Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

54.

Q. Was there nothing in the Temper of these Apostles that might give Occasion to this Title?

A. Yes; the Instance of their desiring our Saviour, that they might pray down Fire from Heaven, as Elias did, upon the inhospitable Samari- Luke ix. tans, that refused to receive him, shews that the Name might have some Respect to their fierce and furious Disposition.

Q. U bai was probably the Reason why the Samaritans refused our Saviour the common Accommodation of Travellers ?

A. Because our Saviour seemed to Night Mount Gerizim, the Solemn Place of their Worship; his Luke ix. Face being as though he would go to Jerusalem. 51. Which different Places of Worship had created an inveterate Quarrel between the Jews and the Samaritans; the Occasion whereof was this ; that after the Tribe of Judah were returned from the Captivity of Babylon, and the Temple of Jeru- Joseph. folin was rebuilt'; the Jews were, by a solemn ib.14. Covenant, obliged to put away their Heathens c. 8. Ilives. But Sanballat, Governor of Samaria, having married his Daughter to Manasses, a Jewish Priest, who was unwilling to put away his Wife, excited the Samaritans to build a Temple upon Mount Gerizim, near the City of Samario, in opposition to the Temple at Jerusalem, and made his Son-in-law Manasses Priest there ; which laid the Foundation of that Feud between the Jews and Samaritans, which, in Process of Time, grew lo great, that they would not so much as shew common Civility to one another.

Q. How did our Saviour resent the warm Zeal of these Apostles?

A. He severely rebukes the Fierceness of their Luke ix. Temper, as contrary to the Nature of the Gospel Institution, and his Design of coming into the World ; which was to save Mens' Lives by elta

blishing

55, 56.

X 4

Matt. xx. 32, 23

Mat XX

2., 26.

lishing'a Religion, that not only consults their eternal Salvation, but their temporal Peace and Security.

Q. How did our Saviour correćt the Ambition of these two Apostles, in prompting their Mother Salome to petition for the principal Places of Ho nour next bis Person?

A. By making them sensible of the Rashness of their Demand; and that in his Kingdom, the highest Place would be to take the greatest Pains, and to undergo the heaviest Troubles and Sufferings ; and that, as for any Dignity, it was to be disposed of to those for whom it was prepared by the Faiber.

Q. How did our Saviour calm the Pasions of the rest of the Disciples offended at this Request ?

A. By instructing them in the Nature of his Kingdom, and shewing them how different it was from that of worldly Potentates; that in his Service Humility was the Way to Honour; and that he who took moft Pains, and did most Good, would be the greatest Person ; and that his own Example was a Pattern of it, who came into the World not to be served himself, but to serve others even at the Expense of his own Life.

Q. Wiat became of St. James after our Saviour's Ascension ?

A. The Spanish Writers contend, that after hę had preached the Gospel in Judea and Samaria, he planted Christianity in Spain. But of this there is no Account earlier than the middle Ages of the Church; therefore it is fafest to confine his Ministry to Judæa and the Parts thereabouts,

Q. How did be fuffer Martyrdom?

A. Herod being desirous, upon his Entrance in

to the Government, to please the People, caused AQs xii. 2. St. James to be apprehended at Jerusalem, and then commanded that he should be beheaded. And

fo

so he became the first Apostle that laid down his Life for the Testimony of Jesus.

Q. What happened as he was led to the Place of bis Martyrdom? A. His Accuser being enlightened by the Cou- Eufeb.

lib. 2. c.g. rage and Constancy St. James Thewed at his Trial, repented of what he had done, and falling at the Apostle's Feet, heartily begged his Pardon for what he had testified against him. The holy Man, after a little Surprize, raised him up, and embracing him, said, Peace be to thee. Whereupon he publicly professed himself a Chriftian, and was beheaded at the same Time.

Q. Why do the Spaniards express so great a Veneration for ibis Apostle ?

A. Because they do not only suppose that he planted Christianity in those Parts, but that his Body, after his Martyrdom at Jerusalem, was translated from thence to Compostella in Gallicia ; though the Account of both these Passages have little or no Foundation in History.

Q. Wbat may we learn from ihe Observation of this Festival ?

A. That God's Blessing attends those that depend upon his Providence, in a diligent and faithful Discharge of the Duties of their Calling, That we ought to quit all worldly Accommodations, and our Father's House, rather than make Shipwreck of Faith and a good Conscience. That no Difference of Religion, nor Pretence of Zeal for God and Christ, can warrant and justify a passionate and fierce, a vindictive and exterminating Spirit. That we ought to treat all that differ from us with Kindness and Affability, and to Thew our Moderation, not by parting with our Principles, but by increasing our Charity. That the great Honour of a Christian is to take Pains in doing good; and that the highest Pitch of

Heb. xji. 4

his Preferment is to suffer for the Name of Christ, being most blessed when he is reviled and perfecuted for his Sake. That the Crown of Martyrdom exceeds all the Pomp and Splendour that attends ecclesiastical Preferments.

Q. What do you mean by a Martyr ?

4. One that bears. Witness to the Truth at the Expense of his own Life. Those that suffered Imprisonment, the Spoil of their Goods, and Banishment, and several other severe Torments, if they escaped without dying, were called Confefsors. But it was necessary to refift unto Blood, to acquire the glorious Privilege of a Martyr; though, in a large Sense, they who died in Prison, or during their Sufferings by Want, or in their Banishment were killed by Thieves or wild

Beasts, and even those who, administering to their FellowChristians in the Time of a Plague, lost their Lives, were called Martyrs, and intitled to the Privileges that were thought to belong to that State.

Q. What Privileges were alligned 10 Martyrs by the Primitive Christians?

A. That upon their Death they were immediately admitted to the Beatific Vision; while other Souls waited for the Day of Judgment to complete their Happiness. That God would grant chiefly to their Prayers the haftening of his Kingdom, and the thortening of the Times of Perlecution. That they should have the greatest Share in the Resurrection of the Just, which was called the first Refurreétion; which was the most confiderable, because the Primitive Christians looked upon the End of the World as near at hand ; And many believed that those who were Partakers of the first Resurrection should reign with Christ a thousand Years upon Earth. That the Martyrs, and some other perfect Souls, should re

ceive no Hurt or Prejudice from the general Conflagration of the World, when others less perfect should be purged by that universal Fire from the Dross they had contracted in Life. That Martyrdom supplied the Grace conveyed both by Baptism and the holy Eucharist, and intitled Men to the Benefit of those Sacraments, viz. Remission of Sins. The Martyrs had also à considerable Hand in absolving Penitents, who, through Fear of suffering, had lapsed into Idolatry, and in restoring them to the Communion of the Church.

Q. Wherein appears the Reasonableness and Happiness of chusing Martyrdom?

A. In that a Man prefers a future Good, infinitely valuable in itself, and eternal as to its Du. ration, before a present Satisfaction, which in its own Nature is mixed and imperfect, as well as short and uncertain in respect of its Continuance, ibe Sufferings of the present Time being not wortby to Rom. viii. be compared with the Glory that shall be revealed. 18. Now this was always, in the Account of the wifest Men, esteemed a great Piece of Prudence, to part with a little at present for a far greater future Advantage. Besides God, who hath a Right in us, both by Creation and Redemption, and thereby hath Power to dispose of us as he pleaseth, hath declared he will not endure any Rival, and that we ought to be his without Reserve. And Luke xiv. the Happiness of Martyrdom consists in having an Opportunity to give the utmost Evidence of a fincere Love, and fervent Affection to our great and mighty Benefactor; in being conformed to the Likeness of Christ's Sufferings, which were endured purely upon our Account; and in ac- Rev. vii. quiring a Title to a Degree of Glory superior to 13, 14, what other Saints shall be made Partakers of. Mat. v. Which made the blessed Martyr St. Ignatius pro- .. fess, that till the Sentence of Condemnation was passed Rom.

upon

26, 27.

Epift. ad

« PredošláPokračovať »