James 3:14

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.

Bitter envying and strife in your hearts.
1. Envy is the mother of strife. They are often coupled (Romans 1:29; Romans 13:13; 1 Corinthians 3:3; 2 Corinthians 12:20; Galatians 5:20). Envy is the source of all heresies. Arius envied Peter of Alexandria, and thence those bitter strifes and persecutions. It must needs be so. Envy is an eager desire of our own fame, and a maligning of that which others have. Well, then, "let nothing be done through strife and vainglory" (Philippians 2:3). Scorn to act out of that impulse. Should we harbour that corruption which betrayed Christ, enkindled the world, and poisoned the Church?

2. There is nothing in the life but what was first in the heart (Matthew 15:19). The heart is the fountain, keep it pure; be as careful to avoid guilt as shame. If you would have the life holy before men, let the heart be pure before God; especially cleanse the heart from strife and envy. Strife in the heart is worst; the words are not so abominable in God's eye as the will and purpose. Strife is in the heart when it is cherished there, and anger is soured into malice, and malice bewrayeth itself by debates or desires of revenge; clamour is naught, but malice is worse.

3. Envious or contentious persons have little reason to glory in their engagements. Envy argueth either a nullity or a poverty of grace; a nullity where it reigneth, a weakness where it is resisted but not overcome (Galatians 5:24).

4. Envy and strife goeth often under the mask of zeal. These were apt to glory in their carnal strifes; it is easy to take on a pretence of religion, and to baptize envious contests with a glorious name.

5. Hypocrisy and carnal pretences are the worst kind of lies. The practical lie is worst of all; by other lies we deny the truth, by this we abuse it; and it is worse sometimes to abuse an enemy than to destroy him.

(T. Manton.)

I. WHAT ENVY IS, AND WHEREIN THE NATURE OF IT CONSISTS. Moralists generally give us this description of it: that it is a depraved affection or passion of the mind, disposing a man to hate or malign another for some good or excellency belonging to him, which the envious person judges him unworthy of, and which for the most part he wants himself. Or yet more briefly: envy is a certain grief of mind conceived upon the sight of another's felicity, whether real or supposed. So that we see that it consists partly of hatred, and partly of grief. In respect of which two passions, and the proper actings of both, we are to observe, that as it shows itself in hatred, it strikes at the person envied; but as it affects a man in the nature of grief, it recoils and does execution upon the envier; both of them are hostile affections, and vexatious to the breast which harbours them.


1. On the part of the person envying.(1) Great malice and baseness of nature.(2) An unreasonable grasping ambition. It is remarked of Alexander as a very great fault, and, in truth, of that nature, that one would wonder how it could fall upon so great a spirit, namely, that he would sometimes carp at the valorous achievements of his own captains. He thought that whatsoever praise was bestowed upon another was taken from him.(3) Another cause of envy is an inward sense of a man's own weakness and inability to attain what he desires and would aspire to.(4) Idleness often makes men envy the high offices, honours, and accomplishments of others.

2. On the part of the person envied.

(1)Great abilities and endowments of nature.

(2)The favour of princes and great persons.

(3)Wealth, riches, and prosperity.

(4)A fair credit, esteem, and reputation in the world.


1. First of all, this ill quality brings confusion and calamity upon the envious person himself who cherishes and entertains it, and, like the viper, gnaws out the bowels which first conceived it. It is indeed the only act of justice that it does, that the guilt it brings upon a man it revenges upon him too, and so torments and punishes him much more than it can afflict or annoy the person who is envied by him. We know what the poet says of envy; and it is with the strictest truth, without the least hyperbole, that Phalaris's brazen hull, and all the arts of torment invented by the greatest masters of them, the Sicilian tyrants, were not comparable to those that the tyranny of envy racks the mind of man with. For it ferments and boils in the soul, putting all the powers of it into the most restless and disorderly agitation.

2. In the next place, consider the effects of envy, in respect of the object of it, or the person envied; and these may be reduced to the following three.(1) A busy, curious inquiry, or prying into all the concerns of the person envied and maligned; and this, no doubt, only as a step or preparative to those further mischiefs which envy assuredly drives at.(2) Calumny, or detraction. Has a man done bravely, and got himself a reputation too great to be borne down by any base and direct aspersions? Why, then, envy will seemingly subscribe to the general vogue in many or most things; but then it will be sure to come over him again with a sly oblique stroke in some derogating but or other, and so slide in some scurvy exception, which shall effectually stain all his other virtues; and like the dead fly in the apothecary's ointment, which (Solomon tells us) never fails to give the whole an offensive savour.(3) The last and grand effect of envy, in respect of the person envied, is his utter ruin and destruction; for nothing less was intended from the very first, whatsoever comes to be effected in the issue.Lessons:

1. The extreme vanity of even the most excellent and best esteemed enjoyments of this world. Shadows do not more naturally attend shining bodies than envy pursues worth and merit, always close at the very heels of them, and like a sharp blighting east wind, still blasting and killing the noblest and most promising productions of virtue in their earliest bud; and, as Jacob did Esau, supplants them in their very birth.

2. This may convince us of the safety of the lowest, and the happiness of a middle condition. Only power and greatness are prize for envy; whose evil eye always looks upwards, and whose hand scorns to strike where it can place its foot. Life and a bare competence are a quarry too low for so stately a vice-as envy to fly at. And therefore men of a middle condition are indeed doubly happy.

(1)That, with the poor, they are not the objects of pity; nor

(2)with the rich and great, the mark of envy.

3. We learn from hence the necessity of a man's depending upon something without him, higher and stronger than himself, even for the preservation of his ordinary concerns in this life. Nothing can be a greater argument to make a man fly, and cast himself into the arms of Providence, than a due consideration of the nature and the workings of envy.

(R. South, D. D.)

Envy, says an old writer, is, in some respects, the worst of all sins; for when the devil tempts to them, he draws men by the bait of some delight; but the envious he catches without a bait, for envy is made up of bitterness and vexation. Another man's good is the envious man's grief. Nothing but misery pleases him, nor is anything but misery spared by him. Every smile of another fetches a sigh from him. To him bitter things are sweet, and sweet bitter. And whereas the enjoyment of good is unpleasant without a companion, the envious would rather want any good than that another should share with him. It is recorded that a prince once promised an envious and a covetous man whatever they pleased to ask of him. The promise, however, was suspended upon this condition, that he who asked last should have twice as much as he who asked first. Both, therefore, were unwilling to make the first request; but the prince, perceiving this reluctance, commanded the envious man to be the first petitioner. His request was this — that one of his own eyes should be put out, that so both the eyes of the covetous man should be put out also. Truly envy, like jealousy, is cruel as the grave! It is its own punishment — a scourge not so much to him upon whom it is set, as to him in whom it is.

"Bitter envying and strife in the heart" are things in the very indulgence of which some men actually "glory." They call them exhibitions of a manly nature, and indications of an honourable pride. Alas! alas! These are mean and ignoble, as well as vile and criminal, affections of the soul. They degrade, as well as defile, the man in whom they dwell. But there are others who, without boasting of these evil principles, suppose that, in spite of them, they are pious and religious men-the children of God and the heirs of heaven. These, too, are grievously deceived. Love pervades the religion of Jesus Christ, and must needs be a paramount and prevailing principle in the regenerated soul. In applying to this state of character and experience the name of "wisdom," the apostle uses one of its current names, and suggests what opinion is frequently formed of it in this misguided world, but assuredly does not sympathise with that opinion. And how dark is the description which he gives of that very thing to which he attaches the name of "This grows in all soils and climates and is no less luxuriant in the country than in the court; it is not confined to any rank of men or extent of fortune, but rages in the breasts of all degrees. Alexander was not prouder than Diogenes; and it may be, if we would endeavour to surprise it in its most gaudy dress and attire, and in the exercise of its full empire and tyranny, we should find it in schoolmasters and scholars, or in some country lady, or the knight, her husband; all which ranks of people more despise their neighbours than all the degrees of honour in which courts abound; and it rages as much in a sordid affected dress as in all the silks and embroideries which the excess of the age and the folly of youth delight to be adorned with. Since, then, it keeps all sorts of company, and wriggles itself into the liking of the most contrary natures and dispositions, and yet carries so much poison and venom with it, that it alienates the affections from heaven, and raises rebellion against God Himself, it is worth our utmost care to watch it in all its disguises and approaches, that we may discover it in its first entrance, and dislodge it before it procures a shelter or retiring-place to lodge and conceal itself.

(Lord Clarendon.)

Having least connection with the material or animal nature, and for which there is the least palliation in appetite or in any extrinsic temptation. Its seat and origin is super-carnal, except as the term carnal is taken, as it sometimes is by the apostle, for all that is evil in humanity. A man may be most intellectual, most free from every vulgar appetite of the flesh; he may be a philosopher, he may dwell speculatively in the region of the abstract and the ideal, and yet his soul be full of this corroding malice. Envy is also the most purely evil. Almost every other passion, even acknowledged to be sinful, has in it somewhat of good or appearance of good. But envy or hatred of a man for the good that is in him, or in any way pertains to him, is evil unalloyed. It is the breath of the old serpent. It is pure devil, as it is also purely spiritual. It is a soul-poison, yet acting fearfully upon the body itself, bringing more death into it than seemingly stronger and more tumultuous passions that have their nearer seat in the fleshy nature. Solomon describes it as "rottenness in the bones" (Proverbs 14:30). All bad passions are painful, but envy has a double barb to sting itself.

Lie not against the truth.
They professed the faith of the truth. But the indulgence and manifestation of such tempers of mind was a "lie against the truth" which they professed. It was not merely a lie against, their profession of it. Then all would have been right. Those who witnessed their tempers and behaviour would have been led only to conclude that their profession was unsound, and had no corresponding reality; that they were either self-deceivers or hypocrites. And this would have been the right conclusion. But they "lied against the truth." While they professed to believe it, and acted inconsistently with it, they bore to the world a false testimony — a practical testimony much more apt to be credited than a verbal one — with regard to its real nature and its legitimate influence. Everything of the kind is a practical lie. It is "bearing false witness" against the truth of God, and, consequently against the God of truth. It is leading the world to erroneous estimates; and while dishonouring to God, is ruinous to souls. And let us see that we gereralise the principle. It is true of all inconsistences, as well as of those here specified. The charge of "lying against the truth" bears upon every one who assumes the name of Christian, while "walking," in any part of his conduct, "according to the course of this world." As the Jews of old belied their God and their religion, when, on "entering among the heathen," they acted so wickedly as to lead the heathen to say, with a scornful taunt — "These are the people of Jehovah, and are come forth out of His land"! so is it, alas, among the heathen still, in regard to the multitudes who go amongst them, from our own or other countries called Christian, bearing the Christian name, while in the general course of their conduct they are utterly unchristian. There is hardly a more serious obstacle in the way of their success with which missionaries have to contend than this. O let us beware of throwing any such stumbling-block in the way of an ungodly world — any such obstacle in the way of the progress of the Redeemer's cause. Upon all our words and all our actions let there ever be the impress of the truth — that, like Demetrius, we may "have good report of all men, and of the truth itself": — and that thus our characters may attest the Divine origin of the gospel by presenting to men a manifestation of its Divine influence.

(R. Wardlaw, D. D.)

Ambition, TRUE, Arrogant, Better, Bitter, Boast, Boastfully, Defiance, Deny, Desire, Emulation, Envy, Envying, Faction, Falsely, Feelings, Glory, Harbor, Heart, Hearts, Jealousy, Lie, Pride, Rivalry, Selfish, Speak, Strife, Talking, Truth, Zeal
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 3:14

     5799   bitterness

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

James 3:14-15

     5348   injustice, nature and source
     5929   resentment, against people
     8302   love, abuse of

James 3:14-16

     4122   Satan, tempter
     5786   ambition, negative
     5928   resentment, against God
     8733   envy
     8765   grudge
     8773   jealousy
     8821   self-indulgence
     8827   selfishness

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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