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UPWARDS of three years ago I delivered Lectures on the Epistle of James, in the ordinary course of my pulpit ministrations. I felt special interest in the subject, and I had reason to believe that the interest extended to not a few of my people. This circumstance, together with the conviction that scarcely any other part of New Testament Scripture has received less full and satisfactory treatment, led me afterwards to engage in a fresh study of the Epistle, with all the additional appliances, critical and expository, I was able to command. The result is presented in the following series of Discourses. While much has been changed, the old form has been preserved, and thus there will appear in many parts the style of the pulpit rather than of the press,—the former admitting of, indeed calling for, greater amplification than the latter. My endeavour has been to make the whole sufficiently plain and practical for ordinary reading; while I have attempted an exactness of exposition, and a closeness of treatment, that may render it in some degree helpful to those who are seeking to ascertain the meaning and master the difficulties of the Epistle.
In the preparation of the Discourses, I have availed myself of all the assistance to be obtained from the labours of others in the same field, so far as it was within my reach. In addition to the commentaries in general use, I have habitually consulted the more exact and critical ones of Calvin, Bengel, and Alford. To the separate expositions of Neander, Stier, and Wardlaw, I have been not a little indebted. Among the older writers on James, Manton appears to me to hold the foremost place, in respect both of correctness of interpretation and fulness of practical application. I have read with much pleasure and profit Dr Guthrie's eloquent discourses on select portions of the Epistle. I do not mention other works, as I have not found them of any material service. Of course, I have repaired to a variety of quarters for help in dealing with certain passages, and with the subjects brought up by them for discussion. While thus acknowledging my obligations, I may be allowed to say that I have followed no one implicitly, but have exercised my own judgment. Among the authorities consulted in the preparation of the Appendix, I may specially mention the following :-Neander's Planting and Training of the Christian Church, Alford's Prolegomena, Stanley's Apostolical Age, Davidson's Introduction, Smith's Dictionary of the Bible, article 'James.'
The duties of the minister of a large congregation in a city are many and heavy. They leave little time for the prosecution of other studies than those bearing on weekly preparation for the pulpit. It will not disarm criticism to state, however truly, that the writer has fully his own share of these burdens, and that, with more leisure, the Exposition might have been much more satisfactory. He doubts not, however, that with all its defects—and no one can be more sensible of them than the Author-it will be received