“But whoever looks into the perfect law of liberty, and continues therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.” James 1:25.
Written during a journey in Europe
At Dusseldorf we changed cars, and were obliged to wait two hours in the depot. Here we had an opportunity to study human nature. The ladies came in, changed their outer wraps, and then surveyed themselves on every side, to see that their dress was faultless. Then extra touches of powder must be put upon their faces. Long they lingered before the mirror in order to arrange their outward apparel to their satisfaction for the purpose of appearing their best when looked upon by human eyes. I thought of the law of God, the great moral looking glass into which the sinner is to look to discover the defects of his character. If all would study the law of God, the moral standard of character, as diligently and critically as many do their outward appearance by means of the looking glass, with a purpose to correct and reform every defect of character, what transformations would most assuredly take place in them. “For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: for he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was” (James 1:23, 24)….
There are many who view themselves as defective in character when they look into God’s moral mirror, His law, but they have heard so much of “All you have to do is to believe” … that after venturing to look into the mirror they straightway go from it retaining all their defects, with the words on their lips, “Jesus has done it all.” These are represented by the figure that James has marked out—the man beholding himself and going away and forgetting what manner of man he was…. Faith and works are the two oars that must be used to urge the bark against the current of worldliness, pride, and vanity; and if these are not used, the boat will drift with the current downward to perdition. God help us to take care of the inward adorning, to set the heart in order as carefully as we arrange the outward apparel. –That I May Know Him, p. 295.