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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 Antiquities, 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,
66 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, 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
ything 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 superintendent in the church of Jerusalem, where, and in Judæa, 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, digni