« PoprzedniaDalej »
travelling into foreign Countries, or familiarly conversing with Greeks and Romaris, to assume to themselves a Greck or a Latin Name of great Affinity, and sometimes of the very fame Signification with that of their own Country.
Q. Of what Country and Kindred was this
A. The History of the Gospel takes no particular Notice of either. That he was a Jew is certain, and probably a Galilean; and it is very likely, that as to his Trade he was a Fisherman ; for when St. Peter, after our Saviour's Resurrection, thought fit to return to his former Pro
fesfion of Fishing to relieve his present NecessiJoh. 21.2. ties, Thomas bore him Company.
Q. After he was called to be an Apostle what Proof did be give of his Willingness to adhere to
cur Saviour? Joh. 11.8,
A. When the rest of the Apostles diffuaded our Saviour from returning into Judæa (whither he was resolved to go for the raising his dear Friend Lazarus, lately dead) left the Jews should stone him, as they had before attempted; St. Thomas
desireth them not to hinder Christ's Journey thiJohn 11. ther, though it might cost their Lives. Let us 16. also go, that we may die with bim, faith he; pro
bably concluding, that instead of raising Lazarus from the Dead, they themselves should be sent with him to their own Graves.
Q. Ilow did our Saviour treat the Slowness of St. Thomas's Understanding ; who when our Sa
viour, a little before his cruel Sufferings, speaking Joh. 14.5.
to his Disciples of the Joys of Heaven, and of his gcing to prepare a Place for them, profesed that he knew not whether he wecht, much less the way that led to it?
A. With the Mildness and Gentleness that is proper to be used to a well-disposed Mind, in a short but satisfactory Answer, that he was the John 14, true living Way, the Person whom the Father had 6. sent into the World, tó shew Men, by his DeEirine and by this Example, the Paths of eternal Life; and that they could not miss of Heaven, if they did but keep to that Way which he had prescribed.
Q. What may we learn from the foregoing Particulars ?
A.That where the Mind is rightly disposed, and the Affections bent towards Heaven, we ought to bear with the Heaviness of the Understanding, and to endavour with Gentleness and Patience to instil that knowledge which is necessary to make Devotion perfect; and that the doing that Will of God which we know, is the best Qualification to attain greater Degrees of Knowledge ; fince we are assured by our Saviour, If any Man John 7. will do bis Will, he Mall know of the Doctrinė,
17. uberber it be of God.
Q. Wbat Proof did St. Thomas require of our Saviour's Refurrection ?
A. The Testimony of his own Senfes ; for though the rest of the Apostles affured him they had really seen their Mafter alive again, yet he profeffed, except he should see in bis Hends the John 20. Print of the Nails, and thrust bis Hand into bis 25. Side, be would not believe. A strange Piece of Infidelity, after he had seen our Saviour's Miracles, and had so long conversed with him, who had frequently afferted in plain Terms, that he must rise again the third Day.
Q. How did our Saviour cure this bis Infidelity ?
A. Compassionating the Weakness of St. TboJohn 20. mes, and willing to satisfy the Doubts and Scru26. ples of lincere though ignorant Men; he
appeared to his Disciples again, when St. Thomas was with them, and gave them the Satisfaction he desired; who, being quickly convinced of his Error, acknowledged him to be his very Lord and Master, a God omnipotent, thus able to rescue himself from the Powers of Death.
Q. What Reply did our Saviour make to this Profefion of St. Thomas's Faith?
A. That he did well to believe upon this Testimony of his Senses ; but that it was a more
noble and commendable Act of Faith, to acVer. 29. quicfce in a rational Evidence, and to entertain
the Doctrines and Relations of the Gospel upon such Assurances of the Truth of Things, as are fit to satisfy a wise and sober Man, though he did not see them with his own Eyes.
Q. What Advantages is this AX of St. Thomas's Inficlity to us Christians ?
A. It confirmech our Faith in our Saviour's Resurrection, and convinces us beyond all Doubt or Scruple, by the most sensible Evidence, that the very fame Body of our Lord was raised, in which he suffered.
Q. W bere did St. Thomas preach the Gospel ? Euseb.lib. A. The Province allotted to him for the Ex3. c. 1. ercise of his Apoftolical Office was Parthia ; he
published the glad Tidings of Salvation to the Modes, Perfans, Carmanians, Hyrcani, and Baciri
Some of the Antients, relate how he met with the Magi ; to whose Country they belonged, who brought Presents to our new-born Saviour ; that he baptized several of them, and made use of them as his AMiftants in
pagating the Gospel ; that he passed through the dfian qĚthiopia, and at last came to the Indies, as is proved by antient Tradition, and several Marks till preserved among those People to this Day.
Q. How ere the Christians in that Part of India called ?
A. The Christians which inhabit the more Prere. southerly Part of the great Promontory, whose Base lies between the Outlets of the Rivers
Enquir.c. Indus and Ganges, are called the Christians of St. Thomas, because supposed to be converted by his Preaching. Before the Portuguese frequented those Parts, they were esteemed to be about fifteen or sixteen thousand Families. They had then no Dependence upon the Bishop of Rome, but denied his Primacy. The Sacrament was adminstred among them in both Kinds ; they celebrated it with Bread, seasoned with Salt ; and instead of Wine, which their Country afforded not, they made Use of the Juice of Raisins, softned one Night in Water, and then pressed forth. They baptized not their Infants till they were forty Days old, except in Danger of Death. They used not Extreme Unction. They had no Images in their Churches, but on. ly the Cross. And their Priests were excluded from second Marriages.
Q. How is it thought St. Thomas suffered Martyrdom ?
A. Having converted many to the Faith in India, and, ainong the reft, the Prince of the Country, the Brachmans perceiving this would spoil their Trade, resolved to put a Stop to his successful Progress, and conspired his Death. And one Day, when our Apostle was retired
without the City of Malopur for his private Deyotions, they assaulted him with armed Men, first loading him with Darts and Stones, and then one run him through with a Lance.
Q. What became of bis Body?
A. It was by his Disciplas buried in a Church which he had lately caused to be built in the fore-mentioned City. And though some say it was afterwards trandated to Edeja, yet the Chriftians in the East constantly affirm it to have remained in the Place of his Martyrdom.
Q. What may we learn from the Observation of this Festival?
A. That provided our Minds sincerely intend God's Service, and that our Affections are fixed upon him as our chiefest Good, he will compallionate the Weekness of our Understandings, and either pardon our Errors, or deliver us from them. That the best Method to procure divine Light, is to practice what we know to be God's Will. That no Dangers should discourage us from adhering to our blessed Mafter, and that even Death itself should not be able to separate us from him. That Faith ought to be the prevailing Principle of a Christian, under all Events, and in every Condition of human Life
i and that though it is a Degree of Affent inferior
to Sense, yet the Afts of it are much more John 20. praise-worthy and commendable : Blessed are 29. they which have not seen, and yet believe.
2. How is Feith made the prevailing Principle of a Chrisien Life?
A. By governing all our Thoughts, Words, and Actions, with a Regard to another World : and by a firm Persuasion of absent and invisible Things: as the Belief of a God, and his Provi