James 3:13

The apostle suggests here that those who aspired too hastily to become Christian teachers (ver. 1) showed themselves to be sadly deficient in wisdom. They were unwise at once in their estimate of their own powers, and in their judgment as to the kind of public discussions, which would be profitable for the Church. The cause of gospel truth could never be advanced by dogmatic disputations or bitter personal wrangling. Attend, therefore, says James in ver. 13, to a description first of false wisdom (vers. 14 16), and then of true (vers. 17, 18). Many members of the Churches of "the Dispersion" desired to appear "wise" (ver. 13), but only some were really so. Many might even be "knowing," or "endued with knowledge," who were not wise.

"Knowledge and wisdom, far from being one,
Have ofttimes no connection."

(Cowper.) Knowledge is only a hewer of wood, while wisdom is the architect and builder. A man may possess a large library, or even amass vast stores of knowledge, and yet be "a motley fool." Indeed, no fool is so great as a knowing fool. The wise man is he who can use his knowledge for the largest moral and spiritual good. And the true wisdom is bound up with the life of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (Job 28:28; 2 Timothy 3:15). It makes the will of God its rule, and his glory its end. So the man who lives without God should be thought of as the impersonation of stupidity, and Satan as the supreme fool of the universe. But, if a man be "wise unto salvation," how will his wisdom appear?

1. By "his good life. (Ver. 13.) The quiet even flow of one's daily occupation will furnish an ample sphere for it. Even the heathen philosopher, Seneca, has said, Wisdom does not show itself so much in precept as in life - in a firmness of mind and a mastery of appetite. It teaches us to do, as well as to talk; and to make our words and actions all of a color." The weighty 'Essays' of Lord Bacon "come home to men's business and bosoms;" yet their author cannot justly be called "the wisest," if he was in his own life "the meanest of mankind."

2. By "his works in meekness of wisdom. Character is perceived not only by its subtle aroma, but in connection with individual actions. Wisdom shows itself in acts of holiness. And these acts are done in meekness," which is one of wisdom's inseparable attributes. True wisdom is mild and calm, patient and self-restraining. And yet a meek spirit is not a mean spirit. The "poor in spirit" are not the poor-spirited. The "meekness of wisdom" consists with the greatest courage and the most ardent zeal. An old commentator says, "Moses was very meek in his own cause, but as hot as fire in the cause of God." And the Man Christ Jesus was mild, just because he was strong and brave. There was no fierceness, no fanaticism, no sourness, about him. He is our perfect Pattern of the "meekness of wisdom" (1 Peter 2:22, 23; Matthew 27:12-14). The spirit of strife and wrangling is not the spirit of Christ. James now proceeds to a statement of principles regarding false or earthly wisdom (vers. 14 16).

I. ITS NATURE. (Ver. 14.) The spurious wisdom of the "many teachers' carried in it not so much burning zeal as "bitter zeal." Its spirit was factious, arrogant, bigoted, Its roots lay in the angry passions of the heart. Its aim was personal victory rather than the triumph of the truth. While it may be sometimes dutiful to contend earnestly in defense of the gospel, the love of controversy for its own sake, and the cherishing of a contentious spirit towards brethren, is always sinful, much less a ground for "glorying." A professing Christian who lives to foster either doctrinal wranglings or social quarrels presents to the world a caricature of Christianity, and is himself a living lie "against the truth."

II. ITS ORIGIN. (Ver. 15.)

1. "Earthly. Every good gift is from above; but this so-called wisdom is of earthly origin, and busies itself about earthly things. Those cultivate it whose souls are wholly immersed in worldly pursuits.

2. Sensual;" i.e. psychical or natural, as opposed to spiritual. It originates in the lower sphere of man's intellectual nature; it is the wisdom of his unspiritual mind and his unsanctified heart. Until the human spirit becomes possessed by the Spirit of God, its works will be "the works of the flesh."

3. "Devilish." The false wisdom is demoniacal in source, as it is in character. The envious heart, like the evil tongue, "is set on fire by hell" (ver. 6). Implicitly followed, this wisdom will tend to make a man "half-beast, half-devil." These three adjectives correspond to our three great spiritual enemies. Earthly wisdom has its origin in the world; natural wisdom, in the flesh; demoniacal wisdom, in the devil. And, recognizing this, our prayer should be, "From all such deceits, good Lord, deliver us."

III. ITS RESULTS. (Ver. 16.) Where there are "bitter zeal and faction" in the heart, these may be expected to produce commotion and wretchedness in society. What misery has not the spirit of strife and self-seeking wrought in the midst of families, and in the bosom of Churches! It is a fruitful source of heart-burnings and of lifelong alienations. It sows tares among the wheat. And the harvest of "this wisdom" shall be "a heap in the day of grief and of desperate sorrow."


1. Loathe the vile spirit of strife.

2. Covet earnestly the gift of holy wisdom.

3. Remember that the climax of the true wisdom consists in meekness. - C.J.

Who is a wise man, and endued with knowledge.
In Scripture the term "wisdom" ordinarily signifies the knowledge and fear of God, especially that enlightening of the mind which flows from the word and spirit of Christ; and the superior excellence of this wisdom may be well expressed in the words of Solomon (Proverbs 3:13, 14). Much of what is called wisdom and knowledge among men can scarcely be said to have any influence at all, and very frequently all that can be said in its praise is merely this, that it is a more sedate species of amusement than men commonly pursue. But it may be that there is some difficulty in attaining it, and that every one is not able to make such an acquirement. Hence it is esteemed by many as of no small value, because it exercises their faculties, ministers to their vanity, or plausibly occupies their time. Other kinds of wisdom and knowledge there are which may be sufficiently applicable to practical purposes and sufficiently useful in promoting the temporal interests of their possessor, but which have no salutary influence on the heart or conduct. Such kinds of wisdom may often be attained by the most worthless persons, and may sometimes render them only the more daring in their wickedness and the more dangerous to their fellow-men. But it is the distinguishing character of the wisdom mentioned in the text, that it both produces good fruit for the use of others and exerts a purifying influence on the heart where it dwells.

I. IT LEADS TO A "GOOD CONVERSATION," or manner of life. You are well assured that the calling, with which you are called in the gospel of Christ, is a "holy calling," and that the wisdom which cometh down from above is first pure — pure in its whole character and influence. For this end it cometh down, namely, to make us "free from the law of sin," and to purify "us unto God a peculiar people." Let every one, therefore, who seemeth to have this wisdom, or wishes to have it, feel his obligation "to cleanse himself from all filthiness of the flesh and of the spirit." "Let your conversation always be as becometh the gospel," and your conduct "as the children of God, blameless, harmless, and without rebuke." Let it never once enter into the imagination of your minds that you truly possess any portion of heavenly wisdom if it is not your full desire and endeavour to be "holy in all manner of conversation." No inconsistency can be greater, no delusion more fatal, than to suppose it possible for you to be guided by "the wisdom which is from above," while you show not "a good conversation ': or manner of life.

II. IT LEANS TO "GOOD WORKS"; let him show out of a good conversation his works. He who is wise ceases not only to be the servant of sin but learns to become an "instrument of righteousness." He not only rejects what would be disgraceful and debasing in practice, but studies to be "full of mercy and of good fruits." He is not content with avoiding whatever would be offensive to his Maker, hurtful to his neighbour, or injurious to his own best interests; he strives, farther, to do what may be pleasing in the sight of God, profitable to man, purifying to his own spirit.

III. IT LEADS TO "SLEEKNESS," or gentleness. "The meekness of wisdom," that unassuming and unoffending deportment which always becomes, and ought always to attend, true wisdom and superior knowledge. Such a spirit is not only a duty in itself, a part of the Christian character, but is in a manner the appropriate dress in which every heavenly grace and good work should be arrayed. Thus you are exhorted to associate this meekness with every form of well-doing; to walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called with all lowliness and meekness; to "hear with meekness the ingrafted word"; to give a reason "of the hope that is in you with meekness"; to "restore one who is overtaken in a fault in the spirit of meekness"; in "meekness, to instruct those that oppose themselves." This is the way in which you are to show or exercise your wisdom, and hence it is called "the meekness of wisdom," that which belongs to it as a property, which becomes it as an ornament, which proceeds from it as an effect, which proves it to be from above.

(James Brewster.)

1. Wisdom and knowledge do well together; the one to inform, the other to direct. A good apprehension and a good judgment make a complete Christian.

2. True wisdom endeth in a good conversation. Surely the practical Christian is the most wise: in others, knowledge is but like a jewel in a toad's head: Deuteronomy 4:6, "Keep these statutes, for this is your wisdom." This is saving knowledge, the other is but curious. What greater folly than for learned men to be disputing of heaven and religion, and others less knowing to surprise it! This is like him that gazed upon the moon, but fell into the pit. One property of true wisdom is to be able to manage and carry on our work and business; therefore none so wise aa they that "walk circumspectly" (Ephesians 5:15). The careless Christian is the greatest fool; he is heedless of his main business. Another part of wisdom is to prevent danger; and the greater the danger, the more caution should we use. Certainly, then, there is no fool like the sinning fool, that ventureth his soul at every cast, and runneth blindfold upon the greatest hazard.

3. The more true wisdom, the more meek. Wise men are less angry, and more humble.

4. Meekness must be a wise meekness. It is said, "Meekness of wisdom." It not only noteth the cause of it, but the quality of it. It must be such as is opposite to fierceness, not to zeal.

5. A Christian must not only have a good heart, but a good life, and in his conversation show forth the graces of his spirit (Matthew 5:16).

(T. Manton.)

It must be observed that there is a difference between wisdom and knowledge. One is natural, the other acquired; one comes from God, the other from man. A man who is not wise cannot acquire wisdom by his own exertions; but any man can become learned if he have industry and memory. A man may be wise and unlearned; a man may be learned and be a fool. Wisdom is as superior to learning as the man who is both architect and builder is superior to the materials which he uses. But as those materials are necessary to the builder, so is learning ¢o a wise man. Therefore, he who is truly wise will industriously seek to obtain all knowledge within his reach, No man to whom God has given wisdom despises learning, he can do little without it. It is that with which he is to make his life-work. The very first motion of wisdom in a man is to "get understanding," to obtain a knowledge of things.

(C. F. Deems, D. D.)

Knowledge is a jewel, and adorns him that wears it. It is the enriching and bespangling of the mind. Knowledge is the eye of the soul, to guide it in the right way; but this knowledge must be joined with holy practice. Many illuminated heads can discourse fluently in matters of religion; but they do not live up to their knowledge: this is to have good eyes, but to have the feet cut off. How vain is knowledge without practice! as if one should know a sovereign medicine, and not apply it. Satan is a knowing spirit; but he hath no holy practice.

(T. Watson.)

Criticisms in words, or rather ability to make them, is not so valuable as some may imagine them. A man may be able to call a broom by twenty names, in Latin, Spanish, Dutch, Greek, &c.; but my maid, who knows the way to use it, but knows it only by one name, is not far behind him.

(John Newton.)

One of our party greatly needed some elder-flower water for her face upon which the sun was working great mischief. It was in the Italian town of Varallo, and not a word of Italian did I know. I entered a chemist's shop and surveyed his drawers and bottles, but the result was nit. Bright thought; I would go down by the river, and walk until I could gather a bunch of elder-flowers, for the tree was then in bloom. Happily the search was successful: the flowers were exhibited to the druggist, the extract was procured. When you cannot tell in so many words what true religion is, exhibit it by your actions. Sinew by your life what grace can do. There is no language in the world so eloquent as a holy life. Men may doubt what you say, but they will believe what you do.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

It was the labour of Socrates to turn philosophy from the study of nature to speculations upon life; but there have been and are etchers who are turning off attention from life to nature. They seem to think that we are placed here to watch the growth of plants, or the motion of the stars; but Socrates was rather of opinion that what we bad to learn, was how to do good and avoid evil.

(Dr. Johnson.)

The most intellectual Gnostics were sensualists; sensualists upon a theory and with deliberation. And modern history yields many a warning that intellectual culture about religious things is one thing and genuine religion quite another. Henry VIII, who had been destined for the English Primacy, was among the best read theologians of his day: but whatever opinion may be entertained of his place as a far-sighted statesman in English history, no one would seriously speak of him as personally religious.

(H. P. Liddon, D. D.)

Let him shew... with meekness of wisdom
I. The man must "SHOW HIS WORKS." The apostle takes it for granted that, if he really be "wise and endued with knowledge," he will have works to show. Of course all pride, and vanity, and ostentation are to be eschewed. But still, the glory of God and the welfare of the world demand the exhibition of the fruits which Divine grace has produced in the character and conduct of the man.

II. The man must "show his works out OF A GOOD CONVERSATION." A man's "conversation" is the course and tenor of his life. Consistency of conduct and comprehensive moral excellence are here required.

III. Out of this "good conversation" the man must "show his works" in a certain way — "WITH MEEKNESS OF WISDOM." Meekness — which is, as it were, kindness and humility blended into one harmonious feeling of the mind — is very frequently enforced in the Word of God — sometimes by express command, sometimes by a reference to the meekness of Christ Himself, sometimes by a statement of the personal benefits which follow in its train, and sometimes by an exhibition of its fitness to sustain the cause and promote the influence of religious truth. It is here associated with "wisdom." And assuredly not only do wisdom and meekness dwell together, but the former dictates, originates, fosters, and upholds the latter.

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

James intimates that if a man is to be selected for wisdom he cannot make manifest that wisdom by an argument to prove its existence, but all he has to do is to show from a good life, a life of truth, fidelity, and beneficence, that he has so used what he has acquired as to adapt all objects in his control to their intended end. Not only by words but by works let the world see his wisdom, not only in one field but in all fields, not only on one side of his character, but on all sides let all who know anything of him know that it is good; and let him not parade this, let him shrew no exultation when it is discovered nor distressful disappointment when it is neglected, and by that very meekness men will be sure that he has wisdom. Meekness may not always be wise, but wisdom is always meek.

(C. F. Deems, D. D.)

Men are naturally fond of a reputation for superior understanding and wisdom. Here, then, is the best way to show the real possession of such superiority; not by a forward self-consequence — a self-commendatory, and over-eager desire to dictate to others from the teacher's chair; not by a magisterial dogmatism of manner; not by a lofty and supercilious contempt of other men and their views and modes of instruction; not by a keen, contentious, overbearing zeal. No; let the man of "knowledge" and "wisdom" show his possession of these attributes — acquaintance with truth, and sound discretion to direct to the right use of it — by keeping his station, and studying to adorn it. Let him, first of all, maintain "a good conversation" — or course of conduct, private and public — a conversation upright and holy, in full harmony with the genuine influence of Divine truth, and "let trim show, out of such a conversation, his works" — the practical results of his knowledge and professed faith. These "works" consisted in active conformity to the duties required by Divine precept, in all the various relations of life, more private or more public. And these "works" were to be shown "with meekness of wisdom" — that is, with the meekness by which genuine wisdom is ever distinguished. Vanity is one of the marks of a weak mind. Humility and gentleness are the invariable associates of true wisdom. The two were united, in their respective fulness of perfection, in the blessed Jesus. Let the man, then, who would have a character for true wisdom manifest in his entire deportment "the meekness and gentleness of Christ."

(H. Wardlaw, D. D.)

This paragraph is, in fact, simply a continuation of the uncompromising attack upon sham religion which is the main theme throughout a large portion of the Epistle. St. James first shows how useless it is to be an eager hearer of the Word, without also being a doer of it. Next he exposes the inconsistency of loving one's neighbour as oneself if he chances to be rich, and neglecting or even insulting him if he is poor. From that he passes on to prove the barrenness of an orthodoxy which is not manifested in good deeds, and the peril of trying to make words a substitute for works. And thus the present section is reached. Throughout the different sections it is the empty religiousness which endeavours to avoid the practice of Christian virtue, on the plea of possessing zeal, or faith, or knowledge, that is mercilessly exposed and condemned. "Deeds! deeds! deeds!" is the cry of St. James; "these ought ye to have done, and not to have left the other undone." Without Christian practice, all the other good things which they possessed or professed were savourless salt.

(A. Plummer, D. D.)

Behavior, Behaviour, Clear, Conduct, Conversation, Deeds, Deportment, Endued, Gentle, Gentleness, Guided, Humility, Intelligent, Meekness, Prove, Sense, Shew, Spirit, Teachable, Understanding, Well-instructed, Wisdom, Wise, Wisely, Works
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 3:13

     8255   fruit, spiritual
     8276   humility
     8305   meekness
     8355   understanding
     8442   good works

James 3:13-14

     5765   attitudes, to people

James 3:13-15

     5191   thought

James 3:13-16

     5894   intelligence

James 3:13-17

     5974   value
     8367   wisdom, importance of
     8720   double-mindedness

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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