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there to confirm the converts. When he came to Athens, he sent to Timothy to come thither to him ; and when he was come, and had given an account of the churches of Macedonia, Paul sent him back to Thessalonica, from whence he afterwards returned with Silas, and came to Paul at Corinth. There he continued with him, and the apostle mentions with him Silas, at the beginning of the two epistles, which he then wrote to the church at Thessalonica. In the year sixty-three, when Paul wrote to the Hebrews, he tells them that Timothy was come out of prison; but he gives us no circumstances either of the imprisonment of this disciple, or of his release. In sixty-four, when Paul returned from Rome, he left Timothy at Ephesus, to take care of that church, of which he was the first Bi. shop, as he is recognized by the council of Chalcedon. Paul wrote to Timothy from Macedonia, the first of the two letters which are addressed to him.
We may safely affirm, that if he did not die before the year ninety-seven, he must be the angel of the church of Ephesus, to whom St. John writes, Rev. ii. 2—5: though the reproaches which the Holy Ghost make to him, &c. of having left his first love, do not seem to belong to so holy a man as Timothy was.
ST. STEPHEN, THE PROTO-MARTYR, WHEN the seven deacons were chosen, we find Stephen was always placed at their head, as the chief and most worthy; and it is generally believed that he had been brought up at the feet of Gamaliel. However, he was remarkably zealous for the cause of religion, and full of the Holy Ghost; working many wonderful miracles before the people, and pressing them with the greatest earnestness to embrace the doctrines of the gospel of Jesus CHRIST.
The Jews were highly provoked at the zeal of Stephen, and some of the synagague of the freed men of Cyrenia, Alexandria, and other places, entered into a dispute with him ; but being unable to resist the wisdom and spirit by which he spake, they suborned false witnesses against him, to testify that they heard him blaspheme against Moses and against God. Nor did they stop here : they stirred up the people by their calumnies: so that they dragged him before the council of the nation, or great Sanhedrim, where they produced false witnesses against him, who deposed, that they had heard him speak against the temple, and against the law, and affirm that JESUS of Nazareth would destroy the holy place, and abolish the law of Moses. Stephen, supported by his own innocence, and an invisible Power from on high, appeared undaunted in the midst of this assembly, and his countenance shone like that of an angel.
The Jewish council were so highly enraged at the speech of Stephen, especially the latter part of it, that they gnashed their teeth against him: but Stephen lifting up his eyes to heaven, saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of Omnipotence; upon which he said to the council, I See the heavens open, and the Son of man standing at the right hand of God. This so greatly provoked the Jews, that they cried out with one voice, and stopped their ears, as if they had heard some dreadful blasphemy; and falling upon him, they dragged him out of the city, and stoned him to death.
It is related in Scripture, that St. Stephen, while they were mangling his body with stones, was praying to God for their pardon. Lord, said he, lay not this sin to their charge. And then calling on his dear Redeemer to receive his spirit, he yielded up his soul. Some pious persons who beheld the martyrdom of this good man, took care to bury his remains; and the church attended his funeral with great lamentations,
An Hebrew Disciple. This holy person was, according to St Luke, a chief man amongst the brethren, an expression which indi. cates that he was one of the seventy disciples: but the first account we have of him is in the transaction relating to the dispute between the Jewish and Christian converts, with regard to the necessity of keeping the law of Moses, when they chose Paul, Barnabas, Judas and Silas, to go to Jerusalem, to advise with the apostles concerning this question.
Be that as it may, when the dispute happened between Paul and Barnabas, which terminated in a rupture, Silas joined himself to Paul, and became his companion and assistant in the great work of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles. They first visited the churches of Syria and Cilicia ; from thence they passed into Lyconia, Phrygia, and Galatia ; and lastly, they crossed the sea and came into Macedonia.
During their stay at Philippi, they found a young woman possessed with an unclean spirit, who followed them several days, till Paul cast out the evil spirit, and delivered her from so dreadful a plague. This action provoked the masters of the young woman; for she acquired considerable gains by the oracles and predic. tions the devil pronounced by making use of her organs : they therefore seized upon Paul and Silas, dragged them before the magistrates, and accused them of introducing customs amongst them, contrary to those of the Romans; so that the magistrates ordered that Paul and Silas should be scourged, and committed to prison : but in the night time, there was a great earthquake, the doors of the prison opened, and the fetters of the prisoners fell off without any human assistance.
Departing from Philippi, they travelled to Thessalonica and Berea, where they preached the doctrines of the gospel; and Paul continuing his journey to Athens :
sent Silas thither, though they did not mect till they both arrived at Corinth, where St. Paul wrote his two epistles to the Thessalonian church.
ST. PHILIP, THE DEACON,
An Hebrew Convert: It is supposed that Philip was a native of Cæsarea in Galilee, it being certain that his daughters lived in that city; however, he was one of the seven deacons chosen by the apostles soon after our Saviour's resurrection.
All the Christians, except the apostles, having after the death of Stephen, left Jerusalem, and dispersed themselves in several parts, Philip went down to preacht the gospel at Samaria, where he wrought many miracles, and converted great numbers to the faith; he also baptized them, but being only a deacon, could not administer the sacrament of the Lord's supper.
It is probable Philip was at Samaria when tlie angel directed him to go towards the South, to the road that leads from Jerusalem to Old Gaza, an ancient city in the route to Egypt. Philip obeyed the summons of the heavenly messenger, and there met with an Ethio. pian eunuch, belonging to Candace, queen of Ethiopia : a person who was highly esteemed by his mistress, as well as intrusted with the care of all her revenues, and who had been at Jerusalem to worship the Almighty in that city.
When the chariot of this Ethiopian appeared in the sight of Philip, the angel bid him advance towards the stranger: he immediately obeyed, and heard the eunucli reading a passage of the prophet Isaiah ; upon which Philip asked him, if he understood what he was read.
ing? And the eunuch answered, How should I understand, except some person should explain it to me: desiring Philip, that he would come and sit down by him in the chariot. The passage he read was this; He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and as a lamb before his shearers is dumb so he openeth not his mouth. Having finished this passage, the eunuch desired to know whom the prophet intended; “Is it, says he, him. self the prophet here means, or some other man.” In answer to the question proposed by the eunuch, Philip began to instruct him concerning the Redeemer of the world, the man Christ Jesus; and afterwards baptized him, and he became a member of the church of CHRIST.
The sacred writers are silent with regard to the actions of Philip, after the time of his baptizing the Ethiopian eunuch--but the Greek ecclesiastical writers say, that he left Palestine and travelled to Tralles, in the Lesser Asia, where he founded a church, of which he was both the bishop and apostle; and where, after long labouring in the vineyard of his Master, and working many miracles, he slept in peace, and was buried in the church he had caused to be erected.
HAVING now given the most ample account possible of the followers of the blessed Jesus, the persons who spread the light of the glorious gospel over the whole world, removed the veil of ignorance and superstition drawn over the kingdoms of the earth, and taught us the method of attaining eternal happiness in the courts of the new Jerusalem--may it be our highest ambition to follow their bright example as they followcd CHRIST; may we imitate their faith, piety, hope, and love : then shall we pass through things temporal in such a manner, that we shall finally gain the things that are eternal, and be admitted as worthy guests at the marriage-supper of the Lamb, to adore and praise him, and live and reign with him in his heavenly kingdom for eyer and ever.
So be it,