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that leadeth to eternal life, through || wavereth, is like a wave of the
the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Epistle. James i. 1. AMES (n), a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to (0) the twelve tribes which are scattered 2. abroad, greeting. My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers (p) temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith 4. worketh patience. But let patience have her (q) perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. If any of you lack (r) wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. 6. But let him ask in faith, nothing (s) wavering. For he that
(n) "James." This is supposed to have been the son of Cleophas, a brother of Jude the apostle, (post, note on Jude i.): he was crucified for professing Christianity, A. D. 63. James the apostle, the son of Zebedee and brother of John, was put to death by Herod, Acts xii. 2. which must have been long before the supposed time of writing this Epistle.
(0)" The twelve tribes." This Epistle is called General, (or Catholic, which is the same as general,) because it was addressed generally to all Jewish converts.
(2) Temptations." i. e. Trials, attempts to draw you off from your faith, persecutions. The strong exhortations here and elsewhere to patience imply that they were in circumstances which put their resolution very strongly to the
sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man 7. think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A (t) double- 8. minded man is unstable in all his ways. Let (u) the brother of low 9. degree rejoice in that he is exalted but the rich, in that he is 10. made low because as the flower of the of the grass he shall pass away. For the sun is no sooner risen II. with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways. Blessed (x) is the man that 12. endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
(s) "Nothing wavering," i. e. (proba- v.6. bly,) settled in his adherence to Christianity, not undetermined about abiding in it; firmly fixed to do whatever God shall suggest.
(t) Double minded," unfixed, with v.8. two minds; whose whole mind is not on God.
(u)" Let," &c. This verse is not to v.9. be literally understood: the object from verse 2. is to shew the advantages of affliction, and the conclusion of verse 10. and the whole of verse 11. assign reasons why the rich should rejoice in being reduced, but no reason is given why the poor should rejoice for being exalted. Verse 9. therefore may be ironical. "Let the poor "brother, if he will, rejoice in that he " is exalted," he little knows what it will bring upon him; the rich has much greater cause for rejoicing in being reduced. If the rich, whether raised from poverty or not, will pass away as the flower of the field, will fade away in his ways, a brother of low degree has no ground for rejoicing, because he is made rich.
(x)" Blessed," &c. This is properly v.12. added as a consolation to the rich for being reduced, and to all for their sufferings during trial.
The Gospel. John xiv. 1. AND Jesus said unto his dis
ciples, "Let (y) not your heart "be troubled: ye believe in God, "believe also in me. In my Fa"ther's house are many man"sions: if it were not so, I would "have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
❝ if (z) I go and prepare a place "for I will come again, and you, "receive you unto myself; that "where I am, there ye may be "also. And (a) whither I go ye "know, and the way ye know." 5. Thomas saith unto him, "Lord, "we know not whither thou go66 est; and how can we know 6. "the way?" Jesus saith unto him, "I am the way, and the "truth, and the life: no man "cometh unto the Father but by
(y) "Let," &c. Our Saviour had been saying to his apostles, "yet a little "while I am with you; ye shall seek me; " and whither I go, ve cannot come," John xiii. 33. and this had probably made them uneasy. In part of the same conversation, John xvi. 6. he "besays, "cause I have said these things unto "you, sorrow hath filled your hearts." This was after Judas was gone out to bargain with the chief priest to betray our Saviour, and the very night on which our Saviour was apprehended.
(z) "I go." St. John records many our Saviour's intimations that he was about to leave them, which the other evangelists do not mention. This and many of the others from John xiii. to the end of John xvii. occurred at the last supper, when John was present, next to our Saviour, and leaning on his bosom. This is the testimony therefore of an ear-witness.
(a). "Whither I go," &c. He explains in verse 6. that he was going to the Father, and that the only way to the Father was by him, i. e. through his means by believing on him, and walking in his commandments.
(b)" Dwelleth in me." Animates me, inspires me, &c.
me. If ye had known me, ye "should have known my Father "also and from henceforth ye "know him, and have seen "him." Philip saith unto him, "Lord, shew us the Father, and "it sufficeth us." Jesus saith unto him, "Have I been so long "time with you, and yet hast "thou not known me, Philip? "He that hath seen me hath seen "the Father; and how sayest "thou then, Shew us the Father? "Believest thou not that I am in t "the Father, and the Father in "me? The words that I speak "unto you I speak not of my "self: but the Father, that dwell"eth (b) in me, he doeth the "works. Believe me that I am "in the Father, and the Father "in me: or (c) else believe me
"Or else," &c. The meaning (c) seems to be, believe me, because I say it; you ought to have that confidence in me as to believe whatever I assert without requiring any proof or confirmation; but if you have not faith to this extent, look at the works that I do; are they not such as could not be done but through God's aid? He uses the same argument to the Jews who took up stones to stone him for saying, "I and my Father are "one," John x. 37. "If I do not the "works of my Father, believe me not; "but if I do, though ye believe not me, "believe the works." So John v. 36.x. 25. As our Saviour appeals to the works he did as a proof that he was the Messiah, and that God was with him, and as they furnish one strong ground for our belief, it may be of some advantage to collect some of them together, and we may then ask ourselves this question, what should we think of any one who should do such mighty works, and works of such benevolence in our sight; who should assert at the same time that he came from God; who should at a time when there was
appear ground from incontrovertible prophecies to expect some such person, and in whom the
marks stated in those prophecies for distinguishing this Messenger were found to exist? According to Matth. x. I. "He
gave his twelve disciples power against "unclean spirits, to cast them out, and "to heal all manner of sickness and all 66 manner of disease." According to
Matt. xii. 10 to 13. he directed a man who had a "withered hand to stretch it "forth," and he stretched it forth, and it was restored "whole like as the other." According to Matt. xii. 22. he healed one possessed with a devil, blind and dumb, so that he both saw and spake. According to Matt. xiv. 17 to 21. John vi. 8 to 13. he fed five thousand men besides women and children with five loaves and two fishes, so that they did all eat and were filled, and the fragments that remained filled twelve baskets; and according to Matt. xv. 32 to 39. he fed four thousand men, besides women and children, with seven loaves and a few fishes, and they did all eat and were filled, and left seven baskets of fragments. According to Matt. xiv 35, 36. when he was in the land of Gennesaret, they brought unto him all that were diseased, and as many as only touched the hem of his garment were made perfectly whole. According to Matt. xv. 22 to 28. he healed the daughter of the woman of Canaan who was grievously vexed with a devil, by a word only, without ever seeing her. According to Matt. xv. 29 to 31. when he was in a mountain near the sea of Galilee," great multitudes came unto him, "having with them those that were lame, “blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, "and cast them down at Jesus's feet, and "he healed them; insomuch that the "multitude wondered when they saw the "dumb to speak, the maimed to be whole, "the lame to walk, and the blind to see, "and they glorified, the God of Israel." According to Matt. xvii. 14 to 18. he healed a child who was lunatic. According to Matt. xix. 1, 2. when he went into the coast of Judea, beyond Jordan, "great multitudes followed him; and he "healed them there." According to Matt. xx. 29 to 34. he touched the eyes of two blind beggars, and immediately their eyes received sight. According to Matt. xxi. 19. when he said to the barren
"that believeth on me, the works "that I do shall (d) he do also;
fig tree, let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever, it prefently withered away. According to John ii. 7 to 11. he turned water into wine. According to John iv. 47 to 53. he healed the son of a nobleman at Capernaum, who was at the point of death, by saying only, "go thy way, thy Son liveth." According to John v. I to 9. he healed an impotent man, who had had an infirmity thirty-eight years, by saying only, "rise, "take up thy bed, and walk." According to John vii. 31. many of the people said, "when Christ cometh, will he do greater "miracles than these which this man "hath done?" According to John ix. I to 7. he gave sight to one born blind, by putting clay upon his eyes, and bidding him to wash in the pool of Siloam. According to John xi. I to 44. he restored Lazarus to life after he had been. dead four days. These selections are made from St. Matthew and St. John, because they were two of the apostles, who were in constant attendance upon our Saviour, and who were therefore probably eye-witnesses of what they record. How then shall we answer the question proposed at the beginning of the note? and what shall we say of a religion of which this evidence constitutes but a small part of its proofs? When we add the completion of the prophecies in the Old Testament, the completion of the prophecies in the New, the destruction of Jerusalem and the Jewish nation, the innocence of our Saviour's life, the peaceable character of his religion and precepts, and the conduct of his apostles and of St. Paul, can any one really doubt have we not a body of proof which is truly irresistible? Let it be remembered too, that where God has taken pains to supply so much evidence, it is probable he considers our belief a matter of great moment. Is it likely that he who does nothing in vain should have furnished such an abundance of light, had he thought it indifferent whether mankind saw or not? The destruction of the Jews is an awful lesson. God grant that we may make the proper use of it!
(d)" He do also." The apostles, &c. did accordingly perform miracles, and those of the same kind as our Saviour's.
"and greater(e) works than these "shall he do; because I go unto 13. my Father. And whatsoever
ye shall (f) ask in my name, "that will I do, that the Father may be (g) glorified in the Son. "If ye shall ask any thing in my "name, I will do it."
Fourth Sunday after Easter.
ALMIGHTY God, who alone canst order the unruly wills and affections of sinful men; Grant unto thy people, that they may love the thing which thou commandest, and desire that which thou dost promise; that so,
In A&ts iii. 1. &c. is the account of Peter's healing a man who had been lame from his birth. In Acts viii. 7.whilst Philip was preaching in Samaria, the people saw the miracles which he did, "for unclean spirits, crying with loud "voice, came out of many that were
possessed with them; and many taken "with palsies, and that were lame, were "healed." In Acts ix. 33 and 40. are accounts of Peter's healing a man named Eneas, who had kept his bed eight years, and was sick of the palsy, and of his bringing to life again a disciple named Tabitha. This power of working miracles (a power in which they could not be deceived), was a certain assurance to the apostles that God was with them, and with the conviction they had from their other powers, especially that of speaking languages they had never learned, and from their having seen our Saviour repeatedly after his resurrection, satisfactorily accounts for their courage and perseverance in defiance of all persecutions and dangers in preaching the Gospel.
(e) "Greater works." This was fulfilled when the apostles spoke in languages they had never learnt.
(f) "Ask," &c. See ante 140. note on John xv. 7.
(g) "Glorified," &c. that from what
among the sundry and manifold changes of the world, our hearts may surely there be fixed, where true joys are to be found, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Epistle. James i. 17 EVERY good (b) gift, and every perfect gift, is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first-fruits of his (i) creatures. (k) Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: for the wrath of man (/) worketh not the
is done in my name, and from seeing the efficacy of my religion, glory may be given to God; God's glory may be Ante 140. note on John
(b)" Gift," &c. St. James had been saying, verse 13. "Let no man say "when he is tempted, I am tempted of "God, for God cannot be tempted with
evil, neither tempteth he any man;" and the meaning here is, God is so far from assailing us with temptations, that every good gift comes from him, and he is not changeable, first trying to gain us by what is good, and then trying temptation will draw us off; on the con trary, he voluntarily begat us, i. e. made us as children to him, by the word of truth, i. e. by the Gospel.
(i) "His creatures," i. e. of them who were especially to be so called; of those, who according to Tit. ii. 14. were to be a peculiar people, zealous of "good works."
(k)" Wherefore," i. e. because God hath so dealt with us, has made us as children to him, a kind of first-fruits of his creatures, let one of the first results be that you control your tempers, lay apart all filthiness, &c. &c.
()" Worketh not," either " is in"consistent with," or "advanceth
away, the (r) Comforter will not come unto you; but if I "depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, 8. "he will reprove (s) the world of (t) sin, and of righteousness, "and of judgement: Of sin, be- 9. "cause (u) they(x) believe not on 66 me; Of (y) righteousness, be- 10. cause I go to my Father, and
ye see me no more; Of judge- 11. "ment, because the prince of "this world is judged. I have 12. yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them Howbeit when he, the 13.
(m) The righteousness of God," i. e. the Gospel dispensation, Christ's religion.
(n) Ingrafted word," i. e. what is called verse 18. " The word of truth."
(o) "Jesus said." This is part of what our Saviour said at the last supper, after Judas was gone out to bargain with the chief priests for betraying him, and the very night he was betrayed. John was next to our Saviour, and was therefore an ear-witness.
(p)"I go my way," &c. This was a distinct intimation that his life was at its close; and there are several other similar intimations in this discourse. The recollection after he was risen of these instances of our Saviour's foreknowledge would have strengthened their faith, if after the certain knowledge they had of his resurrection, and the possession in themselves of preternatural powers, any confirmation could have been requisite.
(q) "Sorrow." They probably expected, even down to this time, that our Saviour's was to be a temporal kingdom, one of the kingdoms of this world: when he had told them before that he should be betrayed and killed, though he also told them he should be raised again the third day, they were exceeding sorry; (see ante 133. note on Luke xxiv. 45.) and it appears that our Saviour made his communications to them according as he found they had strength of mind to receive them. See in this very Gospel,
<<< the v.7.
(r) The Comforter," i. e. Holy Ghost, whom the Father will "send in my name," John xiv. 26. "the spirit of truth," John xiv. 17. "the spirit of truth, which proceedeth from "the Father, whom I will send unto you from the Father." John xv. 26.
(s) Reprove the world," i. e. esta- v.8. blish to the rebuke of the world these three points; 1st, that the not believing on me was sin; 2dly, that mine is the true religion, because otherwise how could I go up to God; and, 3dly, that judgment is coming upon the prince of this world, the opposers of my religion, the worldly-minded. This judgment came most tremendously at the destruction of Jerusalem.
(t) "Of," i. e. concerning. (u)" Because," i. e. " in that." (x)" They believe not on me,' i. e. v.9. I am not believed, my religion is not adopted.
(y)" Righteousness." The gospel v. 10. dispensation. Christianity is often called " righteousness," "the righteousness. "of God." See James i. 20. (ante 146.) In Rom. iii. 21, 22. it is called "the "righteousness of God without the "law," (i.e. the Mosaic law) "the righteousness of God, which is by "faith of Jesus Christ." See also Rom. i. 17. So Rom. x. 3. the gospel dispensation is called "the righteousness of "God," the law of Moses "their" (the Jews) own righteousness."'