James 1:24
For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.
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(24) For he beholdeth himself . . .—Better, for he beheld himself and went his way, and straightway forgot what he was. Like the simile in James 1:11, this is described as an actual occurrence, seen and noted by the writer. There is a recognition of the well-known face, followed by instant and complete forgetfulness; and thus is it often with the mirror of the soul. In some striking sermon or book a man’s self is made manifest to him, and the picture may be too familiar to cause aversion; but, whether or no, the impression fades from his mind as quickly as the echoes of the preacher’s words. At the best the knowledge was only superficial, perhaps momentary; widely different from that which comes of a holy walk with God.

1:22-25 If we heard a sermon every day of the week, and an angel from heaven were the preacher, yet, if we rested in hearing only, it would never bring us to heaven. Mere hearers are self-deceivers; and self-deceit will be found the worst deceit at last. If we flatter ourselves, it is our own fault; the truth, as it is in Jesus, flatters no man. Let the word of truth be carefully attended to, and it will set before us the corruption of our nature, the disorders of our hearts and lives; and it will tell us plainly what we are. Our sins are the spots the law discovers: Christ's blood is the laver the gospel shows. But in vain do we hear God's word, and look into the gospel glass, if we go away, and forget our spots, instead of washing them off; and forget our remedy, instead of applying to it. This is the case with those who do not hear the word as they ought. In hearing the word, we look into it for counsel and direction, and when we study it, it turns to our spiritual life. Those who keep in the law and word of God, are, and shall be, blessed in all their ways. His gracious recompence hereafter, would be connected with his present peace and comfort. Every part of Divine revelation has its use, in bringing the sinner to Christ for salvation, and in directing and encouraging him to walk at liberty, by the Spirit of adoption, according to the holy commands of God. And mark the distinctness, it is not for his deeds, that any man is blessed, but in his deed. It is not talking, but walking, that will bring us to heaven. Christ will become more precious to the believer's soul, which by his grace will become more fitted for the inheritance of the saints in light.For he beholdeth himself - While he looks in the mirror he sees his true appearance.

And goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth - As soon as he goes away, he forgets it. The apostle does not refer to any intention on his part, but to what is known to occur as a matter of fact.

What manner of than he was - How he looked; and especially if there was anything in his appearance that required correction.

24. beholdeth—more literally, "he contemplated himself and hath gone his way," that is, no sooner has he contemplated his image than he is gone his way (Jas 1:11). "Contemplate" answers to hearing the word: "goeth his way," to relaxing the attention after hearing—letting the mind go elsewhere, and the interest of the thing heard pass away: then forgetfulness follows [Alford] (Compare Eze 33:31). "Contemplate" here, and in Jas 1:23, implies that, though cursory, yet some knowledge of one's self, at least for the time, is imparted in hearing the word (1Co 14:24).

and … and—The repetition expresses hastiness joined with levity [Bengel].

forgetteth what manner of man he was—in the mirror. Forgetfulness is no excuse (Jas 1:25; 2Pe 1:9).

The remembrance of what his face is vanisheth as soon as his eye is off the glass; he remembers not the spots he saw in his face, to wipe them off. So he that sees the blemishes of his soul in the glass of the word, and doth not remember them to do them away, looks in that glass (i.e. hears the word) in vain.

For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way,.... He takes a slight glance of himself, and departs:

and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was; he forgets either his spots, blemishes, and imperfections; or his comeliness and beauty; the features of his face, be they comely or not: so a bare hearer of the word, who is not concerned to practise what he hears, while he is hearing, he observes some things amiss in himself, and some excellencies in Christ; but, when the discourse is over, he goes his way, and thinks no more of either.

For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.
Jam 1:24. With this verse begins the explanation of the image given in Jam 1:25 (therefore γάρ), whilst κατανοεῖν τὸ πρόσωπον τ. γεν. αὐτοῦ is again resumed by κατενόησεν ἑαυτόν. By ἀπελήλυθεν the point of the mere transitoriness of the contemplation in the glass only before presupposed is brought forward, and by ἐπελάθετο the result of such a contemplation is added, by which the points of application, which James employs, are brought out. The emphasis lies on ἀπελήλυθεν and εὐθέως ἐπελάθετο. The form of representation is here the same as in Jam 1:11. It is not a particular instance which may occur (Wiesinger), but a general statement which is here introduced in the form of a single incident, as the contemplating oneself in the glass is always only a temporary and not a permanent state. The hearing of the word answers to κατανοσεῖν; the averting of the mind from what is heard to ἀπέρχεσθαι; and the being unconcerned about what is heard, by which the realization of the word in the life is prevented, to εὐθέως ἐπιλανθάνεσθαι. James can only think on man according to his ethical condition in relation to the demands of the divine will, as corresponding to πρόσωπον τ. γ. or ἑαυτόν in the application. It is true that he does not definitely state this; but from this it does not follow that James, overlooking all other considerations, has had only in view generally the contents of the word, because the comparison of the word with a glass, which gives to him who looks in it to see his own image, would be without meaning.[101] On the use of the perfect (ἀπελήλυθεν) between the aorists, see Winer, p. 243 f. [E. T. 340].

On ὁποῖος ἦν, Wiesinger correctly remarks, “namely in the glass.”

[101] According to most interpreters, “the depravity of the natural man” is chiefly to be thought on; but this is not entirely suitable, as James addresses Christians who as such are no longer natural men. In a wholly arbitrary manner is the reference inserted by some in κατενόησεν, to spots which disfigure the face. Wolf: de tralatitia speculi inspectione loquitur Apostolus; talis vero efficit, ut maculas non perspicias atque adeo de iis abstergendis non cogites; similarly Pott and others.

Jam 1:24. κατενόησενἀπελήλυθεν: gnomic aorists, see note on ἀνέτειλεν, Jam 1:11.

24. For he beholdeth himself …] The Greek gives a subtle variation in the tenses. “For he beheld himself” (the momentary act), and hath gone away (the completed departure continuing in the present), and forgat (the oblivion coming and being completed in a moment). The mode of stating a similitude in the form of a narrative related as belonging to the past is characteristic of St James’s style. See note on James 1:11.

Jam 1:24. [Κατενόησε, he hath contemplated himself) It can hardly happen that no knowledge whatever of one’s self is imparted by the hearing of the word: 1 Corinthians 14:24.—V. g.]—εὐθέως, straightway) turning away to other subjects. The repetition of καὶ has great force in expressing this hastiness joined with levity. Genesis 25:34 (Septuagint).—ἐπελάθετο, he forgetteth) Forgetfulness is no excuse: Jam 1:25; 2 Peter 1:9.

Verse 24. - Observe the tenses; literally, He considered (κατενόησε) himself, and has gone away (ἀπελήλυθε), and straightway forgot (ἐπελάθετο) what he was like (compare note on ver. 11). James 1:24He beholdeth (κατενόησεν)

The aorist tense, throwing the sentence into a lively, narrative form: he beheld himself and forgot. Compare James 1:11.

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