The Epistle of James

By E. H. Plumptre

From the Book The General Epistle of St. James

 

The Author of the Epistle.

I. The name of Jac˘bus or Jacob — which, after passing through various chances and changes of form, Spanish Iago and Portuguese Xayme (pronounced Hayme) and Italian Giacomo and French Jacques and JamŔ, and Scotch Hamish, has at last dwindled into our monosyllabic James — was naturally, as having been borne by the great Patriarch whom Israel claimed as its progenitor, a favourite name among the later Jews1. In the New Testament we find two, or possibly three, persons who bore it: (i) James the son of Zebedee. (2) James the son of AlphŠus. Both of these appear in all the lists of the Twelve Apostles. (3) There is a James described as the son of a Mary and the brother of a Joses or Joseph (Matt, xxvii. 56, Mark xv. 40), and a comparison of that passage with John xix. 25, defines this Mary as the wife of Cl˘pas (not Cleophas as in the English Version) and possibly also (though the construction is not free from ambiguity) as the sister of our Lord's mother. To his name is attached the epithet, not of "the less" as in the English version, as though it indicated difference in age or position, but of the "little," as an epithet descriptive in his case, as in that of Zacchasus (Luke xix. 3), of his stature. (4) There is a James whose name appears, together with Joses and Simon and Judas, in the lists of the "brethren" of the Lord, in Matt. xiii. 55, Mark vi. 3, and who is so described by St Paul in Gal. i. 19. St Paul's way of speaking of him there and in Gal. ii. 9, 12, leaves not a shadow of doubt as to the identity of this James with the one who occupies so prominent a position in the Church at Jerusalem in Acts xii. 17, xv. 13, xxi. 18.

The Epistle of St James may have been written, as far as the description which the writer gives of himself is concerned, by any one of these four, reserving the question whether the descriptions connected with (2), (3) and (4) give us any grounds for believing that the three accounts refer to two or even to one person only.

II. The hypothesis that the son of Zebedee, the brother of the beloved disciple, was the writer of the Epistle, has commonly been dismissed as hardly calling for serious consideration. It is not, however, without a certain amount of external authority, and has recently been maintained with considerable ability by the Rev. F. T. Bassett in a Commentary on the Epistle (Bagsters, 1876). It may be well therefore to begin with an inquiry into the grounds on which it rests.

(1) The oldest MSS. of the earlier, or Peshito, Syriac version, ranging from the 5th to the 8th century, state, in the superscription or subscription of the Epistle, or both, that it is an Epistle "of James the Apostle." Printed editions of the Syriac Version state more definitely that the three Epistles (James, i Peter, and I John) which that version includes, were written by the three Apostles who were witnesses of the Transfiguration, but it is uncertain on what MS. authority the statement was made. As far then as this evidence goes, it is of little or no weight in determining the authorship. It does not go higher than the fifth century, and leaves it an open question whether "James the Apostle" was the son of Zebedee, or the son of AlphŠus, or the brother of the Lord, considered as having been raised to the office and title of an Apostle.

(2) A Latin MS. of the New Testament, giving a version of the Epistle prior to that of Jerome, states more definitely that it was written by "James the son of Zebedee," but the MS. is not assigned to an earlier date than the ninth century, and is therefore of little or no weight as an authority. Neither this nor the Syriac version can be looked on as giving more than the conjecture of the transcriber, or, at the best, a comparatively late and uncertain tradition.

(3) Admitting the weakness of the external evidence, Mr Bassett rests his case mainly on internal. It was, he thinks, Ó priori improbable that one who occupied so prominent a place among the Apostles during our Lord's ministry, whose name as one of the "Sons of Thunder" (Mark iii. 17) indicates conspicuous energy, should have passed away without leaving any written memorial for the permanent instruction of the Church. It is obvious, however, that all d, priori arguments of this nature are, in the highest degree, precarious in their character, and that their only value lies in preparing the way for evidence of another kind.

(4) The internal coincidences on which Mr Bassett next lays stress are in themselves so suggestive and instructive, even if we do not admit his inference from them, that it seems worth while to state them briefly.

(a) There is, he points out, a strong resemblance between the teaching of the Epistle and that of John the Baptist, as is seen, e. g., in comparing

James i. 22, 27 with Matt. iii. 8

James ii. 15, 16 with Luke iii. 11

James ii. 19, 20 with Matt. iii. 9

James v. 1 - 6 with Matt. iii. 10 - 12.

And he infers from this the probability that the writer had been one of those who, like Peter, John and Andrew, had listened to the preaching of the Baptist.

(b) There are the frequently recurring parallelisms between the Epistle and the Sermon on the Mount, which strike the attention of well-nigh every reader.

James i. 2 compared with Matt. v. 10 - 12

James i. 4 compared with Matt. v. 48

James i. 5, v. 15 compared with Matt. v. 15 vii. 7 - 12

James i. 9 compared with Matt. v. 3

James i. 20 compared with Matt. v. 22

James ii. 13 compared with Matt. vi. 14, 15, v. 7

James ii. 14 compared with Matt. vii. 21 - 23

James iii. 17, 18 compared with Matt. v. 9

James iv. 4 compared with Matt. vi. 24

James iv. 10 compared with Matt. v. 3, 4

James iv. 11 compared with Matt. vii. 1 - 5

James v. 2 compared with Matt. vi. 19

James v. 10 compared with Matt. v. 12

James v. 12 compared with Matt. v. 33 - 37.

It is urged that the son of Zebedee was certainly among our Lord's disciples at the time the Sermon on the Mount was delivered, while there is no evidence that the son of Alphasus had as yet been called, and a distinct statement, assuming the brother of the Lord not to be identical with the son of Alphasus, that he at this time did not believe in Jesus as the Christ. (John vii. 5.)

(c) The writer finds in St James's description of Jesus as "the Lord of Glory" a reference, parallel to those of 2 Pet. i. 16 - 18 and John i. 14, to the vision on the Mount of Transfiguration which had been witnessed by Peter and the two sons of Zebedee.

(d) In the emphasis with which the writer of the Epistle condemns the sins of vainglory and rivalry and self-seeking ambition Mr Bassett finds a reference to the disputes and jealousies which during our Lord's ministry disturbed the harmony of the Apostolic company (comp. ch. i. 9 - 12, iii. 14 - 16 with Matt, xviii. i, Mark ix. 34); in his protests against the "wrath of man" (ch. i. 19, 20), a reminiscence of his own passionate desire to call down fire from heaven, as Elijah had done of old (Luke ix. 54). With this and with Elijah's loss of patience (1 Kings xix. 4 - 10), he connects the statement that " Elias was a man of like passions with ourselves" (ch. v. 17).

(e) Stress is laid on the language of the Epistle as to the "coming of the Lord" as agreeing with what our Lord had said on the Mount of Olives in the hearing of the sons of Zebedee and of Jona (Mark xiii. 3). Compare

James ii. 6, 7 with Mark xiii. 9

James iv. 1 with Mark xiii. 7

James iv. 13, 14. with Mark xiii. 32

James v. 9 with Mark xiii. 29

James v, 7 with Matt. xxiv. 27.

It is inferred that here also he was reproducing what he had himself heard.

(f) The not unfrequent parallelisms between this Epistle and I Peter are next brought to bear on the question. They are given as follows: —

James i. 2 with 1 Pet. i. 6 - 9

James i. 10 with 1 Pet. i. 24

James i. 21 with 1 Pet. ii. 1

James iv. 6, 10 with 1 Pet. v. 5

James v. 20 with 1 Pet. iv. 8.

It is urged that these coincidences of thought and phrase are just what might be expected in those who like the son of Zebedee and the son of Jona had been friends and companions in the work of disciples and Apostles.

(5) Interesting and suggestive as each of these lines of thought beyond question is, the evidence does not appear, on the whole, to warrant the conclusion which has been drawn from it. It would be a sufficient explanation of (a) and (b) that the writer of the Epistle had been one of the hearers of the Baptist and of our Lord, or had read or heard what we find recorded in St Matthew's Gospel. Of (c) it must be said that the epithet " of glory" was far too common (Acts vii. 2; Eph. i. 17; Col. i. 27; Heb. i. 3, ix. 5) to prove what it is alleged to prove. The faults mentioned under (d) were too much the besetting sins of the whole people to sustain any conclusion based on the supposition that they applied specially to the writer. It is obvious that the teaching of our Lord as to His "Coming," under (e), must, from a very early period, have become, at least to the extent to which the Epistle deals with it, the common property of all believers. Lastly, as to the parallelisms of (f) it must be remembered that there is as much evidence that another James was for many years in constant communication with St Peter, as there is for the earlier friendship of that Apostle with the son of Zebedee.

On the whole, then, it is believed that this hypothesis, interesting and ingenious as it is, must be dismissed as not proven.

III. The name of the second Apostle who bore the name of James comes next under consideration. Can we think of the son of AlphŠus as the writer of the Epistle? Here a preliminary question meets us: Are we to think of the son of Alphasus as identical with the brother of the Lord, and with "James the little," the son of Mary, the wife of Cl˘pas, and the sister of our Lord's mother? The view that one and the self-same person is described in these different ways has been so widely held that it is necessary to examine the grounds on which it rests.

(a) It has been supposed that Cl˘pas in John xix. 25 is another form, somewhat nearer to the Hebrew (Chalpi), of the name which is represented in the first three Gospels by AlphŠus. This is in itself probable enough, but it is a question whether the same person would have been likely to have been known by both forms of the name in the same company of the disciples. The natural tendency, where the same names abound in any district, is that the men who bear them become known by distinct forms, or by epithets attached. PrimÔ facie, therefore, we should expect to find the Alphseus, who is the father of Levi or Matthew and of James, and possibly of the Judas who is connected with James in the list of the Twelve, a different person from Cl˘pas. There is at any rate far more ground for assuming the identity of the father of Matthew with the father of James (the name being the same in each case) than for looking on the two as distinct persons, and the latter as the same as Cl˘pas.

(b) The inference is, it is supposed, strengthened by the fact that Mary the wife of Cl˘pas is apparently identical with "Mary the mother of Joses" (Mark xv. 47) and of James (Mark xvi, i, Luke xxiv. 10), of James the little and of Joses (Mark xv. 40), and that these two names appear in conjunction with Judas in the list of the brethren of the Lord (Mark vi. 3). It is assumed that the words of John xix. 25 refer the terms "his mother's sister" and " Mary the wife of Cl˘pas" to the same person, and that the James and Joses who were her sons were identical with the two who bear those names in the list of the four "brethren"" of the Lord in Matt. xiii. 55, Mark vi. 3, and that they are called " brethren," though really only cousins.

Against this conclusion however we have to set the facts: (1) that it is by no means certain that in St John's enumeration of the women v/ho stood by the Cross, "his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cl˘pas, and Mary Magdalene," even when taken by itself, warrants the inference that " his mother's sister " was identical with " the wife of Cl˘pas; " and (2) that a comparison with Matt, xxvii. 56, and Mark xv. 40, makes it far more probable that she was the same as Salome, the mother of the sons of Zebedee. (3) In Acts i. 13, the " brethren" are named after the Eleven Apostles, and clearly as distinct from them; St Paul, in 1 Cor. ix. 5, in like manner distinguishes them from the Apostles. It is primÔ facie utterly improbable that the two writers should so have spoken had three, or even two, of the " brethren " been enrolled in the company of the Twelve. (4) Yet more important in its bearing on the question is the part taken by the "brethren of the Lord" throughout His ministry. They come, with the mother of Jesus, to check His preaching, and are contrasted by Him with His disciples as His true brethren (Matt. xii. 46 - 50; Mark iii. 31 - 35; Luke viii. 19 - 21). The tone in which the men of Nazareth speak of them (Matt. xiii. 55; Mark vi. 3) is hardly compatible with the thought that they had accepted Him as the Christ. As late as the last Feast of Tabernacles before the Crucifixion, St John definitely quotes words as spoken by them which imply doubt and distrust, and states that they did not then believe on Him (John vii. 5). It is surely scarcely conceivable that those of whom such things are said could have been among the Twelve who were sent forth to proclaim their Lord as the Head of the Divine Kingdom. On these grounds, therefore, in spite of the authority of many great names which might be cited in its favour, we are, I believe, compelled to reject the hypothesis that James the son of AlphŠus was identical with the brother of the Lord, and except on that hypothesis, there are absolutely no grounds whatever, external or internal, to connect the former with the authorship of this Epistle.

IV. It remains, therefore, that we should (i) consider the claims of the last-named James, known as the brother of the Lord, and (2) inquire into the nature of the relationship which that name was intended to express. When these two points are settled we can pass on, without further hindrance, to what we know of the life and character of the writer.

It must be admitted that the evidence in this case begins at a comparatively late date. Eusebius (Hist. III. 25, circ. A.D. 330) reckons "the Epistle known as James's" among the writings which, though accepted by the majority, were yet open to question (antilegomena). It is clear from another passage that by this James, the reputed author of the Epistle, he means " the brother of the Lord," to whom the Apostles had assigned the "throne" of the bishopric of Jerusalem (Hist. 11. 23). The first of the Epistles known as Catholic was said to be his. He adds, however, in his truthful desire of accuracy, "It should be known that it is counted spurious by some. Not many of the ancients, at any rate, have made mention of it, as neither have they of that of Judas, which also is one of the seven Catholic Epistles. But nevertheless we know that these two have been publicly read and received in very many Churches." Origen (Comm. in Joann. xix. 6) had spoken of "the Epistle reputed to be by James," and quotes from it as by him (Hom. vill. in Exod.), but does not specify to which James he assigns it. Jerome, whose long residence at Bethlehem makes him the representative of the Syrian as well as the Western tradition, takes up the language of Eusebius. "James who is called the brother of the Lord, known also as the Just, wrote one Epistle only, which is one of the seven Catholic Epistles. Yet that too is said to have been set forth by some one else in his name, though gradually, as time went on, it gained authority." (Catalog. Script. Eccles.)

The very early list of the books of the New Testament, in the Ambrosian Library at Milan, known, from the name of its first editor, as the Muratorian Fragment, and referred to a date about A.D. 190, though having no authority, except from its antiquity, is remarkable as confirming the statement of Eusebius that the Epistle of St James was not universally accepted. The list includes, besides books about which there was no doubt, the Epistle of Jude, and two Epistles of St John, the Apocalypse of Peter (a book conspicuously apocryphal), the Shepherd of Hermas, and even the Wisdom of Solomon, but it makes no mention of the Epistle of St James. After the time of Eusebius, however, in spite of the doubting tone in which he speaks, it won its way to general acceptance. It appears in the list of the Council of Laodicea, c. 59 (A.D. 363), of the third Council of Carthage, c. 39 (A.D. 397), of the so-called Apostolic Canons, It is acknowledged by Cyril of Jerusalem (Catech. iv. 33, A.D. 349), by Epiphanius of Cyprus (Adv. hœr. LXXVI. 5, circ. A. D. 403), by Athanasius (Epist. Test. 39, before A.D. 373), by Gregory of Nazianzus (A.D. 391), and no question was raised as to its authority till the i6th century, when the dogmatic bias of Luther and his school led them to revive the old doubts as to its inspiration and canonicity.

The conclusion from these facts would seem to be that the Epistle of St James came somewhat slowly into general circulation. It was natural that it should do so. Though addressed to the Twelve Tribes of the Dispersion, it does not follow that any very effectual measures were taken to secure its reaching them. And so far as copies did find their way to distant cities, they were addressed, we must remember, to the declining and decaying party of the Church of the Circumcision. They came from one whose name had been identified, rightly or wrongly, with that party in its attitude of antagonism to the teaching of St Paul and the freedom of the Gentile Churches. The writer's personal influence had not extended beyond the Churches of Judea, and the Churches of the Gentiles did not feel the impression made on those who knew him by the saintliness of his life and character. The writer of the Muratorian Fragment represents this early stage of the history of the Epistle. He does not reject it. He has obviously not heard of it. When the letter becomes known to the students and scholars of the Church, to men like Origen, Eusebius and Jerome, they naturally at first speak of it with some hesitation. After a time inquiry leads to a more prompt and unquestioning acceptance. The more critical writers have no doubt that the James, whose name it bears, was the brother of the Lord, and not the son of Zebedee; and their judgment, as the result of inquiry and given in the teeth of the natural tendency to claim an Apostolic authority for any fragment of the Apostolic age, may well be looked on as outweighing the conjecture of a Syrian transcriber in the 9th century who yielded to that tendency, or the scarcely less conjectural inferences of recent writers.

V. So far, then, we have reached a fairly firm standing ground, and may take a fresh start on the assumption that the Epistle was written, not by the son of Zebedee, nor by the son of AlphŠus, but by James the brother of the Lord. A question of great difficulty, however, once more meets us on the threshold. What kind of relationship did that description imply? Very different answers have been given to that question.

(1) We have the view that the "brethren of the Lord" were the sons of Joseph and of Mary, and therefore His younger brothers. This has in its favour, the common and natural, though not, it must be admitted, the necessary, meaning of the Greek word for "brethren," perhaps, also, the primÔ facie inference from Matt. i. 25. It was adopted by Helvidius, a Latin writer of the 4th century, and has been revived by some recent scholars of high reputation, among whom are Dean Alford and Canon Farrar. It has against it the general consensus of the Fathers of the third and fourth century, resting on a wide-spread belief in the perpetual virginity of the mother of the Lord, and the fact that Helvidius was treated as propounding a new and monstrous theory. It may be admitted that the word does not necessarily mean that those who bore it were children of the same mother, and that Matt. i. 25 does not necessarily imply what, at first sight, it appears to mean. It is scarcely likely, however, with such words at hand as the Greek for "sister's son" (Col. iv. 10) or "cousins" (Luke i. 36), that it would have been used to express either of those relationships. Slightly weighing against it, perhaps, are (1) the action and tone of the brethren in relation to our Lord (Matt. xii. 46; John vii. 3 - 5), which is that of elder rather than younger relatives, and (2) the fact that the mother of our Lord is commended to the care of John, the son of Zebedee and Salome (John xix. 26), and not to those who, on this view, would have been her more natural protectors. It is probable, however, as stated above, that the wife of Zebedee may have been the sister of the Virgin, and if so, then there were close ties of relationship uniting St John to the latter. All that can be said is that the New Testament writers, if their language does not exclude the alternative theories, are, at least, not in any measure careful to exclude this.

(2) There is the theory that the "brethren" were the children of Joseph by a former marriage. It need scarcely be said that there is nothing in the New Testament to prove such a theory. Indirectly it falls in with what has just been said as to their tone towards our Lord, and the preference of a sister's son (assuming Salome to have been the "mother's sister" of John xix. 25) to step-sons as a guardian and protector, would be sufficiently in harmony with the practices of common life. In the second, third, and fourth centuries this appears to have been the favourite view. It met the reverential feeling which, rightly or wrongly, shrank from the thought that the wedded life of the mother of Jesus was like that of other women. It gave to the word " brethren," without any violence, an adequate or natural meaning. It was maintained by Epiphanius (A.D. 367), by Origen (in Joann. ii. 12, in Matt, xiii, 55), Eusebius (Hist. II. 1), Hilary of Poitiers (A.D. 368), Gregory of Nyssa (A.D. 394), Cyril of Alexandria (in Gen. vii. p. 221), and with the modification that Joseph's first marriage was with the widow of his brother Cl˘pas, by Theophylact (Comm. on Matt. xiii. 55, Gal. i. 19). It has been revived in our own time by Canon Lightfoot (Excursus on "The brethren of the Lord" in Commentary on Galatians), and maintained as against the third hypothesis now to be mentioned, with arguments which seem to the present writer to admit of no satisfactory answer.

(3) Lastly, there is the theory already alluded to, that the "brethren" were the sons of the wife of Cl˘pas, who is identified with the sister of the Virgin, and that they were thus called "brethren" in the wider sense in which that word may be used of "cousins." Cl˘pas is held (though this was an afterthought of writers later than Jerome, who was the first to propound this view) to be identical with AlphŠus, and James the brother of the Lord is held to be identical with James the son of Alphasus, in the list of the Apostles, and "Jude of James" to be another of the brethren, and Simon, a third brother, is identified with Simon Zelotes, or the Canaanite. The theory was first started by Jerome (Catal. Vir. Illustr.; Adv. Helvid).2 in his eagerness to vindicate the perpetual virginity of Mary against what seemed to him the heresy of Helvidius, but though maintained vehemently at first, was afterwards treated by him as a matter of comparative indifference (Lightfoot's Excursus, ut supra). His influence, however, gave currency to the theory in the Western Church, and it was probably received by Ambrose (whose language, however, is consistent with the Epiphanian theory) in his treatise De Institutione Virginis, and by Augustine (in Joann. XXVIII., Enarr. in Ps. cxxvii., Contr. Faust, XXII. 35). The Western Church, accordingly, in her Calendar has recognised only two Saints of the name of James, and has naturally been followed in this respect by the Church of England, which gives July 25 to the son of Zebedee, and May 1st to St Philip and the son of Alphasus. The choice of the Epistle for that day implies his identification with the brother of the Lord. In the Greek Church, on the other hand, we trace, beyond the shadow of doubt, the survival of the Epiphanian view, or perhaps of the still older tradition on which it rested, Oct. 9th being dedicated to the son of AlphŠus, and Oct. 23rd to the brother of the Lord. It is not probable, looking to the language of the Greek Church as to the Virgin, that this distinction between the two whom writers that follow the Roman view identify, rests on its acceptance of the Helvidian view.

On the whole, then, in a question confessedly of considerable difficulty, we may rest in the conclusions:

(1) That there is absolutely no ground for identifying James the brother of the Lord with the son of AlphŠus, and therefore none for believing him to have been of the number of the Twelve Apostles.

(2) That there is absolutely no ground for believing the brethren of the Lord to have been the children of the Virgin's sister, and therefore only cousins.

(3) That the first impression made by the language of the New Testament is in favour of their being brethren in the fullest sense of the word, but that this language is not incompatible with the view that they were the children of Joseph by a previous marriage.

VI. I have been reluctant up to this point to bring in the evidence of apocryphal or spurious writings. But it will be admitted, assuming the above conclusions as at least partly proved, that it is an enquiry not without interest to ask what relation the narratives of such writings bear to them.

In the Protevangelium Jacobi, an apocryphal narrative, dating probably from the second century, and therefore prior to any of the theories which originated in the fourth, Joseph appears as an old man with sons at the time of his espousals (c. 9), but with no daughter (c. 17). The sons are with him at Bethlehem at the time of the Nativity. James himself is represented as writing the book after the death of Herod the Great (c. 25). The Gospel of the Pseudo-Matthew agrees as to the age of Joseph (c. 8), and relates that James, "the first-born son of Joseph," was bitten in the hand by a viper in his boyhood, and was healed by the touch and the breath of Jesus (c. 31). Joseph, Judas, and Simeon are named as the other brothers. Anna, the mother of the Virgin, after the death of her first husband, Joachim, marries Cleophas, and has by him a second daughter Mary, who in her turn is married to AlphŠus, and becomes the mother of Philip and James, the Apostles, The History of Joseph (c. 3) gives the names of the four sons, and Assia and Lydia as the names of the daughters, and relates that Joseph became a widower when Mary was of the age of twelve, lived to the age of III, James and Judas remaining in the household till his death (c. 14), and died with Jesus holding his hands, and receiving his last sigh (c. 19). The Gospel of Thomas repeats the story of the viper that bit James (c. 16). The Arabic Gospel of the Infancy makes James and Joses grown up while Jesus is yet an infant.

The Apocryphal Gospels thus referred to are so full of frivolous and fantastic fables, that no single fact narrated in them can claim, on. that ground, the slightest degree of credibility; but the uniform consent of so many books written in various languages and countries, in adopting the Epiphanian view as distinct alike from that of Helvidius and that of Jerome, must be admitted as shewing what was in the second and third centuries the current tradition of the Church. It was not probable that writers aiming at attracting popular admiration would run counter to any prevalent tradition that "the brethren of the Lord" were really only His cousins.

VII. Leaving the region of legends, but keeping on the stratum of truth which underlies them, we may venture to picture to ourselves that household of Nazareth in at least the outline of its life. We can think of the elder brothers watching with loving admiration the growth of the Holy Child that "increased in wisdom and in stature and in favour with God and man." Their training had been after the pattern of that which prevailed in all devout Jewish houses. They had known the Holy Scriptures daily. They heard it read in the Synagogue on the Sabbath day. They read it in their home. But in that village of Nazareth, as throughout Galilee, Greek was probably both spoken and read familiarly, and thus they might become acquainted with the teaching of books which the Alexandrian Jews had added to the Hebrew Canon. Their father dies, and then they marry (1 Cor. ix. 5), and, it may well have been, leave their step-mother to be maintained by the younger Half-Brother who was her own son. So the years pass on till the preaching of the Baptist breaks through the orderly routine with the energy of a new force. The brothers go from Nazareth as others go from Capernaum, and James learns the lessons which he afterwards reproduces in his Epistle, and adopts the Nazarite rule, for the rigorous observance of which his life was afterwards conspicuous. And then follows that which to him, as to the other dwellers in Nazareth, was a marvel and a stumblingblock. The younger Brother proclaims in the Synagogue, probably on the great Day of Atonement, that the most glorious promises of the Prophets, which were read on that day as the appointed lesson, were fulfilled in Him. They have loved and honoured Him up to this time, but they are not prepared for this. They fear the probable effects of such a proclamation in raising the opposition of Pharisees and Scribes or the jealous suspicion of the Tetrarch Antipas. They hold back from joining the company of the disciples. The oft-repeated words of Jesus, that " a prophet is not without honour but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house" (Mark vi. 4; Matt. xiii. 57; Luke iv. 24; John iv. 44), are spoken as with a plaintive reference to a definite personal experience. They, too, are tempted to take up the half-taunting words, "Physician, heal thyself," and to demand that wonders as great as those of which they had heard at Capernaum should be wrought in their presence in their own city. They hear a few months afterwards that the Mission of the Kingdom is going on at Jerusalem and throughout Galilee, that Scribes and Pharisees have come down from Jerusalem to watch, and, if possible, to entrap the new Teacher (Luke v. 17), that they have coalesced with the Herodians against Him, and are plotting against His life (Mark iii. 6). They and His mother are anxious to protect Him against that danger. And so they leave Nazareth, and appear on the outskirts of the crowd at Capernaum at the very moment when the antagonism was becoming more and more embittered, and the situation more full of danger (Matt. xii. 46). They are anxious to utter their words of warning, to restrain Him, while there is yet time, from irrevocable words which may lead to a shameful death. They hear in return the declaration, so full of blessing for others, so full of warning and reproof for them, "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" (Matt. xii. 49, 50). So far their efforts were frustrated; but the heart of the Brother yearns over the kindred and the neighbours who were so slow of heart to believe, and He appears once again in the Synagogue of Nazareth (Matt. xiii. 54 — 58). The brothers listen, admiring but still not believing, and the men of Nazareth appeal, as it were, to their self-esteem. What was He in outward birth or condition, that He should be more than they? "Is not this the carpenter's son, Himself a carpenter? Is not His mother called Mary? Are not His brethren, James and Joses and Simon and Judas, with us?" (Matt. xiii. 55; Mark vi. 3). Once again the old sad proverb was fulfilled, and He of whom these things were said could do but few works of power there because of their unbelief (Mark vi. 5). The months passed on apparently with little or no change of feeling. The Feast of Tabernacles came, the last that preceded the Passion, and the brethren were going up with other GalilŠans to the Holy City. They turned to the Prophet in whom they did not as yet believe with the measure of belief which He required, in a tone of impatient expectation, Why remain in Galilee if He were indeed the King of Israel? " Depart hence, and go into Judaea, that thy disciples also" — obviously the disciples in Jerusalem, of whom they had heard as listening to Him in his previous visits — "may see the works that thou doest. For there is no man that doeth any thing in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly" (John vii. 3 - 5). "If thou do these things," if thou canst heal the sick and give sight to the blind and cast out devils, "shew thyself to the world," to that world of which they thought as gathering in Jerusalem to keep the coming Feast. That challenge He did not accept, for it implied that they, and not He, were judges as to the time and manner of His Manifestation. Their time was "always ready," but His was mapped out for Him by a Wisdom higher than theirs, and His time was not yet full come (John vii. 8). They, we know, were present at the Feast, and they found the thoughts of the men of Judaea concerning Him fluctuating and uncertain. Some acknowledged Him as the Prophet, some as the Christ, some spoke of Him as a deceiver (John vii. 40, 41, 47). Attempts were made to seize Him, and made in vain. The Feast ended as it began, in division, and the last words which they may have heard were. "He hath a devil and is mad" — words which might almost seem to have been an echo of their own thoughts, when they, or those whom they had sent, said " He is beside Himself" (Mark iii. 21).

The last Passover came, and the brethren, we must believe, were there, with the others who came from Galilee. Perhaps they too thought that the long-delayed manifestation for which they had craved was at last to be granted, and that " the kingdom of God was to immediately appear" (Luke xix. 11). But it is significant that He eats the Passover, which was essentially the religious feast of the family, not with them, as would, under common conditions, have been natural, but with the Twelve, to whom He had pointed as being His true brethren. Then came what would seem to them the fulfilment of all their worst forebodings, the capture, the condemnation, and the death. It may be inferred from John xix. 26 that it was the beloved disciple, the nephew, and not the step-son, of the Mother of the Lord, who accompanied her to the place of Crucifixion, but they too could hardly have been absent from that awful spectacle. And then came that which changed their doubt and hesitation into faith. The risen Lord was seen of Cephas and of the Twelve, and then of five hundred brethren at once, and after that, of James (1 Cor. xv. 5 - 7). When St Paul thus wrote, the one person of whom his readers would think as thus referred to, was neither the son of Zebedee, who was no longer among the living witnesses of the Resurrection, nor the son of AlphŠus, who was to the Corinthians, as to us, hardly more than a name. He could refer, they would say, to none other than the brother of the Lord, whom they knew as the Bishop of Jerusalem, the head of the Church of the Circumcision. A legend or tradition in the Gospel according to the Hebrews, which takes its place among the more respectable of the New Testament Apocrypha, and was translated by Jerome himself into both Greek and Latin, connects this appearance with an incident sufficiently suggestive to be worth inserting here. James had sworn, we are told, that he would not eat bread from the hour in which he had drunk of the Lord's cup until he should see Him rising from the dead. "And the Lord went and appeared to him, and said after a while, Bring hither a table and set bread on it; and He took bread and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to James the Just, and said to him, My brother, eat thy bread now, for the Son of Man hath risen from among those that sleep." (Jerome, Catal. Script. Eccles.). The narrative presents, it is obvious, so many analogies with other manifestations recorded in the Gospels, that admitting the fact of the appearance to James, on the strength of St Paul's statement, this may well be received as giving what was probably the manner.

Some such appearance, at any rate, offers the only reasonable explanation of the next fact in the life of St James recorded in the New Testament. The Resurrection and the Ascension are passed, and the " brethren " are with the Twelve in the Upper Chamber in Jerusalem (Acts i. 14). They take part in the election of Matthias, and are sharers in the marvellous gifts of the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost (Acts ii. 1 - 4). From that time they cast in their lot with the fortunes of the infant Church, and their earthly relationship to the Lord of that Church, the witness they were able to bear to the blameless Youth and Manhood at Nazareth, no less than to the fact of the Resurrection, must have given them a marked prominence in the company of the disciples. They accepted the admission of the Samaritans into the infant Church. On St Paul's return to Jerusalem, three years after his conversion, he was received by Peter alone of the Apostles, and by James the Lord's brother (Gal. i. 18, 19)3 It seems probable that on the death of James the brother of John, his namesake, the brother of the Lord, succeeded, either by direct election, or by tacit acceptance, into the place thus left vacant. When the persecution under Agrippa made it necessary for Peter to leave Jerusalem, the language of the Apostle on his departure implies that James was left as the guide and teacher of the Church (Acts xii. 17). It may fairly be assumed that he was among the elders who received the alms that had been collected by the Gentile converts at Antioch (Acts xi. 30) for the disciples at Jerusalem. We may reasonably trace an allusion to that act of benevolence, and to the new name of Christians which had been applied to the disciples at Antioch (Acts xi. 26), in the language of the Epistle (see Notes on ch. ii. 7, 16). It was, probably, one of the consequences of the new position which he thus occupied, that in view of the expansion of the Church, he wrote his Encyclical Epistle to the twelve tribes of the Dispersion, addressing primarily those among them that had embraced the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ (ch. i, 1, ii, 1, v. 7), but indirectly calling all the families of Israel to repentance, and faith, and holiness (see Introduction ch. ii.). Then, after seventeen years had passed since the conversion of St Paul, we find him presiding at the Council of Jerusalem, recognised as, by age and position, the representative of the Church of the Circumcision (Acts xv. 13). The devotion, purity, asceticism of his life, his faithfulness and loving observance of all rules which devout Pharisees practised, had won for him the respect of that party as a whole. It was not strange, perhaps, that those of its members who had accepted the faith of Christ should look upon him as their ideal Apostle, and present his life to the Gentile converts as the example which they were bound to follow. He, they seem to have said, would never sanction the baptism of uncircumcised proselytes as members of the Church of Christ, nor their exemption from the rules of the Law and the traditions of the Elders. He, on his part, however, disclaims that inference from his conduct. He had given no such commandment (Acts xv. 24). He had learnt from the Prophet whose teaching he reproduces (comp. Amos viii. 5, 10 with James iv. 13, v. 1, 2; Amos vi. 1 - 6 with James v. 5), in whom he found a Nazarite like himself (Amos ii. 11, 12), to welcome the conversion of the "residue of men," and to receive as brethren all "the Gentiles upon whom the name of the Lord is called" (Acts xv. 17). He suggests as the right solution of the immediate problem, that the Gentile Christians should be received on the footing which the more liberal Pharisees had accepted as that of the Proselytes of the Gate, bound to the precepts of Noah, but not to those of Moses (Acts xv. 20). He gives to Paul and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship (Gal. ii. 9), accepts in full the Gospel which they had preached (Acts xv. 25, 26), and publicly gives his sanction to the work they had done among the Gentiles. He recognises in so doing that the Law which he himself continued to observe with so much rigour, might be to others a yoke not easy and a burden not light (Matt. xi. 29, 30), and that the only law of liberty was the law of the true King, " Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself" (Acts xv. 10, 19; James i. 25, ii. 8).

It is scarcely likely that, after this frank and full acceptance, attested not by St Luke only, but by St Paul himself, in the Epistle in which he is most eager to vindicate his entire independence of the Church at Jerusalem, St James would have taken up the position of antagonism which some recent writers assign to him in the history of the Apostolic Church, which they have constructed out of their inner consciousness, resting on the assumption that the wild romances of the Clementine Homilies and Recognitions contain a more trustworthy history than the Acts of the Apostles. And the most natural explanation of the fact that St Peter's conduct at Antioch, in relation to the Gentiles, was altered for the worse when "certain came from James" (Gal. ii. 12), is that then, as before, his name was used by those to whom he had given no such commandment, to enforce their interpretation of the Concordat which had been adopted, on his proposal, at the Council of Jerusalem. It is clear at any rate, that, while on the one hand, his own life was such as to win the admiration of those who were most zealous for the Law, he still continued, on the other, to hold out to St Paul the right hand of fellowship. He must have received him on the occasion of the visit of which we have only the brief fragmentary record of Acts. xviii. 22. He welcomes him, when he comes once again, accompanied by many Gentile converts, confirms the terms of the great Charter of Gentile freedom, and makes the characteristic suggestion that St Paul should shew that he himself " walked orderly and kept the Law," by doing partially, but as fully as circumstances admitted, what he had done more thoroughly before, and presenting himself in the Temple as one who had upon him the vow of the Nazarite (Acts xxi. 18 - 25). Here, as far as the New Testament is concerned, we take our leave of him, and have to depend on the less certain guidance of later history. A brief narrative of his death is found in Josephus (Ant. XX. 9 ž 1), but it has been regarded by many writers as a Christian interpolation. It states that when Albinus succeeded Festus (Acts xxiv. 27) as Procurator of Judaea, the younger Ananus, or Annas (son of the High Priest so named in Luke iii. 2; John xviii. 13), was himself High Priest, bold and daring in character. He was of the sect of Sadducees (comp. Acts iv. 4, v. 17) who were always conspicuous for harshness in all judicial proceedings (comp, Joseph. Ant. xiii. 10 ž 6, Wars, II. 8 ž 14). And so, taking advantage of the interval between the death of Festus and the arrival of Albinus, he called together a Council of Judges (clearly the Sanhedrin), and "he brought before it the brother of Jesus that was called Christ, whose name was James, and certain others, and having charged them with transgressing the law, delivered them to be stoned. Some of the most equitable in the city, however, and those who were most accurate in their knowledge of the Law, were grieved at this. They sent secretly to the King (the Agrippa of Acts xxv. 13), begging him to restrain Ananus from such acts of violence. Some of them meet Albinus on his way from Alexandria, to tell him what Ananus had done, and how it was unlawful for him to convene the Council without his consent, and the result was that Albinus wrote him a threatening letter, and that Agrippa deposed him from the priesthood."

The story of his death is told in a more dramatic form, and probably with some legendary admixture, by Hegesippus, the historian of the Jews, who wrote in the third quarter of the second century. The passage (quoted by Euseb. Hist. II. 23) is so interesting, and in some respects so important, that it will be well to give it at length.

"James the brother of the Lord receives the Church from the Apostles, he who was called the Just from the Lord's time even to our own; for many bore the name of James. This man was holy from his mother's womb. He drank no wine nor strong drink, nor did he eat any thing that lives. No razor came upon his head, nor did he anoint himself with oil, nor use the bath. He only was allowed to enter into the holy place, for he wore no woollen, but linen garments only. And he was wont to go alone into the sanctuary, and used to be found prostrate on his knees, and asking forgiveness for the people, so that his knees grew hard and worn, like a camel's, because he was ever kneeling and worshipping God, and asking forgiveness for the people. And on account of his exceeding righteousness he was called the Righteous (or the Just), and Oblias, which means in Greek 'the bulwark of the people' and 'righteousness,' as the prophets shew of him. Some then of the seven sects of the people, of those whom I have described in my Memoirs, were wont to ask him. Who is the door of Jesus? And he was wont to say that this was the Saviour. And of these some believed that Jesus is the Christ. But the sects of which I have spoken did not believe either in the Resurrection, or in Him who Cometh to give to every man according to his works. As many then as believed did so on account of James. And when many of the rulers also believed, there was a stir of the Jews and Scribes and Pharisees, saying that the whole people were in danger of looking for Jesus the Christ. They fame together and said to James: 'We entreat thee, restrain the people, for they have gone astray to Jesus as though He were indeed the Christ. We beseech thee to persuade all that come to the day of the Passover concerning Jesus; for we all hearken to thee. For all of us bear thee witness, and all the people also, that thou art righteous, and art no respecter of persons. Do thou therefore persuade the multitude not to be led astray concerning Jesus; for we and all the people hearken unto thee. Stand therefore on the pinnacle of the Temple, that thou mayest be conspicuous aloft, and that thy words may easily be heard by all the people, for by reason of the Passover all the tribes have come together, and with them the Gentiles.' So the Scribes and Pharisees before-mentioned placed James on the pinnacle of the Temple, and they cried out to him, and said, 'O thou Righteous one, to whom we are all bound to hearken, since the people are all gone astray after Jesus that was crucified, tell us what is the door of Jesus.' And he answered with a loud voice: 'Why ask ye me concerning Jesus the Son of man? He hath sat down in Heaven on the right hand of the Great Power, and is about to come upon the clouds of Heaven.' And when many were fully persuaded, and were glorifying God for the testimony of James, and saying, ' Hosanna to the Son of David,' then again the same Scribes and Pharisees said one to another, 'We did ill in giving scope for such a testimony to Jesus, but let us go up and cast him down, that they may fear and not believe him.' And they cried out, saying, ' Ho, ho, even the Righteous is gone astray!' And they fulfilled the scripture that is written in Isaiah, Let us make away with the Righteous, for he is displeasing to us; therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their works. And they went and cast the Righteous one down; and they said one to another, 'Let us stone James the Righteous.' And they began to stone him, for when he was cast down he did not die at once, but turned and fell on his knees, saying, 'O Lord God our Father, forgive them, I beseech Thee, for they know not what they do.' And while they were thus stoning him, one of the priests of the sons of Rechab the son of Rechabim, of whom the Prophet Jeremiah bears record, cried out and said, 'Cease ye: what is it that ye are doing.? The Righteous one is praying for you.' And one of them, who was a fuller, took the club wherewith he was wont to beat his clothes, and smote the head of the Righteous one with it. And so he bore his witness. And they buried him at the place beside the Sanctuary, and his tombstone remaineth by the Sanctuary. He was, and is, a true witness both to Jews and Greeks, that Jesus is the Christ."

There is but little, if anything, in this narrative, that is in itself improbable. The picture drawn of St James's life agrees with the position occupied by him in Acts xx. 23 as the centre of those who were all zealous of the Law, as giving prominence to the Nazarite vow as an act of devotion, as wishing above all things to stop the mouths of disputants and gainsayers. The long-continued prayer in the Temple is but the natural development of the teaching of the Epistle as to the power of effectual fervent prayer. The use of linen garments only was after the rule of the Essenes (Joseph. Wars, II 8 ž 4). The abstinence from wine and animal food was what might be expected in one who had been a student of the prophet who gave such prominence to the Nazarite vow (Amos ii. 11, 12; Acts xv. 16), who had been also a follower of the Baptist, and so largely reproduced his teaching. The non-use of the bath need not be understood of any neglect of the multiplied ablutions which were practised by all Pharisees and devout Jews, above all, by the Essenes (Joseph. Wars, II. 8 ž 3), whose life approximated to the type presented by that of St James and of the Baptist. The "bath" in the language of the writers of that age was the Roman bath with its sudatorium, frigidarium, shampooing, and other appliances, which was naturally looked upon by those who were leading an ascetic life as an effeminate luxury. Even the more startling fact, that the brother of the Lord was allowed to enter into the Sanctuary, is not without a parallel (assuming the term to point not to the Holy of Holies, but to the Court of the Priests) in the privileges which were granted to other Nazarites, and which led a later Jewish writer (Maimonides, More Nevochim in. 43) to place those who took that vow on them as a life-long obligation, on a level with the High Priest; and the mention of the priest of the sons of Rechab, who naturally sympathised with one whose life was like his own, is explained by the fact, sufficiently established by the Targum of Jonathan and other evidence (see Dictionary of the Bible, Art. "Rechabites"), that they were adopted, after the Captivity, into the tribe of Levi, perhaps into the family of Aaron, and became entitled to their privileges. The tradition reported by Epiphanius (HŠr. 78) that he, like St John at Ephesus (Eus. v. 24), wore the πέταλον, or thin plate of gold, with the words "Holiness to the Lord," which belonged to the High Priest (Exod. xxviii. 36), represents, it is obvious, the same ideas, and in spite of its apparent strangeness, need not be rejected as in itself incredible4. The name Oblias5, with the explanation which Hegesippus gives of it, represents the reverence felt by the population of Jerusalem for one who was to them the last surviving representative of the saintly life, and which shewed itself in their feeling that when he was murdered their defence was gone, and that the calamities that then followed in such quick succession were the just punishment of that deed of blood (Euseb. Hist. 11. 23). The question which seems to us at first scarcely intelligible. What is the door of Jesus? connects itself with the teaching of the Epistle that "the Judge standeth at the door" (ch. v. 9). One who had those words often on his lips as a warning against the selfish luxury of the generation in which he lived, was likely enough to hear from Sadducean priests, themselves foremost in that luxury, the mocking question, "What is that door of which we hear so much?" They did not hear anything, though the Judge was standing at the door and knocked.

VI. Later traditions present features that are either dimmer or more distorted. The party that had misrepresented St James in his life continued their work after he was dead; and in the controversial romance known as the Homilies of the Pseudo-Clement of Rome, Peter writes to the brother of the Lord, and maintains the perpetual obligation of the Law of Moses against the preaching of the man (obviously the forger of the letter means St Paul) who was "his enemy," and James delivers the record of his teaching to men who are at once "devout and circumcised and faithful," and binds them by a solemn oath, like that of the Freemasons or other secret societies, to absolute secrecy and obedience (Epistle of Peter, prefixed to the Clementine Homilies). The Pseudo-Clement dedicates his work to "his lord James, the bishop of bishops, who rules Jerusalem, the Holy Church of the Hebrews" (Epist. of Clement). In a second romance known as the Recognitions, ascribed to the same writer, St James, the "Archbishop" of Jerusalem, sends Peter to Caesarea to stop the work carried on by Simon the Sorcerer (Recogfi. I. 72, 73), and stands for seven days on the steps of the Temple proclaiming that Jesus is the Christ, while Saul, here also represented as from first to last the "enemy" of Peter and of James, is making havock of the Church. In the Apostolic Constitutions, a work probably of the third or fourth century, he appears with the Twelve (here also distinguished from the son of Alphasus), (Book vi. 14), and gives rubrical directions for the lighting of lamps, and the Evening Prayer that was to accompany it (Book VIII. 35 - 37), and for prayers for the departed (Book VIII. 41). In accordance with the hints there given, the Eastern Churches, of which Antioch was the centre, claimed him as having laid down the order and pattern of their worship, and the Liturgy of James comes before us as one of the great representatives of what was in the third, and possibly in the second, century, the Eucharistic Service of the ancient Church, and James is commemorated in it as the prince of Bishops, Apostles, and Martyrs (Trollope's Liturgy of St James, p. 130). The "brother of the Lord" has become the ’Λδελφόθεος, "the brother of the very God." (Ibid. p. 25.)

Wild and fantastic as are these imaginings, they are yet not without interest as shewing how powerfully the personality of James had impressed itself on the minds of his contemporaries and followers. Legends gather round the memory of a great man, not of a small one. And the character which is visible through all of them is that of one who continued all his life a Hebrew of the Hebrews, zealous for the Law, and devout in its observance, winning by his personal holiness the admiration and reverence of all who knew him. It is refreshing, however, to pass from the region of fables, and to tread on the safer ground — safer, though here, too, we need the caution which should attend all exercise of the historical imagination — of the inferences that may legitimately be drawn from what the New Testament writers tell us of the man, from what he tells us of himself. We have, then, present before us one whose personal work is limited to Jerusalem, who undertakes no far-distant journeys. Such a life tends naturally to the devout, contemplative, ascetic pattern of religion. It keeps itself "unspotted from the world." Its practical activity is limited to "visiting the fatherless and widows in their affliction." The days pass by in a calm unbroken order, and the outer stirrings of the world scarcely ruffle it. And the life was spent in great part, at least, in company with the two Apostles, St Peter and St John. We can think of James as delighting in their converse, interchanging thoughts with them, learning from them, and in his turn teaching them, so that, as we have seen (p. 9), his words and phrases are often theirs, and theirs are his. And there also, for part of the time, must have been the Publican-Apostle, writing his Gospel for the Hebrews, yet writing it, there seems reason to believe, in Greek as well as Hebrew, for the twelve tribes that were scattered abroad, to whom St James addressed his Epistle. May we not think of the two as communing together as the work went on; the brother of the Lord imparting to the Evangelist the genealogy of the house of David, which was treasured among the records of his lineage, and the events, as he remembered or had heard them, of the Birth and Infancy of the Christ, and reading the Sermon on the Mount, in which he found the " royal law, the perfect law of freedom; " and of which accordingly we find so many echoes in the Epistle (p. 8)? From time to time there appears in Jerusalem one of wider thoughts and wider work, whom many of the Church at Jerusalem hated and suspected. James does not hate or suspect, and holds out the right hand of fellowship, but he feels that he has a vocation and ministry of his own, and his form of life and type of thought remain as they were, but little influenced by the teaching of the Apostle of the Gentiles. And Luke comes with St Paul, and the wide culture and sympathies of the beloved physician enable him to understand, better than others, the character of the Bishop of Jerusalem, outwardly so different from, essentially so in harmony with, the character of his friend, and he resolves that, as far as in him lies, the false rumours of an antagonism between them which had gone abroad and gained acceptance, shall be shewn to be not facts, but the reverse of facts, engendered by the father of lies. And the life thus calm and tranquil is naturally given to study as well as prayer and good works. The Holy Scriptures are naturally the chief object of those studies, but his early knowledge as a Galilean, and his frequent intercourse with the Hellenistic pilgrims of the Dispersion, who came up to keep their Pentecost or other feasts at Jerusalem, made him familiar with the Greek version of those Scriptures, and so with the books which the Alexandrian Jews had added to the Hebrew volume. His Epistle shews how much he valued the practical teaching of one of those books, how he found in the Son of Sirach one who, like himself, had sought for wisdom and had not sought in vain. The parallelisms with that book are, as the following table will shew, nearly as numerous as those with the Sermon on the Mount.

James i. 5.        Ecclus. xx. 15, xli. 22.

James i. 8.        Ecclus. i. 28, ii. 12.

James i. 12.      Ecclus. i-11, 16, 18.

James i. 12.      Ecclus. xv. 11.

James i- 19.      Ecclus. v. 11, xx. 7.

James i- 23.      Ecclus. xii. 11.

James i. 25.      Ecclus. xiv. 23, xxi. 23.

James iii. 5.      Ecclus. xxviii. 10.

James iii. 6.      Ecclus. xxviii. 19 (?).

Yet another book, the work, probably, of a contemporary, written, as some have thought6 by the Jew of Alexandria, eloquent and mighty in the Scriptures, to whom many critics, from Luther onwards, have assigned the authorship of the Epistle to the Hebrews, must have attracted him by its very title, the Wisdom of Solomon, and with this also we find not a few interesting and suggestive parallelisms.

James i. 11.       Wisd. ii. 8.

James i. 12.       Wisd. v. 7.

James i. 17.       Wisd. vii. 17 - 20.

James i. 20.       Wisd. xii. 10.

James i. 23.       Wisd. vii. 26.

James ii. 21.       Wisd. x. 5.

James iv. 14.      Wisd. iii. 16, v. 9 - 14.

We picture such a man to ourselves as grave and calm, for the most part silent, but when speaking, letting fall words that were as seeds that germinated and took root in the souls of others, indifferent to the luxuries and comforts of life, honouring the poor more than the rich, visiting the fatherless and the widow, accompanying the Elders of the Church when they anointed the sick with oil in the hope of their recovery, slow to judge, calming by his saintly meekness the angry passions of contending parties, adopting the policy of non-resistance in times of persecution. Not without cause did men speak of him as emphatically the "just, or righteous, one" as presenting a type of character after the pattern of His who was emphatically the Just One, Jesus Christ the Righteous (Matt, xxvii. 19; Luke xxiii. 47; Acts iii. 14, vii. 52; 1 John ii. 1). The frequent occurrence of that title either in its Greek or Latin form (as in the Justus of Acts i. 23, xviii. 7; Col. iv. 11) seems to indicate that it was used somewhat freely of those who aimed at a higher righteousness than that of the Scribes and Pharisees.

So far as we may think of such a one as James the Just as needing refreshment after the strain of worship and of work, some subtle touches in the Epistle lead us to think of that refreshment as found by him, as by all pure and simple souls, in the forms of life around him. To consider the lilies of the field, to dwell lovingly on what he calls the comeliness, not of the fashion, but of the face of each fair flower (see Note on I. 10), to find a quiet joy, as St John is said to have done in his old age (see note on ch. iii. 7), in the power of man to tame the wildness, and even to win the affection, of bird or beast, — this also we may think of as entering into the life of the brother of the Lord, and teaching him new lessons in the wisdom which he sought. Christendom has presented many types of saintliness, more intense and vehement, more mystic and spiritual, with wider thoughts, or at least a freer utterance, of the mysteries of God. It was well that the Apostolic age should present one type such as this, in which holiness appeared mainly as identical with Wisdom; that this should be as much the special characteristic of St James, as Faith was of St Paul, and Hope of St Peter, and Love of the beloved disciple. That type has happily not been without its representatives in later ages of the Church. In Macarius of Egypt, in Thomas Ó Kempis, in our own Bishop Wilson, we trace the same ideal of life, the aim at that wisdom which Cometh from above, and is first pure and then peaceable, gentle, and carrying with it the persuasive power of gentleness. The life of St James was well characterised by Eusebius (Hist. II. 23), as marked by " the highest philosophy." The Liturgy of the Greek Church as happily attaches the epithet " Wise " rather than Just, to the "brother of the Lord," and commemorates "the marvellous and ineffable mysteries" which were made known to him by the "Wisdom of the incarnate Lord "who vouchsafed to be his Teacher

 

 

1) It is not without a feeling of regret, that I adopt in this volume the form in which the historical associations of the name have entirely disappeared. Usage, however, in such a matter, must be accepted as the jus et norma loquendi.

2) Dr Mill (Mythical Interp. p. 291) quotes a passage from a MS. of the 14th century, ascribed to Papias, and maintaining Jerome's view as proof of an almost apostolic antiquity for this theory. The occurrence of the mediaeval "Star of the Sea," as applied to the Virgin, is. however, in itself proof of a much later date than that of Papias of Hierapolis, and Dr Lightfoot shews that it comes from a work by a writer of the same name in the 11th century.

3) It has sometimes been inferred from St Paul's way of speaking ("other of the Apostles saw I none save James the Lord's brother") that the one so named must have been among the Twelve, and therefore identical with the son of AlphŠus. The examples of a like construction in Luke iv. 26, 27 shew that no such inference is reliable. The woman of Sarepta was not one of the widows of Israel, nor was Naaman one of its lepers.

4) It may be noted, in connexion with this statement, that the portrait of Josephus, commonly found in the English editions, represents him with this petalon. I do not know from what picture the engraving was made, but the fact seems to indicate that the practice was not so strange as it appears to us. Josephus, it will be remembered, claimed descent from the sons of Aaron, and it is not unlikely that both St John and the brother of the Lord may have had a like claim (see Article "Priests" in the Dictionary of the Bible). Jerome, whose personal knowledge goes for something in such a matter, says that Josephus was in such favour with Vespasian and Titus, that he had a public statue at Rome (Catal. Script. Ilhust. ), so that there may have been some authority in the fourth century for such a representation.

5) The probable Hebrew form of the word was Ophli-am ( = stronghold of the people), the first half of the word being identical with Ophel, the tower on the south side of the Temple, which was the residence of the Levites (Neh. xi. 21).

6) See Two Papers on The Writings of Apollos in Vol. 1. of the Expositor.