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them, and"-it would seem, without any delay, without any drawing back, without any excuse; at the sacrifice of their feelings, their comforts, their worldly interest; at the sacrifice even of their dearest and most cherished affections-"they immediately [left all] left the ship and their father, and followed Him." And this ready and cheerful obedience to our Blessed Lord's call would seem to be the great and chief lesson which the Church would have us learn from this day's festival. Such, at least, is the Christian grace which she teaches us to pray for, in an especial manner, in the Collect: "Grant, O merciful God, that, as Thine holy apostle St. James, leaving his father and all that he had, without delay was obedient to the calling of Thy Son Jesus Christ, and followed Him; so we, forsaking all worldly and carnal affections, may be evermore ready to follow Thy holy commandments, through Jesus Christ our Lord."
And surely, Christian brethren, there are no times, there are no occasions, there are no persons, in the Christian Church, in which, and to whom, this example of prompt and ready obedience is unnecessary, or without its very great and manifold uses.—We are all too apt to take for granted, that there was something in the case
of the first disciples of our Lord, and, indeed, generally in the whole circumstances of the early Church, so different from our own case, and so entirely unlike our own circumstances, that-although we bear the same name of Christians, are members of the same Church, followers of the same Saviour, baptized with the same baptism, fed with the same spiritual food, hold the same faith, and look for the same promises, yet that, after all, there is something, we know not what, in our condition, which exempts and frees us from the trials and temptations, removes from us the warnings of the New Testament; renders self-denial, and watchfulness, and indifference to this world, and the being weaned from pleasures and comforts, and the being prepared for pain and affliction and evil, (however necessary they may have been in those early times for all Christ's true and sincere followers,) yet unnecessary for us now; or, rather, in no sense so necessary now as then. Now all this can be no other than error on our part. The very fact that the Church, at the same time that she holds in high esteem and reverence the sacred memory of the apostles, martyrs, and confessors of Jesus Christ, teaches us to strive to walk in their steps, and to follow their examples, and, as on this day, puts into our
mouth the prayer, that God may give us grace so to walk and follow Christ, as they walked and followed Him; this one fact of the mind of the Church in this matter, continued unto this very day, may assure us that, although times and outward occasions, and mere circumstances, may have changed ever so much, still that, as Christians, we have the same duties, the same obedience to render, the same temptations and trials to withstand, as the very first followers of our Blessed Lord; and so have need of the same divine aid of the Holy Ghost the Comforter; and have occasion, on our own part, for the exercise of the same obedience, submission, and self-denial. We may not be called upon, at this day, according to the usual course of God's providence, to leave our father and mother, yet is it true, that "whosoever loveth father and mother more than Christ, is not worthy of Christ." We may not be called upon now to resign up our usual occupation and means of livelihood, whereever such is in itself honest and useful; yet are we bound, as Christians, to be prepared, should the time ever come, to take up our cross, and to follow Christ; otherwise we cannot be His disciples; for such, like St. James, having an honest heart, and a single eye, and one only
object in this life, "forsaking all worldly and carnal affections," are "evermore ready" (or, at the least, evermore pray and strive that they may be found ready,) "to follow His holy commandments," that, as they have learnt to call Him Lord, Lord, so they may obey His voice, and do the things which He hath commanded.
And this ready obedience of St. James to our Lord's call would seem to have been not without its reward even in this life. It was in itself a high and divine thing to be called to the place and office of an apostle; to be, as it were, among the foundation stones of the holy temple of Christ's Church. But St. James received even more than this, he was blessed, above many others, with our Lord's confidence, and admitted to a nearer view, as it were, of his Divine Lord and Saviour's person and ministry. On occasion of the very remarkable miracle in the raising of the daughter of Jairus,—on the mount of the Transfiguration,-in His mysterious Agony in the garden, St. James was selected (together with his brother, St. John, and St. Peter,) to be a witness of His Almighty power, of His more than human glory, of His more than human agony. And may we not reverently trace, in this appointment. of our blessed Lord, the re
ward which St. James received thus early for his ready and glad obedience? Surely "the secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him."
And so again in the event of which we have just read, from the twelfth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, appointed as the epistle for the day. St. James should seem thus early to have received the reward of faith and obedience. He was the first of the apostles upon whom our Lord bestowed the crown of martyrdom; the first, after our blessed Lord, to drink of His cup (of suffering and of death), to be baptized with His baptism (of blood). This he had undertaken to do, when as yet he knew very little, if anything, of its meaning; and our Lord granted that which he, unknowing what it was, yet readily undertook to do or to suffer. And his name, and his memory, and his example, live yet in the Church of God;-an apostle of Jesus Christ, among the first called to the ministry, and the first called by martyrdom to his reward. How great is the excellence, how great the dignity, how exceedingly great, of God's mercy, is the reward of single-minded obedience; to what great things may it not lead! Oh! may we never shrink back from following Christ, and doing His holy will; may no temporal regards