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you of the happiness of heaven! It is he who has made you fair or wise; it is he who has given you ingenuity, or riches, or perhaps has favored you with all these ; and yet has weaned your hearts from the love of this world, and led you to the pursuit of eternal life. It is he that has cast you in so refined a mould, and given you so sweet a disposition; that has inclined you to sobriety and every virtue, has raised you to honor and esteem, has made you possessors of all that is desirable in this life, and appointed you a nobler inheritance in that which is to come. What thankfulness does every power of your natures owe to your God! that heaven looks down upon you and loves you, and the world around you fix their eyes upon you and love you ; that God has formed you in so bright a resemblance of his own Son, his first-beloved, and has ordained you joint heirs of heaven with him.”
Beside the affectionate title which so peculiarly connects this disciple with his Master, he is styled by ancient writers, “ John the Divine," on account of the sublimity and spirituality of his writings.
His day is December 27, in the Roman Calendar; but the Greeks keep it on the 26th of September. And it may here be observed, that the Roman and Greek Calendars differ from each other in their dates throughout the ecclesiastical year.
The fifth named on Matthew's catalogue of the apostles is Philip. He was a native of Bethsaida, and consequently a townsman of the four partners, whose histories I have already told. “Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter." We have no certain intelligence of his parentage or condition, though he was probably in the same rank of life with Peter and Andrew, James and John, and perhaps of the same profession.
The day after Peter and Andrew had become disciples of Christ, we read that “ Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me." Though Peter and Andrew were the first who appear to have attended on the instructions of Jesus, and to have been particularly noticed by him, and are therefore termed his first disciples - and though Andrew is styled Protocletos, as having been the first, whose name we know, who was invited to visit him and converse with him — it is certain that the distinction belongs to Philip of having been the first who received that express and authoritative call to the apostleship,
“ Follow me.” We find this account in the latter portion of the first chapter of John's Gospel. And we then read, further, that 66
Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” His conduct in this instance is like that of Andrew; as he manifested the same readiness to acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah, and the same zeal to make known his discovery to others.
This faith and zeal, however, do not continue to be, if we may judge from what little the Gospels relate of Philip, so firm and ardent afterwards as they seem to have been at first. When Jesus, in order to prove him, asked him where bread enough could be bought to feed the five thousand who were gathered together on the mountain, Philip, either not remembering the miraculous
, power of his Master, or not yet fully convinced of its reality, entered into a calculation, and returned, for answer, that two hundred pennyworth of bread would not be sufficient to supply every one with a little. And at the last
Lord was discoursing so divinely to his disciples, and had said to them that if they had known him properly, they would have known his Father, whom very soon they would both know and see, Philip was so entirely unconscious of his meaning, and so blind, notwithstanding his long intimacy with Jesus, so blind to the presence and agency of God in this, his beloved Son, as to say to his Master, “ Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us.” Grieved at his dulness and insensibility, Jesus returns that sadly reproachful answer, “ Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? He that hath seen me, hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father ? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words that I speak unto you, I speak not of myself; but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.” As if he had said, Is it not evident to you that the power which you have seen me exert, is more than human power ? that the wisdom which you have so long been hearing from my lips, is more than human wisdom ? that the Father must have been with me, and in me, all this time, or I could not have thus acted and spoken? How can you then, who have been one of my constant companions,