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Paul calls it a church; an example that should in some measure, be followed by every one who pretends to be a follower of the blessed JESUS, though shamefully neglected by the greatest part of Christians in the present day.
Whether they died in peace, or by the hands of those who opposed the progress of the Christian faith is not known; but however this be, they laboured faithfully to extend the religion of Jesus; and therefore, have been justly placed amongst the first preachers of the gospel in the apostolic age.
APOLLOS, A JEWISH CONVERT, THE ancient writers give no account either of the birth or family of Apollos: all they mention is that he was a Jew of Alexandria, and came to Ephesus during St. Paul's absence, who was gone to Jerusalem, to visit the other apostles and the church in that city,
This eminent person was distinguished for his eloquence, and knowledge of the Scriptures. He was instructed in the way of the Lord, and as he spoke with zeal and fervour, taught diligently the things relating to the kingdom of heaven, though he knew only the baptism of John.
Apollos was no sooner come to Ephesus, than he be. gan to speak boldly in the synagogue, and to shew that JESUS was the CHRIST. Aquila and Priscilla, having heard him, took him home with them and instructed him more fully in the ways of the Almighty, and bap-. tized him. He was very useful at Corinth, in convincing the Jews out of the Scriptures, and demonstrating to them, that Jesus was the CHRIST. Thus he watered what Paul had planted in that city,
It is allowed by all, that he was an active and power ful preacher of that gospel; and that great numbers were, by his preaching, rendered obedient to the faith of CHRIST.
TITUŞ, A GENTILE CONVERT. THIS eminent person was a Heathen by religion and birth, but converted by St. Paul who calls him his son. Titus was sent by Paul to Corinth, upon occasion of some disputes which then divided the church. He was very well received by the Corinthians, and very much satisfied with their ready compliance; but would receive nothing from them, imitating thereby the distressedness of his Master, who sought not theirs, but them.
He went from Corinth to St. Paul into Macedonia, and gave him an account of the state of the Corinthian church. A little while after, the apostle desired him to return again to Corinth, to set things in order against his coming. Titus readily undertook this journey, and departed immediately, carrying with him Paul's second letter to the Corinthians,
Titus was made bishop of the isle of Crete, about the sixty-third year of Christ, when St. Paul was obliged to quit this island, in order to take care of the other churches. The following year he wrote to him to desire, that as soon as he should have sent Tychicus or Artemas to him for supplying his place in Crete, Titus would come to him to Nicopolis in Macedonia, or to Nicopolis in Epirus upon the gulf of Ambracia, where the apostle intended to pass his winter. The subject of this epistle is to represent to Titus what are the qualities that a bishop should be endued with.
St. Paul's epistle to Titus has always been acknowledged by the church. The Marcionates did not receive
it, nor did the Basilidians, and some other Heretics; but Tartian, the head of the Encratites, received it, and preferred it before all the rest. It is not certainly known by whom it was sent nor from what place it was written.
It appears, that Titus was deputed to preach the gospel in Dalmatia; and he was still there in the year sixty-five, when the apostle wrote his second epistle to Timothy. He died at the age of ninety-four, and was buried in Crete. His festival is kept by the Greeks on the 25th of August, and on the fourth of January by the Latin church.
TIMOTHY, A GENTILE CONVERT. 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. He was a convert and a disciple of St. Paul.
We take notice of these particulars, because St. Paul commends their piety, and the good education which they had given Timothy. When Paul came to Derbe and Lystra about the year of CHRIST fifty-one or fiftytwo, the brethren gave a very advantageous testimony of the merit and good dispositions of Timothy ; and the apostle would have him along with him ; but he circumcised 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,
Timothy accompanied St. Paul' to Macedonia, to Philippi, to Thessalonica, to Berea; and when the apostlc went from Berea, he left Timothy and Silas
there to confirm the converts. When he came to Athens, he sent to Timothy to come thither to him ; and when he was come, and had given an account of the churches of Macedonia, Paul sent him back to Thessalonica, from whence he afterwards returned with Silas, and came to Paul at Corinth. There he continued with him, and the apostle mentions with him Silas, at the beginning of the two epistles, which he then wrote to the church at Thessalonica. In the year sixty-three, when Paul wrote to the Hebrews, he tells them that Timothy was come out of prison ; but he gives us no circumstances either of the imprisonment of this disciple, or of his release. In sixty-four, when Paul returned from Rome, he left Timothy at Ephesus, to take care of that church, of which he was the first Bi. shop, as he is recognized by the council of Chalcedon. Paul wrote to Timothy from Macedonia, the first of the two letters which are addressed to him.
may safely affirm, that if he did not die before the year ninety-seven, he must be the angel of the church of Ephesus, to whom St. John writes, Rev. ii. 2-5: though the reproaches which the Holy Ghost make to him, &c. of having left his first love, do not seem to belong to so holy a man as Timothy was.
ST. STEPHEN, THE PROTO-MARTYR, WHEN the seven deacons were chosen, we find Stephen was always placed at their head, as the chief and most worthy; and it is generally believed that he had been brought up at the feet of Gamaliel. However, 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 of Jesus CHRIST.
The Jews were highly provoked at the zeal of Stephen, and some of the synagague of the freed men of Cyrenia, Alexandria, and other places, entered into a dispute with him ; but being unable to resist the wisdom and spirit by which he spake, 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 his 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.
The Jewish council were so highly enraged at the speech of Stephen, especially the latter part of it, that they 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 said 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 is related in Scripture, that St. Stephen, while they were mangling his body with stones, was praying to God 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. Some pious persons who beheld the martyrdom of this good man, took care to bury his remains; and the church attended his funeral with great lamentations,