Imatges de pÓgina

more fiery temper than the rest of the apoatles, of which we have this memorable instance. When our Lord was determined on his journey to Jerusalem, he sent some of his disciples before him to make preparations for his coming; but, on their entering a village of Samaria, they were rudely rejected, from the old grudge that subsisted between the Samaritans and Jews, and because the Saviour, by going up to Jerusalem, seemed to slight their place of worship on mount Gerizim. This piece of rudeness and inhumanity was so highly resented by St. James and his brother, that they came to Jesus, desiring to know if he would not imitate Elias, by calling fire down from heaven to consume this barbarous unhospitable people? Thus we find the best of men are but men, and that corrupt nature will sometimes appear even in renewed minds. But the holy Jesus soon convinced them of their mistake, by telling them, that instead of destroying, he was come to save, the lives of the children of men.

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will have it, that after preaching the gospel in several parts of Judea and Samaria, he visited Spain, where he planted Christianity, and appointed some select disciples to perfect what he had begun; but if we consider the shortness of St. James's life, and that the apostles continued in a body at Jerusalem, even after the dispersion of the other Christians, we shall find it difficult to allow time sufficient for so tedious and difficult a voyage as that was in those early ages and therefore it is safest to confine his ministry to Judea and the adjacent countries.

Herod, who was a bigot to the Jewish religion, as well as desirous of acquiring the favour of the Jews, began a violent persecution of the Christians, and his zeal against them animated him to pass sentence of death on St. James immediately. As he was led to the place of execution, the officer that guarded him to the tribunal, or rather his accuser, having been converted by that remarkable courage and constancy shewn by the apostle at the time of his trial, repented of what he had done, came and fell down at the apostle's feet, and heartily begged pardon for what he had said against him. The holy man, after recovering from the surprise, tenderly embraced him. “Peace,” said he, "my son, peace be unto thee, and pardon of thy faults." Upon which the offi


publicly declared himself a Christian, and both were beheaded at the same time. Thus fell the great apostle St. James, taking cheerfully that cup of which he had long since told his Lord, he was ready to drink.


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Saint John the Evangelist.

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He was by much the youngest of the apostles, yet he was admitted into as great a share of his Master's confidence as any of them. He was one of those to whom he communicated the most private transactions of his life: one of those whom he took with him when he raised the daughter of Jairus from the dead; one of those to whom he displayed a specimen of his divinity, in his transfiguration on the mount: one of those who were present at his conference with Moses and Elias, and heard that voice which declared him the beloved Son of God; and one of those who were companions in his solitude, most retired devotions, and bitter agonies in the garden.

These instances of particular favour our apostle endeavoured, in some measure, tò answer by returns of particular kindness and constancy. For though he at first deserted his Master on his apprehension, yet he soon recovered himself, and came back to see his

Saviour, confidently entered the high priest's hall, followed our Lord through the several particulars of his trial, and at last waited on him at his execution, owning him as well as being owned by him, in the midst of armed soldiers, and in the thickest crowds of his most inveterate enemies. Here it was that our great Redeemer committed to his care his sorrowful and disconsolate mother with his dying breath. And certainly the holy Jesus could not have given a more honourable testimony of his particular respect and kindness to St. John, than by leaving his own mother to his trust and care, and substituting him to supply that duty himself paid her while he resided in this vale of



The Transactions of St. John, from the Ascension of Christ to his Death. AFTER the ascension of the Saviour of the world, when the apostles made a division of the province among themselves, that of Asia fell to the share of St. John, though he did not immediately enter upon his charge, but continued at Jerusalem till the death of the blessed Virgin, which might be about fifteen years after our Lord's ascension. Being released from the trust committed to his care by his dying Master, he retired into Asia, and industriously applied himself to the propagation of Christianity, preaching where the gospel had not yet been known, and confirming it where it was already planted. Many churches of note and eminence were of his foundation, par

ticularly those of Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea, and others; but his chief place of residence was at Ephesus, where St. Paul had many years before founded a church, and constituted Timothy bishop.

After spending several years at Ephesus he was accused to Domitian, who had begun a persecution against the Christians, as an eminent asserter of atheism and impiety, and a public subverter of the religion of the empire; so that by his command the pro-consul sent him bound to Rome, where he met with the treatment that might have been expected from so barbarous a prince, being thrown into a cauldron of boiling oil. But the Almighty, who reserved him for further service in the vineyard of his Son, restrained the heat, as he did in the fiery furnace of old, and delivered him from this seemingly unavoidable destruction. And surely one would have thought that so miraculous a deliverance should have been sufficient to have persuaded any rational man, that the religion he taught was from God, and that he was protected from danger by the hand of Omnipotence. But miracles themselves were not sufficient to convince this eruel emperor, or abate his fury. He ordered St. John to be transported to a disconsolate island in the Archipelago, called Patmos, where he continued several years, instructing the poor inhabitants in the knowledge of the Christian faith; and here, about the end of Domitian's reign, he wrote his book of Revelations, exhibiting by visions, and prophetical representations, the state and condition of Christianity in the future periods and ages of the Church.

Upon the death of Domitian, and the succession of Narva, who repealed all the odious acts of his predecessor, and by public edicts recalled those whom the fury of Domitian had banished, St. John returned to Asia, and fixed his seat again at Ephesus; the rather because the people of that city

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St. John seems always to have led a single life; though some of the ancients tells us be was a married man. He was polished by no study or acts of learning; but what was wanting from human art, was abundantly supplied by the excellent constitution of his mind, and that fulness of divine grace with which he was adorned. His humility was admirable, studiously concealing his own honor. For in his epistles he never styles himself either apostle or evangelist: the title of presbyter, or elder, is all be assumes, and probably in regard to his age as much as his office. In his gospel when he speaks of the disciples whom Jesus loved, he constantly conceals his own name, leaving the reader to discover whom he meant. Love and charity he practised himself, and affectionately pressed them upon others; the great love of his Saviour towards him seems to have inspired his soul with a large and more generous charity than the rest. This is the great vein that runs through all his writings, especially his epistles, where be urges it as the great and peculiar law of Christianity, and without which all other pretences to the religion of the holy Jesus are vain and frivolous, useless and insignifi

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