Imatges de pÓgina

Joseph of Arimathea.

OSEPH 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 the members of the Sanhedrim, who condemned and put Jesus to death: and 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 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 of it.

The Greek church keeps the festival of Joseph of Arimathea, July 31.

We do not meet with his name in the old Latin Martyrologies; nor was it inserted in the Roman till after the year 1585. The body of Joseph of Arimathea, was, it said, brought to the abbey of Moyenmontier, by Fortunatus, archbishop of Grada; to which Charlemaign had given this monastery, under the denomination of a benefice. remains were honoured till the tenth age: but then the monastery being given to canons, who continued seventy years there, the relics were carried away by some foreign monks; and so lost with many others,



ICODEMUS, one of the disciples of our blessed Saviour, was a Jew by nation, and by sect a Pharisee. The gospel calls him a Ruler of the Jews; and Christ gives him the name of a Master of Israel. When our Saviour began to manifest himself by his miracles at Jerusalem, at the first passover which he celebrated there after his baptism, Nicodemus made no doubt but that be was the Messiah, and came to him. by night, that he might learn of him the No. 24.

way to eternal salvation. Jesus told him, that no one would see the kingdom of heaven, except he should be born again. Nicodemus, taking this in the literal sense, made answer, How can a man be born again? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb? To which Jesus replied, Iť a man be not born again of water and the spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh, is flesh; and that which is born of the spirit,

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is spirit. Nicodemus asked him, How can these things be? Jesus answered; "Art thou a master of Israel, and ignorant of these things? We tell you what we know, and you receive not our testimony. If you believe not common things, and which may be called earthly, how will you believe me if I spake to you of heavenly things? And as Moses lifted up the brazen serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up on high for God has so loved the world that he has given his only Son; so that no man who believes in him shall perish, but shall have eternal life: for God sent his Son into the world, that the world through him might be saved."

After this conversation, Nicodemus became a disciple of Jesus Christ; and there is no doubt to be made but he came to hear him, as often as our Saviour came to Jerusalem. It happened, on a time, that the Priests and Pharisees had sent officers to seize Jesus, who returned to them, and made this report, that never man spoke as he did; to which the Pharisees replied, "Are you also of his disciples? Is there any one of the Elders or Pharisees that have believed in him?" Then Nicodemus thought himself obliged to make answer, saying, does the law permit us to condemn any one before he is heard? To which they replied, Are you also a Galilean? Read the scriptures, and you will find that never any

prophet come out of Galilee. After this the council was dismissed. At last Nicodemus declared himself openly a disciple of Jesus Christ, when he came, with Joseph of Arimathea, to pay the last duties to the body of Christ crucified: which they took down from the cross, embalmed, and laid in the sepulchre.

Nicodemus received baptism from the disciples of Christ; but it is uncertain whether before or after his passion.

The Jews being informed of this, deposed him from his dignity of senator, excommunicated, and drove him from Jerusalem. It is said also, that they would have put him to death but that in consideration of Gamaliel, who was his uncle, or cousin-german, they contented themselves with beating him almost to death, and plundering his goods.

Gamaliel conveyed him to his countryhouse, and provided him with what was necessary for his support; and when he died, Gamaliel buried him honourably near St. Stephen.

His body was discovered in 415, together with those of St. Stephen and Gamaliel ; and the Latin church pays honour to all three, on the third of August.

John Mark.

OHN MARK, cousin to St. Barnabas

and a disciple of his, was the son of a Christian woman, named Mary, who had a house in Jerusalem, where the apostles and the faithful generally used to meet. Here they were at prayers in the night, when St. Peter, who was delivered out of prison by the angel, came and knocked at the door : and in this house the celebrated church of Sion was said to have been afterwards established.

John Mark, whom some very improperly confound with the evangelist St. Mark, adhered to St. Paul and St. Barnabas, and followed them in their return to Antioch; he continued in their company and service till they came to Perga, in Pamphylia, but then seeing that they were undertaking a longer journey, he left them, and returned to Jerusalem. This happened in the year 45 of the common æra.

Some years after, that is to say in the year 51, Paul and Barnabas preparing to return into Asia, in order to visit the churches, which they had formed there, Barnabas was of opinion, that John Mark should accompany them in this journey; but Paul would not consent to it; upon which occasion these two apostles separated. Paul went to Asia, and Barnabas,

with John Mark, to the isle of Cyprus. What John Mark did after this journey we do not know, till we find him at Rome in the year 63, performing signal service for St. Paul during his imprisonment.

The apostle speaks advantageously of him in his epistle to the Colossians, Marcus, sister's son to Barnabas, saluteth you. If he cometh unto you, receive him. He makes mention of him again in his epistle to Philemon, written in the year 62, at which time he was with St. Paul at Rome; but in the year 65 he was with Timothy in Asia. And St. Paul writing to Timothy, desires him to bring Marcus to Rome; adding, that he was useful to him for the ministry of the gospel.

In the Greek and Latin churches, the festival of John Mark is kept on the 27th of September. Some say that he was bishop of Biblis, in Phoenicia. The Greeks give him the title of apostle; and say that the sick were cured by the shadow only. It is very probable that he died at Ephesus, where his tomb was very much celebrated and resorted to. He is sometimes called simply John, or Mark. The year of his death we are strangers to; and shall not collect all that is said of him in apocryphal and uncertain authors.



LEMENT is mentioned by St. Paul, in his epistle to the Philippians, where the apostle says that Clement's name is written in the book of life. The generality of the fathers, and other interpreters, make no question but that this is the same Clement who succeeded St. Paul, after Linus and Cletus, in the government of the church of Rome; and this seems to be intimated, when, in the office of St. Clement's day, that church appoints this part of the epistle to the Philippians to be read.

We find several things relating to Clement's life in the recognitions and constitutions called apostolical; but as those works are not looked upon as authentic, though there may be truths in them derived from the tradition of the first ages, little stress is to be laid upon their testimony. St. Chrysostom thinks that Clement, mentioned by St. Paul in his epistle to the Philippians, was one of the apostle's constant fellow-travellers. Irenæus, Origin, Clemens of Alexandria, and others of the ancients assert, that Clement was a disciple of the apostles; that he had seen them, and heard their instructions. St. Epiphanius, Jerome, Rufinus, Bede, and some others, were of opinion, that as the apostles St. Peter and St. Paul could not be continually at Rome, by reason of the frequent journies which they were obliged to make to other places, and it was not proper that the city of Rome should be without a bishop, there was a necessity to supply the want of them by establishing Linus, Anaclet, and Clement there. The constitutions inform us, that Linus was ordained by St. Paul: Tertullian and Epiphanius say, that St. Peter ordained Clement. Rufinus tells

us, that this apostle chose St. Clement for his successor. But Epiphanius believes, that after he had been made bishop of Rome by St. Peter, he refused to exercise his office, till, after the death of Linus and Anaclet, he was obliged to take upon him the care of the church: and this is the most generally received opinion. St. Peter's immediate successor was Linus: Linus was succeeded by Anacletus; and Anacletus by Clement, in the year of Christ ninetyone, which was the tenth of Domitian's reign.

During his pontificate, the church of Corinth having been disturbed by a spirit of division, St. Clement wrote a large letter to the Corinthians, which is still extant, and was so much esteemed by the ancients, that they read it publicly in many churches; and some have been inclined to range it among the canonical writings. The emperor Domitian intended to declare war against the church of Christ; his design was made known to Hermas, and he ordered to give a copy of it to Clement, that he might communicate it to other churches, and exhort them to provide against the storm. We have no certain account of what happened to St. Clement, during this persecution; but we are very well assured that he lived to the third year of Trajan. His festival is set down by Bede, and all the Latin Martyrologies, on the twenty-third of November. The Greeks honour him on the twenty-fourth and twenty-fifth of the same month. Rufinus, and pope Zozimus, give him the title of Martyr; and the Roman church, in its canon, places him among the saints who have sacrificed their lives for Jesus Christ. We read in ancient history

to the authenticity of which however, there are some exceptions, that St. Clement was banished by Trajan to the Chersenesus,

beyond the Euxine Sea; besides other particulars in the history, which we shall not mention, as not being well authenticated.


Mary Magdalene.

ARY Magdalene was a native either


of Magdala a town in Galilee, on the other side Jordan, or Magdalos, a town situated at the foot of Mount Carmel, and had her sirname from the place of her birth. Some will have it that she was the sinner mentioned by St. Luke, chap. vii. 37, &c. but this opinion is built only on conjecture. The evangelists Luke and Mark tell us, that Jesus had cast out of her seven devils: which some understand in a literal, and others in a figurative sense.

But however this be, she became a constant attendant on the blessed Jesus, after she had removed her plague. She followed him to mount Calvary, continued amidst the Roman guards at the foot of the cross, with the Holy Virgin, and saw his precious body laid in the tomb. After which she returned to Jerusalem, to purchase spices to embalm him, as soon as the sabbath was

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Modestus, archbishop of Constantinople in the seventh century, tells us, that she continued at Jerusalem till the death of the Holy Virgin, after which she retired to Ephesus, and resided with St. John, till she sealed the faith she had so long professed with her blood. She was buried by the Christians at Ephesus, where her tomb was shewn in the seventh century.

But the emperor, Leo the Wise, caused her body to be removed from Ephesus to Constantinople, the latter end of the ninth century, in order to its being interred in the church erected to the honour of the apostles.

Thus have we given the fullest account of the followers of the blessed Jesus; the persons who spread the light of the 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.

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