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1: Be not many teachers - Let no more of you take this upon
you than God thrusts out; seeing it is so hard not to offend in
speaking much. Knowing that we - That all who thrust themselves
into the office. Shall receive greater condemnation - For more
offences. St. James here, as in several of the following verses,
by a common figure of speech, includes himself: we shall receive,
- we offend, - we put bits, - we curse - None of which, as common
sense shows, are to be interpreted either of him or of the
2: The same is able to bridle the whole body - That is,
the whole man. And doubtless some are able to do this, and
so are in this sense perfect.
3: We - That is, men.
5: Boasteth great things - Hath great influence.
6: A world of iniquity - Containing an immense quantity of
all manner of wickedness. It defileth - As fire by its smoke.
The whole body - The whole man. And setteth on fire the course
of nature - All the passions, every wheel of his soul.
7: Every kind - The expression perhaps is not to be taken
strictly. Reptiles - That is, creeping things.
8: But no man can tame the tongue - Of another;
no, nor his own, without peculiar help from God.
9: Men made after the likeness of God - Indeed we have
now lost this likeness; yet there remains from thence an
indelible nobleness, which we ought to reverence both in
ourselves and others.
13: Let him show his wisdom as well as his faith
by his works; not by words only.
14: If ye have bitter zeal - True Christian zeal is
only the flame of love. Even in your hearts - Though it
went no farther. Do not lie against the truth - As if
such zeal could consist with heavenly wisdom.
15: This wisdom - Which is consistent with such zeal.
Is earthly - Not heavenly; not from the Father of Lights.
Animal - Not spiritual; not from the Spirit of God.
Devilish - Not the gift of Christ, but such as Satan
breathes into the soul.
17: But the wisdom from above is first pure - From all
that is earthly, natural, devilish. Then peaceable - True
peace attending purity, it is quiet, inoffensive. Gentle - Soft,
mild, yielding, not rigid. Easy to he entreated - To be persuaded,
or convinced; not stubborn, sour, or morose. Full of good
fruits - Both in the heart and in the life, two of which are
immediately specified. Without partiality - Loving all, without
respect of persons; embracing all good things, rejecting all
evil. And without dissimulation - Frank, open.
18: And the principle productive of this righteousness is
sown, like good seed, in the peace of a believer's mind, and
brings forth a plentiful harvest of happiness, (which is the
proper fruit of righteousness,) for them that make peace - That
labour to promote this pure and holy peace among all men.