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The Epistle Of James Practically Explained by Augustus Neander

James v. 1-6

James now addresses himself to the rich, wholly immersed. in the spirit of the world. |Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted and your garments moth-eaten: Your gold and silver is cankered, and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh, [as ye have treasured up fire] for the last days.| He speaks of riches under three specific forms, viz. in the garnered fruits of the field, in garments, and in gold and silver. All these, he would say, the rich heap up without profit. Their treasures in gold and silver, allowed through disuse to consume with rust, will witness against them to their condemnation; showing their guilt in suffering to perish unemployed, that which they should have used for the benefit of others. The rust eats into their own flesh, inasmuch as it is a token of their own perishableness and of the judgment that overhangs them; as they, instead of gathering durable riches, have treasured up for themselves the fire of God's wrath in treasures accumulated for a prey to rust. He then describes the oppressions inflicted by the rich (not necessarily such as belonged to Christian churches) on the pious poor in humble life. |Behold, the hire of the laborers which have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and. the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts as in [for] a day of slaughter.| That is; as one pampers the beast destined for slaughter, so have ye, giving yourselves up to the service of your lusts, and revelling in careless unconcern, prepared yourselves for the judgment that is hastening on. |Ye have condemned and killed the just, and he doth not resist you:| -- the pious sufferer's patient resignation to God's will, in contrast with the pride and presumption of the oppressor.

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