James 4* Here are cautions against corrupt affections, and love of thisworld, which is enmity to God. (1-10) Exhortations to undertakeno affairs of life, without constant regard to the will andprovidence of God. (11-17)1-10 Since all wars and fightings come from the corruptions ofour own hearts, it is right to mortify those lusts that war inthe members. Wordly and fleshly lusts are distempers, which willnot allow content or satisfaction. Sinful desires and affectionsstop prayer, and the working of our desires toward God. And letus beware that we do not abuse or misuse the mercies received,by the disposition of the heart when prayers are granted Whenmen ask of God prosperity, they often ask with wrong aims andintentions. If we thus seek the things of this world, it is justin God to deny them. Unbelieving and cold desires beg denials;and we may be sure that when prayers are rather the language oflusts than of graces, they will return empty. Here is a decidedwarning to avoid all criminal friendships with this world.Worldly-mindedness is enmity to God. An enemy may be reconciled,but "enmity" never can be reconciled. A man may have a largeportion in things of this life, and yet be kept in the love ofGod; but he who sets his heart upon the world, who will conformto it rather than lose its friendship, is an enemy to God. Sothat any one who resolves at all events to be upon friendlyterms with the world, must be the enemy of God. Did then theJews, or the loose professors of Christianity, think theScripture spake in vain against this worldly-mindedness? or doesthe Holy Spirit who dwells in all Christians, or the new naturewhich he creates, produce such fruit? Natural corruption showsitself by envying. The spirit of the world teaches us to lay up,or lay out for ourselves, according to our own fancies; God theHoly Spirit teaches us to be willing to do good to all about us,as we are able. The grace of God will correct and cure thespirit by nature in us; and where he gives grace, he givesanother spirit than that of the world. The proud resist God: intheir understanding they resist the truths of God; in their willthey resist the laws of God; in their passions they resist theprovidence of God; therefore, no wonder that God resists theproud. How wretched the state of those who make God their enemy!God will give more grace to the humble, because they see theirneed of it, pray for it are thankful for it, and such shall haveit. Submit to God, ver. #7|. Submit your understanding to thetruth of God; submit your wills to the will of his precept, thewill of his providence. Submit yourselves to God, for he isready to do you good. If we yield to temptations, the devil willcontinually follow us; but if we put on the whole armour of God,and stand out against him, he will leave us. Let sinners thensubmit to God, and seek his grace and favour; resisting thedevil. All sin must be wept over; here, in godly sorrow, or,hereafter, in eternal misery. And the Lord will not refuse tocomfort one who really mourns for sin, or to exalt one whohumbles himself before him. 11-17 Our lips must be governed by the law of kindness, as wellas truth and justice. Christians are brethren. And to breakGod's commands, is to speak evil of them, and to judge them, asif they laid too great a restraint upon us. We have the law ofGod, which is a rule to all; let us not presume to set up ourown notions and opinions as a rule to those about us, and let usbe careful that we be not condemned of the Lord. "Go to now," isa call to any one to consider his conduct as being wrong. Howapt worldly and contriving men are to leave God out of theirplans! How vain it is to look for any thing good without God'sblessing and guidance! The frailty, shortness, and uncertaintyof life, ought to check the vanity and presumptuous confidenceof all projects for futurity. We can fix the hour and minute ofthe sun's rising and setting to-morrow, but we cannot fix thecertain time of a vapour being scattered. So short, unreal, andfading is human life, and all the prosperity or enjoyment thatattends it; though bliss or woe for ever must be according toour conduct during this fleeting moment. We are always to dependon the will of God. Our times are not in our own hands, but atthe disposal of God. Our heads may be filled with cares andcontrivances for ourselves, or our families, or our friends; butProvidence often throws our plans into confusion. All we design,and all we do, should be with submissive dependence on God. Itis foolish, and it is hurtful, to boast of worldly things andaspiring projects; it will bring great disappointment, and willprove destruction in the end. Omissions are sins which will bebrought into judgment, as well as commissions. He that does notthe good he knows should be done, as well as he who does theevil he knows should not be done, will be condemned. Oh that wewere as careful not to omit prayer, and not to neglect tomeditate and examine our consciences, as we are not to commitgross outward vices against light!
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