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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 ?
where shall we find, what may calm and sober us in the one, and awaken us to earnestness in the other, so surely, as in the solemn thought,which days like this force upon us,—that we have been made to share with God's saints in their exceeding privileges : that, with them, we have been called to be citizens of a better country, that is, an heavenly, and that it is our duty, treading in their steps, to walk as pilgrims and strangers upon earth, as men who have no abiding city here, no abiding interest in any thing of this world?
Surely, when put in the balance with the hopes of our Christian calling, with the assured blessedness of an inheritance with the saints in heaven, there is nothing in this life which deserves to be sought after with feelings such as we too often indulge in.
“ The glorious company of the apostles ; the goodly fellowship of the prophets ; the noble army of martyrs; the holy Church throughout all the world;" these are set forth to us as our brethren; and what relation is there so high, so ennobling; what tie, even of kindred, ought then to exist so dear, as that which binds us to the good and holy in all ages of the Church of Christ; and, with them, to Him? or how
ought we not to walk with all care, all zeal and circumspection, who are united in the bonds of so holy a brotherhood ? How ought we not, in our daily life, to be followers of them, even as they also were followers of Christ?
JOHN HENRY PARKER, OXFORD AND LONDON.
Sermons for the Christian Seasons.
THE SON OF CONSOLATION.
Acts xi. 24. For he was a good man, and full of the
Holy Ghost and of faith.
As our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the Only-begotten Son of God manifest in the flesh, is our one all-perfect pattern and example in all things, in all that He did, and spake, and suffered, so it would seem that upon the head of each of the apostles there rested some one special grace, in respect of which they are proposed for our imitation. Of His fulness they all received, although in their case each received but in part. And blessed indeed are they who have been made partakers of any one grace set forth in the character of our Blessed Lord.
For instance, St. John is for us an example of, (what it is so difficult to find united,) zeal for God's truth, and deep and fervent love. St. Peter is in part a warning as well as an example.