[WRITTEN FROM JUDEA, A. D. 61.]
I.--JAMES, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes who are in the dispersion: Health.
2.--My brethren, count it all joy, when you fall into divers trials; knowing that the proof of your faith works out patience. Let patience, therefore, have a perfect effect, that you may be perfect and complete, deficient in nothing. If any of you be deficient in wisdom, let him ask it of God, who gives to all men liberally, and upbraids not, and it shall be given to him. but let him ask in faith, being not at all irresolute: for he who is irresolute, is like a wave of the sea, driven of the wind and tossed. Now let not that man think, that he shall receive any thing from the Lord. A man of two minds, is unstable in all his ways.
9.--Moreover, let the brother of humble condition glory in his exaltation, and the rich in his humiliation; for as agarden flower he shall pass away.--For the sun rises with a burning heat, and withers the herb, and its flower falls down, and the beauty of its appearance perishes: so also shall the rich man fade in his ways.
12.--Blessed is the man wh sustains trial; for, becoming an approved person, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to them who love him. Let no one who is tempted say, Certainly I am temptedby God: for God is incapable of being tempted by evil things, and he tempts no one. But every one is tempted, when he is drawn away and enticed by his own lust: then lust having conceived, brings forth sin; and sin, being perfected, brings forth death.
16.--Be not deceived, my beloved brethren: every good gift, and every perfect gifts, is from above, descending from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variableness, nor shadow of turning. Of his own will, he begot us by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swif to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man works not out the righteousness of God. Wherefore, putting away all filthiness, and overflowing of maliciousness, embrace with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. And be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves by false reasoning. For if any one be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like a man, who views his natural face in a mirror; for he looks at himself, and goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of person he was. But he who looks narrowly into the perfect law of liberty, and perseveres, not becoming a forgetful hearer, but a doer of its work, shall, in so doing, be happy. If any one among you think to be religious, who bridles not his tongue, but deceives his own heart, the religion of this person is vain. Pure religion, and undefiled, wtih God, even the Father, is this: To take care of orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep one's self unspotted from the world.
II.--My brethren, do not hold the faith of our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with partial regard for persons.--For if there enter into your synagogue, a man having gold rings on his fingers, and with splendid clothing, and there enter likewise a poor man, with sordid apparel; and you look on him who has the splendid cothing, and say, Sit you here, honorably; and to the poor man, Stand you there; or, Sit here at my footstool: are you not, then, partial among yourselves, and have become judges who reason wickedly? Hearken, beloved brethren: Has not God chosen the poor of the world--rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to them who love him? But you have despised the poor. Do not the rich exceedingly oppress you, and themselves drag you to the judgment seats? Do not they defame that excellent name which is named on you?--If, now, indeed, you fulfil a royal law, according to the scripture, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself," you do well. But if you have respect of persons, you commit sin, being convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever will keep the whole law, yet fails in one point, has become guilty of all. For he who said, "Do not commit adultery," has also said, "Do not kill." Now if you do not commit adultery, yet if you kill, you have become a transgressor of the law. So speak, and so do, as those who shall be judged by a law of liberty; for judgment without mercy, will be to him who showed no mercy: but mercy exalts over judgment.
44.--What is the advantage, my brethren, if any one say he have faith, but have not works? Can faith save him? For if a brother or a sister be naked, or destitute of daily food, and any one of you say to him, Depart in pece: be warmed, and be filled; yet give him none of the things needful for the body, what is the advantage? So also faith, if it have not works, is dead, being alone. Also one may say, You have faith, and I have works: show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that there is one God; you do well: even the demons believe and tremble. Besides, would you know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had lifted up Isaac his son upon the altar? You see that his faith co-operated with his works, and by works his faith was perfected. And so that scripture was fulfilled, which says, "Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness: and he was called the friend of God." You see that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. And in like manner also, was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, having secretly received the messengers, and having sent them away by another road? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.
III.--Do not become many teachers, my brethren, knowing that we shall receive a severer sentence. For in many things we all offend. If any one offend not in word, he is a perfect man, able to rule also the whole body. Behold we put bits into the mouths of the horses, to make them obedient to us, and we turn about their whole body. Behold also the ships, which, though they be so great, and are driven by fierce winds, are turned about by a very small helm, whithersoever the power of the pilot determines: so also the tongue is a little member, yt it works mightily. Behold how much wood a little fire kindles! Now the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity; the tongue is so placed among our members, that it defiles the whole body, and sets the wheel of nature in a blaze, and is set on fire from hell. Now every species of wild beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of sea monsters, is subdued, and has been subdued by man: but the human tongue, no one can subdue; it is an unruly evil thing, full of deadly poison. With it we bless God, even the Father; and with it we curse men, who are made in the likeness of God. Out of the same mouth proceed a blessing and a curse! My brethren, these things ought not to be. Does a fountain send forth, from the same opening, sweet water and bitter? Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives; or a vine, figs? So no fountain can yield salt water and fresh. Is any one wise and intelligent among you? let him show, by good behaviour, his works, with meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter anger and strife in your heart, do you not boast and lie against the truth? This is not the wisdom which comes from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish: for where there is anger and strife, there is disorder, and every evil work. But the wisdom from above is, indeed, first pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy to be persuaded, full of compassion and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace, by them who practise peace.
IV.--Whence wars and fightings among you? Do they not come thence, even from your lusts, which war in your members? You strongly desire, and have not; you kill, and are zealous, and cannot obtain. You fight and war, but have not, because you ask not. You ask, and do not receive, because you ask wickedly, that you may spend upon your lusts. Adulterers and adulteresses, do you not know, that the friendship of the world is enmity against God? Whoever, therefore, will be a friend of the world, is counted an enemy of God. Do you think that the scripture speaks in vain? And does th spirit, who dwells in us, strongly incline to envy?--But he gives greater favor. For it says, "God resists the proud, but gives favor to the humble." Therefore be subject to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw night to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you men of two minds. Be exceedingly afflicted, and mourn, and weep; and let your laughter be turned into mourning, and your joy into sadness. Be humble in the presence of the Lord, and he will lift you up. Speak not against one another, brethren. He who speaks against his brother, and condemns his brother, speaks against the law, and condemns the law. But if you condemn the law, you are not a doer of the law, but a judge. Thereis one lawgiver, who is able to save, and to destroy. Who are you, that condemn one another? Come, now, you who say, To-day, or to-morrow, we will go to such a city, and will abide there one year, and traffick in merchandize, and get gain; who do not know what shall be to-morrow. For what is your life? It is, indeed, a smoke, which appears for a little while, and then vanishes away. Instead of which you ought to say, If the Lrod will, we shall live, and do this, or that. But now you boast in your proud speeches: all such boasting is evil. Wherefore, to him who knows how to do good, and does it not, to him it is sin.
V.--Come, now, you rich men, weep, howl, on account of your miseries, which are coming on you. Your riches are putrified, and your garments are motheaten. Your gold and silver are eaten with rust, and the rust of them will be a witness against you, and will eat your flesh as fire. You have heaped up treasure in the last days. Hark! the hire of the laborers who have reaped your fields, which is fraudulently kept back by you, cries; and th cries of the reapers have entered into the ears of the Lord of hosts. You have lived luxuriously on the earth, and been wanton; you have nourished your hearts as in a day of festivity. You have condemned,--you have killed the Just One;--he did not resist you. Wherefore, be patient, brethren, till the coming of the Lord. Behold the husbandman, who expects the valuable fruit of the earth, waits patiently for it, till it receive the early and the latter rain. Be you also patient;--strengthen your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draws nigh. Repine not against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned: behold the Judge stands before the door. Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering evil, and of patience. Behold we call them happy, who are patient. You have heard of the patience of Job, and you have seen the end of the Lord, that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful. But above all things, my brethren, swear not; neither by the heaven, nor by the earth, nor by any other oath: but let your yes, be Yes; and your no, No; that you may not fall under condemnation. Does any one among you suffer evil? let him pray: is any one cheerful? let him sing psalms. Is any one sick, among you? let him send for the seniors of the congregation, and let them pray over him, having anointed him with oil, in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick person, and so the Lord will raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults, one to another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The inwrought prayer of the righteous man avails much. Elias was a man frail and mortal like us, and he prayed fervently, that it might not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And again he prayed, and the heaven gave rain, and the land brought forth its fruit. Brethren, if any one among you be seduced from the truth, and any one turn him back; let him know, that he who converts a sinner from the error of his way, shall save a soul from death, and shall cover a multitude of sins.
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