Charlotte Mary Yonge.

The pupils of St. John the Divine online

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LONDON :

R. CLAY, SON, AND TAYLOR, PRINTERS,
BREAD STREET HILL.




THI:






THE DIVINE



BY THE} AUTHOR

ELEIR OF







MACMII/IVAN ^e Co




CONTENTS.



CHAPTER I.

PAGE
THE WONDER OF THE WORLD . I



CHAPTER II.

ARTEMIS ATTACKED IN HER TEMPLE IO

CHAPTER III.

THE BELOVED DISCIPLE 19

CHAPTER IV.

THE PARTING OF BRETHREN 4!

CHAPTER V.

THE EVANGELIST 6 1

CHAPTER VI.

THE EXILE OF PATMOS 71



iv CONTENTS.



CHAPTER VII.

PAGE
THE APOSTLE OF LOVE 96



CHAPTER, VIII.

IGNATIUS, THE CHILD-LIKE SAINT IO3

CHAPTER IX.

THE STORY OF THE EPISTLES 143

CHAPTER X.

THE HEBREWS OF THE EAST 154

CHAPTER XL

QUADRATUS, THE PHILOSOPHER 169

CHAPTER XII.

HOW POLYCARP PLAYED THE MAN IN THE FIRE 179

CHAPTER XIII.

PAPIAS AND MELITO, THE CREDULOUS AND THE THOUGHTFUL

BELIEVER 2ul

CHAPTER XIV.

THE WITNESSES IN GAUL 214



CONTENTS.



CHAPTER XV.

PAGE

IREN^US, THE CHAMPION OF THE FAITH . 235



CHAPTER XVI.

TRIBULATION AT SMYRNA 250

CHAPTER XVII.

ST. SIMEON OF SELEUCIA AND THE PARTHIANS 265

CHAPTER XVIII.

THE VICTORY 279

CHAPTER XIX.

THE CHURCHES OF ST. JOHN 299

CHAPTER XX.

PRESENT ASPECT OF ST. JOHN'S CHURCHES . 3IO



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.



PAGE

POLYCARP'S PRAYER Frontispiece.

ILLUMINATED TITLE.

ST. JOHN AND THE ROBBER To fdCC 98

THE DREAM OF THE TRIUMPHANT MOURNERS ... ,, 140



PREFACE.



THE Pupils of St. John, is the title a very narrow,
or a very comprehensive one ? Narrow in one sense,
for the direct pupils of St. John who can be ascer-
tained and proved to have been such, and to have
transmitted his instructions at any length, confine
themselves to two, with about three more whose
names and the titles of their works are alone pre-
served.

But taken in another light, and regarding as the
disciples of St. John not only those whose biography
states that they actually sat at his feet and listened
to his discourses, but those whose tenor of thought
can be traced to his doctrine; and regarding his
pupils as churches rather than as single persons, the
term becomes a very wide one. None of the Apos-
tles, excepting St. Paul, has so largely contributed
to Holy Scriptures, or left such visible traces of his
teaching upon the Church ; and while St. Paul's

a 2



viii PREFACE.



special office was to plant, St. John's seems to have
been to organize and systematize.

Looking back on the history of the Evangelist,
we see how peculiar was his own preparation for
his office in the Church. Youngest of all the Twelve,
yet one of the first to become a follower of our Lord,
he was especially distinguished by His personal love,
and admitted, together with his own elder brother
James, and with Simon Peter, to the sight of those
deeper and greater manifestations of Divinity from
which the others were excluded. Yet all this time
it was the youthful qualities of love and zeal that
chiefly marked his conduct throughout the Gospel
history; he did not stand forth and ask or answer
questions, or enter into arguments on the new sub-
jects then revealed, as did Peter, Thomas, Philip,
and Jude ; but he followed, he listened, and, like
the Virgin Mother, laid up these things in his heart
above all, those deepest and most spiritual lessons
that at the moment of their utterance passed over
the heads of their hearers.

Still the nearest, and pre-eminent in love during
the Passion Sorrow and the Resurrection Joy, he was
yet by his sacred trust, the care of the Blessed Virgin,
set aside from the active labours of his brethren
during the first missions of the Church. In the
Book of the Acts we find him at first as the com-



PREFACE. ix



panion of St. Peter at Jerusalem, and then as giving
his weight to the decision of the Council of Jeru-
salem upon the mode of treatment of Gentile con-
verts. After this, he passes almost entirely out of
sight, while St. Luke is occupied with the three great
missions of St. Paul ; and it is only after the great
Apostle of the Gentiles, together with all the original
Twelve save John himself, had finished their course,
that what is peculiar to him begins.

And this seems to have been, in an especial manner,
explanation and organization. Apparently after his
long residence at Jerusalem, he had been among the
numerous Jews settled in Parthia; and afterwards,
when St. Paul's imprisonment had left the Churches
of Asia without their guide, he fixed himself in the
midst of them. Then when he alone remained of all
the Apostolic Band, it was the fit time to give the
authority of his personal inspiration to the regarding of
the bishops, on whom they had laid hands, as heirs of
the same power, and as absolutely their successors
and representatives in the overseership of the Church.
This, as the lamented Canon Shirley has pointed out
in his fragment, probably took place at the meeting
of the Church which, according to Eusebius, took
place after St. James's martyrdom, to appoint his
successor ; and thus St. John stood in the situation
of the last surviving superior officer of their King's



PREFACE.



own personal choice, handing on to the younger
band, who had received their commission from these
first, the certainty that it was meant to be equivalent
to that original appointment.

Moreover, Jerusalem, the centre of love to all of
Jewish birth, and the nominal subject of every glo-
rious prophecy, had fallen in blood and fire, and with
the Temple had gone all the possibility of continuing
the ritual established for fifteen hundred years, and
by which Israelites had learnt to see their way to
approach God. Diligently had St. Paul in three
Epistles laboured to show that these things were
only types and shadows of the reality ; but still, while
the Temple remained, it was scarcely possible to
wean men's minds from the belief that the triumph
of Christianity must be in a material but glorified
Jerusalem ; and the utter ruin of the city, the cessa-
tion of sacrifice, the loss of the Priesthood, left a sense
of desolation, only to be relieved by one who had
grown up under the old system, beheld its culmi-
nation, and understood the full meaning of the new.

The other three Gospels had set forth the mission
of the Messiah fulfilled in our Lord ; they had given
in full His moral teaching, and described the insti-
tution of the Sacraments. But, when John added his
fourth Gospel, it was a setting forth that in these
ordinances was the continuation to the Church of all



PREFACE.



the old covenant had given. The discourses, hitherto
kept in reserve, were now made known, showing how
men were spiritually born as the true children of
faithful Abraham, while the participation in the Great
Sacrifice was vouchsafed to them continually, by
means of what Christians already possessed in the
Sacraments ordained by Christ himself. The First
Epistle the preface, as it seems, to the Gospel sets
forth the faith and love which above all things are
needful to bring or to maintain the Christian in this
spiritual state.

And in the great vision which the Apostle was
commissioned to describe, he beheld the veritable
heavenly Jerusalem, and was shown the realization
above of all the shadows of the Law, as well as how
the faithful on earth have their present share in the
glories and blessings that shall in time reach per-
fection.

Besides all this, St. John, answering present needs,
gives the first and deadliest blows to the crop of
errors that men's busy fancies were leading them
into ; and from the very force of his intense love to
his Master, he speaks with the sternest severity to
those who fall from the faith. In his addresses to
the Seven Churches, he, or more truly his Lord,
likewise reproves all the principal forms of evil into
which the Church would at any time be prone to



xii PREFACE.



fall ; and in the latter part of the Visions he carries
prophecy on, gives the key to the Christian fulfilment
of almost every Book of the Elder Testament, and,
as it were, points and collects into one faith, one
hope, one meaning, all those writings of the last
1,500 years by which God had spoken to man.

Such was St. John's work to gather together what
his brother Apostles had done, and to hand on to the
Church Universal the sense of the enjoyment of all
that was promised to the chosen people of old. As
Joshua in his old age, in the promised land, had
called Israel to witness that no good thing had failed
that the Lord had promised them, and only warned
them of the future, so St. John showed his people
that they were within their promised land, in the
complete enjoyment of their spiritual promises, and,
while regulating them in their inheritance, warned
them of the traps and snares beyond.

And St. John's first pupils " the mighty men that
over-lived " him have shown his manifold influence
in their histories, so far as we know them. Ignatius,
with his zeal for self-sacrifice, and his earnest desire
to impress the need of Church unity through the
bishop and his flock ; Quadratus, boldly meeting
philosophy on its own ground ; Polycarp, striving for
the faith, and rejoicing in the flame ; even the poor
repentant robber, rescued by the love of the Apostle,



PREFACE.



and Papias, with his pious though ignorant and
material hopes, all testify to the strong personal
impress of his teaching and character. And from
these direct scholars, we have passed to their scholars,
and to those Churches with which St. John's name
is chiefly connected. Thus we have the Chris-
tian philosopher Melito of Sardis, Theophilus of
Antioch, arguing between Revelation and Mythology ;
Aristo of Pella carrying on the exposition of the
types of the Law ; Irenaeus of Lyons continuing St.
John's own work of refuting the false Gnostic philo-
sophy, and collecting the last traditions respecting
the great Evangelist. And again, we find the
Churches founded or superintended by him showing
their constancy and joy in the deadliest of per-
secutions. In Gaul, Smyrna, Antioch, and Parthia,
all Churches on which the influence of St. John or
his immediate followers had told, noble instances
of martyrdom took place as indeed they did in
all the Christian world, until the full victory over
heathenism under Julian was finally gained ; for not
these cities only, but every true Christian, must be
taught by St. John.

On this principle, then, has this little book been
composed, namely, that of following as far as may
be the life of the Apostle himself, then those of his
immediate disciples, and beyond them of the persons



xiv PREFACE.



who had been instructed by their teaching; then
of showing how the Churches thus formed met trial
and persecution, and, as far as possible, sketching
the vicissitudes of their history to the present time.
This has, of course, been very imperfectly done.
Materials are scanty ; some of them are uncertain,
and without real knowledge of the classical languages
can only be used at all at second-hand ; and in spite
of referring to the best modern authorities, such igno-
rance must tell in a work of this kind, which has
perhaps been presumptuously undertaken.

Great pains, however, have been taken with it, in
the earnest hope that it may at least draw attention
to the remarkable position and influence of the great
Apostle and Evangelist ; and also that, to the un-
learned reader who has not access to large libraries, it
may help to bridge over that first space of Church his-
tory that lies close beyond the conclusion of the Acts
of the Apostles. And the example of St. John and
his pupils is one that none can look at, as we hope,
without being strongly moved towards the burning
faith, love, zeal, and constancy that they possessed.
May it be so with J;he readers of this feeble attempt ;
and if they are not so already, may they be thus
impelled themselves to become direct and personal
pupils of St. John, the simplest, the sweetest, yet
the deepest and most sublime of writers, full of the



PREFACE.



soaring might, yet the tender brooding love shadowed
forth by the Eagle he saw beside the Throne. What
better can be wished for us all than that we should
show ourselves indeed the disciples of St. John !

Yet, not exclusively. Some of the classes here
mentioned professed to be pupils of St. John, to the
exclusion of his fellow-labourers. Such gained a one-
sided view of the truth, and soon became perverted.
For as in ancient times narrow Judaism, so in
modern days wild fancies of apocalyptic interpre-
tation, have shown the evil of only studying in one
line, without the balance. Therefore it is to the
Master, not to the servant, that the discipleship can
safely and truly belong.

May this little book prove, if not a help, at least
no hindrance in that direction.

It has been put together, according to the general
design of the "SUNDAY LIBRARY," to afford reading
which may accord with what should be the character
of the Sunday. The habits of the time are somewhat
tending to secularize the Sunday, rendering it, in the
desire that it should not be weary, less set apart for a
holyday than it has been. But if religious books are
not read on a Sunday, they are generally not read at
all ; and surely it is well that all on that day should
bear a sort of Easter consecration, and should be
bright without frivolity, enjoyable with as little as
possible of the earthiness of every-day life.



PREFACE.



Therefore it has been hoped that some of the
highest and purest examples of past lives, and some
of the most striking words of holy men of old, put
forth in an attractive and easily accessible form, may
fill up a want that has been felt in some families, of
reading at once interesting and not too much alien
to the thoughts suited to the "Easter-day of every
week."

As may be seen by the list of authors, no one
class of opinions has been exclusively represented ;
and since no one can write well or heartily who
does not completely express his own conviction,
the authors cannot be responsible for each other's
expressions of belief.

C. M. YONGE.

January 23, 1868.



THE PUPILS OF ST. JOHN
THE DIVINE.



CHAPTER I.

THE WONDER OF THE WORLD.

"From haunted spring and dale,
Edged with poplar pale ;
The parting genius is with sighing sent,
With flower-enwoven tresses torn,

The nymphs in twilight shade of tangled thickets mourn."

Milton.

A GLANCE at the map of Anatolia, or Asia Minor,
shows that it is a region where travelling is extremely
difficult. The great peninsula is all seamed with
ridges of steep hills, with valleys between them.
When the valleys come down to the sea-coast, the
water fills them up, and makes deep gulfs and bays,
and when the mountains reach the sea, they stand
out into it as capes and headlands ; and further on,
where all but their summits are submerged, these rise
above the sea, and form the many rocky islands that
are scattered through the waters of the Archipelago.

Down every mountain height dashes a torrent, and
O B



2 THE WONDER OF THE WORLD.

these torrents meeting together join into streams and
rivers, that flow on along the valleys to the sea,
bringing with them all the earth and fragments of
stone or gravel they have washed off the mountains.
When, in spring, the snow melts on the tops of the
hills, these rivers swell and come out in floods, spread-
ing all over the valleys, and covering them with the
soil they have brought from above.

A traveller, riding along the sea-coast, would some-
times be hindered by having to clamber over steep
ridges of hill, with sides of rock, making dangerous
precipices ; sometimes would have to cross rivers run-
ning fast enough to sweep him off his feet, and so
icily cold from the snow that feeds them, that they
would chill him to the bone, and might even cause
his death ; sometimes he would have to creep cau-
tiously along the shore, taking care not to be lost in
quicksands by the sea, or stuck in the bogs round the
rivers, or overwhelmed by the water. All the way it
would be very beautiful ; the land side rising up in
fine shapes of hills, many of them shining white with
snow, and looking very near in the clear bright air,
and the valleys between green with beauteous grass,
and fine trees, and choice flowers. Out towards the
west there would be the blue sea blue and bright
beyond our home imagination ; and here and there
with beautifully shaped rocky islands standing out,
purple with a rich soft bloom, or brought into clear
full light by full sunshine, and with white-sailed
vessels passing between them. But, for all its beauty,
it would be a very dangerous journey, not only on



THE WONDER OF THE WORLD. 3

account of the precipices, the rivers, and 'the bogs,
but because there are plenty of robbers hidden in
the narrow ravines of the hills, ready to leap out on
travellers in difficulties, and either shoot them down
with their long guns or make them prisoners, and
threaten them till they have paid a heavy ransom.
Indeed, it is hardly possible to travel at all without
a guard of soldiers.

Another difficulty is that there are few towns, and
the villages are mostly of very dreary huts, so that it
is hard to get food or shelter for the night. But it is
plain that this was not so always. By most of the
rivers, in all the larger valleys, there are heaps of
ruins. Fragments of stone piers run out into the sea,
and here and there tall marble pillars stand up like
sentinels over the heaps of broken stones around
them ; the hovels of the few inhabitants are built
up confusedly of pieces of beautiful marble, carved
with foliage or animals, and the goats and their kids
nestle under overthrown altars, with inscriptions in
old Greek letters, hidden by the luxuriant leaves of
the acanthus.

Opposite the isle of Samos is the mouth of the
river Cayster ; and along the banks lies a whole world
of these fragments. There are high hills crowned
with pine-trees on either side above, and many of
them are cut away into quarries of fine marble, which
once built those ruined temples and halls, and still
bear the marks of the tool, though it has not been
lifted up on them for a thousand years.

At their foot lie broad meadows, forming a valley
B2



4 THE WONDER OF THE WORLD.

t i

on either side the meandering rivers, broken up by

salt marshes and great pools, and thickly bestrewn with
ruins, which come far up the slope of the southern
hill, where fine fragments of houses and temples
peep out from among the thickets and brushwood.

It is hardly possible to walk among the pools and
marshes below, but on the hill side there can still be
found the great amphitheatre, a place shaped like an
enormous horse-shoe, cut out in galleries, mounting
higher and higher one behind the other, all in the
solid rock, and looking down into an open flat place
beneath, to which the well-marked race-course leads
up. Bits of square towers and remains of gateways
show the old inclosure of the city to have been very
large ; but where men once swarmed to the market-
place, or the harbour, there now is scarcely a living
thing. Eagles sweep round the heights, and have
their nests in the crags, white sea-birds float high
or low between the blue sea and blue sky, tall lonely
herons stand on one leg in the marsh, watching for
fish, jackals prowl and howl at night, and by day per-
haps little flocks of silky-haired goats, or fat-tailed
sheep, are driven out to pasture by brown half-naked
children. If the little shepherds were asked where
they lived, and were not too shy to answer at all,
they would point to some huts on a hill a little way
off, and would say, " Ayasaluk."

And what is the meaning of Ayasaluk ?* The
people who use the word little understand it, for they

* Some explain it as Asalook, the city of the moon, meaning the same
as Ephesus, but this is not so probable.



THE WONDER OF THE WORLD. 5

are only Turkish peasants ; but even they own by the
very word by which they call their abode that a
great man once dwelt there. For Ayasaluk is an
alteration of the Greek words Agios Theologos, and
these mean Holy Divine, or writer upon the things
concerning God.

When those ruins were upright, when those walls
with their square towers and deep gateways stood
in all their strength, guarded by resolute Roman
sentries, when the harbour was crowded with ships
from all ports, when that amphitheatre was fitted
with marble benches, and thronged with spectators,
when the valleys and slopes of the hill stood thick
with goodly dwellings and swarmed with busy
crowds, who would have believed that the only name
that would remain to mark the spot was that of one
aged fisherman, the son of a hated people, without
a country or a home for the terrible destruction of
the city of his fathers was still fresh in the memory
of all men ?

What ? would they have said, should the time ever
come that they should be beholden to an old exile
for a title for their great city of Ephesus, called by
all men the Eye of Asia, and containing the wonder
of the world, the temple of the great goddess
Artemis, or Diana, whose image had fallen down
from heaven itself, and after whom the city was often
called the Guardian of the Goddess ?

That image was their pride. The whole temple
was centred round a small cell, where it stood in a
shrine inclosed by a rich curtain. Round the cell



6 THE WONDER OF THE WORLD.

were colonnades of pillars, each sixty feet high, and
of beautiful marble, and of jasper, porphyry, and all
that was precious, each given by a king. There were
127 of these ranged in an oblong form, making a
double rank, not roofed over ; but within these was
another parallelogram of pillars which were roofed
with cedar, and contained a building with doors of
cedar wood, and a staircase made from a single vine
of the isle of Cyprus. Altars smoked in front of this
building, beautiful statues adorned the colonnades, on
the pillars many a brave soldier had hung his own
weapons or those he had taken from the enemy, trea-
sures from all the East were heaped in the chambers
round the cell, and within was the goddess shown
on a few rare and festive occasions to favoured
worshippers.

What was she like ? Was she a lovely statue of
a beautiful huntress-queen, crowned with the crescent
moon, the quiver at her back, the bow in her hand,
the fawn at her side, carved by the choicest art in
ivory, as might have befitted the dweller in the inner-
most shrine of the noblest temple in the world ? No,
she was a little rude lump of black stone, the part
from the waist downward not shaped at all, and the
upper part merely carved out into a head, a pair of
arms, and an immense number of teats, supposd to
express that she nourished the whole earth like a
mother; and there were strange old letters carved
on her.

Nothing could well be uglier; but this frightful
figure had been worshipped at Ephesus long before



THE WONDER OF THE WORLD.



history or recollection began, and it was therefore
thought to have been made in heaven, and sent down
by the father of the gods for the Ephesians to guard
and worship. They had thought no cost over much
for such a treasure ; and, while they were building
their temple, and looking for marble beautiful enough
for it, it so happened that two rams, in a flock of
sheep that were feeding on the mountain side, began
to fight, and one trying to butt at the other, missed
him, and, striking against a rock with his horns, tore
away the crust that had overgrown it, and showed
beneath, the purest white marble. The shepherd ran
into the city with the tidings, and the marble proved
to be so valuable that he was ever after called
Evangelos, or the messenger of good tidings, and
a statue was set up to him in the temple.

The temple built of that marble was so exquisitely
beautiful as to rank among the seven wonders of the
world. And when it was burnt down, on the night
of the birth of Alexander the Great, that which has
been described was built up with still greater splen-
dour. Multitudes of priests and priestesses conducted
the worship ; the former were among the richest and
most leading people of the city, and the priestesses,
who were called the melissce or bees, were held in high
honour, and had crowds of slaves under them. Grand
festivals took place there, in the month of May, which
was called Artemisium, in honour of the goddess,
when the amphitheatre was crowded with spectators,
who listened to hymns sung, watched plays performed,
or applauded matches in running, wrestling, or the



8 THE WONDER OF THE WORLD.

like, all in honour of the great Artemis ; and the


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Online LibraryCharlotte Mary YongeThe pupils of St. John the Divine → online text (page 1 of 21)