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bishop of Tours, on Mount Olivet, in a tomb which he had built for himself.
So great was the reputation of James for sanctity, that his death was supposed by the Jews themselves to have hastened the destruction of their city. Some of the Fathers tell us that this was asserted by Josephus; but the passage is not now to be found in his works. Both the accounts of James's death agree that he was stoned. It is added in the relation of Hegesippus, as preserved by Eusebius, that he was finally despatched by the blow of a fuller's club.
The following excellent summary of the main facts in the life of James, is from the close of Lardner's account of that apostle.
James, sometimes called the Less, the son of Alpheus, and called the Lord's brother, either as being the son of Joseph by a former wife, or a relation of his mother Mary, was one of Christ's apostles. We have no account of the time when he was called to the apostleship. Nor is there any thing said of him particularly in the history of our Saviour, which is in the Gospels. But from the Acts, and St. Paul's Epistles, we can perceive, that after our Lord's ascension he was of note among the apostles. Soon after St. Stephen's death in the year 36, or thereabout, he seems to have been appointed president, or superintendant in the church of Jerusalem, where, and in Judea, he resided the remaining part of his life. Accordingly, he presided in the Council of Jerusalem, held there in the year 49 or 50. He was in great repute among the Jewish people, both believers and unbelievers, and was surnamed the Just. Notwithstanding which, he suffered martyrdom in a tumult at the temple; and probably in the former part of the year
62.” There is one epistle, among the canonical books of the New Testament, which is very generally ascribed to James the Less, the brother or cousin of Jesus, though some doubt has been entertained of its authenticity and apostolic authority, and no distinct reference to it is to be found in the writings of the earliest fathers. In the time of Eusebius, however, it was universally received and read in the churches. It is a noble exhortation, full of good sense and spirit, dignified, independent, and explicit. Its value is of the highest description, both as it is an unreserved declaration of the intrinsic merit and importance of good works or virtue, and as it contains a most fearless, indignant, and forcible denunciation of the reigning vices and follies of the generation to whom the apostle wrote. A common opinion
among the ancient writers of the church, is, that the first part of it was composed expressly to explain those passages of Paul's epistles which seem to slight good works, and make every thing of faith, or mere belief; and that the severe rebukes and warnings which are contained in the latter portion of it, were the chief occasion of the writer's being stoned to death by the Jewish populace; as that event is supposed to have taken place a short time after the publication of the epistle.
That the encomium of James on good works was intended to explain some of those things in Paul's writings which were hard to be understood, is not improbable; but that it is in direct opposition to them, as some have thought, is not only improbable but impossible. For it is impossible to read Paul's description of charity, in which he declares that it is greater than both faith and hope, and still to believe that he would so directly contradict himself as to reverse this order, and exalt faith above charity; or that he intended by what he calls works, and the works of the law, what we mean by good works and Christian morality or virtue. The world have been too long, and much too vehemently disputing about the relative superi
ority of faith and works, and arraying James against Paul, and Paul against himself. It was, perhaps, a strong bias toward one side of this controversy, or rather a bigoted and dogmatical attachment to it, quite as much as any doubts of the genuineness and antiquity of James's epistle, which induced Luther to call it, in contempt, “an epistle of straw."* Despite, however, of this coarse epithet of the Reformer, it has maintained its authority in the Christian church; an authority, which, if intrinsic excellence and internal evidence have any weight, it amply de
His day in the Calendar is May 1st, which is also dedicated to the apostle Philip.
*“ Epistola straminea,” a strawy epistle, is the phrase applied by Luther to the epistle of James. The boldness, and perhaps even the rudeness of the great Reformer, qualified him to carry through his enterprise as he did, under circumstances, and in an age, which demanded not only decision, but a rough, uncompromising, unfeeling decision. Granting this to be the case, still he is not to be regarded as a pattern of Christian meekness, forbearance, or charity ; quali. ties which neither he, nor his contemporary Calvin, in any great degree possessed. Luther was more wild in his doctrine of faith than even Calvin ; and he vented his spleen against good works on the excellent epistle of James, in an expression of contempt, which would not be tolerated at the present day.
The apostle who stands the tenth on Matthew's list, and is there called “ Lebbeus whose surname was Thaddeus," is called in Mark's catalogue,
Thaddeus,” and in Luke's, “ Judas the brother of James.” We cannot fail to remark, how carefully he is always distinguished from the other Judas. Matthew and Mark avoid naming him by the name which he held in common with the traitor; and Luke takes care to distinguish him, by adding to that ill omened appellation, that he was the brother of James.
Jude, Judas, and Judah are one and the same name. Jude is merely an English abbreviation of Judas, and Judas is only a Greek pronunciation of the old Hebrew name of Judah. It means the praise of the Lord. Thaddeus is derived from the same root, and has a similar signification. Lebbeus appears to mean a man of heart, or courage, being derived from a word signifying the heart. These two last names were probably adopted to distinguish him from Judas Iscariot.