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anoint thine head, and wash thy and thy Father which seeth in secret,
A.M. 4031. a
A. D. 27.
An. Olymp. face;
18 That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret:
Ruth 3. 3. Dan. 10. 3.
Cæsar caught him by the hand, and said, I have need of thy presence still;' and kept him a year longer. This was excellent advice from a heathen; but a Christian may prescribe to himself a wiser rule. When thou art angry, answer not till thou hast repeated the fifth petition of our Lord's prayer-Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors; and our Lord's comment upon it-For if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your heavenly Father forgive your trespasses."
A. M. 4031. A. D. 27. Au. Olyrap CCL. 3.
19Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust
b Prov. 23. 4. 1 Tim. 6. 17. Heb. 13. 5. James 5. 1, &c.
As the hypocrites, of a sad countenance] Exugao, either from xvos sour, crabbed, and the countenance; or from Exuong a Scythian, a morose, gloomy, austere phiz, like that of a Scythian or Tartar. A hypocrite has always a very difficult part to act: when he wishes to appear as a penitent, not having any godly sorrow at heart, he is obliged to counterfeit it the best way he can, by a gloomy and austere look.
Verse 17. Anoint thine head, and wash thy face] These were forbidden in the Jewish Canon on days of fasting and PRAYER to God, is considered among the Mohammedans in humiliation: and hypocrites availed themselves of this ordia very important point of view. It is declared by the Mosli-nance, that they might appear to men, to fast. Our Lord, thereman doctors, to be the corner-stone of RELIGION, and the pillar fore, cautions us against this: as if he had said: Affect nothing— of FAITH. It is not, say they, a thing of mere form, but dress in thy ordinary manner, and let the whole of thy deportrequires that the heart and understanding should accompany ment prove, that thou desirest to recommend thy soul to GOD, it, without which, they pronounce it to be of no avail. and not thy face to men. That factitious mourning, which They direct prayer to be performed five times in the twenty-consists in putting on black clothes, crapes, &c. is utterly four hours. 1. Between day-break, and sun-rise; 2. im- inconsistent with the simplicity of the gospel of Christ; and if mediately after noon; 3. immediately before sun-set; 4. in practised in reference to spiritual matters, is certainly forthe evening before dark; and 5. before the first watch of the bidden here: but sin is so common, and so boldly persisted night. in, that not even a crape is put on, as an evidence of deploring its influence, or of sorrow for having committed it.
Verse 18. Thy Father which seeth in secrct] Let us not be afraid that our hearts can be concealed from God; but let us fear lest he perceive them to be more desirous of the praise of men, than they are of that glory which comes from Him.
They hold the following points to be essentially requisite to the efficacy of prayer: 1. That the person be free from every species of defilement. 2. That all sumptuous and gaudy apparel be laid aside. 3. That the attention accompany the act, and be not suffered to wander to any other object. 4. That the prayer be performed with the face toward the temple of MECCA.-HEDAYAH. Prel. Dis. p. 53, 54. There are few points here but the follower of Christ may by most of the versions, and by several of the primitive seriously consider, and profitably practise. fathers. As it is supported by no adequate authority, Bengel, Wetstein, Griesbach and others, have left it out of the text.
Openly.] Ev T Cavegw. These words are omitted by nine MSS. in uncial letters; and by more than one hundred others,
Verse 16. When ye fast] A fast is termed by the Greeks 5, from in not, and buy to eat; hence fast means, a total abstinence from food for a certain time. Abstaining from flesh, and living on fish, vegetables, &c. is no fast, or may be rather considered a burlesque on fasting. Many pretend to take the true definition of a fast from Isaiah lviii. 3. and say that it means, a fast from sin. This is a mistake; there is no such term in the Bible as fasting from sin; the very idea is ridiculous and absurd, as if sin were a part of our daily food. In the fast mentioned by the Prophet, the people were to divide their bread with the hungry, ver. 7. but could they eat their bread, and give it too? No man should save by a fast: he should give all the food he might have eaten, to the He who saves a day's expence by a fast, commits an abomination before the Lord. See more on chap. ix. 15.
Verse 19. Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth] What blindness is it for a man to lay up that as a treasure which must necessarily perish! A heart designed for God and eternity is terribly degraded by being fixed on those things which are subject to corruption. "But may we not lay up treasure innocently?" Yes. 1st. If you can do it without setting your heart on it, which is almost impossible: and 2dly. If there be neither widows nor orphans, destitute nor distressed persons in the place where you live. " But there is a portion which belongs to my children, shall I distribute that among the poor?" If it belongs to your children, it is not yours, and therefore you have no right to dispose of it. "But I have a certain sum in stock, &c. shall I take that and divide it among the poor?" By no means;
We should lay up
treasure in heaven.
A. M. 4031. doth corrupt, and where thieves break 21 For where your treasure is, there A.M. 4051. An. Olymp. through and steal:
will your heart be also. .
An. Olymp. 20 * But lay up for yourselves trea- | q •
22 | The light of the body is the sures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break | body shall be full of light. through nor steal :
23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body
*Ecclus. 29. 11. ch. 19. 21. Luke 12. 33, 34. & 18. 22. 1 Tim. 6. 19.
1 Pet. 1. 4.
Lukę 11. 34, 36.
for by doing so, you would put it out of your power to do Verse 21. Were your treasure is] If God be the treasure good after the present division--keep your principal, and de- of our souls, our hearts, i. e. our affections and desires will vote, if you can possibly spare it, the product to the poor, be placed on things above. An earthly minded man proves and thus you shall have the continual ability to do good. In that his treasure is' below; a heavenly minded man shews the meantime take care not to shut up your bowels of coin- that his treasure is above. passion against a brother in distress; if you do, the love of Verse 22. The light of the body is the eye] That is, the God cannot dwell in you.
eye is to the body what the sun is to the universe in the Rust] Or canker, Bewors, from Bewoxw, I eut, consume. This day time, or a lamp or candle to a house after night. word cannot be properly applied to rust, but to any thing If-thine eye be single] ATlous, simple, uncompounded ;that consumes or cankers clothes or metals. There is a saying i. e. so perfect in its structure as to see objects distinctly and exactly similar to this in the Institutes of Menu, speaking of cleurly; and not confusedly, or in different places to what the presents made to Brahmans, he says, “ It is a gem which they are, as is often the case in certain disorders of the neither thieves nor foes take away, and which never perishes." eye; one object appearing two or more-or else in a different Chapter of Government, Institute 83.
situation, and of a different colour to what it really is. This Where thieves do not break through] Avoguorover, literally state of the eye is termed, ver. 23. moyngos evil, i. e. discused dig through, i. e. the wall, in order to get into the house. or defective. An evil eye, was a phrase in use, among the Verse 20. Lay up—treasures in heaven)." The only way
ancient Jews, to denote an envious, covetous man or dispolo render perishing goods eternal, to secure stately furniture sition; a man who repined at his neighbour's prosperity, from moths, the richest metals from canker, and precious loved his own money, and would do nothing in the way of stones from thieves, is to transmit them to heaven by acts charity for God's sake. Our blessed Lord, however, extends of charity. This is a kind of bill of exchange which cannot and sublimes this meaning, and uses the sound eye as a fail of acceptance, but through our own fault.” Quesnel. metaphor, to point out that simplicity of intention, and purity It is certain we have not the smallest portion of temporal
of affection with which men should pursue the supreme good. good, but what we have received from the unmerited bounty We cannot draw more than one straight line between two indiof God; and if we give back to him all we have received, visible points. We aim at happiness, it is found only in one yet still there is no merit that can fairly attach to the act, thing, the indivisible and eternal God. If the line of simple as the goods were the Lord's; for I am not to suppose that intention be drawn straight to him, and the soul walk by it, I can purchase any thing from a man by his own property. with purity of affection, the whole man shall be light in the On this ground the doctrine of human merit is one of the Lord; the rays of that excellent glory shall irradiate the most absurd that ever was published among men, or credited mind, and through the whole spirit, shall the Divine nature by sinners. Yet he who supposes he can purchase heaven by be transfused. But if a person who enjoyed this heavenly giving that meat which was left at his own table, and that of treasure, permit his simplicity of intention to deviate from his servants; or by giving a garment which he could no heavenly to earthly good; and his purity of affection, to be longer in decency wear, must have a base ignorant soul, and contaminated by worldly ambition, secular profits, and a very mean opinion of the heaven he hopes for. But shall animal gratifications; then, the light which was in him becomes not such works as these be rewarded? Yes, yes, God will || darkness, i. e. bis spiritual discernment departs, and his union take care to give you all that your cast victuals, refuse, and old with God is destroyed : all is only a palpable obscure ; and clothes are worth. Yet he who, through love to God and man, like a man who has totally lost his sight, he walks without divides his bread with the hungry, and covers the naked with direction, certainty, or comfort. This state is most forcibly a garment, shall not lose his reward; a reward, which the intimated in our Lord's exclamation, How great a darkness! mercy of God appoints, but to which, in strict justice, he Who can adequately describe the misery and wretchedness can lay no claim.
of that soul, which has lost its union with the fountain of all
serve two masters.
If therefore other. Ye cannot serve God and A. M. 4031. the light that is in thee be darkness, mammon. how great is that darkness!
A. D. 27. An. Olymp. CCI. 3.
24¶No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the
No man can
A.M. 4031. shall be full of darkness.
A. D. 27.
*Luke 16. 13.— Gal. 1. 10. 1 Tim. 6. 17. Jam. 4. 4. 1 John 2. 15.
good, and in losing this, has lost the possibility of happiness
Verse 24. No man can serve two masters] The master of our heart may be fitly termed the love that reigns in it. We serve that only which we love supremely. A man cannot be in perfect indifference betwixt two objects which are incompatible: he is inclined to despise and hate whatever he does not love supremely, when the necessity of a choice presents itself.
He will hate the one, and love the other] The word hate has the same sense here, as it has in many places of Scripture, it merely signifies to love less-so Jacob loved Rachel, but hated Leah; i. e. he loved Leah much less than he loved Rachel. God himself uses it precisely in the same sense, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated; i. e. I have loved the posterity of Esau less than I have loved the posterity of Jacob: which means no more than that God, in the course of his providence, gave the Jews greater earthly privileges than he gave to the Edomites; and chose to make them the progenitors of the Messiah, though they ultimately, through their own obstinacy, derived no more benefit from this privilege than the Edomites did. How strange is it, that with such evidence before their eyes, men will apply this loving and hating to decrees of inclusion and exclusion, in which neither the justice nor mercy of God are honoured !
25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more
Ye cannot serve God and mammon.]
mamon is used for money in the Targum of Onkelos, Exod. xviii. 21. and in
Ps. 55. 22. Luke 12. 22, 23. Phil. 4. 6. 1 Pet. 5. 7.
cher mentions such an one in his dip. Egyptiacus. See
Our blessed Lord shews here the utter impossibility of loving the world, and loving God at the same time; or, in other words, that a man of the world cannot be a truly religious character. He who gives his heart to the world, robs God of it, and in snatching at the shadow of earthly good, loses substantial and eternal blessedness. How dangerous is it, to set our hearts upon riches, seeing it is so easy to make them our god!
Verse 25. Therefore] Aia TOUTO, on this account; viz. that ye may not serve mammon, but have unshaken confidence in God, I say unto you;
Take no thought] Be not anxiously careful, un prijevare; this is the proper meaning of the word. Megva anxious solicitude, from μg TOY YOU dividing or distracting the mind. My old MS. Bible renders it, be not bysy to your liif. Prudent care is never forbidden by our Lord, but only that anxious distracting solicitude, which by dividing the mind, and drawing it different ways, renders it utterly incapable of attending to any solemn or important concern. To be anxiously careful concerning the means of subsistence, is to lose all satisfaction and comfort in the things which God gives, and to act as a mere infidel. On the other hand, to rely so much upon providence as not to use the very powers and faculties with which the Divine Being has endowed us, is to tempt God. If we labour without placing our confidence in our labour, but expect all from the blessing of God, we obey that of Jonathan, Judg. v. 19. 1 Sam. viii. 3. The Syriachis will, co-operate with his providence, set the springs of it a-going in our behalf, and thus imitate Christ and his followers by a sedate care and an industrious confidence.
In this and the following verses, our Lord lays down seve reasons why men should not disquiet themselves about the wants of life, or concerning the future.
word * mamona is used in the same sense, Exod. xxi. 30. Dr. Castel deduces these words from the Hebrew aman, to trust, confide; because men are apt to trust in riches. Mamon may therefore be considered, any thing a man confides in.ral Augustin observes, “that mammon in the Punic or Carthaginian language, signified gain." Lucrum Punicè mammor dicitur. The word plainly denotes riches, Luke xvi. 9, 11. in which latter verse mention is made not only of the deceitful mammon, (tw adıxw) but also of the true, (to aλndivov.) St. Luke's phrase, papwra adınıas, very exactly answers to the Chaldeep z mamon dishekar, which is often used in the Targums. See more in Wetstein and Parkhurst. The clause what ye must eat, is omitted by two MSS. most Some suppose there was an idol of this name, and Kir- of the ancient versions, and by many of the primitive Fa
The first is, the experience of greater benefits already re ceived. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than rai ment? Can he who gave us our body, and breathed into it the breath of life before we could ask them from him, refuse us that which is necessary to preserve both, and when we ask it in humble confidence?
than meat, and the body than raiAn. Olymp. ment?
A. D. 27.
26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
A. D. 27.
27 Which of you by taking thought AM. 4031. can add one cubit unto his stature? An. Olymp. CCI. 3. 28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29 And yet I say unto you, That even So
a Job 38. 41. Ps. 147. 9. Luke 12. 24, &c.
thers. Griesbach has left it in the text with a note of doubtfulness. It occurs again in the 31st verse, and there is no variation in any of the MSS. in that place. Instead of Is not the life more than, &c. we should read, Of more value; so the word as is used in Num. xxii. 15. and by the best Greek writers; and in the same sense it is used in chap. xxi. 37. See the note there.
They sow not, neither do they reap] There is a saying among the Rabbins almost similar to this-" Hast thou ever seen a beast or a fowl that had a workshop? yet they are fed without labour and without anxiety. They were created for the service of man, and man was created that he might serve his Creator. Man also would have been supported without labour and anxiety, had he not corrupted his ways. Hast thou ever seen a lion carrying burthens, a stag gathering summer fruits, a for selling merchandize, or a wolf selling oil? that they might thus gain their support: and yet they are fed without care or labour. Arguing therefore from the less to the greater, if they which were created that they might serve me, are nourished without labour and anxiety, how much more I, who have been created that I might serve my Maker. What therefore is the cause, why I should be obliged to labour in order to get my daily bread? Answer, SIN." This is a curious and important extract, and is highly worthy of the Reader's attention. See Schoetgen.
Verse 27. Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?] The third reason against these carking cares is the unprofitableness of human solicitude, unless God vouchsafe to bless it. What can our uneasiness do but render us still more unworthy of the divine care? The passage
Luke 2. 52. & 12. 25, 26.- - Luke 12. 27.
Cubit unto his stature ?] I think a should be rendered age here, and so our Translators have rendered the word in John ix. 21. autos nλixiav EXE he is of age. A very learned writer observes, that no difficulty can arise from applying
Verse 26. Behold the fowls of the air] The second reason why we should not be anxiously concerned about the future, is the cxample of the smaller animals, which the providence x a cubit, a measure of extension, to time, and the age of of God feeds without their own labour; though he be not man: as place and time are both quantities, and capable of their father. We never knew an earthly father take care of increase and diminution: and as no fixed material standard his fowls, and neglect his children; and shall we fear this can be employed in the mensuration of the flecting particles from our heavenly Father? God forbid! That man is ut-of time; it was natural and necessary in the construction of terly unworthy to have God for his father, who depends less language, to apply parallel terms to the discrimination of upon his goodness, wisdom, and power, than upon a crop of time and place. Accordingly, we find the same words indifcorn, which may be spoiled either in the field or in the barn. ferently used to denote time and place in every known tongue. If our great Creator have inade us capable of knowing, lov- Lord, let me know the MEASURE of my days! Thou hast ing, and enjoying himself eternally, what may we not expect made my days HAND-BREADTHS, Psal. xxxix. 56. Many exfrom him, after so great a gift? amples might be adduced from the Greek and Roman writers. Besides, it is evident, that the phrase of adding one cubit, is proverbial, denoting something minute; and is therefore applicable to the smallest possible portion of time: but, in a literul acceptation, the addition of a cubit to the stature would be a great and extraordinary accession of height. See Wakefield. Verse 28. And why take ye thought for raiment?] Or, why are ye anxiously careful about raiment? The fourth reason against such inquietudes, is the example of inanimate creatures: The herbs and flowers of the field have their being, nourishment, exquisite flavours, and beautiful hues from God himself. They are not only without anxious care, but also without care or thought of every kind. Your being, its excellence, and usefulness, do not depend on your anxious concern: they spring as truly from the beneficence and continual superintendance of God, as the flowers of the field do: and were you brought into such a situation, as to be as utterly incapable of contributing to your own preservation and support, as the lilies of the field are to theirs, your heavenly Father could augment your substance, and preserve your being, when for his glory, and your own advantage.
Consider] Diligently consider this, xaraμaders, lay it earnestly to heart, and let your confidence be unshaken in the God of infinite bounty and love.
from distrust to apostacy is very short and easy: and a man is not far from murmuring against Providence, who is dissatisfied with its conduct. We should depend as fully upon God for the preservation of his gifts, as for the gifts themselves.
Exhortations to trust
A.M. 401. lomon in all his glory, was not arrayed shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? An. Olymp. like one of these.
A. D. 27.
if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What
a Luke 12. 28. ch. 14. 31.
Verse 29. Solomon in all his glory] Some suppose, that as the robes of state worn by the eastern kings, were usually white, as were those of the nobles among the Jews; that therefore the lily was chosen for the comparison.
Verse 30. If God so clothe the grass of the field] Christ confounds both the luxury of the rich in their superfluities, and the distrust of the poor as to the necessaries of life. Let man, who is made for God and eternity, learn from a flower of the field how low the care of Providence stoops. All our inquietudes and distrusts proceed from lack of faith that supplies all wants. The poor are not really such, but because they are destitute of faith.
To-morrow is cast into the oven] The inhabitants of the East, to this day, make use of dry straw, withered herbs and stabble to heat their ovens. Some have translated the original word xavov, a still; and intimate, that our Lord alludes to the distillation of herbs for medicinal purposes; but this is certainly contrary to the scope of our Lord's argument, which runs thus: If God covers, with so much glory, things of no farther value than to serve the meanest uses; will he not take care of his servants who are so precious in his sight, and designed for such important services in the world? See Harmer's Observations.
Verse 31. What shall we eat, or, What shall we drink?] These three enquiries engross the whole attention of those who were living without God in the world. The belly and back of a worldling are his compound god; and these he worships in the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eye, and in the pride of life.
Verse 32. For after all these things do the Gentiles seek] The fifth reason against solicitude about the future, is, that to concern ourselves about these wants with anxiety, as if there was no such thing as a providence in the world; with great affection towards earthly enjoyments, as if we expected no other; and without praying to God or consulting his will, as if we could do any thing without him. This is to imitate the worst kind of heathens, who live without hope, and without God in the world.
Seek] E from E, intensive, and nrw I scek, to seek intensely, earnestly, again and again. The true characteristic of the worldly man, his soul is never satisfied-give! give! || is the ceaseless language of his earth-born heart.
in the providence of God.
AM 401. An. Olymp.
A. D. 27,
or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek :) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God,
See 1 Kings 3. 13. Ps. 37. 25. Mark 10. 30. Luke 12. 31. 1 Tim. 4. 8.
Your heavenly Father knoweth, &c.] The sixth reason against this anxiety about the future, is, because God, our heavenly Father, is infinite in wisdom, and knows all our wants. It is the property of a wise and tender Father to provide necessaries, and not superfluities, fer his children. Not to expect the former, is an offence to his goodness; to expect the latter, is injurious to his wisdom.
Verse 33. But seek ye first the kingdom of God] See on Matt. iii. 7.
His righteousness] That holiness of heart and purity of life which God requires of those who profess to be subjects of that spiritual kingdon mentioned above. See on chap. v.
The seventh reason against these worldly cares and fears is, because the business of our salvation ought to engross us entirely: hither, all our desires, cares, and inquiries ought to tend. Grace is the way to glory-holiness the way to happiness. If men be not righteous, there is no heaven to be had; if they be, they shall have heaven and earth too; for godliness has the promise of both lives. 1 Tim. vi. 3. All these things shall be added unto you.] The very blunt note of old Mr. Trapp, on this passage, is worthy of serious attention. All things shall be added. They shall be cast in as an overplus, or as small advantages to the main bargain; as paper and packthread are given where we buy spice and fruit, or an inch of measure to an ell of cloth." This was a very common saying among the Jews: "Seek that, to which other things are necessarily connected.” "A king said to his particular friend, Ask what thou wilt, and I will give it unto thee.' He thought within himself, If I ask to be made a general I shall readily obtain it. I will ask something to which all these things shall be added:' he therefore said, Give me thy daughter to wife.'This he did, knowing that all the dignities of the kingdom should be added unto this gift." See in Schoetgen.
To this verse, probably, belong the following words, quoted often by Clement, Origen and Eusebius, as the words of Christ : αιτετε τα μεγάλα, και τα μικρά υμιν προστεθήσεται: αστειτε το τα επουράνια, και τα επίγεια προστεθήσεται υμιν. "Ask great things, and little things shall be added unto you; ask heavenly things, and earthly things shall be added unto you."