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By William Huntington - 1745-1813
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As Paul divides the believer from the infidel, and divides the law between them also, applying the law of faith to the believer, and the law of works to the infidel, declaring "that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law;" and those that are under the law are under sin, and under the curse, Gal. 3:22; 10; so James divides the hearer from the doer. He tells us that "God of his own will begat us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of His creatures," and then he tells us to be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving ourselves. By doing He means the works or fruits of faith; "Show me," saith he, "thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works;" and then adds: "For if any be a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass, for he beholds himself and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was."


Here James compares the gospel preached to a glass, the light of which reflecting upon the sinner's conscience makes manifest the state of his soul; as Paul speaks: "but we all with open face beholding as in a glass;" so here the sinner hates the light, and goeth his way; he will come no more to it; this glass has shown, and the light of it has reproved his deeds, therefore, he hates it, and goeth his way into the world again, and so hardens his heart and sears his conscience, until all is forgotten, and then he sinks into a deeper security; or, as the text saith, "he straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed." Jas. 1:25. Here is a law of perfect liberty, or a perfect law of liberty, to be looked into, and to be continued in if a man will be blessed in his deed.

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