He then turns to the Christian brethren, who had so much to suffer from the rich and powerful. He exhorts them to bear with patience every wrong, to wait submissively for the coming of the Lord, who will redeem his own from all evil, and will show himself the righteous judge of all. We must bear in mind, that the time of the Lord's coming was then looked for as already near at hand. It was natural, in the Apostolic age, so to regard it. Christ himself had not chosen to give any information respecting the time of his coming. Nay, he had expressly said, that the Father had reserved the decision to himself alone (Mark xiii.32); that even the Son could determine nothing respecting it. But still, the longing desire of the Apostolic church was directed, with eager haste, to the appearing of the Lord. The whole Christian period seemed only as the transition-point to the eternal, and thus as something that must soon be passed. As the traveller, beholding from afar the object of all his wanderings, overlooks the windings of the intervening way, and believes himself already near his goal; so it seemed to them, as their eye was fixed on that consummation of the whole course of events on earth. It is from this point of view that James here speaks. |Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord: behold the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until lie receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.| James, -- who, as already remarked, had all the oriental fondness for imagery drawn from natural objects, -- here transfers to history the laws of gradual development in the phenomena of nature. As the fruits of the earth mature only by slow degrees, and the husbandman must wait patiently for the early and the latter rain; so there is needed the same constancy of patience, while anticipating the final consummation of earthly history, in its gradual course of development. Here, too, everything has its appointed time; and one must guard against that impatient haste, which is unwilling to wait for the successive stages of progress, and is eager to reach the end at once.