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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