people in the faith of Christ, and to heaven, till, by liis prayers, and often departed from them.
was no guile, not in an absolute but restrict
ed sense; for perfection cannot be attached The Transactions of St. Bartholomewo, to buman nature, but in the character of the from his Birth to the Ascension of his blessed Jesus, of whom it is said, with peculiar great Master.
propriety, that he was holy,harmless, unde
filed and separate from sinners; also that THIS apostle is mentioned amongst the he knew no sin, neither was guile, that is,
fraud, or deception, found in his tongue. Lord, under the appellation of Bartholomew, Our Saviour knew that Bartholomew's doubt though it is evident, from divers passages of his Messiahship arose from Philip's announ. of scripture, that he was also called Natha. cing him in the character of Jesus of Nazaniel: we shall therefore, in our account of reth, a place stigmatized for the vices of its his life, consider the names of Nathaniel inhabitants; which on a similar occasion and Bartholomew, as belonging to one and caused an interrogatory, which accords with the same person.
Bartholomew's opinion ; Can any good
come out of Nazareth ? Our Saviour thereWith regard to his descent and family, fore commends his frankness, by denomisome are of opinion that he was a Syrian, nating him, an Israelite indeed, in whom and that he was descended from the Ptole there is no guile. In another sense he apmies of Egypt. But it is plain, from the peared to be a true Israelite, or one that evangelical history that he was a Galilean, waited for redemption in Israel, which St. John having expressly told us that Na from the times mentioned in the scripture thaniel was of Cana, in Galilee.
predictions, he knew to be near at hand.
The scripture is silent with regard to his He was greatly surprised at our Lord's trade and inanner of life, though from some salutations, wondering how he could know circumstances, there is room to imagine him at first sight, as imagining he had never that he was a fisherman. He was at the before seen his face. But he was answered, first coming to Christ, conducted by Philip, that he bad seen him while he was yet who told him they had now found the long under the lig-tree, even before Philip called espected Messiahı, so often foretold by bim. Convinced by this instance of our Moses, and the prophets, Jesus of Naza. Lord's divinity, he presently made his conreth, the son of Joseph. And when be ob fession that he was now sure that Jesus was jected that the Messiah could not be born the promised Messiah, that Son of God at Nazareth, Philip desired him to come whom he had appointed to govern the and satisfy himself, that be was the Mes. church. Our blessed Saviour told him, that siah.
if from this instance he could believe him to
be the Messiah, he should have far greater At his approach, our blessed Saviour salu arguments to confirm his faith ; for that he ted bim with this honourable appellation, that should hereafter behold the heavens opened he was an Israelile indeed, in whom there to receive him, and the angels visibly ap
pearing joyful at his entrance into the heavenly Canaan.
the blind idolaters of the evil of their ways, and direct them in the paths that lead to eternal salvation. This enraged the bigotted magistrates, and he was, together with St. Philip, designed for 'martyrdom, and in order to this, fastened to a cross ; but their consciences pricking them for a time, they took St. Bartholomew down from the cross and set bim at liberty,
The Transactions of St. Bartholomew, from the Ascension of Christ to his
UR apostle having his peculiar spot
allotted him, for the promulgation of the gospel of bis blessed Master, who had now ascended into heaven, and dispersed his Holy Spirit to fit and qualify his disciples for the important work, visited different parts of the world to preach the gospel, and penetrated as far as the higher India,
After spending considerable time in India, and the eastern extremities of Asia, he returned to the northern and western parts, and we find him at Hieropolis, in Phrygia, labouring in consort with St. Philip to plant Christianity in those parts; and to convince
From hence he retired to Lycaonia, and St. Chrysostom assures us that he instructed and trained up the inhabitants in the Christian discipline. His last remove was to Albanople, in Great Armenia, a place miserably overrun with idolatry, from which he laboured to reclaim the people. But his endeavours to turn them from darkness unto light, and from the power of Satan unto God, were so far from having the desired effect, that it provoked the magistrates, who prevailed on the governor to put him to death, which he cheerfully underwent, sealing the truth of the doctrine le preached with his blood.
The Transactions of St. Matthew, from
his Birth to the Ascension of Christ.
VT. Matthew, called also Levi, though a
Roman officer, was a true Hebrew, and probably a Galilean. His trade was that of a publican, or tax-gatherer to the Romans, an office detested by the generality of the
Jews on two accounts; first, because hav. ing farmed the custom of the Romans, they used every method of oppression' to pay their rents to the Romans; secondly, because they demanded of the Jews, who considered themselves as a free people, having received that privilege froni God himsell. And hence they had a common proverb among them, “ Take not a wite out of that family in which there is a publican, for they are all publicans.” That is, they are
10ss to comply with the call of Jesus. He A inte heaven, St. Mattbeo, for the first
all thieves, robbers, and notorious sinners. humble self-convinced signers, to repente, And to this proverbial custom our blessed
ance, Saviour alludes, when speaking of an hardened sinner, on whom neither private re
After St. Matthew's election to the apoproofs, nor the public censures and admoni- stleship, he continued with the rest till the tions of the church, can prevail. Let him be ascension of his great and beloved Master ; to thee as an Heathen man and a publican. but the evangelical writers bave recorded
nothing particular concerning bim, during Our blessed Saviour having cured a per
that period. son long afflicted with the palsy, retired out of Capernaum, to walk by the sea-side, where he taught the people that fucked after him.
CHAP. II. Here he saw Matthew sitting in his office, and called him to follow him. The man The Transactionsof St. Matthew, from the was rich, had a large and profitable employ Ascension of Christ to his Martyrdom. ment, was a wise and prudent person, and doubtless understood what would be his
FTER our blessed Saviour's ascension loss was not ignorant that he must exchange eight years at least, preached in different wealth for poverty, a custom-house for
parts of Judea ; but afterwards he left the prison, and rich and powerful masters for
country of Palestine to convert the Gentile a naked and despised Saviour. But he
world. Before his departure he was intreatoverlooked all these considerations, left all
ed by the Jewish converts to write the bishis interest and relations to become our
tory of the life and actions of the blessed Lord's disciple, and to embrace a more spi- | Jesus, and leave it among them as a standritual way of life.
ing monument of what he had so often de.
livered to them in his sermons. This he The Pharisees, who sought all opportu- readily complied with, as we shall more par.. nities of raising objections against the doc ticularly mention in giving an account of trines of the blessed Jesus, look this oppor his gospel. tunity of suggesting to his disciples, that it was highly unbecoming so pure and holy a After his leaving Judea, he travelled into person as their Master appeared to be, to
several parts, especially Ethiopia, but the converse so familiarly with the worst of men; particular places he visited are not known with publicans and sinners, persons infa with any certainty. mous to a proverb. But he presently replied to them, that these were the sick, and However, after labouring indefatigably in therefore needed the physician; that bis the vineyard of his Master, he suffered marcompany was of most consequence where tyrdom at a city of Ethiopia, called Naddathe souls of men most required it ; that God bar; but by what kind of death is not absohimself preferred works of mercy and cha lutely known, though the general opinion rity, especially in doing good to the souls is, that he was slain with an halbert. of men, infinitely above all ritual observ. ances; and that ihe principal design of his St. Matthew was a remarkable instance coming into the world was not to call the of the power of religion, in bringing men sighteous, or those who, like themsclves, to a better temper of mind. If we reflect vainly pretended to be so, but sinners, upon his circumstances while he continued