Page images

It is clear, from this passage, that all the apostles were married, as well as St. Peter. And St. Clement of Alexandria positively declares* that St. Paul had a wife.

The Roman discipline has changed, which is no proof that the usage of the primitive ages was not different.


Children of the Apostles. Very little is known of their families. St. Clement of Alexandria says that Peter had children, that Philip had daughters, and that he gave them in marriage. I

The Acts of the Apostlese specify St. Philip, whose four daughters prophesied, of whom it is believed that one was married, and that this one was St. Hermione.

Eusebius relates that Nicholas, chosen by the apostles to co-operate in the sacred ministry with St. Stephen, had a very handsome wife, of whom he was jealous. The apostles having reproached him with his jealousy, he corrected himself of it, brought his wife to them and said, “ I am ready to yield her up; let him marry her who will." The apostles, however, did not accept his proposal. He had by his wife a son and several daughters.

Cleophas, according to Eusebius and St. Epiphanius, was brother to St. Joseph, and father of St. James the Less, and of St. Jude, whom he had by Mary, sister to the Blessed Virgin. So that St. Jude the apostle was first cousin to Jesus Christ.

Hegesippus, quoted by Eusebius, tells us, that two grandsons of St. Jude were informed against to the emperor Domitian, as being descendants of David, and having an incontestable right to the throne of Jerusalem. Domitian, fearing that they might avail themselves of this right, put questions to them himself, and they acquainted him with their genealogy. The Emperor asked them what fortune they had. They answered, that they had thirty-nine acres of land, which paid tribute, and that they worked for their livelihood. He then asked them when Jesus Christ's kingdom was to come; and they told him, “At the end of the world.” After which, Domitian allowed them to de. part in peace; which goes far to prove that he was not a persecutor. :- This, if I mistake not, is all that is known about the children of the apostles.

* Stromat, Book jii.
+ See Apostolical Constitutions, art. APOCRYPHA.

Stromat, book vii ; and Eusebius, book iii. cbap. 30. s Acts, chap. xxi. || Eusebius, book iii. chap. 29. q Eusebius, book iii. chap. 20.


Where did the Apostles live? Where did they die?

According to Eusebius,* James, surnamed the Just, brother to Jesus Christ, was in the beginning placed the first on the episcopal throne of the city of Jerusalem ;-these are his own words. So that, according to him, the first bishopric was that of Jerusalem-supposing that the Jews knew even the name of bishop. It does, indeed, appear very likely that the brother of Jesus Christ should have been the first after him, and that the very city in which the miracle of our salvation was worked, should have become the metropolis of the Christian world. As for the episcopal throne, that is a term which Eusebius uses by anticipation. We all know that there was then neither throne nor see.

Eusebius adds, after St. Clement, that the other apostles did not contend with St. James for this dignity. They elected him immediately after the Ascension. "Our Lord,” says he, “after his resurrection, had given to James surnamed the Just, to John, and to Peter, the gift of knowledge;" —very remarkable words. Eusebius mentions James first, then John, and Peter comes last. It seems but just that the brother and the beloved disciple of Jesus should come before the man who had denied him. Nearly the whole Greek church and all the reformers ask, Where is Peter's primacy? The Catholics answer -If he is not placed first by the

* Eusebius, book iii.


Fathers of the Church, he is in the Acts of the Apostles. The Greeks and the rest reply, that he was not the first bishop; and the dispute will endure as long as the churches.

St. James, this first bishop of Jerusalem, always continued to observe the Mosaic law. He was a Recabite; he walked barefoot, and never shaved ; went and prostrated himself in the Jewish temple twice a day, and was surnamed by the Jews Oblia, signifying the just. They at length applied to him to know who Jesus Christ was ;

and, having answered that Jesus was the son of man, who sat on the right hand of God, and that he should come in the clouds, he was beaten to death. This was St. James the Less.

St. James the Greater was his uncle, brother to St. John the Evangelist, and son of Zebedee and Salome.t It is asserted that Agrippa, king of the Jews, had him beheaded at Jerusalem.

St. John remained in Asia, and governed the church of Ephesus, where, it is said, he was buried.

St. Andrew, brother to St. Peter, quitted the school of St. John for that of Jesus Christ. It is not agreed whether he preached among the Tartars or in Argos; but, to get rid of the difficulty, we are told that it was in Epirus. No one knows where he suffered martyrdom, nor even whether he suffered it at all. The Acts of his martyrdom are more than suspected by the learned. Painters have always represented him on a saltier-cross, to which his name has been given. This custom has prevailed without its origin being known.

St. Peter preached to the Jews dispersed in Pontus, Bithynia, Cappadocia, at Antioch, and at Babylon. The Acts of the Apostles do not speak of his journey to Rome, nor does St. Paul himself make any mention of it in the letters which he wrote from that capital. St. Justin is the first accredited author who speaks of this journey, about which the learned are not agreed. St. Irenæus, after St Justin, expressly says, that St. Peter

* Eusebius, Epiphanius, Jerome, and Clement of Alexandria. + Eusebius, book iii.

* Eusebius, book iii.


and St. Paul came to Rome, and that they entrusted its government to St. Linus. But here is another difficulty: if they made St. Linus inspector of the rising Christian society at Rome, it must be inferred that they themselves did not superintend it, nor remain in that city.

Criticism has cast upon this matter a thousand uncertainties. The opinion that St. Peter came to Rome in Nero's reign, and filled the pontifical chair there for twenty-five years, is untenable, for Nero reigned only thirteen


The wooden chair, so splendidly inlaid, in the Church at Rome, can hardly have belonged to St. Peter : wood does not last so long; nór is it likely that St. Peter delivered his lessons from this chair as in a school thoroughly formed, since it is averred that the Jews of Rome were violent enemies to the disciples of Jesus Christ.

The greatest difficulty perhaps is, that St. Paul, in his epistle written to the Colossians from Rome, positively says that he was assisted only by Aristarchus, Marcus, and another bearing the name of Jesus.* This objection has, to men of the greatest learning, appeared to be insurmountable.

In his letter to the Galatians, he says that he obliged James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars,t to acknowledge himself and Barnabas as pillars also. If he placed James before Cephas, then Cephas was not the chief. Happily, these disputes affect not the foundation of our holy religion. Whether St. Peter ever was at Rome or not, Jesus Christ is no less the son of God and the Virgin Mary; he did not the less rise again ; nor did he the less recommend humility and poverty,--which are neglected it is true, but about which there is no dispute.

Callistus Nicephorus, a writer of the fourteenth century, says, that “ Peter was tall, straight, and slender, his face long and pale, his beard and hair short, curly, and neglected, his eyes black, his nose long, and rather flat than pointed.” So Calmet translates the passage. I St. Bartholomew, a word corrupted from Bar. Ptolomaios, son of Ptolemy.—The Acts of the Apostles inform us that he was a Galilean. Eusebius asserts that he went to preach in India, Arabia Felix, Persia, and Abyssinia. He is believed to have been the same with Nathanaël. There is a gospel attributed to him: but all that has been said of his life and of his death is very uncertain. It has been asserted that Astyáges, brother to Polemon king of Armenia, had him flayed alive; but all good writers regard this story as fabulous.

* Chap. iv, v. 10, 11, + Chap. ii. v. 9. * See bis Dictionnaire de la Bible.

St. Philip.--According to the apocryphal legends, he lived eighty-seven years, and died in peace, in the reign of Trajan.

St. Thomas Didymus.-Origen, quoted by Eusebius, says that he went and preached to the Medes, the Persians, the Caramanians, the Baskerians, and the Magi, -as if the Magi had been a people. It is added, that he baptized one of the Magi, who had come to Bethlehem. The Manichees assert that a man who had stricken Thomas, was devoured by a lion. Some Portuguese writers assure us that he suffered martyrdom at Meliapour, in the peninsula of India. The Greek church believes that he preached in India, and that from thence his body was carried to Edessa. Some monks are further induced to believe that he went to India, by the circumstance, that, about the end of the fifteenth century, there were found, near the coast of Ormuz, some families of Nestorians, who had been established there by a merchant of Mossoul, named Thomas. The legend sets forth that he built a magnificent palace for an Indian king, named Gondaser : but all these stories are rejected by the learned.

St. Matthias.—No particulars are known of him. His life was not found until the twelfth century, by a monk of the abbey of St. Matthias of Treves. He said, he had it from a Jew, who translated it for him from Hebrew into Latin.

[ocr errors]

* A Hebrew-Greek name, which is somewhat singular, and has caused it to be thought that the whole was written by the Hellenian Jews, far from Jerusalem.

« EelmineJätka »