In this chapter the apostle cautions against censoriousness, and
reproving others with a magisterial air; advises to bridle the
tongue, and guard against the vices of it; and shows what true wisdom
is, and from whence it comes. He advises the saints not to arrogate
too much to themselves, and take upon them to be the censorious
reprovers of others; which he dissuades from, by the consideration of
the greater damnation such shall receive, and by the frailty of all
men, and a common proneness to offend by words; for he must be a very
singular man indeed that does not offend by words, \\#Jas 3:1,2\\
wherefore he exhorts them to watch over their words, and bridle their
tongues; which he illustrates by the methods used with horses to keep
them in subjection, and with ships, to turn them as occasion serves,
and the master pleases, \\#Jas 3:3,4\\ and though the tongue is a
little member, and not comparable to a horse, or ship, for its bulk;
yet it boasts of great things, has a world of iniquity in it, and
much mischief is done by it, being influenced by the powers of hell;
therefore care, and all possible means, should be used to restrain
it, \\#Jas 3:5,6\\ though it is not tameable by man, only by the
Lord, when all sorts of creatures are, even the most fierce and
savage, and therefore are worse than they, being an unruly evil, and
full of deadly poison, \\#Jas 3:7,8\\. And what is the most monstrous
and shocking, blessing and cursing come out of the same mouth, are
pronounced by the same tongue, which is used in blessing God, and
cursing men made after his image, which by no means ought to be done,
\\#Jas 3:9,10\\ and which is not to be paralleled in nature; no
instance like it can be given, no fountain sending forth, in the same
place, water sweet and bitter, salt and fresh, or any fig tree
bearing olives, or vine figs, \\#Jas 3:11,12\\. And because all
this evil springs from a vain opinion men have of their own wisdom,
the apostle proceeds to give an account of true wisdom; and observes,
that that shows itself in good works, in a holy conversation,
attended with meekness and humility, and not in envying, strife, and
lies, \\#Jas 3:13,14\\. Such sort of wisdom is not from heaven, but
of the earth; it is not rational; it is no better than that of
brutes; yea, no other than that of devils, since where the above sins
prevail, it is a hell on earth, there is nothing but confusion, and
everything that is vile and wicked, \\#Jas 3:15,16\\ but, on the
other hand, true wisdom is of an heavenly original, of a pure,
peaceable, gentle, and tractable nature, and is full of good fruits
or works in its effects, particularly mercy, and is clear of
partiality and hypocrisy, \\#Jas 3:17\\ and as one of its fruits is
righteousness, that is sown in peace by the peacemaker, and produces
it, \\#Jas 3:18\\.