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12 But, above all things, my brethren, swear not; neither by heaven; neither

by the earth, neither by any

other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, lest fall into conye

nay; demnation.

13 Is any among you

afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing


14 Is any sick among

12 Προ παντων δε, αδελφοι μου, μη ομνύετε μητε τον ουρανον, μητε την γην, μητε

αλλον τινα όρκον· ητω δε
ὑμων το ναι, ναι, και το ου, ου
ίνα ὑπο
μη κρισιν πέσητε.

13 Κακοπαθει τις εν ὑμιν ; προσευχεσθω ευθυμει τις ψαλλετω.

14 Ασθενει τις εν ύμιν;

you? let him call for the προσκαλεσασπω τους πρεσβυ

elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:

τερους της εκκλησίας, και προσευξασθωσαν επ' αυτον, αλει ψαντες αυτον ελαιῳ εν τῷ ονοματι του Κυρίου.

Daniel as one eminently righteous, shews that Job was a real person, and that his history is not a dramatic fable, as many have supposed. A fabulous person certainly would not have been mentioned by the apostle as an example of any virtue.

3. Te Dave seen the end of the Lord. This is the genitive of the agent. Ye have seen in the history of that good man, what a happy termination the Lord put to his sufferings.

Ver. 12.-1. Swear not, neither by the heaven, &c. It is supposed by some, that James, in this passage, forbade the brethren to make indiscreet vows for the purpose of delivering themselves out of their affliction; because a practice of that sort shewed great ignorance of the character of God, and great impatience. This no doubt is a good sense of the passage. Yet I rather think he forbade them, when brought before the tribunals of their persecutors, to deny their faith with oaths; which some of them, it seems, thought they might do with a safe conscience, if the oath was one of those which were reckoned not binding. For that the Jews thought some oaths obligatory and others not, appears from our Lord's condemnation of that false morality, recorded Matt. v. 34.

2. That ye may not fall, ὑπο κρισιν, under conlemnation. This, which is the reading of the common edition, and of some ancient MSS. particularly the Alexandrian, and of the Syriac, Vulgate, and other versions, was adopted by our translators. But Beza, Bengelius, and others on the authority of the greatest number of MSS. prefer εις ύποκρισιν, into hypocrisy. This latter reading Mill hath inserted in his edition; yet in his Prolegom. he prefers the other, No. 1208.-The apostle in this passage sets the condemnation of God threatened in the decalogue against false swearers, in opposition to


12 But above all things, my brethren, swear not,1 neither by the heaven, nor by the earth, nor by any other oath. But let your yea be yea, and YOUR nay, nay, that ye may not fall under condemnation.2

13 Does any one among you suffer evil? Let him pray. Is any one cheerful? Let him sing psalms.1

14 Is any one sick among you? let him send for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, having anointed him with oil3 in the name of the Lord.


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12 But above all things, my brethren, swear not falsely concerning your faith, to free yourselves from punishment, neither by heaven, nor by the earth, nor by any other oath, in the imagination that such oaths are not obligatory. But let your yea, or affirmation on oath, be yea, that is, agreeable to truth, and your nay, nay, in like manner, that ye may not fall under condemnation, as perjured hypocrites.

13 Does any one among you suffer evil for being a Christian? instead of denying his faith with oaths, Let him pray for strength to bear his sufferings. Is any one cheerful? Let him sing Psalms of praise to God for all his mercies.

14 Is any one sick among you? Let him send for the elders of the church who possess the gift of healing diseases, and let them pray over him, after anointing him with oil by the special direction of Christ, in token that a miracle is to be performed for his recovery.

the condemnation of men, which the brethren might escape who sware falsely concerning their faith.

Ver. 13.-1. Let him sing psalms. In this, and what goes before, the apostle advises us to employ ourselves in such private religious exercises as are suitable to our present circumstances and frame of mind. When rendered cheerful, by contemplating the manifestations which God hath made of his perfections in the works of creation, providence, and redemption, or by any blessing bestowed on ourselves, we are to express our joy, not by drinking and singing profane lewd songs, but by hymns of praise, and by thanksgivings to God for all his mercies. See Ephes. v. 18, 19. On the other hand, when affli ted we are to pray; that being the best means of producing in ourselves patience and resignation. But as the precept concerning our singing psalms when cheerful, does not imply that we are not to pray then; so the precept concerning prayer in affliction, does not that we are not to express our joy in suffering according to the will of God, by singing psalms as Paul and Silas did in the jail at Philippi.


Ver. 14.-1. Send for the elders of the church; namely where the sick



15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have



Και η ευχη της πισ

σώσει τον καμνοντα, και εγερει αυτον ὁ Κύριος.

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committed sins, they shall Καν ἁμαρτίας η πεποιηκως,

be forgiven him.

16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye

may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

αφεθήσεται αυτῷ.

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person lives. See 1 Tim. v. 17. note 1. for an account of the elders.-lo the first age, the spiritual gifts were dispensed in such plenty, that no church was without these gifts; and particularly, in every church there were some who possessed the gift of miraculously healing the sick.

2. Let them pay over him, that is, with their hands laid on him. This is what is called the prayer of faith, ver. 15. See note 1. there; also the notes on the parallel passage, 1 John v. 14. 16.

3. Having anointed him with oil. Although the rite here prescribed, is not mentioned in the account which the evangelists have given of Christ's commission to his disciples to heal the sick, Matt. x. 8. Luke ix. 2. it is probable he appointed it then. For in the account given of the execution of that commission, it is said, Mark vi. 13. They anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them.-The anointing the sick with oil, was not prescribed, either by our Lord or by his apostle, as a natural remedy, but as a sensible token to the sick person himself and to those who were present, that a miracle of healing was going to be performed. Where no miracle is to be performed, to use anointing, as a religious rite, is a vain superstition. See 1 John v. 16. note 4.

Ver. 15.—1. And the prayer of faith. In scripture, faith sometimes signifies the spiritual gifts in general, Rom. xii. 3. sometimes the gift of working miracles, 1 Cor. xii. 9. xiii. 2. and sometimes the gift of healing diseases miraculously, Acts iii. 16. in which sense it is to be understood here. The gift of working miracles was called faith, because they were always performed in consequence of an impression made by the Spirit, on the mind of the person who was to perform them, moving him to undertake the miracle, and working in him a fuil persuasion that it would be performed. Wherefore, the prayer of faith, is a prayer which the elder, moved by the Spirit of God, was to make for the recovery of the sick in the full persuasion that the Lord would raise him up. See 1 John v. 16. note 1.

Ver. 16-1. Confess your faults one to another. In sickness we are to confess our faults one to another, not because we have power to grant pardon of sin to each other: But diseases being often inflicted as the punishment

15 And the prayer of faith will save (rov naμvora) the sick person, and so the Lord will raise him up. (Kav, etsi) And although he hath committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.

16 Confess YOUR faults 1 one to another, and pray for one another, that ye may be healed. (See 1 John v. 16. note 3.) The inwrought prayer (dixas, 69.) of the righteous man availeth much. 3

15 And the prayer of faith will save the sick person from his disease, and the Lord will raise him up from his sick-bed. See Mark i. 31. So that although he hath committed sins, for which that disease was sent on him they shall be forgiven him by the removal of the disease. (See 1 John v. 16. note 3.)

16 In your sickness, therefore, confess your faults to one another, If ye have done one another any injury. And the injured to whom the confession is made, ought to forgive the sick, and pray for him that he may be healed. The inspired prayer of the elder, (ver. 14.) accompanied with the prayer of the injured party, hath great influence with God.

of particular sins, (1 Cor. xi. 30.) when the sick are made sensible in the course of their disease, that they have injured their brethren, they ought to shew their repentance, by confessing these sins to them, and by asking their pardon. This passage of scripture, therefore, affords no foundation for the Popish practice of auricular confession to the priest.-Besides mutual confession being here enjoined, the priest is as much bound by this precept to confess to the people, as the people to the priest; not to mention that confession in general is not enjoined, here, but confession to the in ured party only, agreeably to our Lord's direction, Matt. v. 25. And, when acknowledgment is made to him, he ought to forgive, and pray for the party who injured him, that he may be healed. See the following note. 2. And pray for one another, that ye may be healed. Here four things are observable. 1. That this confession was to be made, not by a person in health that he might obtain eternal salvation, but by a sick person that he might be healed.-2. That this direction being addressed to women as well as to men, they are required to pray for one another, and even for the men, whether laity or clergy, who have injured them.-3. That there is no mention here of absolution either by the priest, or by any other person.-4. Absolution, in the sound sense of the word, being nothing but a declaration of the promises of pardon which are made in the gospel to penitent sinners, every one who understands the gospel-doctrine may, as Benson observes, declare these promises to penitent sinners, as well as any bishop or priest whatever, and the one hath no more authority to do it than the other; nay, every sincere penitent may expect salvation without the absolution of any

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17 Elias was a man sub

ject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain;

and it rained not on the

earth by the space of three

years and six months.

18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.

19 Brethren, if any of

17 Ηλιας ανθρωπος ην ό μοιοπαθης ἡμιν και προσευ χῃ προσηύξατο του μη βρεξαι και ουκ εβρεξεν επι της

γης ενιαυτους τρεις και μηνας ἑξ.

18 Και παλιν προσηύξα το, και ὁ ουρανος ύετον εδω κε, και ἡ γη εβλαςησε τον καρπον αυτής.

19 Αδελφοι εαν τις εν you do err from the truth, μιν πλανηθη από της αλη

and one convert him ;

θειας, και επιτρέψη τις αυτ


person whatever. Whereas the impenitent have no reason to expect that blessing, although absolved by all the priests in the world.

3. The inwrought prayer of the righteous man availeth much, namely, to obtain health for the sick. Because this is called δεσις ενεργεμένη, the inwrought prayer, I think it must be understood of the prayer of the elder for the miraculous recovery of the sick, to which he was moved by the Spirit, and not of the prayer of any righteous man whatever. For we do not find in scripture that the prayers of such were followed with miraculous cures, unless they possessed the gift of healing, and were moved by an impulse of the Spirit to pray for the cure.-In this verse it is intimated, that if the dis ease was inflicted on the sick person for some injury which he had committed, he was to shew his repentance by confessing his fault to him whom he had injured, before the elder prayed for his recovery : And, that to render the elders prayer the more effectual, the injured party was to join the elder in praying that the sick person might be healed.

Ver. 17.-1. Elias was a man of like infirmity with us. In this sense the word ὁμοιοπαθης is used, Acts xiv. 15. Literally it signifies suffering like things with another. Elijah through natural infirmity suffered as we do, from disease, from temptation, from persecution, &c.

2. And he prayed fervently. In the history it is not said directly, either that the drought was brought on, or the rain sent, in consequence of Elijah's praying. But it is insinuated, that both happened through his prayer. For, 1 Kings xvii. 1. we are told that Elijah sware there should not be des, nor rain these years. but according to his word, that is, as James hath explained it, according to his inspired prayer for drought or for rain.

3. And it did not rain upon the land for three years and six months. This is the period which our Lord likewise says the drought continued, Luke iv,

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