1 James a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the TWELVE TRIBES dispers'd thro' the world, sends greeting.
2 Consider the various tryals that surround you, my brethren, as matter of great joy; knowing this, 3 that the bringing your faith to the test, produces constancy. 4 but constancy should be brought to its perfection, that you may be entirely accomplished, without any defect.
5 If any of you is deficient in prudence, let him ask it of God, who liberally gives to all without upbraiding: and he will give it. 6 but let him be fully persuaded of the lawfulness of what he asks: for he that is diffident about that, is like the waves that fluctuate with the wind. 7 such a man must not expect any answer from the Lord. 8 a diffident man is inconstant in all his actions.
9 Let him that is poor triumph in the advantages of being a christian. 10 let the rich be humbled by his instability: for he is as transitory as a flower in the field. 11 the sun is up and darts its rays, the grass is wither'd, its flowers droop, and all their beautiful appearance vanishes away. just so the rich man fades with all his projects.
12 happy is he that can stand the tryal: for when he has undergone the test, he shall receive that crown of life which the Lord has promised to those that love him.
13 Let no man under temptation, say, it is God that tempts him; for as he is incapable of moral evil, he can't influence any one thereto. 14 a man is instigated, and drawn into the snare by his own vicious passions, which once indulg'd, are productive of sin, 15 and the genuine offspring of sin is death.
16 Don't be deluded, my brethren; 17 every thing that is valuable, every gift that leads to perfection is deriv'd from heaven, it descends from that original light, which knows no change, no shadow, or decline: 18 'tis he that has voluntarily renew'd us by the oracles of truth, that we might be the first converts of the new creation.
19 Wherefore, my dear brethren, let every one be eager to hear, averse to contradiction, and deaf to passion. 20 for he that is not dispassionate is a stranger to the practice of true virtue. 21 throw off then your vices as dregs and scum: and receive with docility that genuine doctrine, which is effectual to your salvation.
22 Don't delusively content your selves with being of the audience, but put what you hear in practice: 23 for a bare auditor without practice is like one who sees his image form'd by a mirror: 24 he takes a view, turns away, and instantly loses his appearance. 25 whereas, he that attentively considers the perfect law of liberty, and is attach'd thereto, he is not a forgetful hearer, but reduces it to practice, and his conduct is crown'd with hapiness.
26 If a person of an ungovernable tongue pretends to religion, he abuses himself: for his religion is meer illusion. 27 pure and unadulterated religion, in the eye of God our father, consists in taking care of orphans and widows in their distress: and in keeping clear of the vices of the age.