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The Epistle Of St James



The 1st Chapter
     James the servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, sends greeting to the twelve tribes which are scattered here and there. My brethren, count it exceeding joy when you fall into diverse temptations for as much as you know how that the trying of your faith brings patience: and let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and sound, lacking nothing.
     If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God which gives to all men indifferently, and casts no man in the teeth: and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith and waver not. For he that doubts is like the waves of the sea, tossed of the wind and carried with violence. Neither let that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A wavering minded man is unstable in all his ways.
     Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted, and the rich in that he is made low. For even as the flower of the grass, shall he vanish away. The *son rises with heat, and the grass withers, and his flower falls away, and the beauty of the fashion of it perishes: even so shall the rich man perish with his abundance. *son: exactly as it appears, other places sun is spelled sunne, here is son spelled sonne.
     Happy is the man that endures in temptation, for when he is tried he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to them that love him.
     Let no man say when he is tempted, that he is tempted of God. For God tempts not unto evil, neither tempts he any man. But every man is tempted, drawn away, and enticed of his own *concupiscence. Then when lust has conceived, she brings forth sin, and sin when it is finished, brings forth death.*concupiscence: strong desire, as in the lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh, and the pride of goods.
     *Erre not my dear brethren. Every good gift, and every perfect gift, is from above and comes down from the father of light with whom is no variableness, neither is he changed unto darkness. Of his own will begat he us with the word of life, that we should be the first fruits of his creatures.*erre: from the word earnest, money paid as part payment to bind a contract or bargain. Hebrew meaning to pledge. We see here then, the hope or pledge that was in their hearts, was of themselves, and not devoted to believe in Gods promises.
     Wherefore dear brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to wrath. For the wrath of man works not that which is righteous before God.
Wherefore lay apart all filthiness, all *superfluity of maliciousness, and receive with meekness the word that is grafted in you, which is able to save your souls. *superfluity: indulgence
     And see that you be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves with *sophistry. For if any hear the word, and do it not, he is like unto a man that beholds his bodily face in a glass. For as soon as he has looked on himself, he goes his way, and forgets immediately what his fashion was. But whoso looks in the perfect law of liberty, and continues therein (if he be not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work) the same shall be happy in his deed. *sophistry: a imaginable but misleading discussion.
     If any man among you seen *devout, and refrain not his tongue: but deceive his own heart, this mans *devotion is in vain. Pure devotion and undefiled before God the father, is this: to visit the fatherless and widow in their adversity, and to keep him self unspotted of the world. *See here that this word is not "religion" neither is the word religion found in any of the original text.

The 2nd Chapter
     Brethren have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ the Lord of glory in respect of persons. If there come into your company a man with a golden ring and in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment, and you have a respect to him that wears the gay clothing, and say unto him. Sit you here in a good place: and say unto the poor, stand you there or sit here under my footstool: are you not partial in yourselves, and have judged after evil thoughts?
     Hearken my dear beloved brethren. Has not God chosen the poor of this world, which are rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he promised to them that love him? But you have despised the poor. Are not the rich they which oppress you, and they which draw you before judges? Do not they speak evil of that good name after which you be named?
     If you fulfil the royal law according to the scripture which says: You shall love your neighbour as yourself, you do well. But if you regard one person more than another, you commit sin, and are rebuked of the law, as transgressors. Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet fail in one point, he is guilty in all. For he that said. You shall not commit *adultery, said also: you shall not kill. though you do none *adultery yet if you kill, you are a transgressor of the law. So speak you, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty. For there shall be judgement merciless to him that shows no mercy, and mercy rejoices against judgement. *see here the word adultery, see elsewhere the word advoutry.
     What avails it my brethren, though a man say he has faith, when he has no deeds? Can faith save him? If a brother or a sister be naked or destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto them: Depart in peace, God send you warmness and food: not withstanding you give them not those things which are needful to the body: what helps it them? Even so faith, if it have no deeds, is dead in itself.
     Yes and a man might say: You have faith, and I have deeds: Show me your faith by your deeds: and I will show you my faith by my deeds. Believe you that there is one God? You do well. The devils also believe and tremble.
     Will you understand O you vain man that faith without deeds is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified through works when he offered Isaac his son upon the altar? You See how that faith wrought with his deeds, and through the deeds was the faith made perfect: and the scripture was fulfilled which says: Abraham believed God, and it was reputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the friend of God. you see then how that of deeds a man is justified, and not of faith only. Likewise also was not Raab the harlot justified through works, when she received the messengers, and sent them out another way? For as the body, without the spirit is dead, even so faith without deeds is dead.

The 3rd Chapter
     My brethren, be not every man a master, remembering how that we shall receive the more damnation: for in many things we sin all. If a man sin not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able to tame all the body. Behold we put bits into the horses mouths that they should obey us, and we turn about all the body. Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, *whither soever the violence of the governor will. Even so the tongue is little member, and boasts great things. *whither=what ever place, result, or condition.
     Behold how great a thing a little fire kindleth, and the tongue is fire, and a world of wickedness. So is the tongue set among our members, that it defiles the whole body, and sets a fire all that we have of nature, and is itself set a fire even of hell.
     All the natures of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and things of the sea are meeked and tamed of the nature of man. But the tongue can no man tame. It is an unruly evil full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we God the father, and therewith curse we men which are made after the similitude of God. Out of one mouth proceeds blessing and cursing. My brethren these things ought not so to be. does a fountain send forth at one place sweet water and bitter also? Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries: or a vine bear figs? So can no fountain give both salt water and fresh also. If any man be wise and endued with learning among you, let him show the works of his good conversation in meekness that is coupled with wisdom.
     But if you have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, rejoice not: neither be liars against the truth. This wisdom descends not from above: but is earthy, and natural, and devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is unstableness and all manner of evil works. But the wisdom that is from above, is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without judging, and without simulation: yes, and the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace, of them that maintain peace.

The 4th Chapter
     From from where comes war and fighting among you: come they not here from here and now? even of your voluptuousness, that reign in your members. You lust, and have not. you envy and have indignation, and cannot obtain. you fight and war and have not, because you ask not. you ask and receive not, because you ask amiss: even to consume it upon your voluptuousness. you *advouterers, and women that break matrimony: know you not how that the friendship of the world is enmity to God ward? Whosoever will be friend of the world, is made the enemy of God. Either do you think that the scripture says in vain: The spirit that dwells in you, lusts even contrary to envy: but gives more grace. *advouterers: a-devouter; the prefix a meaning not or without; a (not) devotion, here to husband, elsewhere to the truth, Christ , God our father. This is not adultery as found in most other "bibles". The proof is that the word "adultery" is found plainly in chapter 2 PP 3 above.
     Submit your selves to God, and resist the devil, and he will fly from you. Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands you sinners, and purge your hearts you wavering minded. Suffer afflictions: sorrow you and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Cast down yourselves before the Lord, and he shall lift you up. Backbite not one another, brethren. He that backbites his brother, and he that judges his brother, backbites the law, and judges the law. But and if you judge the law, you are not an observer of the law: but a judge. There is one law giver, which is able to save and to destroy. What are you that judge another man?
     Go to now you that say: today and tomorrow let us go into such a city and continue there a year and buy and sell, and win: and yet cannot tell what shall happen tomorrow. For what thing is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away: For that you ought to say: if the Lord will and if we live, let us do this or that. But now you rejoice in your boastings. All such rejoicing is evil. Therefore to him that knows how to do good, and does it not, to him it is sin.

The 5th Chapter
     Go to now you rich men. Weep, and howl on your wretchedness that shall come upon you. Your riches is corrupt, your garments are motheaten. Your gold and your silver are cankered, and the rust of them shall be a witness unto you, and shall eat your flesh, as it were fire. you have heaped treasure together in your last days: Behold the hire of the laborers which have reaped down your fields (which hire is of you kept back by fraud) crys: and the cries of them which have reaped, are entered into the ears of the Lord Sabbaoth. you have lived in pleasure on the earth and in wantonness. you have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter. you have condemned and have killed the just, and he has not resisted you.
     Be patient therefore brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold the husbandman: waits for the precious fruit of the earth, and has long patience thereupon, until he receive the early and the latter rain. Be you also patient therefore and settle your hearts, for the coming of the Lord draws nigh. Grudge not one against another brethren, least you be dampned (dampened, damned?). Behold the judge stands before the door. Take (my brethren) the Prophets for an example of suffering adversity, and of long patience, which spoke in the name of the Lord. Behold we count them happy which endure. you have heard of the patience of Job, and have known what end the Lord made. For the Lord is very pitiful and merciful.
     But above all things my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by earth, neither by any other oath. Let your yes be yes*, and your no, no: least you fall into hypocrisy. If any of you be evil vexed, let him pray. If any of you be merry, let him sing Psalms. If any be diseased among you, let him call for the elders of the congregation, and let them pray over him, and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord: and the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up: and if he have committed sins they shall be forgiven him. *Yes as I might witness is this Yes Word RN
     Knowledge your faults one to another: and pray one for another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man avails much, if it be fervent. Helias (Elias) was a man mortal even as we are and he prayed in his prayer that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.
     Brethren if any of you *erre from the truth and another convert him, let the same know that he which converted the sinner from going astray out of his way, shall save a soul from death, and shall hide the multitude of sins. *erre: from the word earnest, money paid as part payment to bind a contract or bargain. Hebrew meaning to pledge. We see here then, the hope or pledge that was in their hearts, was of them selves, and not devoted to believe in Gods promises.

The end of the epistle of Saint James


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