« AnteriorContinuar »
sailed to his own country, Cyprus; and Paul, 1. places, he returned to Cyprus, bis native accompanied with Silas, travelled to the country, where he suffered martyrdom in churches of Syria and Cilicia.
the following manner : Certain Jews com
ing from Syria and Salamis, where Barnabas After this separation from St. Paul, the was then preaching the gospel, being highly sacred writings give us no account of St. exasperated at his extraordinary success, Barnabas ; nor are the ecclesiastical writers fell upon him as he was disputing in the agreed among themselves with regard to the synagogue, dragged him out, and, after the actions of our apostle, after his sailing for most inhuman tortures, stoned him to death. Cyprus. This, however, seems to be certain, His kinsinan, John Mark, who was a spectathat he did not spend the whole remainder of tor of this barbarous action, privately interhis life in that island, but visited different red his body in a cave, where it remained till parts of the world, preaching the glad tidings the time of the emperor Zeno, in the year of the gospel, healing the sick, and working of Christ 485, when it was discovered, with other miracles among the Gentiles. After St. Matthew's gospel in Hebrew, written long and painful travels, attended with with his own hand, iying on his breast. different degrees of success, in different !
D oth the scriptures and the ancient | earnestness, to embrace the doctrines of the
D writers are silent with regard to the gospel. birth, country, and parents of St. Stephen. Epiphanius is of opinion that he was one of This highly provoked the Jews; and some the seventy disciples: but this is very uncer- of the synagogues of the freed men of Cyretain. Our blessed Saviour appointed his nia, Alexandria, and other places, entered seventy disciples to teach the doctrines, and into dispute with him ; but being unable to preach the glad tidings of the gospel ; but it resist the wisdom and spirit by which he spoke, does not appear that St. Stephen and the they suborned false witnesses against him, to six other first deacons, had any particular | testify that they heard him blaspheme against designation before they were chosen for the Moses and against God. Nor did they service of the tables; and therefore St. Ste- | stop here; they stirred up the people by their phen could not have been one of our Lord's calumnies : so that they dragged him before disciples, though he might have often fol the council of the nation, or great Sanbelowed him, and listened to his discourses. drim, where they produced false witnesses
against him, who deposed that they had heard He was remarkably zealous for the cause him speak against the temple, and against of religion, and full of the Holy Ghost : | the law, and affirm that Jesus of working many wonderful miracles before the | would destroy the holy place, and abolish people, and pressing them, with the greatest ! the law of Moses. Stephen, supported by bis own innocence, and an invisible power "Soon after the exaltation of Joseph, the from on high, appeared undaunted in the countries of Egypt and Canaan were afflictmidst of this assembly, and his countenance ed with a terrible famine, and our fathers shone like that of an angel; wben the high- found no sustenance either for themselves or priest asking him what he has to offer against flocks. But as soon as Jacob heard the the accusations laid to his charge, he an- welcome tidings, that there was corn in swered in tbe following manner:
Egypt, he sent our fathers thither to pur
chase bread for the famine of his household. " Hearken unto me, ye descendants of And in their second journey thither, Joseph Jacob; the Almighty, whose glory is from made himself known to his brethren, and everlasting, appeared to our father Abraham, also informed Pharaoh of his country and rebefore le sojourned in Charran, even while lations. After which Joseph's father, with he dwelt in Mesopotamia, commanding him his whole house, consisting of threescore and to leave his country and relations, and retire | ten souls, went down into Egypt, where into a land which he would shew him. both Jacob and our fathers died, and their
remains were deposited in the sepulcbre, " Abraham obeyed the divine mandate ; purchased by Abraham of Ehpron the he left the land of the Chaldeans and pitched Hittite. his tent in Charran; from whence, after his father was dead, he removed into Cavaan, " But as the time of fulfilling the promise even the land you now inhabit ; but he gave made to Abraham approached, the people him no inheritance in this country, not even multiplied in Egypt, till another king arose, so much as to set his foot upon. He pro- who was not acquainted with the merits of mised, indeed, he would give it him for a Joseph, and the great things he had done for possession, which should descend to his l that country. This prince used our fathers posterity, though at this time he had no with cruelty, and artfully attempted to dechild.
stroy all the male children. At this time
Moses was born, and being exceeding fair, "God also intimated to him that his seed was nourished three months in his father's should sojourn in a strange land ; the people house : but as it was dangerous to conceal of wbich should make them bondmen, and him there any longer, he was hid among the treat them cruelly four hundred years. Af flags on the bank of the river ; when the ter which he would judge that nation, bring daughter of Pharaoh found him, and eduout his people who should serve them in this cated him as her own son. place, as an earnest of which, he gave him the covenant of circumcision ; and after. « Thus Moses became acquainted with wards a son, whom Abraham circumcised all the learning of Egypt, and was mighty the eighth day, calling his name Isaac, who both in word and deed: but when he was begat Jacob, and Jacob begat the twelve forty years old, he thought proper to visit his patriarchs.
brethren, the children of Israel: and seeing
an Egyptian smiting an Hebrew, he assisted " But these moved with envy, sold their the suffering person, and slew the Egyptian ; brother Joseph into Egypt, where the Al. supposing that his brethren would have been mighty protected him, delivered him from all persuaded that from bis hand, with the as. his afflictions, endued him with wisdom, sistance of the Almighty, they might expect and gave bim favour in the sight of Pha- | deliverance ; but they conceived no hopes of raoh, the monarch of Egypt, who made this kind. him governor both of his house and kingdom.
" The next day he again visited them, and
seeing two of them striving together, he, of returning to their state of bondage ; comendeavoured to make them friends : Yeare manding Aaron to make them gods to go bebrethren, said he to them, why do ye injure fore them: and pretending that they knew one another? But he who did his neighbour not what was become of Moses, who delivered wrong, instead of listening to his advice, them from the slavery of Egypt. They now thrust bim away, saying, By what authority made a calf, offered sacritices to it, and art thou a judge of our actions ? Wilt thou rejoiced in the work of their own hands. kill me as thou didst the Egyptian, yester On which the Almighty abandoned them, day ?
as the prophets have recorded. “Oye house
of Israel! have you offered unto me slain “ Moses at this answer, fled from Egypt, beasts and sacrifices, by the space of forty and sojourned in the land of Midian, where years in the wilderness? Yea, ye took up he begat two sons. And at the end of forty the tabernacle of Moloch, and the star of years, the angel of the Lord appeared unto your god Rempan; figures which re made, him in the wilderness of Mount Sinai, out of to worship them: I will carry you away the middle of a bush burning with fire; a beyond Babylon." sight which surprised Moses; and as he drew near to view more attentively so un “Our fathers were possessed of the tabercommon a sight, the voice of the Lord came
nacle of witness in the wilderness; being unto him, saying, “I am the God of thy I made according to the pattern Moses had fathers, the God of Abraham, the God seen in the mount. This tabernacle our of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” At which fathers brought into the possession of the Moses trembled and turned aside his face. Gentiles, who were driven out by the AlBut the Lord said to him, " Putoff thy shoes mighty, till the days of David, a favourite from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou
of the Most High, and who was desirous of standest is holy ground. I have seen the finding a tabernacle for the God of Jacob; affliction of my people which are in Egypt, but Solomon built him a house. and I have heard their groaning, and am
« We must not, however, think, that the come to deliver them. And now come, I will send thee into Egypt.”
Almighty will reside in temples made with
hands, as the prophet beautifully observed, “ Thus was that Moses whom they refus.
“ Heaven is my throne, and earth is my ed sent by God to be a ruler and a deliverer,
footstool : what house will ye build ine, saith by the hand of the angel who appeared to
the Lord, or where is the place of my rest? him in a bush. Accordingly he brought
Hath not mine hand made all these
Wedsions and things ? them out, after he had shewed signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, in the Red
" Ye stiff-necked, ye uncircumcised in Sea, and in the wilderness forty years. It is
| heart and ears, se will for ever resist the this Moses that told our fathers, “ A prophet
| Holy Ghost. Ye tread in the paths of your shall the Lord your God raise up unto you,
fathers; as they did, so do you still continue of your brethren, like unto me. Aim shall
| 'to do. Did not your fathers persecute every ye hear.”
one of the prophets ? did not they slay them
who shewed the coming of the Holy One, " And this prophet is the same who was whom ye yourselves have betrayed and in the church in the wilderness, with the
murdered? Ye have received the law angel which spake unto Moses in Mount by the deposition of angels, but never kept Sinai, and with our fathers: the same who it is received the lively oracles to give unto us; he whom our fathers would not obey, At these words they were so bigbly enrag. but thrust him from them, and were desirous ed, that they all gnashed their teeth against
him. But Stephen lifting up his eyes to hea. , martyrdom of Stephen is uncertain ; but the - ven, saw the glory of God, and Jesus stand evangelist tells us, that the witnesses were ing at the right hand of Omnipotence. Upon principally concerned in this action : for they which he says to the council," I see the hea stripped off their clothes, and laid them at vens open, and the Son of man standing at the feet of a young man whose name was the right hand of God." This so greatly Saul, then a violent persecutor of the Chris. provoked the Jews, that they cried out with tian church, but afterwards one of the most one voice, and stopped their ears, as if they | zealous preachers of the gospel. had heard some dreadful blasphemy ; and, Stephen, while they were mangling his falling upon him, they dragged him out of body with stones, was praying to Omnipothe city, and stoned him to death. It was the | tence for their pardon. “ Lord," said he, custom of the Jews, on these occasions, for “ lay not this sin to their charge.” And then the witness to throw the first stone. Whe- | calling on his dear Redeemer to receive ther they observed this particular at the his spirit, he yielded up his soul.
INIMOTHY was a convert and disciple
1 of St. Paul. He was born, according to some, at Lystra ; or, according to others, at Derbe. His father was a Gentile, but his mother a Jewess, whose name was Eunice, and that of his grandmother, Lais.
These particulars are taken notice of because St. Paul commends their piety and the good education which they had given Timothy. When St. Paul came to Derbe and Lystra, about the year of Christ 51 or 52, the brethren gave a very advantageous testimony of the merit and good disposition of Timothy : and the apostle would have him along with him, and he initiated bim at Lystra before he received him into biş com
pany. Timothy applied himself to labour · with St. Paul in the business of the gospel ; and did bim very important services, through the whole course of his preaching. It is not known when he was made a bishop; but it is believed that he received very early the
imposition of the apostle's hands; and that in consequence of a particular revelation, or from the Holy Ghost. St. Paul calls him not only his dearly beloved son, but also his brother, the companion of his labours, and a man of God. He declared that there were none more united with him in heart and mind, than Timothy.
This holy disciple accompanied St. Paul to Macedonia, to Philippi, to Thessalonica, to Berea : and when the apostle went from Berea, he left Timothy and Silas there to confirm the converts. When he came to Athens, he sent for Timothy to come thither to him; and when he was come and had given him an account of the churches of Macedonia, St. Paul sent him back to Thessalonica, from whence he afterwards returned with Silas, and came to St. Paul at Corinth. There he continued with bim, and the apostle mentions him, with Silas, at the beginning of the two epistles which he then wrote to the Thessalonians.
Some years after this St. Paul sent Tiino. , to Rome, as it is probable he did, he must thy and Erastus into Macedonia ; and gave have been a witness of the martyrdom o. Timothy orders to call at Corinth, to refresh this apostle, in the year of Cbrist 66. the ininds of the Corinthians, with regard tothetruths which he had inculcated in them.
If he did not die before the year 97, we Some time after, writing to the same Corin
can hardly doubt but that he must be the thians, he recommends them to take care
pastor of the church of Ephesus, to whom of Timothy, and send him back in peace;
John writes in his Revelations: though the after which Timothy returned to St. Paul
reproaches with which he seems to load him in Asia, who there stayed for him. They
for bis instability in having left his first love, went together into Macedonia ; and the
do not seem to agree to so holy a man as apostle puts Timothy's name with his own,
Timothy was. Thus he speaks to binı ;“ I before the second epistle to the Corinthians,
know thy works, and thy labour, and thy which he wrote to them from Macedonia,
patience, and how thou canst not bear them about the middle of the year of Christ 57.
which are evil ; and thou hast tried them And he sends his recommendations to the
which say they are apostles, and are not, Romans in the letter which he wrote them from Corinth the same year.
and hast found them liars. And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake
hast laboured and hast not fainted. When St. Paul returned from Rome, in 64, he left Timothy at Ephesus to take care of that church of which he was the first bi - Nevertheless, I have somewhat against shop, as he is recognized by the council of / thee; because thou hast left thy first love, Chalcedon. St. Paul wrote to hin from Ma Remember, therefore, from whence thou art cedonia, the first of the two letters which are fallen : and repent, and do the first works, addressed to him. He recommends him to or else I will come unto thee quickly, and be more moderate in his austerities, and to will remove the candlestick out of his place, drink a little wine because of the weakness except thou repent." The greatest part of of bis stomach, and his frequent infirmities. interpreters think that these reproaches do After the apostle came to Rome, in the year not so much concern the person of Timo65, being now very near his death, be wrote thy, as that of some members of his church, to him his second letter, which was full of the whose zeal was grown cool. But others are marks of his kindness and tenderness for persuaded that they may be applied to Tithis dear disciple; and which is justly looked mothy himself, who made ample amends, upon as the last will of St. Paul. He desires by the martyrdom which he suffered, for the him to come to Rome to him before win- reproaches mentioned by St. John in this ter, and bring with him several things which place. It it supposed that Timothy had St. Paul had left at Troas. If Timothy went Onesimus for his successor.