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THE DEATH OF JAMES-CHAP. X.
Julian Pe- 2 And he killed James the brother of John with the Antioch. ried, 4756. sword. Vulgar Æra,
council, when St. Paul went up to Jerusalem (Acts xxi. 17, 18.)
the brethren received him gladly, and the next day he went in
unto James, all the elders being present. "For what other
reason," says the admirable and judicious Mr. Scott, "should
Paul go in to James more especially, or upon what other account
should all the elders be present with James, but that he was a
person of the greatest note and figure in the Church of Jerusa-
lem; and as he is called an apostle, that he was peculiarly the
apostle of that Church. This, from Scripture, is probable; the
unanimous testimony of the fathers of the Church in his opinion
makes it certain; and it would be difficult to learn why this
large class of men, whose honesty, piety, and freedom from any
erroneous bias, is universally acknowledged, should have con-
spired without any possible motive to deceive the world by use-
The remarks of Mosheim on this point seem to be deficient in
accuracy and judgment. He acknowledges that all ancient au-
thorities, from the second century downwards, concur in repre-
senting James the younger, the brother of our Lord after the
flesh, as the first bishop of the Church of Jerusalem, having been
so created by the apostles themselves; and quotes Acta Sanctor.
Mens. Maii, tom. i. p. 23. Tillemont, Memoires pour servir a
l'Historie de l'Eglise, tom. i. p. 1008. et seq. He then proceeds
to observe, "if this were as truly, as it is uniformly reported, it
would at once determine the point which we bave under consi-
deration, since it must close the door against all doubt as to the
quarter in which episcopacy originated. But I rather suspect
that these ancient writers might incautiously be led to form
their judgment of the state of things in the first century, from
the maxims and practice of their own times, and finding that
after the departure of the other apostles on their respective
missions, the chief regulation and superintendance of the
Church rested with James, they without further reason conclud-
ed that he must have been appointed bishop of that Church. It
appears indeed from the writings of the New Testament, that,
after the departure of the other apostles on their travels, the
chief authority in the Church of Jerusalem was possessed by
James. For St. Paul, when he came to that city for the last
time, immediately repaired to that apostle; and James appears
thereupon to have convened an assembly of the Presbyters at
his house, where Paul laid before them an account of the extent
and success of his labours in the cause of his divine Master.
(Acts xxi. 19, 20.) No one reading this can, I should think,
entertain a doubt of James's having been at that time invested
with the chief superintendance and government of the Church
of Jerusalem, and that not only the assemblies of the Presbyters,
but also those general ones of the whole Church, in which as is
clear from ver. 22. was lodged the supreme power as to all mat-
ters of a sacred nature, were convened by his appointment."
But it must be observed, that this authority was no more than must have devolved on James of course, in his apostolic character, in consequence of all the other apostles having quitted Jerusalem; and that therefore this testimony of St. Luke is by no means to be considered as conclusive evidence of his having been appointed to the office of bishop. Were we to admit of such kind of reasoning as this, the government of the Church of Jerusalem was vested in James, therefore he was its bishop; I do not see on what grounds we could refuse our assent, should
Julian Period, 4756. Vulgar Æra, 43.
3 And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he
it be asserted that all the twelve apostles were bishops of that
Church, for it was at one time equally under their government.
But not to enlarge unnecessarily, the function of an apostle dif-
fered widely from that of a bishop, and I therefore do not think
that James, who was an apostle, was ever appointed to or dis-
charged the episcopal office at Jerusalem. The government of
the Church in that city, it rather appears to me, was placed in
the hands of its Presbyters, but so as that nothing of moment
could be done without the advice and authority of James; the
same sort of respectful deference being paid to his will as had
formerly been manifested for that of the apostles at large. But
although we deem those ancient writers to have committed an
error, in pronouncing James to have been the first bishop of
Jerusalem, it may without much difficulty be demonstrated that
the Church of that city had a bishop sooner thau any of the rest,
and consequently that the episcopal dignity must have taken its
rise there," &c. &c.
If the unanimous testimony of Scripture and of the fathers
can be set aside by such reasoning, which assumes as a postulate,
that the witnesses are all in error, there remains no other guide
to direct us in theological research, than our own caprice or
Whitby, Cave, Lardner, and others, have asserted that James, the Lord's brother, was truly and strictly an apostle, being the same as James, the son of Alpheus, one of the twelve. Bishop Taylor, and I believe the great majority of the Protestant as well as Romanist divines, relying on the authority of Eusebius, consider him to have been a different person, and to have been elected bishop of Jerusalem, with the title of apostle.
Dr. Lardner's reasoning on the question whether St. James, the Lord's brother, was the same as James, the son of Alpheus, one of the twelve, has left the point doubtful.
Jerome calls this James the thirteenth apostle.
The judicious Hooker was of opinion that the apostles were dispersed from Judea about this time, and that James was now elected bishop or permanent apostle of Jerusalem. He would attribute the public setting apart of St. Paul to the apostolic office, to make up again the number of the twelve, for the gathering in of the nations abroad. He supposes too that Barnabas was appointed apostle instead of St. James, who was killed by Herod; and Dr. Hales has approved the supposition.
It is curious to observe that Dr. Lardner calls James the president, or superintendent, carefully avoiding the word bishop: and in another passage (vol. i. p. 293,) he observes, "James abode in Jerusalem, as the apostle residentiary of that country.” If he was president and apostle residentiary in Jerusalem, as the superintendent of the Church, which now consisted of many thousands and myriads of converts, it is difficult to imagine the reason why this learned anti-episcopalian should not have adopted the appellation of the fathers, and have called him bishop of the Church at Jerusalem. This, however, is by no means the only instance of disingenuousness on these subjects, on the part of Dr. Lardner. Neither was his amiable coadjutor, Dr. Doddridge, entirely free from censure in his mode of treating the questions of Church government.
(a) See the references and quotations in Scott's Christian Life, folio edition, p. 475, chap. vii. part ii. a work once highly popular, for the singular union of fervent piety, sober judgment, extensive reading, and good principles.-Archbishop Potter's Church Government, p. 91.
riod, 4756. Vulgar Era,
IMPRISONMENT OF ST. PETER-CHAP. X.
ceeded further to take Peter also. Then were the days Antioch. of unleavened bread.
4 And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people.
5 Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.
6 And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison.
7 ̊And behold the angel" of the Lord came upon him,
Mosheim on the affairs of the Christians before Constantine, vol. i. p. 229,
230.-Lardner's supplement to the Credibility, Works, 4to. vol. iii. p.
382.393.-Hooker's Ecclesiastical Polity, book vii. sect. iv. p. 346. folio
edition of 1723.-Hale's Anal, vol. ii. part ii.
10 The German commentators, of the self-named liberal class,
endeavour to explain away every miracle recorded in the New
Testament, by representing them as natural events, which have
only been considered as miraculous by the misapprehending of the
hebraisms of the inspired writers. I have not thought it worth
while to stop in my way through the New Testament paradise,
to pick up these poisonous weeds. They are unknown to the
English reader in general, and I trust will long remain so. The
explanation, however, of Hezelius, which I find in Kuinoel, is
so singular, that it may appear doubtful whether in his eager-
ness to remove the opinion of a miraculous interference by an
angel, he does not establish a still greater miracle. He thinks
that a flash of lightning penetrated the prison in the night, and
melted the chains of St. Peter, without injuring him. The
apostle rose up, and saw the soldiers who guarded him struck
prostrate on the ground, by the force of the lightning. He
passed them, as if led by the flash of lightning, and escaped
from the prison before he perceived that he had been liberated
by the providence of God. The reader who will peruse the
whole narrative, will have an equal respect with myself for the
sound judgment and ingenuity of the learned author.
So completely, however, has the sceptical philosophy of the day pervaded society, that even among professed Christians, he would now be esteemed a visionary, who should venture to declare his belief in the most favourite doctrine of the ancient Church. The early fathers regarded the ministry of angels as a consoling and beautiful doctrine, and so much at that time was it held in veneration, that the founders of Christianity cautioned their early converts against permitting their reverence to degenerate into adoration. We now go to the opposite extreme, and seldom think of their existence; yet what is to be found in this belief, even if the Scriptures had not revealed it, which is contrary to our reason? We believe in our own existence, and in the existence of a God: is it utterly improbable, then, that be. tween us, who are so inferior, and the Creator who is so wonderful and incomprehensible, infinite gradations of beings should exist, some of whom are employed in executing the will of the Deity towards finite creatures? Does not God act even by human means in the visible government of the affairs of the earth? what absurdity, then, can be discovered in the opinion
Julian Pe- and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on Antioch. riod, 4756.
Vulgar Era, that the spiritual nature of man should be funder the guardian
ship of spiritual beings? This, in fact, was a doctrine univer-
sally received; till it became perverted and degraded by vain
and idle speculations, till it became so encumbered with absur-
dities, that the belief itself was rejected. Some writers on this
subject went so far as to imagine they could ascertain the orders
of a hierarchy, and could even assert the numbers in each rank.
Others changed the office and ministry of angels, investing them
with independent control over the works of God, an opinion
strongly and justly reprobated by the most eminent authori-
ties (a). And because in the original Hebrew that which exe-
cutes the will of the Deity is sometimes called an "angel," whe-
ther it be winds or storms, fire or air; many again have trans-
formed the angels in the Old Testament into obedient elements,
accomplishing the designs of Providence. According to which
hypothesis, the aged patriarch must have prayed that the bless-
ing of an element might descend on his grandchildren. The Mes-
siah must have been created a little lower than the winds and
the floods, who in like manner were commanded to worship
him; and again, when the superiority of Christ is declared, the
passage must be rendered, to which of the elements said he at
any time, Sit thou on my right hand, until I make thy foes thy
footstool. Leaving all such fantastic and unreasonable interpre-
tations out of the question, let us turn to that interpretation of
Scripture on this point, which has been acknowledged by all
classes and divisions of Christians, from the time of the apos-
tles to the present day. From the evidence of revelation, we have
grounds for believing that angels are spirits,superior to mankind,
some of whom have lost, while others have preserved the state
of happiness in which they were primarily created, and that
these are now opposed to each other. Of the precise cause of
the fall of the evil angels we are not made acquainted. We
know only that they retain the remembrance of their original
condition; that they are powerful, though under restraint;
that gradations of superiority and influence exist among them;
that they acknowledge a superior head, and that they are des-
tined to future punishment after some wonderful and miraculous
display of the omniscience of the Deity.
Of the good angels we learn, that they continue in their primeval
dignity. They are endued with great power, and because they
are employed in the constant execution of the decrees of Provi-
dence, they have received the name of messengers or angels.
They are called the armies and the hosts of heaven; in innumer-
able companies they surround the throne of Deity; they are
made partakers of his glory, and rejoice to fulfil his will.
Their office as ministering angels to the sincere and accepted worshippers of our common God is more fully and accurately related. Through the whole volume of revelation we read of the agency of superior beings in the affairs of mankind. They were stationed at the tree of life in Paradise. In Jacob's vision of the ladder, they are represented as ascending and descending upon earth. They appeared to the patriarchs, to Abraham, to Lot, to Jacob, and they were made alike the ministers both of the vengeance and mercy of God. They were intrusted with the destruction of the cities of the plain. And the angel of the Lord went out, and smote in the camp of Sennacherib an hundred and fourscore and five thousand. (2 Kings xix. 35.) God sent an angel unto Jerusalem to destroy it-who was seen between the earth and the heaven having a drawn sword in his hand, stretched out over Jerusalem. In the New Testament
AN ANGEL DELIVERS ST. PETER-CHAP. X.
Julian Pe- the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. Antioch. riod, 4756. And his chains fell off from his hands.
8 And the angel said unto him, Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals and so he did. And he saith unto him, Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me.
9 And he went out, and followed him; and wist not that it was true which was done by the angel; but thought he saw a vision.
10 When they were past the first and second ward, they came unto the iron gate that leadeth unto the city, which opened to them of his own accord: and they went out, and passed on through one street and forthwith the angel departed from him ".
they announced the birth of Christ, and of his forerunner; they
became visible to the shepherds, and proclaimed the glad tid-
ings of salvation to the senseless world. They are interested
for, and sympathize with man; for there is joy in heaven over
one sinner that repenteth. They were the watchful and anxi-
ous attendants of Christ in his human nature. They ministered
to him after his triumph in the wilderness, and his agony in the
garden. As they announced his birth, so also they proclaimed
his resurrection, his ascension, and his future return to judg-
ment. They were made the spiritual means of communication
between God and man. They were the divine witnesses of the
whole system of redemption. By an angel Joseph was warned
to flee into Egypt. (Matt. ii. 13.) By an angel Cornelius was
directed to the house of Peter. (Acts x. 6-22.) By an angel
that apostle was released from prison. And by the ministry
of an angel, were signified to St. John those things that should
be hereafter. In this last and mysterious revelation the agency
of superior beings is uniformly asserted, and they are repre-
sented as fulfilling the most solemn and important decrees of
Omnipotence. They are represented as standing on the four
corners of the earth, as having the seal of the living God, as
offering on the golden altar the incense and prayers of the
saints, as holding the key of the bottomless pit, and as execut-
ing the vengeance of God upon the visible creation, and upon
all those who have not the seal of God upon their foreheads;
all which, though metaphorical expressions, imply the probable
agency of these invisible beings, in the affairs of the world.
And when time shall be no more, these holy beings who have
sympathized with man here, and been the witnesses of his
actions, and the infinite mercies of his Almighty Creator and
Redeemer, will be the accusing or approving spectators of the
sentence passed upon him in eternity; for our Saviour has ex-
pressly declared, that whosoever shall confess me before men,
him shall the Son of Man also confess before the angels of God.
But he that denieth me before men shall be denied before the
angels of God.
(a) See Horsley's Sermon on the Watchers, vol. ii. last sermon, and
generally on this subject.-Hammond.--Wheatley.-Aquinas, who al-
though there are some most strange absurdities in his ponderous tome,
abounds with useful truths, &c. &c.
Schoetgen has shewn that the ancient Jews believed the angels sometimes assumed the form of a man, and has collected some curious instances to this effect.
The Gentiles, as well as the Jews, thought that the gods