Andrew, the son of Jona, and brother of Peter, was a native of Bethsaida in Galilee. He was first a disciple of John the Baptist, ,and since he was older than Peter, and knew Christ first, he brought his brother to Christ as to the true Messiah. Being also a fisherman, like Peter, the Lord called him, and promised to make him a fisher of men. John 1:44, 40, 42; Matt. 4:18, 19.
And because he zealously followed the Lord, and was instructed in the evangelical doctrine, so that he was worthy to be filled with the spirit of miracles, the Lord ordained him as one of His twelve apostles; in which ministry he, with the others, faithfully labored among the Jews. Matt. 10:2; Mark 6:7.
He was held in no small esteem by the Lord; for he had, as it appears, a freer access to Him, than Philip himself. Compare John 1:40 with verses 42, 43.
Further, although he fell through weakness, like all the other apostles, in forsaking his Master; yet he recovered from his fall, and again joined himself to Christ and to his fellow brethren. Matt. 26:31; Luke 24:33.
Afterwards he with all his fellow ministers received command to preach the Gospel in the whole world, and to all nations; to which end he was endued, on the day of Pentecost, with the Holy Ghost, whom he received in all fullness.. Matt. 28:19.
Going out, in obedience to the command of Christ, he taught in many countries, as in Pontus, Galatia, Bethynia, as well as at Antropophages, and afterwards in Scythia. He also traveled in the northern and the southern countries, yea, as far as into Byzantium; further, in Thracia, Macedonia, Thessalia, and Achaia, everywhere preaching Christ; whereby he converted many to the Christian faith.
He also confirmed the doctrine of his Master with many miracles, according to the words of the Lord, "These signs shall follow them," etc. But since other authors do not .treat accurately of this, we shall omit the particulars of these signs. Abdias, van den strijd der Apostelen.
Finally, when he had finished his course, according to the will of the eternal God, Aegaeas, the governor of Edessa, in the name of the Roman senate, caused him to be crucified in the city of Patras, in Achaia. Joh. Gys. His. Mart., fol. 10, col. 1, 2, from Sophronis and Aug. Solilo., cap. 2.
Concerning the cause and manner of his death, the following is contained in Apophthegm. Christian. Baudart., page 3: At Patras, a city in Achaia, he converted besides many others, Maximillia, the wife of Aegaeas, the governor, to the Christian faith. This so enraged the governor against Andrew, that he threatened him with death of the cross. But the apostle said to the governor, "Had I feared the death of the cross, I should not have preached the majesty and gloriousness of the cross of Christ."
The enemies of the truth having apprehended and sentenced to death the apostle Andrew, he went joyfully to the place where he was to be crucified, and, having come near the cross, he said,"O beloved cross! I have greatly longed for thee. I rejoice to see thee erected here. I come to thee with a peaceful conscience and with cheerfulness, desiring that I, who am a disciple of Him who hung on the cross, may also be crucified." The apostle said further,"The nearer I come to the cross, the nearer I come to God; and the farther I am from the cross, the farther I remain from God."
The holy apostle hung three days on the cross; he was riot silent, however; but as long as he could move his tongue, he instructed the people that stood by the cross, in the way of the truth, saying, among other things, "I thank my Lord Jesus Christ, that He, having used me for a time as an ambassador, now permits me to have this body, that I, through a good confession, may obtain everlasting grace and mercy. Remain steadfast in the word and doctrine which you have received, instructing one another, that you may dwell with God in eternity, and receive the fruit of His promises."
The Christians and other pious people besought the governor to give Andrew unto them, and take him down from the cross., (For it appears that he was not nailed to the cross, like Christ, but tied to it). When the apostle learned of this, he cried to God, Saying,"O Lord Jesus Christ! suffer not that Thy servant, who hangs here on the tree for Thy name's sake, be released, to dwell again among men; but receive me. O my Lord, my God! whom I have known, whom I have loved, to whom I cling, whom I desire to see, and in whom I am what I am." Having spoken these words, the holy apostle committed his spirit into the hands of his heavenly Father. M. W. Baudart. in Apophthegm Christian. lib. 1, super Andream, ex August. de Vera et Falsa Poenitentia., cap 8, Bernhard. in Sermon. de Andrea. Lanfrancus contra Berengar. Niceph., lib. 2, cap. 39, and lib. 15, cap. 39. Remigius in Psal. 21 and 40. Johan. Strac. in Festo Andreae, p. 23, haec et alia. Also, Konst-tooneel van veertig, by N. D. C., Concerning the Life of Andrew.
Bartholomew, which signifies, the son of Tholomaeus, was a Galilean, like all the other apostles; and also a fisherman, according to the opinion of Theodoretus; some, however, hold, that he was of royal descent, and the nephew of the king of Syria.
Little is said of him in Holy Scriptures aside from what relates to his call to the apostleship to preach the Gospel with the others throughout Judea and Galilee, to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. After Christ's resurrection he was confirmed in his apostleship, and, with the others who were in like ministry, received the gift of the Holy Ghost. Matt. 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:14,15; Acts 2:1-5.
After the separation of the apostles he exercised his ministry first in Lycaonia, then in Syria and the upper parts of Asia., and afterwards in India, where, as the chronicles relate, Pantenus, a teacher of Alexander, coming to the same place, about a century afterwards, found and took away with him the Gospel of Matthew, which Bartholomew had brought thither, and which he had taught the Indians in their native tongue. Isid. de part N. T., J. Gys. Hieron, Catal. Pantaleon, Euseb., lib. 3, cap. 10, J. Gys.
Finally he spread the Gospel in Great Armenia, and there, in Albana, or Albanopolis, the capital and residence of the kingdom of Poleno, or Palemonio, and converted King Astyages' brother, together with his wife, two sons, and a daughter, to the faith. Hieron. Cat. Barthol., J. Gys.
He moreover, as is stated by others, delivered from idolatry, and enlightened with the knowledge of Jesus Christ, twelve cities in that country. in which the devil was worshiped through the idol Ashtaroth. But the priests of Ashtaroth, being very much vexed on account of this, complained to King Astyages, who caused Bartholomew, this holy
apostle of Christ, to be apprehended and brought before him.
When Bartholomew stood before the king, the latter upbraided him, that he had perverted his brother, and unsettled the worship of the gods in his country. He therefore threatened him with death, unless he would desist preaching Christ, and sacrifice to his gods.
When Bartholomew had replied to this accusation, saying, that he had not perverted, but converted, his brother, that he had preached the true worship of God in his country, and that he would rather seal his testimony with blood, than suffer the least shipwreck of his faith or conscience, the king gave orders, that he should first be severely tortured and beaten with rods, then be suspended on a cross with his head downwards, flayed alive, and finally beheaded with the ax. This having been done with him, he was united with Christ, his Lord. Niceph. lib. 3, cap. 39, Isid. Hisp. de vita et obitu sanet. 1. Gys. Hi st. Mart. super Bartholomeum.
Others relate that the sentence pronounced upon Bartholomew extended no further, than that he should be flayed on the cross, without any mention of decapitation; but that, as he, being still alive after having been flayed, exhorted the people, his head was struck off with an ax, in order to prevent this, he having committed his spirit into the hands of God. Konst-tooneel van veertig, about the Life of Bartholomew. Also, Bybelsch Naemboek, printed at Horn, Anno 1632, letter B. on the nawne Bartholomew, fol. 159, col. 2.
Thomas, surnamed Didymus, that is, twin, was a native of Galilee, and his occupation, as it appears, that of a fisherman. John 11:16. Concerning his parents and the time of his conversion, we find no account in the Evangelists, who mention only his call to the apostleship. Matt. 10:3.
His love and ardent affection for Christ appears from the fact that he exhorted his brethren, to go up to Jerusalem, that they might die with Christ. John 11:16. But as he had not yet resisted unto
blood, and labored also under a certain misapprehension concerning the death of Christ, he with the others forsook the Lord in the time of need. John 14:5; Matt. 26:31.
Afterwards, when the Lord had arisen, and appeared to the other apostles, in the absence of Thomas, he could not believe it, as he said, unless he should put his fingers into the prints of the nails with which He had been crucified, and thrust his hand into the Lord's side, which a soldier had opened with a spear. But when the Lord came again, and appeared also to him, saying,"Reach hither thy finger, and .behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side," etc., then he, being convinced, began to salute Christ with divine titles of honor, saying,"My Lord and my God." John 20:24-28.
After this, he, together with the other apostles, received commandment to preach the Gospel in the whole world, and to baptize the believers; to which end, ten days after, namely, on the day of Pentecost, he, with all his fellow ministers, received the Holy Ghost in full abundance. Matt. 28:19, 20; Mark 16:15, 16.
According to history, he sent Thaddeus unto King Abgarus, shortly after Christ's resurrection. Euseb. Hilt. Eccl., lib. 1, cap. 13.
As Parthia, India, Ethiopia, and many other countries had as his portion, been assigned him, he traveled through them; he dreaded, however, as it appears, to go to the moors and the savage nations of India. Nevertheless, God having strengthened him, he there converted many to God. Euseb. Hilt. Eccl., lib: 3, cad. 1.
Concerning the end of Thomas, the most probable account found by the ancients is this, namely, that at Calamina, a city in the East Indies, he put a stop to the abominable idolatry of the heathen, who worshiped there an image of the sun; so that through the power of God he compelled the Evil One to destroy the image. Thereupon the idolatrous priest accused him before their king, who sentenced him, first to be tormented with red-hot plates, and then to be cast into a glowing furnace, and burned. But when the idolatrous priests, who stood before the furnace, saw that the fire did not hurt him, they pierced his side, as he lay in the furnace, with spears and javelins; thus he conformed in steadfastness unto his Lord Jesus Christ, whom he confessed even unto death.
Jerome states that his body, which, it seems, was taken out of the fire, was buried in the same place where he died. Joh. Gysii Hist. Mart., fol. 11, Col. 4. Konst-tooneel van veertig, in the life of Thownas.
Matthew , also called Levi, the son of Alpheus, was a publican in Capernaum. The publicans were detested by the Jews, because the latter did not consider themselves justly bound to pay toll or tribute to any foreign prince. Matt. 9:9; Mark 3:18; Luke 5:29. As touching the condition of publicans at that time, it was such that they generally exacted more from the people than was just; on which account they were shunned by the pious, so that open sinners, who were separated from the church, were compared to publicans. Matt. 9:11; 18:17.
When Matthew, or Levi, was still unconverted, and made his living in this unjust business, Christ met him with His grace, and commanded him to follow Him as a disciple. Obeying through an inward impulse, he forsook the customhouse, and, having prepared a great feast for the occasion of taking leave of his companions, he invited his fellow publicans, and also the Lord Jesus; apparently for an adieu, that they might find opportunity to become converted through the discourse of the Lord Jesus.
After this, Matthew immediately forsook all, and zealously followed his Lord, who had called him, and who, after He had more fully instructed him, placed him among the apostles, which office he, too, exercised among the Jews, till the death of Christ. Matt. 10:3; Luke 6:15.
Afterwards, when he was sent out to teach among the heathen, Ethiopia fell to his lot. But before he left Judea, he, through the illumination of the Holy Spirit wrote his Gospel, in the Hebrew language, and left it to them. Euseb. lib. 5, cap. 1. Joh. Gys. Niceph. lib. 3, cap. 20. Second. J. Gys.
In Ethiopia he accomplished much, with teaching as well as with miracles; and there he also left unto posterity after his death his written Gospel, from which it can easily be seen what faith he maintained, namely, the faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, that He became a real man, through the power of the Holy Ghost, in His mother Mary. Matt. 1st chapter, throughout.
History states that immediately after the death of King Aeglippus, who was attached to the Christians, his' successor Hytacus, an unbelieving heathen, persecuted this apostle, and that at a certain time, when this pious apostle of Christ was teaching the church of God, he caused him to be apprehended and, as some write, nailed to the ground, and beheaded, in Naddavar, the capital of Ethiopia, where he is also buried, according to Venantius Fortunatus, who wrote, over a thousand years ago,"For the great city Naddavar shall restore to us at the last day the eminent apostle Matthew." J. Gys. in Hist. Mart., fol. 12, Col. 2. Also, Konst-tooneel van veertig, in the life of Matthew. Also, P, 1. Twisck, Bybelsch Ncpmbwch, fol. 65, Col. 2, letter M. This writer states that he was fastened to the ground with darts, whereupon death ensued. Joh. Gys., from henantius Fortunatus, de Gaud. hitcr, lib. 7.
Simon the Canaanite, surnamed Zelotes, that is, Zealot, the son of Alpheus, the brother of James, Joses, and Juda, and a relative of Christ, was constituted by Christ one of His twelve apostles, to preach the Gospel, first among the Jews, and afterwards among the heathen; to which end he, together with the others who were in like ministry with him, received the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost. Matt. 10:4; Acts 1:13; Matt. 13:55; Mark 6:3.
He traveled in Egypt, Cyrene, Africa, Mauritania, throughout Lybia, and in the islands of Great Britain, where he preached the Gospel. Isid. de Vita et Mort. 5, 5. Niceph., lib. 2, cap. 40.
Afterwards having preached everywhere, writes N. D. C., he came to the Western Sea, also into England, and their neighboring places.
Finally, it is stated by others, he went to Persia, where he found his brother Judas. Continuing together steadfastly in the duties of their apostleship, they sealed the divine truth with their blood.
Concerning Simon Zelotes in particular, it is stated that he was crucified in a very painful way by a certain governor in Syria. Bybelsch Ncpmbcech, Letter S. on the name Simon, fol. 570, Col. 1, from Eus. and Niceph., and Hist. Andrcp, fol. 18, Konst-tooneel van veertig, in the life of Simon Zelotes.
As regards his brother Judas, surnamed Lebbeus, and also, Thaddeus, who was likewise an apostle of Jesus Christ, nothing is said of him in Evangelical history; only there is mention made of a question which he asked the Lord Jesus, saying, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Matt. 10:3; Mark 3:18; John 14:22.
It was this apostle who also wrote a comforting letter to the believers, in which he admonishes them to remain steadfast in the faith once received; and threatens the unbelievers with the severe judgment of God.
In accordance with the division of the world made by the apostles for the preaching of the Gospel, he traveled in Mesopotamia, Syria, Arabia,
and as far as Edessa. Finally, having gone to Persia, he there reproved and opposed the pagan idolatry; on which account he was beaten to death by the idolatrous priests, who were losing their gain. Isidor. and Niceph., Sabell. Enece. 7, lib. 14. Bybelsch Ncrmbcrck, letter 1., on the name of Judas Thaddeus, fol. 535. Konst-tooneel, etc., in the life of Judas Thaddeus, or Lebbeus.
Simon the Canaanite, or Zelotes, who was a son of Alpheus, is not distinguished by some from Simon the bishop at Jerusalem, who was a son of Cleophas; hence has originated the error that Simon Zelotes is said to have been killed A. D. 108 (see Byb. Ncemb., fol. 870, col. 1), which, properly, is to be understood of Simon, the bishop at Jerusalem, the son of Cleophas; for Simon Zelotes and his brother Judas Thaddeus, according to testimony, were killed towards the close of the persecution by Nero, or about A. D. 70.
Matthias, according to the opinion of some, was of the royal house of David; and from his youth was well instructed in the law of God, at Bethlehem. He was one of the seventy disciples of Christ; but shortly after the Lord's ascension, Judas Iscariot, having faithlessly departed from his apostleship, and taken his own life, the remaining eleven apostles, and one hundred and twenty men, through prayer to God, and by the lot, unanimously elected him in place of the aforementioned faithless Judas, an apostle and ambassador of Jesus Christ, to preach the Gospel, according to the command of the Lord, to all nations, and to baptize the believers. Acts 1:23-26.
Afterwards he and the other eleven apostles were scourged by the Jewish council, for the name of Jesus Christ, and commanded that they should preach no more in the name of Jesus Christ. Acts 5:38-40. But they departed from the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name. And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.
After the separation of the apostles, who went everywhere to preach, Matthias, according to the opinion of Jerome, penetrated far into Ethiopia, where no other apostle had been, into the very in
terior of the land, yea, to the uttermost ends, to the inlet of the creek or river Asphar and Hyssus; where the most ignorant and barbarous people were. Unto these people, sitting as they were, in the deepest darkness and ignorance, there arose, through the ministry of this apostle, the true light of the Gospel. But, after having there gained many souls to Christ, he returmed, according to history, to Judea, Galilee, and Samaria. namely, as in consequence of the dispersion of the apostles, the Jews who dwelt in those parts, could not enjoy the benefits of the ministry of the holy Gospel, unto their conversion. Hieron. in Catad. Script. Eccl. Isidor. Naucler. Sabell. and Anthon., in Hist. Matthiae.
Concerning the end or martyrdom of Matthias, some write that he would not sacrifice to. the false god Jupiter, and was therefore put to death by the heathen. Others, however, state that for the blasphemy which the Jews said he had committed against God, Moses, and the law, he was sentenced by their high priest, first to be hung on a cross and stoned, and afterwards beheaded with an ax. In short, when he would not deny Jesus, his Saviour, but steadfastly confessed Him, his sentence was his: ',Thy blood be upon thy head, for thine own mouth hath spoken against thee." Thereupon, having been tied on a cross, as some write, or conducted upon a rock, as others say, he was stoned, and finally, according to the sentence, beheaded. Joh. Gys., in Hist. Mart., fol. 13, cot. 2, ex Anton., in part 1. Also, Konst-tooneel, etc., in the life of Matthias. Also, P. J Twisck in the Byb.elsch Ncpynbcpck, letter M. on the nanie Matthias, fol. 652, cot. 1, 2.
Prochorus,. one of the first seven deacons at Jerusalem, a nephew of the pious martyr Stephen, and companion of the apostle John, but afterwards bishop of the church at Bithynia, in Macedonia, suffered and died at Antioch.
Nicanor, also one of the first seven deacons at Jerusalem, was likewise executed for the truth's sake.
Likewise Parmenas, also one of the seven deacons.
Olympus was imprisoned at Rome with Paul, for the Gospel's sake.
Carpus, a servant of Paul, and afterwards bishop of the church at Troas, was put to death in that place, for the faith.
Trophimus, Paul's companion, was beheaded for the truth of Christ.
Maternus and Egystus, two of the seventy disciples of Christ, together with Marianus, the Christian deacon, were put to death in Germany, for the faith.
Hermagoras, bishop of the church at Aquileia, ordained thereto by Peter, suffered likewise under Nero.
Onesimus, Dionysius, Areopagitae, and others, also died at that time for the divine truth.
This persecution, which was originated by Nero, continued a long time, extending even into the time of Vespasian; so that it is stated that in the third year of his reign, there was put to death in the city of Ravenna, for confessing Christ, Apollinaris, a disciple of Peter, with many others, whose names are not mentioned.
Luke, the third among the holy evangelists, was, according to the testimony of the ancients, a Syrian of Antioch, and by occupation a physician. Bybelsch Nwmbwck, about Luke, from Euseb. and Hieron. Col. 4:14.
It was the will of the Lord to use him as a physician of souls; to which end he has left to mankind two excellent books on spiritual medicine; namely, his holy Gospel and the Acts of the holy Apostles.
Concerning his parents there is nowhere anything mentioned; hence little or almost no account can be given of his natural descent, excepting his birthplace, and that he descended from the Syrian nation. It is supposed that he had no wife; though nearly all the other apostles and evangelists were married.
According, to the, opinion of Jerome, he was, before his conversion, a Jewish proselyte, though of Gentile descent; which is quite probable, since, according to the judgment of linguists, his style is far more excellent and perfect in Greek than in Hebrew. Jolt. Gys., in Hist. Mart. ex Hieronimo.
He afterwards, through the preaching of Paul, became a Christian A.D. 38, after he had come from Thebes to Antioch. Konst-tooneel, etc., ivy the life of Luke.
He became a disciple of the apostles, but especially a traveling companion of the, apostle Paul, so that he was with him in many perils and difficulties an sea and on land.
He was so intimate with Paul, and his special friend to such a degree that, according to the ancients, he wrote the -Gospel under his dictation and instruction. He had also given a faithful account of Paul's principal travels until his first imprisonment at Rome. Joh. Gys. Hist. Mart., concerning Luke the evangelist.
Paul makes frequent mention of him in his epis-.ties; for to the Colossians he writes, "Luke, the physician, . . . greet you" (Col. 4:14). To Philemon, "There salute thee Epaphras, my fel low prisoner in Christ Jesus; Marcus Aristarchus; Demos, Lucas, my fellowlabourers" ( Philem. 23; 24). Likewise, to Timothy, "Only Luke is with me" ( II Tim. 4:11) .
Luke was therefore, as it appears, a companion of Paul, not only in his travels, but also during his imprisonment at Rome: So that he was twice brought, , together with Paul, before the Emperor Nero. P. J. Twisck, taken from Paul's epistles to Timothy.
Respecting: his end, some write that, while preaching in Greece, he was hanged by the ungodly to a. green olive tree; others relate that he was in the eighty-fourth year of his age, at the time of his death. Bybelsch Ncembwch, letter L., on the name Luke, fol. 624, col. 1, Konst-tooneel van veertig,
Antipas was an upright man and a pious witness of the San of God; Who, in proof of his faith, tasted death, rather than dishonor his Saviour, by denying Him, or otherwise. This happened in the life-
time of the apostle John. Hence he may be reckoned one of the first of those who suffered, during the time of Domitian, for the testimony of Jesus Christ.
Of this hero and knight of God, the Lord Himself made mention to His servant John, yea, commanded him, to write to the teacher at Pergamos concerning him, saying, "To the angel of the church in Pergamos write: These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges; I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and host not denied my faith, even in those days, wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth" (Rev. 2:12-14).
Touching the time and manner of his death, there is nothing stated in Holy Writ; but some of the ancient writers maintain that he was enclosed in a red-hot brazen ox, and thus burned alive with great pain, yet in steadfastness. As regards the time when this happened, we ascertain from Holy Scripture, that he was killed in the lifetime of John. Some fix this occurrence in the time of Domitian of about A.D. 95.-See concerning this, A. Mel[., Ist Book, van de Hist. der Vervolg, en Martel., printed A. D. 1619, fol. 22, col. 1. Also, d' Annotation der Laetste Bybelsch Oversettinge, Rev. 2:12,13.
John, the apostle and evangelist, was a son of Zebedee, and brother of James the Greater; he was born at Nazareth, and by occupation was a fisherman. Matt. 4:21. He was called by Christ, when engaged with his father and brother in mending their nets for fishing. Verse 22. As soon as he heard the words of Christ, he immediately left the nets, the ship, and his father, and, together with James, his beloved brother, followed Christ. Chrysost. Homil. 1., in Joh.
Afterwards he became from a disciple an apostle of Christ, and was numbered with the twelve whom the Lord had specially chosen for His service. Matt. 10:2.
He was greatly beloved by the Lord, so that at the Supper he reclined on Christ's bosom, and leaned, or rested, on His breast. John 13:23; 21: 20. The Lord, moreover, had accepted him as one of His three most special friends, to bear testimony of His works, not only in His conflict and suffering in the garden of Gethsemane, but also in His glory, in the raising of the daughter of Jairus as well as in the showing forth of His majesty, when, on the holy mount, His face shone as the sun, and His raiment became white as the light. Matt. 26:36; Luke 8:51; Matt. 17:1-4.
From an inward love, he followed the Lord not only into the house of the priest Caiaphas, but also to Mount Calvary, without the city of Jerusalem, where the Lord was put to death. There the Lord, hanging on the cross, addressed him, saying,"Son, behold thy mother!" ( John 19:27 ) .
He was so eager after the resurrection of Christ, that in running to His grave with his fellow apostle Peter, he outran the latter, thus showing his affection for his Lord, who had died an ignominious death, and was entirely forsaken by His other friends. John 20:4.
Some years afterwards, in order to refute the errors. of Ebion and Cerinthus, who denied the divinity of Christ, he wrote his Gospel, to the honor and magnifying of His Saviour, commencing thus"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made." "And the Word was made flesh," etc., John 1:1-14. In these words he gives us to understand the true incarnation of the Son of God, to whom be praise and glory forever. Amen.
John is called throughout the Gospel the beloved of the Lord, or the disciple"whom Jesus loved;" because the Lord so especially loved him John 13:23; 20:2; 21:20.
But since it is the will of God to bring His children to glory through much tribulation and distress, this beloved friend of God, John, also could not escape, but was tried throughout his life, with manifold tribulations, according to what the Lord had told him and his brother James, "Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of; and with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized," that is, ye shall also be subjected to my suffering and distress. Mark 10:39.
This was afterwards fulfilled in him in manifold ways; for, besides what ancient writers have recorded concerning it, namely, that at Rome he was put into a vat full of boiling oil, but was miraculously delivered out of it, the merits of which account we leave unquestioned; this much, according to the Scriptures, is certain, namely that he spent a long time on the desert island of Patmos, whither he had been banished, for the testimony of Jesus Christ. Concerning this, John himself makes this declaration, Rev. 1:9, "I, John, who also am your brother and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ."
But by whom, and in what manner he was banished to that desert island, is not stated in the Scriptures, except that he was in tribulation for the Word of God. Some of the ancient writers, however, state that he was banished by Emperor Domitian, about A. D. 97; who, in his wrath .and displeasure, because he preached the Word of God, and confessed Christ as the Son of God, had him sentenced and banished thither.
On this island, which lies in the Mediterranean, between Asia Minor and Greece, one hundred and
twenty-five miles north-westward of Jerusalem, he was indeed forsaken of men, and had scarcely any companionship, aside from poisonous and noxious animals, which dwelt in the place; nevertheless, the Lord God dwelt with him with His heavenly consolation, and during his banishment presented and revealed to him, very beautiful scenes and glorious visions concerning the condition of the church of God to the end of the world.
How he wrote his Apocalypse or Revelation, an excellent book, full of divine and truthful prophecies, taken from the preceding visions and heavenly sights; some of which are already fulfilled, and others remain to be fulfilled.
As the time of his deliverance began to draw nigh, the Lord spoke to him on this island, saying,"Behold, I come quickly, Amen." Whereupon John replied with a well-comforted soul,"Even so come, Lord Jesus." Rev. 22:20.
When the Emperor Domitian, who had banished him to the aforesaid island, was dead, and Nerva reigned in his stead, he was delivered and brought back to Ephesus, where he had previously been bishop of the church. This occurred, according to history, about A. D. 99; consequently, his confinement there lasted two years. The ancients write that he suffered much yet for the name of Christ, and was compelled to drink poison, yet remained unharmed, according to the promise of Christ; and that he finally died in peace at Ephesus, in the time of the Emperor Trajan, having served in the holy Gospel for fifty-one years, and being eighty years old: and thus this great light rests in Asia. Joh. Gys. Hist. Mart., fol. 14, col. 2, from Euseb. Hist. Eccl. and Epiphanio., Joh. Gys., ibidem ,. from Euseb., lib. 3, cap. 20, 23, Niceph, lib. 3, cap. 4, Iren., lib. 3, cap. 3. Also, Konst-tooneel, in the life of John. Also, Bybelsch Ncpmbcpck, letter J. on the name John, fol. 538, col. 2, and fol. 539, col. 1, 2, also, fol. 540, col. 1.
Timothy was a native of Lystra in Lycaonia. His father was a Greek, but his mother and grandmother, though of Jewish descent, were Christian
believers, the one named Eunice, the other Lois; by whom he was instructed from his youth in the holy Scriptures. Acts 16:1; II Tim. 1:5.
Timothy was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium; wherefore Paul received him as his companion in the ministry of the holy Gospel among the Gentiles. Acts 16:2, 3.
Paul loved him with a godly love, and called him his dearly beloved son in the Lord. II Tim. 1:2. He afterwards appointed him bishop or teacher of the church, and commended to him the flock of Jesus his Saviour, with the admonition, uprightly to feed and govern the same; to which end he wrote two special epistles to him., "O.Timothy," he writes,"keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called" (I Tim. 6:20).
Further, "This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee . . . . Through faith and a ,good conscience" (1:18).
In another place: ."Thou, therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also" (II Tim. 2:1, 2).
In this ministry Timothy acquitted himself as an upright evangelical preacher, until it pleased God, to let him finish his course, not by a common death, but by martyrdom; so that he, with his spiritual father Paul, who had steadfastly preceded him, and especially with his Lord Christ Jesus, who had gone through the conflict many years before, might enjoy the unfading crown of honor in the life of bliss. Thus it happened afterwards, according to history, that, having been bishop at Ephesus for fifteen years, he was there stoned to death by the heathen, whose idolatry he had reproved. This is stated to have taken place in the reign of Domitian, or about A. D. 98, though some have fixed it in the time of Nero. Ioh, Gysii Hist. Mart., fol. 14, col. 4, also, Bybelsch Nambock, letter T. on the name Timothy, fol. 925, Col. vJB.
Next to Timothy is placed Urticinus or Ursinius, a physician at Ravenna in Italy. Having been reported to the judge Paulinus, as being a Christian, he was tortured in manifold ways for the name of Christ. Having borne all with constancy, and still refusing to sacrifice to the gods of the heathen, he was finally sentenced by the judge, to be beheaded with the ax.
When Urticinus received this sentence of death, he began to tremble and shake before the impending death, and to deliberate with himself, whether he should deny Christ, or how he might the most easily escape death. But while he was thus counseling with flesh and blood, one of the company of judge Paulinus, whose name was Vitalus, stepped up to him from behind, and strengthened him with these words, "My beloved brother in Christ, Urticinus, who, as a faithful physician, by the potions, didst so often and so happily restore to health the sick, take heed, lest by thy denial thou plunge thyself into eternal death and damnation."
Through this admonition Urticinus regained such courage, that he joyfully prepared for death, and, having of his own accord offered his neck to the ax, he thus, through the separation of his head from the body, came to a godly and noble end. See concerning this, A. Mell., 1st book, van de Hist. der hervolg., fol. 18, col. 3 and 4, according Tenant. Fortunat., lib. 4. hitce S. Martini, Hieronym. Rub. Hilt. Raven., lib. 1. Beda, Usard. Ado: Vincent, Spec. Hist., lib. 9, cap. 50. holateran. in AntrhoQal. Pet. Dam., in Senn. de S. S. Vitale and haleria.
Vitalus, before his conversion, was a Roman knight and citizen of Milan. He had come to Ravenna with Paulinus, the judge; but when he perceived the blood' thirstiness of his lord, whom he had hitherto served faithfully according to the manner of the world, he bravely left him, and straightway enrolled himself under the banner of Christ, but was very soon apprehended by the enemies of truth. For Paulinus, his lord, not knowing why he had left him, but having learned that he had encouraged Urticinus-who had just before been beheaded with the ax, for the faith-when the latter wavered, and that he had restrained him from sac- rificing to the gods; likewise, that he had buried him after his death, conceived a suspicion that he also must be a Christian. Upon this suspicion, and through the accusations of others, he had the pious Vitalus apprehended, and having found from his own confession, that he was really a Christian, he caused him to be put on the rack, to try him whether he would not apostatize from Christ.
Thereupon Vitalus addressed Paulinus, the criminal judge, in these words, "You must certainly be deprived of your reason, to think that I should be deceived by you, and brought to eternal suffering in soul and body, while I have sought to deliver others from the danger of delusion."
A wicked heathen priest, perceiving that he adhered firmly to Christ, and would in no wise do honor to the gods, advised Paulinus to bury Vitalus alive. Paulinus, following the evil suggestion of this priest, had a deep pit dug down to the water, at the place where the Christians were usually executed-called ad Palmam because a palm tree stood there-and had Vitalus buried in it, up to the
middle( of his body), and then covered up with stones and earth.
Now when Valeria, the wife of Vitalus, after the death and burying alive of her husband, returned home from Ravenna to Milan, where she resided and had her children, she could not remain concealed long, but made herself known to be a Christian woman; for when she was constrained to eat of that which was offered to idols, she very steadfastly refused and resisted, yea, moreover, openly reproved the idolaters, saying,"I am a Christian, and can, therefore, in no wise eat that which is offered to Sylvanus, your god."
Thereupon these idolaters seized her, and beat her to death with sticks. She was buried at Milan by the Christians. This happened by virtue of the first persecution, or the edict of Nero, which, it is stated, remained in force under Vespasian and under Domitian. A.:dell. Hist., fol.~ 16, col. 3, about Luke.
Concerning this martyrdom see the above mentioned authors, annotated with regard to Urticinus.
According to ancient history there were also slain for the testimony of the Son of God; In France, Lucianus, bishop of the church of Bellovaco; Maximianus and Julianus, elders; Nicasius, bishop of the church of Rouen; Quirinus, an elder; Scubiculus, a deacon; Pascientia, a virgin. In Italy, Romulus, bishop of the church of Fesula, and others, in different places. 7. Gys. Hist. Mart., fol. 14, col. 4.
It is further recorded, that Marsilius Glabrio also had to suffer for the name of Christ and the true faith.
At this time (it is stated in the Introduction to the Martyrs' Mirror to the Defenseless Christians fol. 36, col. 2,) "The Christians were so little esteemed, that they were called cobblers, as may be seen from a heathen author, according to Baronius."