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which Erasmus takes, when he says that the "primary Author” is the Holy Spirit, and so puts by as indifferent the question of the secondary author: thus in both cases resting the decision entirely on the character of the contents of the book itself.
23. But this would manifestly be a wrong method of proceeding. We do not thus in the case of other writings, whose unexceptionable evangelic character is universally acknowledged. To say nothing of later productions, no one ever reasoned thus respecting the Epistle of Barnabas, or that of Clement to the Corinthians, or any of the quasiapostolic writings. None of the ancients ever dealt so before Jerome, nor did Jerome himself in other passages. More than intrinsic excellence and orthodoxy is wanting, to win for a book a place in the New Test.
Indeed any reasoning must be not only in itself insufficient, but logically unsound, which makes the authority of a book which is to set us our standard of doctrine, the result of a judgment of our own respecting the doctrine inculcated in it. Such judgment can be only subsidiary to the enquiry, not the primary line of its argument, which must of necessity be of an objective character.
24. And when we come to proofs of this latter kind, it may well be asked, which of them we are to accept as sufficient. It is clear, we cannot appeal to tradition alone. We must combine with such an appeal, the exercise of our own judgment on tradition. When, for example, the Church of England takes, in her sixth article, the ground of pure tradition, and says, “In the name of the Holy Scripture, we do understand those canonical books of the Old and New Testament, of whose authority was never any doubt in the Church,” she would by implication, if consistent with herself, exclude from the Canon at the least the Apocalypse, which was for some centuries not received by the Eastern and for the most part by the Greek church, and our Epistle, which was for some centuries not received by the whole Latin church. Nay, she would go even further than this: for even to the present day the Syrian church excludes the Apocalypse, the Epistles of St Jude, 2 and 3 John, and 2 Peter, from the Canon. It is fortunate that our Church did not leave this definition to be worked out for itself, but, giving a detailed list of Old Test. books, has appended to it this far more definite sentence : “ All the books of the New Testament, as they are commonly received, we do receive, and account them Canonical :” thus adopting the list of New Test. books in common usage in the Western Church at the time, about which there could be no difference.
25. If then tradition pure and simple will not suffice for our guide, how are we to combine our judgment with it, so as to arrive at a satisfactory conclusion ? It is manifest, that the question of origin comes in here as most important. If the genuineness of a book be in dispute, as e.g. that of 2 Peter, it suffices to make it reasonably probable that it was written by him whose name it bears. When this is received, all question of canonicity is at rest. In that case, the name of the Apostle is ample guarantee. And so with our Epistle, those who think they can prove it to be the work of St. Paul, are no longer troubled about its canonicity. This is secured, in shewing it to be of apostolic origin.
26. And so it ever was in the early Church. Apostolicity and Canonicity were bound together. And in the case of those historical books which were not written by apostles themselves, there was ever an effort to connect their writers, St. Mark with St. Peter, St. Luke with St. Paul, so that at least apostolic sanction might not be wanting to them. What then must be our course with regard to a book, of which we believe neither that it was written by an Apostle, nor that it had apostolic sanction?
27. This question must necessarily lead to an answer not partaking of that rigid demonstrative character which some reasoners require for all inferences regarding the authority of Scripture. Our conclusion must be matter of moral evidence, and of degree: must be cumulative, -made up of elements which are not, taken by themselves, decisive, but which, taken together, are sufficient to convince the reasonable mind.
28. First, we have reason to believe that our Epistle was written by one who lived and worked in close union with the Apostle Paul: of whom that Apostle says that “he planted, and Apollos watered, and God gave the increase :" of whom it is elsewhere in holy writ declared, that he was “an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures :" that he “helped much them which had believed through grace:" that he "mightily convinced the Jews, and that publicly, shewing by the Scriptures that Jesus was Christ."
29. Secondly, having, as we believe, from his pen such an Epistle, we find it largely quoted by one who was himself a companion of the Apostles,--and almost without question appealed to as Scripture by another primitive Christian writer: and both these testimonies belong to that very early age of the Church, when controversies about canonicity had not yet begun.
30. Thirdly, in the subsequent history of the Church, we find the reception of the Epistle into the Canon becoming ever more and more a matter of common consent: mainly, no doubt, in connexion with the hypothesis of its Pauline authorship, but, as we have shewn above, not in all cases in that connexion.
31. Fourthly, we cannot refuse the conviction, that the contents of the Epistle itself are such, as powerfully to come in aid of these other considerations. Unavailing as such a conviction would be of itself, as has been previously noticed, yet it is no small confirmation of the
evidence which probable authorship, early recognition, and subsequent consent, furnish to the canonicity of our Epistle, when we find that nowhere are the main doctrines of the faith more purely or more majestically set forth ; nowhere Holy Scripture urged with greater authority and cogency ; nowhere those marks in short, which distinguish the first rank of primitive Christian writings from the second, more unequivocally and continuously present.
32. The result of this combination of evidence is, that though no considerations of expediency, nor consent of later centuries, can ever make us believe the Epistle to have been written by St. Paul, we yet conceive ourselves perfectly justified in accounting it a portion of the New Test. canon, and in regarding it with the same reverence as the rest of the Holy Scriptures.
There are other subjects of deep interest connected with our Epistle, such as its relation, in point of various aspects of Christian doctrine, to the teaching of St. Paul, of St. John, of St. James, and of St. Peter : its connexion with, and independence of, the system of Philo: to treat of which would extend this introduction, already long, to the size of a volume. They will be found discussed in the first part of Riehm's “Lehrbegriff des Hebraerbriefes,” Ludwigsburg, 1858.
THE GENERAL EPISTLE OF JAMES.
1. It has been very generally agreed, that among the apostolic persons bearing the name of James (Jacobus), the son of Zebedee, the brother of St. John, cannot well have written our Epistle. The state of things and doctrines which we find in it can hardly have been reached as early as before the execution of that Apostle, related in Acts xii.
2. But when we have agreed on this, matter of controversy at once arises. It would appear from the simple superscription of our Epistle with the name Jacobus, that we are to recognize in its Writer the apostolic person known simply by this name in the Acts,—who was the president of the church at Jerusalem (Acts xii. 17; xv. 13 ff. ; xxi. 18), and is called by St. Paul the brother of our Lord (Gal. i. 19). This also being pretty generally granted, the question arising is: Was this James identical with, or was he distinct from, James the son of Alphæus, one of the Twelve apostles (Matt. x. 3; Mark ii. 18; Luke vi. 15; Acts i. 13)?
3. I have partly anticipated the answer to this question in my note on Matt. xiii. 55, where I have maintained that, consistently with the straightforward acceptation of Scripture data, we cannot believe any of those who are called the brethren of our Lord to have been also of the number of the Twelve. I conceive John vii. 5, as compared with ib. vi. 67, 70 immediately preceding, to be decisive on this point; and since I first expressed myself thus, I have seen nothing in the least degree calculated to shake that conviction'. And, that conclusion still standing, I must of course believe this James to be excluded from the number of the Twelve, and if so, distinct from the son of Alphæus.
4. Still, it will be well to deal with the question on its own ground. And first, as to the notices in Scripture itself which bear on it. And these, it must be acknowledged, are not without difficulty. As, e.g., those which occur in St. Luke, who must have been well aware of the state of matters in the church at Jerusalem. He names, up to Acts xii., but two persons as James : one, whom he always couples with John (Luke v. 10; vi. 14 ; viii. 51; ix. 28, 54 [Acts i. 13]), and in Acts xii. 2 relates, under the name of “the brother of John,” to have been slain with the sword by Herod: the other, whom he twice introduces as “ Jacobus (James) the (son) of Alphæus” (Luke vi. 15; Acts i. 13). Besides, in accordance with the usage of the Greek idiom, the genitive of the name,“ of Jacobus” (James), is thrice mentioned by him as designating by relationship other persons: in Luke vi. 16; Acts i. 13, we read of Judas the (brother?) of Jacobus (James), and in Luke xxiv. 10, of Mary the (mother ?) of Jacobus (James) : interpreting which latter expression by Matt. xxvii. 56; Mark xv. 40, 47, and xvi. 1, and by John xix. 25, we shall infer that the Mary here mentioned being the wife
1 Nothing can be lamer than the way in which Lange (in Herzog's Encycl. art. Jacobus) endeavours to escape the conclusion. I subjoin it as the latest specimen of what ingenuity can do against plain matter of fact: “The kind of unbelief here predicated of our Lord's Brethren is parallel with that of Peter, Matt. xvi. 22, 23, and of Thomas, John xx. 25. John is evidently speaking, not of unbelief in the ordinary sense, which rejected the Messiahship of Jesus, but of that unbelief, or that want of trust, which made it difficult for our Lord's disciples, His Apostles, and even His Mother, to reconcile themselves to His way of life, or to His concealment of Himself.” Against this finessing I would simply set 1) the usage of the term to believe in Him, John ii. 11; iv. 39; vii. 31, 39, 48; viii. 30; ix. 36; x. 42; xi. 45, 48; xii. 37 (with “not”), 42: and 2) the “not even,” following on the unbelief of the Jews ver. 1, with which the "did His brethren believe in Him” is introduced.
of Alphæus (or Clopas), the ellipsis must be filled up by the word mother, and “ Jacobus " (James) in this place designates James the son of Alphæus. And as regards
And as regards “ Judas the (brother?) of Jacobus" (James), we may well suppose that the same person is designated by the genitive, however difficult it may be to fill in the ellipsis. We have a Judas, who designates himself “the brother of Jacobus” (James), Jude 1: but whether these are to be considered identical, must be determined by the result of our present investigation.
5. The question for us with regard to St. Luke, is the following: In Acts xii. 17, and in the subsequent parts of that book, we have a person mentioned simply as “ Jacobus " (James), who is evidently of great authority in the church at Jerusalem. Are we to suppose that St. Luke, careful and accurate as his researches were, was likely to have introduced thus without previous notice, a new and third person bearing the same name? Does not this testify strongly for the identity of the two ?
6. The best way to answer this question will be, to notice St. Luke's method of proceeding on an occasion somewhat analogous. In Acts i. 13, we find “ Philip” among the Apostles. In ib. vi. 5, we find a “ Philip” among the seven, appointed to relieve the Apostles from the daily ministration of alms. In ib. viii. 5, we read that “ Philip” went down to a city of Samaria and preached. Now as there is nothing to identify this part of the narrative with what went before, or to imply that this was not a missionary journey of one of the Apostles, distinct from the dispersion from which they were excepted above, ver. 1, it is not at the first moment obvious which Philip is meant. It is true, that intelligent comparison of the parts of the narrative makes it plain to us : but the case is one in point, as shewing, that St. Luke is in the habit of leaving it to such comparison to decide, and not of inserting notices at the mention of names, to prevent mistake. This would be much more in the practice of St. John, who writes, xiv. 22, “ Judas, not Iscariot:" see also xi. 2. It seems then that the practice of St. Luke will not decide for us, but our enquiry must still be founded on the merits of the question itself.
7. And in so doing, we will make first the hypothesis of the identity of James the son of Alphæus with James the Lord's brother. Then, besides the great, and to me insuperable difficulty in John vi. 70, vii. 5, we shall have the following circumstances for our consideration : 1) In Matt. xxvii. 56, and Mark xv. 40, we read of Mary the mother of James and Joses : and in Mark, the epithet “ the small” or less" is attached to “ Jacobus ” (James). Now on the hypothesis of James, the brother of the Lord, being identical with the son of Alphæus, there were four such sons, Matt. xiii. 55 ; James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas: and of these four, two, James and Judas, were Apostles. So that, leaving out of the question for the moment the confusion of the names Joses and