« ÖncekiDevam »
there is no doubt but he used his endowments for the propagation of the Gospel ; but into what parts of the world he travelled is uncertain. It is related, that this Apostle suffered martyrdom by crucifixion.
St. Jude is distinguished in the Scripture by several names, Jude or Judas; Thaddeus and Lebbæus. His tra. vels are also uncertain ; but the Armenians regard him as the first who planted Christianity among them. It is related, that he was shot to death with arrows.
After having spent the beginning of his ministry in Judca, St. MATTHIAS is supposed to have travelled eastward. It is related that he was seized by the Jews as a blasphemer, and first stoned and then beheaded.
St. BARNAB As, though not of the number of the twelve, is yet honoured by St. Luke and the primitive writers as an Apostle ; and we find in the history of the Acts of the Apostles he makes a considerable figure.
We read, that when he and Paul had a contention about Mark, Barnabas went to Cyprus. It is said, that he did not remain constantly in that island, but returned to St. Paul again, and was sent by him 10 Corinth. However, it is thought that he ended his days in his own country, Cyprus, by martyrdom, in the following manner. Some Jews coming from Syria to Salamis, where Barnabas then was, cnraged at the great success of his labours, seized him in the synagogue as he was preaching, and shut him up all night; and in the morn. ing, after inflicting on him a variety of torments, stoned him to death.
ST. MARK was not the same who gave occasion to the quarrel between Paul and Barnabas, but is supposed to have been a convert of St. Peter's, who on that ac. count calls him his son. His Gospel was composed at
Rome, at the entreaty of the Christians there ; it was perused by St. Peter, and ratified by his authority. It was anciently styled St. Peter's Gospel.
It is related, that St. Mark preached the Gospel in Egypt, and planted the church in Alexandria : and that he afterwards travelled westward, and made many con. verts; that after this he returned to Alexandria, where a party of idolators broke in
him as he was preach. ing, and bioding his feet with cords, dragged him through the streets, till he expired under their barbarous hands.
St. Luke the EVANGELIST was a native of Antioch, a man of learning, and a physician; he is also said to have been skilled in painting. At what time he became a Christian is uncertain; but we read in the book of the Acts, which was written by him, that he was a compa. nion and fellow-labourer with St. Paul, whom he fol. lowed in all his dangers. He is supposed to have writ. ten his Gospel and the Acts at Rome, during St. Paul's two years imprisonment. It is said that he suffered martyrdom at Rome a short time after Paul was set at liberty ; which is probable, as he would otherwise, inost likely, have continued his History of the Acts of the Apostles.
UPON THE OPERATIONS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.
From the short account given in the foregoing section of the deaths of the Apostles, we may see how exactly our LORD's predictions concerning the treatment his disciples would meet with were verified; and that they all continued, in defiance of the greatest difficul. ties and dangers, nay, even of death itself in its most frightful shapes, to propagate the Gospel, by which they proved their own belief of it.
It is wonderful to think, that twelve illiterate men should have fortitude to engage in such an undertaking as that of spreading Christianity throughout every part of the known world ; and that they should be able to effect it, in such an age especially, when paganim was in the highest repute, believed universally by the vulgar, and patronized by the great; when the wisest men of the wisest nations assisted at its sacrifices, and consulted its oracles on the most important occasions. There is no way of accounting for the success of the Gospel in such hands, but by imputing it, as the scripture does, to the power of God in Christ, and the influence of the HOLY SPIRIT; for it would have been utterly impos sible for the Apostles, without Divine inspiration, to have invented a religion, the most sublime and most perfect of any that was ever made known to mankind: neither could they, without Divine assistance, have esta. blished it in the world, against the opposition of some of the most learned philosophers and most powerful princes that ever lived upon earth. We must therefore regard that part of sacred history which relates to the Acts of the Apostles, and which follows the account of our Lord's ascension, as the fulfilment of his repeated promises, that he would entreat the Father to send the HOLY SPIRIT, whom he called the Comforter or Adva. cate, to supply the loss of his personal presence.
From the account we have lately read of the miracu. Jous operations of the Holy SPIRIT we must be con vinced, that it is the Spirit of God Himself. It also
* See Jenyns's Internal Evidence.
appears, that this Spirit dwells in CHRIST; that he has the power of dispensing it to the world, and that it was actually imparted to his Apostles ; but as the mi. raculus operations of the Holy Spirit have ceased, it is necessary to explain this circumstance, and shew, in what manner the promise of the Father, made by the prophets in the Old Testament, “ that he would pour out His SPIRIT upon all flesh;" and that of the Son, " that the COMFORTER or ADVOCATE, whom he would send unto the world, should abide with his followers for guer;" were fulfilled. To give a proper idea of this, we must consider what our LORD taught concerning the gift of the Holy Spirit in his discourses. From them it appears, that it was part
great plan designed by infinite wisdom and goodness for the eternal happiness of men ; that the MESSIAH, in reward of his perfect obedience to the Divine will, should be invested with the power of sending down the Holy SPIRIT, as an Advocate to plead his cause to the world, and as a Guide to the Apostles in the promulgation of the Gospel, and to his followers in general, in the exercise of those duties which the Christian religion enjoins. We have seen, in the history of the Acts of the Apostles, in what a wonderful manner the Holy Spirit was an Advocate in the cause of Christ, by endowing the Apostles, who were ignorant illiterate men, with the gift of tongues ; enabling them to perform miracles, and suggesting to them such powerful arguments as were calculated to convince the world that Jesus was no imposcor,' but really the Messiah, the Son of GUD; that though he had been condemned as a malefactor, he was an innocent and holy person ; and that he was actu. ally raised from the dead, exalted to the right hand God, and possessed of Divine power.
We have also seen, that the Holy SPIRIT was a Guide to the Apostles, leading them into the know. ledge of all truths necessary for them to be acquainted with. By the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, their minds were cleared from many erroneous notions, which they, in their LORD's life.time, entertained ; and instructed in a variety of particulars, which with. out divine aid, they could not have comprehended. They were also, on account of their faith, endued with invincible fortitude.
The miraculous operations of the Holy Spirit were not confined to the Apostles and preachers of the Gospel, but were also extended to their hearers. . The minds of the best men were at that time so blinded by prejudices of various kinds, that, without the assistance of the Holy Spirit to open their understandings, even those who had been converted by our Lord's miracles and discourses, and believed him to be the Messiah, the Son of God, and the GREAT PROPHET, could not have comprehended all the truths of the Gospel : neither could they, unless endued with strength from above, have had fortitude sufficient to resist the allurements of the world, and adhere to their Christian profession, under the dangers and sufferings which attended it.
We perceive then, that in the first age of Christianity, the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit and his visible aid, were necessary to its propagation; but when it was fully established, and the church furnished with a written rule both for faith and practice, and the fury of persecution abated, these miraculous operations might with propriety be withheld, because there was no longer any need of them; since Christianity might be maintained by human and ordinary means, and, in a great measure,