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The Epistle Of James Practically Explained by Augustus Neander

James iv. 4, 5

He returns continually to the radical evil, the want in the soul of the one determining ground-tone in the reference of the life. to God; the direction of the whole spirit to the world, in connection with many external practices of religion. As in the Old Testament, the union of the people with God is represented under the image of a marriage, their apostasy from God under that of adultery; so James addresses them as adulterers, inasmuch as they claimed to be worshipers of God, and yet served only the world. He admonishes them that God requires the whole heart, that it cannot be divided between God and the world; that either love to God or love to the world must be the animating principle; that devotion to the world, as the aim of effort, a love of the world which seeks in the world its highest good, cannot exist without hostility towards God, -- as the Lord himself says: Ye cannot serve God and Mammon. |Ye adulterers, and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world, is the enemy of God.| James reminds them in general of the declarations of the Holy Scripture, which everywhere testifies of the incompatibility of these two radical tendencies. |Or,| says he to them, |suppose ye that the Scripture saith in vain, The Spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy [is a jealous spirit]?| This spirit, he would say, can suffer no other to share with itself; where it would take up its abode, it excludes the love of the world.

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