תמונות בעמוד

of Christ, crucified; which they took down from the cross, embalmed, and laid in the sepulchre prepared for his reception.

When he died, Gamaliel buried him honourably near St. Stephen: his body was discovered in the year 415, together with those of St. Stephen and Gamaliel, and the Latin church pays honour on the third of August to all the three.


An Hebrew Disciple. JOSEPH of Arimathea, or of Ranatha, Rama, or Ramula, a city between Joppa and Jerusalem, was a Jewish senator, and privately a disciple of Jesus Christ: he was not consenting to the designs of the rest of the Jews, particularly of the members of the Sanhedrim, who condemned and put Jesus Christ to death: but when our Saviour was dead, he went boldly to Pilate, and desired the body of Jesus, in order to bury it. This he obtained; and, accordingly he buried it after an honourable manner, in a sepulchre newly made in a garden, which was upon the same Mount Calvary where Jesus had been crucified. After he had placed it there he closed the entrance of it with a stone cut particularly for this purpose, and which exactly filled the open part.

The festival of Joseph of Arimathea is observed by the Greek church on the thirty-first of July.

[merged small][ocr errors]

PHILEMON, A GENTILE CONVERT. This eminent disciple was a rich citizen of Colosse, and probably a native of that place. He was converted, together with his wife, to the Christian faith, by Epaphras, a disciple of St. Paul; for Paul himself never preached in Colosse, though he wrote an epistle to the brethren there.

We read, that Philemon had made a church of his house : and all his domestics, as well as himself, were of the household of faith. His charity, liberality, and compassion were a sure refuge to all who were in distress: he followed the example of that Great Master in whom he believed; and was delighted, when exercised in works of beneficence and mercy. His name is placed on the twenty-second of November in the martyroligies.

PRISCILLA, A JEWISH CONVERT. IN the times of the apostles, Priscilla was very famous in the church, and is often mentioned by the sacred writers before her husband Aquila. They were both Jews; but their country and births are uncertain. They were at Corinth when St. Paul came thither, and had the happiness of entertaining him in their house a very considerable time; the apostle being of the same trade with Aquila; namely, a maker of tents of leather, for the use of the army, and at which they both wrought for scme time, for their livelihood.

On St. Paul's leaving Corinth, both Aquila and Priscilla came with him to Ephesus, where they dwelt a considerable time, and preached the gospel with good success. Their house was so well regulated, that St.

Paul calls it a church; an example that should in some measure, be followed by every one who pretends to be a follower of the blessed Jesus, though shamefully neglected by the greatest part of Christians in the present day.

Whether they died in peace, or by the hands of those who opposed the progress of the Christian faith is not known; but however this be, they laboured faithfully to extend the religion of Jesus; and therefore, have been justly placed amongst the first preachers of the gospel in the apostolic age.

APOLLOS, A JEWISH CONVERT, THE ancient writers give no account either of the birth or family of Apollos: all they mention is that he was a Jew of Alexandria, and came to Ephesus during St. Paul's absence, who was gone to Jerusalem, to visit the other apostles and the church in that city,

This eminent person was distinguished for his eloquence, and knowledge of the Scriptures. He was instructed in the way of the Lord, and as he spoke with zeal and fervour, taught diligently the things relating to the kingdom of heaven, though he knew only the baptism of John.

Apollos was no sooner come to Ephesus, than he be. gan to speak boldly in the synagogue, and to shew that Jesus was the Christ. Aquila and Priscilla, having heard him, took him home with them and instructed him more fully in the ways of the Almighty, and bap-tized him. He was very useful at Corinth, in convincing the Jews out of the Scriptures, and demonstrating to them, that Jesus was the CHRIST. Thus he watered what Paul had planted in that city,

It is allowed by all, that he was an active and powerful preacher of that gospel ; and that great numbers were, by his preaching, rendered obedient to the faith of CHRIST.

TITUS, A GENTILE CONVERT. THIS eminent person was a Heathen by religion and birth, but converted by St. Paul who calls him his son. Titus was sent by Paul to Corinth, upon occasion of some disputes which then divided the church. He was very well received by the Corinthians, and very much satisfied with their ready compliance; but would receive nothing from them, imitating thereby the distressedness of his Master, who sought not theirs, but them.

He went from Corinth to St. Paul into Macedonia, and gave him an account of the state of the Corinthian church. A little while after, the apostle desired him to return again to Corinth, to set things in order against his coming. Titus readily undertook this journey, and departed immediately, carrying with him Paul's second letter to the Corinthians,

Titus was made bishop of the isle of Crete, about the sixty-third year of Christ, when St. Paul was obliged to quit this island, in order to take care of the other churches. The following year he wrote to him to desire, that as soon as he should have sent Tychicus or Artemas to him for supplying his place in Crete, Titus would come to him to Nicopolis in Macedonia, or to Nicopolis in Epirus upon the gulf of Ambracia, where the apostle intended to pass his winter. The subject of this epistle is to represent to Titus what are the qualities that a bishop should be endued with.

St. Paul's epistle to Titus has always been acknowlodged by the church. The Marciogates did not receive

[ocr errors]

it, nor did the Basilidians, and some other Heretics; but Tartian, the head of the Encratites, received it, and preferred it before all the rest. It is not certainly known by whom it was sent nor from what place it was written.

It appears, that Titus was deputed to preach the gospel in Dalmatia; and he was still there in the


six. ty-five, when the apostle wrote his second epistle to Timothy. He died at the age of ninety-four, and was buried in Crete. His festival is kept by the Greeks on the 25th of August, and on the fourth of January by the Latin church.

TIMOTHY, A GENTILE CONVERT. 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. He was a convert and a disciple of St. Paul.

We take notice of these particulars, because St. Paul commends their piety, and the good education which they had given Timothy. When Paul came to Derbe and Lystra about the year of CHRIST fifty-one or fiftytwo, the brethren gave a very advantageous testimony of the merit and good dispositions of Timothy; and the apostle would have him along with him ; but he circumcised him at Lystra, before he received him into his company

Timothy applied himself to labour with St. Paul in the business of the gospel; and did him very important services, through the whole course of his preaching,

Timothy accompanied St. Paul' to Macedonia, to Philippi, to Thessalonica, to Berea; and when the apostle went from Berea, he left Timothy and Silas

« הקודםהמשך »