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An Hebrew Disciple. This holy person was, according to St Luke, a chief man amongst the brethren, an expression which indi. cates that he was one of the seventy disciples : but the first account we have of him is in the transaction relating to the dispute between the Jewish and Christian converts, with regard to the necessity of keeping the law of Moses, when they chose Paul, Barnabas, Judas and Silas, to go to Jerusalem, to advise with the apostles concerning this question.
Be that as it may, when the dispute happened between Paul and Barnabas, which terminated in a rupture, Silas joined himself to Paul, and became his companion and assistant in the great work of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles. They first visited the churches of Syria and Cilicia ; from thence they passed into Lyconia, Phrygia, and Galatia; and lastly, they crossed the sea and came into Macedonia.
During their stay at Philippi, they found a young woman possessed with an unclean spirit, who followed them several days, till Paul cast out the evil spirit, and delivered her from so dreadful a plague. This action provoked the masters of the young woman ; for she acquired considerable gains by the oracles and predic. tions the devil pronounced by making use of her organs : they therefore seized upon Paul and Silas, dragged them before the magistrates, and accused them of introducing customs amongst them, contrary to those of the Romans; so that the magistrates ordered that Paul and Silas should be scourged, and committed to prison : but in the night time, there was a great earthquake, the doors of the prison opened, and the fetters of the prisoners fell off without any human assistance.
Departing from Philippi, they travelled to Thessalonica and Berea, where they preached the doctrines of the gospel; and Paul continuing his journey to Athens :
sent Silas thither, though they did not meet till they both arrived at Corinth, where St. Paul wrote his two epistles to the Thessalonian church.
ST. PHILIP, THE DEACON,
An Hebrew Convert. It is supposed that Philip was a native of Cæsarca
T in Galilee, it being certain that his daughters lived in that city; however, he was one of the seven deacons chosen by the apostles soon after our Saviour's resurrection.
All the Christians, except the apostles, having after the death of Stephen, left Jerusalem, and dispersed themselves in several parts, Philip went down to preach the gospel at Samaria, where he wrought many miracles, and converted great numbers to the faith; he also baptized them, but being only a deacon, could not administer the sacrament of the Lord's supper.
It is probable Philip was at Samaria wlicn the angel directed him to go towards the South, to the road that leads from Jerusalem to Old Gaza, an ancient city in the route to Egypt. Philip obeyed the summons of the heavenly messenger; and there met with an Ethio. pian eunuch, belonging to Candace, queen of Ethiopia : a person who was highly esteemed by his mistress, as well as intrusted with the care of all her revenues, and who had been at Jerusalem to worship the Almighty in that city:
When the chariot of this Ethiopian appeared in the sight of Philip, the angel bid him advance towards the stranger: he immediately obeyed, and heard the eunucli reading a passage of the prophet Isaiah ; upon which Philip asked him, if he understood what he was read
ing? And the eunuch answered, How should I understand, except some person should explain it to me: desiring Philip, that he would come and sit down by him in the chariot. The passage he read was this ; He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and as a lamb before his shearers is dumb so he openeth not his mouth. Having finished this passage, the eunuch desired to know ứhom the prophet intended; "Is it, says he, himself the prophet here means, or some other man.” In answer to the question proposed by the eunuch, Philip began to instruct him concerning the Redeemer of the world, the man Christ JESUS; and afterwards baptized him, and he became a member of the church of CHRIST.
The sacred writers are silent with regard to the actions of Philip, after the time of his baptizing the Ethiopian eunuch--but the Greek ecclesiastical writers say, that he left Palestine and travelled to Tralles, in the Lesser Asia, where he founded a church, of which he was both the bishopand apostle ; and where, after long labouring in the vineyard of his Master, and working many miracles, he slept in peace, and was buried in the church he had caused to be erected.
HAVING now given the most ample account possible of the followers of the blessed Jesus, the persons who spread the light of the glorious 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-may it be our highest ambition to follow their bright example as they followcd CHRIST; may we imitate their faith, piety, hope, and love: then shall we pass through things temporal in such a manner, that we shall finally gain the things that are eternal, and be admitted as worthy guests at the marriage-supper of the Lamb, to adore and praise him, and live and reign with him in his heavenly king dom for ever and ever. So be it.
A COMPLETE, GENERAL VIEW.
APOSTLES AND THEIR SUCCESSORS,
IN THE FIVE GREAT CHURCHES FOUNDED BY
During the first three hundred years of the
THE CHURCH AT ANTIOCH, IN SYRIA. WE place this first, partly because it is generally acknowledged, even by the Romish writers, that a church was founded here by St. Peter some considerable time before that at Rome; partly because here it was that the venerable name of Christians did first commence. In which respect the fathers in the council at Constantinople, under Nectarius, in their synodicon to them at Rome, style the church at Antioch, The most ancient and truly apostolical ; and, St. Chrysostom, the head of the whole world. The succession of its bishops, till the time of Constantine (which shall be the boundary of this account) was in the following order:
1. St. Peter the apostle, who governed this church, at least seven years: Nicephorus of Constantinople says eleven. 2. Evodius, who sat twenty-three years. The disciples were first called Christians at Antioch in his time. 3. Ignatius, after near forty years presidency over this church, was carried out of Syria to Rome, and there thrown to wild beasts in the theatre, A. D. ono
hundred and ten; Trajan, eleven. 4. Heron: he was bishop twenty years. To him succeeded, 5. Cornelius, who kept the place thirteen years, dying A. D. one hundred and forty-two. 6. Eros, twenty-six; or as Eusebius says, twenty-four years. 7. Theophilus, thirteen: he was a man of great parts and learning; many of his works were extant in Eusebius's time, and some of them are handed down to us. 8. Maximinus, thirteen: he dying, the next that was closen, was, 9. Se. rapio, twenty-five: many of his works are mentioned by Eusebius and St. Jerom. To him succeeded, 10. Asclepiades: he was a man of great worth and eminency, and invincible constancy in the time of persecution: he continued in this see nine years. 11. Phi. letus, eight. 12. Zebinus, or Zebennus: he sat six years. 13. Babylas, thirteen: after many conflicts and sufferings for the faith, he received the crown of mar. tyrdom under Decius, who demanded his chains to be buried with him. 14. Fabius, or, as the patriarch Nicephorus calls him, Flavius, possessed the chair nine years. He was a little inclining towards novationism. 15. Demetrianus: he sat bishop, according to Nicephorus four; Eusebius says eight years. 16. Paulus Samosatenus sat in the chair eight years; when, for his unepiscopal manners and practices, his unsound dogmata and principles, and especially his mean and un. worthy opinions concerning our Saviour, he was condemned and deposed by a synod at Antioch, whose syn. odical determination is at large extant in Eusebius's history. 17. Domnus succeeded in the place of the deposed. He was son to Demetrian, Paulus's predecessor in that see; constituted and ordained to the place by the fathers of that synod, who further give him this honourable character, that he was a man endued with all episcopal virtues and ornaments. Eusebius makes him to have held the see six, Nicephorus but two years. 18. Timæus: he sat in the chair ten years. 19. Cyril lus, who presided over that church, in the account of Nicephorus, fifteen; according to Eusebius twentyfour years. 20. Tyrannus: he sat thirteen years. In