Imatges de pÓgina

sailed to his own country, Cyprus; and Paul, accompanied with Silas, travelled to the churches of Syria and Cilicia.

After this separation from St. Paul, the sacred writings give us no account of St. Barnabas; nor are the ecclesiastical writers agreed among themselves with regard to the actions of our apostle, after his sailing for Cyprus. This, however, seems to be certain, that he did not spend the whole remainder of his life in that island, but visited different parts of the world, preaching the glad tidings of the gospel, healing the sick, and working other miracles among the Gentiles. After long and painful travels, attended with different degrees of success, in different

places, he returned to Cyprus, his native country, where he suffered martyrdom in the following manner: Certain Jews coming from Syria and Salamis, where Barnabas was then preaching the gospel, being highly exasperated at his extraordinary success, fell upon him as he was disputing in the synagogue, dragged him out, and, after the most inhuman tortures, stoned him to death. His kinsman, John Mark, who was a spectator of this barbarous action, privately interred his body in a cave, where it remained till the time of the emperor Zeno, in the year of Christ 485, when it was discovered, with St. Matthew's gospel in Hebrew, written with his own hand, iying on his breast.

Saint Stephen.


OTH the scriptures and the ancient writers are silent with regard to the birth, country, and parents of St. Stephen. Epiphanius is of opinion that he was one of the seventy disciples: but this is very uncertain. Our blessed Saviour appointed his seventy disciples to teach the doctrines, and preach the glad tidings of the gospel; but it does not appear that St. Stephen and the six other first deacons, had any particular designation before they were chosen for the service of the tables; and therefore St. Stephen could not have been one of our Lord's disciples, though he might have often followed him, and listened to his discourses.

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.

This highly provoked the Jews; and some of the synagogues of the freed men of Cyrenia, Alexandria, and other places, entered into dispute with him; but being unable to resist the wisdom and spirit by which he spoke, 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

bis 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; when the highpriest asking him what he had to offer against the accusations laid to his charge, he answered in the following manner:

"Hearken unto me, ye descendants of Jacob; the Almighty, whose glory is from everlasting, appeared to our father Abraham, before he sojourned in Charran, even while he dwelt in Mesopotamia, commanding him to leave his country and relations, and retire into a land which he would shew him.

"Abraham obeyed the divine mandate; he left the land of the Chaldeans and pitched his tent in Charran; from whence, after his father was dead, he removed into Canaan, even the land you now inhabit; but he gave him no inheritance in this country, not even so much as to set his foot upon. He promised, indeed, he would give it him for a possession, which should descend to his posterity, though at this time he had no child.

"God also intimated to him that his seed should sojourn in a strange land; the people of which should make them bondmen, and treat them cruelly four hundred years. After which he would judge that nation, bring out his people who should serve them in this place, as an earnest of which, he gave him the covenant of circumcision; and afterwards a son, whom Abraham circumcised the eighth day, calling his name Isaac, who begat Jacob, and Jacob begat the twelve patriarchs.

"But these moved with envy, sold their brother Joseph into Egypt, where the Almighty protected him, delivered him from all his afflictions, endued him with wisdom, and gave him favour in the sight of Pharaoh, the monarch of Egypt, who made him governor both of his house and king


"Soon after the exaltation of Joseph, the countries of Egypt and Canaan were afflicted with a terrible famine, and our fathers found no sustenance either for themselves or flocks. But as soon as Jacob heard the welcome tidings, that there was corn in Egypt, he sent our fathers thither to purchase bread for the famine of his household. And in their second journey thither, Joseph made himself known to his brethren, and also informed Pharaoh of his country and relations. After which Joseph's father, with his whole house, consisting of threescore and ten souls, went down into Egypt, where both Jacob and our fathers died, and their remains were deposited in the sepulchre, purchased purchased by Abraham of Ehpron the Hittite.

"But as the time of fulfilling the promise made to Abraham approached, the people multiplied in Egypt, till another king arose, who was not acquainted with the merits of Joseph, and the great things he had done for that country. that country. This prince used our fathers with cruelty, and artfully attempted to destroy all the male children. At this time Moses was born, and being exceeding fair, was nourished three months in his father's house but as it was dangerous to conceal him there any longer, he was hid among the flags on the bank of the river; when the daughter of Pharaoh found him, and educated him as her own son.

"Thus Moses became acquainted with all the learning of Egypt, and was mighty both in word and deed: but when he was forty years old, he thought proper to visit his brethren, the children of Israel: and seeing an Egyptian smiting an Hebrew, he assisted the suffering person, and slew the Egyptian; supposing that his brethren would have been persuaded that from his hand, with the assistance of the Almighty, they might expect deliverance; but they conceived no hopes of this kind.

"The next day he again visited them, and

seeing two of them striving together, he endeavoured to make them friends: Ye are brethren, said he to them, why do ye injure one another? But he who did his neighbour wrong, instead of listening to his advice, thrust him away, saying, By what authority art thou a judge of our actions? Wilt thou kill me as thou didst the Egyptian, yesterday?

"Moses at this answer, fled from Egypt, and sojourned in the land of Midian, where he begat two sons. And at the end of forty years, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in the wilderness of Mount Sinai, out of the middle of a bush burning with fire; a sight which surprised Moses; and as he drew near to view more attentively so uncommon a sight, the voice of the Lord came unto him, saying, "I am the God of thy "I am the God of thy fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." At which Moses trembled and turned aside his face. But the Lord said to him, "Put off thy shoes Put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. I have seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and I have heard their groaning, and am come to deliver them. And now come, I will send thee into Egypt."

"Thus was that Moses whom they refused sent by God to be a ruler and a deliverer, by the hand of the angel who appeared to him in a bush. Accordingly he brought them out, after he had shewed signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, in the Red Sea, and in the wilderness forty years. It is this Moses that told our fathers, "A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you, of your brethren, like unto me. Him shall ye hear."

"And this prophet is the same who was in the church in the wilderness, with the angel which spake unto Moses in Mount Sinai, and with our fathers: the same who received the lively oracles to give unto us; he whom our fathers would not obey, but thrust him from them, and were desirous

of returning to their state of bondage; commanding Aaron to make them gods to go before them and pretending that they knew not what was become of Moses, who delivered them from the slavery of Egypt. They now made a calf, offered sacrifices to it, and rejoiced in the work of their own hands. On which the Almighty abandoned them, as the prophets have recorded. "O ye house of Israel! have you offered unto me slain beasts and sacrifices, by the space of forty years in the wilderness? Yea, ye took up the tabernacle of Moloch, and the star of your god Rempan; figures which ye made, to worship them: I will carry you away beyond Babylon."

"Our fathers were possessed of the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness; being made according to the pattern Moses had seen in the mount. This tabernacle our fathers brought into the possession of the Gentiles, who were driven out by the Almighty, till the days of David, a favourite of the Most High, and who was desirous of finding a tabernacle for the God of Jacob; but Solomon built him a house.

"We must not, however, think, that the Almighty will reside in temples made with hands, as the prophet beautifully observed, "Heaven is my throne, and earth is my the Lord, or where is the place of footstool what house will ye build me, saith my rest? Hath not mine hand made all these things?"

heart and ears, ye will for ever resist the "Ye stiff-necked, ye uncircumcised in Holy Ghost. Ye tread in the paths of your fathers; as they did, so do you still continue to do. Did not your fathers persecute every one of the prophets? did not they slay them who shewed the coming of the Holy One, murdered? Ye have received the law whom ye yourselves have betrayed and by the deposition of angels, but never kept it."

At these words they were so highly enraged, that they all 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 says 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 was the custom of the Jews, on these occasions, for the witness to throw the first stone. Whether they observed this particular at the

martyrdom of Stephen is uncertain; but the evangelist tells us, that the witnesses were principally concerned in this action: for they stripped off their clothes, and laid them at the feet of a young man whose name was Saul, then a violent persecutor of the Christian church, but afterwards one of the most zealous preachers of the gospel.

Stephen, while they were mangling his body with stones, was praying to Omnipotence 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.


TIMOTHY was a convert and disciple imposition of the apostle's hands; and that

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 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. It is not known when he was made a bishop; but it is believed that he received very early the No. 24.

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 him, and the apostle mentions him, with Silas, at the beginning of the two epistles which he then wrote to the Thessalonians.

5 A

Some years after this St. Paul sent Timothy and Erastus into Macedonia; and gave Timothy orders to call at Corinth, to refresh the minds of the Corinthians, with regard to thetruths which he had inculcated in them. Some time after, writing to the same Corinthians, he recommends them to take care of Timothy, and send him back in peace; after which Timothy returned to St. Paul in Asia, who there stayed for him. They went together into Macedonia; and the apostle puts Timothy's name with his own, before the second epistle to the Corinthians, which he wrote to them from Macedonia, about the middle of the year of Christ 57. And he sends his recommendations to the Romans in the letter which he wrote them from Corinth the same year.

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 bishop, as he is recognized by the council of Chalcedon. St. Paul wrote to him from Macedonia, the first of the two letters which are addressed to him. He recommends him to be more moderate in his austerities, and to drink a little wine because of the weakness of his stomach, and his frequent infirmities. After the apostle came to Rome, in the year 65, being now very near his death, he wrote to him his second letter, which was full of the marks of his kindness and tenderness for this dear disciple; and which is justly looked upon as the last will of St. Paul. He desires him to come to Rome to him before winter, and bring with him several things which St. Paul had left at Troas. If Timothy went

to Rome, as it is probable he did, he must have been a witness of the martyrdom o. this apostle, in the year of Christ 66.

If he did not die before the year 97, we can hardly doubt but that he must be the pastor of the church of Ephesus, to whom John writes in his Revelations: though the reproaches with which he seems to load him for his instability in having left his first love, do not seem to agree to so holy a man as Timothy was. Thus he speaks to him; "I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil; and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars. And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured and hast not fainted.

"Nevertheless, I have somewhat against thee; because thou hast left thy first love. Remember, therefore, from whence thou art fallen and repent, and do the first works, or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent." The greatest part of interpreters think that these reproaches do not so much concern the person of Timothy, as that of some members of his church, whose zeal was grown cool. But others are persuaded that they may be applied to Timothy himself, who made ample amends, by the martyrdom which he suffered, for the reproaches mentioned by St. John in this place. It it supposed that Timothy had Onesimus for his successor.

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