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The Epistle Of James Practically Explained by Augustus Neander

James iii. 14-16

|But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.| It is the inward temper which, in his view, marks genuine knowledge also, genuine wisdom. This must derive its being from above, must be the product of the divine life, and through its divine impress must make itself known also in the outward life. The opposite proceeds from a principle of the natural man, not from that which is divine. For the Holy Scriptures often designate, under the name of the Flesh, everything evil, all which stands opposed to the Spirit of God, to the divine life. When the term is used in this general sense, it includes also the spiritual nature of man, -- the reason, the soul, in so far as it has not been made subject to the Divine Spirit, but claims an independent being, to be something in its own right, -- independently of God and aside from God, and hence in opposition to him. All this is comprehended in the idea of the Flesh, in that Biblical sense. It is by no means limited to what we call Flesh, sensuality in the narrower sense of the term. From Flesh, understood in this more general sense, is distinguished in biblical usage that which in the narrower sense is designated as natural, -- viz. the spiritual nature of man (the reason, the soul) as being unlike to God, and conformed to the world. Reason, however highly developed and cultivated, remains still within the bounds of the natural man. It is of this James speaks; and this with him is the same which actuates apostate spirits. |This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual [natural], devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion, and every evil work.|

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