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The Epistle Of James Practically Explained by Augustus Neander

James iv. 13-17

The pride of the worldly spirit, in contrast with the nature of genuine humility, was the starting-point with which James commenced, and from, which he proceeded to reprove the various forms of evil in these churches. In like manner he now brings forward another specific case, connected however with the same radical tendency of which we have spoken. It was that false reliance upon the Human, which leads one to make calculations upon the future, without for a moment taking into account the insecurity of human life; to form prospective plans of earthly gain, as if one were entirely certain of the future. James thought it necessary to admonish those, who were thus absorbed in worldly pursuits, of the uncertainty of all human things; that every moment of life is dependent on the will of God and his providence. |Go to now ye that say, To-day or to-morrow we will go into such a city and continue there a year, and buy, and sell, and get gain: whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow: for what is your life? It is even a vapor which appeareth for a little time and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, if the Lord will, we shall live, and do this or that.| It is plain that in saying this, James did not mean to insist, that such a condition should always be expressed in words. For such expressions might easily degenerate into a mere form; and the tendency of these churches was to turn everything into form. Here again James shows his preference of the specific over the general. Instead of the general truth, of the uncertainty and dependence of the whole earthly life, he uses language adapted to suggest this general thought by its application to a particular case. From the particular he now passes over again to the general, and assails that false worldly and self-reliance in its whole extent. |But now ye glory in your vain confidence; all such glorying is evil.| In closing this admonition, he warns them, that it is not enough to have known the truth here expressed; it was necessary, -- and herein they chiefly failed, -- that the known truth should pervade the life and control the conduct. |To him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.|

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