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Pure religion]


[and undefiled. 17 Every good gift and every per- 23 For if any be a hearer of the fect gift is from above, and cometh word, and not a doer, he is like unto down from the Father of lights, with a man beholding his natural face in a whom is no variableness, neither sha- glass : dow of turning.

24 For he beholdeth himself, and 18 Of his own will begat he us goeth his way, and straightway forgetwith the word of truth, that we should eth what manner of man he was. be a kind of first-fruits of his crea- 25 But whoso looketh into the pertures.

fect law of liberty, and continueth 19 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, let every man be swift to hear, slow to but a doer of the work, this man shall speak, slow to wrath :

be blessed in his deed. 20 For the wrath of man worketh 26 If any man among you seem not the righteousness of God.

to be religious, and bridleth not his 21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness, tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, and, superfluity of naughtiness, and this man's religion is vain. receive with meekness the engrafted 27 Pure religion and undefiled before word, which is able to save your souls. God and the Father is this, To visit

22 But be ye doers of the word, and the fatherless and widows in their afnot hearers only, deceiving your own fiction, and to keep himself unspotted selves.

froin the world. (B)


NOTES. Ver. 17. Every good gift and every perfect gift.- -Doddr, "overflowing of malignity.”—The enThe apostle here uses two different nouns, the for- grafted word-The word of God, which is somemer signifying simply a gift; the latter, a free gift: times represented as seed sown (1 Peter i. 23 ; with the former he connects the adjective good, with 1 John iii. 9), is here represented as a graft inserted. the latter, perfect, or complete.

Compare John xv. 2, &c. Ibid. From the Father of lights. This undoubt- Ver. 23. His natural face. The Greek means, ruly refers literally to the sun, and the other terms, literally, the face he was born with-unwashed and variableness (or parallax) and turning (tropic), are unadorned-In a glass-i e. a mirror, wbetber of also astronomical terms, though not used in exactly metal or of glass; or perhaps rather a natural mirthe same sense as by modern philosophers. The ror-a limpid stream. It is well known, that the first seems to denote the continually mutable and ancients not only washed, but painted their faces different situations in the heavens which the sun (or at least their eyes); but this verse seems to refer very day apparently observes. The second refers to a careless person, who looked cursorily at his face to the progress of the sun in his annual course, visi- in a mirror, whether natural or artificial, but took bly turning back (as the word tropic imports), when no pains to mark its blemishes or defects. t comes to the longest or the shortest day. The Ver. 25. But whoso looketh-Mackn. “looketh lerm shadon refers to the different manner in which narrowly.” The word properly signifies to stoop the sun casts its shadow in different climates. God down to examine an object attentively (as in 1 Pet.i. s subject to no such changes. See Orient. Lit. 10). So Eve laid her down on the green bank of No. 1528.

a transparent lake, to view her own image. (Par. Ver. 18. A kind of first-fruits.- The Jews were Lost, hk. iv. 457, &c.)— Into the perfect law of lihe first converts to Christianity.

berty-i. e, the gospel ; into which, whoever looks Ver. 20. T'he wrath of man worketh not, &c.- attentively must see his blemishes and defects. The Jews were a very irritable people, and often Ver. 27. Pure religion and undefiled. - Abp. Til ningled an angry spirit with their zeal, against lotson (whom Doddridge follows) considers these which they are here guarded.

terms as alluding to the qualities of a precious stone, Ver. 21. Wherefore lay apart, &c.-The allusion “ clear and without flaw, or cloud," as the technical seems to be to decayed and filthy garments, fit only term is. to be thrown away. - Superfluity of naughtiness,

Aguinst partiality]


(toward the rick. CHAP: II.

3 And ye have respect to him that

weareth the gay clothing, and say MY Y brethren, have not the faith of unto him, Sit thou here in a good

our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord place; and say to the poor, Stand of glory, with respect of persons. thou there, or sit here under my foot

2 For if there come unto your as- stool : sembly a man with a gold ring, in 4 Aré yè not then partial in your goodly apparel, and there come in also selves, and are become judges of evil á poor man in vile raiment ;


EXPOSITION—Chap. I. Continued. plant before the burning sun. O how hard moral evil itself, as it implies perversity it is for a rich man to enter into the king- of disposition, cannot originate with tà dom of heaven! But blessed is the man divine Being, who is here, and throughthat endureth trials and temptations, out the sacred Scriptures, represented as whereby his mind becomes humbled under the fountain of wisdom and of gooduess. the mighty hand of God, and his heart There is indeed a malevolent being, conschooled in obedience to Jesus Christ; and monly called the Tempter; and he, as # when his trials are over, he shall receive well know, “walketh about seeking wboa that crown of everlasting life, which the he may devour.” (1 Pet. V. 8.) Bet Lord hath promised "to them that love much, we doubt not, is laid upon him of him."

which he is vot guilty: for, in innumera. - We have hinted at the extensive sense in ble instances, man is enspared by his oro which the word temptation is sometimes lusts, and becomes the victim of his de used, as applicable to every species of praved passions. Lust engendereth sio, trial, and if we so understand it here, the and sin produceth death. sense of verse 12 barmonizes with that of

On the contrary, "all that comes from verse 2. But, from verse 13, it here seems God is good and perfect." As the sun, bis to have a particular reference to tempta- fairest created image, is the fuuntain of tions to sin, which some were disposed to material light to us, so is God himself the charge upon their Maker, for which the fountain of wisdom, or intellectual light, apostle severely reproves them. There are to all the universe : and not of light ouls, two classes of persons prone to do this : but of purity and benevolence also; for the one through speculative nutions of ne- every good and perfect gift cometh doma cessity and sate, and the other from the from him." But whereas the material predominance of their passions, which sun is subjeet to perpetual changes in his being derived from God, men are too apt course, the Sun of Righteousness is subto indulge, and then to say, “ And why ject to no variableness,“ neither sbados doth he yet find fault?" (Rom. ix. 19.) of turning."

The origin of evil, either in itself or in The apostle proceeds to warn the Christus, is a subject which perhaps no human iau Hebrews, regenerated by grace through intellect can satisfactorily explain: two the instrumentality of the divine worly things alone seem certain; i. That po against the iodulgence of evil passions, evil, natural or moral, can arise unknown wrath and bitteruess, all filthiness and to God, and without his permission; and, obscenity; and exhorts them to be doers 2. That though natural evil may be in- of the word, and not hearers only," the Aicted by him as the punishment of moral, latter being the way awfully to deceive

NOTES. CHAP. II. Ver. 1. The faith of our Lord Jesus is, as judges, they indulged evil thoughts against Christ, the Lord of glory.-Mackn." The faith of the poor. But Dr. Benson, who noderstands this, as the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ;" i. e. of his di. we do, nf worshipping assemblies, thinks the spus vine rank and character; or it may be a Hebraism tle meant to reprove the Jews, as showing mara for the glorious faith," &c. Comp. 2 Cor. iii. 7-9. regard to the souls of the rich thon of the pour

Ver. 2." Unto your assembly-Marg." synagogue." Doddridge, however, renders this verse thus (sait With a gold ring -Macki." With golden rings ting the interrogation): * And distinguish not in on his fingers." -In goodly-Doddr. and Mack'n. yourselves : you even become jadges who teaser "splendid," &c.

ill." But we prefer the more simple rersion of Mr. Ver. 3. In a good place.-Marg."well, or seemly." Wesley—" Ye distinguish not in yourselves, but am Mackn." honourably.".

become eril-reasoning judges ;" 1. e. yon judge és Ver. 4. Are become judges of evil thoughts !-- roneously, Mackn. " Judges possessed of evil thoughts;” that

Brotherly love)


[recommended. 5 Hearken, my beloved brethren, adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now Hath not God chosen the poor of this if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou world rich in faith, and heirs of the kill, thou art become a transgressor of kingdom which he hath promised to the law. them that love bim?

12 So speak ye, and so do, as they 6 But ye have despised the poor. that shall be judged by the law of Do not rich men oppress you, and liberty. draw you before the judgment seats ! 13 For he shall have judgment

7 Do not they blaspheme that worthy without mercy, that hath shewed no name by the which ye are called ? mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against

8 If ye fulfil the royal law accord- judgment. ing to the Scripture, Thou shalt 14 What doth it profit, my brethren, love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do though a man say he hath faith, and well :

have not works? can faith save him ? 9 But if ye have respect to persons, 15 If a brother or sister be naked, ye commit sin, and are convinced of and destitute of daily food, the law as transgressors.

16 And one of you say unto them, 10 For whosoever shall keep the Depart in peace, be ye warmed and whole law, and yet offend in one filled ; notwithstanding ye give them point, he is guilty of all.

not those things which are needful to 11 For he that said, Do not commit the body; what doth it profit? (C)

EXPOSITION their own souls. He illustrates this, by assembly here referred to ? The original alluding to a man taking a transient glance word is synagogue; and though that term at himself in a mirror, which makes no may be used for any public assembly, yet ahiding impression on his mind; whereas, we know that, in the Scriptures of both the man who hears with proper attention, Testaments, a synagogue usually means a and practices what he hears--the man place of public worship. Because, howwho governs his passions, and bridles his ever, the Jews often held Judicatures in tongue-who visits the fatherless and the their synagogues, for the trial of petty widows in their affliction, and keeps him. causes amongst themselves, it has been self unspotted from the world_. That doubted which kind of assembly is here rea man is blessed;" and his “ religion is ferred to. Hammond and Whitby, with pure and undefiled."

many others, think the reference is to civil

meetings. Here, Dr. Macknight says, CHAP. II.

your synagogue does nut mean a Jewish (C) Ver. 1-16. We must not despise nor synagogne, but the house or room in meglect the poor-The first question arising which Christians assembled for worship. in this chapter is, of what nature was the And as the Jews held courts of judicature

NOTES. Ver. 6. Rich in faith-i.e. to be rich in faith-a divine Legislator-God. comman ellipsis with the sacred writers. The e pog- Ver. 11. He that said.-Margin, "That (law) tle's reasoning here seems to amount to this: Your wbich said ;"_both the law and the lawgiver are friends, and your Master's friends, are chiefly ainong

the same. the poor; and your bitterest enemies among the Ver. 12. The law of liberty-i.e. the gospel, in higher classes.

which sense James has already used the term reVer. 7. That worthy.-Greek, “ good.” Mackn. peatedly. See chap. I. 25; ii. 12. It is so called be“ excellent"

-name-viz. the name of Jesus. cause it freed the Jews from the yoke of Moses, and Phil. ii. 9, 10.

it frees Christians from the slavery of sin. Ver. 8.' The royal lan.-The republican Greeks Ver, 13. And merey rejoiceth-Marg. "glorieth " used to call the laws of the Persians royal, because -against-or triumphs over-judgment ; in favour ordained by kings. This refers to that law of Christ of those who have showed mercy. The expression our King, which he calls eminently his. John xiii. is clearly elliptical, and should in some such way be 34; xv.12.

supplied. Ver. 9. Are convinced.- Doddr. “ convicted.” Ver. 14. Can faith save him?-i. e. such a faith See note on Hen. xi. I.

as produces no good works ? Doddr. Mackn.“ Can Ver. Jo. Is guilty of all-i. e, he hath broken the (this) faith save him? law as a whole, and insulted the authority of the

Faith without]


(works is dead. 17 | Even so faith, if it hath not 20 But wilt thou know, O rain works, is dead, being alone.

man, that faith without works is 18 Yea, a man may say, Thou dead ? hast faith, and I have works : shew me 21 Was not Abraham our father thy faith without thy works, and I will justified by works, when he had ofshew thee my faith by my works. fered Isaac his son upon the altar?

19 Thou believest that there is one 22 Seest thou how faith wrought God; thou doest well: the devils also with his works, and by works was faith believe, and tremble.

made perfect?

EXPOSITION-Chap. II. Continued. in their synagogues, and there also pu. the best accommodations are preserved nished offenders by scourging (Matt. x.17), for persons of light and dubious, if not of it is probable that the first Christians, after profane character. This is not loving all their example, held courts for determining our neighbours as onirselves. This is om civil causes in the places where they as- according to the royal law of our divine sembled for public worship.” As, how- Master, who always dealt out his blessing ever, the Doctor brings no proof of this, to the poor; and his reproofs and censures we venture to doubt the fact; and if the with the utmost impartiality, to the rich fact were proved, we should still doubt and proud. whether such were the meetings here in- It should seem that these Jewish betended. We think it much more proba- lievers themselves were not altogether isble, if not indeed certain, that the wor- sensible to the impropriety of their conshipping assemblies of these Jewish Christ. duct: yet, while they kept clear of the great ians are referred to by St. James; who ap- transgressions ; while they neither commitpears to have been grieved and offended ted murder nor adultery, uor any of the great at witnessing the partiality shown, even crimes reprobated by the Mosaic law-they on these solemn occasions, to the wealthy seem to have thought but little of minor and the gay, however reprobate, and ini. acts of partiality and injustice. They are mical to the principles of the gospel. If exhorted, however, to look into the "lav we might venture to suggest an apology of liberty," that is, the Gospel, by which for this partiality, which seems to have they must one day be judged; and there been carried to a great extreme, one would they would find, ibat justice to the poor, hope it might be done with a view to con- and mercy to the aflicted, are among the ciliate their enemies; but it certainly ought first and most prominent precepts of their not to have been accompanied by marks royal Master. 'And mercy must not be of contempt toward their poor brethren. evinced in a few kind words only, as "Be

Whether any hint inight be borrowed ye warmed,” or “Be ye clothed;" but in from this admonition of St. James, for the substantial acts of kindness-commonly better arrangeinent of seats in our churches and properly called good works, which be and chapels, we presume not to say. If considers quite as necessary to salvating seats are to be sold or let, it seems per. as even Faith itself, though in a different fectly equitable, that those who pay the way; for though works cannot justify of most should have the best : yet we cannot themselves before God, neither can an unbut think it would much grieve an apostle, productive faith do this; for "faith without if such there were in the present day, to works is dead." But this doctripe will see the oldest, and confessedly the most afford us matter for discussion in our best pious persons in a Christian congregation, section on the remainder of this chapter. seated on benches in the aisles, while all


NOTES-Chap. II, Con. Ver. 17. Being alone.-Marg." By itself;" i. e. Arabic, and Vulgate Versions; and is preferred by a dead body, without any vital principle. Hammond, Macknight, and others; and is, ** Verse 26. Ver. 18. Without thy works.-The Margin says,

think, more in the style of St. James, which is it

clined to irony (as in ver. 16). It is a challenge to “ Some copies read, By thy works." So, Doddridge du what he knew impossible-to prove the existsays, the most and best copies read, and therefore ence of true faith without good works. adopts it, as Dr. Mill had done before. But, on the Ver. 19. The devils-(Gr. demons)--alsa keitti, other hand, our textural translation has the antho- and tremble. -See Matt. viii. 29, rity of the Alexandrian and other MSS.-the Syriac,

Abraham's faith)

CHAP. II. {accompanied by works. 23 And the Scripture was fulfilled 25 Likewise also was not Rahab which saith, Abraham believed God, the harlot justified by works, when she and it was imputed unto him for had received the messengers, and had righteousness : and he was called the sent them out another way? Friend of God.

26 For as the body without the 24 Ye see then how that by works spirit is dead, so faith without works is a man is justified, and not by faith dead also. (D) only.

EXPOSITION. (1) Ver. 17–26. How far, and in what the harlot Rahab, who believing in the respect, good works are necessary to our promise, justified the sincerity of her faith salvation.-In the whole of this work, and by risking her own life to save that of the especially on the New Testament, it has Hebrew spies. been the writer's aim implicitly to follow Upon this subject, the 12th Article of the inspired writers, and not to impose on the Church of England saith, “ Albeit them any opinion which they have not that good works, which are the fruits of avowed. On the Epistle to the Romans faith, and follow after justification, can(chap. iii. and iv.), and on that to the Ga- not put away our sins, and endure the se. latians (chap. ii. and iii.), he bas eudea- verity of God's judgment; yet are they voured to explaiu the

doctrine of St. Paul pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ, op Justification by Faith, and to support and do spring out necessarily of a true and his Exposition by the unequivocal sanction lively faith; insomuch that by them a of our English Reformers; and, next to lively faith may be as evidently known, as the Scriptures themselves, he humbly con- a tree discerned by the fruit." To the same ceives, he cannot refer to better authority effect is the 4th “ Homily, of a true, lively, in explaining the doctrine of St. James, and Christian faith.”-“There is one faith on Justification by Works ; as he here (saith the Homily) which in Scripture is says, “ Ye see how that by works a called a dead faith, which bringeth forth van is justified, and not by faith oply". no good works; but is idle, barren, and ver. 24).

unfruitful. And this faith, by the holy In reviewing this subject, however, we apostle St. James, is compared to the faith nust inquire what that faith was which of devils, which believe God to be true his apostle speaks of as utterly unable to and just, and tremble for fear; yet they

“ Thou believest there is one do nothing well, but all evil..... Let us, ind (says he), and thou doest well,” for therefore, good Christian people, try and bis is the primary article of the Jewish examine our faith what it is : Christ himreed—"Hear, ( Israel; the Lord thy God self speaketh of this matter, and saith,

one Lord.” (Deut. vi. 4.) But can'a spe. The tree is known by the fruit. Therefore ulative faith like this save us? Behold, let us do good works : so shall we the devils believe (this) and tremble.” shew indeed that we have the very lively braham also believed this; but it was Christian faith, and may so both certify ot merely by this that Abraham was jus- our conscience the better that we be in the fied. He believed in the promise of God, rigut faith, and also by these means conat through his loins should come the firm other men. If these fruits do not follessiah, the Saviour of the world, and low, we do but mock with God, deceive nder this conviction he “ offered Isaac ourselves, and also other men:.... for 5 son upon the altar." This is a most the true faith doth ever bring forth good ninent act of faith, and as such was im- works, as St. James saith, Shew me thy ited to him; and by faith in that Messiah faith by thy deeds (or works]. Tby deeds d his atonement, was he justified before and works must be an open testimonial of d. And not only so, but his works justi- thy faith : otherwise thy faith, being withd his faith. The case was similar with out good works, is but the devil's faith,

ave us.

NOTES. ler. 22. Seest thou. Marg. " thou seest." ham's good works, that Paul had quoted in illus. Yer. 23. The Friend of God.-2 Chron. xx. 7; tration of his faith'; Heb. xi. 17, 31. Does not this xli. 8.

prove faith and good works inseparable ? 'er. 25. Likewise also.-It is remarkable, that Ver. 26. Without the spirit

-Marg. “ breath." nes quotes the same passages in proof of Abra. The same word, as is well known, means both. 737

3 B

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