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Julian Pe Health and Prosperity-As the unbelieving Jews de- Jerusalem. riod, 4775. Vulgar Ære, of that council, which was propounded by the younger James 62.
in favour of the Gentile converts, as their brethren.”
On this controverted and uncertain point I have followed the majority of commentators, and have considered James, the Lord's brother, as the author of this Epistle. His history is fully and ably collected by Dr. Lardner, from the writings of the ancient fathers; and to his labours the reader is more particularly referred. He concludes this part of his labours with observing, that the time of the death of James may be determined without much difficulty: he was alive when St. Paul came to Jerusalem at the Pentecost, in the year of Christ 58; and it is likely that he was dead when St. Paul wrote the Epistle to the Hebrews, at the beginning of the year 63. Theodoret, upon Heb. xiii. 7. supposes the apostle there to refer to the martyrdoms of Stephen, James, the brother of John, and James the Just. According to Hegesippus, the death of James happened about the time of the passover, which might be that of the year 62; and if Festus was then dead, and Albinus not arrived, the province was without a governor. Such a season left the Jews at liberty io gratify their licentious and turbulent disposition, and they were likely to embrace it. The Epistle, therefore, as the work of James the Less, must have been written about this time, A.D. 62. As it concludes abruptly, it has been considered as a posthumous writing, left unfinished by the premature and violent death of the apostle (a).
Bishop Tomline, and others, are of opinion that this Epistle was addressed to the believing Jews who were dispersed all over the world: Grotius and Dr. Wall to all the people of Israel living out of Judea. Michaelis considers it certain that St. James wrote to persons already converted from Judaism to Christianity ; but at the same time he believes, as the apostle was highly respected by the Jews in general, that he designed that it should also be read by the unbelieving Jews, and that by this intention he was influenced in the choice of his materials. Dr. Benson is of opinion that this Epistle was addressed lo the converted Jews out of Palestine; but Whitby, Lardner (and after them Macknight), tbink it was written to the whole Jewish nation, both within and without Judea, whether believers or not. This opinion is grounded on some expressions in the first ten verses of the fourth chapter, and in the first five verses of the fifth chapter, which they suppose to be applicable to unbelievers only. It is true that in the fifth chapter the apostle alludes to the then impending destruction of Jerusalem, and the miseries which soon after befel the unbelieving Jews ; but Bishop Tomline is of opinion, that the apostle alludes merely to the great corruptions into which the Hebrew Christians had fallen at that time.
It does not appear probable that James would write part of bis Epistle to believers, and part to unbelievers, without any mention or notice of that distinction. It should also be rememberod, that this Epistle contains no general arguments for the truth of Christianity, por uny reproof of those who refused to embrace the Gospel; and therefore, though his lordship admils that the inscription, “ To the twelve tribes that are scattered abroad,” might comprehend both unbelieving and believing Jews, yet he is of opinion that it was intended for the believing Jews only, and that St. James did not expressly make the discrimination, because neither he, nor any other apostlo, ever thought of writing to any but Christian converts. “The object of the apostolical Epistles,” he further observes, “ was lo con,
Jalian Period, 4775. Vulgar Æra, 62.
TO WHOM THIS EPISTLE WAS ADDRESSED. sired to persuade their converted Brethren, by applying Jerasalem. to them the Rewards and Punishments annexed to their Obedience or Disobedience to the Mosaic Lan, that their present Afflictions were Tokens of the Divine Pleasure —the Apostle shews the Advantages resulting from Affictions, to produce in them Patience and Resignation to God's Will—He exhorts them to Paiience, that they may, in allusion to the Sacrifices of the Lan, be perfect -If any under Trials be deficient in this Wisdom of Patience, he is to ask it of God, that giveth all necessary good to every Man, and who reproaches none for asking, and it shall be given to him-But then let him ask in a steady Faith, fully persuaded that God is both able and willing to grant his Petitions, not irresolute, nor divided in his own Mind concerning the Things for which he prays-for he who thus wavers between Virtue and Vice is like a Wave of the Sea, influenced by every succeeding Impulse, and cannot expect to receive from God what he desires--A Man of two Minds is unstable in all his Actions, and can attain to no degree of Excellence - The poor converted Jew is encouraged to rejoice in his Suffering, for by them his Christian Character, through Faith, is exalted—but the rich Man, to be ashamed of the Emptiness and Uncertainty of those Things in which he delights—and rather glory in his Humiliation and Sufferings for the Sake of the Gospel --for his onin Life, and all his earthly Possessions, are as transient, and as litlle to be depended on, as the
firm, and not to convert ; to correct what was amiss in those
The Epistle itself is entirely different in its complexion from
(a) Benson's Preface to the Catholic Epistles.- Michaelis, vol. iv, p. 260—271.-Pritii Introd. ad Nov. Test. p. 62–65.-Lardner's Works, 8vo. vol. vi. p. 465–468; 4to. vol. iii. p. 366, 367.–Rosenmüller, Scholia, vol. v. p. 317, 318.—Horne's Critical Introduction, vol. iv. (6) Bishop Tomline's Elements of Christian Theology, p. 472. (c) See Horne, Macknight, Lardper, Benson, Dr. A. Clarke, and the Com
Julian Pe Flower of the Field—and those whose Happiness con- Jerusalem. riod, 4775.
sists in them, are subjected in a similar manner by Dis-
eases, and the Vicissitudes of Life, to be cut down, and
i James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus
2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
8 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth, is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord,
8 A double-minded a man is unstable in all his ways.
9 Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted :
10 But the rich, in that he is made low : because as the
25 The Greek word dikuxos signifies one who has two souls
in his ways.
AFFLICTIONS THE TRIAL OF VIRTUE-CHAP. XIV.
Jerusalem. riod, 4775. Vulgar Æra, The Apostle, fearing his Expression relating to Tempta62.
tions or Aflictions, sent by God as a Trial of the Virtue
13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted
14 But every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
15 Then when lust a hath oonceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
16 Do not err, my beloved brethren.
17 Every good gift, and every perfect gift, is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth,
James i. 19, to the end.
coming Teachers, and who were intemperate in their re-
28 Among the Rabbins there is this saying, “ Evil concupis. cence is at the beginning like the thread of a spider's web; afterwards is like a cart-rope."-Sanbedrin, fol. 99.
Jalian Pe of Man, on religious Differences, do not promote the Jerusaleis. riod, 4775.
Interests of the Kingdom of Heaven, do not work out in
others the Faith which God counts for Righteousness-
upon them to put away all the filthiness of fleshly
19 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath :
20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.
21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls a?.
22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
» This expression is supposed by commentators to signify the doctrine which has been implanted--the light within-the natural innate, or eternal word; comparing the Gospel to a seed, or to a plant, which is here said to be engrafted in their minds. But I cannot but believe that the apostle refers rather to the Mosaic law, the Gospel of Christ being engrafted on the law; for Christ came not to destroy the law and the prophets, but to fulfil them. (see James ii. 23.) The ritual law he fulfilled by his sacrifice and death, and the effects resulting from them-his blood cleansing as from all sin. The great Higb-Priest offering up his intercession and prayers for us in the Holy of Holies-and the moral law he fulfilled'in bis pure and holy life-for in him there was no sin. He was the true paschal Jamb, without blemish, and without spot-he realised every tittle of the law, and was the great end and object of it. Its types, ceremonies, and festivals, were only the figure and representation of him that was to come-they were now finished, completed, and blotted out for ever, dying with him on the cross. In ver. 25. of this chapter, the word “ perfect,” which is used in opposition to the Mosaic law, which was imperfect, seems to be applied to the Gospel, in a sense which corroborates the opinion bere advanced. It intimates that the Gospel, or the law of liberty, was made perfect by bringing to perfection the whole system of the Jewish law; engrafting on it the fulness of salvation, and giving us liberty from its burtbonsomo rites, and abi. lity to overcome the power and dominion of sin.