One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother.…
Andrew was before all else a good brother. In the great church at Rome, which is dedicated to him, no other inscription could be found suitable, except "Andrew, the brother of Peter." Before casting his nets on Jew or Gentile, he first bethought him of the one fellow-creature who was near to him by the ties of home and family. "Blood is thicker than water" in sacred as well as in social life. "If a man loves not his brother," etc. This is a principle which needs to be asserted as a corrective of the excesses of the missionary or proselytis-ing spirit; but it also contains within itself some of the best methods of the true conversion of the world.
I. It exemplifies the undoubted truth that THE BEST MODE OF DIFFUSING CHRISTIANITY IN THE WORLD is by converting our own brethren who have settled abroad. The chiefest missionary, who was especially the Apostle of the Gentiles, in every case made his own Jewish countrymen the nucleus round which the heathen converts were to be gathered. This is a practical lesson for all of us in respect of foreign missions. Every English settler in a distant land is already, by his good or evil conduct, a missionary for God or for the devil; nay, every country in Europe, according as it holds up Christianity in a repulsive or an attractive form, repels or attracts the outside world from the light of the Gospel. It is said that some of the Japanese envoys who lately visited the nations of Europe and America had come with the predisposition to establish Christianity on their return, but that after witnessing its actual fruits they in disappointment relinquished the project. Let us first find and convert our own brethren, and we shall then go with clean hands to convert the Jew, the Turk, the heretic, and the infidel. This is a missionary enterprise in which every man, woman, and child can bear a part. In this way the Home Mission becomes the mother of all missions.
II. But the same principle also points out to us THE BEST ACCESS TO THE HEARTS AND MINDS OF THE UNKNOWN STRANGERS OF HEATHEN LANDS. In every heathen country there are those whom we may call our own brothers, for the nobler qualities which raise them above their fellows, and bring them nearer to the civilized and the Christian type. Often, indeed, this fraternal sympathy has been rendered impossible on the one hand by the impurities, the cruelties, the follies of heathen nations, on the other hand by the pitying scorn, or the iniquitous dealing, with which the European has looked down on what are called the inferior races of mankind. But happy are those Englishmen and missionaries who have made it a point first to find their own brothers in those strange faces. Livingstone was never tired of repeating that he found amongst the native races of Africa the same feelings of right and wrong that he found in his own conscience, and that needed only to be enlightened and developed to make the perfect Christian. Bishop Patteson won the hearts of his simple converts by treating them as his brothers, detecting the Christian beneath the heathen.
III. There is one further application of the principle, viz., THE DUTY, obvious, though often neglected, OF SEEKING FOR OUR CO-OPERATORS IN THIS, as in all good works, NOT THOSE WHO ARE FAR AWAY, BUT THOSE WHO ARE CLOSE AT HAND. Let us cultivate by all means a friendly intercourse with all Christian people throughout the world. But an intimate, organic union can only be with those who are near at hand, or of the same race and nation and culture as ourselves. It is because the work of evangelizing the heathen has a direct tendency to bring all English Chris tians together that this (St. Andrew's) day is doubly blessed; blessed alike in what it gives and in what it receives. Let us first find those of our own communion. But next to our own Church, and before any combinations with foreign Christians, however estimable, let us find out our own brethren in the British Islands, who, however parted from us, are yet heirs of the same national traditions and of the same inspiring future. Such are our brethren amongst the Nonconforming communions of England, whose praise for their missionary zeal is in all the Churches.
Parallel VersesKJV: One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother.