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m Prov. 27. 1. Luke 12. 18. n Job 7. 7. Isa. 40. 6. 1 Cor. 7. 31.
13 m ̓́Αγε νῦν, οἱ λέγοντες, Σήμερον καὶ αὔριον πορευσόμεθα εἰς τήνδε τὴν πόλιν, καὶ ποιήσομεν ἐκεῖ ἐνιαυτὸν ἕνα, καὶ ἐμπορευσόμεθα, καὶ κερδήσομεν 14 » οἵτινες οὐκ ἐπίστασθε τὸ τῆς αὔριον. Ποία γὰρ ἡ ζωὴ ὑμῶν; ἐστε ἡ πρὸς ὀλίγον φαινομένη, ἔπειτα ἀφανιζομένη· 15 ° ἀντὶ τοῦ λέγειν ὑμᾶς, ʼn Ἐὰν ὁ Κύριος θελήσῃ, καὶ ζήσομεν, καὶ ποιήσομεν τοῦτο ἢ ἐκεῖνο. δὲ καυχᾶσθε ἐν ταῖς ἀλαζονείαις ὑμῶν. Πᾶσα καύχησις τοιαύτη πονηρά ἐστιν. ημικα 12. 47. 17 4 Εἰδότι οὖν καλὸν ποιεῖν, καὶ μὴ ποιοῦντι, ἁμαρτία αὐτῷ ἐστιν.
16 P Nov
1 John 2. 17. o Acts 18. 21. 1 Cor. 4. 19.
Heb. 6. 3.
p 1 Cor. 5. 6.
John 9. Rom. 1. 20, 21, 32. & 2. 17, 18, 23. a Prov. 11. 28. Amos 6. 1. Luke 6. 24. 1 Tim. 6. 9. b Matt. 6. 19, 20.
Αγε νῦν, οἱ πλούσιοι, κλαύσατε ὀλολύζοντες ἐπὶ ταῖς ταλαιπωρίαις ὑμῶν ταῖς ἐπερχομέναις. 2 ν Ο πλοῦτος ὑμῶν σέσηπε, καὶ τὰ ἱμάτια ὑμῶν σητόβρωτα γέγονεν· 3 ὁ χρυσὸς ὑμῶν καὶ ὁ ἄργυρος κατίωται, καὶ ὁ ἰὸς e Rom. 2. 5. ô ó αὐτῶν εἰς μαρτύριον ὑμῖν ἔσται, καὶ φάγεται τὰς σάρκας ὑμῶν ὡς πρ· ἐθησανρίσατε ἐν ἐσχάταις ἡμέραις.
That man is a plunderer of the Divine Glory, and an invader of the authority that belongs to God, whosoever he be, that claims a Right over the consciences of men, or usurps upon them. Let the Popes of Rome, and the train of Canonists, Jesuits, and Sycophants, that flatter and fawn upon them, clear themselves, if they can, of this sacrilege; and let such as submit their Consciences to the power of any creature, which only ought to be subject to God, be careful lest by transferring the honour of that service that belongs to God, to any creature upon earth, they make a God of that creature, and so, in effect, become guilty of idolatry. From this first conclusion thus proved, follows this remarkable inference, that the proper rule of the Conscience is that which God, the Supreme Lawgiver, hath prescribed to it; and besides that, there is no other that ought to be admitted.
Yet this hinders not, that there may be other Lawgivers of an inferior order, who by authority derived to them from the Supreme Power, may have a just right to make laws, and consequently to bind the Conscience to obedience. We do not say that God has committed to the Magistrate a power to oblige the Consciences of his people by Laws, but rather (to speak with more care and propriety) that God has given to the Magistrate a jurisdiction to make Laws, which by virtue alone of the Divine authority, do oblige the Consciences of the subject; for properly speaking, the Magistrate does not oblige the Conscience to obey the Law, but God obliges the Conscience to obey the Magistrate. Bp. Sanderson.
Tov Tepov] thy neighbour. See Rom. ii. 1; xiii. 8. 1 Cor.
13. ἄγε νῦν, οἱ λέγοντες] Go to now, ye that say. Cp. v. 1. On the use of the singular aye, with the plural noun or participle, see Hom. Il. i. 62, and passim; so "age," in Latin: see Wetst. p. 676.
14. àTμls yáp ẻσTE] for ye are a vapour. Elz. has eσri, it is (i. e. your life is) a vapour; but the reading eσTe, ye are, authorized by many MSS., and received by Lach., Tisch., Huther, is more expressive. Not only your life, but ye yourselves are a vapour. Cp. i. 10. B has ore; and A, K have oral, which is probably the same reading as σte (at and e being often confused in MSS.), and either eσTE or eσTαι are in numerous MSS. and some Versions. Compare Horat. (Od. iv. 7. 16), "Pulvis et umbra sumus."
15. àvtì Toû λéyei iμâs] instead of your saying. This is to be construed with v. 13, Woe unto you who say, To-day and to-morrow we will set forth to that city,' instead of saying (as ye ought to do), If the Lord will, we shall both live, and shall do this or that.
On the reading and construction cp. Winer, p. 256, who does not however seem to be aware that A, B have both Shooμev and onσoμev, in the future. This reading (which is received by Tisch., Lach., Alf.) makes both life and action to depend on the will of God.
16. vûv dè navxâσ0e] but now ye are glorying (not in the Lord as ye ought to glory, 1 Cor. i. 31, but) in your own vain vauntings; in your own confident and presumptuous boastings, of your own wisdom and power. On the sense of aλá¿wv, see Rom. i. 30. 2 Tim. iii. 2. Cp. 1 John ii. 16.
17. eldórɩ ovv] to him therefore who knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, there is sin.
This conclusion of St. James is added as the summing-up of the argument, in the same manner as the aphorism with which St. Paul closes his reasonings concerning a doubting conscience, where he says, "Whatsoever is not of faith, is sin;" that is, whenever a man does any thing without being persuaded in his mind that he may lawfully do it, he is guilty of sin. Rom. xiv. 23.
St. James appears to have his eye here on this statement of St. Paul. St. James adds to it another maxim of general import, viz. that whensoever a man omits to do any thing which he is persuaded in his own mind that he ought to do, he is guilty of sin.
Thus these two Apostolic verdicts, delivered in a similar manner, constitute two fundamental rules of human action, as to what men are bound to forbear doing, and as to what they are bound to do.
Those persons whom St. Paul addressed, were tempted to do many things, which they did not, in their consciences, approve; and the Apostle warns them, that if they do any thing against their conscience, they commit sin.
They to whom St. James wrote, were vainglorious of their religious knowledge; but they were not careful to show forth their religious knowledge by religious practice; and the Apostle teaches them that their knowledge will only increase their guilt, unless they do what they know to be right.
Hence, while it is a sin to shun knowledge, and there is some sin of ignorance (cp. Augustine, vi. 661), and it is a sin to shut the ears to instruction; and it is a duty to get knowledge, to increase in knowledge, to abound in knowledge, we must beware not to rest in knowledge. We must add to our knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, charity. Without these knowledge is unprofitable; nay, will only increase our condemnation. See Bp. Sanderson, iii. p. 232-4. Cp. Luke xii. 47. John ix. 41; xv. 22; and see the woes pronounced on Chorazin and Capernaum, Matt. xi. 21.
CH. V. 1. "Aye vûv, oi πλovσioi] Go to now, ye rich, weep and howl. He continues his address to the Jews, and especially the Sadducees, noted for wealth and worldliness. Among the Christians few were rich (see above, ii. 5–7), and therefore this portion of the Epistle is not to be restricted to them; see v. 6. St. James, like a Christian Jeremiah, is uttering a divine prophecy, of the woes that are coming on Jerusalem and on the Jews throughout the world.
2. & πλOÛTOS Vμŵv] your wealth is mouldering in corruption, and your garments (stored up in vain superfluity in your wardrobes) are become moth-eaten. Although they may still glitter brightly in your eyes, and may dazzle men by their brilliance when ye walk the streets, or sit in the high places of this world; yet they are in fact already cankered. They are loathsome in God's sight. The divine anger has breathed upon them and blighted them; they are already withered and blasted, as being doomed to speedy destruction: for ye lived delicately on the earth (see v. 5), and have not laid up treasure in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt (Matt. vi. 20).
8 Xpvoós] your gold and your silver are eaten up with rust. The sentence is figurative, and is shown to be such by this expression. Literally gold does not contract rust (see Theognis, 451. Pliny, N. H. xxxiii. 19, and other authorities in Wetstein, p. 678): but those precious metals, which naturally are incapable of rust, do, by being abused, or not rightly used, morally and spiritually contract rust; and not only so, but are, as St. James says, eaten up with rust. Even while shining in your coffers, they are, in God's eye, sullied and corroded, and they will not profit you in the day of trial, but be consumed by His indignation: and the rust they have contracted by lying idle as кThμara, and not been used as xphuara, will be a witness against you at the Great Day; and will pass from them by a plague-like contagion, and devour your flesh as fire.
3, 4. 0noavρíoare] ye laid up treasure in the last days. He speaks of this laying up as past, and as done in the last days.
d Lev. 19. 13. Deut. 24. 14.
4 4 Ἰδοὺ, ὁ μισθὸς τῶν ἐργατῶν τῶν ἀμησάντων τὰς χώρας ὑμῶν, ὁ ἀπεστερημένος ἀφ ̓ ὑμῶν κράζει· καὶ αἱ βοαὶ τῶν θερισάντων εἰς τὰ ὦτα Κυρίου eis Ecclus. 34. 21, 22. Σαβαὼθ εἰσελήλυθαν.
Job 24. 10, 11. Mal. 3. 5.
e Job 21. 13.
Luke 16. 19, 25. f ch. 2. 6.
5 Ετρυφήσατε ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, καὶ ἐσπαταλήσατε. Εθρέψατε τὰς καρδίας ὑμῶν ἐν ἡμέρᾳ σφαγῆς. σε Κατεδικάσατε, ἐφονεύσατε τὸν δίκαιον· οὐκ ἀντι
Such is the divine language of prophecy. The Holy Spirit, speaking by St. James, utters a voice as it were from the Divine Throne and from the Day of Judgment.
The judicial sentence is pronounced, and is as good as executed, in the eye of God. A sublime and awful picture. God is seated on His throne. The wages of the poor, defrauded by their proud and wealthy oppressor, have cried aloud, and their cries have entered into the ears of God, styled here by His awful and majestic title in authentic Hebrew words, to make it more striking to the Jews,-The Lord of SABAOTH; the LORD of HOSTS of Angels, with which He cometh to execute judgment.
St. James here takes up the prophetic warnings of Malachi (iii. 5), where God declares that He will "come near to them to judgment, and that He will be a swift witness against the adulterers and false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages” (τοὺς ἀποστεροῦντας μισθὸν μισθωτοῦ: cp. Ecclus. xxxiii. 27), the widow and the fatherless (see above, i. 27), and "that fear not Me, saith The LORD of HOSTS." "For I am the Lord, I change not " (see above, i. 17). And now we call the proud happy! (Mal. iii. 15.)
On this use of aæd, on your part, by you, after the passive verb ἀπεστερημένος, see above, i. 13, ἀπὸ Θεοῦ πειράζομαι, Winer, p. 332, note, and above on Luke vi. 18. Some expositors connect Kpace with ap' iμâv, cries from out of your hands, or coffers, in which it is detained; but this seeins to be a forced interpretation, and not authorized by any Ancient Version.
5. ÉτρUphσαTE ¿πÌ TÊS YÑ3] ye revelled upon earth. Ye have not had your treasure in heaven. Ye have not found delight in spiritual things, such as God's sabbaths (Isa. lviii. 13), and in the pleasures of His house (Ps. cxxii. 1; lxv. 4), and in doing His statutes (Ps. cxix. 72. 97), but in what is earthly and perishable: ye have had your good things in this life, and therefore ye will suffer loss and torment in the life to come. Luke
tomarathσare] instead of devoting your worldly wealthwhich was God's gift-to God's service, ye lavished it in luxury and riot, and indulgence on yourselves.
On the word σπαταλῶ, from σπάω, distraho, σπαθῶ, dissipo, cp. 1 Tim. v. 6. Prov. xxix. 21. Amos vi. 4, and Wetstein, ii. p. 340.
èv nμépą σpayñs] A striking contrast. Ye feasted jovially in a day of sacrifice, when abundance of flesh of the sacrificed animals is on the table at the sacrificial banquet. Ye ought to have ruled the people gently and mildly; but ye" have fed yourselves and not the flock," ye nourished your own hearts and not those of your people; ye have sacrificed and devoured them like sheep or calves of the stall fatted for the pampering of your own appetites. Cp. Ezek. xxxiv. 1-10. Cyril, in Caten. p. 33.
Ye did this at that very time when ye yourselves were like victims appointed to be sacrificed in the day of the Lord's vengeance, which is often compared by Hebrew prophets to a sacrifice, see below, Rev. xix. 17. Cp. Ecumenius and Theophylact here.
This was signally verified by the event. The Jews from all parts of the world came together to the sacrifice of the Passover, A.D. 70, and they themselves were then slain as victims to God's offended justice, especially in the Temple. See above on Matt. xxiv. 1. 15; and particularly the rich among them, as recorded by Josephus in B. J. vi. passim. Their wealth excited the cupidity and provoked the fury of the factious Zealots against them, and they fell victims in a day of slaughter to their own love of mammon; what was left of their substance was consumed by the flames which burnt the city. Josephus, vii. 29. 32. 37.
Elz. inserts &s, as, before èv nuépa, but as is not in A, B, and is rejected by Lach., Tisch., Alf.
6. KатEDIKάσαTE] ye condemned, ye murdered the Just One: Christ (Cassiodor., Ecumen., Bede, Bengel): this was your crowning sin, the cause of your coming woe: and after many years of long-suffering on God's part, ye have not been brought to repentance; "ye denied the Holy One and the JUST, and killed the Prince of Life." (Acts iii. 14, 15.) Ye have also slain His faithful witness St. Stephen (Acts vii. 59), and St. James the brother of John (Acts xii. 2), and thus ye prove yourselves the children of your fathers who slew the prophets, who "pre announced to you the coming of the JUST ONE (TOû Aikalov) of
whom ye became the betrayers and murderers" (poveîs, Acts vii. 52), as was said to the Jewish Sanhedrim by the first Martyr, St. Stephen, in the speech which seems to have been in the mind of St. James when he wrote these words.
It has been alleged by way of objection to this interpretation, that the Jews of the age in which this Epistle was written, could not be charged with having condemned and killed Christ, who had been crucified about thirty years before. But this objection is of little weight. Our Lord asserts that they who persecuted Him had even killed Zacharias the son of Barachias, slain many centuries before (Matt. xxiii. 35).
Those words, like many other sayings of Christ, especially these recorded in the Gospel of St. Matthew, seem to have been in the mind of St. James when he wrote this Epistle. The just blood of the just Abel, and of all the other just men slain from the beginning, were drops in their cup of guilt, which overflowed at the shedding of the blood of the JUST ONE, typified by Abel, and by all the Martyrs to the days of Zacharias; see the note on that passage ; ὅπως ἔλθῃ ἐφ' ὑμᾶς πᾶν αἷμα δίκαιον ἀπὸ τοῦ αἵματος ̓Αβελ τοῦ δικαίου, ἕως τοῦ αἵματος Ζαχαρίου υἱοῦ Βαραxlov dv époveúσATE.
By clinging to the sins of their fathers the Jews identified themselves with them; they committed their sins. They who persecuted the Christians after the Ascension persecuted Christ (Acts ix. 4, 5). Hence Justin Martyr, writing a century after St. James, says to the Jews, "Ye killed the Just One and His prophets before Him." Dialog. c. Tryphon. c. 16. The same may still be said to the Jews even at this day.
Observe the eloquent vehemence (dewórns) of this grand appeal, made more forcible by the omission of all connecting particles; an example of asyndeton well deserving the notice of any Christian Longinus, who may write a treatise "on the sublime" (Teplous), as displayed in Holy Writ, Ye nourished your hearts in a day of sacrifice; ye condemned, ye murdered the JUST ONE; He doth not resist you. Cp. above, vv. 4-9. He doth not resist you. His long-suffering is exhausted, He no longer strives with you. He lets you alone (Hos. iv. 17). This is the worst punishment of all; He leaves you to yourselves. Your house (no longer His house) is left to you desolate (Matt. xxiii. 38). He chooses your delusions (Isa. lxvi. 4), and chastises you by your own devices (Jer. ii. 19), and gives you over to a reprobate mind (Rom. i. 28), and your cup of guilt and punishment has now brimmed over, and all the righteous blood shed by your fathers will be required of this generation (Luke xi. 50, 51). A warning and prophecy rendered more striking by the fact that he who uttered it was called by the Jews "James the Just," and was murdered by them at Jerusalem at a time of sacrifice, as a victim at the Passover (as his Master was before him), when great multitudes came up to Jerusalem (A.D. 62).
Eight years after that murder, and also at a Passover, Jerusalem itself was destroyed. Hegesippus, ap. Euseb. ii. 23. Cp. Euseb. iii. 7, where he speaks of God's long-suffering toward the Jews for forty years after the death of Christ, and of His mercy to the Jews in allowing holy men to remain at Jerusalem, especially James, the first bishop of Jerusalem, the Lord's brother, who was to the city like a very strong bulwark (epкOS Exuрúτаτоv. Cp. his name Oblias, see above, Introduction, p. 5), while God's providence was still bearing long (μaкрo@vμovσns) with them if haply they would repent. By killing St. James they stripped themselves of that strong defence, and provoked the overflowing of God's wrath upon them.
The words of Eusebius (ii. 23), citing the narrative of Hegesippus, concerning the death of St. James, deserve to be cited at large; they are thus rendered by Lardner, History of the Apostles (ch. xvi. vol. iii. p. 36), "When Paul had appealed to Cæsar, and Festus had sent him to Rome, the Jews being disappointed in their design against him, turned their rage against James, the Lord's brother, to whom the Apostles had assigned the episcopal chair of Jerusalem. And in this manner they proceeded against him. Having laid hold of him, they required him in the presence of all the people to renounce his faith in Christ. But he with freedom and boldness beyond expectation, before all the multitude, declared our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ to be the Son of God. They not enduring the testimony of a man, who was in high esteem for his piety, laid hold of the
7 8 Μακροθυμήσατε οὖν, ἀδελφοὶ, ἕως τῆς παρουσίας τοῦ Κυρίου. Ιδοὺ, ὁ g Deut. 11. 14. γεωργὸς ἐκδέχεται τὸν τίμιον καρπὸν τῆς γῆς, μακροθυμῶν ἐπ ̓ αὐτῷ, ἕως ἂν čws âv λάβῃ ὑετὸν πρώϊμον καὶ ὄψιμον· 8 μακροθυμήσατε καὶ ὑμεῖς, στηρίξατε τὰς καρδίας ὑμῶν, ὅτι ἡ παρουσία τοῦ Κυρίου ἤγγικε. 9 n Μὴ στενάζετε κατ ̓ ἀλλήλων, ἀδελφοὶ, ἵνα μὴ κριθῆτε· ἰδοὺ, ὁ κριτὴς πρὸ nen. 4.11. τῶν θυρῶν ἕστηκεν.
Matt. 24. 23.
opportunity when the Country was without a Governor, to put him to death. For Festus having died about that time in Judea, the province had in it no Procurator. The manner of the death of James was shown before in the words of Clement, who said that he was thrown off from the pediment of the temple (see on Matt. iv. 5. Luke iv. 9), and then beat to death with a club. But no one has so accurately related this transaction as Hegesippus, a man in the first succession of the Apostles, in the fifth book of his commentaries, whose words are to this purpose,- James the brother of our Lord, undertook together with the Apostles the government of the Church. He has been called the Just by all from the time of our Saviour to ours. Some, of the seven sects, which there were among the Jews, asked him, Which is the Door of Jesus: or, What is the Door of salvation? And he said: Jesus is the Saviour, or the way of salvation. Some of them therefore believed that Jesus is the Christ. . . . . And when many of the chief men also believed, there was a disturbance among the Jews and among the Scribes and Pharisees, who said that there was danger, lest all the people should think Jesus to be the Christ. They came therefore to James and said: We beseech thee, restrain the errour of the people. We entreat thee to persuade all that come hither at the time of Passover to think rightly concerning Jesus. For all the people, and all of us put confidence in thee. Stand therefore upon the pediment of the temple, in order that, being placed on high, thou mayest be conspicuous, and thy words may be easily heard by all the people. For because of the Passover, all the tribes are come hither and many Gentiles. Therefore the Scribes and Pharisees before named placed James upon the pediment of the temple, and cried out to him, and said: O just man, whom we ought all to believe, since the people are in an errour following Jesus who was crucified, tell us what is the door of Jesus? And he answered with a loud voice: Why do you ask me concerning the Son of Man? He Himself sitteth in heaven at the right hand of the great power, and will come upon the clouds of heaven. And many were fully satisfied, and praised God for the testimony of James, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David. But the Scribes and Pharisees said to one another: We have done wrong in procuring such a testimony to Jesus. Let us go up and throw him down, that the people being terrified may not give credit to him. .. They went up presently and cast him down, and said, Let us stone James the Just. And they began to stone him, because he was not killed with the fall. But he turning himself kneeled down, saying: I entreat thee, O Lord God the Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. As they were stoning him one said, Cease, What do ye? the just man prayeth for you. And one of them, a fuller, took a club with which he was used to beat clothes, and struck him on the head. Thus he suffered martyrdom. And they buried him in that place, and his monument still remains near the temple. This James was a true witness to Jews and Gentiles that Jesus is the Christ. Soon after this Judea was invaded by Vespasian." So writes Hegesippus at large, says Eusebius, agreeably to Clement. James was so excellent a man, and so much esteemed by many for his virtue: that thoughtful men among the Jews were of opinion, that his death was the cause of the siege of Jerusalem which followed soon after his martyrdom. These are the things which are related of James, whose is the first of the epistles called catholic. (Eusebius, ii. 23.)
The narrative in Josephus (xx. 9. 1) contains several things at variance with this account, but it may admit of a doubt whether the words τὸν ἀδελφὸν Ἰησοῦ τοῦ λεγομένου Χριστοῦ, 'Iákwẞos ovoμa avтoû are not interpolated. Cp. Lardner, c. xvi. They are enclosed in brackets in Richter's edition, Lips. 1826.
7. μακροθυμήσατε οὖν, ἀδελφοί] be ye patient, therefore, brethren. Remember what the Lord suffered, and how He was made perfect through suffering; and that He will soon come to visit those who persecute you.
St. James here turns himself from the Jews to the Christians; and preaches to them patience: an exhortation requisite in their circumstances; compare the similar language of St. Paul, Heb. xii. 1-28, which is like an enlargement of this admonition of St. James: and see also Heb. vi. 7. 11, 12, where St. Paul compares the hearts of the faithful to good soil which drinketh in the rain, and produceth herbage meet for the use of those for whom
it is tilled (yewpyeîtai), and receives blessing from God; and exhorts them to show earnestness for the full assurance of hope unto the end; in order that they may be imitators of them who
through faith and patience (uaкрo@vμía) inherit the promise." Observe the repetition here of the word μακροθυμία, v. 8, and μαкроlvμía, v. 10, as if the Apostle would leave this admonition to long-suffering and patience as a parting bequest to the faithful.
Probably St. Paul had St. James in his mind, and thought of his martyrdom, when he wrote to the Hebrews,-in the interval between the death of St. James and the destruction of Jerusalem, -"Remember your spiritual Guides, who spoke to you the word of God; whose faith follow ye (μueîobe), contemplating the end of their conversation." Heb. xiii. 7, where see note.
ἰδοὺ, δ κριτὴς πρὸ τῶν θυρῶν ἕστηκε] behold, the Judge standeth before the doors. Cp. Matt. xxiv. 33, èyyús EOTIV ἐπὶ θύραις, and in a different sense Rev. iii. 20, ἕστηκα ἐπὶ τὴν θύραν.
Christ is at hand, He is even now at the Door, ready to execute vengeance on the guilty city of Jerusalem for her sins (Ecumen.). This saying: The Judge standeth at the Door, suggests a reference to the remarkable incident recorded by Hegesippus (see on v. 6), that the religious sects at Jerusalem were accustomed to ask St. James "which is the Door of Jesus?" and that at a Passover (that of A. D. 62) they placed him on a lofty eminence of the temple and cried out, The people are gone wild after Jesus who has been crucified, tell us, which is the Door of Jesus?
This question was doubtless put in bitter irony and malignant mockery as is proved by the murder of St. James perpetrated by those who uttered it. The saying is an enigmatical one. Perhaps this passage in this Epistle may explain it.
This latter portion of the Epistle contains a solemn prophecy of the woes coming on the Jews for the murder of the Just One; and denounces their sins and predicts their punishment (see vv. 1-6). It then proceeds to announce that the presence of the Lord is at hand, and that, behold, the Judge standeth at the Door.
This Epistle, published abroad throughout the world, and thus pre-announcing the doom impending on Jerusalem for the sin of its Rulers in crucifying Jesus, would be as offensive to Jews, especially the great and wealthy among them, as the prophetic roll of Jeremiah was to the King and Princes of Jerusalem (Jer. xxxvi. 10-32). And the language of this chapter may serve to explain their malignant menaces and blood-thirsty rage against the Apostle. It was to them what the speech of St. Stephen had been to the Sanhedrim; and probably St. James, as well as St. Stephen, was a victim of the wrath excited by his courageous rebukes of their sins, and by the constancy of his testimony to Jesus.
The words of St. James, "Behold! the Judge standeth at the doors," perhaps became current among them? Perhaps those words may have also excited the question put in a tone of derision, "which is the Door of Jesus?" at what Door is He standing? By what Door will He come? show Him to us and we will go out to meet Him.
This supposition is confirmed by the reply of St. James, "Why do ye ask me concerning the Son of Man? He sitteth in heaven; and will come in the clouds of heaven." There is His Door. The words of the murderous flatterers to St. James, as recorded by Hegesippus, seem to contain another similar ironical reference to the rebukes of this Epistle, "Thou art no respecter of persons" (прóσwпоν où λaμßáveis). No, forsooth! thou hast preached to the world to make no difference between rich and poor, and to show no respect to persons (see above, ii. 1-9). Therefore doubtless thou wilt speak the truth.
Other interpretations of that saying, "Which is the Door of Jesus?" may be seen in Bp. Pearson on S. Ignatius, ad Phila
i Matt. 5. 12.
10 : Υπόδειγμα λάβετε, ἀδελφοὶ, τῆς κακοπαθείας, καὶ τῆς μακροθυμίας, τοὺς k Num. 11.18. Προφήτας, οἳ ἐλάλησαν τῷ ὀνόματι Κυρίου. 11 κἸδοὺ, μακαρίζομεν τοὺς ὑπομένοντας. Τὴν ὑπομονὴν Ἰὼβ ἠκούσατε, καὶ τὸ τέλος Κυρίου εἴδετε· ὅτι πολύσπλαγχνός ἐστιν ὁ Κύριος καὶ οἰκτίρμων.
12 ' Πρὸ πάντων δὲ, ἀδελφοί μου, μὴ ὀμνύετε, μήτε τὸν οὐρανὸν μήτε τὴν γῆν, μήτε ἄλλον τινὰ ὅρκον· ἤτω δὲ ὑμῶν τὸ ναὶ, ναὶ, καὶ τὸ οὔ, οὔ· ἵνα μὴ ὑπὸ κρίσιν πέσητε.
13 m Κακοπαθεῖ τις ἐν ὑμῖν ; προσευχέσθω· εὐθυμεῖ τις ; ψαλλέτω. 14 n’Ασθενεῖ τις ἐν ὑμῖν ; προσκαλεσάσθω τοὺς πρεσβυτέρους τῆς ἐκκλησίας· καὶ προσευξάσθωσαν ἐπ ̓ αὐτὸν, ἀλείψαντες αὐτὸν ἐλαίῳ ἐν τῷ ὀνόματι τοῦ Κυρίου
& 42. 10.
Ps. 103. 8.
Matt. 5. 11.
1 Matt. 5. 34, &c.
2 Cor. 1. 17, 18.
m 2 Chron. 33. 12.
Col. 3. 16.
delph. 9, avròs v úра тоû жатpòs, with reference to John x. 7
10. TоÙS πроras] the Prophets, Elijah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel. Take them as an example of patient suffering of injuries. Thus he shows that the Gospel of Christ is in harmony with the Old Testament; and guards against the cavil of the Jews that it would undermine the authority of their Scriptures.
11. 'IB] Job, the patriarch of the ancient Church, not of the stock of Abraham.
Thus all unite-Prophets, Patriarchs, and Apostles-in teaching the duty of Patience. The Patriarch Job is propounded here as an example by the Apostle St. James. Hence we may conclude that the book of Job is not (as some have supposed) an allegory, but a true history, and this is further evident from the words of Ezekiel, combining Job with two other historical personages, Noah and Daniel. Ezek. xiv. 14. 20.
TÒ TéλOS Kupiov] the end of the Lord, i. e. of His dealings with Job, by which he "was more blessed at his latter end than at the beginning," Job xlii. 12: cp. Augustine, de Symbolo, 10.
12, 13. πро жάνтwv] but above all, my brethren, swear not.
The connexion of this precept with the preceding may be stated in the words of Bp. Sanderson (Lectures on Oaths, vii. 11). "Set the examples of antient Prophets, and holy men before your eyes. If ye suffer adversity, imitate their patience. If in all things you cannot attain to that perfection, yet thus far at least, except ye be very negligent, you may go with ease; above all things, take heed lest too impatient of your grief, or too much transported with your joy, ye break forth into rash oaths, to the dishonour of God, and shame of Christian conversation. But rather contain yourselves, whether troubled or rejoicing, within the bounds of Modesty: mingle not Heaven and earth, let not all things be filled with your oaths and clamours; if you affirm a thing, let it be with calmness, and a mere affirmation or negation. But if either of these passions be more impetuous, and strive to overflow the narrow channels of your bosoms, it will be your wisdom to let it forth unto the glory of God. Do you demand by what means? I will tell you: Is any amongst you afflicted? Let not his impatience break forth into Oaths and Blasphemies, the Flood-gates of wrath; but rather let him pray; and humbly implore God that he would vouchsafe him Patience, till His heavy hand be removed. Is any merry? Let him not bellow it forth in Oaths, like a Bacchanalian, but rather sing it in Hymns and Psalms unto the Praise of God; who hath made his cup to overflow, and crowned him with happy days." Bp. Sanderson.
In these words St. James doth not mean universally to interdict the use of oaths: for that in some cases is not only lawful, but very expedient, yea needful, and required from us as a duty; but that swearing which our Lord had expressly prohibited to His disciples, and which thence, questionless, the brethren to whom St. James did write, did well understand themselves to forbear, having learnt so in the first catechisms of Christian institution; that is, needless and heedless swearing in ordinary conversation, a practice then frequent in the world, both among Jews and Gentiles; the invoking of God's name, appealing to His testimony, and provoking His judgment, upon any slight occasion, in common talk, with vain incogitancy, or profane boldness. From such practice the holy Apostle dehorteth in terms importing his great concernedness, and implying the matter to be of highest importance: for, Before all things, my brethren, do not swear; as if he did apprehend this sin of all other to be one of the most heinous and pernicious. Could he have said more? would he have said so much, if he had not conceived the matter to be of exceeding weight and consequence? Dr. Barrow, Serm. xv. vol. i. p. 329.
On the subject of Oaths, see above, notes on Matt. v. 34.
Our Lord sent forth His twelve Apostles and His seventy Disciples two and two (Mark vi. 7. Luke x. 1), and St. James prescribes that the sick should send for the Elders of the Church.
Where, however, only one Elder can answer the call, this precept enjoins that he should be sent for; and it can hardly be supposed that in some cases the Elders would be summoned in a body to a sick room; but the precept is general, and the application of it in particular circumstances is left to be determined by the wisdom and piety of the faithful.
Here is remarkable evidence of the diffusion of the Gospel and extension of the Church, and of the existence of the order and Ministry of the Christian Priesthood in divers parts of the world in that early age. This Epistle was written before A.D. 62, when St. James died; it was addressed to the twelve tribes dispersed throughout the world (i. 1), and it gives them this precept,-"Is any sick among you? Let him send for the Elders of the Church."
This admonition would not have been given, if it could not be complied with. In the Acts of the Apostles we see St. James the Bishop of Jerusalem surrounded by, and presiding over, his Presbyters, or Elders, there (xxi. 18), and we may infer from his words in this place that Apostles and Apostolic men had now gone forth into a great part of the world (cp. Titus i. 5, and note before 1 Tim. iii.), and had ordained Presbyters in the principal cities.
In the Apocalypse we see in each case, one Person at their head (see on Rev. ii. 1); as their Angel, or Bishop.
The sick are enjoined to send for the Presbyters of the Church. It follows, therefore, that it is a necessary part of the Priest's duty to visit the sick. St. James had before asserted, not without reference to this duty, that "pure worship in the sight of God is to visit the orphans and widows in their affliction" (i. 27), and he here enjoins the sick to send for the Presbyters of the Church, and comforts the faithful with the assurance that the ministry of God's Priests, in prayer and other offices of religion, will be conducive to their comfort in soul and body.
Hence the Church of England prescribes, that "when any person is sick, notice shall be given thereof to the Minister of the Parish" (Order for the Visitation of the Sick); and she specifies it as part of "the Office of a Deacon, to search for the sick, &c., and to intimate their names unto the Curate." (Form, &c., of making Deacons.)
S. Polycarp, the Bishop of Smyrna, a disciple of St. John, and martyr, referring, it would seem, to the words of St. James, gives this ministerial direction (ad Philipp. c. 5), “Let the Presbyters be tender-hearted, merciful to all, converting the erring, (see below, v. 19), visiting all who are sick (énioкenтóμevol πάντας ἀσθενεῖς); not neglecting the widow or orphan or needy (see above, i. 27), and providing always what is good in the sight of God, abstaining from all respect of persons (see above, ii. 1. 9). not sharp in judgment, knowing that we are all sinners" (see above, iii. 2). These words of S. Polycarp show that he was familiar with this Epistle of St. James.
πроσevέáσowσav en avтóv] let them (the Presbyters) pray over him, the sick man. There is therefore a special efficacy in the prayers of those whom God has set apart for that office.
15 ° καὶ ἡ εὐχὴ τῆς πίστεως σώσει τὸν κάμνοντα, καὶ ἐγερεῖ αὐτὸν ὁ Κύριος κἂν ἁμαρτίας ᾖ πεποιηκώς, ἀφεθήσεται αὐτῷ.
18 Εξομολογεῖσθε ἀλλήλοις τὰ παραπτώματα, καὶ εὔχεσθε ὑπὲρ ἀλλήλων,
Every Priest being taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God (Heb. v. 1), that he may offer prayers; the prayers he offereth he offereth out of his office, and so, even in that respect there is, cæteris paribus, a more force and energy in them, as coming from him whose calling it is to offer them, than in those that come from another whose calling it is not so to do. Bp. Andrewes, Sermons, v. 230, 231.
The authority of the Priest's calling is a furtherance, because if God have so far received him into favour as to impose upon him by the hands of man that office of blessing the people in His Name, and making intercession to Him in theirs, which office He hath sanctified with His own most gracious promise, and ratified that promise by manifest actual performance thereof, when others before in like place have done the same; is not his very Ordination a seal, as it were, to us, that the self-same Divine Love that hath chosen the Instrument to work with, will by that Instrument effect the thing whereto He ordained it, in blessing His people, and accepting the prayers which His servant offereth up unto God for them? Hooker, V. xxv. 3.
ἀλείψαντες αὐτὸν ἐλαίῳ] anointing him with oil.. A question here arises;
Why the Church of England has not retained the practice of Anointing the Sick, as here prescribed by St. James?
And if the Early Church discontinued doing so, when and why? St. Mark says of the Apostles (vi. 13), “They cast out devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them." From a comparison of this passage with the parallel places in St. Matthew (x. 1-8) and St. Luke (ix. 1-6), it appears that they did this in the exercise of the extraordinary and miraculous powers of Healing bestowed on them by Christ.
The application of oil to the body of the Sick was a visible proof that they who applied it (viz. the Apostles) were Instruments employed by God for the conveyance of those benefits which accompanied its application.
It was a manifest evidence that Miracles of Healing were wrought by God through their agency; it was like a credential to their mission; and it served to call attention to the Doctrine taught by them, as coming from God.
The miraculous powers of Healing given to the Apostles were for some time continued in the Church.
Thus St. Paul says (1 Cor. xii. 8, 9), "To one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing; to another prophecy; to another tongues;" and again (1 Cor. xii. 28), "God hath set some in the Church, first Apostles, secondarily Prophets, thirdly teachers, after that Miracles, then gifts of healing.... Have all the gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues?"
Our Lord Himself promised this gift to His disciples (Mark xvi. 18): "They shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. This was done by the Apostles in the time of our Lord's ministry (says Ecumenius here): they anointed the sick with oil and healed them.
It appears that St. James is speaking with reference to this miraculous power of healing then existing in the Church, when he says (v. 14), "Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the Church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: and the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up, and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him." That is to say, If any one is sick, let him avail himself of the gifts which God has bestowed upon His Church; let him send for the Presbyters of the Church, and let them pray over him; and the prayer of faith (i. e. the faithful prayer made in full trust that God will do what is best for the sick) will (if it be God's good pleasure) save the sick, and God will raise him up, and restore him to health; and if he has committed sins, and if he is penitent for his sins, and has faith in Christ, they shall be forgiven him.
Whatever was instituted by Christ or by His Apostles, under His guidance and that of the Holy Ghost, for the purpose of conveying grace to the soul, and for the attainment of everlasting glory, is of perpetual and universal obligation; for all men need grace, and all men desire glory. Such things are the Two Sacraments and Confirmation. See on Acts viii. 16, 17.
But things which were practised and prescribed by Christ Himself and His Apostles are not of perpetual obligation, unless they are conducive to an end which is of perpetual necessity, namely, to the bestowal of spiritual grace to the soul, and to its everlasting salvation. If such is not their character, they are VOL. II.-PART IV.
mutable, and may be omitted or foregone by the Christian Church, according to the wisdom and discretion with which God has endued her. See this proved at large by Hooker, I. xv., and III. X., and xi. 15-18.
This is evident from the non-use of feet-washing, a thing done and enjoined by Christ Himself (see on John xiii. 14), and from the discontinuance of the holy kiss prescribed by His Apostles. (1 Thess. v. 26. Rom. xvi. 16. 1 Pet. v. 14.)
There is no evidence that anointing with oil was ever used in primitive times as a sacrament for the conveyance of spiritual grace to the sick in danger of death.
For a considerable time the Church retained the gift of healing (Irenæus, v. 6. Tertullian, de Bapt. c. 10. Euseb. v. 7. S. Jerome, vit. Sulp. Sever. vit. Martini, c. 15), and the practice of anointing with oil, with a view to recovery from sickness, was continued in the Eastern and Western Churches. Indeed (as may be seen in the Greek Euchologium), it is continued in the Eastern Church to this day for this purpose; see Dr. Covel on the Greek Church, 308. 340.
The Latin Church has adopted a different course.
She perceived in course of time that the effect mentioned by St. James ("the Lord shall raise up the sick ") did not ordinarily ensue from the anointing with oil; she saw that the miraculous and extraordinary powers of healing granted by Christ to the Apostles and other primitive disciples in the Apostolic ages, had gradually been withdrawn, as was the case with those other miraculous gifts, coupled with that of healing by St. Paul (1 Cor. xii. 28), viz., the gift of tongues.
But she would not lay aside the practice of anointing the sick. She retained the practice, but she abandoned the design for which the practice had been instituted.
At length, in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, the Latin Church had diverted the practice into a direction quite contrary to the purpose for which it was originally prescribed.
The Apostle St. James had enjoined the practice with a view to the recovery of the sick; as Cardinal Caietanus allows, in his note on the passage, where he says, "Hæc verba non loquuntur de Sacramentali unctione extrema unctionis;" but the Churchi of Rome prescribes, in the Councils of Florence (A.D. 1438) and Trent (A. D. 1551), that the anointing should not take place except where recovery is not to be looked for (Council of Trent, Sess. xiv., " qui tam periculosè decumbunt ut in exitu vitæ constituti videantur"), and therefore she calls this anointing "extreme unction," and "sacramentum exeuntium," and she regards it as a Sacrament for conveying grace to the soul.
Thus, on the one hand, the Greek Church is a witness by her present practice, that the Anointing was designed with a view to bodily recovery; and the Roman Church, on the other hand, is a witness, that the miraculous effects on the body, which were wrought in primitive times by God through the instrumentality of those who anointed the sick, and which accompanied that unction,
In the first Prayer Book of King Edward VIth, the Church of England (in her Office for the Visitation of the Sick) provided that "if the sick man desired it," he might be anointed with a view to his recovery. But on further consideration of the matter, and reflecting (it may be supposed) that the anointing of the sick implied something of a claim to the exercise of miraculous powers of healing, and might be chargeable with presumption, and with ignorance of God's dispensations in regard to miraculous powers, and might tempt men to rely for grace and pardon on an outward ceremony administered to them in a state of insensibility; she has thought fit to lay aside the sign, now that the thing signified has ceased, and to limit herself soberly and wisely to what is certain and indisputable, and what is the main thing for the sick man to consider, viz., that if he avails himself, as he ought to do in his sickness, of the ministry of his spiritual Guide, the prayer of faith will save the sick, and (if it be most expedient for him) God will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, they will, on his faith and repentance, be forgiven him, and that he will receive pardon, and grace, and peace, through the merits of Christ, and by the love and mercy of God, especially as conveyed, dispensed, and applied in the reception of the blessed and most comfortable Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ, which she enjoins, in a special Office, to be ministered to the sick.
Compare Dr. Hammond here and Dean Comber's remarks in his "Companion to the Temple," in the Introduction to the Office of Visitation of the Sick.
16. ¿¿oμoλoyeîσde àλλýλois] Confess your transgressions one