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representations of the dreadful calamities coming upon them, ch. iv. 1,8. v. 1—6.
III. I am now to consider to whom this epistle was sent.
Beza says, it1 was sent to the believing Jews, dispersed all over the world. Cave m seems to say to believing Jews chiefly. And " to the like purpose Fabricius. Grotius ° says, to all the people of Israel living out of Judea. Wall's account of this epistle is this: 'It P was written to such
*Jews (being now Christians) as were dispersed abroad out
6 of Judea. This epistle consists of general exhortations
'to piety, patience, and other moral virtues. It has twice
*or thrice mentioned our Saviour: but has nothing of his 'miracles, or teachings, or death, or resurrection, or ourre6 demption by him: of which Paul's, and Peter's, and John's 'epistles are full.'
To me it seems, that this epistle was written to all Jews, descendants of Jacoh, of every denomination, throughout the world, in Judea, and out of it. For such is the inscription: "James, a servant of God, and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes, which are scattered abroad, greeting." No expression can be more general, than "the twelve tribes." There is not any limitation, restraining it to christians, or believers in Jesus. Nor does he wish them grace or peace from Jesus Christ. It is only a general salutation, or greeting. Indeed he does not dissemble his own character. He calls himself "a servant of God, and of the Lord Jesus Christ." He takes upon himself the character of a christian, and perhaps of an apostle. But he does not so characterize those to whom he writes. Nor is there any christian benediction at the end of the epistle.
Nor can I see why " the twelve tribes scattered abroad" should not comprehend those of them in Judea, which were . the peculiar charge of the writer. And divers things in the epistle seem to belong to them especially. He means therefore the people of the twelve tribes every where, in Judea, and out of it.
A large part of the epistle is suitable to christians. But there are divers paragraphs, that must be understood to be addressed to unbelieving Jews, particularly, ch. v. 1—6. as 1 fidelibus omnibus Judaeis, cujuscumque tribus sint, per orbem terrarum dispersis. Bez. ad eap.i. 1. m Scripsit, Paulo, ut videtur, ante mortem, epistolam catholicam Judaeis ev diaaTropa, Christianam praecipue doctrinam professis. Cav. H. L. in Jacobo.
"Ad Judaeos maxime Christianismum amplexos, qui usquequaque dispersi degebant. Ubisupr. p. 160. ° Id est, gente Israelitiea qui erant
extra Judaeam. Gr. ad loc. P Grit. Notes upon the N. T. p. 144.
is generally allowed. I think likewise, that the first ten verses of ch. iv. are addressed to unbelieving Jews. Where it is said, "Whence come wars and fightings among you? Come they not hence, even of your lusts, that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not. Ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain. Ye fight, and war." These things could not be said to christians. They must relate to those disturbances, which, some while before the Roman war broke out, were every where among the unbelieving Jews.
lam of opinion, that this way of writing was chosen to abate the offence, which the reproofs, and exhortations, and warnings of the epistle were likely to occasion. St. James writes in a general way. Let all apply to themselves those things, which belong to them. Wall's note upon ch. v. 6, is to this effect,' This is spoken, not to the christians, but to some rich 'heathens, or infidel Jews, that oppressed and murdered 'them. No christians of those times had any wars, or 'fightings, such as ch. iv 1.or killing, as here: viz. not in 'the time of James, bishop of Jerusalem.'
And says Whitby upon ch. iv. 1," Whence come wars?" 4 This epistle seems to have been written about the eighth 'of Nero, and the sixty-second of Christ, the year before 'the death of James: before which time the Jews had 'great wars and fightings, not only with their neighbours, [see note upon Matt. xxiv. 6,] but even among them'selves, in every city and family, saith Josephus: not 'only in Judea, but in Alexandria, and Syria, and many 'other places.' A very proper note upon the text, as seems to me. And what he says upon the following verses of that chapter, and upon ch. v. 1—6, and in his preface to the epistle, sect. v. and vi. deserves also attentive regard. Where indeed he expressly says, 'Since James writes to the whole twelve tribes, I doubt * not but those of Palestine must be included.'
Mr. Pyle * has spoken clearly to the like purpose in the preface to his paraphrase of this epistle.
I shall now transcribe a part of Venerable Bede's note
q These circumstances gave occasion to this apostle, the residentiary of the circumcision in Judea, to indite this epistle partly to the infidel, and partly to the believing Jews -- It was directed to the Jews and Jewish converts of the dispersion. Yet, as that to the Hebrews was intended for the general benefit of all the scattered tribes, though directed to the natives of the holy land; so, no doubt, this had an equal respect to them, over whom James immediately presided, in the special character of their bishop. Pyle's Paraphrase, Vol. ii. p. 290, 291.
upon the beginning of this epistle. From the words, "scattered abroad," he is led to think of what is said, Acts. viii. 1, that upon occasion of the persecution against the church at Jerusalem, after the death of Stephen, they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles, and says, * thatr James
* writes this epistle to those who were scattered abroad, and
*suffered persecution for the sake of righteousness: nor to
*them only, but also to those, who though they had be'lieved in Christ, were not careful to be perfect in good
*works, as what follows in the epistle plainly shows: and * likewise to such as continued unbelieving, and to the utmost 'of their power persecuted those who believed.' Which appears to me very right.
r Legimus, occiso a Judaeis B. Stephano, quia facta est in ilia die persecutio magna in ecclesia, quae est Hierosolymis, et omnes dispersi sunt per regiones Judaeae et Samariae, praeter apostolos.! His ergo dispersis, qui persecutionem passi sunt propter justitiam, mittit epistoum. Nec solum his, verum etiam illis, qui, percepta fide Christi, necdum operibus prfecti esse curabunt, sicut sequentia epistolae plane testantur; necnon et eis, qui etiam fidei exortes durabant, quin et ipsam in credentibus quantum valuere, persequi ac perturbare studebant. Bed. Expos, super Jacob. Epist.
I. His history to the time of our Saviour's ascension.
II. To the council of Jerusalem, in the year 49.
III. He goes to Antioch, where he is reproved by St. Paul for dissimulation. IV. His travels, and the time of his coming to Rome. V. The time of his death. VI. Several things, hitherto omitted, or but lightly touched upon. 1. His episcopate at Antioch. 2. His having been five and twenty years Bishop of Rome. 3. His children. 4. His wife's martyrdom. 5. His absconding at Rome. 6. The manner of his crucifixion. VII. That he was at Rome, and suffered martyrdom there.
I. 'THE land of Palestine,' saysa Cave, < at and before the * coming of our blessed Saviour, was distinguished into
* three several provinces, Judea, Samaria, and Galilee.
*This last was divided into the Upper and the Lower. In * the Upper, called also Galilee of the Gentiles, within the * division belonging to the tribe of Naphtali, stood Bethsaida, < formerly an obscure and inconsiderable village, till lately
*re-edified b and enlarged by Philip the tetrarch, and in
*honour of Julia daughter of Augustus, called by him * Julias. It was situated upon the banks of the sea of Gali'lee, called also the sea of Tiberias, and the lake of Genne
* sareth, whichc was about forty furlongs in breadth, and * a hundred in length, and had a wilderness on the other 'side, called the desert of Bethsaida, whither our Saviour
* used often to retire.'
At this place was born d Simon, surnamed Cephas, or Petros, Petrus, Peter, signifying a stone or rock. He was a fisherman upon the fore-mentioned lake or sea: as was also, in all probability, his father Jonas, Jonah, or John. He had a brother, named Andrew. Which was the oldest of the two is not certain. For concerning this there were different opinions among the ancients. Epiphaniuse sup
3 Life of St. Peter, sect. i. b Joseph. Antiq. 1.18. cap. 3. al. 2. in
c Id. de B. J. 1. 3. cap. 10. al. 18. d John i. 44.
e H. 51. num. xvii.
posed Andrew to be the elder. But according to Chrysostom,f Peter was the first-born. So likewise & Bede, and h Cassian, who even makes Peter's age the ground of his precedence among the apostles. And Jerom himself has expressed himself in the like manner, saying,' that j the 'keys were given to all the apostles alike, and the church * was built upon all of them equally. But for preventing * dissension, precedency was given to one. John might 'have been the person. But he was too young. And * Peter was preferred upon account of his age.'
St. Johnk has informed us of the first acquaintance of Simon Peter with Jesus, to whom he was introduced by his brother Andrew. "He findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him: We have found the Messiah. And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said : Thou art Simon, the son of Jonas. Thou shalt be called Cephas."
Undoubtedly, they had been from the beginning among those, who are said to have "looked for the kingdom of God, and waited for redemption in Israel." Andrew had received Jesus as the Messiah. And his brother Simon readily concurred in the same belief and profession. They had heard John, and, as may be supposed, had been baptized by him, as all Jews in general were. Being from his testimony, and by personal conversation with Jesus, convinced, that he was the Messiah, it is likely, that henceforward they often came to him, and heard him, and saw some of the miracles done by him. We may take it for granted, that they were present at the miracle at Cana in Galilee, it being expressly said, that "Jesus and his disciples were invited to the marriage solemnity" in that place, John ii. 1, 2. It is also said, ver. 11, "This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory.
'Hom, in Matt. 58. al. 59. T. VII. p. 586. D.
e In Evang. Joann. cap. i. h Interrogans ergo Domino Jesu
Christo, quem eum crederent respondit primus apostolorum Petrus, unus
utique pro omnibus. Idem enim unius habuit responsio, quod habeat [f. habebat] omnium fides. Sed primum debuit respondere, ut idem esset ordo responsionis, qui erat honoris, et ipse antecederet confessione, qui antecedebat aetate. Cassian. de Incam. 1.3. cap. 12. ap. Bib. P. P. tom. VII.
1 At dicis, super Petrum fundatur Ecclesia; licet id ipsum in alio loco super omnes Apostolos fiat, et cuncti claves regni ccelorum accipiant; et ex aequo super eos Ecclesiae fortitudo solidetur: tamen propterea inter duodecim unus eligitur, ut, capite constituto, schismatistollatur occasio. Sed cur non Joannes electus est virgo? JStati delatum est, quia Petrus senior erat: ne adhuc adolescens, ac pene puer, progressae aetatis hominibus praeferrettir. Adv. Jovin. 1. i.T.lV. p. 168.
k Ch. i. 35—42.