E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
in Christian art is represented (1) as an evangelistan old man with long beard; an angel generally stands near him dictating his Gospel. (2) As an apostle, in which capacity he bears a purse, in reference to his calling as a publican; sometimes he carries a spear, sometimes a carpenters rule or square. (See LUKE.)
In the last of Matthew. At the last gasp, on ones last legs. This is a German expression, and arose thus: A Catholic priest said in his sermon that Protestantism was in the last of Matthew, and, being asked what he meant, replied, The last five words of the Gospel of St. Matthew are these: The end of this dispensation. Of course he quoted the Latin version; ours is less correctly translated the end of the world.