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To which the apostle replied, that he saw it was in vain to endeavour to persuade a person incapable of sober counsels, and hardened in his own blindness and folly; that with regard to himself, he might act as he pleased, and if he had any torment greater than another, he might heap that upon him; as the greater constancy he shewed in his sufferings for Christ, the more acceptable he should be to his Lord and Master. Ægeas, upon this, immediately passed sentence of death upon him, not being able to restrain his rage any longer.
The proconsul first ordered St. Andrew to be scourgs ed, seven lictors successively whipping his naked body; and, seeing his invincible patience and constancy, commanded him to be crucified; but to be fastened to the cross with cords instead of nails, that his death might be more lingering and tedious. As he was led to the place of execution, walking with a cheerful and composed mind, the people cried out that a good and innocent man was unjustly condemned to die. On his coming near the cross, he saluted it in the following manner: I have long desired and expected this happy hour. The cross has been consecrated by the body of Christ hanging on it, and adorned with his members as with so many inestimable jewels: I therefore come joyfully and triumphing to it, that it may receive ine as a disciple and follower of him who once hung upon it, and be the means of carrying me safe to my Master, being the instrument on which he redeemed me and all his people from everlasting misery."
Having offered up his prayers to the throne of grace, and exhorted the people to constancy and perseverance in the religion he had delivered to them, he was fastened to the cross, on which he hung two whole days, teaching and instructing the people. In the mean time, great interest was made to the proconsul to spare his life; but the apostle earnestly begged of the Almighty, that he might now depart, and seal the
truth of his religion with his blood. His prayers were heard, and he immediately expired on the last day of November, but in what year is not recorded by historians.
The cross on which he suffered, appears to have something peculiar in the form of it, and is commonly thought to have been a cross decussate, or two pieces of timber crossing each other in the form of the setter X, hence usually known by the name of St. Andrew's cross; though some affirm that he suffered death on an Olive-tree, and not on a cross.
After his body was taken from the cross, it was decently and honourably interred by Maxamilla, a lady of great quality and estate, and who, Nicephorus tells us, was wife to the proconsul. Constantine the Great afterwards removed his body to Constantinople, and buried it in the great church he had built to the honour of the apostles: but this structure being taken down some hundred of years after, in order to rebuild it, by Justinian the emperor, the body of St. Andrew was found in a wooden coffin, and again deposited in the place where it was at first interred.
We have the following encomiastic character of St. Andrew, from Hesychius, Presbyter of Jerusalem, with which we shall conclude this account of his life. “St. Andrew was the first-born of the apostolic choir, the principal and first pillar of the church, a rock, before the rock, the foundation of that foundation, the first fruits of the beginning, a caller before he was called himself; he preached that gospel which was not yet revealed or entertained; he revealed and made known that life to his brother, which he had not yet perfectly learned himself: so great treasures did that one question bring him, Master, where dwellest thou? which he soon perceived by the answer, Come and see. How art thou become a prophet? whence thus divinely skilful? what is it that thou soundest in Peter's ears.
We have found him of whom Moses and the prophets did write, &c. Why dost thou attempt to compass him whom thou canst not comprehend ? how can he be found who is omnipresent? But he knew very well what he said, we have found him whom Adam lost, whom Eve injured, whom the clouds of sin have hidden from us, and to whom our transgressions had hitherto rendered us strangers. Thus had St. Andrew the honour of being the first apostle that preached the gospel of the Son of God; as appears by his declaration recited above."
AN ACCOUNT OF ST. BARTHOLOMEW,
The Apostle, We learn from the evangelical history of the election of the apostles, that St. Bartholomew was one of the twelve: because he is but just nained, without any further notice taken of him, the generality of writers, ancient and modern, suppose that he lay concealed under the name of Nathanael, one of the first disciples that came to Christ. Accordingly, we may observe, that as St. John never mentions Bartholomew in the number of the apostles, so the other evangelists take no notice of Nathanael, probably as being the same person under two different names: and as in St. John, Philip and Nathanael are joined together in their coming to CHRIST; so in the rest of the evangelists, Philip and Bartholomew are constantly put together; certainly for no other reason, than because they were jointly called to the discipleship: but what renders this opinion still more probable, is, that Nathanael is particularly mentioned amongst the other apostles, to whom our Lord appeared at the sea of Tiberias after his resurrection.
It is not reasonable to suppose that Bartholomew
was the proper name of this apostle, any more than Bar-jona was the proper name of Peter ; but given to denote his relative capacity, either as a son or a scholar. If it refers to his father, he was the son of Thalmai, a name not uncommon amongst the Jews: if to his sect as a scholar, he was of the school of the Thalmæans, so called from their founder Thalmæi, scholar to Heber, the ancient master of the Hebrews. Now it was usual for scholars, out of a great reverence to their master, as first institutor of the order, to adopt his name, as Ben-ezra, Ben-usiel, and the like: but which ever of these conjectures appears most satisfactory to the reader, either will be sufficient for my purpose, namely, to reconcile the difference there seems to be between St. John and the other evangelists about the name of this apostle, the one calling him by his proper name, and the other by his relative or paternal appellation.
St. Augustine indeed seemed to object, that it is not probable that our blessed Saviour, who proposed to confound the wisdom of this world by the preaching of illiterate men, would choose Nathanael, a doctor of the law, to be one of his apostles: but this objection will appear to be built on a sandy foundation, if we consider that the same argument is as strong against Philip, of whose knowledge in the law and the prophets, there is as strong evidence in the history of the gospel as for that of Nathanael; and may be urged with still greater force against St. Paul, whose abilities in human learning were remarkably great, and few were more complete masters of the Jewish law, than that great apostle.
This difficulty being removed, we shall proceed to the history of this apostle, and consider the names of Nathanael and Bartholomew as belonging to one and the same, and not to two persons.
As to his descent and family, some are of opinion
that he was a Syrian, and that he was descended from the Ptolemies of Egypt: probably for no other reason than the mere analogy and sound of the name: but it is plain from the evangelical history, that he was a Galilean, St. John having expressly told us, that Nathanael was of Cana in that part of Judea. His trade and manner of life are not mentioned in Scripture, though from some circumstances there is room to imagine that he was a fisherman: but however that be, he was at his first coming to CHRIST, conducted by Philip, who told him they had now found the long "expected Messiah so often foretold by Moses and the prophets, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. And when he objected that the Messiah could not be born in Nazareth, Philip desired him to come and satisfy himself of the truth.
Our blessed Saviour, on his approach, entertained him with this honourable character, that he was an Israelite indeed, a man of true simplicity and dignity; and indeed his simplicity particularly appears in this, that when he was told of Jesus, he did not object against the meanness ot his original, the low condition of his parents, or the narrowness of their fortunes, but only against the place of his birth, which, as he justly observed, could not be Nazareth, the Scriptures peremptorily foretelling that the Messiah should be born at Bethlehem.
This apostle was greatly surprised at our Lord's salutation, wondering how he could know him at the first sight, being certain he had never before seen his face: but he was answered, that he had seen him while he was yet under the fig-tree, even before Philip called him. Convinced by this instance of our Lord's divinity, he presently made this confession, that he was now sure that Jesus was the promised Messiah, the Son of God, whom he had appointed to govern his church. Our blessed Saviour told him, that if, from this instance, he could believe him to be the Messiah,