THE CATHOLIC EPISTLE
- JAMES,” a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad, Greeting.
2 Count it, my brethren, all joy when you fall into divers
3 trials, knowing that the trial of your faith operateth to produce
4 patience. Let patience then have a full effect, that you may
5 be perfect and complete, deficient in nothing. And if any of you wanteth wisdom, let him ask it of God, who giveth to all liberally and upbraideth not; and it will be given him. But
6 let him ask with faith, without wavering, for he who wavereth is like a wave of the sea, raised by the wind and tossed about.
7 Let not therefore such a man think that he shall receive any
8 thing from the Lord. A man unsteady in his mind, is unstable in all his ways.
9 Let the brother who is in low circumstances glory in his
10 exaltation; and him who is rich, in his humiliation, because
11 he shall pass away like a flower of the grass. For the sun ris- eth with its scorching heat, and withereth the blade, and the flower thereof ialleth, and its beautiful appearance is gone. Just so will the rich man be blasted in his pursuits.
12 Happy the man, who endureth a trial! because having stood the test, he will receive the crown of life, which the
13 Lord hath promised to them who love him. Let no one when tempted say, I am tempted of God. For God cannot be
14 tempted by evil, neither doth he tempt any one. But every
15 one is tempted by his own desire, when allured and ensnared. In that case desire having conceived, bringeth forth sin, and sin, when grown up, produceth death.
6 Be not led astray, my beloved brethren: Every good do-
7 nation, and every perfect gift, is from above, and cometh down from the father of lights, with whom there is no change, nor
8 shadoiv of turning. Of his own will he hath impregnated us >9 with a word of truth, that we may be a kind of first fruits of
his creatures. Therefore, my beloved brethren, let every man 10 be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: for the wrath tl of man worketh not the righteousness of God. Therefore having thrown off all the filth and scum of wickedness, receive 12 with meekness the implanted word which is able to save your !3 souls; and be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if any one is a hearer of the word and 14 not a doer, he is like a man viewing his natural face in a glass. For having viewed himself, and gone away, he instantly for- !5 got what manner of person he was. But whosoever hath looked carefully into the perfect law of this liberty, and continued therein; he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of work,
6 shall by his doing be happy. If any one among you think- eth to be religious without bridling his tongue, he is but de-
7 ceiving his heart. Such a one’s religion is vain. Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and father is this, to take the oversight and care of orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep one’s self unspotted from the world.
- Do not, my brethren, exercise this belief of our glorious
-2 Lord Jesus Christ in partial regards for persons. For if there
should come into your assembly a man in splendid dress,
having his fingers adorned with gold rings; and there should
3 come in also a poor man in mean apparel; and you should pay respect to the man in the splendid dress, and say to him, sit thou here in an honourable place; and say to the poor man,
4 stand thou there; or, sit here below my footstool: have you not actually made distinctions among yourselves, and become
5 ill principled judges? Hearken, my beloved brethren, hath not God chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith, and
6 heirs of the kingdom, which he hath promised to them who love him? But you have treated the poor with disdain. Do
7 not the rich domineer over you? Do they not drag you to tribunals? Do they not revile that honourable name by which
3 you are called? If you fulfil a law which, according to the scripture, is indeed a royal one, namely, “Thou shalt lave thy
9 neighbour as thyself,1” you do well: but if you have respect of
persons, you commit sin, and are by that law convicted as
10 transgressors. For whosoever is to keep the whole law and
11 shall fail in one point, is guilty of all. For it having said, “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” hath also said, “Thou shalt not murder” Now, if thou shall not commit adultery, but shalt
12 commit murder, thou art become a transgressor of law. Thus speak and act thus, as you are to be judged by a law of li-
13 berty; for the sentence of judgment shall be without mercy for him who hath not exercised mercy, though mercy glori- eth over a sentence of judgment.
14 What is the advantage, my brethren, though one should say he hath belief, when he hath not works? Can that belief
15 save him? Suppose a brother or a sister be naked, or in want
16 of daily food, and one of you should say to them, go in peace: be warmed, and fed to the full; and you do not give them the
17 things necessary for the body, is this any advantage? Just so
18 it is in respect to this belief, if it hath not works; being by it- self it is dead. One indeed may say, thou hast belief, and I
19 have works. Shew me thy belief by thy works. As for me, I will shew thee my belief by my works. Thou believest that there is one God. Thou dost well. The demons also believe
20 and tremble. But wouldst thou, vain man, know that bc-
21 lief without works is dead? Was not Abraham, our father,
22 justified by works when he offered up his son Isaak on the altar? Thou seest that his belief co-operated with his works,
23 and by his works his belief was perfected. And the scripture was fulfilled, which saith, “Abraham believed God and it was reckoned to him for righteousness;” and he was called the
24 friend of God. You see then that a man is justified by works,
25 and not by belief only. In like manner also, was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, having secreted the messengers,
26 and sent them out another way? For as the body without spirit is dead, so belief without works is dead also.
III. Be not, my brethren, many teachers; as you know that
2 we shall receive a severer sentence; for in many instances we all offend. If any one offend not in discourse he is a perfect
3 man, and able to bridle in the whole body. Behold we put
4 bits in the mouths of horses to make them obey us, and we manage their whole body. Behold ships also, how large soever they be, though driven by hard gales are managed by a very small helm, and kept to the course which the pilot in-
5 tendeth. So also the tongue is a very small member, yet it boasteth great things. See what a great pile of wood a
6 little fire kindleth to a flame! Now, the tongue is a fire, the leader of iniquity; the tongue is set among the members, staining the whole body, and setting the wheel of
7 nature in a blaze, when it is itself set in a blaze by hell. For all kinds of beasts, and birds, and reptiles, and fishes, are subdued and have been subdued by man; But the tongue of man
8 none can subdue. It is an ungovernable monster: it is full of
9 deadly poison. With it we bless our God and father; and with it we curse men, who are made after the image of God. Out
10 of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. These
11 things, my brethren, ought not to be so. Doth the fountain
12 send forth sweet water and bitter out of the same opening? Can a fig-tree, my brethren, produce olives? Or the vine, figs? So no fountain can yield salt Water and fresh.
13 Whoever among you is a man of wisdom and knowledge, let him, by a virtuous course of life, shew his works with the
14 meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter zeal, and strife in
15 your heart, do not boast and lie against the truth. This is not the wisdom which cometh down from above; but that which is
16 of an earthly, sensual, and devilish nature. For where there is a zeal with strife, there will be confusion, and every thing
17 which is bad. Now the wisdom which cometh from above, is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, easily to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypo-
18 crisy. And the fruit of this righteousness is peaceably sown by them who cultivate peace.
- Whence come wars and fightings among you? Is it not from this—from those sensual appetites of yours which are at
2 war in your members? You covet and use not. You kill, and envy, and cannot enjoy. You fight, and wage war, and do not
3 possess, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive,
4 because you ask amiss, that you may lavish on your sensual appetites. Ye adulterers and adulteresses! do you not know that the friendship of this world is enmity against God? Whoever therefore wisheth to be a friend of the world is adjudged
5 an enemy of God. Do you think that the scripture speaketh in vain?—Doth the spirit which dwelt in us excite desire to
6 envy? It granteth indeed a greater favour, therefore it saith, “Godresisteth the proud, and granteth favour to the humble.*”
7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he
8 will flee from you. Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners ; and purify your
9 hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned into grief; and your joy into con-
10 fusion of face. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord and he will exalt you.
11 Speak not, brethren, against one another. He who speaketh against a brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh against
12 law, and judgeth law. Now if thoti judgest law, thou art not a doer of law, but a judge. There is but one [judge]—the lawgiver, who is able to save and destroy ; who art thou who judgest another?
13 Come, now, ye who say, To-day or to-morrow we will go
14 to this or that city, and spend a year there, and traffic, and get gain, when you do not know what will be the result of to-morrow. For what is your life? For it is a vapour which appear-
15 eth for a little while and then vanisheth. Instead of your saying, If it be the Lord’s will, and we shall live, we will do
JG this or that, you now boast of your arrogant projects. All such boasting is evil. Therefore to know what is good and not do it, is a sin.
- Come, now, ye rich; weep, and raise a mournful cry for
2 the miseries which are coming upon you. Your riches are
3 coiTupted, and your garments are moth eaten. Your gold and your silver are covered with rust; and the rust of them will be
4 a witness against you, and corrode your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasure in the last days. Behold the wages of the labourers who have reaped your fields, which you have withholden, raise a cry; and the outcries of these reapers have
5 reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. Ycu have lived lux-
* Prov. 3. 34.
uriously on the earth. You have indulged voluptuousness. You have pampered your hearts, as on a day of public feasting.
6 You have condemned—you have murdered the just one. Is he
7 not setting himself in array against you ? Wherefore be ye, brethren, patient till the coming of the Lord. Behold the husbandman expecteth the precious fruits of the earth, waiting for them with patience, until it hath received the former and
8 the latter rain. Wait ye also with patience. Strengthen your
9 hearts, because the coming of the Lord is near. Repine not, brethren, against one another, that you may not be condemn-
10 ed. Behold the judge is at the door. For an example of enduring adversity, and of long suffering, take, my brethren, the prophets who have spoken in the name of the Lord. Behold
11 we call those sufferers happy. You have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the Lord’s termination—that the Lord is full of compassion and tender mercy.
12 Now above all things, my brethren, swear not—either by heaven, or by the earth, or by any other oath; but let your yes, be yes; and your no, no; that you may not fall under condemnation.
13 Is any one among you afflicted, let him pray. Ls any one
14 cheerful, let him sing praises. Is any among you sick, let him send for the elders of the congregation, and let them pray
15 over him, having anointed him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of this faith will cure the sick, and the
16 Lord will raise him up. And though he may have committed sin, he will be forgiven. Confess your faults to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The pray, er of a righteous man under the divine impulse is very pow-
17 erful. Elias was a man frail and mortal like ourselves. In one prayer he prayed that it might not rain, and it did not rain on
18 the land during three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the land bloomed with its productions.
19 Brethren, if any among you hath wandered from the truth
20 and another hath brought him back, let him know that he who hath brought back a sinner from the error of his way, shall save a soul from death, and cover a multitude of sins.