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a good and happy thing, to have the heart truly settled in a state of regeneration, and not to be taken up with frivolous disquisitions, concerning the choice or cleanness and uncleanness of meats, which have no way availed or benefitted those that have exercised themselves therein.
XIII. 10. We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle.
Under the Law, it was appointed, that they, which served in the tabernacle, should eat of those sacrifices, which were offered upon the altar; but now, it is otherwise: we have a spiritual and living altar and sacrifice, even Christ Jesus himself; of whom they cannot claim any right to partake, that are addicted to the ceremonies of the abrogated law.
XIII. 13. Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.
Let us therefore courageously and cheerfully imitate the example of his sufferings: bearing that reproach of impurity and unworthiness, which is cast upon us for his Name's sake.
XIII. 20. Now the God of Peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant.
Now the God of Peace, who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ, having approved himself, as the great, so the true and good shepherd of his elect, by shedding that precious blood of his, whereby the everlasting covenant of peace and reconciliation is ratified and confirmed betwixt God and man.
XIII. 22. For I have written a letter unto you in few words.
For I have written a letter unto you, howsoever large in itself, yet very short in comparison of the weight and worth of the argument, and that entire affection of mine from whence it hath proceeded.
THE GENERAL EPISTLE OF JAMES.
I. 1. To the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.
To all the believing Jews, that are dispersed among the nations in any part of the world.
I. 2. My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
Be ye so far, my brethren, from being dejected and disheartened with the afflictions which ye suffer for Christ, as that ye do account this a great and just cause, above all others, of your joy and exultation, that ye are thought worthy, and made able, to undergo these sharp trials for his sake;
I. 3. Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
Knowing that these sufferings whereby your faith is tried, do both exercise, and, through the goodness of God, work patience in you.
I. 4. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
Let not your patience shrink and fail, but let it hold firm and constant to the end; and let it produce in you those good and gracious effects, which are proper thereunto; that so ye may be entire and perfect in goodness, wanting no virtue or grace fit for Christians.
I. 8. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.
An unbelieving man, that hath one heart for God, another for the world; one while inclining to a confident reliance upon God, another while distrusting him; is utterly uncertain and unstable in all his actions and purposes.
I. 9. Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted:
Let a Christian, who is taken from a mean condition and advanced to any height of honour, be thankful to God for his exaltation, and acknowledge his promotion to be a favour from God:
I. 10. But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away.
And let the rich contentedly rest in the hand of God, if he have thought fit to humble him with want; because, if he be in never so prosperous an estate, here is no continuance for him, but even as the flower of the field he shall wither away and vanish.
I. 12. Blessed is the man that endureth temptation.
Blessed is the man, that patiently endureth afflictions and persecutions for the Name of Christ.
I. 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 :
Let no man, when he is tempted and drawn to sin, cast the fault hereof upon God; for God, as he is most pure and holy, so he can neither be solicited or moved to evil, neither can he move or solicit any man to evil; which is contrary to his most pure and perfect nature and will:
I. 14. But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
But every man, when he is tempted, must acknowledge, next to the suggestion of Satan, the fault to be his own; in that he is drawn aside by his own sinful concupiscence, and enticed to do evil thereby.
I. 15. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin : and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
It is with sin, as it is in our natural birth: in every one of us, there is originally a corrupt disposition, and proneness to sin: from hence are our evil lusts and desires; those vicious lusts and desires bring forth sinful actions; and sin, when it is grown to a consummation and perfect course, bringeth forth eternal death.
I. 17. Every good 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.
Every good gift proceeds from that God, who is the author and original of all light; whom we may not measure by these created lights of the moon or sun, in which there are interchanges of brightness and obscurity, by night and day, by clouds and clearness, some while shining and some while shadowed; but must conceive of him, to be ever constant in his most just decrees, in his rich mercies to us, without all variableness, without all suspicion or possibility of changing.
I. 18. Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first-fruits of his creatures.
And that infinite and unchangeable mercy of his hath approved itself to us in this, that, of his own free will, without any merit of ours, without any of our inclination towards him, he hath regenerated us to himself; not by the mortal and corrupt seed which we derived from Adam, but by the immortal and incorruptible seed of the word of truth; that we should be singled out as the noblest and happiest of his
I. 20. For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.
For the mind of that man, who is taken up with wrath, cannot, for the time, be capable of doing the will of God, or bringing forth any good work.
I. 21. Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engraffed word, which is able to save your souls.
Wherefore, that ye may be fit, as good ground, to receive this divine seed, do ye rid your hearts of all that natural uncleanness and those sinful dispositions and affections, which, as so many superfluous and hurtful weeds, take up the soil of your hearts, and make it unprofitable and noisome; and, with meekness and purity of heart, receive ye that holy word of God, which, by the hands of his Apostles, is cast into the furrows of your souls, or is engraffted in your hearts by their gracious plantation, as that which is only able to save your souls.
I. 25. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, &c.
But whosoever looketh throughly into the perfect glass of Christian doctrine, and vieweth himself and his actions therein
well and fully; and continueth to fix his eyes and thoughts thereupon; he being, &c.
I. 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.
That religion, which shall pass for pure and undefiled, in the account and censure of God our Heavenly Father, is not that, which consists in good words, and glorious shews and holy professions; but that, which approves itself in action; in visiting the fatherless and widows in their affliction, in relieving the distressed, and in keeping ourselves free from all the defilements of the world, from the lusts of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.
II. 1. My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.
My brethren, ye, that make profession of the faith and true religion of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of Glory, know, that it is not for you to have respect of persons; as I perceive some of you are wont to have.
II. 4. Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?
Are ye not then sensibly partial? and are ye not plainly selfconvicted in your own hearts, of the undue partiality of your thoughts?
II. 7. Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called?
Yea, are not those rich men grown to that insolence and boldness, as that they dare blaspheme that Sacred Name of God, by which ye rejoice to be called, and which ye boast to profess?
II. 10. For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.
For, whosoever shall profess to endeavour the keeping of the whole Law of God, if he do willingly offend in any one point thereof, he is, in that one, a transgressor of the Law; and is guilty of the violation of the whole Law, as it is taken together for the absolute rule of our life and carriage, though not of every particular branch and parcel of that Law.
II. 11. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill.
For we are not to look so much at the several points contained in the Law, as to the authority and justice of him that made the Law; which is indeed violated and offended by any breach thereof; for the same God, who said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill.
II. 12. So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.
So do ye speak and so do, as those, that desire to be approved unto God, for their loving obedience to him; as those, that make account to be judged, not by the rigour of the Law, but by the gracious mitigation and mercy of God, calling us to a free and cheerful observation thereof.
II. 13. And mercy rejoiceth against judgment.
It is the great praise and glory of God's mercy, that it freeth us from the judgment deserved by our sin.
II. 14. What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have no works? can faith save him?
What doth it profit a man, my brethren, to make a vain and empty profession and ostentation of faith; and to say, that he hath a true faith, when as he hath no good works, whereby to approve the truth of his faith? Can such a pretended and verbal faith save him?
II. 17. Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. As that is a vain and idle charity, which bids a man be warm and be filled, yet gives him nothing to feed or warm him with; so is that a vain and dead faith, which, professing an adherence to God, yet is severed from all good works, and is void of charity.
II. 18. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, und I will shew thee my faith by my works.
Yea, a man may, in a just scorn of the separation of these men's faith and works, say to them, Thou hast faith and I works: shew me that strange faith of thine, which thou talkest of, and pretendest to have without works, and I will shew thee my faith, which I shall approve to thee by my works.
II. 20. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
But wilt thou know, O thou vain man, that that faith, which thou pretendest to have, without works, is a mere counterfeit and dead faith, and nothing else but an idle pretence.
II. 21. Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
No otherwise are we justified than our Father Abraham, the Father of the Faithful; and was he any other way justified than by a working faith? was it not upon his actual offering of his son Isaac upon the altar?
II. 22. Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
Seest thou, therefore, how Abraham's faith was joined with works, and brought them forth as a necessary fruit thereof? so as by the works which he did, he plainly shewed the truth, and liveliness, and efficacy of his faith.
II. 23. Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness. See Romans iv. 3.