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him after his call, it would seem to denote some especial zeal and fervency of spirit, some holy jealousy for God's honour, some holy indignation against sin; such as marked out St. Simon even from among the glorious company of apostles.
We have no further notice of St. Simon in holy Scripture than that he was called and ordained to be an apostle of Jesus Christ; was one of them unto whom our Lord, after His resurrection, gave power and commission to minister in His name: “ Then said Jesus unto them again, Peace be unto you; as My Father hath sent Me, even so send I you. And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost : Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.”
It should seem, from early Church writers, that Africa was the chief region of this apostle's preaching, that is, Egypt, Cyrene, Mauritania ; some have thought that he also preached in this very country of Britain, and was here martyred ; but it would seem more probable, from early writers, that the place of his martyrdom was some city in Persia.
Thus little do we know of the life of one who was an apostle, and distinguished, even among
apostles, for zeal and fervency of spirit. The great men of this world think it a great thing to hand down their names and their histories to future ages; yet what is earthly honour to that honour which cometh from God only? We know little, it may be, of St. Simon's life and labours for Christ and His gospel, beyond the fact that he was an apostle of Jesus Christ; yet how much is there in that one word, an apostle ! one sent of Christ, even as Christ was sent of His Father; a teacher and preacher of the gospel; among the first in that spiritual line, through whom the richest gifts of the Holy Ghost have descended in unbroken succession to the present day; one of the foundation-stones whereon hath been builded Christ's One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, “ Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner-stone."
And what has been said of St. Simon will, in great measure, apply to St. Jude also, of whom the notices in holy Scripture and early Church writers are few and scanty, although less so than in the case of St. Simon. St. Jude also bore two other names, and is thereby distinguished from Judas Iscariot, who betrayed our Lord. He is called in St. Matthew “Lebbæus, whose surname was Thaddæus."
Of these, Thaddæus was pro
bably only another form of Judas, and is said to mean a person zealous in praising God. Lebbæus either means a native of the town of Lebba in Galilee, or (as is most probable) is derived from a Hebrew word meaning heart, and so denoted prudence and understanding. St. Jude was a near relation of our blessed Lord; he is called (with three others) our Lord's brother in St. Matthew's Gospel, (xiii. 55): “Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not His mother called Mary? and His brethren James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas ?” Not that they were, strictly speaking, our Lord's brethren, (for the Church hath ever held that the blessed Virgin, our Lord's mother, was mother to no others,) but they were either the children of Joseph by a former wife, or the sons of a sister of the Virgin Mary, and so cousins of our Lord; but, however this may be,
, St. Jude in his Epistle speaks not of his kindred to our Lord according to the flesh, but of his own low estate; thus he writes: “ Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ.”
There is one especial notice of St. Jude in St. John's Gospel, (xiv. 23). In our Lord's last conversation with His apostles, on the night before He suffered, He had said unto them, “He that hath My commandments, and keepeth them,
he it is that loveth Me: and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him.” On this, we read, St. Jude put to Him a question, which would serve to shew that be, in common with the Jews, yet entertained some idea of the kingdom of the Messiah as of an earthly kingdom, a kingdom of this world: “Judas saith unto Him, (not Iscariot,) Lord, how is it that Thou wilt manifest Thyself unto us, and not unto the world?” And to this our Saviour made answer, that it is to faith, and obedience, and love, that Christ is made manifest; that it is to these the doctrines, the privileges, the blessings of His holy religion are made known: the evil, unbelieving, unloving world knew not, and could not know and receive, the Saviour; the kingdom of God is within us; His temple is the heart of man; and that temple must be made and kept ready, and prepared for Him, by repentance, faith, obedience, love, holiness; such are the conditions of the manifestation and in-dwelling presence of Jesus Christ, and of the Father, by the Holy Ghost : “Jesus answered, and said unto him, If a man love Me, he will keep My words; and My Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make Our abode with him.” And thus it was that, after His resurrection, our Lord shewed Himself chiefly to His apostles, the chosen witnesses of His resurrection, as St. Peter says, Acts x. 40: “Him God raised up the third day, and shewed Him openly; not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with Him after He rose from the dead.” And this is but, as it were, a type and figure of God's dealings with man in all times. Christ is not manifested to men of sinful lives, or of carnal and impenitent hearts. As St. Paul himself says: “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them." It is a great and serious truth in our religious life, that Jesus Christ and His Gospel are revealed to us in proportion to our faith, love, and obedience.