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midst, and all his bowels gusled out.” Several explanations have been given to reconcile this discrepancy, either of which is sufficiently probable to answer the purpose.
The most common one is, that Judas hung himself, as Matthew relates, and afterwards, by some accident, fell from the place where he was suspended, and was mangled in the shocking manner described by Peter.
According to the apostle's recommendation, his brethren proceeded to fill the traitor's forfeited place; and the lot fell upon Matthias, who had long been a disciple of Jesus, and is conjectured to have been one of the seventy. Thus was the miserable Judas, the apostate, the suicide, rejected from the apostolic company, even after his death, and his name and his memory blotted out, as entirely as was possible, from the records of the faithful. With the passages of the Scripture which were applied on this occasion by Peter, we will conclude his mournful biography. “For it is written in the Book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein; and, His bishopric let another take.”
For all the holy and spiritual purposes of apostleship, and for all the purposes of honorable remembrance in the Christian Church, the place of Judas Iscariot is vacated, as we have seen, and must be supplied by another, in order that the apostolic number may be complete. The name of Matthias must be joined to the foregoing list, though his name is not once mentioned in the Gospels. We shall then have thirteen names, but only twelve apostles still; twelve authorized founders of the Christian Church ; twelve commissioned teachers of Christianity to the world; twelve judges of the twelve tribes of Israel.
The early determination of the eleven apostles to fill the spiritual throne from which Judas had fallen is proof of one or two interesting points. It proves, that, having recovered from their temporary panic, they were fully resolved to set about the work of their Master, and had no other idea but that of proclaiming his name, and planting his religion, according to his behest, and with the holy certainty of Divine assistance and protection, and of final success. It proves that their zeal and confidence were not confined within the limits of their own number, but were shared by many others, who stood ready to fill the vacant post of honor and danger, and to join in the cares and perils of the new and marvellous enterprise. It proves, moreover, the regard of the apostles for the integrity of the original number of their company; the number which the appointment of their Master had established and sanctified; the patriarchal number of twelve. Though two individuals were judged worthy of the forfeited station, only one could be received to it.
It was necessary that the candidates for the apostleship should be personally acquainted with the main events of the life of Jesus, in order that they might bear direct witness thereto. - Wherefore of these men,” said Peter, in the assembly of one hundred and twenty disciples, “ who have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.” From this whole number, including very likely the seventy who are mentioned in the Gospels, two were selected as candidates, -“Joseph called Barnabas, whose surname was Justus, and Matthias”; and after prayer to God for the disposal of the lots, they were cast," and the lot fell upon Matthias ; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.”
All that we know of the apostle who thus closed up and made whole the sacred ring which had been so violently broken is related in the above account. We may say of Matthias, that he was one of those who had been interested from the beginning in the person and claims of Jesus, and had travelled from place to place with him and with his first twelve apostles, bearing his instructions, beholding his miracles, witnessing his holy life during his ministry on earth, and convinced by ocular demonstration of his resurrection from the dead. We may also be permitted to infer, from the selection which was made of him, that he was distinguished among the companions of the apostles and followers of Jesus for his mental and moral qualities, for his wisdom and his virtue.
Ecclesiastical history furnishes us with but poor and uncertain minutes of the apostolical labors of Matthias. An author of no great credit or antiquity asserts, “ that he preached the Gospel in Macedonia; where the Gentiles, to make an experiment of his faith and integrity, gave him a poisonous and intoxicating potion, which he cheerfully drank off, in the name of Christ, without the least prejudice to him
self; and, that when the same potion had deprived about two hundred and fifty of their sight, he, laying his hands upon them, restored them to their sight, — with a great deal more of the same stamp," says Cave, “which I have neither faith enough to believe, nor leisure enough to relate.” Cave goes on to observe, that the more probable account of the apostle is, that from Judæa, where he first labored, he pueden travelled eastward and preached in Cappadocia, where he at last received the crown of martyrdom on the cross.
Even the probability of this latter account is, however, but slight. Let it suffice, that he was a follower of our Lord from the first; that he was a companion of the apostles before he was chosen to be one of them; that he was considered worthy to be joined to their band; and that he must have labored for Christ and the Church in a manner conformable to the trust which was reposed in him, and the station which he was divinely allotted to fill.
The Greeks commemorate Matthias on the 9th of August, but the Western Churches on the 24th of February