James 3:11

At first the apostle had reminded his readers that speech may be made a great power for good (vers. 2-4). Then he went on to say that in actual fact it is employed by most men as an engine of evil (vers. 5, 6). He proceeds now to justify his strong language on this point.

I. THE UNTAMABLENESS OF THE TONGUE. (Vers. 7, 8.) We have here a fourfold classification of the inferior creatures. God gave man dominion over them at the creation, and intimated his supremacy anew after the Flood. There is no variety of brute nature that has not yielded in the past, and that does not continue to yield, to the lordship of human nature. The horse, the dog, the elephant, the lion, the leopard, the tiger, the hyena; the partridge, the falcon, the eagle; the asp, the cobra; the crocodile; - these names suggest ample evidence of man's power to tame the most diverse species of wild animals. But, says James, there is one little creature which human nature, in its own strength, finds it impossible to domesticate. The tongue of man is fiercer than the most ferocious beast, The rebellion of our race against good is far more inveterate than any insubordination of the brutes. Indeed, the revolt of the lower creatures against the authority of man is only the shadow and symbol of man's revolt against the authority of God. Year by year man is subduing the earth and extending his dominion over it; but his natural power to govern the tongue remains as feeble as it was in the days of Cain. This "little member" reveals the appalling depths of human corruption. "It is a restless evil;" unstable, fickle, versatile; ever stirring about from one form of unrighteousness to another; assuming Protean shapes and chameleon hues; its words sometimes filthy, sometimes slanderous, sometimes profane, sometimes angry, sometimes idle. And the untamed tongue "is full of deadly poison." It is a worse poison-bag than that of the most hurtful serpent. The words of a false tongue are fangs of moral venom, for which no human skill can supply an antidote. Is not calumny just a foul virus injected into the social body, which kills character, happiness, and sometimes even life? Its venom spreads far and wide, and man is powerless to destroy it.

II. THE INCONSISTENCY OF THE TONGUE. (Vers. 9-12.) The same person may just now put the faculty of speech to its highest use; and, almost immediately afterwards, wickedly abuse it. The tongue has been given us that therewith we may "bless the Lord and Father;" and to utter the Divine praise is the most ennobling exercise of human speech. The Christian calls him "Lord," and adores him for his eternal Godhead; he also calls him "Father," and blesses him for his adopting grace. Then, with melancholy inconsistency, the same mouth which has been praising God may be heard invoking evil upon men. How often do those who profess godliness speak passionate and spiteful words! Do not Christians who belong to the same congregation sometimes backbite one another? Do not believers of different communions often, out of mere sectarian rivalry, denounce one another's Churches? Even godly men sometimes cherish the spirit which would "forbid" others to work the work of the Lord, simply because these are not of their company. Now, such inconsistency is seen in all its aggravation when we consider the fact that truly to bless God forbids the cursing of any man. "The Lord" is the "Father" of all men, for men "are made after the likeness of God." In his princely intellect, and his hungering heart, and even in his uneasy conscience, man reflects the image of his Maker. God and he are so close of kin to each other - by nature, and through Christ's incarnation - that real reverence for God requires that we "honor all men." How inconsistent, then, for the same mouth to bless the Father and to curse the children! The inconsistency appears on the very face of the English word "curse." To curse means primarily "to invoke evil upon one, by the sign of the cross. The cross is the symbol of the highest blessing to the world; and yet those who enjoy the blessedness which it brings have used it as an instrument of cursing. We bless God for the cross; and then we curse men in the name of the cross. Such inconsistency, the apostle adds, is flagrantly unnatural (vers. 11, 12). None such is to be met with in the physical world. A spring of water cannot transgress the law of its nature. A fruit tree can only bear fruit according to its kind. How unnatural, then, that in the moral world the same fountain of speech should emit just now a rill of clear sweet praise, and soon afterwards a torrent of bitter slander, or a stream of brackish minced oaths! Where a true believer falls into this sinful inconsistency, it is because the fountain of the old nature within his heart has not yet been closed up. He needs to have the accursed tree on which Jesus died cast into the bitter stream within him, to sweeten it, and to make it a river of living water. In the case of a soul that has experienced the renewing grace of the Holy Spirit, this unnatural inconsistency of speech not only ought not so to be," but does not need to be. - C.J.

Be not many masters
The words might have been better rendered thus, "Be not many teachers, knowing that we shall undergo a severer judgment"; and were occasioned by certain novices assuming the office of teachers when utterly unqualified for it. The meaning is, the office of a spiritual instructor is attended with great difficulty and danger, and the duties of it are hard to be discharged. Let none undertake it rashly, destitute of the gifts and graces necessary for so sacred a function; for teachers, as well as hearers, must appear before the judgment-seat of Christ. God will require more from teachers than from others; and their private miscarriages, or unfaithfulness to the duties of their office, will expose them to the severest punishment.

I. PERSONAL RELIGION is a necessary qualification in the Christian teacher. Those must be clean that bear the vessels of the sanctuary. Their Master is holy, their work is holy, and therefore it becomes them to be holy also. They engage in the work of the ministry, not seeking their own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved (1 Corinthians 10:33). Having tasted that the Lord is gracious, they are unwilling to eat their spiritual morsels alone, and earnestly wish to have others partakers of the same grace of life. Animated by such a spit it, the pious minister is vigorous and active, diligent and unwearied, in his Master's service. Grace, in lively exercise, makes the teacher honest and impartial, bold and courageous. He will not, through a slavish dread of man, put his candle under a bushel, or withhold the truth in unrighteousness; but endeavours to keep back from his hearers nothing profitable, however distasteful, and to declare to every one of them the whole counsel of God. He is no respecter of persons; but warns every man, and teaches every man, in all wisdom, that he may present every man perfect in Christ. With sacred sincerity, what the Lord saith that will he speak; though philosophers should call him enthusiast, the populace salute him heretic, or the statesman pronounce him mad. This integrity and uprightness preserves the minister from fainting under a prospect of outward difficulties and a sense of his own weakness. Grace, in lively exercise, not only animates the teacher to his work, but assists him in it, and greatly tends to crown it with success. It does so by disposing him to give himself to prayer, as well as to the ministry of the Word. He is a favourite at the court of heaven, and improves all his interest there for his people's good. Further, personal religion promotes knowledge of the truth and aptness to teach, both which are indispensably necessary in the spiritual instructor. And as piety thus prevents men from mistaking the duties, so it preserves them from prejudices against the doctrines of Christianity. Just as one who perceived the light and brightness of the sun would be little moved by any attempts to prove that there was nothing but darkness around him. But, above all, inward piety assists in understanding and explaining experimental religion. Those are best suited to speak a word in season to weary souls who can comfort them in their spiritual distresses with those consolations wherewith they themselves have been comforted of God. True religion will promote in ministers a pious and exemplary behaviour.

II. ORTHODOXY, or soundness in the faith, is highly necessary in a spiritual instructor. Much more stress is laid upon this in the sacred writings than some seem willing to allow (1 Timothy 1:3; 1 Timothy 6:3, 5, 20, 21; 2 Timothy 1:13; Titus 1:9; Titus 2:1, 7, 8; Jude 1:2). Is it either ridiculous or hurtful to judge of things as they really are? If orthodoxy, in this sense, has done evil, let its enemies bear witness of the evil; but if good, why do they reproach it? Do superstition, enthusiasm, bigotry, or persecution for conscience sake, flow from just sentiments of religion and of the proper means to promote it? or rather do they not flow from wrong sentiments of these? Truth and general utility necessarily coincide. The first produces the second.

III. A TOLERABLE GENIUS AND CAPACITY, WITH A COMPETENT MEASURE OF TRUE LEARNING, are requisite to fit for the office of a spiritual instructor. Infidels may wish, as Julian the apostate did, to see learning banished from the Christian Church. And men of low education, or of selfish spirits may think meanly or speak diminutively of a gospel ministry, as if the weakest abilities sufficed to qualify for it. But a Paul cried out, "Who is sufficient for these things?" (2 Corinthians 2:16). Elihu tells us that scarcely one of a thousand is qualified to deal with the conscience (Job 33:23). Uncommon talents are necessary to explain obscure passages of Scripture, to resolve intricate cases of conscience, and to defend the truth against gainsayers — services to which ministers have frequent calls. But, above all, one who would teach others to be religious, must himself have a clear and distinct notion of religion. We cannot avoid despising the man who is ignorant in his own profession, whatever his knowledge may be of other matters. The spiritual instructor should be mighty in the Scriptures, able not only to repeat, but to explain them, having the Word of God dwelling in him richly, in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.

IV. Ministers have need to be persons of PRUDENCE AND CONDUCT, and to know men as well as books. A minister should study himself. He should not only be acquainted with his own spiritual state, but with the particular turn of his genius; for our usefulness will in a great measure depend upon knowing what our gift is. A minister should study the make and frame of the human mind; for till the springs of human nature are, in a good measure, disclosed to him, and he has learned how far the bodily passions, or a disordered imagination, may either cloud genuine piety or cause a resemblance of it, he will be often at a loss what judgment to frame of religious appearances. He should know all the avenues to the soul, and study the different capacities and tempers of men, that he may be able, with becoming address, to suit himself to them all.

V. A due mixture OF A STUDIOUS DISPOSITION AND OF AN ACTIVE SPIRIT is necessary in teachers of Christianity. The ministry is no idle or easy profession, but requires an almost uninterrupted series of the most painful and laborious services.

(J. Erskine, D. D.)

1. The best need dissuasives from proud censuring. It is the natural disease of wit, a pleasing evil; it suiteth with pride and self-love, and feedeth conceit. It serveth vainglory, and provideth for our esteem abroad; we demolish the esteem of others, that out of the ruins of it we may raise a structure of praise to ourselves.

2. Censuring is an arrogation of mastership over others. It is a wrong to God to put myself in His room; it is a wrong to my neighbour to arrogate a power over him which God never gave me.

3. Christians should not affect this mastership over their brethren. You may admonish, reprove, warn, but it should not be in a masterly way. How is that?(1) When we do it out of pride and self-conceit, as conceiving yourselves more just, holy, wise, etc.(2) When we do it as vaunting over their infirmities and frailties in a braving way, rather to shame than to restore them: this doth not argue hatred of the sin, but envy, malice against the person.(3) When the censure is unmerciful, and we remit nothing of extreme rigour and severity; yea, divest the action of extenuating circumstances.(4) When we infringe Christian liberty and condemn others for things merely indifferent.(5) When men do not consider what may stand with charity as well as what will agree with truth; there may be censure where there is no slander.(6) When we do it to set off ourselves, and use them as a foil to give our worth the better lustre, and by the report of their scandals to climb up and commence into a better esteem. In the whole matter we are to be actuated by love, and to aim at the Lord's glory.

4. A remedy against vain censures is to consider ourselves (Galatians 6:1). How is it with us? Gracious hearts are always looking inward; they inquire most into themselves, are most severe against their own corruptions.(1) Most inquisitive after their own sins.(2) Most severe against themselves.

5. Rash and undue judging of others, when we are guilty ourselves, maketh us liable to the greater judgment. The apostle proceedeth upon that supposition. Sharp reprovers had need be exact, otherwise they draw a hard law upon themselves, and in judging others pronounce their own doom; their sins are sins of knowledge, and the more knowledge the more stripes.

(T. Manton.)

Introduction into the office of religious teachers is the subject to which the admonition has reference. The unconverted Jews were vain of their privileges, and of their superiority in knowledge to the unenlightened Gentiles. This part of their character is forcibly drawn by Paul (Romans 2:17-20). There were some corrupters also of the gospel — mixing up its simple provisions for human salvation into a heterogeneous compound with the observances of the Mosaic ceremonial who manifested the same propensity to become teachers of others; their character, too, is graphically touched by the same apostle (1 Timothy 1:5-7; Titus 1:9-11). In the latter passage, the motive to which the teaching of such false doctrine is attributed — doctrine that trimmed itself to the prejudices and likings of the hearers for selfish ends — is inexpressibly base. But by various other motives besides avarice may the same desire be prompted. It may spring from vanity — from the ambitious love of distinction and fondness for pre-eminence — even when the teaching is not that of false doctrine, but of the true gospel, the doctrine of the Cross. Envy of the eminence of others, it would appear from Paul's representation, had actuated some in his day — a motive even more unworthy than the simple love of distinction for themselves (Philippians 1:15-18). What a shocking way for malice to adopt to give itself indulgence! — preaching Christ from rivalry, and under the idea that the success of such rivalry might be a new element of distress to the suffering apostle! How little such men — who judged of others by their own narrow-minded selfishness — knew of the elevation and nobleness of principle and feeling by which this servant of Christ was animated. Still further. Ill-directed zeal, where there is a deficiency of prudence, or of self-diffidence and experience, may produce, without any morally-evil motive, the same effect. This is frequently the case with new converts. Undue eagerness, then, for the office of teachers in the Church — whether thus arising from such corrupt motives as vanity, avarice, ambition, and envious rivalry, or from the less censurable ones of self-ignorance, inconsideration, and misguided zeal — the apostle seeks to repress. The meaning plainly is, that the believers should be in no haste to become public instructors, in order that the number might not be multiplied of such as, in knowledge and in character, were not suitable for the office. The ground on which James here rests his caution, is that of the specially solemn responsibility with which the office of teacher is invested: "Knowing that we" (we who are, or become, teachers namely) "shall receive greater condemnation" — we shall be subjected to "stricter judgment," as by some the words have been rendered — of which, as a necessary consequence, the result must be, when there is wilful or careless failure, or failure even from incompetency, "greater condemnation." The errors of teachers — whether arising from want of proper and sufficient investigation and study, from prejudice and partiality, or from whatever other corrupt or defective source — as they are more extensively mischievous than those of others, so are they proportionally more criminal; the obligation lying upon them being the greater to find out, by diligent search and careful discrimination of truth from falsehood, what they ought to teach and what to shun, so thus they may faithfully and fully, without alteration, addition, or abatement, declare "the thing that is right." And, while such considerations constitute the ground of a specially solemn account which public teachers have to render for what they teach, hasty aspirants after the office should further bear in mind that a station of public eminence exposes its occupant to observation, that the sins and failings of such a one are more marked, and are more injurious to the cause of God and of His truth than even grosser misdemeanours on the part of Christians in more private spheres; and hence, even in the present life, we need not be surprised should we observe discipline peculiarly severe dealt out by Providence to those who either, from any corrupt motive, go aside in their teaching from the Divine standard, or who, while they publish truth, fail to adorn it by their own consistent deportment.

(R. Wardlaw, D. D.)

Mark here how the apostle includes himself. He says, "We shall receive." He does so in a spirit of humility and self-distrust, which serves to bring out more forcibly the magnitude of the danger against which he is warning his readers. We find Paul writing in a similar manner (1 Corinthians 9:27). The most eminent ministers of the Church in all ages have felt this, and to such an extent that they have often shrunk back at first from the sacred office altogether. It was so with , who, when elected Bishop of Milan, fled from the city, and had to be searched out and brought back from his place of concealment. It was so with the still more celebrated Father , who went forward to receive ordination only after the most urgent solicitations. It was so with John Knox, for he, when called to the ministry in the Castle of St. Andrews, first made an ineffectual attempt to address the congregation that had chosen him, and then, bursting into tears, rushed out of the assembly and hid himself in his own chamber. "His countenance and behaviour, from that day till the day he was compelled to present himself in the public place of preaching, did sufficiently declare the grief and trouble of his heart, for no man saw any sign of mirth from him, neither had he pleasure to accompany any man for many days together." What a lesson is here to all who either have entered on, or are looking forward to, the work of spiritual teaching I

(John Adam.)

When Faraday was preparing to lecture in natural science at the Royal Institution, he advertised for a retired sergeant to help him with his experiments. Being asked why he sought for a military man, he explained that some of the materials that would be used were dangerous, and that, therefore, he wanted for an assistant not one who would follow his own ignorant judgment, and blow up himself, the professor, and the audience, but one who would do exactly what he would be told, and nothing else.

(E. J. Hardy, M. A.)

self-constituted censors of others.


Wiesinger heads this chapter, "Against the itch of teaching."


Words had taken the place of works.


The sages of Israel had given the same caution as in the maxim: Love the work, but strive not after the honour of a teacher.

(Pirke Aboth. 1:10.)

It is obvious that true teachers must always be a minority. There is something seriously wrong when the majority in the community, or even a large number, are pressing forward to teach the rest.

(A. Plummer, D. D.)

Bishop Hall said, "There are three things which, of all others, I will never strive for: the wall, the way, and the best seat. If I deserve well, a low place cannot disparage me so much as I shall grace it; if not, the height of my place shall add to my shame, while every man shall condemn me for pride matched with unworthiness."

(H. O. Mackey.)

Dare any of us say with the French king, "L'etat c'est moi" — "The State is myself" — "I am the most important person in the Church"? If so, the Holy Spirit is not likely to use such unsuitable instruments; but if we know our places, and desire to keep them with all humility, He will help us, and the Churches will flourish beneath our care.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Bitter, Brackish, Flow, Forth, Fountain, Fresh, Opening, Outlet, Pour, Salt, Spring, Sweet
1. We are not rashly or arrogantly to reprove others;
5. but rather to bridle the tongue, a little member,
9. but a powerful instrument of much good, and great harm.
13. The truly wise are mild and peaceable, without envy and strife.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
James 3:1-12

     5547   speech, power of
     8339   self-control

James 3:2-12

     5934   restraint
     8476   self-discipline

James 3:3-12

     5193   tongue

James 3:9-11

     4278   spring of water

James 3:9-12

     4357   salt

James 3:11-12

     4293   water

January the Twenty-Sixth the Fire of Envy
"Where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work!" --JAMES iii. 13-18. In Milton's "Comus" we read of a certain potion which has the power to pervert all the senses of everyone who drinks it. Nothing is apprehended truly. Sight and hearing and taste are all disordered, and the victim is all unconscious of the confusion. The deadly draught is the minister of deceptive chaos. And envy is like that potion when it is drunk by the spirit. It perverts every moral and spiritual sense.
John Henry Jowett—My Daily Meditation for the Circling Year

The Tongue.
Preached April 28, 1850. THE TONGUE. "Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell."--St. James iii. 5-6. In the development of Christian Truth a peculiar office was assigned to the Apostle James. It was given to St. Paul to proclaim Christianity
Frederick W. Robertson—Sermons Preached at Brighton

How to Make Use of Christ for Taking the Guilt of Our Daily Out-Breakings Away.
The next part of our sanctification is in reference to our daily failings and transgressions, committed partly through the violence of temptations, as we see in David and Peter, and other eminent men of God; partly through daily infirmities, because of our weakness and imperfections; for, "in many things we offend all," James iii. 2; and, "if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us," 1 John i. 8; "a righteous man falleth seven times," Prov. xxiv. 16; "there is not
John Brown (of Wamphray)—Christ The Way, The Truth, and The Life

Whether Wisdom Should be Reckoned among the Gifts of the Holy Ghost?
Objection 1: It would seem that wisdom ought not to be reckoned among the gifts of the Holy Ghost. For the gifts are more perfect than the virtues, as stated above ([2705]FS, Q[68], A[8]). Now virtue is directed to the good alone, wherefore Augustine says (De Lib. Arb. ii, 19) that "no man makes bad use of the virtues." Much more therefore are the gifts of the Holy Ghost directed to the good alone. But wisdom is directed to evil also, for it is written (James 3:15) that a certain wisdom is "earthly,
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Whether Prudence of the Flesh is a Sin?
Objection 1: It would seem that prudence of the flesh is not a sin. For prudence is more excellent than the other moral virtues, since it governs them all. But no justice or temperance is sinful. Neither therefore is any prudence a sin. Objection 2: Further, it is not a sin to act prudently for an end which it is lawful to love. But it is lawful to love the flesh, "for no man ever hated his own flesh" (Eph. 5:29). Therefore prudence of the flesh is not a sin. Objection 3: Further, just as man is
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Whether Inconstancy is a vice Contained under Prudence?
Objection 1: It would seem that inconstancy is not a vice contained under imprudence. For inconstancy consists seemingly in a lack of perseverance in matters of difficulty. But perseverance in difficult matters belongs to fortitude. Therefore inconstancy is opposed to fortitude rather than to prudence. Objection 2: Further, it is written (James 3:16): "Where jealousy [Douay: 'envy'] and contention are, there are inconstancy and every evil work." But jealousy pertains to envy. Therefore inconstancy
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Whether Wisdom is in all who have Grace?
Objection 1: It would seem that wisdom is not in all who have grace. For it is more to have wisdom than to hear wisdom. Now it is only for the perfect to hear wisdom, according to 1 Cor. 2:6: "We speak wisdom among the perfect." Since then not all who have grace are perfect, it seems that much less all who have grace have wisdom. Objection 2: Further, "The wise man sets things in order," as the Philosopher states (Metaph. i, 2): and it is written (James 3:17) that the wise man "judges without dissimulation
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Whether the Seventh Beatitude Corresponds to the Gift of Wisdom?
Objection 1: It seems that the seventh beatitude does not correspond to the gift of wisdom. For the seventh beatitude is: "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God." Now both these things belong to charity: since of peace it is written (Ps. 118:165): "Much peace have they that love Thy law," and, as the Apostle says (Rom. 5:5), "the charity of God is poured forth in our hearts by the Holy Ghost Who is given to us," and Who is "the Spirit of adoption of sons, whereby
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Whether Backbiting is a Mortal Sin?
Objection 1: It would seem that backbiting is not a mortal sin. For no act of virtue is a mortal sin. Now, to reveal an unknown sin, which pertains to backbiting, as stated above (A[1], ad 3), is an act of the virtue of charity, whereby a man denounces his brother's sin in order that he may amend: or else it is an act of justice, whereby a man accuses his brother. Therefore backbiting is not a mortal sin. Objection 2: Further, a gloss on Prov. 24:21, "Have nothing to do with detractors," says: "The
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Whether Fasting is a Matter of Precept?
Objection 1: It would seem that fasting is not a matter of precept. For precepts are not given about works of supererogation which are a matter of counsel. Now fasting is a work of supererogation: else it would have to be equally observed at all places and times. Therefore fasting is not a matter of precept. Objection 2: Further, whoever infringes a precept commits a mortal sin. Therefore if fasting were a matter of precept, all who do not fast would sin mortally, and a widespreading snare would
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Whether any one Can be Perfect in this Life?
Objection 1: It would seem that none can be perfect in this life. For the Apostle says (1 Cor. 13:10): "When that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be done away." Now in this life that which is in part is not done away; for in this life faith and hope, which are in part, remain. Therefore none can be perfect in this life. Objection 2: Further, "The perfect is that which lacks nothing" (Phys. iii, 6). Now there is no one in this life who lacks nothing; for it is written (James
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Whether Our Atmosphere is the Demons' Place of Punishment?
Objection 1: It would seem that this atmosphere is not the demons' place of punishment. For a demon is a spiritual nature. But a spiritual nature is not affected by place. Therefore there is no place of punishment for demons. Objection 2: Further, man's sin is not graver than the demons'. But man's place of punishment is hell. Much more, therefore, is it the demons' place of punishment; and consequently not the darksome atmosphere. Objection 3: Further, the demons are punished with the pain of fire.
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Whether a Religious Sins More Grievously than a Secular by the Same Kind of Sin?
Objection 1: It would seem that a religious does not sin more grievously than a secular by the same kind of sin. For it is written (2 Paralip 30:18,19): "The Lord Who is good will show mercy to all them who with their whole heart seek the Lord the God of their fathers, and will not impute it to them that they are not sanctified." Now religious apparently follow the Lord the God of their fathers with their whole heart rather than seculars, who partly give themselves and their possessions to God and
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Whether the Separated Soul Can Suffer from a Bodily Fire?
Objection 1: It would seem that the separated soul cannot suffer from a bodily fire. For Augustine says (Gen. ad lit. xii): "The things that affect the soul well or ill after its separation from the body, are not corporeal but resemble corporeal things." Therefore the separated soul is not punished with a bodily fire. Objection 2: Further, Augustine (Gen. ad lit. xii) says that "the agent is always more excellent than the patient." But it is impossible for any body to be more excellent than the separated
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

The Doctrine of Man
Rev. William Evans—The Great Doctrines of the Bible

Man's Inability to Keep the Moral Law
Is any man able perfectly to keep the commandments of God? No mere man, since the fall, is able in this life perfectly to keep the commandments of God, but does daily break them, in thought, word, and deed. In many things we offend all.' James 3: 2. Man in his primitive state of innocence, was endowed with ability to keep the whole moral law. He had rectitude of mind, sanctity of will, and perfection of power. He had the copy of God's law written on his heart; no sooner did God command but he obeyed.
Thomas Watson—The Ten Commandments

Of the Weight of Government; and that all Manner of Adversity is to be Despised, and Prosperity Feared.
So much, then, have we briefly said, to shew how great is the weight of government, lest whosoever is unequal to sacred offices of government should dare to profane them, and through lust of pre-eminence undertake a leadership of perdition. For hence it is that James affectionately deters us, saying, Be not made many masters, my brethren (James iii. 1). Hence the Mediator between God and man Himself--He who, transcending the knowledge and understanding even of supernal spirits, reigns in heaven
Leo the Great—Writings of Leo the Great

"If we Confess Our Sins, He is Faithful and Just to Forgive us Our Sins, and to Cleanse us from all Unrighteousness. If we Say We
1 John i. 9, 10.--"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar," &c. And who will not confess their sin, say you? Who doth not confess sins daily, and, therefore, who is not forgiven and pardoned? But stay, and consider the matter again. Take not this upon your first light apprehensions, which in religion are commonly empty, vain, and superficial, but search the scriptures, and
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

Whether it is Lawful to Swear?
Objection 1: It would seem that it is not lawful to swear. Nothing forbidden in the Divine Law is lawful. Now swearing is forbidden (Mat. 5:34), "But I say to you not to swear at all"; and (James 5:12), "Above all things, my brethren, swear not." Therefore swearing is unlawful. Objection 2: Further, whatever comes from an evil seems to be unlawful, because according to Mat. 7:18, "neither can an evil tree bring forth good fruit." Now swearing comes from an evil, for it is written (Mat. 5:37): "But
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Attributes of Selfishness.
Formerly we considered the attributes of benevolence, and also what states of the sensibility and of the intellect, and also what outward actions, were implied in it, as necessarily resulting from it. We are now to take the same course with selfishness: and-- 1. Voluntariness is an attribute of selfishness. Selfishness has often been confounded with mere desire. But these things are by no means identical. Desire is constitutional. It is a phenomenon of the sensibility. It is a purely involuntary
Charles Grandison Finney—Systematic Theology

Unity of Moral Action.
CAN OBEDIENCE TO MORAL LAW BE PARTIAL? 1. What constitutes obedience to moral law? We have seen in former lectures, that disinterested benevolence is all that the spirit of moral law requires; that is, that the love which it requires to God and our neighbor is good-willing, willing the highest good or well-being of God, and of being in general, as an end, or for its own sake; that this willing is a consecration of all the powers, so far as they are under the control of the will, to this end. Entire
Charles Grandison Finney—Systematic Theology

Concerning Peaceableness
Blessed are the peacemakers. Matthew 5:9 This is the seventh step of the golden ladder which leads to blessedness. The name of peace is sweet, and the work of peace is a blessed work. Blessed are the peacemakers'. Observe the connection. The Scripture links these two together, pureness of heart and peaceableness of spirit. The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable' (James 3:17). Follow peace and holiness' (Hebrews 12:14). And here Christ joins them together pure in heart, and peacemakers',
Thomas Watson—The Beatitudes: An Exposition of Matthew 5:1-12

The Tribute Money
"And they send unto Him certain of the Pharisees and of the Herodians, that they might catch Him in talk. And when they were come, they say unto Him, Master, we know that Thou art true, and carest not for any one: for Thou regardest not the person of men, but of a truth teachest the way of God: Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not? Shall we give, or shall we not give? But He, knowing their hypocrisy, said unto them, Why tempt ye Me? bring Me a penny, that I may see it. And they brought
G. A. Chadwick—The Gospel of St. Mark

The Third Commandment
Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain: For the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.' Exod 20: 7. This commandment has two parts: 1. A negative expressed, that we must not take God's name in vain; that is, cast any reflections and dishonour on his name. 2. An affirmative implied. That we should take care to reverence and honour his name. Of this latter I shall speak more fully, under the first petition in the Lord's Prayer, Hallowed be thy name.' I shall
Thomas Watson—The Ten Commandments

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