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Barnab. Epift.

Discharge of somc peculiar Affair in his Name that
sent him. But was fixed by our Saviour to a parti-
cular Use, applying it to those select Persons whom
he made Choice of, to be sent up and down the
World in his Name, to plant the Faith, to govern
the Church at that present, and by their wife and
prudent Settlement of Affairs to provide for the
future Exigencies of it.

Q. Why did our Saviour pitch upon the Number
of Twelve?

A. Various have been the Conjectures of the Ancients upon this Subject. What seems most probable, is, that our Saviour might allude herein to the twelve Patriarchs as the Founders of their several Tribes; or to the twelve Chief Heads and Rulers of those Tribes, of which the Body of the

Jewish Nation did confift. To this our Saviour
Mat
. xix. gives some Countenance himself, in saying, When

the Son of Man skall sit in the Throne of bis Glory, his
Apostles should sit upon twelve Thrones, judging the
twelve Tribes of Ifrael.

Q. What was their Vocation?

À. To be Witnesses of Christ's Miracles, particularly his Resurrection; and to preach that Doctrine to the World which they learntof theirMaster; and in this their Testimony was valuable, that they sealed the Truth of it with their Blood.

Q. How were the Apostles enabled to discharge this high Office, being obscure and illiterate Persons, belpless and unarmed, and having the enraged Powers of the World to contend with?

A. They immediately received the Doctrine they taught from the Mouth of Christ himself. They were infallibly secured from Errors in delivering the

Principles of Christianity, and to this End had the
John xvi. Spirit of Truth promised to them, who should guide

them intoall Truth. They had been Eye-Witnesses
of all the material Passages of our Saviour's Life,

and

AEts j. 22.

13.

and reported nothing but what they had seen with their own Eyes, and of the Truth whereof they were as competent Judges as the acutest Philofopher : John i. in the World. Besides several miraculous Powers and Gifts of the Holy Ghost were conferred upon them, as the readiest Means to procure their Religion a firm Belief and Entertainment in the Minds of Men.

Q. Was St. Matthias among the twelve Apostles that were chosen by our Saviour?

A. No: He obtained this great Honour upon the Vacancy made in the College of the Apostles by the Death of Judas Iscariot, whose covetous Acts i. 25. Temper having prevailed upon him to betray his Master for thirty Pieces of Silver, was fo touched with the Horror of that wicked Fact, that, after having cast back the Wages of Iniquity in open Court, he made away with himself, and was remarkably punished in the Mannerof his Death; for, falling beadlong, be burst afunder in the Midst, and all Ads i. 18. bis Bowels gusbed out.

Q. Had this Judas the Gifts of an Apoflle?

A. Though he was a Man of vile and corrupt Designs, yet he was immediately called by Chrift

, equally impowered and commissioned with the rest to preach and work Miracles, was numbered with the Apostles, and obtained part of their Ministry.

Q. What may we learn from bence ?

A. That the Wickedness of a Minister does not evacuate his Commission, nor render his Office useless or ineffectual: and that the Efficacy of an Ordinance does not depend upon the Quality of the Person, but the Divine Institution, and the Blesling God hath entailed upon it.

O. How was St. Matthias chosen to be an Apostle? A. He was chosen by Lot; a Way frequently Ver. 26. used both by Jews and Gentiles for the determining doubtful and difficult Cases, especially in the Elec

tion

Ver. 27.

K 4

Aas i. 24.

tion of Judges and Magistrates. St. Peter having
recommended the filling of the Vacancy to the Con-
fideration of the Christians assembled at Jerusalem,
they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who
was surnamed Justus, and Matthias; and when the
Lots were given forth, it was determined in Favour
of the latter, who was numbered with the eleven
Apostles.
Q. Wbat preceded this Manner of Choice?

A. The Congregation of Christians made a solemn Address to God, that he would condescend to direct the Choice; and that he who knew the Hearts of all Men, would be pleased to shew which of these two he saw best qualified for so sacred a Function.

Q. What may be learned from this Manner of Proceeding?

A. It may serve as a Direction to all those that are Candidates for Holy Orders, seriously to examine themselves whether they are moved by the Holy Ghost to take upon them that Office and Miniftration; for though they may impose upon Man, yet God seeth their Hearts, and all those various Motives by which they are influenced in so great a Concern. This Precedent is also serviceable to the Governors of the Church, who, after all their Care to admit Persons duly qualified, must beg God Almighty's Guidance and Direction, that they may wisely make Choice of fit Labourers to work in his Vineyard; and all Christians ought to offer

up

the same Prayers, since the Welfare of the Church depends so much upon the Piety and Capacity of those that are ordained.

Q. How was St. Matthias qualified for the Aportleship?

A. He had been a continual Attendant upon our Saviour all the Time of his Ministry, from his being baptized by John, till his Asumption into

Heaven,

Acts i. 21.

22.

Heaven, which is intimated by St. Peter. He was Ver. 24, probably one of the Seventy Disciples; and had been a Witness of our Saviour's Resurrection, and of the most considerable Passages of his Life; so that he was fit to proclaim abroad those Matters of Fact concerning his Master, of which he had an equal Evidence with the rest of the Apostles. Q. Wbere did St. Matthias preach the Gospel?

A. He continued at Jerusalem till the Powers of the Holy Ghost were conferred upon the Apostles, to enable them to discharge their difficult Employment; and then he thought to have spent the first Fruits of his Ministry in Judæa with great Success. He afterwards very probably travelled Eastward, his Residence being principally, according to St. Jerome, near the Irruption of the River Ap- Hieron. Jarus, and the Haven Hyssus." He was by these bar- de Scrip. barous People treated with great Rudeness and Inhumanity, and after many Labours and Sufferings in converting great Numbers to Christianity, he obtained the Crown of Martyrdom.

Q. What was the Manner of his Death?

A. It is very uncertain: Some report that he was seized by the Jews; and as a Blasphemer was first stoned and then beheaded. Others that he was crucified, and that as Judas was hanged upon a Tree, so Matthias suffered upon a Crofs.

Q. What Works have we of this Apostle ?

A. None. The Gospel and Traditions published under his Nameare rejected by learned Men as spurious, though Clemens Alexandrinus relates a Saying Clem. of his of great Use in the Life of a Christian : Strom. That we ought to mortify and fubdue the Flesh, and maintain a continual Opposition to it, by granting it noibing whereby its irregular and sensual Desires may be gratified; but that we should on ihe contrary nourish and fortify our Souls with Faith and Divine Knowledge.

Q. What

lib. 3

Q. What may we learn from the Observation of this Festival ?

A. In all difficult Cases to address ourselves to Heaven for Direction. To use our best Diligence, if we are Patrons of Churches, in providing Perfons duly qualified for the great Truft we commit to them; and not to suffer any worldly Confideration to bias us in a Choice, of which we must one Day give a strict Account. To beware of Covetousness, the Root of all Evil, which ruined the Traitor Judas, and will all those that embrace that sacred Function with Regard more to the Revenues than the Duties of their Profession. To preserve our Minds free from Guilt, because it makes us restless and uneasy, and robs us of all that Repose and Quiet which the most prosperous Condition can promise us. . Constantly to attend God's Ordinances, though he who is called to administer may be a bad Man. To work out our Salvation with Fear and Trembling, and to be watchful and upon our Guard, because, if an Apostle fell, who had all the Advantages of our Saviour's Conversation, what Security can we promise ourselves ?

Q. What is implied in the Duty of Watchfulness?

A. A constant care of our Lives and Actions, that we be always upon our Guard, that we resist the first Beginnings of Evil, and discover the first Approaches of our spiritual Enemy; that we may neither be surprised by his Snares and Allurements, nor unprepared to encounter him whenever he attacks us.

In short, it consists in wisely foreseeing the Dangers that threaten our Souls, and then in diligently avoiding them.

O. How does Watchfulness foresee Dangers ?

A. By discovering the Plots and Contrivances of our spiritual Adversary, by making us sensible of those Temptations we are exposed to, by reason of our Constitution, or that Profession we are engaged

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