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i Matt. 5. 12.
k Num. 14. 18. Job 1. 21, 22.
& 42. 10.
Ps. 103. 8.
Matt. 5. 11.
1 Matt. 5. 34, &c.
2 Cor. 1. 17, 18.
m 2 Chron. 33. 12. Ps. 50. 16.
Eph. 5. 19.
Col. 3. 16.
n Mark 6. 13. & 16. 18.
10 : Υπόδειγμα λάβετε, ἀδελφοὶ, τῆς κακοπαθείας, καὶ τῆς μακροθυμίας, τοὺς Προφήτας, οἳ ἐλάλησαν τῷ ὀνόματι Κυρίου. 11 καἸδοὺ, μακαρίζομεν τοὺς ὑπομένοντας. Τὴν ὑπομονὴν ̓Ιὼβ ἠκούσατε, καὶ τὸ τέλος Κυρίου εἴδετε· ὅτι πολύ, σπλαγχνός ἐστιν ὁ Κύριος καὶ οἰκτίρμων.
12 ' Πρὸ πάντων δὲ, ἀδελφοί μου, μὴ ὀμνύετε, μήτε τὸν οὐρανὸν μήτε τὴν γῆν, μήτε ἄλλον τινὰ ὅρκον· ἤτω δὲ ὑμῶν τὸ ναὶ, ναὶ, καὶ τὸ οὔ, οὔ· ἵνα μὴ ὑπὸ κρίσιν πέσητε.
13 m Κακοπαθεῖ τις ἐν ὑμῖν ; προσευχέσθω· εὐθυμεῖ τις ; ψαλλέτω. 14 n’Ασθε· νεῖ τις ἐν ὑμῖν ; προσκαλεσάσθω τοὺς πρεσβυτέρους τῆς ἐκκλησίας· καὶ
execute vengeance on the guilty city of Jerusalem for her sins (Ecumen.). This saying: The Judge standeth at the Door, suggests a reference to the remarkable incident recorded by Hegesippus (see on v. 6), that the religious sects at Jerusalem were accustomed to ask St. James "which is the Door of Jesus?" and that at a Passover (that of A.D. 62) they placed him on a lofty eminence of the temple and cried out, The people are gone wild after Jesus who has been crucified, tell us, which is the Door of Jesus?
This question was doubtless put in bitter irony and malignant mockery as is proved by the murder of St. James perpetrated by those who uttered it. The saying is an enigmatical one. Perhaps this passage in this Epistle may explain it.
This latter portion of the Epistle contains a solemn prophecy of the woes coming on the Jews for the murder of the Just One; and denounces their sins and predicts their punishment (see rv. 1-6). It then proceeds to announce that the presence of the Lord is at hand, and that, behold, the Judge standeth at the Door. This Epistle, published abroad throughout the world, and thus pre-announcing the doom impending on Jerusalem for the sin of its Rulers in crucifying Jesus, would be as offensive to Jews, especially the great and wealthy among them, as the prophetic roll of Jeremiah was to the King and Princes of Jerusalem (Jer. xxxvi. 10–32). And the language of this chapter may serve to explain their malignant menaces and blood-thirsty rage against the Apostle. It was to them what the speech of St. Stephen had been to the Sanhedrim; and probably St. James, as well as St. Stephen, was a victim of the wrath excited by his courageous rebukes of their sins, and by the constancy of his testimony to Jesus.
The words of St. James, "Behold! the Judge standeth at the door," perhaps became current among them. Perhaps those words may have also excited the question put in a tone of derision, "which is the Door of Jesus?" at what Door is He standing? By what Door will He come? show Him to us and we will go out to meet Him.
This supposition is confirmed by the reply of St. James, Why do ye ask me concerning the Son of Man? He sitteth in heaven; and will come in the clouds of heaven." There is His Door. The words of the murderous flatterers to St. James, as recorded by Hegesippus, seem to contain another similar ironical reference to the rebukes of this Epistle, "Thou art no respecter of persons" (póσwnov où λaμßáveis). No, forsooth! thou hast preached to the world to make no difference between rich and poor, and to show no respect to persons (see above, ii. 1-9). Therefore doubtless thou wilt speak the truth.
Other interpretations of that saying, "Which is the Door of Jesus?" may be seen in Bp. Pearson on S. Ignatius, ad Philadelph. 9, avròs v úра тоû патрòs, with reference to John x. 7 Valesius and others on Euseb. ii. 23. Lardner, Hist. of Apostles, ch. xvi. Credner, Einleit. ii. p. 580. Gieseler, Church Hist. § 31; and Delitz, on the Epistle to the Hebrews, p. 673.
10. TOUS TроChтas] the Prophets, Elijah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel. Take them as an example of patient suffering of injuries. Thus he shows that the Gospel of Christ is in harmony with the Old Testament; and guards against the cavil of the Jews that it would undermine the authority of their Scriptures.
11. 'IB] Job, the patriarch of the ancient Church, not of the stock of Abraham. Thus all unite--Prophets, Patriarchs, and Apostles-in teaching the duty of Patience. The Patriarch Job is propounded here as an example by the Apostle St. James. Hence we may conclude that the book of Job is not (as some have supposed) an allegory, but a true history, and this is further evident from the words of Ezekiel, combining Job with two other historical personages, Noah and Daniel. Ezek. xiv. 14. 20.
-TO TÉλOS Kupiov eldeтe] ye saw the end of the Lord, His dealings with Job, by which he "was more blessed at his latter end than at the beginning," Job xlii. 12: cp. Augustine, de Symbolo, 10. 12, 13. πрd яáνтwv] but above all, my brethren, sicear not.
The connexion of this precept with the preceding may be stated in the words of Bp. Sanderson (Lectures on Oaths, vii. 11). "Set the examples of antient Prophets, and holy men before your eyes. If ye suffer adversity, imitate their patience. If in all things you cannot attain to that perfection, yet thus far at least, except ye be very negligent, you may go with ease; above all things, take heed lest too impatient of your grief, or too much transported with your joy, ye break forth into rash oaths, to the dishonour of God, and shame of Christian conversation. But rather contain yourselves, whether troubled or rejoicing, within the bounds of Modesty: mingle not Heaven and earth, let not all things be filled with your oaths and clamours; if you affirm a thing, let it be with calmness, and a mere affirmation or negation. But if either of these passions be more impetuous, and strive to overflow the narrow channels of your bosoms, it will be your wisdom to let it forth unto the glory of God. Do you demand by what means? I will tell you: Is any amongst you afflicted? Let not his impatience break forth into Oaths and Blasphemies, the Flood-gates of wrath; but rather let him pray; and humbly implore God that he would vouchsafe him Patience, till His heavy hand be removed. Is any merry? Let him not bellow it forth in Oaths, like a Bacchanalian, but rather sing it in Hymns and Psalms unto the Praise of God; who hath made his cup to overflow, and crowned him with happy days." Bp. Sanderson.
In these words St. James 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 our Lord had expressly prohibited to His disciples, and which thence, questionless, the brethren to whom St. James did write, did well understand themselves to forbear, having learnt so in the first catechisms of Christian institution; that is, needless and heedless swearing in ordinary conversation, a practice then frequent in the world, both among Jews and Gentiles; the invoking of God's name, appealing to His testimony, and provoking His judgment, upon any slight occasion, in common talk, with vain incogitancy, or profane boldness. From such practice the holy Apostle dehorteth in terms importing his great concernedness, and implying the matter to be of highest importance: for, Before all things, my brethren, do not swear; as if he did apprehend this sin of all other to be one of the most heinous and pernicious. Could he have said more? would he have said so much, if he had not conceived the matter to be of exceeding weight and consequence? Dr. Barrow, Serm. xv. vol. i. p. 329.
On the subject of Oaths, see above, notes on Matt. v. 34. Heb. vi. 16, and the expositors of Art. XXXIX. of the Church of England.
12. μηTE Tdy oupavóv] neither by heaven, nor by earth, lest ye give to the creature the honour due only to the Creator, see Caten. p. 36, for an oath is an act of worship to be paid only to God. Cp. Matt. v. 34.
14. προσκαλεσάσθω τοὺς πρεσβυτέρους τῆς ἐκκλησίας] Let him call to himself the Elders of the Church, and let them pray over him. Observe the plural "Elders;" let him call for them, in order that by united prayer they may prevail (Matt. xviii. 19), and that they may be witnesses of the effects of prayer.
Our Lord sent forth His twelve Apostles and His seventy Disciples two and two (Mark vi. 7. Luke x. 1), and St. James prescribes that the sick should send for the Elders of the Church.
Where, however, only one Elder can answer the call, this precept enjoins that he should be sent for; and it can hardly be supposed that in some cases the Elders would be summoned in a body to a sick room; but the precept is general, and the application of it in particular circumstances is left to be determined by the wisdom and piety of the faithful.
Here is remarkable evidence of the diffusion of the Gospel and. extension of the Church, and of the existence of the order and Ministry of the Christian Priesthood in divers parts of the world in that early age. This Epistle was written before A.D.
ευξάσθωσαν ἐπ ̓ αὐτὸν, ἀλείψαντες αὐτὸν ἐλαίῳ ἐν τῷ ὀνόματι τοῦ 15 ° καὶ ἡ εὐχὴ τῆς πίστεως σώσει τὸν κάμνοντα, καὶ ἐγερεῖ αὐτὸν ὁ κἂν ἁμαρτίας ᾖ πεποιηκὼς, ἀφεθήσεται αὐτῷ.
62, when St. James died; it was addressed to the twelve tribes dispersed throughout the world (i. 1), and it gives them this precept," Is any sick among you? Let him send for the Elders of the Church."
This admonition would not have been given, if it could not be complied with. In the Acts of the Apostles we see St. James the Bishop of Jerusalem surrounded by, and presiding over, his Presbyters, or Elders, there (xxi. 18), and we may infer from his words in this place that Apostles and Apostolic men had now gone forth into a great part of the world (cp. Titus i. 5, and note before 1 Tim. iii.), and had ordained Presbyters in the principal cities.
In the Apocalypse we see in each case, one Person at their head (see on Rev. ii. 1); as their Angel, or Bishop.
The sick are enjoined to send for the Presbyters of the Church. It follows, therefore, that it is a necessary part of the Priest's duty to visit the sick. St. James had before asserted, not without reference to this duty, that "pure worship in the sight of God is to visit the orphans and widows in their affliction" (i. 27), and he here enjoins the sick to send for the Presbyters of the Church, and comforts the faithful with the assurance that the ministry of God's Priests, in prayer and other offices of religion, will be conducive to their comfort in soul and body.
· ἀλείψαντες αὐτὸν ἐλαίῳ] anointing him with oil.
wrought by God through their agency; it was like a credential to their mission; and it served to call attention to the Doctrine taught by them, as coming from God.
The miraculous powers of Healing given to the Apostles were for some time continued in the Church.
Hence the Church of England prescribes, that "when any person is sick, notice shall be given thereof to the Minister of the Parish" (Order for the Visitation of the Sick); and she specifies it as part of "the Office of a Deacon, to search for the sick, &c., and to intimate their names unto the Curate." (Form, &c., of making Deacons.)
S. Polycarp, the Bishop of Smyrna, a disciple of St. John, and martyr, referring, it would seem, to the words of St. James, gives this ministerial direction (ad Philipp. c. 5), "Let the Presbyters be tender-hearted, merciful to all, converting the erring (see below, v. 19), visiting all who are sick (ÉTIOKETTÓμEVOL πάντας ἀσθενεῖς); not neglecting the widow or orphan or needy (see above, i. 27), and providing always what is good in the sight of God, abstaining from all respect of persons (see above, ii. 1.9), not sharp in judgment, knowing that we are all sinners (see above, iii. 2). These words of S. Polycarp show that he was familiar with this Epistle of St. James.
- πроσеvčáσlwσav en avтóv] let them (the Presbyters) pray over him, the sick man. There is therefore a special efficacy in the prayers of those whom God has set apart for that office.
Every Priest being taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God (Heb. v. 1), that he may offer prayers; the prayers he offereth he offereth out of his office, and so, even in that respect there is, cæteris paribus, a more force and energy in them, as coming from him whose calling it is to offer them, than in those that come from another whose calling it is not so to do. Bp. Andrewes, Sermons, v. 230, 231.
The authority of the Priest's calling is a furtherance, because if God have so far received him into favour as to impose upon him by the hands of man that office of blessing the people in His Name, and making intercession to Him in theirs, which office He hath sanctified with His own most gracious promise, and ratified that promise by manifest actual performance thereof, when others before in like place have done the same; is not his very Ordination a seal, as it were, to us, that the self-same Divine Love that hath chosen the Instrument to work with, will by that Instrument effect the thing whereto He ordained it, in blessing His people, and accepting the prayers which His servant offereth up unto God for them? Hooker, V. xxv. 3.
Κυρίου· ο Isa. 33, 24.
Gen. 20. 17
Num. 11. 2.
Thus St. Paul says (1 Cor. xii. 8, 9), “To one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing; to another prophecy; to another tongues;" and again (1 Cor. xii. 28), "God hath set some in the Church, first Apostles, secondarily Prophets, thirdly teachers, after that Miracles, then gifts of healing. Have all the gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues?"
Our Lord Himself promised this gift to His disciples (Mark xvi. 18): “They shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. ." This was done by the Apostles in the time of our Lord's ministry (says Ecumenius here): they anointed the sick with oil and healed them.
Why the Church of England has not retained the practice of
And if the Early Church discontinued doing so, when and
From a comparison of this passage with the parallel places
It appears that St. James is speaking with reference to this miraculous power of healing then existing in the Church, when he says (v. 14), "Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the Church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up, and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him." That is to say, If any one is sick, let him avail himself of the gifts which God has bestowed upon His Church; let him send for the Presbyters of the Church, and let them pray over him; and the prayer of faith (i. e. the faithful prayer made in full trust that God will do what is best for the sick) will (if it be God's good pleasure) save the sick, and God will raise him up, and restore him to health; and if he has committed sins, and if he is penitent for his sins, and has faith in Christ, they shall be forgiven him.
Whatever was instituted by Christ or by His Apostles, under His guidance and that of the Holy Ghost, for the purpose of conveying grace to the soul, and for the attainment of everlasting glory, is of perpetual and universal obligation; for all men need grace, and all men desire glory. Such things are the Two Sacraments and Confirmation. See on Acts viii. 16, 17.
The application of oil to the body of the Sick was a visible
It was a manifest evidence that Miracles of Healing were
But things which were practised and prescribed by Christ Himself and His Apostles are not of perpetual obligation, unless they are conducive to an end which is of perpetual necessity, namely, to the bestowal of spiritual grace to the soul, and to its everlasting salvation. If such is not their character, they are mutable, and may be omitted or foregone by the Christian Church, according to the wisdom and discretion with which God has endued her. See this proved at large by Hooker, I. xv., and III. X., and xi. 15-18.
This is evident from the non-use of feet-washing, a thing done and enjoined by Christ Himself (see on John xiii. 14), and from the discontinuance of the holy kiss prescribed by His Apostles. (1 Thess. v. 26. Rom. xvi. 16. 1 Pet. v. 14.)
There is no evidence that anointing with oil was ever used in primitive times as a sacrament for the conveyance of spiritual grace to the sick in danger of death.
For a considerable time the Church retained the gift of healing (Irenaus, v. 6. Tertullian, de Bapt. c. 10. Euseb. v. 7. S. Jerome, vit. Sulp. Sever. vit. Martini, c. 15), and the practice of anointing with oil, with a view to recovery from sickness, was continued in the Eastern and Western Churches. Indeed (as may be seen in the Greek Euchologium), it is continued in the Eastern Church to this day for this purpose; see Dr. Covel on the Greek Church, 308. 340.
The Latin Church has adopted a different course.
She perceived in course of time that the effect mentioned by St. James ("the Lord shall raise up the sick ") did not ordinarily ensue from the anointing with oil; she saw that the miraculous and extraordinary powers of healing granted by Christ to the Apostles and other primitive disciples in the Apostolic ages, had gradually been withdrawn, as was the case with those other miraculous gifts, coupled with that of healing by St. Paul (1 Cor. xii. 28), viz., the gift of tongues.
But she would not lay aside the practice of anointing the sick. She retained the practice, but she abandoned the design for which the practice had been instituted.
At length, in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, the Latin Church had diverted the practice into a direction quite contrary to the purpose for which it was originally prescribed.
The Apostle St. James had enjoined the practice with a view
16 Ἐξομολογεῖσθε ἀλλήλοις τὰ παραπτώματα, καὶ εὔχεσθε ὑπὲρ ἀλλήλων,
pl Kings 17. 1. ὅπως ἰαθῆτε· πολὺ ἰσχύει δέησις δικαίου ἐνεργουμένη. 11 ν’Ηλίας ἄνθρωπος ἦν
Luke 4. 25.
Acts 14. 15.
ὁμοιοπαθὴς ἡμῖν, καὶ προσευχῇ προσηύξατο τοῦ μὴ βρέξαι· καὶ οὐκ ἔβρεξεν at Kings 1841, ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς ἐνιαυτοὺς τρεῖς καὶ μῆνας ἔξ· 189 καὶ πάλιν προσηύξατο, καὶ ὁ
οὐρανὸς ὑετὸν ἔδωκε, καὶ ἡ γῆ ἐβλάστησε τὸν καρπὸν αὐτῆς.
to the recovery of the sick; as Cardinal Caietanus allows, in his note on the passage, where he says, "Hæc verba non loquuntur de Sacramentali unctione extreme unctionis;" but the Church of Rome prescribes, in the Councils of Florence (A.D. 1438) and Trent (A.D. 1551), that the anointing should not take place except where recovery is not to be looked for (Council of Trent, Sess. xiv., "qui tam periculosè decumbunt ut in exitu vitæ constituti videantur "), and therefore she calls this anointing "extreme unction," and "sacramentum exeuntium," and she regards it as a Sacrament for conveying grace to the soul.
Thus, on the one hand, the Greek Church is a witness by her present practice, that the Anointing was designed with a view to bodily recovery; and the Roman Church, on the other hand, is a witness, that the miraculous effects on the body, which were wrought in primitive times by God through the instrumentality of those who anointed the sick, and which accompanied that unction,
In the first Prayer Book of King Edward VIth, the Church of England (in her Office for the Visitation of the Sick) provided that "if the sick man desired it," he might be anointed with a view to his recovery. But on further consideration of the matter, and reflecting (it may be supposed) that the anointing of the sick implied something of a claim to the exercise of miraculous powers of healing, and might be chargeable with presumption, and with ignorance of God's dispensations in regard to miraculous powers, and might tempt men to rely for grace and pardon on an outward ceremony administered to them in a state of insensibility; she has thought fit to lay aside the sign, now that the thing signified has ceased, and to limit herself soberly and wisely to what is certain and indisputable, and what is the main thing for the sick man to consider, viz., that if he avails himself, as he ought to do in his sickness, of the ministry of his spiritual Guide, the prayer of faith will save the sick, and (if it be most expedient for him) God will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, they will, on his faith and repentance, be forgiven him, and that he will receive pardon, and grace, and peace, through the merits of Christ, and by the love and mercy of God, especially as conveyed, dispensed, and applied in the reception of the blessed and most comfortable Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ, which she enjoins, in a special Office, to be ministered to the sick.
Compare Dr. Hammond here and Dean Comber's remarks in his " 'Companion to the Temple," in the Introduction to the
Office of Visitation of the Sick.
16. ¿oμoλoyeîode àλλhλois] Confess your transgressions one to another. Observe the word яараπтúμата, offences, breaches of law here particularly the law of love: and àλλýλois, one to another, as friends and brethren; and compare our Lord's precept, "If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him, and if he repent forgive him, and if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again unto thee saying, I repent, thou shalt forgive him" (Luke xvii. 3, 4).
The doctrine of private confession preparatory to the reception of the Holy Communion, and as a part of the discipline of Repentance, cannot rightly be grounded on this text.
Public confession of sins to Almighty God has ever been a necessary part of Christian religion and worship; but private confession to a Minister of the Church was never enforced in the earliest ages of the Church. The Church of England gives her advice to the penitent, in certain cases, and under certain circumstances, "to open his grief to some discreet and learned Minister of God's Word" (not indiscriminately to any one who may claim a right to hear confession, without due qualification for the difficult work of guiding the conscience aright), "that by the ministry of God's Holy Word he may receive the benefit of Absolution, together with ghostly counsel and advice, to the quieting of his conscience and avoiding of all scruple and doubtfulness." See Hooker, VI. iv. 4, and VI. iv. 6.
ows labĥre] that ye may be healed in body and soul, Matt. xiii. 15. Luke iv. 18; ix. 2. Heb. xii. 13, where St. Paul seems to refer to this precept.
Observe the connexion of this sentence with what goes before. "The greatest thing that made men forward and willing to confess their sins, and in no wise to be withheld from this confession by any fear of disgrace or contempt which might ensue, was their fervent desire to be helped with the prayers of God's faithful people, wherein as St. James doth exhort unto mutual confession,
alleging this for a reason, that just men's devout prayers are of great avail with God, so it hath been heretofore the use of penitents for that intent to unburthen their minds even to private persons and to crave their prayers." Hooker, VI. iv. 7, referring to Tertullian de Pœnit. c. 10, and S. Ambrose de Pœnit. ii. 10.
Toλù loxve] Great is the efficacy of the prayer of a righte ous man working inwardly. Do not imagine, as many do, that prayer will avail without holiness of life. Some make long prayers and devour widows' houses (Matt. xxiii. 14), and therefore shall receive greater damnation (Luke xx. 47). The sacrifice of the wicked is abomination (Prov. xv. 8; xxi. 27), but the prayer of the righteous availeth much.
Again, some may suppose, that the prayers of the lips will avail, without the inner working of the heart. They draw nigh to God with their lips, but their heart is far from Him (Matt. xv. 8). "They use vain repetitions in prayer, and think that they will be heard for their much speaking." (Matt. vi. 7. Cp. Ecclus. vii. 14.) But ye shall not be so. It is the inner working of the heart, moved by a spirit of love, that prevails with God. The wrestlings of Jacob in prayer, the yearnings of Hannah's heart, these gain a blessing from Him. Hæc vis Deo grata est." Tertullian.
On the word èvepyovμévn, inwardly energizing in devotion and love to God, so as to produce external effects in obedience; see 1 Thess. ii. 13. Gal. v. 6. 2 Cor. i. 6. Col. i. 29. Eph. iii. 20; and see the note of Maximus here (in Catenâ, p. 37), where he says the " 'power of prayer is not in words when it comes forth from the tongue in an empty sound of the voice;" such a prayer is ἀργὴ καὶ ἀνυπόστατος, but a prevailing prayer is that which is repyos kal (wσa, energetic and living, animating obedience.
Observe, therefore, how happily the two emphatic words δικαίου and ἐνεργουμένη are reserved for the end of the sentence, to give weight and force to the whole; and to make it sink into the ears and hearts of hearers and readers of the Epistle; and to teach the faithful of every age, that it is holiness of life and devotion of heart which give efficacy to Prayer.
The martyrdom of St. James himself affords a beautiful comment on these words (see Euseb. ii. 23, quoted above on v. 6), especially where it is related that after St. James had been cast down by his enemies from the pediment of the Temple, and they were stoning him, he fell on his knees and prayed for them, and some, who stood by, said, adopting the very words of this Epistle, -"Hold, what do ye? etxera vπèр vμŵν & diкalos," "the just man is praying for you."
17. Ηλίας ἄνθρωπος ἦν ὁμ. ἡ.] Elias was a man of like passions with us and once his patience failed him (1 Kings xix. 4. 10. 14), yet God heard his prayer; and gave him power to shut and open heaven (1 Kings xvii. 1; xviii. 42. 45. Cp. Rev. xi. 6). It is not indeed expressly affirmed in the Holy Scriptures of the Old Testament, that Elijah's prayers were the cause of the drought for three years and a half, and of the rain at their close; but his own declaration that there should not be rain but according to his word (1 Kings xvii.), and also his actions on Mount Carmel (xviii. 42), first praying to God for the acceptance of his sacrifice, and then casting himself down upon the earth, putting his face between his knees, though they might not lead an uninspired Expositor to the inference drawn here by the inspired Apostle St. James, yet they find a very apt exposition in that inference which we may thankfully accept at his hand.
When the prophet Elias said, that the gift of rain should depend on his word, he could not mean the word of command, but the word of prayer. Be not ye therefore disheartened. Serve God and Pray earnestly; and He will protect you.
πроσενx роσnútaro] he prayed with prayer, there was true évépyeta in his prayer. This is marked by the Hebraistic addition of the substantive to the verb. Cp. on Acts iv. 17, and
on 2 Pet. iii. 3.
TOû un Bpéta] that it should not rain. On the infinitive see on Acts xxvii. 1, and on Rev. xii. 7, and on the word ßpéxw, to rain, Matt. vii. 25. 27.
ἐνιαυτοὺς τρεῖς καὶ μῆνας ἕξ] three years and siæ months ; equal to 42 months, or 1260 days,-a chronological period of suffering. See above on Luke iv. 25, and below on Rev. xi., note at the end of the chapter.
19 : Αδελφοὶ, ἐάν τις ἐν ὑμῖν πλανηθῇ ἀπὸ τῆς ἀληθείας, καὶ ἐπιστρέψῃ τὶς r Μatt. 18. 15. αὐτὸν, 20 ' γινωσκέτω ὅτι ὁ ἐπιστρέψας ἁμαρτωλὸν ἐκ πλάνης ὁδοῦ αὐτοῦ, σώσει ψυχὴν ἐκ θανάτου, καὶ καλύψει πλῆθος ἁμαρτιῶν.
και Rom. 11. 14.
1 Cor. 9. 22. 1 Tim. 4. 16. 1 Pet. 4. 8.
19, 20. ἀδελφοὶ——ἁμαρτιῶν] Brethren, if any man among you shall have strayed from the truth, and any one shall have converted him,-brought him back to the way of the truth from which he had gone astray,—let him know, that he who hath turned a sinner from the error of his way, shall save a soul from death, and shall cover a multitude of sins.
sins by means of the Saviour's righteousness; and he who has thus done the work of Christ, according to the command of Christ, will hear the joyful speech at the great Day, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” (Matt. xxv. 21.)
20. yıνWσKÉTW] let him know. This is genuine yvâσis, or knowledge, that by imitating Christ's love, we are made partakers in His work, and in His glory. By doing the work of Christ in seeking to save that which is lost (Matt. xviii. 11. Luke xix. 10), the Christian will be admitted to be a sharer in the dignity and office of Christ; he will save a soul from death. So Timothy is said by St. Paul to save those who hear him, i. e. by applying the means instituted by Christ for their salvation (1 Tim. iv. 16. Cp. Rom. xi. 14. 1 Cor. vii. 16; ix. 22. Jude 23). And so Christ Himself gave His own title to His ministers when He said "Ye are the Light of the world" (Matt. v. 14. Cp. John ix. 5). Therefore he who has turned a sinner from the error of his way will have a saving office and dignity, because he will have applied those means which God has instituted for the salvation of sinners. Cp. Bp. Pearson on the Creed, Art. ii. p. 139.
Nor is this all; he will cover a multitude of sins, and in this respect also will be admitted to be a fellow-worker with Christ; and have a share in another of His glorious titles. Christ alone is the true Propitiatory, or Mercy Seat; He is the Covering of the Ark on which God sits (Ps. lxxx. 1), as on a Throne of Grace, to which we must flee for mercy (Heb. iv. 16; cp. Mather on the Types, pp. 407, 408. 411), and which covers the sins of the whole world. Christ, and Christ alone, in that primary sense, covers a multitude of sins; see Heb. ix. 5, and on Rom. iii. 21-26, and Rom. iv. 7; which afford the best exposition of this text. "Blessed is the man whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin." (Ps. xxxii. 1, 2.)
The contrast is in the words of Nehemiah, iv. 5, "O God, cover not their iniquity, and let not their sin be blotted out from before Thee."
This covering of a multitude of sins by Christ, and the ministerial application of the means instituted by Him for the casting of this covering of Christ's righteousness over a multitude of sins, is a different work from that of saving the sinner, specified in the former clause.
For, if we suppose the sinner to be pardoned and saved, and yet the remembrance and record of his sins to be not covered, but to be ever visible to his own eyes, and to the eyes of men and Angels, and of God, in Eternity, this consideration would much abate his happiness in another world.
That man, therefore, who has reclaimed a sinner from the error of his way, and has brought him back to Christ, and to the use of those means which God has instituted in the Church for his salvation in Christ, may be justly said to cover a multitude of
But the comfort which is administered by the words of the Psalmist, "Blessed is the man whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered" (Ps. xxxii. 1, 2), and again (Ps. lxxxv. 2), "Lord, thou hast forgiven the offence of thy people, and covered all their sins," and which is here proffered God's name
by St. James, is this--that by reclaiming an erring brother from the ways of sin, and by bringing him to Christ, we may not only save an immortal soul from eternal death, but may be instrumental in casting over his sins-however great their multitude, and however foul their stains-the spotless robe of Christ's righteousness, so that they may be covered for ever, and be hidden from the sight even of God's Omniscience, by the mantle of Christ's merits.
Here is one of the strongest motives to the work of Christian love, in endeavouring to convert the sinner from the error of his way.
With this precept St. James ends his Epistle; and in the practice of it he ended his life, when, according to the example, and in the words of his Saviour, dying on the cross for the salvation of the souls of all men, and for the covering of their sins from the wrath of God, St. James prayed for his murderers, 1 pray Thee, Lord, God and Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." (Euseb. ii. 23. See above on v. 6.)
There are no salutations nor benedictions at the close of this Epistle for the reason stated above on i. 1.
THE FIRST EPISTLE GENERAL OF ST. PETER.
I. On the place from which the Epistle was written and on St. Peter's history and Apostolic acts. When the Holy Ghost came down from heaven, on the Day of Pentecost, St. Peter stood up with the Eleven, and preached to the Jews and Proselytes, who had come from all parts of the civilized world to Jerusalem for that Festival.
They whom he addressed are enumerated by the Historian of the Acts of the Apostles in the following order:
1. Parthians, Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judæa.
2. Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia.
3. Egypt, the parts of Libya towards Cyrene; and strangers of Rome, Jews and Proselytes, Cretes and Arabians.
These Three Classes of persons, as has been shown in another place', represent the principal Dispersions, as they were called, of the Jews, scattered abroad in the countries to the East, North, West, and South of Jerusalem.
St. Peter was their Apostle, the Apostle of the Circumcision', as St. Paul was of the Gentiles. And as St. Paul performed the office of Apostle to the Gentiles, by preaching in person, and also by writing Epistles to the Gentile Churches, and by appointing others, such as Timothy and Titus,— his "own sons in the faith,"-to be Pastors and Bishops in their Cities, so St. Peter did to those of the Circumcision.
He did that work in regular order.
The Commission which had been given by Christ to His Apostles had specified certain stages of missionary progress; "ye shall be witnesses unto Me in Jerusalem," this was the first stage; "and in all Judæa," this was the second; "and in Samaria," this was the third; and, lastly, "unto the uttermost part of the Earth"."
The Apostle St. Peter had received from Christ a solemnly repeated charge, "Feed My sheep'." He discharged the duties of the pastoral office entrusted to him, and he performed them according to the order prescribed by Him who gave the charge.
He bore witness to Christ, first, in Jerusalem, and in Judæa; next, "in Samaria ;" and, lastly, he bore witness to Christ unto the uttermost part of the Earth.
This final and extended witness, to the uttermost part of the Earth, is that which is presented to us in his Epistles, and in his Martyrdom.
He preached the Gospel and wrote his first Epistle in the eastern territory of the Roman world; and his Martyrdom took place in the West. This Epistle was written from the Eastern Babylon; and he bore witness to Christ by dying for Him in the Western Babylon,—Rome '.
1 See on Acts ii. 9-11, and below, 1 Pet. i. 1, and v. 13. 2 Gal. ii. 7-9.
3 Acts i. 8.
4 John xxi. 16, 17.
5 Acts viii. 14-25. Cp. ix. 32.
6 See below, p. 39. Whether St. Peter was ever at Rome before the time of his martyrdom in that city is doubtful.
Justin Martyr (Apol. ii. c. 26) asserts that Simon Magus came to Rome in the time of Claudius; and after Justin Martyr it is said in the Chronicon of Eusebius, ad A.D. 42, that he was encountered there by St. Peter; and so Euseb. ii. 14. Cp. Euseb. ii. 15-17.
But the silence of Holy Scripture, and especially the absence of any reference to St. Peter in St. Paul's Epistles written to