Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

celebrated by the Grecian orators as the seat of science and philosophy. Here he is said to have cultivated Gentile literature, and to have attained the theory of his

profession. Some, however, have doubted whether he be the person meant in the following verse of St. Paul to the Colossians,

Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas

greet you;" though the epithet “beloved” might seem to be exclusively appropriate to St. Luke, when St. Paul was the writer, and wrote of one then present with him. Of this great Apostle St. Luke was the constant companion in all his travels and dangers by sea and land; attending him, as appears by the Acts, in his last voyage to Rome, and probably witnessing his death.

Only Luke is with me,” says St. Paul, in his second epistle to Timothy, written from Rome: and in the Epistle to Philemon he calls Luke his fellow-labourer".

I should not have noticed an unfounded rumour, that St. Luke was the professor of another art, had not the subject been connected with what we esteem superstitious

h 2 Tim. iv. 11. Phil. iv. 24.

ceremonies in the Romish Church. The report that this Evangelist was a painter, and had transferred to the canvass, and left behind for the homage of posterity, the corporeal features of the Virgin Mary, was an invention of the sixth century, intended no doubt to propagate the impious adoration then begun to be offered to the Virgin, and confirm the general veneration, whatever may be its nature, paid to the pictures, images, and relics of pretended saints.

Of the real profession of this Evangelist it may be observed, that the practice of medicine was not held in such esteem among the Jews as among the more polished nations of ancient or modern times, and that the professor of that art could therefore derive no advantage from it in the propagation of his religious opinions'.

i The dignity and wealth of Antonius Musa, the friend of Horace, forms no exception to this rule, of the inferior rank and influence of physicians in ancient when compared with modern times. He was originally the freedman of Augustus. But it is here worth remarking, that, of the immediate followers of our Saviour, those on whom the duty must devolve of examining evidence, before they sur

soul. Let us fervently address God in the words of the collect appropriated to that day on which our Church celebrates or commemorates the merits of this Evangelist:

Almighty God, who calledst Luke the physician, whose praise is in the Gospel,

to be an evangelist and physician of the “ soul, may it please thee, that by the “ wholesome medicines of the doctrine de“ livered by him all the diseases of our “ souls may be healed, through the merits “ of thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord.”

SERMON V.

ST. JOHN.

St. John xxi. 23, 24.

Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that

that disciple should not die : yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things; and we know that his testimony is true.

I am come now to the last of the Evangelists: the last, both with respect to the position which his work occupies in the Canon of the New Testament, the period at which it was written, and the death of the writer. The personal history of St. John himself affords a singular proof of the truth of that which he has recorded respecting others, and more particularly his Divine Master. The text, you will perceive, contains a proThis, then, is the man whose praise is described by his illustrious friend and fellow-labourer, St. Paul, as being sounded through all the Churches at that early period of Christianity; and not that only, “ but who was also chosen of the Churches to travel with him with that

grace

which was administered by him to the glory of the Lord.”

From thence has the name of St. Luke been handed down to posterity through successive ages : but let us not forget that his highest praise will be found in the lives of those who profess to believe his Gospel. The object for which Evangelists and Apostles wrote and travelled, and devoted themselves to martyrdom, was to improve mankind in virtue and holiness, to save their

rendered themselves to the new faith, were men rendered competent to the task by previous habits : Mark, of the tribe of Levi, and of a sacerdotal family *, and Luke, a physician, who had cultivated science in the schools of Antioch. The disciples, who conversed with their Divine Master, obeyed the irresistible perceptions of their natural

senses.

Hieron. Præf. in Marcum, Vol. ix.

« EdellinenJatka »