James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus
Christ, to the twelve tribes which are of the Dispersion, greeting.
Count it all joy, my brethren, when ye fall into
manifold temptations; Knowing that the proving of
your faith worketh patience. And let patience
have its perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, lacking
in nothing. But if any of you lacketh wisdom, let
him ask of God, who giveth to all liberally and upbraideth not; and it
shall be given him. But let him ask in faith,
nothing doubting: for he that doubteth is like the surge of the sea driven
by the wind and tossed. For let not that man
think that he shall receive anything of the Lord;
a doubleminded man, unstable in all his ways.
But let the brother of low degree glory in his
high estate: and the rich, in that he is made
low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away.
For the sun ariseth with the scorching wind, and
withereth the grass: and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the
fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his
goings. Blessed is the man that endureth
temptation; for when he hath been approved, he shall receive the crown of
life, which the Lord promised to them that love him.
Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted
of God; for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempteth no
man: but each man is tempted, when he is drawn
away by his own lust, and enticed. Then the
lust, when it hath conceived, beareth sin: and the sin, when it is
fullgrown, bringeth forth death. Be not
deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good gift
and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of
lights, with whom can be no variation, neither shadow that is cast by
turning. Of his own will he brought us forth by
the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his
creatures. Ye know this, my beloved
brethren. But let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to
wrath: for the wrath of man worketh not the
righteousness of God. Wherefore putting away all
filthiness and overflowing of wickedness, receive with meekness the
implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers
only, deluding your own selves. For if any one
is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding
his natural face in a mirror: for he beholdeth
himself, and goeth away, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he
was. But he that looketh into the perfect law,
the law of liberty, and so continueth, being not a hearer
that forgetteth but a doer that worketh, this man shall be blessed in his
doing. If any man thinketh himself to be
religious, while he bridleth not his tongue but deceiveth his heart, this
man's religion is vain. Pure religion and
undefiled before our God and Father is this, to visit the fatherless and
widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unspotted from the
My brethren, hold not the faith of our Lord Jesus
Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.
For if there come into your synagogue a man with
a gold ring, in fine clothing, and there come in also a poor man in vile
clothing; and ye have regard to him that weareth
the fine clothing, and say, Sit thou here in a good place; and ye say to
the poor man, Stand thou there, or sit under my footstool;
Do ye not make distinctions among yourselves, and
become judges with evil thoughts? Hearken, my
beloved brethren; did not God choose them that are poor as to the world
to be rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he promised to
them that love him? But ye have dishonored the
poor man. Do not the rich oppress you, and themselves drag you before the
judgment-seats? Do not they blaspheme the
honorable name by which ye are called? Howbeit if
ye fulfil the royal law, according to the scripture, Thou will love thy
neighbor as thyself, ye do well: but if ye have
respect of persons, ye commit sin, being convicted by the law as
transgressors. For whosoever shall keep the
whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is become guilty of
all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery,
said also, Do not kill. Now if thou dost not commit adultery, but killest,
thou art become a transgressor of the law. So
speak ye, and so do, as men that are to be judged by a law of liberty.
For judgment is without mercy to him that
hath showed no mercy: mercy glorieth against judgment.
What doth it profit, my brethren, if a man say
he hath faith, but have not works? can that faith save him?
If a brother or sister be naked and in lack of
daily food, and one of you say unto them, Go in
peace, be ye warmed and filled; and yet ye give them not the things
needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even
so faith, if it have not works, is dead in itself.
Yea, a man will say, Thou hast faith, and I have
works: show me thy faith apart from thy works, and I by my works
will show thee my faith. Thou believest
that God is one; thou doest well: the demons also believe, and shudder.
But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith apart
from works is barren? Was not Abraham our father
justified by works, in that he offered up Isaac his son upon the altar?
Thou seest that faith wrought with his works,
and by works was faith made perfect; and the
scripture was fulfilled which says, And Abraham believed God, and it was
reckoned unto him for righteousness; and he was called the friend of God.
Ye see that by works a man is justified, and not
only by faith. And in like manner was not also
Rahab the harlot justified by works, in that she received the messengers,
and sent them out another way? For as the body
apart from the spirit is dead, even so faith apart from works is dead.
Be not many of you teachers, my brethren,
knowing that we shall receive heavier judgment.
For in many things we all stumble. If any
stumbleth not in word, the same is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole
body also. Now if we put the horses' bridles into
their mouths that they may obey us, we turn about their whole body also.
Behold, the ships also, though they are so great
and are driven by rough winds, are yet turned about by a very small
rudder, whither the impulse of the steersman willeth.
So the tongue also is a little member, and
boasteth great things. Behold, how much wood is kindled by how small a
fire! And the tongue is a fire: the world of
iniquity among our members is the tongue, which defileth the whole body,
and setteth on fire the wheel of nature, and is set on fire by hell.
For every kind of beasts and birds, of creeping
things and things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed by mankind.
But the tongue can no man tame; it is a
restless evil, it is full of deadly poison.
Therewith bless we the Lord and Father; and
therewith curse we men, who are made after the likeness of God:
out of the same mouth cometh forth blessing and
cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.
Doth the fountain send forth from the same
opening sweet water and bitter? Can a fig
tree, my brethren, yield olives, or a vine figs? Neither can salt
water yield sweet. Who is wise and understanding
among you? let him show by his good life his works in meekness of wisdom.
But if ye have bitter jealousy and faction in
your heart, glory not and lie not against the truth.
This wisdom is not a wisdom that cometh
down from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.
For where jealousy and faction are, there is
confusion and every vile deed. But the wisdom
that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy to be
entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without variance, without
hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is
sown in peace for them that make peace.
Whence come wars and whence come
fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your
pleasures that war in your members? Ye lust, and
have not: ye kill, and covet, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war; ye have
not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not,
because ye ask amiss, that ye may spend it in your pleasures.
Ye adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship
of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore would be a friend of
the world maketh himself an enemy of God. Or
think ye that the scripture speaketh in vain? Doth the spirit which he
made to dwell in us long unto envying? But he
giveth more grace. Wherefore the scripture says, God resisteth the
proud, but giveth grace to the humble. Be subject
therefore unto God; but resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.
Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye doubleminded.
Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your
laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.
Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and
he shall exalt you. Speak not one against
another, brethren. He that speaketh against a brother, or judgeth his
brother, speaketh against the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou
judgest the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge.
One only is the lawgiver and judge,
even he who is able to save and to destroy: but who art thou that
judgest thy neighbor? Come now, ye that say,
To-day or to-morrow we will go into this city, and spend a year there, and
trade, and get gain: whereas ye know not what
shall be on the morrow. What is your life? For ye are a vapor, that
appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.
For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we
shall both live, and do this or that. But now ye
glory in your vauntings: all such glorying is evil.
To him therefore that knoweth to do good, and
doeth it not, to him it is sin.
Come now, ye rich, weep and howl for your
miseries that are coming upon you. Your riches
are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten.
Your gold and your silver are rusted; and their
rust shall be for a testimony against you, and shall eat your flesh as
fire. Ye have laid up your treasure in the last days.
Behold, the hire of the laborers who mowed your
fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth out: and the cries of
them that reaped have entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth.
Ye have lived delicately on the earth, and taken
your pleasure; ye have nourished your hearts in a day of slaughter.
Ye have condemned, ye have killed the righteous
one; he doth not resist you. Be patient
therefore, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman
waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient over it, until
it receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also
patient; establish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord is at hand.
Murmur not, brethren, one against another, that
ye be not judged: behold, the judge standeth before the doors.
Take, brethren, for an example of suffering and
of patience, the prophets who spake in the name of the Lord.
Behold, we call them blessed that endured: ye
have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord, how
that the Lord is full of pity, and merciful. But
above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by the heaven, nor by
the earth, nor by any other oath: but let your yea be yea, and your nay,
nay; that ye fall not under judgment. Is any
among you suffering? Let him pray. Is any cheerful? Let him sing praise.
Is any among you sick? 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: and the prayer of faith
shall save him that is sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he
have committed sins, it shall be forgiven him.
Confess therefore your sins one to another, and
pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The supplication of a
righteous man availeth much in its working.
Elijah was a man of like passions with us, and
he prayed fervently that it might not rain; and it rained not on the earth
for three years and six months. And he prayed
again; and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.
My brethren, if any among you err from the
truth, and one convert him; let him know, that
he who converteth a sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul
from death, and shall cover a multitude of sins.
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