James 5:13

The previous exhortation was a dissuasive against profane swearing. In these verses the apostle suggests that the right use of the Divine Name is reverently to call upon it in all time of our tribulation, and in all time of our wealth. The most healthful relief for a heart surcharged with deep emotion is to engage in religious worship. James refers here to three different cases.

I. THE CASE OF THE AFFLICTED. (Ver. 13.) The believer must not allow his trials to exasperate him. Instead of swearing over them, he should pray over them. That is a graceless heart which, when under the rod, challenges God's sovereignty, or impugns his justice, or distrusts his goodness, or arraigns his wisdom. The child of God prays always, because he loves prayer; and especially when under trial, because then he has special need of it. He prays for a spirit of filial submission; for the improvement of his chastisement; and for the removal of it, if the Lord will. And only those who have proved the efficacy of prayer know how efficacious it is. Even to tell God of our trials helps to alleviate them. Prayer brings the soul near to him who bears upon his loving heart the burden of his people's sorrows. As we pray, our cares and trials pass into the Divine breast, and we are made of one wilt with our Father. But, besides this, our petitions will be directly and substantially answered. God wilt give us either the particular blessing which we ask, or, if that would not be good for us, something still better. When we crave relief from present suffering we may get instead, as Paul did (2 Corinthians 12:7-10), the power of higher moral endurance.

II. THE CASE OF THE LIGHT-HEARTED. (Ver. 13.) Sorrow and joy constantly meet in human life. There are many people who are "cheerful:" some, because they are in easy circumstances; others, because they are of a buoyant disposition. Now, a Christian ought to keep his hilarity from running to waste by expressing his gladness in praise. Cheerfulness naturally overflows into song. And the believer is to use as the vehicle of his joy, not the favorite ditties of the worldly man, which are often full of levity and sometimes tinged with profanity, but "psalms and hymns and spiritual songs." This counsel reminds us that praise is a means of grace, not for the congregation and the family alone, but also for the individual believer. Praise is the art of adoration; and its outward attire is music, the most spiritual of the fine arts. To "psalm" with voice and instrumental accompaniment affords the best safety-valve for joyous emotion. Music

"Gentlier on the spirit lies,
Than tired eyelids upon tired eyes"

(Tennyson.) It "is the art of the prophets, the only art that can calm the agitation of the soul; one of the most magnificent and delightful presents God has given us" (Luther). Those German hymn-writers did well who wrote hymns for young people, housekeepers, miners, etc., to sing, instead of the profane songs of the day. And how thankful we should be for our treasures of sacred poetry - the grand old Hebrew psalms and our Christian hymns!

III. THE CASE OF THE SICK. (Vers. 14, 15.) The sick brother is to "call for the presbyters of the Church." This implies that it belongs to the elders, or bishops, to visit the diseased and. infirm. In early times they were to do so, not only to render spiritual aid, but to exercise such "gifts of healings" (1 Corinthians 12:9) as they might possess. It is enjoined, or rather taken for granted, that they would "anoint" the sick man "with oil." Why so? Either because this was the accredited medical panacea in that age (Isaiah 1:6; Luke 10:34), or because oil is a symbol of the gracious influences of the Holy Spirit, the Divine Healer (Mark 6:13). If we judge that the anointing was medicinal, the lesson is that in sickness we are to have recourse both to "the prayer of faith" and to the prescriptions of an enlightened pharmacy. If, however, we regard it as symbolical - perhaps the better view - in that case it would remind all parties that the miraculous cures were effected only by the Holy Spirit, whom the Lord Jesus had given. And so the apostle expressly says that the anointing is to be done "in the Name of the Lord," and that "the prayer of faith" which accompanied it would be followed by a cure. The gift of healing was granted to the apostles as a temporary aid in the work of founding the Christian Church. At first, before the gospel was sufficiently understood, signs and wonders were needed as helps to faith. This gift would cease with the death of the last person who had been endowed with it by the last of the apostles. The injunction to use oil as a symbol was, therefore, only temporary. Many, however, have judged otherwise.

1. Roman Catholics, who base their rite of extreme unction upon this Scripture. But that so-called sacrament differs entirely from the ordinance before us. Here, it is the elders; there, a priest. Here, it is a sick man who is to be restored to health; there, one who is about to die. Here, the object of the anointing is the recovery of the patient; there, it is to prepare him for death.

2. The "Peculiar People" in England, and the "Tunkers in the United States, who in times of illness still rely upon this unction and prayer, rejecting all medical advice. At Mannedorf, in Switzerland, Miss Dorothea Trudel for many years superintended an establishment in which prayer was employed in preference to medicine for the cure even of the most serious diseases. And at Bad Boll, in Würtemberg, Pastor Blumhardt has prosecuted upon a large scale a similar enterprise. Hundreds of cures have been authenticated as having been wrought in these institutions. What, then, are we to say to this? First of all, that the promised recovery is doubtless connected in ver. 15, not with the anointing, but with the prayer, and with the faith which breathed in it. If there were faith on the part of the praying presbyter, and of the sick brother himself, his sickness would be healed; and his sins, of which perhaps his disease was a punishment, would be forgiven. But again, although we do not now look for evidently miraculous cures, the prayer of faith" still pierces the supernatural; and thus it is as reasonable now as ever to pray for the recovery of the sick, provided also we diligently use, at the same time, the best physical means of cure; it is a Divine law, in every department of life, that we must employ the means if we would secure the blessing. During sickness, therefore, we must pray as if all depended upon player; and avail ourselves of medical skill as if we had no other resource than that. But what Christian can doubt the efficacy of prayer as a means of cure? If Jesus Christ and his apostles could heal the sick, may not our Father in heaven still, although in occult ways which medical skill cannot trace, touch the secret springs of human life? and may he not do so in answer to the prayers of his own people? Certainly diseases are under law. But even a medical man has some power to direct the action of the physical laws of disease. And is not the power of the Lawgiver greater still than that of the most eminent physician? Is it not literally omnipotent?


1. Prayer, although by no means of the nature of a charm, is a real medicine for sickness.

2. While this is true, the supreme end of prayer is the attainment of spiritual blessing.

3. We should therefore ask more earnestly for the forgiveness of sins than for temporal mercies. - C.J.

Is any among you afflicted? let him pray.
The apostle here suggests the grand resource for affliction — it is God. We would render the word "pray," not in its narrower import of mere petitioning, but in its more enlarged construction, of converse, of fellowship, with God.

I. GOD, THE EXCHANGE, THE COMPENSATION, FOR FORFEITED JOYS. If the poor child of adversity would be persuaded to lift himself from that scene of his sore travail to the fountain of supreme blessedness, to soar from that shipwreck of his creature joys to the uncreated centre of joy, then would he solve the grand moral of affliction. There is nothing but mockery in those spurious expedients of relief to which the worldling resorts. But there is ineffable beatitude in God. What a transition! From "broken cisterns, which can hold no water," to "the fountain of living waters"; from fallacious and treacherous joys to the fountain of perennial joy; from the very wreck and demolition of earthly hopes to Him who is the sun and consummation of all hope. Even believers are slow to make God their prime solace. They are prone to transfer themselves to some new idol when one has been taken away; to dear with a morbid tenacity on visions of the past; to feed on the dust and ashes of their own profuse lamentations — the morose wakings of excessive grief. To all such the watchword prescribes itself — Betake you to God.

II. GOD, THE CENTRE OF THE SOUL'S FELLOWSHIP. It is very marked, in the history of affliction, what a charm communion of mind with mind exerts. If there be any unison of sentiment at all, the reciprocity which occurs is most congenial; in point of fact it is one of the expedients to which affliction betakes itself to arrest the converse of kindred minds. There is probably no more potent creature resource. And we have only to estimate what a transcendent charm must lie in fellowship with God, in communion with Him who is consummate wisdom and excellence, and truth and benignity.

III. GOD, THE FOUNTAIN OF EXHAUSTLESS SYMPATHIES. There is nothing which exerts such a charm in the hour of adversity as tender, sensitive fellow-feeling. And hence the downcast and sorrowful seek some sympathetic bosom into which they may pour their griefs. But for a sympathy surpassing all other sympathies, we point you to Christ. Repair to that bosom, all fraught with fellow-feeling; throw thyself into the embrace of that yearning tenderness.

IV. GOD, A PRESENT HELP IN TROUBLE. There are two aspects in which this holds good. On the one hand, God is specially ready to ]end His ear in the day of His people's affliction; and, next, the succour which He supplies is specially adapted to their emergency.

(Adam Forman.)

The family of the afflicted is a large one, and a wide-spread one. It forms a great nation on the earth; and its members are to be found in every country, and in every rank and condition of life. It is an old nation. The first human beings were the first members of it; and an unbroken succession has kept it up ever since. This is the one nation in the world that shows no symptom of decline or fall. It is an honourable nation. There was One belonged to it whose name hallows it: our Blessed Redeemer was a Man of sorrows. The wisest of men found that in much wisdom is much grief. Great forms of majesty: the just whose memory is blessed, the kind whose memory is loved, the ancient seer, the inspired apostle, the crowned martyr rise before the mind as it recalls the past, and reads the long roll of afflicted men. It is our own nation. Affliction is the birthright of all. Some of you feel it is so at this moment. Many have found it so, in the experience of departed days. All will find it so, sooner or later. "Is any among you afflicted? Let him pray." This is not the prescription of mere worldly wisdom, for the cure of great grief. There is no difficulty in this world in finding people who will give you advice as to what you ought to do, when great sorrow comes your way; Try change of scene, they will say; Go to places that suggest no sad associations and call up no bitter thoughts: Open your heart to the tide of cheerfulness that is flowing all around you. Or perhaps they may say, Go into society. Mix with your fellow-men. Or they will bid you trust to time — time the never-failing comforter. Or, if nothing else will do — if your affliction be one that clings to your life, and makes the condition of your being — then the worldly counsel would be to bear your grief like a man. Now I do not mean to say, nor did the apostle mean to say, but what there is some wisdom and some good in all these things. Still, the good man did not think that any of these ways of meeting affliction was the best. His way is very shortly named. "Is any among you afflicted? Let him pray!" No matter what be the cause of your affliction: no matter what be the particular pang with which it rends your heart: no matter what be the constitution of your body, or the complexion of your mind: here is a remedy which the apostle prescribes, without explanation or restriction, for all sorts and conditions of men. Surely then, if the apostle be right, there must be something very strange about prayer. The diseases of the body are many; but then the remedies which physicians prescribe for their cure are very various. But it seems that St. James was of opinion that no afflicted man could ever do wrong when he turned to prayer. And probably we may find the reason why the apostle attached such a mighty efficacy to prayer, when we consider two things about it.

1. First, the afflicted person should pray, because prayer is the best way to bring about the removal of his affliction. In speaking to Christian people, it is needless to say that prayer does not consist of words vaguely cast adrift with no clear end: prayer is a real speaking to a God who hears: a real asking Him for something, about which He will consider whether or not it be good for us: and then our asking, if it be good for us, will truly induce Him to give it us. And yet, I fear that all of us are often very far from properly feeling what a great reality there is in the power of prayer. When a friend you loved lay sick of some dangerous malady, tossing restlessly on a sleepless pillow; and when you had mixed the composing draught and given it to his feverish lips, and then lifted up your heart to God on his behalf, did you feel that that prayer might be just as real a cause of repose or of convalescence as anything that medical skill could suggest, or careful love supply? When you were involved in some perplexing entanglement, were you sure that the silent moments you spent in prayer to your Maker, were just as useful towards clearing up the way before you, as all the address and prudence you were master of? Or, when sickness came your way, and you counted weary days of unrest and suffering, were you then sure that the morning and evening supplication might stand you in better steal than all your physician's skill? Do you, in short, remember every day of your life, that prayer is the best step towards any end you are aiming at; and that, of all the means that tend to bring about the purpose you are seeking to accomplish, prayer is the very last that you can in prudence omit? If you fail to do all tiffs, you are showing by your practice that you do not truly feel the power of the agency which by prayer you can set in motion.

2. But I dare not say that prayer will certainly take away the affliction for the removal of which you ask. It will do so only if it be God's will it should; and He knows best whether your prayer should be directly granted. It cannot be, then, that St. James would have the afflicted pray, merely because by prayer they might reasonably expect to get quit of their affliction: there must be something about prayer even more salutary than its virtue to change the natural course of events: and apart altogether from the hope that thus he may find escape from the cause of his sorrow, there must be good reason in the nature of things why the afflicted man should pray. And such reason there is. Prayer has been the talisman that has made years of constant pain to be remembered as the happiest period of life; prayer is that which has made many a poor sufferer tell that it was good for him or her to be afflicted, for affliction had been the sharp spur to turn those feet into the narrow way, which otherwise might have trodden the broad road to perdition. Prayer, earnest prayer offered in the Saviour's name, never yet went for nothing. If it did not bring the thing it asked for, it brought the grace to do without it: but it never went to the winds. These sufferers found it so. Day by day, gentle resignation kept stealing into their soul, till not a thought ever disturbed their quiet, of what they might have been and were not: and till, from the bottom of their heart, they could pity the worldling that pitied them. For their affliction had been the severe discipline by which God had schooled them for a better country, and weaned their affections from the things of time and sense.

(A. K. H. Boyd, D. D.)

I. CHRISTIANS ARE SUBJECT TO A VARIETY OF EXPERIENCE. "Afflicted." "Merry." Suffering. Enjoyment.

1. They imply the existence of two opposite principles: good and evil.

2. The susceptibility of the human heart to the influences of circumstances. Like -AEolian harp swept by wind. Emotions rise and fall with events.

3. The unsettledness of human life.(1) All are subject to them.

(a)Both are found at the same time in different persons.

(b)Both are found at different times in the same persons.(2) No one rests long in either.

(a)The change from the one to the other is sometimes sudden.

(b)the change from one to the other is sometimes extreme.(3) They are necessary —

(a)To prevent evil. Pride on the one hand; despair on the other.

(b)To promote good. Complete development of character.(4) They are under Divine control.


1. The naturalness of religion. Instinctively men pray in troubles and sing in joy. Nothing arbitrary in piety.

2. The permanence of religion. Whether God "gives" or "takes away," the response is, "Blessed be the name of the Lord."

3. The value of religion.(1) In affliction it teaches prayer. This means communion with God. He is almighty, loving, unchangeable.(2) In prosperity it teaches praises.

(a)Acknowledgment of the Author of it.

(b)Satisfaction with the measure of it.

(c)Enjoyment of the possession of it. Happiness is a religious duty; recommends religion; most resembles heaven.Conclusion:

1. Misery is possible in prosperity. Belshazzar, &c.

2. Joy is possible in adversity. "Rejoice in tribulation."

3. Uniformity of experience and duty in heaven. No prayer; no affliction. All prosperous; all sing.

(B. D. Johns.)

When one considers the amount of affliction which exists in the world, we may well wonder that the simple remedy in the text is as yet an untasted medicine to so many. Can it be that it is too simple? Can it be that, as there are so many who rate the efficacy of drugs by their loathsomeness to the taste, so men would rather seek some painful process or mighty labour than the simple means which God's Word provides? Such, indeed, was the temper of Naaman (2 Kings 5:11, 12). And it is no uncommon temper; for men do not like to be treated like children, and they forget that unless they are so treated they lose the children's blessing, the children's kingdom! He who struggles with affliction without prayer struggles in his own strength alone, and rejects every other. And what is this but struggling against God; wrestling with Him, but not as Jacob did; and, therefore, coming off from the contest crippled indeed, but without the blessing which the patriarch won? Thus, indeed, a heart may be in some measure and in a few cases (for in the great number nature will rebel and revenge herself) hardened, rather than strengthened, under suffering. But a miserable comfort it would be, even though one did achieve a heart of stone! God grant that such an one may yet be smitten of God until the waters of healing gush forth! And in what spirit can affliction be received by persons who must believe, whether they will or no, that it comes from the hand of God? If not in the spirit of prayer, in what spirit besides? Must it not be even in the spirit of cursing? And cursing is a kind of miserable prayer; a prayer for evil, and not for good; a prayer, in fact, to the evil one instead of God. Those who have earnestly and perseveringly tried will not be at a loss to know the advantage of obeying the precept. But it will not be without use and interest even for them to recall the times of their trial — how they prayed, and how they were heard, in those extremities which brought them, as it were, immediately before the footstool and the mercy-seat of the Lord. It may be that they have never so prayed again — so passionately, so faithfully, so importunately! And it may be that this will explain many a failure in faith and duty, many a relapse into sin, which seemed impossible — ay, and was impossible — in the fervour of their devotion then I But there are many besides who have never tried. And these may ask the question, half-wondering, half-scoffing, "What will the afflicted man gain by praying? will he obtain the removal of his affliction?" In some cases he may obtain even this, but for the most part he will not. He must not expect it. Why should he expect it? How can he expect it, when he has once understood that his affliction comes from God? For what purpose but for good does God afflict those who pray to Him? And if for good, then, what good would it be to have the tribulation removed before it has had its perfect work?

1. The first answer to our prayers is patience under the trial. This is but little, indeed, in itself; but it is much when compared with anything that any other comforter can give. It makes a Christian look into his own heart; and it tells him — yea, makes him tell himself — how far less than his sins have deserved are all the chastisements which are laid upon him — how well, how mercifully he is dealt with by the God against whom he has sinned. And he has the conviction borne in upon his soul that he will not be tried above that he is able to bear, but that with every trial there will be given either the grace to withstand or a way to escape,

2. From patience, such patience as the mourner receives in answer to his prayer, there is a short, a scarcely perceptible step to comfort; and yet, short as the step is, this is a new gift, a most precious additional blessing. It dwells and reflects on the visitation which has called it forth; it realises His presence in the cloud; and, behold, the cloud becomes a pillar of fire giving light in the darkness! It sees the particular points in which mercy has tempered His judgments, and it feels; even if it cannot see, His lovingkindness interfused throughout the whole. And those who are thus comforted have a further and most precious privilege — to comfort others as none else can (2 Corinthians 1:3, 4). It is the privilege of those who have been themselves cast into the furnace to give assurance of the Son of God walking with them in the midst of the fire. But comfort is not all we want; and God therefore gives us more.

3. More guidance we need, because our duties become by every trial new and multiplied. More strength we feel that we need, because our affliction has taught us our own weakness. But He has said that "His strength is sufficient for us; for in our weakness is His strength made perfect." He has taught His apostle, and us through him, to say, "I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me"; as surely as Christ Himself taught us that "apart from Him we can do nothing."

4. And thus we are led on to look to the future: and that further blessing is revealed to us which our affliction is to work — the blessing of faith in God. By this we become no more servants, but friends, not only believing, but knowing what God doeth; not only obeying, but working with Him, through Christ, in His work.

5. And this brings hope with it; a hope unlike the earthly hopes which we have seen mocking us and coming to nought; or, if fulfilled, mocking us still more, till we loathed their fulfilment, and despised ourselves for indulging in them; but this, a hope that maketh not ashamed; for its root is in the love of God and the Holy Spirit which He has given us; its blossom is in the multiplying graces with which the Saviour rewards every step in our sanctification; and its fruit is found in the certainty of that heavenly region where hope itself can no longer find a place, but dies into fruition, as the night dies into the morning. And can more still be said? Yes! there is one blessing further vouchsafed even in this world to those who are sanctified and purified by suffering, so much beyond all comfort and all hope, that the Christian who recognises it in the saints who are with Christ trembles and shrinks from appropriating it to himself, lest the very chastisements of God should minister to unchristian presumption. Yet it is written — written for our comfort and our glory — written, too, for our warning, lest we fall from such privilege and grace — that the children whom God chastises are thereby even conformed to the likeness of that only begotten Son who is the brightness of His Father's glory and the express image of His person. And if these are the earthly fruits of God's chastisements when sanctified by prayer, what are the heavenly? If these are even the earthly fruits — as most truly, most assuredly they are — who that has once tasted their power would pray for the withdrawal of his affliction, for the removal of the earthly trial which is working the eternal blessing? As we could not, as no Christian could pray — even though it were possible — to do away with the redeeming sufferings of His Saviour; so we may not, cannot wish deliverance from the sufferings whereby we are made unto Him. But as He prayed more earnestly in His agony, so must we in ours — not that the cup be removed, unless it be God's will, but that all His visitations may have their perfect work in us; that we may be indeed conformed to His likeness here; and that, with those who as joint-heirs with Him have entered into their inheritance, we may have our final consummation and bliss in His glory hereafter.

(Dean Scott.)

1. Our temporal condition is various and diverse; now afflicted, and then merry. Our prosperity is like glass, brittle when shining. The complaint of the Church may be the motto of all the children of God (Psalm 102:10).

2. This is the perfection of Christianity, to carry an equal pious mind in unequal conditions (Philippians 4:12). Most men are fit but for one condition. Some cannot carry a full cup without spilling. Others cannot carry a full load without breaking. Sudden alterations perplex both body and mind. It is the mighty power of grace to keep the soul in an equal temper.

3. Several conditions require several duties. The Christian conversation is like a wheel — every spoke taketh its turn. God hath planted in a man affections for every condition, grace for every affection, and a duty for the exercise of every grace, and a season for every duty. The children of the Lord are "like trees planted by the rivers of water, that bring forth their fruit in due season" (Psalm 1:3). There is no time wherein God doth not invite us to Himself. It is wisdom to perform what is most seasonable.

4. It is of excellent advantage in religion to make use of the present affection; of sadness, to put us upon prayer; of mirth, to put us upon thanksgiving. The soul never worketh more sweetly than when it worketh in the force of some eminent affection. With what advantage may we strike when the iron is hot! When the affections are stirred up on a carnal occasion, convert them to a religious use (Jeremiah 22:10). When the affections are once raised, give them a right object, otherwise they are apt to degenerate and to offend in their measure, though their first occasion was lawful.

5. Prayer is the best remedy for sorrows. Griefs are eased by groans and utterance. We have great cause in afflictions to use the help of prayer.

(1)That we may ask patience. If God lay on a great burden, cry for a strong back.

(2)That we may ask constancy (Psalm 125:3).

(3)That we may ask hope, and trust and wait upon God for His fatherly love and care.

(4)That we may ask a gracious improvement. The benefit of the rod is a fruit of the Divine grace, as well as the benefit of the Word.

(5)That we may ask deliverance, with a submission to God's will (Psalm 34:7).

6. Thanksgiving, or singing to God's praise, is the proper duty in the time of mercies or comforts. It is God's bargain and our promise, that if He would "deliver us," we would "glorify Him" (Psalm 50:15). Mercies work one way or another; they either become the fuel of our lusts or our praises; either they make us thankful or wanton. Your condition is either a help or a hindrance in religion. Awaken yourselves to this service; every new mercy calleth for a new song.

7. Singing of psalms is a duty of the gospel.

(T. Manton.)

Who doubteth but God did mitigate the heaviness of Joseph, although He sent not hasty deliverance in his long imprisonment; and that as He gave him favour in the sight of the jailer, so inwardly also He gave him consolation in spirit?

(John Knox.)

(ver. 12): — Prayer and praise, or (in one word) worship, according to St. James, is the Christian remedy for "allaying or carrying off the fever of the mind."

(A. Plummer, D. D.)

During Dr. Payson's last illness, a friend coming into his room said, "Well, I am sorry to see you lying there on your back." "Do you not know what God puts us on our backs for?" said Dr. Payson, smiling. "No," was the answer. "In order that we may look upward."

Is any merry? let him sing psalms.
Indisposition of body shows itself in a pain somewhere or other — a distress which draws our thoughts to it, impedes our ordinary way of going on, and throws the mind off its balance. Such, too, is indisposition of the soul, of whatever sort, be it passion or affection, hope or .fear, joy or grief. It takes us off from the clear contemplation of the next world, ruffles us, and makes us restless. In a word, it is what we call an excitement of mind. Excitements are the indisposition of the mind; and of these excitements in different ways the services of Divine worship are the proper antidotes. How they are so shall now be considered.

1. Excitements are of two kinds — secular and religious. First, let us consider secular excitements. Such is the pursuit of gain, or of power, or of distinction. Amusements are excitements; the applause of a crowd, emulations, hopes, risks, quarrels, contests, disappointments, successes. In such cases the object pursued naturally absorbs the mind, and excludes all thoughts but those relating to itself. Thus a man is sold over into bondage to this world. He has one idea, and one only before him, which becomes his idol. The most ordinary of these excitements, at least in this country, is the pursuit of gain. A man may live from week to week in the fever of a decent covetousness, to which he gives some more specious name (for instance, desire of doing his duty by his family), till the heart of religion is eaten out of him. Now, then, observe what is the remedy. "Is any afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms." Here we see one very momentous use of prayer and praise to all of us; it breaks the current of worldly thoughts. And this is the singular benefit of stated worship, that it statedly interferes with the urgency of worldly excitements. Our daily prayer, morning and evening, suspends our occupations of time and sense. And especially the daily prayers of the Church do this. It is impossible (under God's blessing) for any one to attend the daily service of the Church "with reverence and godly fear," and a wish and effort to give his thoughts to it, and not find himself thereby sobered and brought to recollection. What kinder office is there, when a man is agitated, than for a friend to put his hand upon him by way of warning, to startle and recall him? It often has the effect of saving us from angry words, or extravagant talking, or inconsiderate jesting, or rash resolves. And such is the blessed effect of the sacred services on Christians busied about many things, reminding them of the one thing needful, and keeping them from being drawn into the great whirlpool of time and sense.

2. Next, let us consider how religious excitements are set right by the same Divine medicine. If we had always continued in the way of light and truth, obeying God from childhood, doubtless we should know little of those swellings and tumults of the soul which are so common among us. Men who have grown up in the faith and fear of God have a calm and equable piety; so much so, that they are often charged on that very account with being dull, cold, formal, insensible, dead to the next world. Now, it stands to reason that a man who has always lived in the contemplation and improvement of his gospel privileges, will not feel that agitating surprise and vehemence of joy which he would feel, and ought to feel, if he had never known anything of them before. The jailer, who for the first time heard the news of salvation through Christ, gave evident signs of transport. This certainly is natural and right; still, it is a state of excitement, and, if I might say it, all states of excitement have dangerous tendencies. Now, this advice is often given: "Indulge the excitement; when you flag, seek for another; live upon the thought of God; go about doing good; let your light shine before men; tell them what God has done for your soul." By all which is meant, when we go into particulars, that they ought to fancy that they have something above all other men; ought to neglect their worldly calling, or at best only bear it as a cross; to join themselves to some particular set of religionists; to take part in this or that religious society; go to hear strange preachers, and obtrude their new feelings and new opinions upon others, at times proper and improper. If there was a time when those particular irregularities, which now are so common, were likely to abound, it was in the primitive Church. Men who had lived all their lives in the pollutions of sin unspeakable, who had been involved in the darkness of heathenism, were suddenly brought to the light of Christian truth. Their sins were all freely forgiven them, clean washed away in the waters of baptism. A new world of ideas was opened upon them, and the most astonishing objects presented to their faith. What a state of transport must have been theirs! And what an excited and critical state was theirs! Critical and dangerous in proportion to its real blessedness; for in proportion to the privileges we enjoy, ever will be our risk of misusing them. How, then, did they escape that enthusiasm which now prevails, that irreverence, immodesty, and rudeness? If at any time the outward framework of Christianity was in jeopardy, surely it was then. How was it the ungovernable elements within it did not burst forth and shiver to pieces the vessel which contained them? How was it that for fifteen hundred years the Church was preserved from those peculiar affections of mind and irregularities of feeling and conduct which now torment it like an ague? Now, certainly, looking at external and second causes, the miracles had much to do in securing this blessed sobriety in the early Christians. These kept them from wilfulness and extravagance, and tempered them to the spirit of godly fear. But the more ordinary means was one which we may enjoy at this day if we choose — the course of religious services, the round of prayer and praise, which, indeed, was also part of St. Paul's discipline, as we have seen, and which has a most gracious effect upon the restless and excited mind, giving it an outlet, yet withal calming, soothing, directing, purifying it. Let restless persons attend upon the worship of the Church, which will attune their minds in harmony with Christ's law, while it unburdens them. Did not St. Paul "pray" during his three days of blindness? Afterwards he was praying in the temple, when Christ appeared to him. Let this be well considered. Is any one desirous of gaining comfort to his soul, of bringing Christ's presence home to his very heart, and of doing the highest and most glorious things for the whole world? I have told him how to proceed. Let him praise God; let holy David's psalter be as familiar words in his mouth, his daily service, ever repeated, yet ever new and ever sacred. Let him pray; especially let him intercede. Doubt not the power of faith and prayer to effect all things with God. However you try, you cannot do works to compare with those which faith and prayer accomplish in the name of Christ.

(J. H. Newman, D. D.)

When the poet Carpani inquired of his friend Haydn how it happened that his church music was always so cheerful, the great composer made a most beautiful reply. "I cannot," he said, "make it otherwise. I write according to the thoughts I feel; when I think upon God, my heart is so full of joy that the notes dance and leap, as it were, from my pen; and since God has given me a cheerful heart, it will be pardoned me that I serve Him with a cheerful spirit."

Old Thomas Fuller, who was as noted for his quaintness as for the wisdom of his remarks, had a defective voice; but he did not refuse to praise on this account. "Lord," he said, "my voice by nature is harsh and untunable, and it is vain to lavish any art to better it. Can my singing of psalms be pleasing to Thine ears, which is unpleasant to my own? Yet, though I cannot chant with the nightingale, or chirp with the blackbird, I had rather chatter with the swallow than be altogether silent. Now what my music wants in sweetness, let it have in sense. Yea, Lord, create in me a new heart, therein to make melody, and I will be contented with my old voice, until in due time, being admitted into the choir of heaven, I shall have another voice more harmonious bestowed upon me." So let it be with us. Let us ever sing in the same spirit and in the same joy and hope.

Gr. εὐθυμεῖ — is he right set, well hung on, as we say? All true mirth is from the rectitude of the mind, from a right frame of soul that sets and shows itself in a cheerful countenance.

(J. Trapp.)

Elias, Elijah, James, Job
Afflicted, Anyone, Cheer, Cheerful, Evil, Glad, Happy, Merry, Praise, Praises, Prayers, Psalm, Psalms, Sing, Song, Songs, Spirits, Suffer, Suffering, Trouble
1. Rich oppressors are to fear God's vengeance.
7. We ought to be patient in afflictions, after the example of the prophets, and Job;
12. to forbear swearing;
13. to pray in adversity, to sing in prosperity;
14. to acknowledge mutually our several faults, to pray one for another;
19. and to correct a straying brother.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
James 5:13

     5420   music
     5567   suffering, emotional
     5763   attitudes, positive to God
     7960   singing
     7963   song
     8610   prayer, asking God
     8737   evil, responses to

James 5:13-16

     6624   confession, of sin
     6653   forgiveness, divine

June the Twenty-Ninth Effectual Prayers
"The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." --JAMES v. 13-20. Or, as Weymouth translates it, "The heartfelt supplication of a righteous man exerts a mighty influence." Prayer may be empty words, with no more power than those empty shells which have been foisted upon the Turks in their war with the Balkan States. Firing empty shells! That is what many professed prayers really are; they have nothing in them, and they accomplish nothing. They are just forged upon the lips, and
John Henry Jowett—My Daily Meditation for the Circling Year

February the Twenty-Third the Process and the End
"Ye have seen the end of the Lord: that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy." --JAMES v. 7-11. And so we are bidden to be patient. "We must wait to the end of the Lord." The Lord's ends are attained through very mysterious means. Sometimes the means are in contrast to the ends. He works toward the harvest through winter's frost and snow. The maker of chaste and delicate porcelain reaches his lovely ends through an awful mortar, where the raw material of bone and clay is pounded into
John Henry Jowett—My Daily Meditation for the Circling Year

Against Rash and Vain Swearing.
"But above all things, my brethren, swear not." St. James v. 12. Among other precepts of good life (directing the practice of virtue and abstinence from sin) St. James doth insert this about swearing, couched in expression denoting his great earnestness, and apt to excite our special attention. Therein he doth not mean universally to interdict the use of oaths, for that in some cases is not only lawful, but very expedient, yea, needful, and required from us as a duty; but that swearing which
Isaac Barrow—Sermons on Evil-Speaking, by Isaac Barrow

"Who Will Rise up with Me against the Wicked?"
Ps. 94:16. 1. In all ages, men who neither feared God nor regarded man have combined together, and formed confederacies, to carry on the works of darkness. And herein they have shown themselves wise in their generation; for by this means they more effectually promoted the kingdom of their father the devil, than otherwise they could I have done. On the other hand, men who did fear God, and desire the happiness of their fellow-creatures, have, in every age, found it needful to join together, in order
John Wesley—Sermons on Several Occasions

The Blessing of God on Filial Piety.
"Therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, 'Jonadab, the son of Rechab, shall not want a man to stand before me forever.'" Israel were greatly depraved before the days of this prophet, who was sent to reprove and call them to repentance. The prophet faithfully discharged his trust; but labored to very little effect. The chiefs of the nation were offended at its warnings and predictions--rose up against him--shut him up in prison; yea in a dark dungeon, where he sank in the mire;
Andrew Lee et al—Sermons on Various Important Subjects

Our text has in it, first of all, a principle involved--that of instrumentality.--"Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; let him know that he who converteth a sinner from the error of his way, shall save a soul from death." Secondly, here is a general fact stated:--"He who converteth a sinner from the error of his way, shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins." And thirdly, there is a particular application of this fact made. "Brethren, if any
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 1: 1855

A visit to the Harvest Field
Our subject, to-night, will involve three or four questions: How does the husbandman wait? What does he wait for? What is has encouragement? What are the benefits of his patient waiting? Our experience is similar to his. We are husbandmen, so we have to toil hard, and we have to wait long: then, the hope that cheers, the fruit that buds and blossoms, and verily, too, the profit of that struggle of faith and fear incident to waiting will all crop up as we proceed. I. First, then, HOW DOES THE HUSBANDMAN
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 17: 1871

"Be Ye Therefore Sober, and Watch unto Prayer. "
1 Pet. iv. 7.--"Be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer." We now come to consider the coherence and connexion these duties have one to another. First, Prayer is the principal part of the Christian's employment, and sobriety and watchfulness are subordinate to it. "Be sober, and watch unto prayer." (1.) Prayer is such a tender thing that there is necessity of dieting the spirit unto it. That prayer may be in good health, a man must keep a diet and be sober, sobriety conduces so much to its
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

Our God of the Impossible
"Behold I am the Lord, . . . is there anything too hard for ME?" (Jer. 32:27.) "Ah, Lord God! there is nothing too wonderful for thee" (Jer. 32:17, margin). THE following illustration of the truth, "What is impossible with man is possible with God," occurred while we were attending the Keswick Convention in England, in 1910. One evening my husband returned from an evening meeting, which I had not attended, and told me of a woman who had come to him in great distress. She had been an earnest
Rosalind Goforth—How I Know God Answers Prayer

Prevailing Prayer.
Text.--The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.--James v. 16. THE last lecture referred principally to the confession of sin. To-night my remarks will be chiefly confined to the subject of intercession, or prayer. There are two kinds of means requisite to promote a revival; one to influence men, the other to influence God. The truth is employed to influence men, and prayer to move God. When I speak of moving God, I do not mean that God's mind is changed by prayer, or that his
Charles Grandison Finney—Lectures on Revivals of Religion

If it is Objected, that the Necessity which Urges us to Pray is not Always...
If it is objected, that the necessity which urges us to pray is not always equal, I admit it, and this distinction is profitably taught us by James: " Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms" (James 5:13). Therefore, common sense itself dictates, that as we are too sluggish, we must be stimulated by God to pray earnestly whenever the occasion requires. This David calls a time when God "may be found" (a seasonable time); because, as he declares in several other
John Calvin—Of Prayer--A Perpetual Exercise of Faith

On the Whole, Since Scripture Places the Principal Part of Worship in the Invocation Of...
On the whole, since Scripture places the principal part of worship in the invocation of God (this being the office of piety which he requires of us in preference to all sacrifices), it is manifest sacrilege to offer prayer to others. Hence it is said in the psalm: "If we have forgotten the name of our God, or stretched out our hands to a strange god, shall not God search this out?" (Ps. 44:20, 21). Again, since it is only in faith that God desires to be invoked, and he distinctly enjoins us to frame
John Calvin—Of Prayer--A Perpetual Exercise of Faith

But Some Seem to be Moved by the Fact...
But some seem to be moved by the fact, that the prayers of saints are often said to have been heard. Why? Because they prayed. "They cried unto thee" (says the Psalmist), "and were delivered: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded" (Ps. 22:5). Let us also pray after their example, that like them we too may be heard. Those men, on the contrary, absurdly argue that none will be heard but those who have been heard already. How much better does James argue, "Elias was a man subject to like passions
John Calvin—Of Prayer--A Perpetual Exercise of Faith

Elijah, the Praying Prophet
"I have known men," says Goodwin--it must have been himself--"who came to God for nothing else but just to come to Him, they so loved Him. They scorned to soil Him and themselves with any other errand than just purely to be alone with Him in His presence. Friendship is best kept up, even among men, by frequent visits; and the more free and defecate those frequent visits are, and the less occasioned by business, or necessity, or custom they are, the more friendly and welcome they are."--Rev. Alexander
Edward M. Bounds—Prayer and Praying Men

Prayer Availeth Much
Prayer Availeth Much PRAYER AVAILETH MUCH ". . . The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." -- James 5:16 by Tony Marshall (T.M.) Anderson Published by The Advocate Publishing House Circleville, Ohio (No copyright or date of publication)
T. M. Anderson—Prayer Availeth Much

Prayer for and with Each Other.
"Confess your faults one to another and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."--James v. 16. Let our last article touch once more the key of love wherein the article preceding that of prayer was set. To speak of the Spirit's work in our prayers, omitting the intercession of the saints, betrays a lack of understanding concerning the Spirit of all grace. Prayer for others is quite different from prayer for ourselves. The latter
Abraham Kuyper—The Work of the Holy Spirit

On the Sacrament of Extreme Unction.
To this rite of anointing the sick our theologians have made two additions well worthy of themselves. One is, that they call it a sacrament; the other, that they make it extreme, so that it cannot be administered except to those who are in extreme peril of life. Perhaps--as they are keen dialecticians--they have so made it in relation to the first unction of baptism, and the two following ones of confirmation and orders. They have this, it is true, to throw in my teeth, that, on the authority of
Martin Luther—First Principles of the Reformation

Ancestry, Birth, Education, Environment: 1513(?)-1546
"November 24, 1572. "John Knox, minister, deceased, who had, as was alleged, the most part of the blame of all the sorrows of Scotland since the slaughter of the late Cardinal." It is thus that the decent burgess who, in 1572, kept The Diurnal of such daily events as he deemed important, cautiously records the death of the great Scottish Reformer. The sorrows, the "cumber" of which Knox was "alleged" to bear the blame, did not end with his death. They persisted in the conspiracies and rebellions
Andrew Lang—John Knox and the Reformation

Knox in Scotland: Lethington: Mary of Guise: 1555-1556
Meanwhile the Reformer returned to Geneva (April 1555), where Calvin was now supreme. From Geneva, "the den of mine own ease, the rest of quiet study," Knox was dragged, "maist contrarious to mine own judgement," by a summons from Mrs. Bowes. He did not like leaving his "den" to rejoin his betrothed; the lover was not so fervent as the evangelist was cautious. Knox had at that time probably little correspondence with Scotland. He knew that there was no refuge for him in England under Mary Tudor,
Andrew Lang—John Knox and the Reformation

Knox in the War of the Congregation: the Regent Attacked: Her Death: Catholicism Abolished, 1559-1560
Though the Regent was now to be deposed and attacked by armed force, Knox tells us that there were dissensions among her enemies. Some held "that the Queen was heavily done to," and that the leaders "sought another end than religion." Consequently, when the Lords with their forces arrived at Edinburgh on October 16, the local brethren showed a want of enthusiasm. The Congregation nevertheless summoned the Regent to depart from Leith, and on October 21 met at the Tolbooth to discuss her formal
Andrew Lang—John Knox and the Reformation

Knox and Queen Mary (Continued), 1561-1564
Had Mary been a mere high-tempered and high-spirited girl, easily harmed in health by insults to herself and her creed, she might now have turned for support to Huntly, Cassilis, Montrose, and the other Earls who were Catholic or "unpersuaded." Her great-grandson, Charles II., when as young as she now was, did make the "Start"--the schoolboy attempt to run away from the Presbyterians to the loyalists of the North. But Mary had more self-control. The artful Randolph found himself as hardly put to
Andrew Lang—John Knox and the Reformation

Whether a Man Can Merit the First Grace for Another
Whether a Man can Merit the First Grace for Another We proceed to the sixth article thus: 1. It seems that a man can merit the first grace for another. For the gloss on Matt. 9:2, "and Jesus, seeing their faith," etc., says: "How much is our own faith worth in the sight of God, if he values the faith of one so highly that he heals another both inwardly and outwardly!" Now it is by the first grace that a man is healed inwardly. One man can therefore merit the first grace for another. 2. Again, the
Aquinas—Nature and Grace

Whether one Can Hope for the Eternal Blessedness of Another
Whether One can Hope for the Eternal Blessedness of Another We proceed to the third article thus: 1. It seems that one can hope for the eternal blessedness of another. For the apostle says in Phil. 1:6: "Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform [61] it until the day of Jesus Christ." Now the perfection of that day will be eternal blessedness. One can therefore hope for the eternal blessedness of another. 2. Again, that for which we pray to God,
Aquinas—Nature and Grace

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

James 5:13 NIV
James 5:13 NLT
James 5:13 ESV
James 5:13 NASB
James 5:13 KJV

James 5:13 Bible Apps
James 5:13 Parallel
James 5:13 Biblia Paralela
James 5:13 Chinese Bible
James 5:13 French Bible
James 5:13 German Bible

James 5:13 Commentaries

Bible Hub
James 5:12
Top of Page
Top of Page