James 3* Cautions against proud behaviour, and the mischief of anunruly tongue. (1-12) The excellence of heavenly wisdom, inopposition to that which is worldly. (13-18)1-12 We are taught to dread an unruly tongue, as one of thegreatest evils. The affairs of mankind are thrown into confusionby the tongues of men. Every age of the world, and everycondition of life, private or public, affords examples of this.Hell has more to do in promoting the fire of the tongue than mengenerally think; and whenever men's tongues are employed insinful ways, they are set on fire of hell. No man can tame thetongue without Divine grace and assistance. The apostle does notrepresent it as impossible, but as extremely difficult. Othersins decay with age, this many times gets worse; we grow morefroward and fretful, as natural strength decays, and the dayscome on in which we have no pleasure. When other sins are tamedand subdued by the infirmities of age, the spirit often growsmore tart, nature being drawn down to the dregs, and the wordsused become more passionate. That man's tongue confutes itself,which at one time pretends to adore the perfections of God, andto refer all things to him; and at another time condemns evengood men, if they do not use the same words and expressions.True religion will not admit of contradictions: how many sinswould be prevented, if men would always be consistent! Pious andedifying language is the genuine produce of a sanctified heart;and none who understand Christianity, expect to hear curses,lies, boastings, and revilings from a true believer's mouth, anymore than they look for the fruit of one tree from another. Butfacts prove that more professors succeed in bridling theirsenses and appetites, than in duly restraining their tongues.Then, depending on Divine grace, let us take heed to bless andcurse not; and let us aim to be consistent in our words andactions. 13-18 These verses show the difference between men's pretendingto be wise, and their being really so. He who thinks well, or hewho talks well, is not wise in the sense of the Scripture, if hedoes not live and act well. True wisdom may be know by themeekness of the spirit and temper. Those who live in malice,envy, and contention, live in confusion; and are liable to beprovoked and hurried to any evil work. Such wisdom comes notdown from above, but springs up from earthly principles, acts onearthly motives, and is intent on serving earthly purposes.Those who are lifted up with such wisdom, described by theapostle James, is near to the Christian love, described by theapostle Paul; and both are so described that every man may fullyprove the reality of his attainments in them. It has no disguiseor deceit. It cannot fall in with those managements the worldcounts wise, which are crafty and guileful; but it is sincere,and open, and steady, and uniform, and consistent with itself.May the purity, peace, gentleness, teachableness, and mercyshown in all our actions, and the fruits of righteousnessabounding in our lives, prove that God has bestowed upon us thisexcellent gift.
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