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to rise up with the greater eagerness and resolution to perform his duty. Could all the powers of men and devils, spite and opposition, torments and threatenings, have been able to baffle him out of that religion he had embraced, he must have deserted his station : but his soul was steeled with a courage and resolution that was impenetrable; and on which no temptation, either from hopes or fears, could make any more impression, than an arrow shot against a wall of adamant.
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He did not want solicitations both from Jews and Gentiles; and might, doubtless, in some measure, have made his own terms, would he have been false to his trust, and quitted that way which was then spoken against. But, alas! these things weighed little with our apostle, who counted not his life dear unto him, so that he might finish his course with joy, and the ministry which he had received of the Lord Jesus; and therefore, when he thought himself under the sentence of death, could triumphantly say, I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith, In short, he was a man in whom the divine life eminently displayed itself; he lived piously and devoutly, soberly and temperately, justly and righteously; careful always to keep a conscience void of offence both to. wards God and man. This, he tells us, was his support under all his sufferings; this the foundation of his con fidence towards God, and his firm hopes of happiness in another world. This is our rejoicing, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity we have had our conversation in the world. In short, as the love of this great apostle to his divine Master knew no bounds, so the beauty and energy of his wri, lings, as well as his sufferings in support of the truth he espoused and inculcated, are beyond example,
LIFE OF ST. JAMES THE APOSTLE,
Surnamed the Great. This apostle was a native of Galilee, born in all probability either at Capernaum or Bethsaida, as he was a partner with Simon Peter in the fishing trade. The epithet of Great was given him, to distinguish him from another apostle of the same name.
He was the son of Zebedee, a fisherman, who kept several servants to carry on his trade, and therefore must have been a person of consequence in his way. His mother's name was Mary, surnamed Salome, the daughter of Cleopas, and sister, or rather cousin-german to Mary the mother of our Lord; so that he had the honour of being a near relation to Christ himself. He was brought up to the trade of his father; a mean occupation indeed, in the eye of the world, but no employment is mean that is honest and industrious; and it should be remembered that the Son of God himself stooped so low, as to become the reputed son of a carpenter, and during the retirement of his private life, laboured himself at his father's trade; not merely devoting himself to contemplations, nor withdrawing from all useful society with the world, and hiding himself in the solitudes of an anchoret, but busying himself in an active course of life, as he continually went about doing good to the souls and bodies of mankind.
Not the least discouraged at the meanness of his father's trade, St. James applied himself to it with remarkable assiduity, and was exercising his employment when the Saviour of the world passing by the sea of Galilee, saw him with his brother in the ship, and called them both to be his disciples. Nor was the call in vain; they cheerfully complied with it, and im
mediately left all, to follow him: they did not stay to dispute his commands, or solicitously inquire into the minute consequences of the undertaking, the troubles and dangers that might attend this new employment; but readily delivered themselves up to perform whatever service he should call them to.
He was called soon after this from the station of an ordinary disciple, to the apostolical office, and even honoured with some particular favours beyond most of the apostles, being one of the three whom our Lord made choice of, as his companion in the more intimate transactions of his life, from which the rest were excluded. Thus, with Peter and his brother John, he attended his Master when he raised the daughter of Jairus from the dead; he was admitted to CHRIST'S glorious transfiguration on the mount, and heard the discourses that passed between him and the great ministers from the courts of heaven: and when the holy Jesus was to undergo his bitter agony in the garden, as preparatory sufferings to his passion, James was one of the three taken to be a spectator of them.
It is not easy to determine what reasons induced the Redeemer of mankind to admit those three apostles to peculiar acts of favour; though he doubtless did it for wise and proper ends. Whether he designed these three to be more solemn and peculiar witnesses of some remarkable transactions of his life than the other apostles; or that they would be more eminently useful and serviceable in some parts of the apostolic office; or to encourage them thereby to prepare for the sufferings that would attend them in the ministry; or whether he designed them for some more eminent kinds of martyrdom than the rest of his disciples.
It was not the least instance of particular honour that our Lord conferred on these apostles, when he called them to the apostolate, that he gave them a new name and title. · A thing not uncommon of old, for the Al.
mighty often imposed new names on persons, when he intended them for some great and peculiar services and employments; instances of this we have seen in Abraham and Jacob. Accordingly our Lord, at the election of these three apostles, gave them new names: Simon he called Peter, or a rock, and James and John, Boanerges, or the sons of thunder. What our Lord intended by their surnames is much easier to conjecture than determine; some think it was given them on arcount of their being present in the mount, when a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved son, &c. when the people heard the same voice at another time, they said " It thundered.” But this ob servation is in itself very inconsiderable, because it was equally applicable to Peter as to them. Others think that it was given them on account of their loud and bold speaking the gospel to the world, fearing no threatenings, despising all opposition, and going on thundering in the ears of a drowsy and sleepy world; rousing and awakening the consciences of men with the carnestness and vehemence of their preaching, which resembled thunder, as the voice of God powerfully shakes the natural world, and breaks in pieces the ce. dars of Lebanon. Others think it relates to the doc. trines they delivered, teaching the great mysteries of the gospel in a more profound and loftier strain than the rest.
How far the latter opinion might be true with regard to St. James, the scriptures are wholly silent; but it was certainly verified in his brother John, whose gospel is so full of the more sublime notions and mysteries of the gospel concerning the divinity, pre-existence, &c. of CHRIST, that he is generally affirmed by the ancients to thunder rather than speak. Perhaps the expressions may denote no more than that in general they were to be prime and eminent ministers, in this new state of things; the introducing the gospel or evangelical dispensation, being called “a voice shaking the heaven and the earth,” and therefore exactly correspondent te
the native importance of the word, signifying an earth. quake, or a vehement commotion, that like thunder, makes an alarming noise.
Ilowever this be, our blessed Saviour doubtless by this term alluded to the furious and resolute dispositions of these two brothers, who seem to have been of a more fiery temper than the rest of the apostles, of which we have this memorable instance. When our Lord was determined on his journey to Jerusalem, he sent some of his disciples before him to make preparation for his coming; but, on their entering a village of Samaria, were rudely rejected, from the old grudge that subsisted between the Samaritans and the Jews, and because our Saviour, by going up to Jerusalem, seemed to slight their place of worship on mount Gara izim.
This piece of rudeness and inhumanity was so highly resented by St. James and his brother John, that they came to Jesus, desiring to know if he would not imi. tate Elias, by calling down fire from heaven to consume this barbarous, unhospitable people. So-apt are men for every trifling provocation to call upon heaven to revenge them on the aggressors, according to the extravagancies of their own unreasonable passions! But the holy JESUS soon convinced them of their mistake, by telling them, that he was come to save the lives of the children of men, and not to destroy them.
We have no account from sacred history, what became of St. James after the ascension of his great and beloved Master. Sophronius tells us, that he preached to the dispersed Jews, that is, to those converts who were dispersed after the death of Stephen. The Spanish writers will have it, that after preaching the gospel in several parts of Judea and Samaria, he visited Spain, where he planted Christianity, and appointed some select disciples to perfect what he had begun; but if we consider the shortness of St. James's life, and that the