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the Gospels, to have returned for a time to their usual occupation as fishers; the time not being yet come that Christ called them to become His constant followers. The occasion on which Christ thus called them has been already read to you in this day's Gospel. “And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishers. And He saith unto them, Follow Me, and I will make
you fishers of men. And they, straightway, left their nets, and followed Him. It was not then from any unwillingness to follow Christ at the first, that they had returned to their daily tasks. They had but returned to them until such time as He should be pleased to call them to be His more immediate disciples. For when He said unto them “Follow Me,” they, straightway, left their nets, and followed Him. He had but to speak the word, and they, at once, obeyed; no worldly care or thought kept them back, even for a moment. . And thus they were afterwards advanced to the high place of Christ's apostles, to be of that glorious company of whom Christ spake, “As My Father hath sent Me, even so send I you.” And then was fulfilled to St. Andrew and his brother what Christ had said to
them, when He called them, “I will make you fishers of men.” For this world is as a sea, (as our Lord Himself teaches,) and the men in the world are as fishes : and the kingdom of heaven, i.e. the Church, is as a net cast into the sea, and they who, at the first, cast the net into the sea, (i. e. gathered men from out of the world into the Church,) were the holy apostles, as now the bishops and priests of Christ's Church ; and, as the net gathered of every kind, so are there in the Church good and bad ; and will continue so until the judgment-day,— when the net shall be drawn to the shore, and the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just. May we give good heed to make our calling and election sure; remembering the solemn truth, Many are called, few chosen."
The other notices which we have of St. Andrew in the Gospels are as follows. It was in the house of St. Peter and St. Andrew at Capernaum that our Lord healed the mother-in-law of St. Peter of a fever: it was St. Andrew who, when our Lord fed five thousand men in the wilderness, spake of the five barley loaves, and two small fishes, which our Lord made use of in the miracle. of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, saith unto Him, There is a lad here who hath five
barley loaves, and two small fishes; but what are they among so many ?”
It is not so easy to say in what spirit St. Andrew spake this; the question, “but what are they among so many ?” might seem to imply doubt, or distrust; and yet that he should refer to the “five barley loaves and two small fishes” at all, as being in any sense or way a supply for so many, would seem to denote some faith (however faint and unformed) in our Lord's more than human power.
If St. Andrew had learned the Holy Scriptures of the Old Testament, he might have read in them a like miracle wrought by Elisha, (a special type of Christ, even as Elijah was a special type of St. John Baptist,) and thus might have had hope (however undefined and vague) that Christ by His power might do even yet more than Elisha had done.
Again, we find that when, on the occasion of our Lord's last entry into Jerusalem, “certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast, came to Philip, . . and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus, Philip (we read) cometh and telleth Andrew; and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus.” St. Philip was of the same city, Bethsaida, as St. Andrew
hence, probably, their names are often joined together; still the fact that St. Philip applied first to Andrew, before he applied to Christ, would seem to mark that St. Andrew had been admitted to a nearer approach to Christ than some others. And the same would seem to be the case from what we read in St. Mark's Gospel ; our Lord had spoken of the coming desolation of the holy temple, "and as He sat upon the mount of Olives over against the temple, Peter, and John, and James, and Andrew, asked Him privately, Tell us when shall these things be?”—where St. Andrew is joined with the three apostles who most certainly were admitted to a nearer approach to Christ.
After our Lord's ascension, and the descent of the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost, the holy apostles were scattered far and wide throughout the whole earth. St. Andrew is said to have preached the Gospel chiefly in Scythia, i. e. in the parts of Europe and Asia north of the Black Sea, where is now the empire of Russia. After having preached and founded churches in this and other countries, St. Andrew is said to have suffered martyrdom at Patræ in Achaia, in Greece. Thus we read in a writer of early Church history, that as he endeavoured to convert the proconsul of Achaia, and to preserve his new converts from apostasy, he enraged the proconsul against him, who commanded him to be scourged, and then to be crucified : and, that his death might be more lingering, he was fastened to the cross, which was of that form which has since borne his name, not with nails, but with cords. Thus was St. Andrew a martyr for Christ, a witness in his death for that holy Gospel which he had preached in his life.
Holy and blessed is the memory of all God's saints and servants, who have departed this life in His true faith and fear, and specially holy and blessed is the memory of the apostles of Jesus Christ.
They were His true and faithful followers when He was upon earth, in the days of His flesh, chosen and called and sent by Jesus Christ Himself to preach His blessed Gospel, to be the foundation stones upon which His holy Church was to be builded ; and much more, when He had been taken from them, and when the Holy Spirit had descended upon them on the day of Pentecost, were they His faithful witnesses unto all men ;
“ their sound is gone out into all lands, and their words unto the ends of the world.”