Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

shall live, and do this or ζησωμεν, και ποιησωμεν τουτο that.

n EXELVO* 16 But now ye rejoice 16 Νυν δε καυχασθε εν in your boastings: all such

ταις αλαζονείαις υμων. Παrejoicing is evil.

σα καυχησις τοιαυτη, πονηρα

εςιν' 17 Therefore to him

17 Ειδoτι ουν καλον ποιthat knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it ειν, και μη παουντι, αμαρτια is sin.

αυτω εςιν. .

Ver. 15.-1. Instead of which, je ougbt to say, If, &c. To attain the true meaning of the original words, Ayto sou afgely újats, I think a comma ought to be placed after Tou, and the impersonal verb du vuglrt to be supplied be. fore ge!v, so as to govern inces, thus : ArTo Tou, (for ów). El únas 287th. By this translation the sentence begun, ver. 13. but which is interrupted by ver. 14. is completed ver. 15. in the following manner : rer. 13. Ye who say to-day or lo-morrow we will go, &c. (ver. 14. Ye who do not know, &c.) ver. 15. Instearl of wbich, namely what is mentioned ver 13. Te ought to say if the Lord will, &c. The apostle does not mean that these words should always be used by us, when we speak of our purposes respecting futurity : but that on such occasions, the sentiment which these words express, should always be present to our mind. The same advice Socrates gave to Alcibiades, with great reason; because whether one nises the words mentioned by the apostle, or only recollects the sentiment which they denote, nothing can be more effectual than either, for impressing the mind with a sense of God's supremacy in the government of the world: agreeably to the saying of the wise man Prov. xvi. 9. A man's beart deviseib his way, but the Lord directesh (governeth) his steps.

CHAPTER V.

View and illustration of the Matters contained in this Chapter. THE

HE unbelieving Jews being exceedingly addicted to sensual pleasures, and very covetous, were of course grievous oppressors of the poor.

Wherefore, to terrify these wicked men, and if possible to bring them to repentance, St. James, in the most lively colours, sct before them the miseries which the Romans, the instruments of the divine vengeance, were to bring upon the Jewish people, both in Judca and every where else, now desertthe Lord will, and we certainly we will do this or that, seeshall live, (2:21, 218.) cer. ing all future events depend on God tainly we will do this or alone, and not on your pleasure. that.

16 But now yc boast of 16 But now ye boast of your proud your proud speeches : all speeches concerning futurity, as if ye boasting of this sort is bad.' were absolutely independent on

God. All boasting of this sori is impious, implying great ignorance

both of yourselves and of God. 17 (Ouy, 262.) Where- 17 Being taught by your own fore, to him who knowcth scriptures, that all things are orderto do good, and doth it ed by God, ye have no excuse for not, it is to him sin,

your proud speeches. Wherefore , to him who knoweth to think and speak rightly concerning futurity, and doth it not, to him it is sin.

Ver. 16.-1. All boasting of this sort is bad. It was bad, because by these proud speeches the Jews represented themselves, as not dependent on God for the prolongation of their life, and for success in their affairs. This impiety, as the apostle told them in the subsequent verse, was highly aggravated in them who were so well instructed concerning the providence of God, out of their own law.

Ver. 17.-1. It is to bim sin. Because this is true with respect to all who act contrary to knowledge and conscience, Beza and Estius consider it as a general conclusion, enforcing the whole of the reproofs given to the Jews, for acting contrary to the divine revelations, of which they were the keepers.

ed of God for their crimes; and particularly for the great crime of murdering the Just one, Jesus of Nazareth, their long expected Messiah. So that being soon to lose their possessions and goods, it was not only criminal but foolish, by injustice and oppression to amass wealth, of which they were so soon to be stripped, ver. 1.–6. In this part of his letter, the apostle hath introduced figures and expressions, which for boldness, vivacity, and energy, might have been used by the greatest Tragic Poet. And if they had been found in any of the writings of Greece or Rome, would have been praised as exceedingly sublime.

Having foretold, that the power of the unbelieving Jews, the great persecutors of the Christians, was soon to be utterly broken, St. James improved the knowledge of that event for the consolation of the faithful, whom he next addressed. The coming of the Lord, to destroy the Jewish church and state, was at hand, so that the evils which they were suffering from the Jews were speedily to end. He therefore exhorted the brethren to bear patiently, till the Lord should come to deliver them. In so doing, they were to imitate both the husbandman, who waiteth patiently for the early and the latter rain to render the seed he hath sown fruitful, ver. 7.-9. and their own prophets, who suffered evil patiently while they delivered the messages of God to their fathers, ver. 10.--He also put them in mind of the patience of Job, who was a Gentile, and whose patience under accumulated sufferings, was in the end rewarded with great temporal prosperity, and a lasting fame, ver. 11.

Some of the Jewish Christians, it seems, when called before the tribunals of their persecutors, had saved themselves from

OLD TRANSLATION.

GREEK Text. CIIAP. V. i Go to now, 1 Αγε νυν οι πλουσιοι, !/c rich men, wccp and κλαυσατε ολολυζοντες επι Inowl for your miseries ταις ταλαιπωριαις υμων ταις that shall come upon you.

επερχομεναις. . 2 Your riches are cor- 2 Ο πλουτος υμων σεσηrupted, and your garments πε, και τα ματια υμων σητοare moth-caten.

βρωτα γεγονεν

[ocr errors]

Ver. 1.-1. Weep on account of your miseries which are coming upon you. The Syriac translation of the last clause of this verse is, Qui venient super

In the Vulgate it is miseriis vestris quæ advenient vobis. The mise. ries of which the apostle speaks, were those in which the Jews were to be involved in their war with the Romans, and which by the signs pointed out in our Lord's prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem, James, who wrote this letter in Judea, knew were at hand : miseries from fa. mine, pestilence, and the sword. These fell heaviest no doubt on the Jews in Judea. But they extended also to the Jews in the provinces. Besides, when Jerusalem was besieged by the Romans, the Jews in the provinces within the empire, and also out of its bounds, sent help to their brethren in Judea. So Dion Cássius tells us, Lib. 66. The reader who desires a particular account of the calamities which then befel the Jews, punishment, by denying their faith upon oath, in the vain imagination that some oaths were obligatory, and others not, Mal. v. 33.–37. This practice the apostle strictly prohibited, ver. 12.—and recommended prayer to God as the proper means of their deliverance out of trouble. Also the singing of psalms of: thanksgiving and praise, when they were cheerful on account of their prosperity, ver. 13.-And when labouring under bodily distempers, he directed them to send for the elders, who were endowed with the gift of healing diseases miraculously, that they might pray for their recovery, ver. 14, 15.-And if they had injured one another, he desired them in their sickness, to confess their faults mutually, and to pray for each others recovery, ver. 16.—The efficacy of the prayers of prophets and righteous men, he illustrated by the efficacy of Elijah's prayers, ver. 17, 18, 19. -Lastly, that the faithful might be excited to do their utmost, by prayer and every other proper means, to reclaim their brethren who had fallen into sin, he assured them that whosoever turns a sinner from the error of his way, saves him from death eternal; and for that good office, shall shine as the brightness of the firmament for ever and ever, ver. 20.

New TRANSLATION.

COMMENTARY. CHAP. V. 1 Come now CHAP. V. i Come now ye rich men ye rich men, wees, howl, who disbelieve the gospel, instead on account of your miseries of rejoicing in the prospect of much which are coming upon pleasure from your wealth, weep you.

and cry bitterly, on account of the

nuiseries which are coming upon you. 2 Your riches are putri- 2 Your riches, your corn, wine, fied,' and your garments and oil, which ye have amassed by are moth-eaten.2

injustice and rapine, are putrified, and your garments, in your wardrobes, are moth-eaten.

may read Josephus's history of the war, where he will find scenes of misery not to be paralleled in the annals of any nation.

Ver. 2.-1. Your riches are putrified. Strnae. This circumstance shews that the apostle is speaking of stores of corn, wine, and oil, which like the rich fool mentioned, Luke xii. 18. they had amassed, probably, by rapine and fraud. In this manner the Syriac translator understood the passage : for he translates it, corruptæ sunt et fætuerunt.

2. Your garments are motb-eaten. In the eastern countries, the fashion of clothes did not change as with us. Hence persons of fortune were in use YOL. y.

50

[ocr errors]

3 Your gold and silver χρυσος υμων και ο αρis cankered; and the rust of

γυρος κατωται, και ο ιος αυthem shall be a witness

των εις μαρτυριον υμιν εςαι, against you, and shall eat

και φαγεται τας σαρκας υμων your fesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure

ως πυρ εθησαυρισατε εν εσtogether for the last days. χαταις ημεραις

4 Behold, the hire of the Jabourers which have reap- 4 Ιδου, ο μισθος των εργαed down your fields, which

των των αμησαντων τας χωis of you kept back by fraud, crieth;

and the series ρας υμων, ο απεςηρημενος αφ' of them which have reaped υμων, κραζει και αι βοαι των are entered into the ears

θερισαντων εις τα ωτα Κυριου of the Lord of sabaoth. σαβαώθ εισεληλυθασιν

5 Ye have lived in plea- 5 Ετρυφησατε επι της γης, sure on the earth, and been

και εσπαταλησατε εθρεψατε

to have many garments made of different costly stuffs, which they laid up as a part of their riches. See Gen. xlv. 22. Judges xiv. 12, 13. 2 Kings v. 5. This appears also from Q. Curtius, who tells us, Lib. v. c. 6. that when Alexander took Persepolis, he found the riches of all Asia gathered toge. ther there, which consisted not only of gold and silver, but of garments : vestis ingens modus.

Ver. 3.-1. And the rust of them will be a witness against you. The circumstances of their corn, &c. being putrified, and of their gold and silver being eaten with rust, are mentioned tu shew that they had not been properly used, but covetously hoarded. And by a strong poetical figure, the rust of their gold and silver is represented both as a witness against them, and an executioner to destroy them : It will bear witness to their covetous. ness, and punish them by raising the most acute pain in their conscience.

2. Treasured up misery in the last days. In the original this clause is elliptical. In Estius's edition of the Vulgate it is, Thesaurizastis vobis iram. The Syriac translator, construing aue with this clause, hath Ignem congessistis vobis in dies ultimos. And the commentators who by the last days understand the day of judgment, have adopted that translation. But, as the apostle is speaking of the last days of the Jewish commonwealth, and of the miseries which were then to fall on the nation, and particularly on the rich men, I think with Whitby, that the word to be supplied, is misery ; es. pecially as their wealth would be an inducement to the Romans to murder them. We have the phrase Inoaugiser oggar, treasure up wrath, Rom. ii. 5.- This denunciation, though applied here to the unbelieving Jews in the apostle's days, is general in its intention, and ought to be seriously attended to by all in every age, who amass riches unjustly, and who either hoard

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »