Imágenes de páginas

It is probable, that Peter was placed, for a time at least, as Bishop at Antioch; and St. John, as Metropolitan, at Ephesus; and the Apostles would not have been acting in accordance with the long-suffering of Christ towards Jerusalem, if they had not placed one of their own number there, as Chief Pastor "of the lost sheep of the House of Israel '.'’

[ocr errors]

Besides, we find notice of the ordination of St. Matthias to the Apostolic office, in the Acts of the Apostles. We find, in the same book, a notice of the ordination of Saul and Barnabas to the same office3. And in like manner, if James, Bishop of Jerusalem, had not been already ordained to the Apostolic office, we might reasonably expect to find, in the Acts of the Apostles, some notice of his ordination to that office at Jerusalem, of which he is already exercising the functions, when he is presented to us in the Acts of the Apostles'.

[ocr errors]

4. It has been alleged, that if James, the brother of our Lord, had been an Apostle, and Jude, his brother, an Apostle, then we should not have the names of the sons of Cleophas and Mary arranged in the following order by two Evangelists, in the New Testament. 'James, and Joses, and Simon, and Jude';" and again, James, and Joses, and Jude, and Simon';" but that Jude would be placed before Joses.

[ocr errors]

But to this it may be answered, that those Evangelists are citing the names as spoken by the people of Nazareth, who were disparaging the credit of Christ, and would care little, and perhaps did not know, who among His brethren were Apostles, and who were not.

It is true, that the Evangelists themselves sometimes describe Mary, the wife of Cleophas, or Clopas, as the mother of "James and Joses," who was not an Apostle, to the omission of Jude'; and she is sometimes described as the mother of James only. Perhaps Jude was the youngest of her sons; and however this may be, the allegation in question does not affect the claim of James, the brother of our Lord, who is always placed first in the list, to be recognized as an Apostle.

It is also true, that the testimonies of the writers of the second, third, and fourth centuries are not uniform and consistent on this question.

Some were of opinion that James, the Lord's brother, was not the same as James the son of Alphæus, and was not an Apostle 10. But after passing through a period of doubt and discussion, the Western Church seems to have been settled in the opinion that James the Lord's brother, the author of the Epistle, was also an Apostle"; and this opinion has been adopted in many Ancient Versions of this Epistle, and is embodied by the Church of England in her Liturgical offices for the Festival of St. Philip and St. James 13.


[blocks in formation]


10 So Gregory Nyssen. de Resurr. orat. ii. vol. iii. p. 413. Chrysost. in Matt. hom. 5, and in Act. hom. 33. Jerome, in Isa. xvii., and in Gal. i. 19.


11 He is called an Apostle by Clement of Alexandria, Pædag. ii. c. 2, quoted by Tillemont, i. p. 283, and in Eusebius ii. 1. ment is quoted as saying, that there were two persons called James, one the James who was beheaded (i. e. the son of Zebedee), the other, James the Just, the Bishop of Jerusalem, and he is called 'an Apostle' by Origen, in Rom. lib. iv. pp. 535, 536, and by Athanasius, c. Arian. iii. p. 511, and by Theodoret, in Gal. i. 19.

See also Jerome ad Paulin. ep. 50, "Jacobus, Petrus, Joannes, Judas, Apostoli," and c. Helvid. c. 7. He is constantly called Apostolus by S. Augustine.

12 E. g. the Vulgate, Syriac, Arabic, and Æthiopic, where this Epistle is entitled the Epistle of James the Apostle.

13 See the Collect and Epistle for that Day. Compare Bp. Pearson in Act. Apostolorum, Lect. iv. p. 350, ed. Churton, where he expresses himself in favour of the opinion that St. James the Bishop of Jerusalem was an Apostle. It is also maintained with force and clearness by the late learned Editor of an Analysis of Bp. Pearson's Work, Dr. W. H. Mill, in his dissertation on the Brotherhood of Jesus, p. 240; and by one of Bp. Pearson's worthiest successors in the Chair of the Lady Margaret's Professorship of Divinity at Cambridge, the Rev. J. J. Blunt, whose words may be cited here. (Lectures on the History of the Early Church, p. 70.)

"St. James, another of the Apostles of the greatest distinction, was yet more circumscribed in the range of his personal services, Jerusalem itself being the compass within which they were VOL. II.-PART IV.

[ocr errors]

confined. There were two of this name amongst the Apostles: the one, the son of Zebedee and brother of John, sufficiently distinguished from any other by his parentage and relationship, and soon ceasing to create any confusion in the Annals of the Twelve by disappearing from the scene altogether, being killed of Herod by the sword (Acts xii. 2); the other, presented to us in the Sacred History under several designations, but still the identity of the individual under them all probably admitting of being proved.. Among the women who stood watching the crucifixion, were, according to St. Mark, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the less' (Mark xv. 40. According to St. John, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the wife of Cleophas,' John xix. 25); therefore we conclude that Mary the mother of James the Less was the same as Mary the wife of Cleophas, or, in other words, that James the Less was the son of Cleophas. But James the Apostle, according to St. Matthew, was the son of Alphæus (Matt. x. 3), which is merely another pronunciation of the same Hebrew name; so that James the Apostle and James the Less were one and the same person, the son of Mary the wife of Cleophas, who is further described in the passage of St. John already referred to, as Jesus' mother's sister, and accordingly St. James is discovered to be the cousin of our Lord, or, as he is elsewhere called in the language of the Hebrews, The Lord's brother' (Gal. i. 19); a circumstance which perhaps secured to him the primacy of the Church of Jerusalem, as episcopal chairs were afterwards assigned to the grandsons of St. Jude, related in the same degree to our Lord, for a similar reason. (Hegesipp. apud Eus. iii. c. 20.) In Jerusalem, then, he exercised his high functions, and from Jerusalem he wrote his Catholic Epistle, the internal evidence of which indicates a date later than the death of St. James the brother of St. John, to whom some have ascribed it, an event which must have occurred as early as A.D. 43 or A. D. 44. For that Epistle deals with errors and defects of the Church as if they were already chronic, and, moreover, anticipates, from no great distance it may be thought, the calamity which was coming on the country in the downfall of Jerusalem.- Go to now, ye that say, To-day or to-morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: whereas ye know not what shall C

II. On the designation of St. James as "the Lord's Brother."

What is the relationship to Christ, which is indicated by this title?

On this point there were two opinions in ancient times.

1. That "the Lord's Brethren " were children of Joseph by a former marriage'.

2. That they were children of Cleophas and Mary the adeλon of our Lord's mother; and so were adexpoì of Christ; and that the word adeλpoì, as applied to them, does not mean children of the same parent or parents, but near kinsmen or cousins 2.

It has been alleged by some, that this opinion is not earlier than the age of S. Jerome. But the testimony cited above from Papias, shows that it is of a more ancient date.

3. A third opinion has been adopted by some in recent times, viz. that James and his brothers, Jude, Joses, and Simon, and also his sisters, mentioned Matt. xiii. 56; Mark vi. 3, were children of Joseph and Mary the Mother of our Lord; and so were literally brothers and sisters of our Lord. This third opinion, however, has no ground in the testimony of primitive Christian Antiquity. Not a single Christian writer who lived in the Apostolic age, or for two hundred years after the Apostles, can be cited as saying that James the Bishop of Jerusalem, or any of those who are called our Lord's brothers and sisters in the New Testament, were children of Mary the Mother of our Lord. And when the opinion, that they were her children, was first broached, as it was by Helvidius in the fourth century, it was condemned as novel and erroneous by S. Jerome', who wrote a Treatise against it, and it has been proscribed by the general consent of the Eastern and Western Churches, and by the most learned and judicious divines of our own Church; and this notion of Helvidius, and of those who were called Helvidians, was even included by S. Augustine in a catalogue of heresies".

Besides, if the blessed Virgin had several children living at the time of the Crucifixion, and one of them, St. James, of such approved piety as to be called James the Just, and to be appointed Bishop of Jerusalem,—and all of them were united in prayer with the Apostles and Blessed Virgin on the day of the Ascension of Christ,-it seems improbable, that our Lord should not have commended His Mother to the care of St. James, or to that of any other of her children, and His own brothers by blood; and that He should have said to His Mother, "Woman, behold thy son," meaning thereby St. John; and that from that hour she should have been taken by St. John to his own home".

Again, we know from the Gospels that


(1) Mary the wife of Cleophas, or Clopas, was the adeλon of Mary the mother of Christ 1o. (2) That Mary the wife of Cleophas had sons whose names were James and Joses; and probably also Jude";

be on the morrow;' and again yet more significantly, 'The coming of the Lord draweth nigh.' Still, however far the decrees established at Jerusalem might reach, and whatever might be the circulation of his Epistle, in Jerusalem, as I have said, he constantly abode, and thus gave still more vital force to the action of that heart of Christendom, till death, in his case a violent one, overtook him. For the Jews, incensed at the progress of Christianity, and profiting by the anarchy of the moment, when, Festus dead, and his successor not yet appointed, they could do what seemed good in their own sight, urged St. James to address the people of Jerusalem at the Passover, numbers being assembled, and a riot apprehended, and inform them rightly concerning Jesus, disabusing them of their confidence in Him, and allaying the feverish expectation of His advent. In order that he might be the better heard, they set him on a wing of the temple; but when the reply of James to their violent and importunate appeal proved to be, Why question ye me concerning Jesus the Son of Man? He is now sitting in the heavens at the right hand of power, and is about to come in the clouds of heaven,' they put him effectually to silence, by casting him down headlong, and afterwards despatching him with a fuller's club." Euseb. Eccl. Hist. ii. c. 23.

[ocr errors]

1 Origen in Matt. xiii., in Johann. ii. Euseb. ii. 1, öri dǹ kal αὐτὸς τοῦ Ἰωσὴφ ὠνόμαστο παῖς. Epiphan. hæres. 28 and 88. Hilary in Matt. i. Compare Lardner, ch. xvi., and Dr. W. H. Mill, pp. 260-269, who supposes that this opinion took its origin from Apocryphal Gospels; as also the other opinion that St. James, the brother of our Lord, was not an Apostle.

2 This is the statement of St. John's disciple Papias (see on Matt. xii. 46), and of Jerome c. Helvid. c. 7 and c. 8, and in Matt. xii., and Script. Eccl. 4, and of Theodoret in Galat. i. 19, who says that James was the son of an adeλøǹ of the Blessed Virgin, and was an aveviòs of Jesus Christ. Cp. S. Augustine in Joann. Tract. 28, contra Faustum xxii. 45.

[blocks in formation]

3 E. g. Herder, Credner, Meyer, De Wette, Wiesinger, Huther, Einleitung, p. 7. Alford, Proleg. to St. James, sect. i.

The opinion that they were cousins of our Lord has been defended by many recent continental writers, Schneckenburger, Olshausen, Glöckler, Kühn. See Winer, R. W. B. i. p. 566. 4 S. Jerome adv. Helvidium, tom. iv. p. 130.

5 In the words of Lardner, chap. xvi., "It has been the opinion of all Christians in general, that Mary never had any children by Joseph."

6 It may suffice to refer to Bp. Pearson on the Creed, Art. iii. pp. 328-333, and Hooker, V. xlv. 2, and Dr. W. H. Mill's Dissertation on the Brotherhood of Jesus, pp. 221–316.

7 S. Augustine, hær. 84, "Helvidiani exorti sunt ab Helvidio; ita Virginitati Mariæ contradicunt, ut eam post Christum alios quoque liberos de viro suo Joseph peperisse contendant." See also Prædestinat. de hær. 84.

8 Acts i. 13.

9 John xix. 27. This argument has been already stated by ancient Christian writers. S. Hilary in Matt. i., writing against some whom he condemns in strong language for saying that James was the son of Mary, the Mother of our Lord, thus speaks, "Verum homines pravissimi hinc præsumunt opinionis suæ auctoritatem, quod plures Dominum nostrum fratres habuisse traditum est; qui si Mariæ filii essent, nunquam in tempore passionis Joanni Apostolo transcripta esset in matrem." The same argument is urged by S. Chrysostom in Matt. hom 5, and S. Epiphanius, Hær. 78.

10 John xix. 25.

11 Matt. xxvii. 56. Mark xv. 40. Luke xxiv. 10, compared with Jude 1.

(3) That three of our Lord's adeλpoì were also named James, Joses, and Jude'.

It is therefore highly probable from this identity of three names, and from the relationship between Mary the mother of our Lord, and Mary the wife of Cleophas, that the James, Joses, and Jude, who were sons of Mary the wife of Cleophas, were no other persons than the James, Jude, and Joses, who are called "brethren of the Lord."

But here it may be said; it is not likely that two sisters should both be called by the same name Mary, and therefore James and our Lord could not have been first cousins.

Let this be allowed; and then it may be suggested, that when Mary the wife of Clopas is called the adeλøǹ of Mary the Blessed Virgin, as she is by St. John 2, the word ådeλoǹ is not to be taken in its literal acceptation of sister in blood, but, according to Scripture use, means a cousin, or near relative.

This is probable; and this use of ådeλøǹ in her case, would also explain the use of the word ådeλpoì in the case of her children James, Joses, and Jude. They are called in Scripture ådeλpoì of our Lord; she is called in Scripture the ȧdeλøǹ of His mother. Perhaps, Mary their mother was the cousin of the Virgin Mary His mother: and they were second cousins of her ever-blessed Son.

The above observations are offered to the reader's consideration with feelings of diffidence. The questions which have been now examined (namely, whether St. James the Less was an Apostle, and what is the precise relationship which is expressed by his appellation "the Lord's brother 3"), exercised the ingenuity of many learned writers in the earlier ages of the Church, who possessed ancient documentary aids for the solution of them, which are not now extant.

It would therefore be presumptuous to dogmatize upon these two points.

Rather we may reasonably believe, that a providential purpose may be subserved even by the uncertainty which surrounds them. The Holy Spirit, if He had been so pleased, might have made them perfectly clear by a few additional words in Holy Scripture; but He has not done so. He foreknew the doubts which would arise in the Church in regard to these questions. There is therefore a moral in His reserve; there is a meaning in His silence.

And what is that? Perhaps by such difficulties as these He designed to make us more thankful for those essential verities of saving doctrine, which are fully revealed to us in Holy Writ. There seems also to be a special lesson to be learnt from the particular questions which have now passed under review. The Holy Spirit has thrown a veil over the personal history of the Blessed Virgin. He has not clearly disclosed to us the precise nature of the relationship which is indicated in Holy Scripture by His own words "the Lord's brethren," "the Lord's sisters." And why was this? Might it not be, in order to wean our hearts from laying too much stress on carnal relationships even to Christ Himself? Might it not be, for the purpose of reminding us of the high and holy nature of our own privileges as brethren and sisters of Christ, by virtue of our own incorporation in His mystical body, and our relation to our heavenly Father by filial adoption, in His Everblessed Son? Might it not be, for the sake of inculcating more forcibly that holy and joyful truth, which Christ Himself vouchsafed to declare to us, when He said, "Who is My Mother? and who are My Brethren? And He stretched forth His hand toward His disciples, and said, Behold My mother and My brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of My Father which is in heaven, the same is My brother, and sister, and mother"."

This divine truth-that brotherhood to Christ consists in obedience to His heavenly Father,is the sum and substance of this Epistle, written by St. James, the Lord's Brother.

V. The canonical authority, and Divine Inspiration of this Epistle, are abundantly attested by early Christian writers, and by the consent of the ancient Church Universal, and the fact that

1 Matt. xiii. 55. Mark vi. 3.

2 xix. 25.

3 Since this Introduction was written, the author has had the pleasure of finding its statements and reasonings confirmed in an excellent article on St. James by the Rev. F. Meyrick, in Dr. W. Smith's Dictionary of the Bible.

4 Matt. xii. 48-50. See also His saying in Luke xi. 27, 28. 5 See the reference to it more or less clear by Clemens Romanus, Hippolytus, Hermas, Clemens Alexandrinus, Origen, Eusebius, cited by Lardner, Athanasius, Jerome, and others.

[blocks in formation]



many sentences of it were adopted and incorporated by St. Peter in his first Epistle', is a sufficient proof of the esteem in which it was held by the Apostles.


VI. The date of the Epistle must be placed before the Passover of A.D. 62, when St. James was martyred by the rulers of the Jews, who were disappointed and exasperated by the escape of St. Paul from their hands, A.D. 61, and turned their rage against St. James who remained at Jerusalem; and it was posterior to St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans, which was written A.D. 58; and it is not unlikely that the fury of the Jews, which vented itself in the murder of St. James, was excited by the publication of this Epistle'; and it bears internal evidence of having been written at a time when the sins of Jerusalem were being filled up to the brim, and the time of her probation was drawing near to its close, and the day of her destruction at hand. It was probably written about A.D. 60 of the common era.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]



I. 1



ΙΑΚΩΒΟΣ, Θεοῦ καὶ Κυρίου Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ δοῦλος, ταῖς δώδεκα 4 John 7. 35. φυλαῖς ταῖς ἐν τῇ διασπορᾷ χαίρειν.

2 ν Πᾶσαν χαρὰν ἡγήσασθε, ἀδελφοί μου, ὅταν πειρασμοῖς περιπέσητε ποι

1. 'lákwBos] James, a servant of God, and of the Lord Jesus Christ. Concerning the Author of this Epistle, see above, Introduction.

He does not call himself an Apostle. Neither does St. Paul, in his Epistles to the Thessalonians, Philemon, and the Philip pians (see on 1 Thess. i. 1, and Phil. i. 1). Nor St. John, in his Epistles, or Apocalypse.

It cannot, therefore, be hence inferred, that James, the author of this Epistle, was not an Apostle. He might be induced to forego the Apostolic title by feelings of modesty, a grace which specially characterizes the writer, "James the Less" (Mark xv. 40), who does not speak to his readers as his children, but as his brethren, see below on v. 2.

He might also be induced to withhold the Apostolic title, because he did not go forth as an Apostle, to preach to those whom he addresses, but remained stationary at Jerusalem until his death in that city.

He also foregoes two other titles, which belonged to him, viz. "the Lord's brother" (cp. Jude 1) and "Bishop of Jerusalem" (see Acts xxi. 18).

ταῖς δώδεκα φυλαΐς] to the twelve tribes that are in the dispersion. On the various diaσropal, or dispersions of the Jews, see above, note on Acts ii. 9-11.

The address is general to the twelve tribes; not only to the Jewish Christians, but to the Jews also, to whom some of the latter portions of the Epistle are specially applicable, see iv. 1. 4. 8, v. 1-6, and above, Introduction. As is observed here by Bede, "James writes not only to those who suffered persecution for righteousness' sake, nor only to them who believed in Christ, but were not careful to maintain good works: but he writes also to those who persecuted the believers; and he exhorts the unbelieving Jews to repent of their guilt in crucifying Christ, and in their other criminal acts, in order that they may escape the Divine Vengeance now hanging over their heads." So Estius, Grotius, Hammond, Lardner, and others.

Hence in the beginning of this Epistle there is no announcement of Grace, Mercy, and Peace, nor is there any such expression at its close. In this respect this Epistle stands alone in the New Testament.

James the "brother of the Lord," who came to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matt. x. 16,—and Bishop of Jerusalem, had a special labour of love to perform to the twelve tribes. "Jure Jacobus circumcisionis Apostolus his qui ex circumcisione sunt scribit" (Didymus). The reader may observe throughout this Epistle many points of resemblance to the Gospel of St. Matthew (see below, i. 26. 27; ii. 13; iii. 1. 18; iv. 9; v. 6. 12, 13), the Gospel specially designed for the Jews, see above, Introduction to the Four Gospels, p. xli, and to St. Matthew, pp. xlix-lii. In the Synopsis Scripturæ inserted in the works of S. Athanasius (tom. ii. p. 55), there is mention of a tradition that "Evangelium secundum Matthæum hebraicâ dialecto conscriptum et editum Hierosolymis, et interpretante Jacobo fratre Domini secundum carnem expositum, qui et primus à sanctis Apostolis Hierosolymarum Episcopus constitutus est."

The Epistle is addressed to the twelve tribes in the dispersion. How,-it may be asked,-could copies of it be trans

Acts 2. 5. & 8. 1. & 15. 21. 1 Pet. 1. 1.

b Matt. 5. 11, 12. Rom. 5. 3. Heb. 10. 34. 1 Pet. 1. 6.

mitted to those twelve tribes, scattered abroad throughout the world? See John vii. 35.

The answer is, By God's good providence, the Temple at Jerusalem was allowed to stand for forty years after the Crucifixion. Jews and Jewish Christians resorted to it year after year for the great annual Festivals (cp. Acts xviii. 21). St. James remained at Jerusalem as Bishop of that city (Acts xxi. 18). Thus he could communicate with them; and they could carry copies of the Epistle to their several homes throughout the world; and so in this respect, as in many others, the pilgrim tribes of the Law became preachers of the Gospel. See above on Acts ii. 1.

xaípew] salvere: greeting. This form of salutation is used in the apostolic decree of the Council of Jerusalem, framed, probably, by St. James, Bishop of Jerusalem, Acts xv. 23, and is not employed by any other writer of the N. T.

[ocr errors]

2. Tâσav xapàv nyhσaσbe] count it all joy. Do not deem it sorrow, but regard it rather as joy-joy unmixed with sorrow : merum gaudium existimate;" like a vessel containing pure and agreeable beverage, and filled up to the brim; count even sorrow to be joy, and only joy, as the Apostles did, Acts v. 41, and as St. Paul did, Col. i. 24, and as our Lord commands his disciples to do, Luke vi. 22, 23.

On this use of râs, see Huther here, who quotes Homer, Od. xi. 507, Tтãσaν àλhleιav μvenσoμaι, and cp. Winer, § 18, p. 101. So merus in Latin: "accipies meros amores" (Catull. xiii. 9), and "mera libertas,' 19 66 ærugo mera," " sermo merus (Horat.).

This precept, inculcating patience under trial, was suggested by the circumstances of the Jewish Christians to whom St. James was writing, and who were exposed to peculiar hardships and sufferings from the malice of their Jewish fellow-countrymen, treating them as Apostates; and were thus tempted to faint and faiter in the faith. This their condition has been already presented to our view in the Acts of the Apostles, see on ii. 44, and in the first Epistle to the Thessalonians (1 Thess. ii. 14, 15), and in the Epistle to the Hebrews. See Heb. iv. 1; vi. 1-10; x. 34, and Introduction to that Epistle, toward the end.

Besides, the Twelve Tribes in the dispersion, who were without home, or nation, and were soon about to witness the destruction of the Temple and City of Jerusalem, to which they had hitherto resorted at stated times, needed special consolation. They were to be cheered by the assurance that, wherever they were, they might find a home in Christ, and a Jerusalem in His Church," ipsis debuit consolatio præstari,qui maximè videbantur affligi." Cassiodorus.

Hence St. James begins with inculcating the duty of patience; and the blessedness of endurance under temptation.

St. James says, Count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations, or trials; but he also warns them against the notion that they are at liberty to run into temptation, or that temptation is from God (see below, v. 13). No, they must pray that He would not lead them into temptation (see on Matt. vi. 13), and no temptation is from God (see below, v. 13). But God sometimes allows His servants to be tempted, as He did Job (i. 12; ii. 5), and St. Paul (2 Cor. xii. 7), in order that His grace may be magnified in them and by them, and that they may attain an increase of glory by overcoming the Tempter, as Christ did. And

« AnteriorContinuar »