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268 The Bp. of Rochester's Discourse to his Clergy, 1695.
doctrine and example, with industry and vigilance, with steadfastness and courage, in meekness of wisdom, and with zeal according to knowledge.
And if we shall all, in this manner, devote ourselves to this work, we may then be assured, that the same promise which our Lord Christ, in some of his last words on earth, made to his whole church, will be eminently made good to this, the purest part of it in these latter ages of Christianity, that he himself will be alway with it, even to the end of the world. Amen.
CANDIDATES OF HOLY ORDERS;
GREAT IMPORTANCE AND PRINCIPAL DUTIES
BY THE RIGHT REVEREND FATHER IN GOD,
GEORGE BULL, D.D.
LATE-LORD BISHOP OF ST. DAVID's.
GREAT DIFFICULTY AND DANGER
JAMES iii. 1.
My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall
receive the greater condemnation. THE text may at first sight appear to some to stand at a very wide distance from the present occasion. But I hope, by that time I have spent a little pains in explaining it, I shall set the text and occasion at a perfect agreement.
The words therefore are by interpreters diversely expounded. Among the rest, two interpretations there are, which stand as the fairest candidates for our reception.
1. Some understand the masters here in my text to be proud, malicious censors and judges of other men's actions, and so expound the text as a prohibition of rash and uncharitable judgment, and make it parallel to that of our Saviour, Judge not, that ye be not judgeda. Be not rash and hasty in censuring or judging the actions of others, or speaking evil of them, considering that by so doing you will but procure a greater judgment of God upon yourselves. The chief, if not the only argument for this interpretation, is the context of the apostle's discourse, which in the following verses is wholly spent against the vices of the tongue. But,
2. Others there are, who interpret the masters in the text to be pastors or teachers in the church of God; and
a Matth. vii. 1.
accordingly understand the words as a serious caution against the rash undertaking of the pastoral office or function, as an office attended with great difficulty and danger, a task very hard to be discharged, and wherein whoever miscarries makes himself thereby liable to a severer judg. ment of Almighty God.
This latter interpretation (with submission I speak it) seems to me, almost beyond doubt, the genuine sense of the apostle. The reasons are evident in the text itself. For, 1. unless we thus expound the words, it will be hard to give a rational account of this word, monol, many, why it should be inserted. For if we understand those masters the apostle speaks of to be rash judges and censurers of others, it is most certain then, one such would be too many, and the multiplicity of them would not be the only culpable thing. But on the other side, if we receive the latter interpretation, the account of the word model is easily rendered, according to the paraphrase of Erasmus, thus; “Let not pastors or teachers be too vulgar and
cheap among you; let not every man rush into so sacred an office and function b.” And Drusius's gloss on this very word is remarkable : Summa summarum ; quo pauciores sunt magistri, eo melius agitur cum populo. Nam ut medicorum olim Cariam, ita doctorum et magistrorum nunc multitudo perdit rempublicam. Utinam vanus sim. I need not English the words to those whom they concern.
2. If we embrace any other interpretation, we must of necessity depart from the manifest propriety of the Greek word, which our translators render masters. The word is didáoxanoi, which whoso understands the first elements of the Greek tongue knows to be derived from Eidéo xw, to teach, and so literally to signify teachers. Be not many teachers.
And so accordingly the Syriac renders it by a word, which, the learned Drusius tells us, is parallel to the Hebrew D12, which undoubtedly signifies doctors or teachers.
These reasons are sufficient to justify our interpretation, though I might add the authority of the ancients, who generally follow this sense, as also the concurrent judgment of our most learned modern annotators, Erasmus, Vatablus, Castellio, Estius, Drusius, Grotius, with many others.
As for the connection of the words, thus explained, with
b'Ne passim ambiatis esse magistri.