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be pursued, and that the letter or result of the council was chiefly modelled upon his words. From these circumstances it has been concluded that he was the moderator or president of this first Christian council, and that this rank was probably conceded to him on account of his being the presiding apostle or bishop of Jerusalem, in which place the council was convened. Peter, as it may be remembered, agreed with James entirely in this case; but, though in some sense chief of the apostles, it is evident that when the church came to be enlarged and settled, he did not possess any general supreme authority, but, as in the present council, was regarded, and regarded himself, as in subordination to the local authorities. The speech of James is replete with good sense, dignity, and a spirit of charity and forbearance, and sufficiently indicates the wisdom of his brethren in making him bishop or overseer of the Christian church of Jerusalem.
In the twenty-first chapter of Acts there is also a particular mention of James, which corroborates the preceding proofs of his consequence in the church. In an account there given of the journey of Paul and his company to Jerusalem, with the collections for the saints in Judea, the writer says, “ And when we were come to Jerusalem, the brethren received us gladly. And the day following, Paul went in with us unto James; and all the elders were present.” James could hardly have been singled out by name in this passage, for any other reason than because he was the chief person at this convocation of the elders.
To all this evidence of the standing of James and the high consideration in which he was held, the testimony of Paul himself is to be added. One passage has already been adduced from the first chapter of his epistle to the Galatians. In the second chapter, Paul says, “ And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship, that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.” Here it is to be noted, that James is not only called one of the pillars of the church, but is placed at the head of the three; even before Cephas, or Peter. At the same time we ought to observe, that ecclesiastical rank was by no means, in those primitive times, that thing of name and pomp and prerogative that it has since been made in most of the churches of Christendom; for if James had been the bishop of Jerusalem in the same sense in which the title is now applied, Paul would never have said
of him and the others, that they “seemed to be pillars;" an expression which plainly signifies, that they appeared, as far as he could judge, to be the first men in the church. In truth, a bishop in those days was only a moderator among brethren and equals; appointed to the office by them, and appointed to it for his superior gifts and attainments.
Once more, and in this same chapter, is James mentioned. Paul, in relating the vacillating conduct of Peter, with regard to eating with the Gentiles, says, in the words which I have already quoted in Peter's life, “Before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles; but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself.” Here again is James spoken of as a person of consideration and authority.
Thus far do the Scriptures inform us of the life and character of James the Less. Ancient ecclesiastical writers have much to say of his virtues and wisdom, and of the respect which they procured for him, both among the faithful and the unbelieving. The Jews, we are told, were unbounded in their admiration of him; insomuch, that, as Jerome affirms, they used to strive to touch the hem of his garment. On account of his remarkable integrity, he obtained another
surname beside that which is given to him in the Scriptures, and was called James the Just. Some go so far as to say, that he was allowed to enter into the Holy of Holies of the Jewish temple; but this must be a fiction. It is a fiction, however, which, together with other similar ones, shows that there must have been a foundation for them in the high character and reputation of this apostle.
The circumstances of his death are differently stated. Josephus, the Jewish historian, is supposed to relate it in the following passage from the twentieth book of his Antiquites, which I give in the translation of L'Estrange.' "The Ananus we are now speaking of, [who had recently been raised to the high priesthood by Agrippa,] was naturally fierce and hardy; by sect, a Sadducee, the most censorious and uncharitable sort of
people upon the face of the earth. This being his way and opinion, he took his opportunity, in the interval betwixt the death of Festus and the arrival of his successor Albinus, who was as yet but upon the way, to call a council together, with the assistance of the judges, and to cite James, the brother of Jesus, which was called Christ, with some others, to appear before them, and answer to a charge of blasphemy, and breach of the law; whereupon they were condemned, and delivered up to be stoned.” The account proceeds to say that all the sober and conscientious part of the city were so much offended with this high handed way of acting, that they sent a representation of it, with a remonstrance, both to king Agrippa, and to Albinus; the consequence of which was, that Ananus was deposed by Agrippa from the pontificate. This passage would be decisive, were it not that several learned men question the genuineness of the words, "the brother of Jesus which was called Christ.” Lardner thinks that they are an interpolation, and inclines to the account given by Eusebius, in the second book of his Ecclesiastical History; who says,
" When Paul had appealed to Cæsar, and had been sent to Rome by Festus, the Jews, who had aimed at his death, being disappointed in that design, turned their rage against James the Lord's brother, who had been appointed by the apostles, bishop of Jerusalem ;” and then he goes on to state, that James was killed in a popular tumult. If this narrative is the true one, it makes the death of the apostle a year or two earlier than it is dated by Josephus; but at any rate we may safely fix it somewhere about the year 60, and eight or ten years before the destruction of Jerusalem. He was buried, according to Gregory,