Tracts for the Times/Record XI
Dec. 11, 1833.]
RECORDS OF THE CHURCH.
THE HOLY CHURCH THROUGHOUT ALL THE WORLD DOTH ACKNOWLEDGE THEE.
Account of the Martyrdom of St. James, the Apostle, who is called the Lord's brother, and was the first Bishop of Jerusalem.
(From the Church History of Eusebius.)
The Church was delivered over to the Apostles, and especially to James, the Lord's brother; who was surnamed the Just, by one consent, from the Lord's time, even to our own. James was the name of many besides him; but this man was holy even from his mother's womb. He drank no wine, nor strong drink; neither did he eat any living thing; the razor came not on his head; he anointed not his body with oil, nor indulged in the luxury of the bath. He alone had leave to enter into the Holy place; his garment being not of woollen stuff, but of linen. So he used to go alone into the Temple, and was found continually kneeling on his knees, and praying for the forgiveness of the people; insomuch that his knees became hard, even as a camel's knees, because he was continually kneeling, worshipping God, and praying for the forgiveness of the people. Wherefore, by reason of his exceeding righteousness, he was called Dicæus and Oblias; which mean, being interpreted, the Just Man, and the Defence of the People, as the prophets declare concerning him.
It came to pass that certain of the seven sects of the people enquired of him. How Jesus was the door. And he said, That this Jesus was the Saviour; whence some believed that Jesus was the Christ. Now the sects, whereunto the aforementioned persons belonged, believed neither in the Resurrection, nor that Christ should come hereafter to render to every man according to his works. But all who believe, believed through James. So when many of the Rulers also believed, there arose a disturbance of the Jews, and Scribes, and Pharisees, saying; "There is danger, lest all the people look to Jesus as the Christ." And when they were come together, they said unto James; "We pray thee, stop this people; for they have been deceived with regard to Jesus, as if He indeed were the Christ. We pray thee, therefore, persuade all people concerning Jesus, when they are come together on the day of the Passover. And this, we pray, because that all will be persuaded of thee; inasmuch as we and all the people bear witness to thee, that thou art a Just Man, and no respecter of persons. Do thou then persuade the multitude not to be deceived concerning Jesus; for also we and all the people are readily persuaded of thee. This do therefore; stand upon the pinnacle of the Temple, that thou mayst be conspicuous from on high, and that thy words may be well heard by all the people. For by reason of the Passover all the tribes are assembled, together with the Gentiles also." So the aforementioned Scribes and Pharisees set James upon the pinnacle of the Temple, and cried unto him, and said; "Thou 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." And when many were fully convinced and believed on the testimony of James, and cried, Hosanna to the Son of David! Then came again those same Scribes and Pharisees, and said among themselves; "We have done ill, in that we have afforded such testimony to the name of Jesus. Come, let us go up, and cast him down, that the people may be afraid, and not believe his words." So they cried aloud, saying; "Oh! Oh! The Just One also hath been deceived!" And they fulfilled the word which is written in the book of Esaias; Let us away with the Just One; because he is displeasing unto us; wherefore they shall eat of the fruits of their deeds. Then went they up and cast down the Just One, and said one to another; "Let us stone James the Just." 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." But while they were thus casting stones at him, one of the Priests, of the sons of Rechab, the son of Rechabeim, who have the witness of Jeremy the prophet, cried out, saying; "Cease ye; what are ye doing? Behold this Just Man prayeth for you." And one of them, of the company of Fullers, took the board with which he was wont to press the clothes, and struck therewith the head of the Just One; and thus James bore witness to the truth, even to martyrdom. And they buried him in that place; and his monument doth still remain, hard by the Temple. This man became a true witness and martyr, both to Jews and Gentiles, that Jesus is the Christ.
And straightway Vespasian besieged the city of the Jews, and carried them away captive.
Hence we learn that even the holiest life will not shield good men from the envy and malice of those who hate their Lord and Saviour; so that we must depend upon God alone, not upon an arm of flesh. The world admires true Christians for a while, and makes much of them; and then on a sudden turns round, and persecutes them. But they will calmly go through evil report and good report, for the name and cause of Christ; and be surprised neither when flattered nor evil intreated by sinners. They will make use of the good opinion the world has of them, while it lasts; but will fear to shrink ever so little from a bold Christian profession, in order to preserve it to them.
These Tracts may be had at Turrill's, No. 250, Regent Street, London.
KING, PRINTER, ST. CLEMENT'S, OXFORD.
- Eusebius, it may be added, proceeds to declare, that among all intelligent Jews, an opinion prevailed, that the murder of James was the cause of the siege of Jerusalem, which so soon followed. "Josephus," says he, "scrupled not to assert directly in his History; 'These things happened to the Jews, in signal vengeance of the death of James the Just, brother to Jesus who was said to be the Christ. For notwithstanding his extraordinary character for justice, he was barbarously murdered by the Jews.'"