صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني


the emperor was gone into Greece, and had left a wicked man named Heus, sole governor of Rome in his abPaul having met with Peter in that city, joined with him in endeavouring tó reform the immoralities of the people, and convert them to Christianity. Their labours were crowned with great success, but they met with oppression from some, amongst whom one Alexander, a copper-smith, distinguished himself. Great disturbances ensued, which ended in the Apostles being thrown into prison, where they continued to preach. In this confinement St. Paul wrote his second Epistle to Timothy, and was shortly after, by command of Helius, beheaded.

Thus died the illustrious Apostle, after having for above thirty years, with the most exemplary zeal and piety, served GoD, and preached the Gospel of CHRIST. It appears from his Epistles, that Paul having fought the good fight, finished his course, and kept the faith, was desirous of being dissolved, that he might be with CHRIST; and receive the crown of righteousness, which the LORD had destined for those who should lay dɔwn their lives in testimony of his holy religion.

St. Paul's history suggests a high idea of his character. It rises upon us with additional lustre in reading his Epistles but that must be a separate study.


It is agreed by ancient authors, that St. PETER went to Rome; but how long he resided there, is uncertain. He is said to have travelled into Africa, and afterwards westward as far as Great Britain. He suffered martyr. dom by crucifixion at Rome the same day with St. Paul, in the year of our LORD 65. It is reported of him, that when he came to the cross, he requested to be crucified with his head downwards, thinking he should dishonour his LORD by suffering in the same posture as he did.

It is generally affirmed by the ancients, that after our LORD's ascension, the Apostles agreed among them. selves, perhaps by lot, but most probably by particular direction of the HOLY SPIRIT, to divide, and to travel to different parts of the world. In consequence of this resolution, St. ANDREW went first into Scythia, and afterwards to many other parts, and at last sealed his doctrine with his blood at Patra in Achaia. The occasion of his death is thus related. Having made a number of converts at Patræ, he attempted to persuade Egeas, the Proconsul of Achaia, to turn Christian; Egeas treated him with great indignity, and at last delivered him up to be crucified., That his death might be more lingering, he was fastened to the cross, with cords instead of nails. It is said, that as he was led to execution, he shewed a cheerful and composed mind; and that when in sight of the cross he declared, that he had long expected and desired that happy hour. Having prayed and exhorted the converts to keep the faith, he was fastened to the cross, on which he hung two days, preaching to the people all the time; and when he found great interest was used to save his life, he earnestly begged of the LORD, that he might glorify him by hist death, and quickly expired.

The history of ST. JAMES THE GREAT (SO called to distinguish him from another of the same name) is not related in any authentic history. The Spanish writers contend, that he preached in their nation. All we know for a certainty is, that he suffered martyrdom at Jeru salem, at the command of Herod Agrippa.

After many years spent in his ministry, St. JOHN was at length accused to the emperor Domitian (who persecuted the Christians towards the end of his reign) not only as a disturber of the government, but a proS 3 moter

moter of atheism, because he preached against those whom the Gentiles reputed Gods. By Domitian's command he was sent prisoner to Rome, where, it is said, the barbarous tyrant caused him to be cast into a cauldron of boiling oil, or rather oil set on fire; but God, who delivered the three holy children from Nebuchad nezzar's fiery furnace, preserved the holy Apostle, so that the burning oil had no power over him. This was the cup his LORD foretold he should drink of, and that baptism he should be baptized with; and hence the ancients give him the honour of martyrdom: for though the punishment had not its effect, yet by yielding up his body to that which, according to its nature, must have been his death, he offered his life for the glory of CHRIST. The merciless persecutor immediately after this banished him to a desolate island called Patmos, there to be employed in digging in the mines. Here it was that he wrote his Apocalypse, or book of Revela. tians. These prophetic visions were vouchsafed to St. John at a very seasonable time; he was in a great mea. sure cut off from the society of men, but indulged with the more immediate communications of heaven.

St. John lived two years at Patmos, when Domitian being slain, Nerva succeeded to the Roman empire. He was of a very different disposition from his predecessor, and recalled all those who had in Domitian's reign been cruelly condemned to exile. St. John then returned to Ephesus, where he was made bishop in the room of Timothy, who had been lately martyred. Though he was now ninety years old, he took many journeys to visit different churches, and also wrote his Epistle and his Gospel. When age and infirmity had disabled him from preaching, he used to be led to the church at Ephesus, where, instead of preaching, he only said these


words, "Little children, love one another." His auditors asked, why he constantly said the same thing? He replied, because it was the particular command of his LORD, and could not be too often repeated. This holy Apostle lived till the time of the emperor Trajan, about the beginning of whose reign he departed this life, in the ninety-eighth or ninety-ninth year of his age.

St. PHILIP having for many years exercised his aposrolic office, came to Hierapolis, a rich and populous city in Phrygia, where a serpent or dragon of a monstrous size was the idol. Philip, grieved to see the people so ignorant and impious, besought Gon by prayer, and called upon the name of CHRIST, till the monster was struck dead. After this, by his constant preaching and holiness of life, he made many converts; but the magistrates of the city, enraged at his success, seized upon the Apostle, and caused him to be scourged, and afterwards led him to execution. Some say that he was crucified; others, that being bound, he was hung up by the neck against a pillar.

ST. BARTHOLOMEW is reported to have travelled as far as India, preaching the GOSPEL; from whence, it is said, he returned to the north-west parts of Asia. He was at Hierapolis at the time of St. Philip's martyrdom, and was then fastened to a cross, but taken down and dismissed. He afterwards removed to Albanople in Armenia, a place dreadfully over-run with idolatry, from which he endeavoured to reclaim the people; but was seized by the governor, and condemned to death. Some say he was crucified with his head downward after having been flayed alive.

After our LORD's ascension, ST. MATTHEW is supposed to have continued with the rest of the Apostles S 4


about twelve years, preaching in Jerusalem and Judea. Little certainty can be had what course of travels he 'took, or what death he died. He wrote one of the Gospels.

ST. THOMAS preached the Gospel to the Parthians, Medes, Persians, Carminians, Hyrcanians, Bactrians, and other neighbouring nations. He is said to have been thrust through with a spear by a Brachman, as he was on his knees at prayer.

[ocr errors]

ST. JAMES was, on account (as is supposed) of his relationship to our LORD, appointed by the rest of the Apostles Bishop of Jerusalem. In this high station, which was a situation of infinite labour and hazard, he acquitted himself so well, that he was much reverenced by his brethren and all the Christians.



In the interval between the departure of Festus and the coming of Albinus, the new governor of Judea, who was to succeed him, the Jews, disappointed of their de signs against Paul, who had lately appealed to Cæsar, turned all their fury upon James, and resolved to kill him. They accordingly put him to death, by first throw. ing him down from the battlements of the Temple, and then knocking out his brains with a fuller's club. His death was greatly resented by the citizens in general, who sent secretly to Agrippa, by whom the High Priest had been advanced to his office, and he was shortly after removed. James was universally esteemed by all men, excepting those who were the professed enemies of Christianity, for he lived a most exemplary life.

ST. SIMON ZELOTES Continued in worship and communion with the other Apostles and Disciples at Jerusalem after the death of CHRIST, and at the feast of Pentecost received the same miraculous gifts as they did; so that, being equally qualified with the rest,


« السابقةمتابعة »