Standing Before the Mirror
James 1:22-25
But be you doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.…

I. THE APOSTLE SPECIFIES A CERTAIN KIND OF MAN. "If any man be a hearer of the Word, and not a doer."

1. A man may be prompted to hear the word by motives in which true religion is not at all involved. A habit formed in early life — a regard to what is considered respectable — or a wish to have his intellect gratified, may be the true explanation of the frequency with which he enters church.

2. A person, hearing the Word, may, notwithstanding, be so listless and unconcerned, as scarcely to receive any impression, whether intellectual or moral, from what he hears.

3. On the part of men who do, to a great extent, understand the meaning of what they hear, and who even receive mental excitement and enjoyment, there may be ingenuity enough to shut out from their consciences the moral impression which the heavenly message is intended to produce.

II. The apostle proceeds, by a figurative illustration, to DESCRIBE THE HEARER WHOM HE SPECIFIES. "He is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass," &c.

1. The Word of God is represented as a mirror. And why? Because it makes objects manifest.

2. The man who hears the Word, but does it not, is compared to "a man beholding his natural face in a glass." True, of those who stand before the mirror of the Word there are some of whom it might be almost said, that they shut their eyes, and thus receive no impression from that Word at all. But certainly the hearer of Divine truth does, in general, receive some impression on his mind from hearing it. It seems morally impossible for any sane man to hear, for many successive times, a message so plain and so peculiar as that of the Word of God, without having his understanding, at least, whatever may be the case with his conscience and his heart, in a greater or less degree affected. But —

3. The man to whom he that heareth the Word, and doeth it not, is here compared, is represented as "going his way," when he has "beheld his natural face in a glass," and "forthwith forgetting what manner of man he was." As from the one, so also from the other, the impression of what he has seen speedily departs. The hopeful impression dies — the man who so lately stood before the mirror "forgetteth what manner of man he was."

(A. S. Patterson, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

WEB: But be doers of the word, and not only hearers, deluding your own selves.

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