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Profit and Home Forsaken for Christ.

Profit and Home Forsaken for Christ.

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St. Matthew iv. 21, 22.

"And He called them : and they immediately left the ship and their father, and
followed him.''

St. Matthew iv. 21, 22.

"And He called them : and they immediately left the ship and their father, and
followed him.''

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on May 04, 2014
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


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St. Matthew iv. 21, 22. "And He called them : and they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.'' The Collect for the day points out to us, as usual with our Church on Saints' days, a part of St. James's example for our par- ticular imitation. We pray that as he left his father and all that he had, and without delay was ohedient unto the calling of Christ, and followed Him, so we, forsaking all worldly and carnal affections, may be evermore ready to follow His holy Com- mandments. Thus our thoughts are carried back to the time when it seemed good to the Son of God, in His divine foresight, to call four fishermen from their work on the shore of the sea of Galilee to be His Apostles, and chief foundations of His Church. " Follow Me," He said, first to St. Peter and St. Andrew, " and I will make you fishers of men." " They drew their nets to land, for- sook all, and followed Him." Presently after, going a little further. He saw their partners also, " James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mend- ing their nets : and He called them : and they immediately left the ship and their father, land followed Him." Now, although both these pairs of holy brethren, St. Peter and St. Andrew first, and afterwards St. James and St. John, were PROFIT AND HOME FORSAKEN FOR CHRIST. 143 called by our Saviour at one time, from one employment, and both alike followed Him without delay, yet the history, when narrowly considered, seems to signify certain differences between those who were first and those who were afterwards called ; between St. Peter's case and St. James's ; differences which are not unimportant to be considered by us. It would appear as if Zebedee and his sons were what the world calls " better off" than Simon and Andrew, the sons of Jonah. For of these latter, when our Lord finally summoned them, it is only said, that " when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all and followed Him :" but of James and John, that " they left their father Zebedee in the ship with the
hired servants, and followed after Jesus." They had then a father alive ; and, as the history shows after- wards, a mother. For Salome, the mother of Zebedee's children, was one of those who waited on our Lord in Galilee. To her care the Blessed Virgin was intrusted by our Lord Himself, when He said on the Cross to her son, " Behold thy mother." And on the morning of the Resurrection, she was one of the women who came early to the sepulchre with sweet spices, to do honour to our Lord's Body. Both the father, then, and the mother of St. James were living at the time of our Saviour's call to him : but we have no reason to think the same of St. Peter. "We know that he had been mar- ried, and that his wife and her mother were perhaps living, but we have no mention of his parents in the New Testament : and it seems likely that they were both dead, before the time that he was summoned to leave his home. Again, the mention of " the hired servants," would make it appear that Zebedee, St. James's father, was in a some- what easier and more plentiful condition of life than St. Peter and St. Andrew were. And this agrees with what we read of St. John, James's brother, being known to the High-Priest, so that he ventured after Jesus into the palace of the High-Priest, when all the other disciples were afraid to follow Him there. St. James then, in common with his brother St. John, had this above many others to render his obedience to our Lord's call particularly acceptable ; that he gave up the society of his parents to do so. He might have enjoyed, as other people of his rank did. ]44 PROFIT AND HO.ME FORSAKEN FOR CHRIST. a comfortable home, and a respectable place in the world. But he left all this to follow One Who had not where to lay His head; Who was called a Samaritan, a deceiver, and said to have deal- ings with the devil. And St. James did this at once. He did not stand waiting and considering, but courageously obeyed the first invitation, to join himself to our most Holy Saviour. He and his younger brother, St. John, immediately " left the ship and their father, and followed after Jesus." St. James, then, may be regarded as affording an example and encouragement to those who follow Christ, in two sorts of trials
more particularly : those which arise from a thriving condition in the world, and those which attend, sometimes, on a quiet and comfortable home. To obey our Lord's call, he left " both the ship and his father:" both the business to which he had been brought up, and on which he might depend, if not for wealth, at least for a comfortable maintenance ; and the consolation of being with his parents, and living peaceably at home with them. And for this, his double self-denial, how greatly was he re- warded ! Our Lord received him to be not only a disciple, but an Apostle ; and not only an Apostle, but one out of three whom He particularly favoured above the other Apostles, keeping them near Him on the highest and holiest occasions, when the rest were bade remain at the threshold, so to speak, of His glories. St. Peter, St. James, and St. John were alone with Him, when He raised Jairus's daughter, and restored her to her afflicted parents : alone with Him in the holy Mount, when He was trans- figured, and had Moses and Elias talking with Him : alone (except St. Andrew) with Him, when he uttered those awful prophecies concerning the end of the world : alone with Him, finally, when He submitted Himself to His agony in the garden, and " His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground, and there appeared unto Him an Angel from Heaven strengthening Him." St. James, in each case, is the second named of the highly-favoured ones, whom He chose among living men, to be His witnesses on these solemn occasions. Again, St. James was the very first of the Apostolic College to follow his Lord in martyrdom. When " Herod stretched forth his hand to vex certain of the Church, he killed James the brother PROFIT AND HOIME FORSAKEN FOR CHRIST. 145 of John with the sword," Up to that time, the number of the holy Twelve, restored in St. Matthias after Judas's sad fall, had continued complete : but now it seemed good to our Saviour to grant to this faithful Apostle the crown of all His favours, the honour of dying for Him. And thus he tasted, according to his own prayer, of the cup which our Lord drank of, and was bap- tized with the baptism that He had been baptized withal. It might seem almost sinful presumption, for such as we are, to take to ourselves, as if intended for our pattern, the example of so great and holy a Saint, one brought so very near the Person of our Divine Saviour Himself. But we know that it is not presumption, since even Christ's own example, and that of tlie Eternal Father, are set before us for our study and imita-

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