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THE GENERAL EPISTLE OF JAMES - Chapter 1 - Verse 14

Verse 14. But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own It lust. That is, the fountain or source of all temptation is in man himself. is true that external inducements to sin may be placed before him, but they would have no force if there was not something in himself to which they corresponded, and over which they might have power. There must be some "lust;" some desire; some inclination; something which is unsatisfied now, which is made the foundation of the temptation, and which gives it all its power. If there were no capacity for receiving food, or desire for it, objects placed before us appealing to the appetite could never be made a source of temptation; if there were nothing in the soul which could be regarded as the love of acquisition or possession, gold would furnish no temptation; if there were no sensual propensities, we should be in that quarter above the power of temptation. In each case, and in every form, the power of the temptation is laid in some propensity of our nature, some desire of that which we do not now possess. The word rendered "lust" in this place, (epiyuhiav,) is not employed here in the narrow sense in which it is now commonly used, as denoting libidinousness. It means desire in general; an earnest wish for anything, see Barnes on "Eph 4:22".

It seems here to be used with reference to the original propensities of our nature—the desires implanted in us, which are a stimulus to employment—as the desire of knowledge, of food, of power, of sensual gratifications; and the idea is, that a man may be drawn along by these beyond the prescribed limits of indulgence, and in the pursuit of objects that are forbidden. He does not stop at the point at which the law requires him to stop, and is therefore guilty of transgression. This is the source of all sin. The original propensity may not be wrong, but may be perfectly harmless—as in the case of the desire of food, etc. Nay, it may furnish a most desirable stimulus to action; for how could the human powers be called forth, if it were not for this? The error, the fault, the sin, is not restraining the indulgence where we are commanded to do it, either in regard to the objects sought, or in regard to the degree of indulgence. And enticed. Entrapped, caught; that is, he is seized by this power, and held fast; or he is led along and beguiled, until he falls into sin, as in a snare that springs suddenly upon him.

{a} "of his own lust" Ho 13:9 {*} "lust" or, "evil desire"

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