Your Greatest Care Should Be for Your Soul
I’ve been making my way through Thomas Manton’s commentary on James. Today I was touched by his comments on the the second half of James 1:21 – “… receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.”
The main care of a Christian should be to save his soul. This is propounded as an argument why we should hear the word; it will save your souls.
Usually our greatest care is to gratify the body. Solomon saith, ‘All a man’s labor is for the mouth;’ that is, to support the body in a decent state.
Oh! But consider this is but the worser part; and who would trim the scabbard and let the sword rust? Man is in part an angel, and in part a beast. Why should we please the beast in us, rather than the angel? In short, your greatest fear should be for the soul, and your greatest care should be for the soul.
Your greatest fear: Matthew 10:28, ‘Fear not them that can destroy the body, but fear him that can cast both body and soul into hell fire.’ There is a double argument. The body is but the worser part, and the body is alone; but on the other side, the soul is the more noble part, and the state of the boy dependeth upon the well or ill being of the soul: he is ‘able to cast both soul and body,’ and therefore it is the greatest imprudence in the world, out of a fear of the body, to betray the soul.
So your greatest care, riches and splendor in the world, these are the conveniences of the body, and what good will they do you, when you come to be laid in the cold silent grave? Matthew 16: 26, ‘What profit hath a man, if he win the whole world, and lose his own soul?’ It is but a sorry exchange that, to hazard the eternal welfare of the soul for a short fruition of the world. So Job 27:8, ‘What is the hope of the hypocrite, though he hath gained, when God taketh his soul?’ There is many a carnal man that pursueth the world with a fruitless and vain attempt: they ‘rise early, go to bed late, eat the bread of sorrows;’ yet all will not do. But suppose they have gained and taken the prey in hunting, yet what will it profit him when body and soul must part, and though the body be decked, yet the soul must go into misery and darkness, without any furniture and provision for another life? What hope will his gain minister to him?
Oh! that we were wise to consider these things, that we would make it our work to provide for the soul, to clothe the soul for another world, that we would wait upon God in the word, that our souls may be furnished with every spiritual and heavenly excellency, that we may not be ‘found naked,’ saith the apostle, 2 Corinthians 5:3.