on James 3 :18
And the fruit of righteousness is sown - The whole is the principle of righteousness in the soul, and all the above virtues are the fruits of that righteousness.
Is sown in peace - When the peace of God rules the heart, all these virtues and graces grow and flourish abundantly.
Of them that make peace - The peace-makers are continually recommending this wisdom to others, and their own conduct is represented as a sowing of heavenly seed, which brings forth Divine fruit. Perhaps sowing in peace signifies sowing prosperously - being very successful. This is not only the proper disposition for every teacher of the Gospel, but for every professed follower of the Lord Jesus.
Some render this verse, which is confessedly obscure, thus: And the peaceable fruits of righteousness are sown for the practisers of peace. He who labors to live peaceably shall have peace for his reward.
1. Almost the whole of the preceding chapter is founded on maxims highly accredited in the rabbinical writings, and without a reference to those writings it would have been impossible, in some cases, to have understood St. James' meaning. There is one phrase, the rabbinical meaning and use of which I have reserved for this place, viz.. The wisdom that is from above. This is greatly celebrated among them by the terms חכמה עליונה chocmah elyonah, the supernal wisdom. This they seem to understand to be a peculiar inspiration of the Almighty, or a teaching communicated immediately by the angels of God. In Sohar, Yalcut Rubeni, fol. 19, Rabbi Chiya said: "The wisdom from above was in Adam more than in the supreme angels, and he knew all things." In Sohar Chadash, fol. 35, it is said concerning Enoch, "That the angels were sent from heaven, and taught him the wisdom that is from above." Ibid. fol. 42, 4: "Solomon came, and he was perfect in all things, and strongly set forth the praises of the wisdom that is from above." See more in Schoettgen. St. James gives us the properties of this wisdom, which are not to be found in such detail in any of the rabbinical writers. It is another word for the life of God in the soul of man, or true religion; it is the teaching of God in the human heart, and he who has this not is not a child of God; for it is written, All thy children shall be taught of the Lord.
2. To enjoy the peace of God in the conscience, and to live to promote peace among men, is to answer the end of our creation, and to enjoy as much happiness ourselves as the present state of things can afford. They who are in continual broils live a wretched life; and they who love the life of the salamander must share no small portion of the demoniacal nature. In domestic society such persons are an evil disease; therefore a canker in the Church, and a pest in the state.
on James 3 :18
And the fruit of righteousness - That which the righteousness here referred to produces, or that which is the effect of true religion. The meaning is, that righteousness or true religion produces certain results on the life like the effects of seed sown in good ground. Righteousness or true religion as certainly produces such effects, as seed that is sown produces a harvest.
Is sown in peace - Is scattered over the world in a peaceful manner. That is, it is not done amidst contentions, and brawls, and strifes. The farmer sows his seed in peace. The fields are not sown amidst the tumults of a mob, or the excitements of a battle or a camp. Nothing is more calm, peaceful, quiet, and composed, than the farmer, as he walks with measured tread over his fields, scattering his seed. So it is in sowing the "seed of the kingdom," in preparing for the great harvest of righteousness in the world. It is done by men of peace; it is done in peaceful scenes, and with a peaceful spirit; it is not in the tumult of war, or amidst the hoarse brawling of a mob. In a pure and holy life; in the peaceful scenes of the sanctuary and the Sabbath; by noiseless and unobtrusive laborers, the seed is scattered over the world, and the result is seen in an abundant harvest in producing peace and order.
Of them that make peace - By those who desire to produce peace, or who are of a peaceful temper and disposition. They are engaged everywhere in scattering these blessed seeds of peace, contentment, and order; and the result shall be a glorious harvest for themselves and for mankind - a harvest rich and abundant on earth and in heaven. The whole effect, therefore, of religion, is to produce peace. It is all peace - peace in its origin and in its results; in the heart of the individual, and in society; on earth, and in heaven. The idea with which the apostle commenced this chapter seems to have been that such persons only should be admitted to the office of public teachers. From that, the mind naturally turned to the effect of religion in general; and he states that in the ministry and out of it; in the heart of the individual and on society at large; here and hereafter, the effect of religion is to produce peace. Its nature is peaceful as it exists in the heart, and as it is developed in the world: and wherever and however it is manifested, it is like seed sown, not amid the storms of war and the contentions of battle, but in the fields of quiet husbandry, producing in rich abundance a harvest of peace. In its origin, and in all its results, it is productive only of contentment, sincerity, goodness, and peace. Happy he who has this religion in his heart; happy he who with liberal hand scatters its blessings broadcast over the world!
on James 3 :18