James 4:6
Here the apostle follows up the words of rebuke and warning with which the chapter opened. The doctrine which he enunciates is uncompromising; and his language startling, as welt as solemn.

I. THE ANTAGONISM BETWEEN THE LOVE OF THE WORLD AND THE LOVE OF GOD. (Ver. 4.) This painful epithet, "Ye adulteresses," is the key-note of the chord which James strikes in his appeal. God is the rightful spiritual Husband of every professing Christian; and thus, if such a one embraces the world, he or she resembles a woman who turns away from her lawful husband to follow other lovers. The world is an evil world, alien in its principles and pursuits from the will and glory of God; and therefore "the friendship of the world" is incompatible with the love of him. But what precisely is this "friendship"? It does not lie

(1) in habits of friendly intercourse with worldly men; or

(2) in the diligent pursuit of one's daily occupation; or

(3) in an appreciation of creature comforts and innocent pleasures.

Worldliness does not depend upon outward acts or habits. It is a state of the heart. The word denotes the spirit and guiding disposition of the unbeliever's life - the will to "be a friend of the world." Since, accordingly, this friendship represents direct opposition to the Divine will, every man who seeks it first and most declares himself by that very act "an enemy of God."

II. CONFIRMATION OF THIS TRUTH. (Vers. 5, 6.) We accept as accurate the Greek reading of ver. 5 which has been adopted by the Revisers, together with their translation: "Or think ye that the Scripture speaketh in vain? Doth the Spirit which he made to dwell in us long unto envying?" The apostle, accordingly, confirms his representation regarding the antagonism between the love of the world and the love of God by:

1. The tenor of Scripture teaching. The sacred writers with one consent take up an attitude of protest against worldliness. They uniformly assume that "the friendship of the world is enmity with God." They urge the duty of moderation in one's desires, and of contentment with the allotments of Providence. The worldly disposition, which shows itself in covetousness and envy and strife, is opposed both to the letter and the spirit of Holy Scripture. And the moral teaching of God's Word on this subject is not "in vain." The Bible means what it says. In all its utterances it is solemnly earnest.

2. The consciousness of the renewed heart. "Doth the Spirit [i.e. the Holy Spirit] which he made to dwell in us long unto envying?" If the Holy Ghost, speaking in the written Word, condemns the spirit of envy, he does so also in the law which he writes upon the hearts of Christ's people. Some of those to whom this Epistle was addressed had "bitter jealousy and faction in their hearts" (James 3:14): it was seen in their worldly "wars" and "fightings." But the apostle appeals to their consciences to confess whether such a state of mind was not due to their walking "after the flesh' instead of "after the Spirit." They knew well that the power of the Holy Ghost within their souls, in so tar as they yielded themselves to it, produced always very different fruit from that of envy and strife (Galatians 5:19-23; James 3:14-18).

3. The substance of the Divine promises. (Ver. 6.) "Grace" is the name for the influence which the Holy Spirit exerts upon the heart in order to its regeneration and sanctification. And how does grace operate, but just by killing the love of the world within the soul, and breathing into it the love of God? He, by his Spirit, gives to his believing people "more grace," i.e. supplies of grace greater in force and volume than the strength of their depravity, or the temptations against which they have to contend. Not only so, but those who employ well the grace which they already possess, shall receive more in ever-increasing measure (Matthew 25:29). And "the humble," who realize must deeply that they do not deserve any grace at all, are those upon whom God has always bestowed the most copious supplies. The further we depart from pride, which is the fruitful mother of envy and strife, the more freely and abundantly shall we receive that supernatural energy which will drive the love of the world out of our hearts (Proverbs 3:34).

CONCLUSION. Let us impress upon our minds the intensity with which God abhors pride. All history echoes the truth that "he setteth himself in array against the proud." Take the case of Pharaoh, of Nebuchadnezzar, of Haman, of Wolsey, of Napoleon. For ourselves, therefore, let us "fling away ambition" in every form. Especially let us crucify spiritual pride. "Many laboring men have got good estates in the Valley of Humiliation;" and if we go there "in the summer-time" of prosperity we shall learn the song of the shepherd boy -

"He that is down needs fear no fall;
He that is low no pride;
He that is humble ever shall
Have God to be his Guide."


(Bunyan.) = - C.J.







But He giveth more grace.
I. HE GIVETH MORE GRACE THAN WE DESERVE. That may seem a self-evident proposition. It is like saying He giveth what is undeserved to the undeserving — grace that is entirely beyond and above deserving, above all human merit of every kind. Grace is grace. Ah, how apt are we to forget this. We are so accustomed to its gifts and mercies that we seem to ourselves to have established some kind of right to them. We are so brought up among the precious things of God's kingdom that we never pause to think that these are the fruits of amazing surpassing love. We shall never grow in grace as we ought until we have better perceptions of its true quality. It is from first to last to the undeserving. All its gifts of unbounded goodness are the unmerited expression of Divine pity and love.

II. HE GIVETH MORE GRACE THAN WE DESIRE. For we do desire it; if we be gracious persons at all, it is one of the laws of our life. Just as the seed peeps upward from the soil to see the sun as it begins to live anew — just as rivers run to the ocean, as the sun hasteth to his going down, as ships speed on to their haven, as doves fly to their windows, as the exile sighs for his native land, as the weary pilgrim longs for his home, as each man seeks his own company — so the heaven-born soul riseth to things above; the things that she desires. Have you no desire? Ah! then you are not yet a new creature. If we have no spiritual desires we have no spiritual life. We are very apt to commit mistakes as to the strength of our desire for grace. We are very apt to mistake both ways, sometimes to think it is stronger than it is, and sometimes to think it is weaker than it is. We have some temporary vehemence of affection; we mistake that for a settled desire, but God does not. He knows exactly how much there is of thirst and longing in our souls for purity, light, and love, and all that we understand by grace. He knows whether we really do wish to have more of His presence in our life, and how much. We come asking to be received as hired servants in His great house, and He makes us sons. We stand knocking at the door of the temple, hoping to be admitted to the outer court, and He makes us priests. We stand by the palace of the great King, trembling and afraid to enter, and there is no more spirit in us; when, lo! we are carried by the power of His grace into the presence of the King. Thus He conquers us with lovingkindness. "He giveth more grace" — more than we desire.

III. HE GIVES US MORE GRACE THAN WE KNOW. We are here only amid beginnings. We have the best things only in seed and germ. The precious things of the Christian resemble the farmer's seed-corn. He lays it aside; it seems but little, but it will make his fields green next spring, and yellow next harvest, and fill his garners with plenty. Now, so the Christian has everything here, but it is in seed. The seed is precious seed, however, and although he goes forth weeping, sometimes, to sow it, he will doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him. Much of our joy hereafter will be the joy of admiration, the joy of surprise. We shall say, with wonder, "Was I so rich and did not know it? Had I the germ of all this in store and yet thought of it so lightly? How could I despond, and weep and tremble as I did? But this tearful state of experience is now ended, and here I see, with adoring gratitude, that God was giving me more grace than even then I knew"

IV. HE GIVETH ALL GRACE — MORE GRACE THAN WE USE. All grace is for use, not for holding. It is likened by our blessed Lord Himself to talents, one, two, five; given to every man severally according to the man's ability and according to the Master's will. It is not for holding, but for casting, as we have said, like seed-corn into the field of life. There is not one of these talents of which the Master will not require an account, not one which we may hide in the ground. And yet is not this last what we are so apt to do? The evils of this course are manifest. First, we deprive ourselves of the blessedness of giving, and then we deprive others of the blessedness of receiving. But there is more evil than this, and worse. It is more than disuse of talents; it is disease, it is corruption; it is decay, destruction, death, coming by misuse. The gold and silver pieces which the miser hoards up will not, when produced years afterwards, be in the shining state they would have been by wear; and so when the talents committed to the Christian, which have been disused for a long lifetime, are brought out at last, they will not come out in the clear shining state in which they were; and the Master may then say, "Was this what I gave you these talents for? How is the fine gold become dim? I gave you pure knowledge that it might become still purer and wider, ever brightening towards perfect knowledge, and now it is all mingled with error, and the shadow of spiritual ignorance seems to have been deepening instead of passing away. I gave you clear conscience, and left it free, and you have dimmed and fettered it — fresh sympathies with all the ardour of heaven, and now you bring them back weakened and petrified. I gave you a bright eye, apt for the darting glance, and now it is dim as an old man's vision. I gave you these talents to spend and use, and so increase; but this is only the rust of them, and it will eat a man's flesh as it were fire." We all have more grace than we use, but we ought to use it far more than we do. The only preparation for receiving grace is — what? — coming to receive grace. The only way in which we can be graciously better is by beginning to be better at once, and believing in God's willingness to help us. God only requires on our parts more receptive hearts — the willing heart of love. "He giveth more grace" to such. Let us have grace then whereby may serve God.

(A. Raleigh, D. D.)

I. THE GRACE OF GOD.

1. Grace denotes favour; that kind of favour, more especially, which flows from the mind of God into the heart of guilty man — all that we understand by "the riches of goodness, forbearance, and long-suffering"; all that awakens, informs, humbles, consoles, animates, and makes meet for "the inheritance of the saints in light."

2. The importance of grace is unspeakable. Who but the partakers of grace can perform ode duty in a right manner?

3. Wide and glorious are the operations of Divine grace. It transforms rebels against God into loyal subjects, and the enemies of those around them into ardent friends. It shuts the gates of hell, it consecrates the whole course of life, and it insures, as well as promises, the bliss of immortality.

II. THE MANNER OF BESTOWING GRACE. "He giveth grace."

1. Grace is indeed an absolute donation. Could we prefer a claim, we should receive, not a gift, but a debt.

2. In God is the fountain of grace, from which it emanates in every direction; and hence all that share the blessing ascribe it to Him alone, saying, "Of His grace have all we received."

III. The grace of God in THE ABUNDANCE OF ITS COMMUNICATIONS; that is, an abundance which daily becomes larger and larger; "He giveth more grace."

1. More is necessary. As the Christian advances in life, he has new duties to perform, new trials to bear, new temptations to encounter.

2. More is desired. It is the tendency of grace, as of everything in nature, to seek after its own increase.

3. More grace is provided. All our wants as Christians have been foreseen equally with those by which we can be affected as creatures.Conclusion:

1. Why do so many remain destitute of grace? They are either careless and insensible of their need of it; or they are too proud to receive it.

2. Who, then, are made partakers of grace in its amplest communications (Isaiah 66:2; 1 Peter 5:5)?

3. Why should we rest satisfied with the highest measures of grace already bestowed? We are not straitened in God, but in ourselves; we "have not, because we ask not."

4. The time is at hand when grace will be dispensed no longer.

(C. A. Jeary.)

The world gives a little that it may give no more; but Christ gives "that He may give." He gives a little grace that He may give grace upon grace. He gives a little comfort that He may give fulness of joy. Souls that are rich in grace labour after greater measures of grace out of love to grace, and because of an excellency that they see in grace. Grace is a very sparkling jewel, and be who loves it and pursues after it for its own native beauty has much of it within him.

(T. Brooks.)

The fountain of God's grace is not as a little scanty spring in the desert, round which thirsty travellers meet to strive and struggle, muddying the waters with their feet, pushing one another away, lest those waters be drawn dry by others before they come to partake of them themselves; but a mighty, inexhaustible river, on the banks of which all may stand, and of which none may grudge, lest, if others drink largely and freely, there will not remain enough for themselves.

(Abp. Trench.)

See the bounty of God — ever giving and ever ready to give more!

I. OBSERVE THE TEXT IN ITS CONNECTION.

1. It presents a contrast. "The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy"; on God's part this is met by, "but He giveth more grace."

2. It suggests a note of admiration. What a wonder that when sin aboundeth, grace still more abounds!

3. It hints at a direction for spiritual conflict.

(1)We learn where to obtain the Weapons of our warfare: we must look to Him who gives grace.

(2)We learn the nature of those weapons: they are not legal, nor fanciful, nor ascetical, but gracious.

(3)We learn that lusting after evil must be met by the fulfilment of spiritual desires and obtaining more grace.

4. It encourages us in continuing the conflict.

5. It plainly indicates a victory. God will not give us up, but will more and more augment the force of grace, so that sin must and shall ultimately yield to its sanctifying dominion.

II. OBSERVE THE GENERAL TRUTH OF THE TEXT. God is ever on the giving hand.

1. He giveth new supplies of grace.

2. Larger supplies.

3. Higher orders.

4. He giveth more largely as the old nature works more powerfully. This should be —

(1)A truth of daily use for ourselves.

(2)A promise daily pleaded for others.

(3)A stimulus in the contemplation of higher or sterner duties, and an encouragement to enter on wider fields.

5. A solace under forebodings of deeper trouble in common life.

6. An assurance in prospect of the severe tests of sickness and death.

III. BRING IT HOME BY SPECIAL APPROPRIATION.

1. My spiritual poverty, then, is my own fault, for the Lord giveth more grace to all who believe for it.

2. My spiritual growth will be to His glory, for I can only grow because He gives more grace. Oh, to grow constantly!

3. What a good God I have to go to!

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

I have grace every day! every hour! When the rebel is brought, nine times a day, twenty times a day, for the space of forty years, by his prince's grace, from under the axe, how fair and sweet are the multiplied pardons and reprievals of grace to him! In my case here are multitudes of multiplied redemptions! Here is plenteous redemption! I defile every hour, Christ washeth; I fall, grace raiseth me; i come this day, this morning, under the rebuke of justice, but grace pardoneth me; and so it is all along, till grace puts me into heaven.

(Samuel Rutherford.)

Were you to rest satisfied with any present attainments to which you have reached, it would be an abuse of encouragement. It would be an evidence that you know nothing of the power of Divine grace in reality, for —

"Whoever says, I want no more,

Confesses he has none."

Those who have seen their Lord, will always pray, "I beseech thee, show me Thy glory." Those that have once tasted that the Lord is gracious, will always cry, "Evermore give us this bread to eat."

(William Jay.)

When Lord North, during the American War, sent to the Rev. Mr. Fletcher, of Madeley (who had written on that unfortunate war, in a manner that had pleased the minister), to know what he wanted, he sent him word, that he wanted but one thing, which it was not in his lordship's power to give him, and that was more grace.

God resisteth the proud.
1. He resisteth them by punishing them for their pride against Him, as He did the builders of the turret of Babel.

2. Sometimes He resisteth the proud by hindering their purposes by some means unlocked for, as 2 Kings 19:9; Acts 4:21.

3. God resisteth the proud when He turneth their devices upon their own necks, and maketh them fall into the same mischiefs and snares which they have prepared for others (Esther 7:9).

4. God resisteth the proud by confounding their counsels, enterprises, and devices, as appeareth in proud Achitophel and others; as in the invincible navy of the proud Spaniards sent against little England, so confounded and in greatest part destroyed by the mighty hand of God.

5. God resisteth the proud by removing and taking away from them the things whereof they have been proud. Some are proud of riches, as he that said to his soul (Luke 12:20). Him God resisteth by removing him and his riches. Some are proud of beauty, whom God resisteth by sending sickness or other means to hinder and remove that from them. Some are proud of their wit; those He resisted by causing them to fall either by palsy or such like into doting folly. Some are proud of their strength, which languishing sickness abateth. Some are proud of their power, as Nebuchadnezzar, Senacherib, Antiochus, Pompey, Alexander, and the like, whom God resisteth, partly by taking away life, partly by removing their power, wherein they trusted from them.

6. God resisteth the proud when He turneth their ambition and vainglory into ignominy and shame. So God resisted Simon, the wicked sorcerer and deceiver.

7. God resisteth the proud in destroying their remembrance and cutting off their posterity from the earth for their pride and wickedness. Thereof the holy prophet David may be understood. The face of the Lord is against them which do evil, to cut off their remembrance from the earth.

8. God resisteth the proud by sending fear and terror into their hearts, whereof see Job 15:20-25; Job 18:7-10; 2 Kings 7:6; Psalm 76:5; Isaiah 10:33; Isaiah 19:16.

9. God resisteth the proud and wicked when He armeth one proud and wicked man against another, and causeth them to destroy one the other, as 2 Chronicles 20:22; Isaiah 49:26; Isaiah 20:2.

(R. Turnbull.)

I. Pride is a FOOLISH thing, and for this reason we ought to try to get rid of it. Kings and princes, and persons in high stations, are often proud of the positions they bold. If they obtain these places because they are wise and good, it is God who gives them the wisdom and the goodness they have. And if He has given these good things, then it is foolish to be proud of them, But if they get these places without being wise or good, then surely it is still more foolish to be proud of them. How many persons are proud on account of their wealth. But even this money is not theirs. It is God's. Now suppose a merchant should give twenty pounds to one of his clerks, and send him out to buy certain things, with directions to come back as soon as he got through, and give an account of how the money had been spent. And suppose that clerk should feel proud of what his employer had entrusted to him, and should boast ablaut it to his friends. Would you not think that very foolish? Certainly. And yet, if we feel proud on account of the money we have, this is just what we are doing. Another thing that persons are proud of is their dress. This is the most foolish of all things to be proud of. Instead of feeling proud of our dress, we ought rather to be ashamed of it. Our clothing is the proof that we are sinful, fallen creatures. And then, if we but remember where our clothing came from, we shall see how foolish it is to be proud of it.

II. The second reason why we ought not to be proud is because it is UNPROFITABLE. "God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble." We resist our enemies; and God resists the proud because He regards them as His enemies. Who would wish to be the enemy of God? Do you think it would pay to have God for an enemy? There is nothing in the world so profitable to us — nothing that is worth so much — nothing that pays so well as the grace of God. We read in another place that God "filleth the hungry with good things, but the rich He sends empty away."

III. The third reason why we ought not to be proud is because it is DANGEROUS. We learn from the Bible that pride is a great sin; and nothing in the world is so dangerous as sin. And it is because pride is so sinful that we find such words as these in the Bible about it: "The Lord hateth a proud look" (Proverbs 6:17); "The proud in heart are an abomination to the Lord" (Proverbs 16:5). In Grecian story there is a fable about a man named Daedalus and his son Icarus, which shows the danger of pride. The fable says that Daedalus made wings for himself and his son, so that they might have the pleasure of flying. When the wings were finished, he fitted them on vein carefully with wax. Then they took their flight in the air from the island of Crete. Daedalus was humble-minded, and did not attempt to fly very high. He got on very well, passed safely over the sea, and reached the town of Cumae in Italy, near Naples, where he built a temple to one of the gods. Bat Icarus his son was a proud young man. He resolved to fly a great deal higher than his father. He went up nearer and nearer towards the sun, till the warmth of its beams melted the wax. Then his wings fell off, and down he fell, head over heels, into the sea. That part of the Mediterranean in which he fell was called the Acarian Sea. It is said to have been so named in memory of that proud young man.

(R. Newton, D. D.)

God abhors other sinners, but against the proud He professes open defiance and hostility. This was the sin that turned angels into devils. You may trace the story of pride from paradise to this day, Other sins are more hateful to man, because they bring disgrace and have more of baseness and turpitude in them, whereas pride seems to have a kind of bravery in it. But the Lord hates it, because it is a sin that sets itself most against Him. Other sins are against God's laws, but pride is against God's sovereignty. Pride does not only withdraw the heart from God, but lifts it up against God. Other sins are more patient of reproof, for conscience will frequently consent to the reproofs of God's Word; but pride first blinds the mind, and then arms the affections — it lass the judgment asleep, and then awakens anger.

(T. Manton.)

But giveth grace unto the humble.
God gives grace to the humble. He holds them with complacency, often prospers their undertakings, and causes them to find various advantages in this temper of mind so agreeable to Him. Among these advantages contentment holds a foremost place.

I. The humble man is more CONTENTED WITH GOD, with His revelations, commands, ordinances, and dispensations, than he would and could be without the aid of this virtue. Humility prompts him to fall prostrate in the dust before the Most High and to adore Him as the All-wise and All-gracious, even there where he perceives naught but darkness around him.

II. The humble man is more CONTENTED WITH HIMSELF than he would and could be without the assistance of that virtue. Not that he imputes to his good qualities, his merits, a higher value than they properly profess, or satisfies himself with any, however low, degree of wisdom and virtue; but he is more contented with himself, inasmuch as he voluntarily submits to the limitations of his nature and his present state, little as it may be in itself and in comparison with what superior beings may be able to do and to enjoy.

III. For the same reason the humble man is more CONTENT WITH THE STATION HE OCCUPIES in the world and in society than he would and could be without the aid of his virtue. He knows that he everywhere finds opportunities and motives to unfold his mental powers, to be useful to his brethren, to exercise himself in obedience to God, and thus to render himself capable of higher occupations and dignities in a better world; and this ennobles and refines all that he does in his opinion, and induces him to do everything with care and conscientiousness.

IV. The humble man is far more CONTENTED WITH HIS FELLOW CREATURES than he would and could be without the aid of this virtue. The more modest the opinion he has of himself, of his talents, of his merits, the less does he expect any particular respect, reverence, or submission from others; the less does he imagine he has any right to it; the less does he insolently avail himself of any pre-eminence which he really has.

V. The humble man is more CONTENTED IN PROSPERITY AND IN AFFLUENCE than he would and could be without the aid of this virtue.

VI. The humble man is likewise more CONTENTED IN MISFORTUNES OR IN ADVERSITY than he would and could be without the aid of this virtue. He knows that as a man he is a frail creature, liable to innumerable accidents, that he has no real claim to an uninterrupted succession of prosperous days and favourable events, and that it is incompatible with the present condition of mankind; and the more sensibly he feels all this, the less is he surprised when such misfortunes actually befal him, if bad and good days alternately succeed in the course of his life.

(G. J. Zollikofer.)

Lumps of unrelenting guiltiness are as vessels closed up, and cannot receive grace; humility fitteth a man to receive it, and maketh a man to esteem it. The humble are vessels of a larger bore and size, fit to receive what grace giveth out. You may learn hence wily humble persons are most gracious, and gracious persons most humble. God delighteth to fill up such; they are vessels of a right bore. The valleys laugh with fatness when the hills are barren; and the laden boughs will bend their heads, &c.

(T. Manton.)

It seems hard that the very grace said to be the most difficult to acquire should often make those who have won it of least account in the world. If it be so in this life, humility will only cry the louder from the grave. No force is ever lost. Sooner or later it will come upon us in all its power.

It is with us as with the reeds which grow by the riverside; when the waters overflow, the reed bows its head and bends down, and the flood passes over it without breaking it, after which it uplifts its head and stands erect in all its vigour, rejoicing in renewed life. So is it with us; we also must sometimes be bowed down to the earth and humbled, and then arise with renewed vigour and trust.

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