Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

plainly attributes a kind of pre-eminency to James; and, as we hear of him twice in the fame epistle dwelling at Jerusalem, chap. i. ver. 19, and ii. 9, we must apply it to the situation which he held in that church. In the Acts of the Apostles divers intimations occur, conveyitig the same idea of James's situation. When Peter was miraculously delivered from prison, and had surprised his friends by his appearance among them, after declaring unto them how the Lord had brought him out of prison, “Go shew," says he, “these things unto James, and to “ the brethren” (Acts, chap. xii. ver. 17). Here James is manifestly spoken of in terms of distinction. He appears again with like distinction in the twenty-first chapter and the seventeenth and eighteenth verses: “And “ when we (Paul and his company) were

come to Jerusalem, the day following, Paul “ went in with us unto James, and all the “ elders were present.” In the debate which took place upon the business of the Gentile converts, in the council at Jerusalem, this same person seems to have taken the lead. It was he who clofed the debate, and pro

O

posed

posed the -resolution in which the council ultimately concurred: “Wherefore my sen“ tence is, that we trouble not them which “ from among the Gentiles are turned to 6 God."

Upon the whole, that there exists a conformity in the expressions used concerning James, throughout the history, and in the epistle, is unquestionable. But admitting this conformity, and admitting also the undesignedness of it, what does it prove ? It proves that the circumstance itself is founded in truth; that is, that James was a real person, who held a situation of eminence in a real society of Christians at Jerusalem. It confirms also those parts of the narrative which are connected with this circumstance. Suppose, for instance, the truth of the account of Peter's. escape from prison was to be tried upon the testimony of a witness

other things, made Peter, after his deliverance, say, “Go shew these things “ to James and to the brethren;" would it not be material, in such a trial, to make out by other independent proofs, or by a comparison of proofs, drawn from independent

sources,

who, among

sources, that there was actually at that time, living at Jerusalem, such a person as James; that this person held such a situation in the fociety amongst whom these things were transacted, as to render the words which Peter is said to have used concerning him, proper and natural for him to have used? If this would be pertinent in the discussion of oral testimony, it is still more so in appreciating the credit of remote history.

It must not be diffembled that the comparison of our epistle with the history presents some difficulties, or, to say the least, some questions, of considerable magnitude. It may be doubted, in the first place, to what journey the words which open the second chapter of the epistle, “then, fourteen years " afterwards, I went unto Jerusalem,” relate. That which best corresponds with the date, and that to which most interpreters apply the passage, is the journey of Paul and Barnabas to Jerusalem, when they went thither from Antioch, upon the business of the Gentile converts ; and which journey produced the famous council and decree recorded in the fifteenth chapter of Acts. To me this

opinion

O 2

opinion appears to be encumbered with strong objections. In the epistle Paul tells us that “ he went up by revelation” (chap. ii. ver. 2). In the Acts, we read that he was sent by the church of Antioch: “After 66 no small dissension and disputation, they " determined that Paul and Barnabas, and ! certain other of them, should go up to the “ apostles and elders about this question” (Acts, chap. xv. ver. 2), This is not very reconcileable. In the epistle St. Paul writes that, when he came to Jerusalem, "municated that Gospel which he preached “ among the Gentiles, but privately to them ” which were of reputation” (chap. ii. ver. 2). If by,“ that Gospel” be meant the įmmunity of the Gentile Christians from the Jewish law (and I know not what else it can mean), it is not easy to conceive how he should communicate that privately, which was the subject of his public message. But a yet greater difficulty remains, viz. that in the account which the epistle gives of what passed upon this visit at Jerusalem, no notice is taken of the deliberation and decree which are recorded in the Acts, and which, ac

66 he com:

cording

me it

cording to that history, formed the business for the sake of which the journey was undertaken. The mention of the council and of its determination, whilst the apostle was relating his proceedings at Jerusalem, could hardly have been avoided, if in truth the narrative belong to the fame journey. To

appears more probable that Paul and Barnabas had taken some journey to Jerusalem, the mention of which is omitted in the Acts. Prior to the apostolic decree, we read that “ Paul and Barnabas abode at Antioch “ a long time with the disciples” (A&ts, chap. xiv. ver. 28). Is it unlikely that, during this long abode, they might go up to Jerusalem and return to Antioch? Or would the omission of such a journey be unsuitable to the general brevity with which these memoirs are written, especially of those parts of St. Paul's history.which took place before the historian joined his society ?

But, again, the first account we find in the Acts of the Apostles of St. Paul's visiting Galatia, is in the sixteenth chapter, and the fixth verse: “ Now when they had gone

through Phrygia and the region of Ga

O 3

o latia,

« EelmineJätka »