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We have found him of whom Moses and the prophets did write, &c. Why dost thou attempt to compass him whom thou canst not comprehend ? how can he be found who is omnipresent? But he knew very well what he said, we have found him whom Adam lost, whom Eve injured, whom the clouds of sin have hidden from us, and to whom our transgressions had hitherto rendered us strangers. Thus had St. Andrew the honour of being the first apostle that preached the gospel of the Son of God; as appears by his declaration recited above."
AN ACCOUNT OF ST. BARTHOLOMEW,
The Apostle, WE learn from the evangelical history of the election of the apostles, that St. Bartholomew was one of the twelve: because he is but just nained, without any further notice taken of him, the generality of writers, ancient and modern, suppose that he lay concealed under the name of Nathanael, one of the first disciples that came to Christ. Accordingly, we may observe, that as St. John never mentions Bartholomew in the number of the apostles, so the other evangelists take no notice of Nathanael, probably as being the same person
under two different names: and as in St. John, Philipand Nathanael are joined together in their coming to CHRIST; so in the rest of the evangelists, Philip and Bartholomew are constantly put together; certainly for no other reason, than because they were jointly called to the discipleship: but what renders this opinion still more probable, is, 'that Nathanael is particularly mentioned amongst the other apostles, to whom our Lord appeared at the sea of Tiberias after his resurrection.
It is not reasonable to suppose that Bartholomew
was the proper name of this apostle, any more than Bar-jona was the proper name of Peter ; but given to denote his relative capacity, either as a son or a scholar. If it refers to his father, he was the son of Thalmai, a name not uncommon amongst the Jews: if to his sect as a scholar, he was of the school of the Thalmæans, so called from their founder Thalmæi, scholar to Heber, the ancient master of the Hebrews. Now it was usual for scholars, out of a great reverence to their master, as first institutor of the order, to adopt his name, as Ben-ezra, Ben-usiel, and the like: but which ever of these conjectures appears most satisfactory to the reader, either will be sufficient for
my purpose, namely, to reconcile the difference there seems to be between St. John and the other evangelists about the name of this apostle, the one calling him by his proper name, and the other by his relative or paternal appellation.
St. Augustine indeed seemed to object, that it is not probable that our blessed Saviour, who proposed to confound the wisdom of this world by the preaching of illiterate men, would choose Nathanael, a doctor of the law, to be one of his apostles: but this objection will appear to be built on a sandy foundation, if we consider that the same argument is as strong against Philip, of whose knowledge in the law and the prophets, there is as strong evidence in the history of the gospel as for that of Nathanael; and may be urged with still greater force against St. Paul, whose abilities in human learning were remarkably great, and few were more complete masters of the Jewish law, than that great apostle.
This difficulty being removed, we shall proceed to the history of this apostle, and consider the names of Nathanael and Bartholomew as belonging to one and the same, and not to two persons.
As to his descent and family, some are of opinion
that he was a Syrian, and that he was descended from the Ptolemies of Egypt: probably for no other reason than the mere analogy and sound of the name: but it is plain from the evangelical history, that he was a Galilean, St. John having expressly told us, that Nathanael was of Cana in that part of Judea. His trade and manner of life are not mentioned in Scripture, though from some circumstances there is room to imagine that he was a fisherman: but however that be, he was at his first coming to CHRIST, conducted by Philip, who told him they had now found the long *expected Messiah so often foretold by Moses and the prophets, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. And when he objected that the Messiah could not be born in Nazareth, Philip desired him to come and satisfy himself of the truth.
Our blessed Saviour, on his approach, entertained him with this honourable character, that he was an Israelite indeed, a man of true simplicity and dignity; and indeed his simplicity particularly appears in this, that when he was told of Jesus, he did not object against the meanness ot his original, the low condition of his parents, or the narrowness of their fortunes, but only against the place of his birth, which, as he justly observed, could not be Nazareth, the Scriptures peremptorily foretelling that the Messiah should be born at Bethlehem.
This apostle was greatly surprised at our Lord's salutation, wondering how he could know him at the first sight, being certain he had never before seen his face: but he was answered, that he had seen him while he was yet under the fig-tree, even before Philip called him. Convinced by this instance of our Lord's divinity, he presently made this confession, that he was now sure that Jesus was the promised Messiah, the Son of God, whom he had appointed to govern his church. Our blessed Saviour told him, that if, from this instance, he could believe him to be the Messiah, he should have far greater arguments to confirm his faith; for that he should hereafter behold the heavens opened to receive him, and the angels visibly appearing to attend his triumphant entrance into the heaven of heavens,
After the visible descent of the Holy Ghost on the apostles, St. Bartholomew visited different parts of the world to preach the gospel, and penetrated as far as the hither India. Having spent a considerable time there, and in the eastern extremities of Asia, he returned to the northern and western parts: and we find him at Hierapolis in Phrygia, labouring in concert with St. Philip, to plant Christianity in those parts, and to convince the blind idolaters of the evil of their ways, and direct them in the paths that lead to the regions of felicity. This enraged the bigotted magistrates, and he was, together with St. Philip, designed for Martyrdom; and in order to this fastened to a cross: but a sudden trembling and motion of the earth convinced the idolaters that the justice of Omnipotence would revenge their deaths; so that they took him immediately down from the cross and dismissed him.
St. Bartholomew passed from hence into Lycaonia, and St. Chrysostom assures us, that he instructed and trained
up the inhabitants in the Christian discipline. His last remove was to Adrianople in great Armenia, a place miserably over-run with idolatry, from which he laboured to reclaim the people: but his endeavours to turn them from darkness unto light, and from the power of Satan unto God, were so far from having the desired effect, that it provoked the magistrates, who prevailed on the governor to put him to death, which he cheerfully underwent, sealing with his blood the truth of the doctrine he had preached.
We are told by some of the ancients, that he was crucified with his head downwards; and by others, that he was flayed alive. Perhaps he suffered both;
for Plutarch records a particular instance of Mesobates the Persian eunuch, who was first flayed alive, and thencrucified; and the inhabitants of Adrianople might easily borrow this barbarous and inhuman cruelty from the Persians, who were remarkably severe in their punishments.
AN ACCOUNT OF ST. BARNABAS,
The Apostle. This apostle was at first called Joses, a softer termination generally given by the Greeks to Joseph ; his fellow disciples added the name of Barnabas, as significant of some extraordinary property in him. St. Luke interprets it, the son of consolation, which he was ever ready to administer to the amicted, both by word and action; as his comfortable discourses, his selling his own estate, and collecting the benevolence of others, for the relief of the poor indigent Christians, abundantly testify. St. Jerom observes that his name also denotes the son of a prophet : and in this respect likewise it was well suited to our apostle, as being eminent for his endowments and prophetic gifts.
St. Barnabas was a descendant of the tribe of Levi, of a family removed out of Judea, and settled in the isle of Cyprus, where they had purchased an estate, as the Levites might do out of their country: His parents finding their son of a promising genius and disposition, placed him in one of the schools of Jerusalem, under the tuition of Gamaliel, St. Paul's master; a circumstance which, in all probability, laid the first foundation for that intimacy which afterwards subsisted between these two eminent servants of JESUS CHRIST.
St. Barnabas is first mentioned in the Holy Scripture, in record of that great and worthy service, he did