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The Latins celebrate his feast on the twenty-fifth of June, and call him a disciple of St. Paul. The Greeks honour him upon the twenty-eighth or twenty-ninth of April.
DEMAS, A GENTILE PROFESSOR.
apostle Paul, in the fourth chapter of the Co. losians, mentions Demas as a native of Thessalonica, At first he was one of the most zealous disciples which this apostle had, and was very serviceable to him at Rome during his imprisonment there : but some years after, about the year of Christ sixty-five, he foorsook St. Paul, in order to follow a more secular life, and withdrew to Thessalonica, the place of his birth.
Epiphanius informs us, that he renounced the faith, and with Cerinthius, Ebion and others, held Jesus CHRIST to be a mere man: but others affirm that he recovered after his fall and suffered martyrdom for the truth.
ARISTARCHUS, A GENTILE CONVERT, ARISTARCHUS was one of St. Paul's disciples, who has mentioned him in his epistles to the Colossians and Philemon; he is also often mentioned in the acts of the apostles. He was a Macedonian, and a native of Thessalonica: he accompanied Paul to Ephesus, and continued with him during the two years of his abode there, partaking with him in all the dangers and labours of the apostleship. He was very near being killed ina tumult raised by the Ephesian goldsmiths.
The Grecks say he was bishop of Apamea, in Syria, and was beheaded with St. Paul at Rome, in the reign of Nero: continuing to the very last inviolably attached to that apostle, with whom he had laboured in the work
of the ministry,
CLEMENT, A GENTILE CONVERT. THIS disciple 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. Peter, after Linus and Cletus, in the government of the church of Rome; and this seems to be intimated, when in the office for St. Clement's day, that church appoints this part of the epistle to the Philippians to be read. On the contrary, Grotius is of opinion, that the Clement Paulspeaks of was no more than a priest of the church of Philippi in Macedonia. We have no certain accounts of what happened to St. Clement during the persecution under Domitian ; but we are very well assured that he lived to the third year of Trajan, which is the hundreth of Jesus Christ. His festival is set down by Bede, and all the Latin martyrologists, on the twenty-third of November. The Greeks honour him on the twentyfourth or twenty-fifth of the same month. He is ranked amongst the martyrs.
ANANIAS, A JEWISH CONVERT. ANANIAS was a disciple of the blessed Jesus: he dwelt at Damascus, when he was directed in a vision from the Lord, to go and find Paul, who had been lately converted and was come to that city.
We know no other circumstances of Ananias's life besides this now related. The modern Greeks maintain, that he was one of the seventy disciples, and made bishop of Damascus; and that having obtained the crown of martyrdom, he was buried in the same city : and here a fine church is to be seen in the place where
a he was interred.
NICHOLAS, A DISCIPLE AND DEACON. NICHOLAS was a proselyte at Antioch, and there
, converted from the Pagan to the Jewish religion; but the time of his birth is uncertain. Afterwards he embraced Christianity, and was one of the most zealous and most holy men amongst the first Christians : so that he was chosen for one of the seven first deacons of the church of Jerusalem. But he afterwards plunged him. self into irregularities, and gave beginnings to the sect of the Nicolaitans, to that of the Gnostics, and to several others; who following the bent of their passions, invented a thousand different sorts of crimes and excesses.
NICODEMUS, AN HEBREW CONVERT.
HIS remarkable disciple 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 cur 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 he was the Messiah, and came to him by night, that he might learn of him the way to salvation.
Nicodemus, after this conversation, became a disci. ple of Jesus Christ; and there is no doubt but he came to hear him, as often as our Saviour came to Je. rusalem. 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. Afterwards, Nicodemus declared himself openly a disciple of Jesus CHRIST, when he came with Joseph of Arimathca to pay the last duties to the body of Christ, crucified; which they took down from the cross, embalmed, and laid in the sepulchre prepared for his reception.
When he died, Gamaliel buried him honourably near St. Stephen: his body was discovered in the year 415, together with those of St. Stephen and Gamaliel, and the Latin church pays honour on the third of August to all the three.
JOSEPH OF ARIMATHEA,
An Hebrew Disciple. JOSEPH 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 of the members of the Sanhedrim, who condemned and put Jesus Christ to death: but 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 he 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.
The festival of Joseph of Arimathea is observed by the Greek church on the thirty-first of July.
PHILEMON, A GENTILE CONVERT. This eminent disciple was a rich citizen of Colosse, and probably a native of that place. He was converted, together with his wife, to the Christian faith, by Epaphras, a disciple of St. Paul; for Paul himself never preached in Colosse, though he wrote an epistle to the brethren there.
We read, that Philemon had made a church of his house: and all his domestics, as well as himself, were of the household of faith. His charity, liberality, and compassion were a sure refuge to all who were in distress: he followed the example of that Great Master in whom he believed; and was delighted, when exercised in works of beneficence and mercy. His name is placed on the twenty-second of November in the martyroligies.
PRISCILLA, A JEWISH CONVERT. IN the times of the apostles, Priscilla was very famous in the church, and is often mentioned by the sacred writers before her husband Aquila. They were both Jews; but their country and births are uncertain. They were at Corinth when St. Paul came thither, and had the happiness of entertaining him in their house a very considerable time; the apostle being of the same trade with Aquila; namely, a maker of tents of leather, for the use of the army, and at which they both wrought for some time, for their livelihood.
On St. Paul's leaving Corinth, both Aquila and Priscilla came with him to Ephesus, where they dwelt a considerable time, and preached the gospel with good success. Their house was so well regulated, that St.