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II. In another respect the Epistle of St. James holds a peculiar place.

At first, perhaps, a reader may be surprised, that it contains so little of explicit statement of the peculiar doctrines of Christianity, as distinguished from natural religion, or from the Mosaic Law. But, on further consideration, the reason of this will appear.

St. James was writing an Epistle, not only for the use of Christians, but of Jews'; and of Jews who at that time were exasperated against Christianity.

In this respect the Epistle of St. James may be compared to the speech of St. Stephen, pleading the cause of Christ before the Sanhedrim at Jerusalem.

That holy Martyr had the love of Jesus in his heart; but the name of Jesus never broke forth from his lips, till the close of his speech, when his murderers were stoning him, and he cried, "Lord JESUS, receive my spirit "."

So St. James. He has the faith of Christ in his heart; and writes from a deep inner feeling of love to Christ; and inculcates those Christian virtues, which are genuine fruits of faith working by love. He has also, like St. Stephen, a solemn message to deliver to the Jews, who did not believe. Hence he practises a holy and reverential reserve; and like that blessed Martyr, he will not expose that holy Name to contumelious blasphemy".

He has a warning to speak to them from Christ. "Ye killed the Just One, He no longer resisteth you"." "The Judge standeth at the door "."

Almighty God gave to the Jews a period of forty years for repentance, after the Crucifixion of Christ. That period was now near its end. Doubtless many of the Jews, who came to Jerusalem for the three Annual Festivals, had heard and received the Gospel from the Apostles and other Preachers of Christianity. And many at Jerusalem itself, even of the Priests themselves, had become obedient to the faith. But the Jewish Nation, as represented by its Rulers, remained obdurate. They had imprisoned Peter and John, and murdered Stephen, and persecuted the Church', and had slain James the brother of John, and endeavoured to kill Peter, and to destroy St. Paul', and in a short time they would conspire against and kill this other James, the writer of this Epistle ". In the last century of its existence, especially in the period of forty years after the Crucifixion, the City of Jerusalem was the scene of the worst crimes. It was torn by intestine factions, agitated by tumultuous riots, maddened by the wild fanatical phrenzy of false Christs and false Prophets, and deluged by blood shed by the hands of assassins ". There St. James dwelt; like Lot in Sodom.


Amid such circumstances as these, he, the Apostle and Bishop of Jerusalem, wrote this Epistle; an Epistle of warning to Jerusalem: the last warning it received from the Holy Spirit of God. He thus discharged the work of a Hebrew Prophet, and a Christian Apostle. He came forth as a Christian Jeremiah, and a Christian Malachi 12. A Jeremiah in denouncing woe; a Malachi, sealing up the roll of Divine Prophecy to Jerusalem: and not to Jerusalem only, but to the Jews throughout the world, who were connected with Jerusalem, by religious worship, and by personal resort to it on its great festal anniversaries. The Epistle of St. James is the farewell voice of Hebrew Prophecy.

It has been well said by some ", that its intrepid language of stern rebuke exasperated the leaders of the Jews, and hastened the writer's Martyrdom. And ancient authors were of opinion, that the shedding of the blood of St. James was the filling-up of the sins of Jerusalem, and made its cup of guilt to overflow ".


Its short and impassioned sentences, darted forth with vehement ejaculations, and almost with sobbings of grief, and throbbings of indignation, express the anguish of his soul 1, as he beholds the obstinate ingratitude, and malignant virulence of the Rulers of Jerusalem against the Just One, who had shed His blood to save them, and whom they still persecuted in His Church 16; and as he looks forward to the tremendous chastisement which would soon be inflicted by God's retributive justice on the guilty City. "Your gold and silver is cankered, and the rust of them

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shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as fire: ye heaped treasure together for the last days"."

Perhaps there is not a nobler specimen of heroic courage and holy eloquence, and of poetical fervour, sublimity and pathos, in the range of Hebrew Prophecy, than is to be found in the last chapter of this Epistle. There the writer, having declared the indignation of God against His people, who had rebelled against Him, suddenly changes his tone, and turns with an aspect of love and gentleness, and comforts those who were obedient, and suffering under persecution for His sake. "Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Be ye patient, stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. Behold, we count them happy which endure "."

III. Viewed in this light, the Epistle of St. James possesses a special interest and importance for Christian nations and Christian citizens, even to the end of time.


The last days of Jerusalem are, as we know from Christ Himself, prophetical and typical of the last days of the World'. The sins of the last days of Jerusalem will be the sins of the last days of the World. Hollow professions of religion, empty shows and shadows of Faith, partiality and respect of persons', slavish idolatry of riches, observance of some of God's commandments, together with open and impious defiance of others; arrogant assumption of the office of religious teaching, without due call and authority; encouragement and patronage of those who set themselves up to be spiritual guides'; sins of the tongue, evil speaking against man and God; envying and strife, factions and party feuds, wars and fightings'; adulteries 10, pride, and revelry "; low worldliness, and presumptuous self-confidence; a Babel-like building up of secular plans and projects, independently of God's will, and against it ; vainglorious display of wealth; hard-heartedness towards those by whose industry that wealth is acquired 13; self-indulgence and sensuality"; an obstinate continuance in that evil temper of unbelief which rejected and crucified Christ 15; these were the sins of the last days of Jerusalem as described by St. James: for these she was to be destroyed by God; for these she was destroyed; and her children were scattered abroad, and have now been outcasts for near two thousand years.


Here is a prophetic picture of the world's state in the last days. Here is a prophetic warning to men and nations, especially to wealthy commercial nations in the last times.

Here also is instruction and comfort for those who endure patiently, and look beyond the transitory things of this world, like husbandmen waiting for the harvest 16; and who live in habitual preparation for the second Coming of the Lord, to judge the quick and dead.

IV. Concerning the Author of this Epistle.

The writer calls himself JAMES.

No ancient author ascribes this Epistle to James the son of Zebedee, and brother of John, who was martyred by Herod Agrippa, about fourteen years after the Ascension ".

It is generally agreed, that the writer of this Epistle was James, "the brother of our Lord," and Bishop of Jerusalem 18.


That a James was our Lord's brother is evident from Holy Writ1; that James the Lord's brother was appointed Bishop of Jerusalem soon after the Ascension, is affirmed in the early records of the Church 20; that a James was Bishop of Jerusalem appears from Holy Scripture itself, especially from the Acts of the Apostles ", as elucidated and confirmed by the consent of Christian Antiquity; and the concurrent tradition of early ecclesiastical writers ascribing this Epistle to James the Lord's brother, Bishop of Jerusalem, called also James the Less 2 and James the Just 23, and also Oblias 2,-is confirmed by the internal evidence of the Epistle itself, which is addressed to

This unique character of the Epistle of St. James as distinguished from all the other twenty Epistles in the New Testament, shows itself in this particular respect, that it alone (with the exception of the First Epistle of St. John, which has no Epistolary address) has no Benediction or Message of Peace, either at the beginning or end. He was writing, not only to Christians, but to Jews; he was writing at Jerusalem, and to Jerusalem; and though her name was the City of Peace, yet since she had killed the true Melchizedek, the King of Righteousness, and King of Peace (Heb. vii. 2), and would not repent of her sins, "the things belonging to her peace were now hid from her eyes." Luke xix. 42.

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10 iv. 4.
12 iv. 13-16.
14 v. 5.
16 v. 7.

18 Euseb. ii. 23. S. Hieron. Script. Eccl. c. 2.

19 Matt. xiii. 55.

20 Euseb. ii. 1; ii. 23.

21 See Acts xii. 17; xv. 13, and particularly xxi. 18; and cp. Gal. i. 19; ii. 12.

22 Mark xv. 40. Cp. note below on i. 9.

23 Clemens Alex. in Euseb. ii. 1, and Euseb. ii. 23.

24 A word which Hegesippus (in Euseb. ii. 23) interprets as equivalent to περιοχὴ τοῦ λαοῦ. The word περιοχή is often used by the Septuagint for a strong fortress and rock (see Ps. cvii. 11. 2 Kings v. 9. 1 Chron. xi. 7); and Oblias is probably derived from, hill, or fortress (Isa. xxxii. 14. Micah iv. 8),

Jews and Jewish Christians of the dispersion, and pre-announces in prophetic language the woes coming on Jerusalem.

There remain, however, two questions to be considered in regard to the Author of this Epistle. I. Was the writer the same person as the James who is described in the Gospels as son of Alphæus, and who was one of the Twelve Apostles1?

II. What is the meaning of the appellation by which James is distinguished as the "Lord's Brother?"

I. As to the first of these questions, it seems most probable that he was an Apostle.

(1) The Apostle St. Paul, in his Epistle to the Galatians, when asserting his own claims to be received as an Apostle of Christ, on a par with the other Apostles, relates that after his Conversion he did not go up to Jerusalem, to those who were Apostles before him, but went to Arabia; and thence returned to Damascus, and after three years went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and remained with him fifteen days, but that he saw none other of the Apostles, "save James, the Lord's brother"."

The whole drift of St. Paul's argument here is to show, that he himself "was an Apostle not of men, or by men," and had learnt nothing from any other Apostle: that he had indeed gone up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and had remained with him a short time, but had not seen any other Apostle there, but James, the Lord's brother.

The natural inference from these words, especially when taken in connexion with the context, is this; that James, the Lord's brother, was an Apostle; and that he was an Apostle in the same sense as St. Peter was an Apostle, namely, as one of the Twelve.

(2) This inference is confirmed by the terms in which this same James is mentioned by St. Paul. He says that "James, Cephas, and John" were pillars of the Church; he places James before Peter and John; which he hardly would have done, if James had not been one of the Apostles as well as Bishop of Jerusalem.


(3) The Apostolic Catalogues in St. Luke's Gospel and in the Acts of the Apostles mention James the son of Alphæus, and mention "Jude', brother of James." And in several places of the Acts of the Apostles, a James is presented to us in his character as Chief Pastor at Jerusalem3. But no intimation whatever is given in that History, that this James is a different person from James the son of Alphæus, who had been specified in the same book as one of the Twelve, and as having a brother called Jude.

(4) St. Jude in his Epistle calls himself the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James. Since there was a Jude who was an Apostle, and had a brother called James, it seems most probable, that the Jude who wrote the Epistle, would have added some discriminating token by which his own brother James might be distinguished from the Apostle bearing the same name, if the James, whose brother Jude was, was not the same as James the Apostle.

(5) In the catalogue of the Apostles we find this combination, "Jude brother of James"." And if we refer to the beginning of the Epistle of St. Jude, we there read "Jude brother of James."

The Jude who wrote that Epistle is called an Apostle by ancient writers', and by the Church of England in the title to her Collect for his festival; and he would hardly have designated himself as "brother of James," if the James, whose brother he was, had been a different person from that James, who, when St. Jude wrote, was celebrated in Christendom as the Lord's brother, and Bishop of Jerusalem, and a blessed Martyr for Christ. That James was the James who was best known in the Church. Since therefore St. Jude designates and distinguishes himself as "the brother of James," therefore the James whose brother he styles himself, was the most conspicuous person of all who bore that name; viz. the brother of our Lord, and Bishop of Jerusalem; and if Jude was an Apostle, as is also asserted by ancient testimony, then since Jude the Apostle had a brother called James, who was also an Apostle; therefore the James who was Bishop of Jerusalem, and is claimed as a brother by St. Jude, was also one of the Apostles.

tower (2 Kings v. 24. 2 Chron. xxvii. 3), and y, people. Cp. Neander, Pflanzung, &c., ii. p. 486, and the remarkable passage of Eusebius, ii. 23, quoted below in the note on chap. v. 3. And if this is the true etymology, it is worthy of remark, that, he who, for his sanctity and eminence was called a bulwark of the people, and was a pillar of the Church (Gal. ii. 9), was called also, probably by his own modest desire, "James the Less."

1 Matt. x. 3.

2 See Gal. i. 16-19, and the note there.

3 Luke vi. 16. Acts i. 13.

4 This appears to be the correct interpretation of the words Ἰούδας ̓Ιακώβου. See note on Acts i. 13. 5 See Acts xii. 17, 18; xv. 13; xxi. 18. 6 Luke vi. 16. Acts i. 13.

7 See Tertullian, de cult. fem. 3. Origen in Rom. lib. v. p. 549. De Princ. iii. 2. Epiphan. Hær. 26. Hieron. in Tit. c. 1. 8 "St. Simon and St. Jude Apostles." See on Acts i. 13, 2nd edit., and below, Introduction to the Epistle of St. Jude.


(6) James the Apostle is described by St. Matthew as "son of Alphaus'." Alphæus is the same name as Cleophas, or Clopas. The wife of Clopas was called Mary'; and that Mary was adeλon of Mary the mother of Jesus'; and we find that this Mary, the wife of Clopas, was mother of James called the Less, and Joses; and James and Joses and Simon and Jude are mentioned as the names of our Lord's adeλpoì in the Gospels; where our Lord is called the adeλpòs of James and Joses and Jude and Simon. Hence we may infer, that James the adeλpòs of our Lord and Bishop of Jerusalem, who had a brother called Jude, and who was son of Clopas, which is the same name as Alphæus, was the same person as James who is called the Son of Alphaus by St. Matthew' and St. Mark, and who had a brother called Jude', and who was an Apostle.

(7) These inferences are confirmed by records of primitive Ecclesiastical testimony. Papias, a disciple of St. John, makes the following statement on this subject. He says that there are four Marys mentioned in the Gospel, namely,

1. "Mary the Mother of our Lord."

2. "Mary the wife of Cleophas or Alphæus; and mother of James the Bishop and Apostle, and of Simon, and Thaddeus (Jude) 10."

3. "Mary Salome, the wife of Zebedee."

4. "Mary Magdalene."

"These four," he adds, "are mentioned in the Gospel. James, and Jude, and Joseph (or Joses) were sons of our Lord's mother's sister "1"


(8) In the Gospel according to the Hebrews, which was of very early date, the following incident was recorded: "Soon after His Resurrection from the Dead, the Lord went to James and appeared to him. For James had sworn that he would not eat bread from the hour in which he had drunk the Cup of the Lord, until he could see Him rising from among them that sleep. And the Lord took bread and blessed and brake it, and gave it to James the Just, and said to him, 'My brother, eat thy bread, for the Son of Man is risen from among them that sleep


It is evident, that the writer of this narrative believed James the Just to be an Apostle; for the first Holy Eucharist was administered to the Twelve alone.


(9) In the Acts of the Apostles '3, we have the following list of names among the Twelve; "James the son of Alphæus, and Simon Zelotes, and Jude the brother of James;" and the same list of names thus arranged occurs in the catalogue of Apostles in St. Luke's Gospel ".

In the Gospels of St. Matthew 15 and Mark 16 we have the following three names of "our Lord's brethren;""James, Simon, and Jude;" arranged in this order.

The name Simon is only another form of Symeon". We learn also from Ecclesiastical History, that Symeon (or Simon) the son of Clopas (or Alphæus), and one of the Lord's brethren, succeeded his brother James in the Bishopric of Jerusalem 1; and the ground on which he was appointed to that office appears to have been, that he was a brother of our Lord.


These circumstances are confirmatory of the opinion, that "James, Simon, and Jude," who are mentioned in the Apostolic Catalogue, are the same as "James, Simon, and Jude" who are mentioned as "" our Lord's brethren 19."

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We arrive therefore at the conclusion that James, the Author of this Epistle, and brother of our Lord, and Bishop of Jerusalem, was also an Apostle.

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10 The same name as Jude. See on Matt. x. 3, compared with Luke vi. 16. Acts i. 13.

11 This fragment of Papias may be seen in Grabe, Spicilegium ii. pp. 34, 35. Routh, Reliq. Sacr. i. p. 16, and above in the note on Matt. xii. 46. See also Dr. W. H. Mill "On the Brotherhood of Jesus," p. 238. Compare the authorities cited in the notes above, on Matt. x. 3; xiii. 55; xxviii. 1. Mark iii. 18. John. xix. 25. Acts xii. 17; xxi. 18. 1 Cor. ix. 5, and on Gal. i. 19, and Professor Ellicott's note there. The genuineness of the fragment has been questioned by some, because it exists only in

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On the other hand, the identity of James the son of Alphæus, the Apostle, with James the Bishop of Jerusalem, has been main

1. That St. John records the following speech of St. Peter to Christ, "Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life; and we have believed (Teπiσteúkaμev) and know (éyvókaμev) that Thou art the Christ." Jesus answered, "Did I not choose you Twelve, and one of you is a Devil." He was speaking of Judas Iscariot, for he was about to betray Him, being one of the Twelve'. In the next Chapter to this, St. John narrates, that the Feast of Tabernacles was at hand;' and "His brethren said to him, Depart hence and go into Judæa, that Thy disciples also may behold Thy works which Thou doest; for no one doeth anything in secret, and seeketh to be himself in public; if Thou doest these things, manifest Thyself to the world; for not even were His brethren believing (ἐπίστευον) on Him.”

Here then the question arises-How could it be said by St. Peter, in the name of the Twelve, that they believed in Christ, and yet be asserted by the Evangelist, that "not even His brethren were believing on Him,"-if two of His brethren were of the number of the Twelve?

This objection has been considered by some in recent times to be decisive against the opinion that James, the brother of our Lord, was one of the Twelve.

But it does not seem of sufficient force to invalidate the arguments above adduced. Peter says "we have believed and know that Thou art the Christ," and he was speaking of the Twelve. But he was not aware what was in the hearts of those, concerning whom he was speaking. Our Lord Himself corrected his assertion. "One of you is a devil." Judas was one of the Twelve, and betrayed Christ; Peter himself denied Him; the rest of the Twelve forsook Him and fled; they did this, after they had seen many more of His mighty works than they had seen at the time of St. Peter's speech; and they did this in about twelve months after that speech was uttered.


Besides, although it is said by St. John a few verses only after this speech of St. Peter, that our Lord's brethren were not then believing on Him, yet the fact is, that nearly half a year elapsed between St. Peter's speech, and that of our Lord's brethren. The one was spoken at a Passover3, the other was not spoken till the approach of the Feast of Tabernacles, that is, after an interval of nearly six months.

If now it was true, that notwithstanding Peter's profession of belief on the part of the Twelve, all of them were very weak in faith, one of the Twelve betrayed Him, and another denied Him, and the rest deserted Him, in about twelve months' time after that profession was made, is there any great reason for surprise, that at a particular time, at a period of six months after that profession, some of that number were not believing on Him? Besides, it might be quite possible for persons to believe Him to be the Christ, and yet not have that belief in His true character as a suffering Messiah, whose kingdom was not of this world, which alone could justify the Evangelist in saying that they were believing on Him3.

2. It has been said that none of our Lord's brethren -and therefore not James-could have been Apostles; because we read in Acts i. 14, "These all" (the eleven Apostles) "were continuing with one accord in prayer with the women, and with Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brethren."

But to this it may be replied,-we do not say, that all our Lord's adeλpoì were Apostles; and the assertion of the Sacred Historian communicates the fact, that those of that number, who were not Apostles, were then gathered together with the Apostles. And even if all of them had been Apostles, this specification of them would not create any difficulty. We here read of Mary, in addition to the women; and in another place we read "the rest of the Apostles, and the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas "," who certainly was an Apostle.

3. It has been alleged, that if we suppose that St. James, who was placed as Bishop at Jerusalem, was also one of the Twelve, we are adopting an hypothesis which is not consistent with the general commission to the Apostles, to go and teach all nations'.

But to this it may be replied, that the Apostles were first to be witnesses to Christ at Jerusalem3, and that they remained at Jerusalem many years after the Ascension'; and that, as far as we know, James, the other Apostle of that name, the son of Zebedee, never left Jerusalem 1o.

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