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must rise from the dead the third day? And could they question the possibility of what he told them, when they had so often seen him work the greatest miracles ?
The stubbornness of Thomas, on this occasion, might have betrayed him into an eternal infidelity ; but our compassionate Saviour would not take the advantage of his perverse obstinacy; for, on that day serennight he came again to them, as they were met at their solemn devotions, and, calling to Thomas, bade him. look upon his hands, put his fingers into the print of the nails, and thrust his hand into his side, to satisfy his faith by a demonstration from the senses. Thomas was soon convinced of his error and obstinacy, confessing that he now acknowledged him to be his Lord and Master, a God omnipotent, as he was thus able to rescue himself from the power of death. Our Lord answered, that it was happy for him that he believed the testimony of his own senses; but that it was a more noble and commendable act of faith, to acquiesce in a rational evidence, and to receive the doctrines and precepts of the gospel upon such testimonies and assurances as will sat. isfy a wise and sober man, though he did not himself behold them.
After the blessed JESUS had left this vale of misery, and bestowed eminent gifts and miraculous powers on the apostles, St. Thomas, as well as the rest, preached the gospel in several parts of Judea ; and, after the dispersion of the Christian church in Jerusalem, repaired into Parthia, the province assigned him for his ministry: After which, as Sempronius and others inform us, he preached the gospel to the Medes, Persians, Caramanians, Hyrcanis, Bactarians, and the neighbouring nations.
Departing from Persia lie travelled into Ethiopia, preaching the glad tidings of the Gospel, healing the sick, and working other miracles, to prove lre had his commission from on high. And after travelling througb these countries he entered the Indian territories.
We are told by Nicephorus, that he was at first unwilling to enter these countries, fearing he should find their manners as rude and intractable as their faces were black and deformed, till encouraged by a vision wherein he was assured of the Divine Presence to assist him. He travelled a great way into the Eastern countries, and even visited the island Taprobane, since called Sumatra, and the country of the Brachmans, preaching every where with the greatest gentleness, and using the most persuasive discourses, not flying out into invectives against their idolatrous practices, but calmly instructing them in the doctrines of Christianity, persuading them by degrees to renounce their follies, well knowing that confirmed habits must be cured by patience and forbearance, by slow and gentle methods; and by these means he reclaimed the people from the grossest errors and superstitions, to an hearty belief and reception of Christianity.
The Portuguese, when they first visited these countries, after their discovery of a passage by the Cape of Good Hope, received the following particulars, partly from ancient monuments, and partly from constant and uncontroverted traditions preserved by the Christians in those parts ; namely, that St. Thomas came first to Socotora, an island in the Arabian sea, and thence to Cranganor, where, having converted many from the error of their ways, he travelled further into the East : and having successfully preached the gospel, returned back to the kingdom of Coromandel, where at Mallipur, the metropolis of the kingdom, not far from the mouth of the Ganges, he began to erect a place for divine worship, till prohibited by the idolatrous priests, as well as by Sagamo, prince of that country : but after performing several miracles, the work was suffered to proceed, and Sagamo himself embraced the Christian faith, whose example was soon followed by great numbers of his subjects and attendants.
The Brachmans were greatly alarmed at this remarkTble success, as they plainly perceived that their religion would soon be extirpated, unless some method could be found of putting a stop to the progress of Christianity: and therefore resolved to put the apostle to death. At a small distance from the city was a tomb, whither St. Thomas often retired for private devotions. Hither the Brachmans and their armed followers pursued him, and while he was intent at prayer, they first shot at him a shower of darts, after which, one of the
a priests ran him through with a lance. His body was taken up by his disciples, and buried in the church he had lately erected, and which was afterwards improved into a stately and magnificent fabric.
According to Chrysostom, St. Thomas, who at first was the weakest and most incredulous of all the apos. tles, became through Christ's condescension to satisfy his scruples, and the power of divine grace, the most active and invincible of them all; travelling over most parts of the world, and living without fear in the midst of barbarous nations, for the propagation of the Christian faith.
AN ACCOUNT OF ST. ANDREW,
The Apostle. ALTHOUGH the sacred historians have largely de scribed the transactions of Peter and Paul, yet we find they have been sparing in their accounts of the other apostles, giving us only now and then a few oblique strokes and accidental remarks concerning them. Why no more of their respective actions were recorded by the penmen of the Holy Scriptures, is to us unknown: perhaps Divine Providence thought it convenient that no further account should be given of the first planting of Christianity in the world, than what concerned Judea, and the neighbouring countries, at least the most eminent places in the Roman empire, that the truth of the prophetical predictions might appear, which had foretold, That the law of the Messiah should come forth from Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. Besides a particular relation of the acts of so many apostles, performed in so many countries, must have swel. led the sacred volumes to an enormous bulk, and consequently rendered them less serviceable to the use of Christians in general.
The Apostle St. Andrew was born at Bethsaida, a city of Galilee, built on the banks of the lake of Gennesareth, and was the son to John or Jonas, a fisherman of that town. He was brother to Simon Peter, but whether elder or younger, is not certainly known though the generality of the ancients intimate that he was the younger : but, however that be, he was brought up to his father's trade, at which he laboured till our blessed Saviour called him to be a fisher of men, for which he was, by some preparatory institutions qualified even before the appearance of the Messiah, in his public character.
We are told by the evangelist, that John the Baptist had lately preached the doctrine of repentance; and was, by the generality of the Jews, from the impartiality of his precepts, and the remarkable strictness and austerity of his life, held in great veneration. He trained up his proselytes under the discipline of repentance,
d, by urging on them a severe change and reformation of life, prepared them to entertain the doctrine of the Messiah, whose approach he told them was now near at hand; representing to them the greatness of his person, and the importance of the design for which he came into the world.
Besides the multitudes that flocked to the Baptist's discourses, he accordingly to the custom of the Jewish master's had some peculiar and select disciples, who more constantly attended on his lectures, and generally waited upon his person.
In the number of these fol,
lowers was our apostle; who was with him beyond Jordan, when the Messiah, who had some time before been baptised, came that way. Upon his approach, the Baptist pointed him out as the Messiah, styling him the Lamb of God, the true sacrifice, that was to expiate the sins of the world.
As soon as the Baptist had given this character of Jesus, Andrew, and another disciple, probably St. John followed the Saviour of mankind to the place of his abode; from whence, after some conversation with himn Andrew departed, and having found his brother Simon, informed him that he had discovered the great Messiah, so long expected by the house of Jacob; and accordingly, brought him to Jesus. They did not, however, stay long with their Master, but returned to their occupation.
Upwards of a year afterwards, Jesus passing through
y Galilee, found Andrew and Peter fishing on the sea of Galilee, where he fully satisfied them of the greatness and divinity of his person, by a miraculous draught of fishes which they took at his command. He now told them, that they should enter on a different series of labours, and instead of fish they should by the efficacy and influence of their doctrine, catch men; commanding them to follow him, as his immediate disciples and attendants; and they accordingly left all and followed him immediately.
Andrew, together with the rest was shortly after called to the office and honour of the apostolate, and made choice of to be one of Christ's immediate vicegerents for planting and propagating the Church.
We learn from the sacred historian, that after the ascension of the blessed Jesus into heaven, and the Holy Ghost had descended in a visible manner on the
apostles, St. Andrew was chosen to preach the gospel in Scythia, and the countries adjacent. He accordingly dc