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OF Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, we are told but little in the sacred writings; not enough, indeed, to enable us to form any estimate of his character. We may be permitted to conjecture, however, from the circumstance of his having been a disciple of John the Baptist, and also from his having gone voluntarily to hear the instructions of Jesus, and thus made himself his first disciple among those who were afterwards his apostles, - we may conjecture, I say, from these circumstances, which have already been stated in the life of Peter, that the temperament of Andrew was sober and religious, and that his mind was remarkably open to the reception of truth. So far as we can argue at all, we may argue the existence of everything that is good, from such commendable appearances. We can easily believe that he was a serious, candid, steadfast man; very probably without the shining talents and the burning zeal of his brother, and quite as probably without his brother's prominent faults. That not much is recorded of him is a
proof that he was not very forward or active among the twelve ; but it is by no means proof that he wanted good sense, discretion, or stability.
We may also confidently deduce the affectionateness of this apostle's character from the circumstance of his seeking his brother, first of all, with that eager exclamation, “ We have found the Messiah !” This fact alone would be enough to interest us in him, did we know nothing of him beside. After spending part of a day with Jesus in his place of abode, and being satisfied that he was the long-looked-for Redeemer, he does not shut up this knowledge in his own breast, and feed upon the honor alone ; neither does he go and make himself of consequence by blazoning the matter abroad ; but he hastens to share the pleasure and the confidence with his brother. “ He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messiah. And he brought him to Jesus.” His joy was increased by his thus imparting it; and so will our piety be strengthened by communication. Who, that has truly found Jesus, will not desire, after the example of Andrew, to lead a brother to his blessed abode? And who that succeeds in leading a brother there will not feel that he crosses the sacred threshold with more delight and confidence than before ?
Andrew is generally styled by the ancient writers of the Church Protocletos, or the first called. The following encomium on him is by Hesychius, Presbyter of Jerusalem: “St Andrew was the first-born of the Apostolic Choir; the prime pillar of the Church ; a rock before the rock; the foundation of that foundation; the first fruits of the beginning; a caller of others before he was called himself. He preached that Gospel which was not yet believed or entertained ; revealed and made known that life to his brother which he had not yet perfectly learned himself. So great treasures did that one question bring him, “ Master, where dwellest thou ?' which he soon perceived by the answer given him, and which he deeply pondered in his mind, ‘Come and see.
We find, further, concerning him, that he was the disciple who, just before the miracle of feeding the five thousand, informed Jesus that there was a lad present who had five barley loaves and two small fishes, and then added the question, “ But what are they among so many ?” This question, on the first view of it, seems to denote that Andrew had no idea that it was practicable to feed the multitude, and merely mentioned the small quantity of provisions in despair, and as an aggravation of their condition ; but it is possible, too, that he may have entertained a secret hope that it was in his Master's power to relieve their
wants even with the five loaves and two fishes, and that he propounded the question in a hesitating manner, that he might draw forth his Master's intentions. If this last is the fact, it shows that he possessed more faith than was often manifested by the other disciples, though not such an enthusiastic faith as was sometimes displayed by his more ardent brother.
We read also of Andrew, that when certain Greeks, who had come up to Jerusalem to worship at the feast of the Passover, expressed to Philip their desire to see Jesus, Philip mentioned the request to Andrew, and then they went both together to impart it to Jesus. These Greeks were no doubt what were called Proselytes of the Gate, or Greeks who had been converted to the acknowledgment and worship of the true God; but who, on account of their Gentile extraction, were not entitled to all the religious privileges and distinctions of native Jews. They had heard of the fame of Jesus, and desired to be introduced to his presence, not only to gratify their curiosity, but, if we may judge from the succeeding discourse of our Saviour, to inquire concerning his kingdom. The precaution which was used by Philip in preferring their request is a sign, in the first place, that he was doubtful whether a Gentile ought to be brought into the company of the Messiah ; and, secondly, that Andrew was, in his opinion, a person with whom he might profitably consult, in an affair which appeared to him to be of some moment and delicacy.
It was a few days after this that Andrew, together with Peter, James, and John, asked Jesus, privately, what the sign should be, when all the things which he had just been telling them respecting the destruction of the temple should be fulfilled. This is all which is related of this apostle in the Gospels. In no other part of the writings of the New Testament is he ever mentioned, excepting as he is included in the mention of the apostles as a body.
Other ancient accounts inform us that he preached the Gospel in Scythia, Byzantium or Constantinople, various provinces of Greece, and other countries and cities. At Sinope, on the Euxine Sea, he is said to have met with his brother Peter. At last, coming to Patræ in Achaia, now Patras, an archiepiscopal see, he was crucified there, by order of Agæus, proconsul of that province. On approaching the cross to which he was condemned to be bound with cords, that his death might be more lingering, he is said, by one of the ancients, to have apostrophized it in the following ardent manner : “ Hail, precious cross, which has been consecrated by the body of my Lord! how ardently have I Loved thee! how long have I sought thee!