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النشر الإلكتروني

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notices of St. James in the Acts of the Apostles, and other records of the early Church, in all of which his name stands foremost. Thus in ch. xii., St. Peter, after his miraculous escape from prison, mentions St. James by name, “Go, shew these things unto James and to the brethren.' And in ch. xv, in the council held at Jerusalem on the subject of the Gentile converts, "When the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter," St. James speaks, it would seem, in some sense, in the name of the whole Church, the sentence of the whole Church. "And after they had held their peace, James answered saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me Wherefore my sentence is . . ." And so St. Paul, in his epistle to the Galatians, joins his name with that of St. Peter and St. John, as in chief place in Jerusalem. "Then,

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after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days; but other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother. . . . And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right-hands of fellowship, that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision."

St. James is also known to us as the writer of the General Epistle which bears his name; in the very first words of which we see his great humility. Although he was an apostle, and bishop of Jerusalem, the holy city, and Mother Church of Christendom; although he was so near akin to our Lord, as that he is called by St, Paul "the Lord's brother;" yet it is not of his high place and apostolic office that he speaks, nor of his nearness to Christ in the flesh; but his first words are: "James, a servant of God, and of the Lord Jesus Christ." And all early records speak of his great and excellent piety and holiness of life. In fact it would seem from them that his life was one course of abstinence, selfdenial, prayer, and religious exercises; eating sparingly of the simplest and coarsest food, clothed in the rudest and simplest dress, his knees worn by frequent prayers, his body pale with fastings. Such was the holy apostle and bishop whom we this day have in memory.

And this his piety and holiness of life won for him reverence even from the enemies of the faith, so that he was known even among them by the name of "the Just."

And, as his life had been that of a Christian bishop, ruling the flock over which the Chief

Shepherd had set him, faithfully and wisely, himself "an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity;" as he had been all this in his life, so was he no less an example of faith and charity in his death.

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We read in Eusebius, the early historian of the Church, that at the season of the Passover the Scribes and Pharisees summoned St. James before them, and led him up to a pinnacle of the temple; if so be that, by threats or otherwise, they might lead him to deny Christ in the presence of the people assembled beneath. To this end they spake thus with him. just man, of whom we ought all to be persuaded, the people is deceived, and followeth after Jesus, which was crucified; do thou therefore declare unto us how Jesus is the door." And he answered with a loud voice, and said, "Why ask ye me concerning Jesus, the Son of Man? Behold, He sitteth on the right hand of Great Power, and He shall come hereafter upon the clouds of heaven,"

When he had said this in the hearing of the multitude, they who had placed him there, in their rage, cast him down headlong. And they began to cast stones at him, because

that, after he was cast down, he died not, but turned and fell upon his knees, saying: "O Lord God, Father, forgive them; they know not what they do."

Thus was the holy apostle, at his last hour, after the pattern of his blessed Lord, and of the first martyr St. Stephen, praying for his murderers; and, as he continued to pray, the rude crowd around cast stones and wounded him, until one with a club struck him on the head, and thus put a period to his sufferings.

And thus St. James fell asleep in the Lord, full of years, and reserved, it would seem, unto extreme old age, that so he might seal the witness, which he had borne to Christ, with his blood; that blood of martyrdom, which has been rightly called the seed of the Church.

We may not be called upon to resist even unto blood, as did the holy apostles, but we, too, have our lesson to learn from holy days like this.

For consider, how on them is presented to our faith that most blessed and solemn truth, that, however far we may be removed from them in time, however much our lot may have fallen on other days, yet that, having been made, in holy

baptism, "members of Christ, children of God, and inheritors of the kingdom of heaven," we too-so many of us as are living in the true faith and fear of God-form part, with them, of the mystical Body of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; are members, with them, of His one Holy Catholic Apostolic Church; are partakers, with them, in that Communion of Saints, wherein all, not the living alone, but the dead also in Christ, are gathered into one. Their hour of trial indeed is over, and they are at rest; and we are yet upon the earth, with weak and frail hearts within us, and an evil and sinful world around us. Yet is it a cheering and soothing thought, that those glorified saints of God are our brethren in Jesus Christ, followers of the same Master, heirs of the same promises. In the midst of the same trials and temptations, which by the grace of God they overcame, instructed in the same faith, nourished by the same sacraments, they went on their way rejoicing, even in tribulation, and entered into rest. Do we feel our hearts and our affections drawn to the things of this life, its occupations, its pleasures, its business? Are our minds restless and fevered with the cares of our station, the dreams of youth, or the absorbing realities of manhood and of old age?

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