« PreviousContinue »
cords, dragged him through the streets, and His gospel, the only writing he left beover the most craggy places, to the Bucelus, hind him, was written at the entreaty and a precipice near the sea, leaving him there earnest desire of the converts at Rome, who in a lonesome prison, for that night; but not content with having heard St. Peter his great and beloved Master appeared to preach, pressed St. Mark, his fellow-dishim in a vision, comforting and encouraging ciple, to commit to writing an bistorical his soul, under the ruins of his shattered account of what he had delivered to them, body. The next morning early the tragedy which he performed with equal faithfulness began afresh, for they dragged him about and brevity, and being perused and approvin the same cruel and barbarous manner, ed of by St. Peter, it was commanded to till he expired. But their nalice did not be publicly read in their assemblies. It was end with his death : they burnt his mangled frequently styled St. Peter's gospel, not bebody after they had so inhumanly deprived cause he dictated it to St. Mark, but be. it of life: but the christians, after the cause the latter composed it in the same horrid tragedy was over, gathered up his manner as St. Peter usually delivered bis bones and ashes, and decently interred discourses to the people. And this is probathem near the place where he used to bly the reason of what St. Chrysostom obpreach. His remains were afterwards, with serves, that in his style of expression hedegreat pomp, removed from Alexandria to lights to imitate St. Peter, representing a Venice, where they were religiously honour great deal in a few words. The remarkable ed, and he was adopted the titular saint and impartiality he observes in all his relations patron of that state.
is plain from hence, that so far from con
cealing the shameful lapse and denial of He suffered martyrdom on the 25th of Peter, he describes it with more aggravatApril, but the year is not absolutely known: ing circumstances than any of the other the most probable opinion however is that evangelists. it happened about the end of Nero's reign.
lar, infer the quality his birth and fortune, which he preached; the whole preaching of forget that the healing art was in those early the apostles being styled the gospel. times generally practised by servants, and hence Grotius is of opinion, that St. Luke But however this be, St. Luke became was carried to Rome, and lived there a ser
the inseparable companion of St. Paul in vant to some noble family, in quality of all his travels, and his constant fellow-laphysician; but after obtaining his freedom bourer in the work of the ministry. This be returned into his own country, and pro endeared bim to that apostle, who seems bably continued his profession till his death, delighted with owning him for his fellow-lait being so bighly consistent with, and in bourer, and in calling him, the beloved many cases subservient to, the care of souls. physician, and the brother whose praise is
in the gospel. He was also famous for his skill in another art, namely, painting, as appears from
St. Luke wrote two books for the use of an ancient inscription found in a vault near the church of St. Maria de Via Lata, at Apostles ; both which he dedicated to Theo
the church, his Gospel and the Acts of the Rome, supposed to have been the place philius, which many of the ancients supposed where St. Paul dwelt, which mentions a picture of the blessed Virgin. Una ex vii.
to be a feigned name, denoting a lover of ab Luca depictis , being one of the Seven God, a title common to all sincere chris
tians. But others think it was a real perpainted by St. Luke.
son, because the title of most excellent is at
tributed to him ; the usual title and form of St. Luke was a Jewish proselyte; but at
address in tbose times to princes and great what time he became a Christian is uncer
men. tain. It is the opinion of some, from the introduction to his gospel, that he had the facts from the reports of others, who were
His gospel contains the principal transeye-witnesses, and suppose him to have
actions of our Lord's life; and the particubeen converted by St. Paul: and that he
lars omitted by bim are in general of less learned the history of his gospel from the importance than those of the other evangeconversation of that apostle, and wrote it
lists. under bis direction; and that when St. Paul, in one of his epistles, says, according With regard to the Acts of the Apostles, to my gospel, he means this of St. Luke, written by St. Luke, the work was, no which he styled his, from the great share doubt, performed at Rome, about the time he had in the composition of it.
of St. Paul's residing there, with which he
concludes his history. It contains the acOn the other hand, those who hold that tions, and sometimes the sufferings of the he wrote his gospel from his own personal principal apostles, especially St. Paul, whose knowledge, observe, that he could not re- activity in the cause of Christ made him ceive it from St. Paul, as an eye-witness bear a great part in the labours of his Masof the matters contained in it, because all ter : and St. Luke being his constant attenthose matters were transacted before his dant, an eye-witness of the whole carriage conversion ; and that he never saw our Lord of his life, and privy to his most int imat before he appeared to him in his journey to transactions, was consequently capable of Damascus, which was some time after he giving a more full and satisfactory account ascended into heaven. Consequently when of them. Among other things, be enume. St. Paul says, according to my gospel, he rates the great miracles the apostles did in means no more than that gospel in general confirmation of their doctrine.
In both these treaties his manner of writo, tions, and elegant in his writings; as a ing is exact and accurate ; his style noble minister, careful and diligent for the good and elegant, sublime and lofty, and yet of souls ; as a Christian, devout and pious: clear and perspicuous, flowing with an easy and to crown all the rest, laid down his life and natural grace and sweetness, admirably in testimony of the gospel he had both adapted to an bistorical design. In short, preached and published to the world. as an historian, he was faithful in his rela
QT. Barnabas, was at first called Joses, | lowers of the holy Jesus. This worthy exam
a softer termination generally given by ple was followed by those who were blessed the Greeks to Joseph. His fellow disciples with the goods of fortune ; none kept their added the name of Barnabas, as significant plenty to themselves, but turned their houses. of some extraordinary property in him. St. and land into money, and devoted it to the Luke interprets it the son of consolation, common use of the church. St. Barnabas from his being ever ready to administer to is, indeed, mentioned as selling the most the afflicted, both by word and action. valuable estate on this occasion, or being the
most forward and ready to begin a common He was a descendant of the tribe of Levi, stock, and set others a laudable pattern of of a family removed out of Judea, and set- charity and benevolence. tled in the isle of Cyprus, where they had purchased an estate, as the Levites might And now St. Barnabas became considera do out of their own country. His parents | able in the ministry and government of the finding him of a promising genius and church : for we find that St. Paul, coming disposition, placed him in one of the schools to Jerusalem three years after his conversion, of Jerusalem, under the tuition of Gamaliel,
and not readily procuring admittance into St. Paul's master; an incident which, in the church, because he had been so grievous all probability, laid the first foundation for
a persecutor of it, and might still be susthat intimacy that afterwards subsisted be pected of a design to betray it, addrestween these two eminent servants of the sed himself to Barnabas, a leading man blessed Jesus.
among the Christians, and one that had
personal knowledge of him. He accordingThe first mention we find of St. Barnabas İy introduced him to Peter and James, and in the holy scripture, is the record of that satisfied them of the sincerity of his convergreat and worthy service he did the church sion, and in what a miraculous manner it was of Christ, by succouring it with the sale of his brought about. This recomiendation cara patrimony in Cyprus, the whole price of ried so much weight with it that Panl was which he laid at the apostles' feet, to be put not only received into the communion of into the common stock, and disposed of as the apostles, but taken into Peter's' house, they should think fit among the indigent fol. and abode with him fifteen days, Gal. i. 18,
About four or five years after this, the and preach the gospel to the Gentiles. From agreeable news was brought to Jerusalem, this joint commission Barnabas obtained the that several of their body who had been name of an apostle, not only among latter driven out of Judea by the persecutions, writers of the church, but with St. Paul raised about St. Stephen, had preached at himself, as we find in the history of the Acts Antioch with such success, that a great
of the Apostles. number, both of Jews and proselytes, embraced Christianity; and were desirous that
Paul and Barnabas being thus consecrated some of the superior order would come down
the apostles of the Gentiles, entered upon and confirm them. This request was imme
their province, taking with them John Mark diately granted, and Barnabas was deputed
for their minister or deacon, who assisted to settle the new plantation. Being himself
them in many ecclesiastical offices, particua good man, and full of the Holy Ghost, larly in taking care of the poor. and of faith, his charitable deeds accom
The first city they visited after their depanying his discourses, and his pious life parture from Antioch was Selucia, a city of exemplifying his sound doctrine, the people Syria adjoining to the sea ; from whence were greatly influenced by him, and very they sailed for the island of Cyprus, the considerable additions were made to the native place of St. Barnabas, and arrived Christian church. But there being too large at Salamis, a port formerly remarkable for a field for one labourer, he went to fetch
its trade. Here they boldly preached the Saul from Tarsus, who came back with him doctrines of the gospel in the synagogues of to Antioch, and assisted him a whole year the Jews; and from thence travelled to in establishing that church. Their labours Paphos, the capital of the island, and faprospered ; their assembles were crowded, mous for a temple dedicated to Venus, the and the disciples, who before this were called titular goddess of Cyprus. Here their among themselves, brethren believers, elect, preaching was attended with remarkable and by their enemies Nazarenes, and Ga success ; Sergius Paulus, the proconsul, belileans, were now called Christians first ing, among others, converted to the chrisat Antioch.
tian faith. When the apostles had fulfilled 'their
Leaving Cyprus, they crossed the sea to charitable embassy, and stayed some time at Jerusalem to see its good effects, they re
preach in Pamphylia, where their deacon
John, to the great grief of bis uncle Barnaturned again to Antioch, bringing with them
bas, left them, and returned to Jerusalem, John, whose surname was Mark, the son
either tired with continual travels, or disof Mary, sister to Barnabas, at whose house
couraged at the unavoidable dangers and the disciples found both security for their
difficulties, which experience had sufficiently persons, and conveniency for the solemni
informed him would constantly attend the ties of their worship. But soon after the apostles returned to Antioch, an express
preachers of the gospel, from hardened
Jews and idolatrous Gentiles. relation was made to the church, by the mouth of one of the prophets who minister Soon after their arrival at Lystra, Paul ed there, that Barnabas and Saul should be cured a man who had been lame from his set apart for an extraordinary work, unto mother's womb, which so astonished the wbich the Holy Ghost had appointed them. inhabitants, that they believed them to be Upon this declaration, the church set apart gods, who had visited the world in the forms a day for a solemn mission; after devout
Barnabas they treated as Jupiter, prayer and fasting, they laid their hands up as their sovereign deity, either because of on them, and ordained them to their office; his age, or the gravity and comeliness of his which was to travel over certain countries, person ; for all the writersof antiquity repre
sent him as a person of a venerable aspect, I probability reconciled bimself to Barnabas, and a majestic presence. But the apostles, and returned with bim and St. Paul to Anwith the greatest humility, declared them tioch, after they had succeeded in their busiselves to be but mortals : and the inconstant ness in Jerusalem, and obtained a decree populace soon satisfied themselves of the from the synod there, that the Gentile contruth of what they had asserted ; for at the verts should not have circumcision and other persuasion of their indefatigable persecutors, Mosaic rites imposed upon them. who followed them thither also, they made
This determination generally comforted an assault upon them, and stoned Paul, till they left him for dead. But, supported by
and quieted the minds of the Gentiles, but an invisible power from on high, he soon
it did not prevent the bigotted Jews from recovered his spirits and strength, and the
keeping up a separation from them ; and a postles immediately departed for Derbe.
that with so much obstinacy, that when St. Soon after their arrival, they again applied
Peter, some time after, came to Antioch, he, themselves to the work of the ministry,
for fear of offending them, deviated from and converted many to the religion of the
bis former practice and late speech and vote
in the synod of Jerusalem, by refraining from blessed Jesus.
all kind of communion with the Gentiles ;
and Barnabas hiinself, though so great From Derbe they returned back to Lys
and good a man, was induced by the authotra, Iconium, and Antioch, in Pisidia, “ confirming the souls of the disciples, and
rity of his example, to commit the same er
ror : but doubtless on being reproved by ex horting them to continue in the faith ; and
St. Paul, they both took more courage, and that we must, through much tribulation, enter into the kingdom of God.” Acts xiv. 22.
walked according to the true liberty and
freedom of the gospel. After a short stay they again visited the churches of Pamphylia, Perga, and Attalia, Some days after this last oecurrence, Paul where they took ship, and sailed to Antioch I made a proposal to Barnabas, that they in Syria, the place from whence they first set should repeat their late travels among the out. Soon after their arrival, they called the | Gentiles, and see how the churches they church of this city together, and gave them had planted increased in their numbers, and an account of their travels, and the great improved in the doctrines they had taught success with which their preaching in the them. Barnabas very readily complied with Gentile world had been attended.
the motion ; but desired they might take
with them his reconciled nephew, John But they had not long continued in this | Mark. This Paul absolutely refused. city, before their assistance was required because, in their former voyage, Mark to compose a difference in the church, occa had not shewn the constancy of a faithful sioned by some of the Jewish converts, who minister of Christ, but consulted bis own endeavoured to persuade the Gentiles, that ease at a dangerous juncture ; departed they were bound to observe the law of Mo from them without leave at Pamphilia, and ses as well as that of Christ ; and be cir. returned to Jerusalem. Barnabas still insist. cumcised as well as baptized. Barnabas ed on taking him ; and the other continuing endeavoured to dissuade the zealots from as resolute to oppose it, a short debate a rose, pressing such unnecessary observances; but which terminated in a separation ; whereby all his endeavours proving ineffectual, he these two holy men, who had for several was deputed with St. Paul and others, to the years been companions in the ministry, and church at Jerusalem, to submit the question with united endeavours propagated the gosto be determined there in a full assembly. pel of the Son of God, now took different During their stay at Jerusalem, Mark, in all l provinces. Barnabas, with his kinsman, No. 29.