The Epistle opens with a general, Salutation. Various Directions are given to the Church. God's Grace and Love to the Church are very blessedly set forth.
James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.
I detain the Reader, at the entrance, on this blessed portion of the word of God, to observe to him, how different; from others, the Apostle enters on, this service, to which the Lord the Holy Ghost called him. He salutes the Church with greeting, but not as the other Apostles, in the sweet words of grace, mercy, and peace. And it is further remarkable, that James neither begins nor ends his Epistle in the usual terms of benediction. But it should be noticed at the same time, that greeting is a comprehensive word, to the same amount; and fully expressive, in whose holy and blessed Name, all the greetings of the Lord's people are made. And I beg the Reader not to overlook, that it is to the Church, and not to the world, the Epistle is sent. The twelve tribes can mean no other, than the Church, though scattered. Christ's people, are in all nations, Jeremiah 32:37-41. And hence, Christ is the desire of all nations; that is, the desire of his people in all nations, Haggai 2:7. And I beg the Reader to observe with me, from this diversity of writing in James, from that of the other Apostles, what a beautiful variety, is given thereby, in setting forth the word of God. All the inspired Penmen, set forth one and the same truth; and all their labors are directed to one and the same object, in the divine glory; and all are under the guidance, and teaching, of one and the same Lord the Holy Ghost; but while different gifts and talents, mark the different servants of our God; all these are gifted by one and the self same Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will, 1 Corinthians 12:11. If the Reader will indulge me, to offer a short observation more, upon this verse, it shall be to remark, that the salutation of James to the Church, scattered abroad with greeting; teacheth the Lord's people, how best to follow up Christ's precept, to the same amount, either in person, or when writing by letter. Ignorant at times, as we are, who are, or who are not of the household of faith, we salute in general terms with mercy, grace, and peace, the faithful, as Paul did, Aquila and Priscilla, with the Church that is in their house, 1 Corinthians 16:19. And saith our dear Lord; if the son of peace be there, that is a child of God in Christ, your peace shall rest upon it; if not, it shall turn to you again. Your salutation is in Christ; and this sanctifies it to you, though not to them, Luke 10:5-6.