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168 They should not be incensed against each other ; SECT. were in our own power ; but set ourselves with all possible dili. vii.

gence to improve the present time, referring the disposal of all

future events, to the wisdom of that God on whom it depends to 15 determine whether we shall live, and do this, or that. chap. Let rich men read the address of the apostle to persons in their v.1 circumstances, with holy awe, and with a jealousy over them

selves, lest their present prosperity be succeeded with misery,

and their joy with weeping and howling; as it undoubtedly will 2,5 be, if wealth be unjustly gotten, or sordidly hoarded up, or luxu

riously employed to pamper their appetites, while the truest and noblest use of it, the relief of the poor, and the benefit of man

kind, is forgotten. Especially have they reason to tremble who 6 abuse wealth and power as the instruments of oppression ; soon

will all their stores be wasted, soon will they become naked and indigent, and find a terrible account remaining, when all the gaities and pleasures of life are utterly vanished. In the mean time, the saints of God may be among the poor and the oppressed; but let them wait patiently for the day of the Lord, for his com

ing is near. They sow in tears, but let them comfort their hearts 8 with the view of the harvest ; in like manner as the husbandman

demands not immediately the fruits of that seed he has committed y to the furrows. Adored be that kind Providence, which gives the former and the latter rain in its season. To him, from whom we have received the bounties of nature, let us humbly look for the blessings of grace, and trust him to fulfil all his promises, who without a promise to bind him, in particular instances, gives us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness. Acts xiv. 17.

SE C T. VIII.

He concludes the epistle with inculcating moderation and fortitude,

cautioning them against profane and vain swearing, and recommending prayer, a ready acknowledgment of our faults, and a solicitous concern for the common salvation. James V. 9, ta the end.

SECT. viii.

JAMES V. 9. RUDGE not one against an.

JAMES V. 9.
ND now, to draw to a conclusion, be not

inwardly incensed against each other, breth. James

ren, so as to grudge or envy one another any v. 9 superior advantages in life, or to harbour even

that malignity of disposition which should

y. 9

but imitate the long suffering of the prophets.

169 sther, brethren, lest groan in secret,a while it wants opportunities sect.

viii. re be condemned : of mischief; that you yourselves be not conbehold, the

Judge demned, for behold the Judge is standing before James standeth before the dooz,

the door ; he is now present, and sees all the
irregularities of your tempers, as well as ac-
tions : in consequence of which, he will quick-
ly bring these inward disorders of mind into

judgment, as well as the enormities of the 10 Take, my breth- life. And that you may be fortified against ren, the prophets, such trying circumstances, my brethren, take 10 the name of the for an example of enduring adversity, and Lord, for an exam. of long suffering under the greatest provople of suffering af. cations, the holy prophets of old, who spake to fiction, and of patience.

our fathers in the name of the Lord, and gave

such convincing evidences of their Divine in11 Behold, we spiration. (Heb. xi. 36, 37.) Behold, in this 11 count them happy which endure. Ye respect we, esteem them happy," who endure have heard of the pa- steadily and patiently the trials which God aptience of Job, and points for them. In this view, ye have heard the Lord ; that the of the celebrated patience of fob, with how much Lord is very pitiful, honour it is proclaimed from generation to and of tender mercy. generation ; and ye have also seen the end of

the Lord, how much to his honour, and how
much to his comfort, his various and heavy
afflictions concluded ; that the Lord is full
of compassion, and of tender mercy; and it is
with the bowels of an affectionate Father, that
he corrects his beloved children, not for his
own gratification, but from a view to their ad.

vantage. 12 But above all

Among other effects of that impatience, a- 12 things, my brethren, gainst which I am cautioning you, may be reck. Sweat not, neither,

oned the irreverent use of the name of God,
and profane oaths and execrations, into which
in the transport of their criminal passions, some
unhappy wretches are ready to fall; but be you
above all things, my brethren, careful, that ye
swear not, upon such occasions, or on any

Groan in secret.] Thus I have para. judgment, but that of all Christians phrased the words, because it is well who judged right, and understood the known, that the original sove2014, (as Beza nature of things. And it is indeed a observes,) has this signification. Justin judgment in which all Christians should Martyr represents the Jewish conver's, be agreed. as the worst sort of Christians, who were · Seen the end of the Lord.] It is ob. apt to be impatient of the Gentile yoke, servable, that in Job xlii. 7, &c. God and to retain their attachment to the decides the cause in his favour, and calls views of a temporal kingdom.

him his servant Fob four times in the We esteem them happy, &c.] The compass of a few verses, npostle speaks of this, not only as his own

Is any

170 The sick to be healed with anointing, and the prayer of faith , sect. other, lightly and profanely,d neither by heaven, by heaven, neither viii. the throne of God, nor by earth, his footstool, by the earth, neither

by any other oath : nor by any other oath ; but remember the com, but let your yea be James . 12 mand of our blessed Lord, (Mat. v. 37,) and yea, and your nay, let your yea

be
yea, and [your] nay nay; con- nay ; lest ye fall in-

to condemnation.
tent yourselves with a simple affirmation or ne-
gation, and take care to maintain such constant
integrity in all your words, that nothing more
may be needful to gain them credit ; that ye
may not fall under condemnation for profaning
the name of God, and lessening the regard due
to an oath, when used on the most solemn and

necessary occasions. 13 Accustom yourselves to the frequent exer- 13 Is any among

cises of devotion, as what will have the surest you afflicted ? let tendency to promote the comfort and happiness merry? let him sing of your

lives in every circumstance. Is any psalms. among you afflicted ? let him pray, and cast the burden of his cares and sorrows upon

the compassionate God, always ready to sustain his people. Is any cheerful, in easy and agreeable circumstances ? let him rejoice in God, and sing psalms of praise to him in a thankful ac

knowledgment of his mercies. 14 Is any one among you sick ? let him under his

14 Is any sick a. confinement call for the elders of the church ; mong you ! let him and let them pray over him for his recovery, the church; and let anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord Je-them pray over him, sus Christ, if they feel themselves so instigated anointing him with

oil in the name of to do it by the secret workings of the Spirit of

the Lord : grace upon their minds, as may encourage them 15 to hope for an extraordinary cure : And the 15 And the prayer )

prayer of faith, in such a circumstance as this,

d Sware not] This the Jews were commission of such a sin as had engaged very apt to do upon trifling occasions. the apostle to deliver them to Satan, in

e' The prayer of faith ] I can by no order to corporeal punishment. But I means think, that this is advised merely hardly think an elder of the church would physically. By the prayer of faith, I under. then have been mentioned ; and one canstand, such a faith as is founded on some not imagine, that when the apostles were more than ordinary impression, by which so few, and two of them comparatively Cod intimated an intention of working a so seldom together, the expression, miracle ; and I look upon it as a very con- “ Send for the elders of the church,” should siderable proof, that, as the power of mean, Send for some of the apostles. How working miracles was not absolutely con- vastly different this is from the extreme fined to the apostles, so it might in some unction, practised by the papists, not for instances continue something longer in the cure, but only when life is despaired of, I church than their days. Lord Barring- think every reasonable man may easily ton indeed thinks, that the expression, if judge. he hath committed sin, &c. refers to the

for the prayer of a righteous man availeth much. 171 of faith shall save shall save and recover the sick ; and the Lord sect. the sick, and the shall , in answer to prayer, raise him up ; and if

viii. up; and if he have he hath committed sins, which have brought this

James committed sins, they sickness upon him by way of extraordinary v. 15 shall be forgiven punishment they shall be forgiven him ; and the him.

Lord shall have mercy upon him, and recover

him according to the words of his servant. 16 Confess your

When you are conscious of having been 16 faults one to another, really to blame, do not perversely vindicate a and pray one for another, that ye may

conduct which your own hearts condemn, but be be healed : The ef- frank in acknowledging it. Confess (your) faults fectual fervent pray- one to another ; f for we are all too ready to er of a righteous man stumble in the way of our duty; and pray for one availeth much.

another, especially when your brethren are un-
der God's afflicting hand, or have been under
any visible declension in religion, that you may
be healed, and recovered.

The earnest prayer
of a righteous man, the effect of good affections

wrought in his heart by the energy of the Holy 17 Elias was s

a Spirit,s is of great efficacy. Many instances 17 man subject to like of this you know are recorded in scripture; and ( passions as we are, among others, that of Elijah, who was a man sub

estly that it might ject to the like infirmities, with us, (compare Acts
not rain : And it xiv. 15,) and had himself no greater command
rained not on the over the clouds and the rain than any of us ; yet
earth for the space he prayed with a prayer, that is, with great faith
of three years and
six months. and fervency, that it might not rain; which

was not the effect of any resentment he had
against his country for the ill usage he met with,
but in obedience to a secret intimation, that it
was the will of God to glorify himself by send.
ing upon them such a punishment for their
idolatry ; and the event, though so improbable,
was correspondent to his prayer; for it rained
not upon the land for three years and six months ;h
computing the time from the beginning of the

Confers (vour] faults, &c.] The general (in his Works, p. 749,) observes, seems candid sensé which I have given to the to imply this sense. I have not confined words, and which is a very important one, it to the prayer of miraculous faith. seems to me utterly to supersede all pre- h Three years and six months.] Elijah tences to claim from them any priestly pow. is said, 1 Kings xviii. 1, &c. to have shower, or to the requiring confession in the ed himself to Ahab in the third yeur ; that manner which the church of Rome does. is, from bis going to live at Zarephath, 1 For the confession here mentioned is plainly Kings xvii. 8, 9, 14, but from the beginning spoken of as mutual.

to the end of the famine was three years & Wrought, by the energy of the Spirit.] and six months, according to the account The word evipya usyn, as Bishop Hopkins, given by St. James, as also in Luke iv. 25. VOL. 6.

23

V. 18

172 He who converts a sinner, shall save a soul from death. sect. famine to the end of it. And he prayed again, 18 And be prayed viii. at the end of that time, that God would be again, and the hea.

ven gave rain, and pleased to remove the heavy affliction which James

the earth brought the drought occasioned ; and the small cloud forth her fruit. which appeared at first, soon spread itself over the whole horizon, so that the heaven gave rain in abundance, and the land put forth the green blade again, and yielded its fruit in great quan

tity, to repay the barrenness of former years, 19 And now, brethren, let me conclude with one 19 Brethren, if exhortation of the greatest importance both to any of you do err

from the truth, and yourselves and others; which is that you la

one convert him ; bour to the utmost to promote the spiritual good of your fellow creatures ; for if any one of you wander from the truth, and one turn him back to it, and lead him to tread its forsaken paths, he

performs the most important charity that can 20 be imagined : For let him know, that he who 20 Let him know,

thus turneth back a sinner from the error and that he which con
fatal wanderings of his way, shall produce a from the error of his
much happier effect than any miraculous cure of way, shall save a
the body; for he shall save a precious soul from soul from death, and
everlasting death, ruin, and condemnation, and shall hide a multi-

tude of sins.
to veil, or cover, a multitude of sins ; not only
procuring the pardon of those committed by
the convert, but also engaging God to look with
greater indulgence on his own character, and
to be less ready severely to mark all he shall
have done amiss.

IMPROVEMENT.

May it ever be remembered by all, and especially by the min. isters of the gospel, of how great importance it is to be instrumental in saving a soul from death, an immortal soul from ever. lasting death ; that so they may be animated to the most zealous and laborious efforts for that blessed purpose ; and think themselves richly rewarded, though it were for the otherwise unsuccessful labours of a whole life, by succeeding even in a single

instance. In this view, may there be a care to bring them to * Save a soul from death, &c.] This en in the last words of the paraphrase. way of expression intimates in the strong. See Atterbury's Serm. Vol. I. p. 46-48 ; est manner, the infinite importance of such Scott's Christian Life, Vol I. p. 368. And an event ; as to save a soul from death is I have not seen reason on the most atten. yet more than hiding the sins of the convert. tive inquiry, to disallow the force of their As to the latter clause, Bishop Atterbury, arguments. Compare 1 Pet. iv. 8, and the and Dr. Scott, urge the interpretation giv. note there.

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