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The Epistle Of James Practically Explained by Augustus Neander

James iii. 17

He then enters more fully into particulars, and describes the traits which characterize genuine wisdom. Ile does this with special reference indeed to the false conceit of wisdom among these churches, but yet in a manner practically useful for all times. As characteristic of the wisdom that comes from above, he names first, purity, -- i. e. freedom from all worldly stain; then love of peace, -- the truly wise not being stubbornly attached to his own opinion and contentious in support of it; then, that it is gentle, is easily persuaded, -- i. e. ready to listen to others, willing to be taught, to acknowledge what is wrong on its own part, and to adopt the better way. All this gives evidence of victory attained over the love of self. The wisdom which is from above he farther characterizes, as full of mercy and good fruits, -- meaning that knowledge and action must go together. We have already explained, in connection with a previous passage, what James means by being in conflict with oneself. This he now excludes from the idea of genuine wisdom. He demands an inward harmony of soul, the stability of conviction; that the soul shall not be distracted by the discordant views, the mental conflicts of this state of unbelief. It is difficult to indicate his meaning in a single word. Candor, simplicity, perhaps comes nearest to the idea. Finally, true wisdom is without hypocrisy.

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