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Messiah's kingdom, applied to him for situations of honour and dignity, as recorded in the twentieth chapter of St. Matthew, and the tenth of St. Mark. From a similar mistake in the ninth chapter of St. Luke, we find them applying to Christ to be allowed to call fire from heaven, to consume certain Samaritans who had refused to receive our Saviour. St. Mark, in the third chapter, when enumerating the twelve apostles, informs us, that our Saviour surnamed these brothers Boanerges, that is, sons of thunder; a title prophetic of the zeal and resolution with which they afterwards bore testimony to the great truths of the gospel. St. John appears to have been particularly distinguished and beloved by our Saviour. In his gospel he describes himself as "that disciple whom Jesus loved." Hence we find him enjoying in a peculiar degree the confidence of his Lord. Thus, in the thirteenth chapter of St. John, we find St. Peter desiring him to ask our Lord who should betray him, when he himself was afraid to propose the question. "There was leaning," saith the evangelist, "on Jesus' bosom, one of his disciples, whom
Jesus loved. Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him that he should ask who it should be of whom he spake." John also was one of the four apostles to whom our Lord delivered his predictions relative to the destruction of Jerusalem. Peter, and James, and John, likewise were on several occasions chosen to accompany our Saviour, when the other apostles were not permitted. Thus, in the fifth chapter of St. Mark and the eighth of St. Luke, we read, that when our Lord restored the daughter of Jairus to life," he suffered no man to follow him, save Peter, and James, and John the brother of James." Again, in the ninth chapter of St. Mark we read, that at the transfiguration of our Lord, "Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, apart by themselves, and was transfigured before them." These three apostles likewise, exclusive of the rest, were witnesses of our Saviour's agony in the garden; as you will find by referring to the twenty-sixth chapter of St. Matthew and the fourteenth of St. Mark.
St. John, it appears, was the only apostle who was present at the crucifixion, and distin
guished by having the mother of our Lord con-. signed to his care. "There stood by the cross of Jesus," saith the Evangelist, "his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalen. When Jesus, therefore, saw his mother, and the disciple standing by whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! and from that hour, that disciple took her unto his own home."
As St. John had been witness to the death of our Saviour, so he was one of the first who was made acquainted with his resurrection. He was also one of those to whom our Saviour appeared at the Sea of Galilee; and he was likewise a witness, with the other ten Apostles, of our Saviour's ascension into heaven.
After the ascension of our Lord, St. John continued to preach the gospel at Jerusalem; for which he was imprisoned with St. Peter, and afterwards with the other Apostles. When released, he accompanied St. Peter into Samaria: afterwards he was banished by Domitian, one of the Roman emperors, to the isle
of Patmos, an island in the Ægean Sea, where he wrote the Book of the Revelation. St. John also wrote the three Epistles which are called by his name. After the death of the Roman emperor, he returned to Ephesus, in Asia Minor, where he died at an advanced age.
The Acts of the Apostles, written by St. Luke, which succeed the Gospels, contain the history of the Apostles after the ascension of our Lord; an account of their miraculous gifts; of their preaching and doctrine; the progress of their ministry; and the state of those churches which they succeeded in founding.
The Epistles, which follow the Acts of the Apostles, contain either exhortations to Christians in general, with a view to confirm and strengthen them in the faith; or especial and occasional discourses to single churches in particular, upon peculiar controversies or matters of dispute.
Those which contain exhortations to Christians in general, are plain, and easily to be understood by all who read them with a sincere desire to be instructed in duty, or confirmed in faith: but such as were written upon particular
questions of dispute, cannot of course be so well understood without first being acquainted with the subject of those controversies or disputes, and the occasions upon which such Epistles were written. Of this latter description are many of the Epistles of St. Paul, especially those to the Galatians and the Romans; which relate almost wholly to the rejection of the Jews, and the calling of the Gentiles; and to the early controversies between the Jewish and Gentile converts on the subject of the law of Moses. A great proportion of the Epistle to the Romans relates, in express words, to the casting off of the Jews, and the coming in of the Gentiles, particularly the ninth, tenth, and eleventh chapters. The fourteenth chapter is wholly employed on the subject of days, and distinction of meats.
In the Epistle to the Galatians, also, we find the same Apostle warning the Gentile converts on the same subjects; exhorting them earnestly" to stand fast in their Christian liberty, and not to be entangled again with the yoke of bondage:" declaring moreover, how he openly rebuked St. Peter, at Antioch, for withdrawing