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W. Garrett Horder, comp. The Poets’ Bible: New Testament. 1895.

St. James, the Apostle

John Samuel Bewley Monsell (1811–1875)

‘And they immediately left the ship, and their father, and followed Him.’—MATT. IV. 22.

THE CHURCH of God, with equal care,

Her blessings and her work doth share

With all, both high and low;

Her holiest is her highest place,

No rank but that of growth in grace,

Her loving heart doth know.

She, at the poor man’s cottage door,

Stands blessing all his simple store,

And finds, in his abode,

Oftimes the fairest gifts that can

Be offer’d, by unworthy man,

To an all-holy God.

The darling child, who from his youth

Hath grown in stature and in truth,

His parents’ prop and pride,

Hath stoop’d his shoulder to the cross,

Hath gain’d a life of worldly loss,

And for his Saviour died.

He left the cottage home so dear,

Dash’d from his eye the starting tear,

And bade a long farewell

To the low roof, and creeping vine

That round that blessed spot doth twine,

Where home’s beloved ones dwell.

He bore the cross to foreign lands,

O’er frozen seas and burning sands,

He bade its banner wave;

There, with the sword of God’s good word,

Won souls, by thousands to the Lord,

Then found a martyr’s grave.

Think not his sacrifice was small;

Poor home! poor parents! they were all

His sum of earthly bliss!

The rough, but old familiar spot

Can never be by him forgot,

In the next world or this.

Up to the latest hour of life,

Through all its changeful calm and strife,

That memory did come

Like a soft breath of summer air,

And the last words he breathed in prayer,

They were of Heav’n and home.

The poor man’s son, though simply rear’d,

His home doth hold as much endear’d

As do the richest theirs;

The scene of all his early years,

Hallow’d alike by smiles and tears,

By pleasures, and by cares.

If he with earnest heart doth bring

To God this free-will offering,

The firstling of his store;

Tho’ richer men may deem it small,

Yet, if he give to God his all,

What can he offer more?

And thus the mem’ry of St. James

In cottage homes affection claims,

When in some poor abode,

The child of many hopes and prayers,

Despite of added household cares,

Is offer’d up to God.

The fisher’s son without delay,

To Christ obedient shows the way

The poor for God may take;

How England’s cottage-homes may yield

Strong labourers for the harvest field

To toil for Jesus’ sake.

And not alone in learning’s haunt,

And palace-homes, all that we want

For the great work is found;

Bold soldiers of the Cross, and true,

Amongst the very humblest too,

With willing hearts abound.

O Saviour of the world! Thy call,

In cottage-home, and palace-hall

Is wanting, to supply

Those, who, like James, their fisher’s net,

Or Paul, their learned lore forget,

For Thee to live and die.