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thers, perhaps their ancestors, were fishers before them. They themselves have no idea of a different lot. The only changes on which they calculate are the changes of the weather and the vicissitudes of their calling; and the only great interruptions of the even courses of their lives, to which they look forward, are the annual journeys which they take, at the periods of solemn festival, to the great city of Jerusalem. Thus they live, and thus they expect to live, till they lie down to sleep with their fathers, as calmly, as unknowing, and as unknown as they.
Look at them, on the shore of their lake. Think not of them as apostles, as holy men; but look at them as they actually were on the morning when you first hear of them from the historian. They have been toiling through a weary night, and have caught nothing; and now, somewhat disheartened at their ill success, they are engaged in spreading their nets, washing them, and preparing them, as they hope, for a more fortunate expedition. Presently surrounded by an eager crowd, that teacher approaches whom they have before seen, and whose instructions some of them have already listened to. With his demeanor of quiet but irresistible dignity, he draws toward the spot where they are employed; he enters Simon's vessel, and prays him to thrust out a little distance from the land; then he speaks to that
assembled multitude as never man spake; then he bids Simon launch out farther, and cast his net in the deep; then follows the overwhelming draught of fishes; and then those four partners, filled with wonder and awe, are called to quit their boats, and throw by their nets, and become fishers of men.
And now what a change, like the change of a dream or of enchantment, has passed over their lives, dividing what was from what was to be! It was long before they themselves were aware how entire and how stupendous it was. few years they are to be the principal actors in the most extraordinary events of recorded time. Home, kindred, country, are to be forsaken for
Their nets may hang and bleach in the sun; their boats may rot piecemeal on the shore; for the owners of them are far away, sailing over seas to which that of Genesareth is a pond ; exciting whole cities and countries to wonder and tumult; answering before kings; imprisoned, persecuted, tortured; their whole existence a storm, and a greater one than ever swept over their lake.
On the peaceful shore of that lake even their bones may not rest. Their ashes are to be separated from the ashes of their kindred. Their blood is to be sprinkled on foreign soils; the headsman and executioner are to preside over their untimely obsequies.
A few years more, and the fame and the doctrine of these fishermen have gone out into all lands. Magnificent churches are called by their names. Kingdoms adopt them for their tutelar saints; and the men who claim to succeed to the office of one of them rule for centuries over all civilized kingdoms with a despotic and overshadowing sway, and by virtue of that claim give away a continent, a world, which, when their predecessor . lived, was entirely unknown. History tells us of a fisherman of Sicily who was raised to that island's throne; but who will compare that or any earthly throne to the twelve thrones which were set up over the twelve tribes of Israel? What is a king of Sicily to an apostle of Christ? A wonderful man has risen up in our own, as we call it, wonderful time, – risen up from a moder- . ate station to the empire of Europe; and yet the eight volumes which another wonderful man has written of that emperor's deeds and fortunes have not preserved, and cannot preserve, such a name for his hero as is secured by hardly more than eight lines, which tell us of those men who first fished for their living on the sea of Galilee, and then were called to be apostles of Christ.
My digression has led me far away, over distant countries and through many years. Let us return to the land of Judæa, and the history of
James. We ascertain that, among the twelve, he was one of those who were the most honored by the confidence of Jesus. With his former partner Simon, and his brother John, he was selected, as we have already seen, to accompany his Lord on several very important occasions ; such as that of the resurrection of Jairus's daughter, the transfiguration, and the agony in the garden. It was perhaps on the strength of this manifest confidence, and of her own services, that Salome, the mother of James and John, made that ambitious and truly maternal request to Jesus, that her sons might sit on his right and left hand in his kingdom ; that is, enjoy the two highest dignities next to his own, when he, as the Messiah, should mount the throne of Israel.
This is another instance of the universal misapprehension which then prevailed, and from which the disciples of Jesus were not free, concerning the office of the expected Messiah.
It was with a complete understanding of this misapprehension, that Jesus now answered the deceived and partial mother: “Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? Will you partake wholly of my lot? will you be able to adhere to me through every adversity, and share all my toils and dangers with me?" The brothers, whom in reality Jesus addressed, and through whose instigation it was that their mother had spoken to him, now answered him, under the persuasion that they could readily undergo a few trials in his service, in order to be at length advanced to great dignity under him, “ We are able.” How full of melancholy meaning is the reply of our Saviour! “Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, ye shall drain its full measure of sufferings to the dregs; and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with, even the waters of violent death ; but to sit on my right hand and on my left, to prescribe your rank and degree in this world or the next, is not mine to give; it shall be given to those for whom it is prepared of my Father.” As soon as the other disciples heard of the ambitious application of the sons of Zebedee, they were moved with indignation against them; but their Master, to quell their rising jealousy and ill-will, told them that the princes of the Gentiles, merely temporal governors, did indeed exercise that authority which they were so anxious to possess; but that it should not be so among them, but that they who would be great, truly great, among them, should minister the most kindly to each other's wishes and necessities; for in his kingdom that man would be chief in estimation and place, who was chief in benevolence, usefulness, and virtue.