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James The Great








The next martyr we meet with, according to St. Luke, in the History of
the Apostles' Acts, was James the son of Zebedee, the elder brother of
John, and a relative of our Lord; for his mother Salome was
cousin-german to the Virgin Mary. It was not until ten years after the
death of Stephen, that the second martyrdom took place; for no sooner
had Herod Agrippa been appointed governor of Judea, than, with a view to
ingratiate himself with them, he raised a sharp persecution against the
christians, and determined to make an effectual blow, by striking at
their leaders. The account given us by an eminent primitive writer,
Clemens Alexandrinus, ought not to be overlooked; that, as James was led
to the place of martyrdom, his accuser was brought to repent of his
conduct by the apostle's extraordinary courage and undauntedness, and
fell down at his feet to request his pardon, professing himself a
christian, and resolving that James should not receive the crown of
martyrdom alone. Hence they were both beheaded at the same time. Thus
did the first apostolic martyr cheerfully and resolutely receive that
cup, which he had told our Saviour he was ready to drink. Timon and
Parmenas suffered martyrdom about the same time; the one at Phillippi,
and the other in Macedonia. These events took place A. D. 44.





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Previous: St Stephen



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