4:1 From 1 whence [come] wars and fightings among you? [come they] not hence, [even] of your lusts that war in your members?
(1) He advances the same argument, condemning
certain other causes of wars and contentions, that is, unbridled pleasures and
uncontrolled lusts, by their effects, for so much as the Lord does worthily
make them come to no effect, so that they bring nothing to them in whom they
reside, but incurable torments.
4:2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to
have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, 2
because ye ask not.
(2) He reprehends them by name, who are not
ashamed to make God the minister and helper of their lusts and pleasures, in
asking things which are either in themselves unlawful or being lawful, ask for
them out of wicked motives and uses.
Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is
enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy
(3) Another reason why such unbridled lusts and
pleasures are utterly to be condemned, that is, because he who gives himself
to the world divorces himself from God, and breaks the band of that holy and
4:5 4 Do ye
think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth
(4) The taking away of an objection: in deed our
minds run headlong into these vices, but we ought so much the more diligently
take heed of them: whose care and study shall not be in vain, seeing that God
resists the stubborn and gives the grace to the modest and humble that
surmounts all those vices.
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
(5) The conclusion: We must set the positive
virtues against those vices, and therefore whereas we obeyed the suggestions
of the devil, we must submit our minds to God and resist the devil with a
certain and assured hope of victory. In short, we must endeavour to come near
to God by purity and sincerity of life.
Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and
[your] joy to a heaviness.
(6) He goes on in the same comparison of
opposites, and contrasts those profane joys with an earnest sorrow of mind,
and pride and arrogancy with holy modesty.
(a) By this word the Greeks mean a heaviness
joined with shamefacedness, which is to be seen in a cast down countenance,
and settled as it were upon the ground.
Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of [his] brother,
and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if
thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge.
(7) He reprehends most sharply another double
mischief of pride. The one is, in that the proud and arrogant will have other
men to live according to their will and pleasure. Therefore they do most
arrogantly condemn whatever does not please them: which cannot be done without
great injury to our only lawmaker. For through this his laws are found fault
with, as not carefully enough written, and men challenge that to themselves
which properly belongs to God alone, in that they lay a law upon men's
Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and
continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain:
(8) The other fault is this: That men do so
confidently determine on these and those matters and businesses, as though
every moment of their life did not depend on God.
9 Therefore to him that knoweth to do
good, and doeth [it] not, to him it is sin.
(9) The conclusion of all the former treatise.
The knowledge of the will of God does not only not at all profit, unless the
life be answerable unto it, but also makes the sins far more grievous.