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easy for Almighty power to feed double the number, when it pleased to exert itself. It was also to the same apostle, that the Gentile proselytes, who came up to worship at Jerusalem, applied, when they were desirous to see the Saviour of the world : and it was with him our Lord had the discourse a little before the pas.
when he was about going to suffer. While the holy compassionate Jesus was fortifying the minds of his disciples with proper considerations against his departure from them, and had told them of a place in the mansions of the heavenly Canaan: that he was the way, the truth and the life: that no man could come to the Father but by him, and that knowing him, they both knew and had seen the Father : Philip, not thoroughly understanding the force of his Master's reasonings begged of him that he would shew them the Father. We can hardly suppose that Philip should have such'gross conceptions of the Deity, as to imagine the Father invested with a corporeal and visible nature ; but Christ having told them that they had seen him, and knowing that of old God frequently appeared in a visible shape, he only desired that he would manifest himself to them by some such appearance. Our Lord gently reproved his ignorance, that after attending so long to His instructions, he should know, that he was the image of his Father, the express characters of his infinite wisdom, power, and goodness appearing in him; that he said and did nothing but by his Father's appointment, which, if they did not believe, his miracles were a sufficient evidence; that such demands were therefore unnecessary and impertinent; and that it was an indication of great weakness in him, after three years education under his discipline and institution, to appear so ignorant with regard to these particulars.
We are told by the ancients, that in the distribution made by the apostles of the several regions of the world, the upper Asia fell to the share of St. Philip,
where he applied himself with an indefatigable diligence and industry, to turn the children of men from the paths of wickedness which lead to destruction, to the ways that terminate in eternal felicity: and by the constancy and power of his preaching, and the efficacy of his miracles, he gained numerous converts, whom he baptised into the Christian faith, curing at once their bodies of infirmities and distempers; and their souls of error and idolatry, he continued with them a considerable time in settling churches, and appointing them spiritual guides and ministers.
Having several years successfully exercised his apostolical office in all those parts, he came at last to Hierapolis in Phrygia, a city remarkably rich and populous, but at the same time over-run with the most enormous idolatry : amongst the many vain and trifling deities, to whom they paid religious adoration, was a serpent or dragon, of an enormous magnitude which they worshipped with the most solemn reverence and devotion.
Being grieved to see the people so wretchedly en. slaved by error and superstition, St. Philip continually offered his addresses to heaven, till by his prayers, and often calling upon the name of Christ, he procured the death or at least the vanishing of this famous and beloved serpent. Having thus demolished their deity, he demonstrated to them how ridiculous and unjust it was for them to pay divine honours to such odious creatures, shewed them, that God alone was to be worshipped as the great Parent of all the world, who in the beginning made man after his glorious image, and when fallen from that innocent and happy state, sent his own Son into the world to redeem him ; that in order to perform this glorious work, he died on the cross, and rose again from the dead, and at the end of the world will come again to raise all the sons of men from the chambers of the dust, and sentence them to everlasting rewards and punishments, according to their works. This discourse roused them from their lethargy; so that great numbers were ashamed of their late idolatry, and VOL. ii.
embraced the doctrines of the gospel with earnestness and sincerity.
The great enemy of mankind, being provoked at this success had recourse to his old methods, cruelty and persecution. The magistrates of the city seized the apostle, and having thrown him into prison, caused him to be severely scourged. When this preparatory cru. elty was over, he was led to execution, and, being bound, was hanged against a pillar; or, according to others, crucified: but Omnipotence did not behold this scene of cruelty without testifying his anger; for when this indefatigable apostle was expiring, the earth began suddenly to quake, and the ground whereon the people stood to sink under them; but, on their considering it as a mark of the divine vengeance, and imploring pardon for their crime, it suddenly stopt, and returned to its former position. The apostle being dead, his body was taken down by St. Bartholomew, his fellow-labourer in the gospel, and Mariamne, St. Philip's sister, the constant companions of his travels, and decently buried; after which they confirmed the people in the faith of Christ, and departed from those parts.
The ancient writers unanimously agree that he was a married man; and Clemens of Alexandria, that he had daughters, whom he disposed of in marriage: but he, not carefully distinguishing between Philip the deacon, who lived at Cæsarea with his three virgin daughters, as mentioned in the acts of the apostles, has caused some confusion amongst the ancient authors: nay, some have concluded, that they were one and the same person; though the one was called to the apostleship, by our Lord himself, and the other only a deacon chosen by the apostles at Jerusalem, after the descent of the Holy Ghost upon them.
It does not appear that St. Philip left any writings behind him, being fully employed in ministeries more immediately useful to the happiness of mankind as an dpostle.
ST. SIMON, THE APOSTLE,
Surnamed the Zealot.
THIS apostle was, as some think, one of the four brothers of our Saviour, sons of Joseph by his former marriage; though the only proof of it is, that one of these was called Simon, too weak an argument to found any on, except a bare conjecture. In the catalogue of the apostles, he is styled Simon the Canaanite, whence some conjecture he was born at Cana of Galilee, and others will have him to have been the bridegroom mentioned by St. John, at whose marriage our blessed Şaviour turned the water into wine: but this word has no relation to his country, or the place of his nativity, being derived from the Hebrew word knah, which signifies zeal; and denotes a warm and sprightly temper, What some of the evangelists call Canaanite, others, rendering the Hebrew by the Greek word, style Zealot ; not from his great zeal, his ardent affection to his Master, and a desire of advancing his religion in the world, but from his warm, active temper, and zealous forward. ness in some particular sect of religion, before our Saviour called him to be a disciple.
That we may understand this the better it will be ne. cessary to observe, that as there were several sects and parties amongst the Jews, so there was one, either a distinct sect, or at least, a branch of the Pharisees, called the sect of the Zealots: they were remarkable asserters of the honour of the law, and of the strictness and purity of religion, assuming a liberty to themselves of questioning notorious offenders, without staying for the ordinary formalities of law; nay, they did not scruple, when they thought it necessary, to inflict capital punishments upon them: thus, when a blasphemer cursed God by the name of an idol, the Zealot who first met him
had the liberty of killing him, without carrying him before the Sanhedrim. They considered themselves as the successors of Phineas, who in defence of the hona our of God, inflicted death on Zimri and Cozbi: an act which was counted unto him for righteousness unto all generations for ever more ; and God was so well pleased with it, that he made with him, and his seed after him the covenant of an everlasting priesthood, be. cause he was zealous for his God, and made an atonement for Israel.
Whatever St. Simon was before, we can have no reason to suspect, but that after his conversion he was ve. ry zealous for the honour of his master, and considered all those who were enemies to Christ, as enemies to himself, how near soever they might be to him in any natural relation: and he was very exact in all the practical duties of the Christian religion, so he shewed a very serious and pious indignation towards those who professed religion, and a faith in CHRIST, with their mouths, but dishonoured their sacred profession, by their irregular and vicious lives, as many of the first Christians really did, and became heretics and apostatcs.
We are told by Theodoret, that St. Simon the Zeal. ot was of the tribe of Zebulon or Naphthali, and that by this particular he was distinguished from St. Simon, a relation of our blessed Saviour, and after St. James, bishop of Jerusalem, who was of the tribe of Judah; but there are stronger reasons to prove this difference, the authority of Eusebius, who never calls Simon bishop of Jerusalem, an apostle, but says expressly, that the apostolic age ended with his death, who died before Simon, bishop of Jerusalem.
It appears that St. Simon continued in communion with the rest of the apostles and disciples at Jerusalem, and at the feast of Pentecost, received the same mira. culous gift of the Holy Ghost : so that he was