Verse 18. "And the fruit of righteousness is sown" - The whole is the principle of righteousness in the soul, and all the above virtues are the fruits of that righteousness.
"Is sown in peace" - When the peace of God rules the heart, all these virtues and graces grow and flourish abundantly.
"Of them that make peace." - The peace-makers are continually recommending this wisdom to others, and their own conduct is represented as a sowing of heavenly seed, which brings forth Divine fruit. Perhaps sowing in peace signifies sowing prosperously - being very successful.
This is not only the proper disposition for every teacher of the Gospel, but for every professed follower of the Lord Jesus.
Some render this verse, which is confessedly obscure, thus: And the peaceable fruits of righteousness are sown for the practisers of peace. He who labours to live peaceably shall have peace for his reward.
1. ALMOST the whole of the preceding chapter is founded on maxims highly accredited in the rabbinical writings, and without a reference to those writings it would have been impossible, in some cases, to have understood St. James' meaning. There is one phrase, the rabbinical meaning and use of which I have reserved for this place, viz.. The wisdom that is from above. This is greatly celebrated among them by the terms hnwyl[ hmkj chocmah elyonah, the supernal wisdom. This they seem to understand to be a peculiar inspiration of the Almighty, or a teaching communicated immediately by the angels of God. In Sohar, Yalcut Rubeni, fol. 19, Rabbi Chiya said: "The wisdom from above was in Adam more than in the supreme angels, and he knew all things." In Sohar Chadash, fol. 35, it is said concerning Enoch, "That the angels were sent from heaven, and taught him the wisdom that is from above." Ibid. fol. 42, i5: "Solomon came, and he was perfect in all things, and strongly set forth the praises of the wisdom that is from above." See more in Schoettgen. St. James gives us the properties of this wisdom, which are not to be found in such detail in any of the rabbinical writers. It is another word for the life of God in the soul of man, or true religion; it is the teaching of God in the human heart, and he who has this not is not a child of God; for it is written, All thy children shall be taught of the Lord.
2. To enjoy the peace of God in the conscience, and to live to promote peace among men, is to answer the end of our creation, and to enjoy as much happiness ourselves as the present state of things can afford. They who are in continual broils live a wretched life; and they who love the life of the salamander must share no small portion of the demoniacal nature. In domestic society such persons are an evil disease; therefore a canker in the Church, and a pest in the state.