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23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, Jerusalem. riod, 4775, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: VulgarÆra,
24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.
25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed 28.
26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain.
27 Pure religion, and undefiled before God and the Father, is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
The Administration of Justice being in a most corrupt State
at this Time among the Jews, the Apostle reproves them
for shewing, as they were accustomed to do, Partiality in
the Causes on which they were called upon to pass Judg-
ment-He cautions those who make Profession of the
Faith or Religion of our Lord, against making a Dis-
tinction of Persons on account of their Rank, or other
external Circumstances, inwardly favouring one more
than the other-This, he declares, is contrary to the
Gospel of Christ, who hath chosen the Poor of this World
to be rich in all spiritual Blessings, and has made them
Heirs of his eternal Kingdom; but that they have despised
the poor Man, although God has so enriched him, while
by the Rich they are oppressed, and dragged before
their Tribunals of Justice, to be maltreated and punished
for their Faith, while they blaspheme the Name by which
they are called-But, if they fulfil the royal Law of
Christ, according to the Scriptures, (John xiii. 34. xv.
12.) they shall do well, and shall be guilty of no Par-
tiality-But if they have respect to Persons in their Judg-
ment, they commit Sin against God, and their Brethren,
and they are convicted as Transgressors of the Law-
For he who offends in one particular Point-he who
kills by his iniquitous Judgment-is guilty of all-for
every Precept is enjoined by the same Authority-In
giving Judgment, then, they are so to speak and act, as
those who shall be judged by the Law of Liberty, which
prescribes for them a Rule of Life, and frees them
29 In Pirke Aboth, cap. v. 14. it is said there are four kinds
of men who visit the synagogues: 1. He who enters, but does
not work. 2. He who works, but does not enter. 3. He who
enters, and works. 4. He who neither enters, nor works. The
first two are indifferent characters; the third is the righteous
man; the fourth is wholly evil.-See Schoetgen. Hor. Heb.
vol. i. p. 1015. and Dr. Clarke in loc.
Julian Period, 4775. Vulgar Æra, 62.
THE DAYS OF THE APOSTLE JAMES-CHAP. XIV.
from the Guilt, Power, and Dominion of Sin-teaching Jerusalem.
them, that, at the last Day, Judgment will be passed
upon them according to the strictness of the Law, who
have shewed no Mercy, but rather unjustly condemned,
but that the Mercy of God will triumph over Judgment,
to those who have shewed Mercy.
1 My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus
Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.
2 For if there come into your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel; and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment;
3 And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place: and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool;
4 Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?
5 Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen
the poor of this world, rich in faith, and heirs of the
kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?
6 But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men
oppress you, and draw you before the judgment-seats?
7 Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which
ye are called?
8 If ye fulfil the royal law, according to the scripture,
Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well :
9 But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.
10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all "9.
11 For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also,
29 In the tract Shabbath, fol. 70. where they dispute con-
cerning the thirty-nine works commanded by Moses, Rabbi
"But if a man do the whole, with the omis-
sion of one, he is guilty of the whole, and of every one." It
was a maxim also, among the Jewish doctors, that if a man kept
any one commandment faithfully, though he broke all the rest,
he might assure himself of the favour of God; for while they
taught that," He who transgresses all the precepts of the law,
has broken the yoke, dissolved the covenant, and exposed the
law to contempt; and so has he done who has broken even one
precept," (Mechilta, fol. 5. Yalcut Simeoni, part i. fol. 59.)
they also taught, that he who observed any principal com-
mand, was equal to him who kept the whole law, (Kiddushin,
fol. 39.) and they give, for example, "If a man abandon ido-
latry, it is the same as if he had fulfilled the whole law," (Ibid.
fol. 40.) To correct these erroneous vacillating doctrines, seems
to have been the object of the apostle. Adam Clarke has col-
lected from Schoetgen many rabbinical doctrines, or traditions,
to illustrate this epistle, which bears evident internal proof
that it was written by a Jew to Jews.-See Clarke in loc. or
Schoetgen Hor. Heb. vol. i. p. 1016—1020.
Julian Pe- Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if Jerusalem. riod, 4775. thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.
12 So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.
13 For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy, and mercy rejoiceth against judg
To shew the Jews the Absurdity of relying on the Know-
ledge or the Profession of the Gospel, without perform-
ing its Precepts, as taught by some of their Teachers,
he asks what Advantage it is to a Man to say he hath
Faith, and not Works, or no Christian Practice?—An
empty Profession of Faith is as ineffectual for Justifica-
tion, as good Wishes without good Works, are for re-
lieving the Wants of the Destitute-The Devils believe
in God, but not to their Justification; for this Conviction
only increases their Torment: they believe and tremble
-But wouldest thou be convinced, the Apostle demands,
that Faith which has no Influence on a Man's Actions
is dead, utterly incapable of obtaining Justification, ask
thyself if our Father Abraham was not justified by his
Works, when he offered Isaac on the Altar-his Faith
co-operated with his Works-and by his Works, in Obe-
dience to the Commands of God, his Faith was mani-
fested, and made perfect-By Works, therefore, pro-
ceeding from Faith, a Man is justified; and not by
Faith only, without Works; for there can be no more a
true and saving Faith without good Works, than there
can be a living human Body without the Soul.
14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say
he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him?
15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of
16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be
you warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not
those things which are needful to the body; what doth it
17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead; being alone.
18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well the devils also believe, and tremble.
20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered his son Isaac upon the altar?
Julian Period, 4775. Vulgar Æra, 62.
ON THE SUBJECT OF FAITH AND WORKS.
22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and Jerusalem. by works was faith made perfect?
23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness and he was called the Friend of God.
24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only 30.
30 As many have considered that the doctrine of justification by good works, as preached by St. James, is in opposition to the doctrine of justification by faith alone, as taught by St. Paul, it will be necessary to show in what manner the two apostles are reconciled; for as they both wrote under the influence of one and the same divine Spirit, it is certain there can be no real difference existing between them. In the first place, it will be necessary to remark, from the whole scope of St. Paul's argument, and from his allusions to baptism, and the blessings of which we are made partakers in that sacrament, which he enumerates-that it is most probable the apostle speaks of baptismal, or initial purification (chap. v. 1, 2.10). Every person who is presented at the holy font, is mystically washed, and receives remission of the sins of his Adamic nature, which is figuratively buried with him in baptism. He is regenerated by the Holy Spirit, raised again to a new life, or state of being; he is made God's child by grace, and adoption, and as such he is incorporated into the visible Church, or family, of his spiritual father. He is taken into covenant with God, and is made heir of his glorious promises, on the condition of faith alone in Christ, and a life consistent with his new creation and rela tionship to God. This is the justification to which St. Paul refers in his doctrine of justification, or remission of sins on faith alone; and it is evident that no man can lay claim, or merit by his own good works, this act of free pardon and grace, which could only be obtained by the sinless life and atoning sacrifice of the second Adam, the Son of God. Christ perfected the human nature of man, which he united to his divine nature; that it might be sanctified by his Spirit, and be reconciled to his heavenly Father through him.
As far, then, as justification is concerned, the apostles cannot be said to oppose each other, as they evidently speak of distinct things-James confining himself to final justification, which is to be attained only by fufilling the conditions of the Gospel covenant, to which by baptism we have been admitted.
On these conditions both the apostles in the most decided manner agree. St. Paul, while he forcibly insists that works of the law and good works cannot avail in our baptismal justification, which is imparted on the condition of faith alone; strenuously asserts with St. James, that although by faith alone we are received into a justified state with God, to obtain the final or second justification, to become joint-heirs with Christ, we must lead holy lives, shewing our faith by our conduct; a continuance in sin being inconsistent with a state of favour and grace. That all will receive the reward of their deeds in this world, and those only would attain to final justification, who are in Christ Jesus; who walk not after the flesh, which ought to have been buried in baptism, with all its carnal affections and appetites, but who walk after the Spirit in the holiness and purity of Christ, fulfilling the conditions of the Christian covenant. Here then, St. Paul and St. James are, without difficulty, reconciled; the former speaking of preceding works of righteousness not
25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by riod, 4775. works, when she had received the messengers, and had Valgar Era, sent them out another way?
26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
St. James again cautions the Christian Jews not to under-
take the Office of Teacher, of which they were very desir-
ous (1 Tim. i. 7.) before they were fully qualified, know-
ing that as Teachers they would receive the greater Con-
demnation; for in many Things they offend all—If a
Man offend not in Word, by false Doctrine, or bitter
railing, the same is a Man well instructed in the Gos-
pel, and is able also to bridle in the whole Body-as it
is more difficult to govern our Tongues, than to avoid
offending in our Actions-By Bits in Horses' Mouths
their whole Body is turned round-Ships, which though
they be so great, are governed with a very small Helm--
Even so the Tongue is a little Member, boasting great
Things, working mightily, and ruling over the whole Man
-Behold also how great a Mass of Wood a little Fire
obtaining the first or initial justification, which was granted on
their first believing, or by faith alone, through the grace and
redemption in Christ Jesus; and the latter confining himself to
the second, or final justification, insists upon good works as
the natural result of a true and saving faith. Or, as the Church
expresses it in the twelfth article of religion, that good works,
which are the fruits of faith and follow after justification (bap-
tismal) cannot put away our sins; yet are they pleasing and
acceptable to God in Christ, and do spring out necessarily of a
true and living faith: insomuch that by them a lively faith may
be as evidently known, as a tree discerned by the fruit.
Some commentators are of opinion that the Epistle of St.
James was written to rectify the abuse founded on St. Paul's
doctrine-to the neglect of Christian practice, on the pretence
of the all-sufficiency of faith-it is also considered that all the
Catholic Epistles were written for the same purpose, shewing
that St. Paul intended only to exclude the works of the Mosaic
law, and not the works of the Christian law. In all the in-
stances of faith recorded for our instruction, from that of faith..
ful Abraham to the martyrs of the Christian dispensation, there
is the same beautiful harmony and character preserved. They
have been severally first justified or accepted by God, for their
belief in the truths he vouchsafed to reveal to them; which
faith, according to the pattern given us in the father of be-
lievers, has been the foundation or living principle of active
obedience and consequent holiness of life; and by such a faith
alone, mankind are taught throughout Revelation to seek for
righteousness or justification before God-shewing their faith
by their works. For the further discussion of this subject, see
Mr. Young's sermon on St. Paul's doctrine, of justification by
faith; Benson's Dissertations on James ii. 14-20; Mr. Tay-
lor's Key to the Apostolic writings, sect. 245, &c. and 280.; and
Mr. Tavel's admirable sermon preached at the archidiaconal
visitation of Dr. Berners.