صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

rival of that of Jerusalem, would not receive him. The anger of James and John was kindled by this rudeness, and they said to Jesus, “ Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? But he turned and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. . For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. The evangelist adds, in words simply descriptive of our Saviour's gentleness and forbearance, “ And they went to another village.”

We may collect from these notices, that James was disposed to be ambitious and passionate ; somewhat resembling Peter in these respects, as also in his real attachment to his Master. We can with difficulty suppose that his brother John heartily joined him on the abovementioned occasions, because his character, as we shall see hereafter, was of a very gentle order; and therefore it is probable that he was prevailed upon by the more vehement and energetic James to coneur in his sentiments and projects at those times. It can hardly be regretted, however, that these exposures of human infirmity took place, when we advert to the excellent precepts on the subjects of ambition and revenge which they drew from the Saviour. And it is likewise to be observed, that with all his gentleness, John had a great deal of zeal, and, before that zeal was chastened by the influence and example of his Master, might have 'often displayed it without knowledge. Beside which, we not unfrequently see, that the gentlest and most amiable have the keenest" sense of injustice, and that when they are roused to indignation, they are greatly roused. It may have been so with John. At any rate, he shared with his brother in the appellation of Boanerges, or Sons of Thunder, which Mark, in his catalogue of the twelve, informs us was the surname bestowed on them by Jesus, and which seems to have reference to the heat of their temper; though by some interpreters it is supposed to signify their powers of eloquence.

In the book of Acts, we hear of James but once, after his name is given in the enumeration of the eleven apostles; and then it is to hear of his death. “ Herod the king stretched forth his hand to vex certain of the church; and he killed James, the brother of John, with the sword.” This Herod was Herod Agrippa, the grandson of Herod the Great, in whose reign Christ born. Ile was a distinguished favorite of the Roman emperors, Caligula and his successor


Claudius, though a strict and zealous observer of the Jewish law. On entering upon his government, he was desirous of doing something to please the Jewish populaçe, and for that end began to persecute the infant Christian church, selecting for a principal victim, James the brother of John. We are informed by Clemens. Alexandrinus, that as the apostle was led forth to the place of execution, the person who had accused him was so touched with the courage and constancy which he displayed, that he repented of what he had done, came and fell down at his feet, and earnestly begged pardon for what he had said against him. St. James tenderly raised him up, kissed him, and said to him, “ Peace be to thee, my son, and the pardon of thy faults.” At this, his former accuser publicly professed himself a Christian, and so both were beheaded at the same time. Not long after this martyrdom, Herod suffered a miserable death, as is related in Acts, xii. 23., and more at large by Josephus in the nineteenth book of his AntiquiThough not the first Christian martyr, James was the first of the apostles who suffered martyrdom; the first among the twelve, who, in fulfilment of that solemn prediction, was called to drink of the cup and be baptized with the baptism of their Master; the first who manifested to the world that it was beyond the power of death itself to shake their fidelity to him.* If he was not spared to labor much for the church, he was soon permitted to edify it by his sufferings, and was called kindly and early to his reward in heaven.

ties. *

* The three Herods are connected in an unenviable manner with the early history of Christianity, each as a shedder of innocent blood. The first, Herod the Great, murdered the Innocents of Bethlehem; the second, Herod Antipas, beheaded John the Baptist; and

He is the James who is called by the Spaniards St. James of Compostella, and honored as their patron Saint. They receive with general faith a wild and singular legend, which gives an account of the manner in which they became possessed of his remains. According to this story, the apostles at Jerusalem sent the body in a vessel with Ctesiphon, whom they ordained bishop of Spain. The vessel went directly to a port in

the third slew James, and intended to have slain Peter. These circumstances are commemorated in the following Latin couplet.

Herodes Magnus pueros, Antipa Joannem,

Teque, Jacobe, Agrippa necat, Petrum et capit idem. * He is therefore called the Apostolic Protomartyr ; Stephen being the Protomartyr, or first martyr, of the whole Christian church.


that kingdom, without the assistance of oars or pilot, guided only by its holy, though lifeless burthen, which, on its arrival, was miraculously taken away and buried, and after a great many wonders, was at last translated to Compostella, * where it still abides, the object of constant pilgrimage, and the worker of countless miracles. Cave, after giving this legend rather more at length, observes; - This is the sum of the account, call it romance or history, which I do not desire to impose any further upon the reader's faith than he shall find himself disposed to believe it.” It is a pity that such stories as this, should be connected with the names of the holy apostles. It would be more a pity, however, if it were more difficult to separate legends from history, and falsehood from truth.

Ferdinand II. of Spain instituted a military order in honor of this apostle. His festival is on the 26th of July.

* It is said by some, that this place was first called Ad Jacobum Apostolum; then Giacomo Postolo; then, by contraction, Compostella.

« السابقةمتابعة »