HERE BEGINNETH THE LIFE OF S. JAMES THE MORE, AND APOSTLE, AND FIRST OF THE INTERPRETATION OF HIS NAME.
This James the apostle is said James the son of Zebedee, brother of S. John the Evangelist and Boanerges, that is the son of thunder, and James the More. He was said James, son of Zebedee, not only in flesh but in the exposition of the name, for Zebedee is interpreted giving or given, and James gave himself to God by martyrdom of death, and he is given to us of God for a special patron. He is said James, brother of John, not only by flesh but by semblance of manners. For they both were of one love and of one study and of one will. They were of one love for to avenge our Lord, for when the Samaritans would not receive Jesu Christ, James and John said: If it please thee Lord let fire descend from heaven and destroy them. They were of like study for to learn, for these two were they that demanded of our Lord of the day of judgment, and of other things to come. And they asked that one of them might sit at the right side of him and that other on his left side. He was said the son of thunder, because of the sound of his predication, for he feared the evil and excited the slothful, and by the highness of his preaching he did marvels in converting them to the faith; whereof Bede saith of S. John, that he thundered so high, that if he had thundered a little higher, all the world might not have comprised him. He is said James the More, like as that other James is said James the Less. First by reason of his calling, for he was first called of Jesu Christ, secondly by reason of familiarity, for Jesu Christ was seen to have greater familiarity with him than with the Less James. Like as it appeareth at the raising of the maid, and at his holy transfiguration. Thirdly, by reason of his passion. For among all the apostles he was the first that suffered death, and he may be said More because he was first called to be an apostle, so he was first called to the glory perdurable.
OF S. JAMES THE MORE, AND APOSTLE.
No1 JAMES MISSION IN SPAIN
James the apostle, son of Zebedee, preached after the ascension of our Lord in the Jewry and Samaria, and after, he was sent into Spain for to sow there the word of Jesu Christ. But when he was there he profited but little, for he had converted unto Christ's law but nine disciples, of whom he left two there, for to preach the word of God, and took the other seven with him and returned again into Judea
No2 JAMES V. HERMOGENES
...and returned again into Judea. Master John Beleth saith that he converted there but one man only, and when after he preached the word of God in Judea, there was an enchanter named Hermogenes with the Pharisees, which sent Philetus his disciple to S. James for to overcome him tofore all men, and to prove his preaching false. But the apostle overcame him tofore all men reasonably, and did many miracles tofore him. Philetus then returned to Hermogenes, and approved the doctrine of James to be true, and recited to him his miracles, and said that he would be his disciple, and desired and counselled Hermogenes in like wise to be his disciple. Then Hermogenes was wroth, and by his craft and enchantments he made Philetus in such wise that he might not move, and said: Now we shall see if thy James may save thee. Then Philetus sent his child to S. James and let him have knowledge hereof. Then S. James sent to him his sudary or keverchief and said: Say to him that our Lord redresseth them that be hurt, and unbindeth them that be empeshed; and as soon as he said so, and touched the sudary, he was unbound and loosed from all the enchanting of Hermogenes, and arose up and went joyfully to S. James. Then Hermogenes was angry, and called many devils, and commanded them that they bring to him S. James bound, and Philetus with him, for to avenge him on them, lest his disciples afterwards address them against him. Then when the devils came towards S. James, they cried, howling in the air, saying: James the apostle of God have pity on us, for we burn tofore our time come. To whom James said: Wherefore come ye to me? And they said: Hermogenes hath sent us to thee and to Philetus for to bring you to him, and the angel of God hath bound us with chains of fire and tormenteth us. And James said: The angel of God shall unbind you and bring him to me bounden, but hurt him not. Then they went and took Hermogenes and bound his hands, and brought him so bound to S. James, and they said to Hermogenes: Thou hast sent us thither where we were strongly tormented and grievously bound. And then said they to S. James: Give to us power against him that we may avenge the wrongs and our embracements. And James said to them: Lo! here is Philetus tofore you, why take ye him not? They answered: We may not touch him, ne as much as a flea that is in thy couch. Then said James to Philetus: To the end that thou do good for evil, like as Christ bade us, unbind him. And then Hermogenes was all confused. And James said to him: Go thy way freely where thou wilt, for it appertaineth not to our discipline that any be converted against his will, and Hermogenes said to him: I know well the ire of the devils, but if thou give to me somewhat of thine that I may have with me, they shall slay me. Then S. James gave to him his staff. Then he went and brought to the apostle all his books of his false craft and enchanting for to be burnt. But S. James, because that the odour of the burning might do evil or harm to some fools, he made them to be cast into the sea. And after he had cast his books into the sea he returned, and holding his feet said: O thou deliverer of souls, receive me penitent, and him that hath sustained till now missaying of thee. And then began he to be perfect in the dread of God our Lord, so that many virtues were done by him afterward.
No3 JACOB'S DEATH
And when the Jews saw Hermogenes converted they were all moved of envy, and went unto S. James and blamed him because that he preached Christ crucified. And he approved clearly the coming and passion of our Lord Jesu Christ in such wise that many believed in our Lord. Abiathar, which was bishop that year, moved the people against him, and then they put a cord about his neck and brought him to Herod Agrippa. And when he was led to be beheaded by the commandment of Herod, a man having the palsy cried to him. And he gave him health and said: In the name of Jesu Christ, for whom I am led to be beheaded, arise thou and be all whole, and bless our Lord thy Maker. And anon he arose and was all whole. A scribe named Josias, which put the cord about his neck and drew him, seeing this miracle fell down to his feet and demanded of him forgiveness and that he might be christened; and when Abiathar saw that, he made him to be taken, and said to him: But if thou curse the name of Christ thou shalt be beheaded with him. To whom Josias said: Be thou accursed, and accursed be all thy Gods, and the name of our Lord Jesu Christ be blessed world without end. Then Abiathar commanded to smite him on the mouth with fists, and sent a message to Herod, and gat consent that he should be beheaded with James. And when they should be beheaded both, S. James desired a potful of water of him that should smite off their heads, and therewith he baptized Josias, and then anon they were both beheaded and suffered martyrdom. S. James was beheaded the eighth kalends of April on our Lady's day of the Annunciation, and the eighth kalends of August he was translated to Compostella. And the third kalends of January he was buried, for the making of his sepulchre was from August unto January, and therefore the church hath established that his feast shall be hallowed in the eighth kalends of August, whereas is most convenable time.
No4 JAMES V. LUPA
And as Master John Beleth saith, which made this translation diligently: When the blessed S. James was beheaded, his disciples took the body away by night for fear of the Jews, and brought it into a ship, and committed unto the will of our Lord the sepulture of it, and went withal into the ship without sail or rudder. And by the conduct of the angel of our Lord they arrived in Galicia in the realm of Lupa. There was in Spain a queen that had to name, and also by deserving of her life, Lupa, which is as much to say in English as a she-wolf. And then the disciples of S. James took out his body and laid it upon a great stone. And anon the stone received the body into it as it had been soft wax, and made to the body a stone as it were a sepulchre. Then the disciples went to Lupa the queen, and said to her: Our Lord Jesu Christ hath sent to thee the body of his disciple, so that him that thou wouldest not receive alive thou shalt receive dead, and then they recited to her the miracle by order; how they were come without any governaile of the ship and required of her place convenable for his holy sepulture. And when the queen heard this, she sent them unto a right cruel man, by treachery and by guile, as Master Beleth saith, and some say it was to the king of Spain, for to have his consent of this matter, and he took them and put them in prison. And when he was at dinner the angel of our Lord opened the prison and let them escape away all free. And when he knew it, he sent hastily knights after, for to take them, and as these knights passed to go over a bridge, the bridge brake and overthrew, and they fell in the water and were drowned.
No5 RUPTURE OF THE DRAGON
And when he heard that he repented him and doubted for himself and for his people, and sent after them, praying them for to return, and that he would do like as they would themselves. And then they returned and converted the people of that city unto the faith of God. And when Lupa the queen heard this, she was much sorrowful, and when they came again to her they told to her the agreement of the king. She answered: Take the oxen that I have in yonder mountain, and join ye and yoke them to my cart or chariot, and bring ye then the body of your master, and build ye for him such a place as ye will, and this she said to them in guile and mockage, for she knew well that there were no oxen but wild bulls, and supposed that they should never join them to her chariot, and if they were so joined and yoked to the chariot, they would run hither and thither, and should break the chariot, and throw down the body and slay them. But there is no wisdom against God. And then they, that knew nothing the evil courage of the queen, went up on the mountain, and found there a dragon casting fire at them, and ran on them. And they made the sign of the cross and he brake it on two pieces. And then they made the sign of the cross upon the bulls, and anon they were meek as lambs.
Then they took them and yoked them to the chariot, and took the body of S. James with the stone that they had laid it on, and laid on the chariot, and the wild bulls without governing or driving of any body drew it forth unto the middle of the palace of the queen Lupa.
And when she saw this she was abashed and believed and was christened, and delivered to them all that they demanded, and dedicated her palace into a church and endowed it greatly, and after ended her life in good works.
Bernard, a man of the bishopric of Mutina, as Calixtus the pope saith, was taken and enchained and put into a deep tower, and called always the blessed S. James, so that S. James appeared to him and said: Come and follow me into Galicia, and then his bonds brake and S. James vanished away. And he went up into the high tower, and his bonds in his neck, and sprang down without hurting, and it was well sixty cubits of height. And as Bede saith: There was a man that had done a foul sin, of which the bishop doubted to assoil him, and sent him to S. James with a schedule in which the sin was written; and when he had laid the schedule upon the altar, on the day of S. James he prayed S. James, that by his merits his sin might be forgiven and defaced. And after, he opened the schedule and found the sin effaced and struck out. And then he thanked God and S. James.