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We return to the regular train of the narrative. Jesus had passed but few days in Capernaum and its vicinity, when he left it for the purpose of making another circuit among the towns and villages of Galilee. This was probably in a different direction from the former, and he was differently accompanied. With the increased attention which had been drawn to his ministry, the number of his devoted friends and permanent attendants had been constantly augmenting; and when he now started forth on an excursion through the country, we find him not only accompanied, as before, by a promiscuous crowd, but by persons of rank and name.

Among these were several female friends, who, it is said, " ministered to him of their substance,” and through whose kind attentions and charities he and his disciples were enabled to devote themselves to their work without anxiety. On the part of these ladies, this seems

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to have been the offering of gratitude for the exercise of his miraculous power in their behalf. They had been “healed by him of evil spirits and infirmities.” To Mary Magdalene he had been a peculiar benefactor. Joanna was the wife of Herod's steward; probably, therefore, a person of some consequence. Of Susanna and the others nothing special is known. But the names of these faithful friends, who sought to promote the comfort of their benefactor during his laborious life, who forsook him not when in shame and suffering, and who affectionately watched at his tomb, deserve to be recorded to their everlasting honor. They could not go abroad and preach his gospel, like Peter and James; but they did what they could, while he lived and when he died, with tender and persevering fidelity. They gave him their time, their property, their affections, and their tears; and they have put to shame the coldness of many among his modern followers, who know more of his real glory than they did, and yet are backward to sacrifice any thing in his cause.

It was about this time, either just before commencing this new journey or soon after its commencement, that he selected from among his disciples the twelve apostles. This was a great and important step. He needed assistants in his min

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Matt. x. 1.

Mark iii. 13.

Luke vi. 12.

istry, for he was unable to go every where himself, and yet it was important that many places should be visited. He knew too, that he should continue to labor but a short time, and that it was necessary to make provision for carrying on and completing his work after he should be taken away. Having this object in view, Luke tells us, that he retired to a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. When it was morning, he called together the disciples, and from among them chose twelve;—undoubtedly men who had been acquainted with him, and whom he thoroughly knew. Four of them, Andrew, Peter, John, and Philip, had been attached to him from the very beginning of his ministry, and the first James from an early period. Matthew was, like himself, a citi

, zen of Capernaum. The other six are not named in the Gospels until now. Two of them, Thomas, the incredulous, and Judas the traitor, became conspicuous in the history of their Master's life. James, the son of Alpheus, and Thaddeus, or Judas, his brother, were afterwards distinguished as writers of Epistles. The other two are less known. Their names were Bartholomew and Simon.

These are the men who devoted their lives to Christ, and through whom his religion was preserved and spread. Doubtless they felt themselves honored by the distinction conferred upon them; but they little understood its true nature.

It is evident that at this time, and long after, instead of comprehending that Jesus was only a religious teacher, establishing a religious empire, they thought him preparing the way for a secular kingdom. It was nothing strange in their view, that he should devote himself to religious teaching; for the whole history of their people was religious; David had been at once a prophet and a warrior; there was no distinction in their minds between the church and the commonwealth, and the Messiah, who was to renew the one, would necessarily plead for the other. It did not help, therefore, to undeceive the people or the disciples, that Jesus was occupied as a religious teacher. They perhaps thought it the most politic course to be pursued, until he should have collected adherents in sufficient numbers to maintain his ground steadfastly. When we read the instructions given to the Twelve as they went forth, we can hardly realize that they should not have perceived their

Yet their subsequent history abundantly proves that they did not. It happened with them, as has often happened with others;—their state of mind colored what they heard, and enabled them to put upon it such an interpretation as they liked. And it is no more strange, that they found their own notions favored by their Lord's teachings, than that Christians of every variety of faith have found their own peculiar views written in the Scriptures.



In giving them their commission, our Lord, first of all, endowed them with the power of working miracles, that it might be known at once, wherever they went, that they were sent out by him, and that the kingdom of God was at hand. Their mighty works were to be their credentials. He commanded them to limit their visit to their own countrymen, to carry nothing with them on their journey, to use conciliating manners to all, yet to be prepared for opposition, persecution, and even death. The closing passages of his charge were impressive and awful in the highest degree, and must have made those humble men feel, that they were accepting a mission of the most fearful responsibility; for which their lives and habits had ill prepared them, and which they could hope to sustain only by a reliance on the divine power which Jesus promised for their aid. What must have been the emotions of that moment, when they found themselves removed from their obscure occupations and mechanical employments, to take up the sacred office of prophet, to go out as messengers of the glorious Messiah, and, amid obloquy and peril, summon the nation to its allegiance! Clothed with the power of miracles, commanded to do good and to proclaim repentance and the coming of the Messiah, they departed to begin their work; a work, whose true object they knew not; which is still going on; and which is to cease only

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