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5:1 Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you.

5:2 Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten.

5:3 Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.

5:4 Behold, the hire of the labourers who 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.

5:5 Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter.

5:6 Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you.

5:7 Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord.

Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.

5:8 Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.

5:9 Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door.

5:10 Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.

5:11 Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.

5:12 But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.

5:13 Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.

5:14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: 5:15 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.

5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

5:17 Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.

5:18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.

5:19 Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; 5:20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
back to: James
Book: James
Chapter: 5

The Judgments of God denounced against rich unbelievers. (1-6)
Exhortation to patience and Meekness under tribulations. (7-11)
Cautions against rash swearing, Prayer recommended in afflictive
and prosperous circumstances, Christians to confess their faults
to each other. (12-18) The happiness of being the means of the
Conversion of a sinner. (19,20)

1-6 Public troubles are most grievous to those who live in
pleasure, and are secure and sensual, though all ranks suffer
deeply at such times. All idolized treasures will soon perish,
except as they will rise up in Judgment against their
possessors. Take heed of defrauding and oppressing; and avoid
the very appearance of it. God does not forbid us to use lawful
pleasures; but to live in pleasure, especially sinful pleasure,
is a provoking Sin. Is it No harm for people to unfit themselves
for minding the concerns of their souls, By indulging bodily
appetites? The just may be condemned and killed; but when such
suffer By oppressors, this is marked By God. Above all their
other crimes, the Jews had condemned and crucified that Just One
who had come among them, even Jesus Christ the righteous.

7-11 Consider him that waits for a crop of Corn; and will not
you wait for a Crown of Glory? If you should be called to wait
longer than the Husbandman, is not there something more worth
waiting for? In every sense the coming of the Lord drew nigh,
and all his people's losses, hardships, and sufferings, would be
repaid. Men count time long, because they Measure it By their
own lives; but all time is as nothing to God; it is as a moment.
To short-lived creatures a few years seem an Age; but Scripture,
measuring all things By the existence of God, reckons Thousands
of years but So many days. God brought about things in Job's
case, So as plainly to prove that he is very pitiful and of
tender Mercy. This did not appear during his troubles, but was
seen in the event, and believers now will find a happy End to
their trials. Let us serve our God, and Bear our trials, as
those who believe that the End will Crown all. Our eternal
happiness is safe if we trust to him: all else is mere vanity,
which soon will be done with for ever.

12-18 The Sin of swearing is condemned; but how many make Light
of common profane swearing! Such swearing expressly throws
contempt upon God's name and authority. This Sin brings neither
gain, nor pleasure, nor reputation, but is showing Enmity to God
without occasion and without advantage. It shows a Man to be an
enemy to God, however he pretends to Call himself By his name,
or sometimes joins in Acts of Worship. But the Lord will not
Hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. In a Day of
affliction nothing is more seasonable than Prayer. The Spirit is
then most humble, and the Heart is broken and tender. It is
necessary to Exercise Faith and Hope under Afflictions; and
Prayer is the appointed means for obtaining and increasing these
graces. Observe, that the saving of the sick is not ascribed to
the anointing with Oil, but to Prayer. In a time of sickness it
is not cold and formal Prayer that is effectual, but the Prayer
of Faith. The great thing we should Beg of God for ourselves and
others in the time of sickness is, the Pardon of Sin. Let
nothing be done to encourage any to delay, under the mistaken
fancy that a Confession, a Prayer, a Minister's absolution and
exhortation, or the sacrament, will set all right at last, where
the duties of a godly Life have been disregarded. To acknowledge
our faults to each other, will tend greatly to peace and
brotherly Love. And when a righteous person, a true believer,
justified in Christ, and By his Grace walking before God in holy
obedience, presents an effectual fervent Prayer, wrought in his
Heart By the power of the Holy Spirit, raising holy affections
and believing expectations and So leading earnestly to plead the
promises of God at his Mercy-seat, it avails much. The power of
Prayer is proved from the history of Elijah. In Prayer we must
not look to the merit of Man, but to the Grace of God. It is not
enough to say a Prayer, but we must pray in Prayer. Thoughts
must be fixed, desires must be firm and ardent, and graces
exercised. This instance of the power of Prayer, encourages
every Christian to be Earnest in Prayer. God never says to any
of the seed of Jacob, Seek my Face in vain. Where there may not
be So much of Miracle in God's answering our prayers, yet there
may be as much of Grace.

19,20 It is No Mark of a Wise or holy Man, to boast of being
free from error, or to refuse to acknowledge an error. And there
is some doctrinal mistake at the bottom of every practical
mistake. There is No one habitually bad, but upon some bad
principle. This is Conversion; to turn a sinner from the error
of his ways, not merely from one party to another, or from one
notion and way of thinking to another. There is No way
effectually and finally to hide Sin, but forsaking it. Many sins
are hindered in the party converted; many also may be So in
others whom he may influence. The Salvation of one soul is of
infinitely greater importance than preserving the lives of
multitudes, or promoting the welfare of a whole people. Let us
in our several stations keep these things in mind, sparing No
pains in God's service, and the event will prove that our labour
is not in vain in the Lord. For six thousand years He has been
multiplying pardons, and yet his free Grace is not tired nor
grown weary. Certainly Divine Mercy is an ocean that is ever
full and ever flowing. May the Lord give us a part in this
abundant Mercy, through the Blood of Christ, and the
Sanctification of the Spirit.

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