صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

latter days, which is further recommended by its conformity with the known gentleness and amiableness of his character, cannot but please all readers, and I will therefore insert it. It is said that when the infirmities of age so grew upon him at Ephesus, that he was no longer able to preach to his converts, he used, at every public meeting, to be led to the church, and say no more to them than these words, “Little children, love one another.” And when his auditors, wearied with the constant repetition of the same thing, asked him why he always said this and nothing more to them, he answered : “ Because it was the command of our Lord; and that if they did nothing else, this alone was enough.”

“Such," says Dr. Watts, in one of his sermons“such was John the beloved disciple. You may read the temper of his soul in his epistles. What a spirit of love breathes in every line! What compassion and tenderness to the babes in Christ! What condescending affection to the young men, and hearty good-will to the fathers, who were then his equals in age! With what obliging language does he treat the beloved Gaius, in his third letter; and with how much civility and hearty kindness does he address the elect lady and her children, in the second! In his younger years, indeed, he seems to have had something more of fire and vehemence, for which he was surnamed A son of thunder. But our Lord saw so much good temper in him, mixed with that sprightliness and zeal, that he expressed much pleasure in his company, and favored him with peculiar honors and endearments above the rest. This is the disciple who was taken into the holy mount with James and Peter, and saw our Lord glorified before the time. This is the disciple who leaned on his bosom at the holy supper, and was indulged in the utmost freedom of conversation with his Lord. This is the man who obtained this glorious title, “The disciple whom Jesus loved'; that is, with a distinguishing and particular love. As a Saviour he loved them all like saints, but as a man he loved St. John like a friend ; and when hanging upon the cross, and just expiring, he committed his mother to his care, - a most precious and convincing pledge of special friendship.

“O how happy are the persons who most nearly resemble this apostle, who are thus privileged, thus divinely blessed! How infinitely are ye indebted to God, your benefactor and your Father, who has endowed you with so many valuable accomplishments on earth, and assures 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 possessor 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.'

Besides 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.

PHILIP.

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 “ 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 supper, when our 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,

« السابقةمتابعة »