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he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? 31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? 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.
Four arguments are here used by our Saviour to dissuade us from the sin of anxious care; 'tis needless, 'tis fruitless, 'tis heathenish, 'tis brutish. 1. 'Tis needless; Your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of these things, and will certainly provide for you; and what need you take care, and God too? 2. "Tis fruitless; Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit to his stature? That is, by all our solicitous care we can add nothing either to the length or comfort of our lives. 3. 'Tis heathenish; after all these things do the Gentiles seek. 3. "Tis brutish; nay, worse than brutish; the fowls of the air, and the beasts of the field, are fed by God; much more shall his children. Has God a breakfast for every little bird that comes chirping out of its nest? and for every beast in the wilderness that comes leaping out of his den? and will he not much more provide for you, O ye of little faith? Surely he that feeds the ravens when they cry, will not starve his children when they pray. Naturalists observe of the raven, that she exposes her young ones as soon as they are hatched, leaves them meatless and featherless, to shift and strug
gle with hunger as soon as they come into the world; and whether by the dew from heaven, or flies or worms, God feedeth them; when they gape and cry, they are provided for: from whence our Saviour infers, that man being much better, that is,
the providence of God will provide for him, though no solicitude and anxious thought
fulness of his contributes thereunto.
33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto
That is, Let your first and chief care be to promote the kingdom of grace in this world, and to secure the kingdom of glory in the next, and in order unto both, seek after an universal holiness and righteousness, both of heart and life, and then fear not the want of these outward comforts,
they shall be added in measure, though not in excess; to satisfy, though not to satiate; for health, though not for surfeit. Observe, 1. That christians must here on
carth set themselves to seek heaven, or the kingdom of God. 2. That God's kingdom cannot be sought without God's righteousness holiness is the only way to happiness. 3. That heaven, or the kingdom of God, must be sought in the first place, with our chief care and principal endeavour. 4. That heaven being once secured by us, all earthly things shall be superadded by God, as he sees needful and convenient for us.
34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil
tion from solicitous care for worldly things; Here our Saviour reinforces his dehortaassuring us, that every day will bring with it a sufficient burden of trouble, and therefore we ought not to torment ourselves, by antedating our own sorrows, and foretelling Learn, That it is a painful, sinful, and unwhat may or may not come to pass. profitable evil, to perplex ourselves with distrustful and distracting fears of what may come upon us every day has its own duty and difficulty; and though sufferings must be expected, and prepared for, yet we must not torment ourselves to-day with the fears of what may be to-morrow; but every day cast our burden of care upon that God who daily careth for us.
Our blessed Saviour having continued his sermon on the mount in the former chapter, concludes it in this, with an exhortation to several duties; the first of which is, to forbear rash judging of others.
JUDGE not, that ye be not judged.
2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
Observe here, The prohibition, and the reason of that prohibition. The prohibition, judge not: this is not meant of ourselves, but of our neighbour. Selfjudging is a great duty; judging others, a grievous sin; yet is not all judging of others condemned, but a judging of our neighbour's state or person rashly and rigidly, censoriously and uncharitably; especially unrighteously and unjustly. And the reason of the prohibition is added; if we
judge others rashly, God will judge us righteously. Learn thence, That a rash and censorious judging of others renders a person liable and obnoxious to the righteous judgment of God. Note farther, That Christ doth not here forbid judicial judging by the civil magistrate, nor ecclesiastical judging by the church governors, whose office gives them authority so to do. Nor does he forbid one christian to pass a judgment on the notorious actions of another, seeing the duty of reproof cannot be performed without it; but it is such a rash and censorious judging our brother, as is void of charity towards him, as is accompanied with contempt of him; especially if we have been guilty of the same or greater
sins before him.
3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? 4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye: and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? 5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.
By the mote in our brother's eye, is to be understood, small and little sins, or some supposed sins: by the beam in our own eye, is meant, some notorious sin of our own. Learn, 1. That those who are most censorious of the lesser infirmities of others, are usually most notoriously guilty of far greater failings themselves. 2. That those who desire others should look upon their infirmities with a compassionate eye, must not look upon the failings of others with a censorious eye. 3. That there is no such way to teach us charity in judging others, as to exercise severity in judging of ourselves.
6 Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.
By that which is holy, understand, the word and ordinances in general; but admonition and reproof in particular: by dogs and swine, incorrigible and unreclaimable sinners, hardened scorners of holy things; 'tis a proverbial speech, expressing how sure charitable reprehensions are to be cast away upon incorrigible sinners. Learn, 1. That
'tis possible for sinners to arrive at such a height and pitch in wickedness and sin, that it may be a christian's duty not to admonish or reprove them. Observe, 2. How Christ provides, as for the honour of his word, so for the safety of those that publish it. As Christ will not have his
word offered to some sinners, lest they should abuse it; so lest they should abuse those that bring it. When sinners turn rinish swine, and we are in danger of being rent by them, Christ himself gives us a permission to cease reproving of them.
7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: 8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to hin that knocketh it shall be opened. 9 Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he 10 Or if he ask give him a stone?
a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things
to them that ask him?
Observe here, A precept and a promise; the precept, or duty commanded, is, imporask, seek, and knock the promise, or mertunity and constancy in prayer, we must cy ensured, is, audience and acceptance with God. Note, 1. That man is a poor, indigent, and necessitous creature, full of wants, but unable to supply them. 2. That God is an all-sufficient Good, able to supply the wants, and to relieve the necessities, of his creatures, if they call upon him, and cry unto him. 3. Yet if we do not presently receive what we ask, we must still continue to seek and knock; though prayer be not always answered in our time, yet it shall never fail of an answer in God's time. 4. The natural propensity which we find in our breasts to hear the desires, and to supply the wants, of our own children, ought to raise in us a confident expectation that Almighty God will hear our prayers, and supply our wants, when we call upon him; if a father will give when a child asks, much more will God. If ye, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father, &c. God loves to be giving, and to give good gifts is his delight.
But prayer is the key that opens both his heart and hand: yet not every person, nor every prayer, shall find acceptance with God: the person praying must be a doer of God's will, St. John ix. 31. and not regard iniquity in his heart, nor entertain any grudge against his neighbours; the matter we pray for must be what is agreeable to God's will, and the manner of our prayer must be in faith, and with fervency, and unfainting perseverance.
12 Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.
Observe here, 1. An incomparable rule of life; always to do as we would be done by. Note, That the great rule of righteousness and equity in all our dealings with men is this, to do as we would be done unto: it is a short rule, a full rule, and clear rule; both the light of nature and the law of Christ bind it upon us. Observe, 2. The commendation of this rule, it is the law and the prophets; that is, the sum of the Old Testament, so far as concerns our duty to our neighbour; and the substance of the second table. Learn, That it is the design of the scriptures of the Old Testament, first, to render men dutiful and obedient to God, and then righteous and charitable one to another. This is the law of the prophets, yea, the whole of the law and the prophets, to love God above ourselves, and to love our neighbour as ourselves.
13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat : 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life; and few there be that find it.
Observe here, 1. That every man is a traveller in a certain way. 2. That there are but two ways in which the race of mankind can travel; the one strait and narrow, that leads to life and salvation; the other broad and wide, which leads to hell and destruction. 3. That because of the difficulties in the way to salvation, and the easiness of the way to hell and destruction, hence it is that so few walk in the one, and so many in the other. 4. That christians having the strait way to heaven revealed to them, in and by the word of God, should choose rather to go in that way
alone to life, than to run with the multitude in that broad way, which leads down to the chambers of death and hell. 5. That the metaphor of a gate denotes our first entrance into a religious course of life, and its being strait denotes the difficulty that attends religion at first: evil habits to be put off, old companions in sin to be parted with; but when faith and patience have once smoothed our way, love will make our work delightful to us.
15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or 17 Even so every figs of thistles?
good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit, is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
Observe here, 1. A caution given, Beware of false prophets. There were two sorts of deceivers which our Saviour gave his disciples a special warning of; namely, false Christs, and false prophets: false Christs were such as pretended to be the sure Messias; false prophets were such as pretended to own christianity, but drew people away from the simplicity of the gospel. Observe, 2. The ground of this caution, they come in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves: that is, they make fair pretences to strictness in religion, and to greater measures and degrees of mortification and self-denial than others. Whence we learn, That such as go about to seduce others, usually pretend to extraordinary measures of sanctity themselves, to raise an admiration amongst those who judge of saints more by their looks than by their lives; more by their expressions than by their actions. What heavenly looks and devout gestures, what long prayers and frequent fastings, had the hypocritical Pharisees, beyond what Christ or his disciples ever practised! Observe, 3. The rule laid down by Christ, whereby we are to judge of false teachers; By their fruits ye shall know them. Learn, that the best course we can take to judge of teachers pretend
ing to be sent of God, is to examine the design and tendency of their doctrines, and the course and tenor of their conversations. Good teachers, like good trees, will bring forth the good fruits of truth and holiness; but evil men and seducers, like corrupt trees, will bring forth error and wickedness in their life and doctrine.
21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils ? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Not every one, that is, Not any one, that saith, Lord, Lord, that is, that owneth me by way of profession, by way of prayer, and by way of appeal, shall be saved; but he that doeth the will of my Father, sincerely and universally. Learn hence, 1. That multitudes at the great day shall be really disowned by Christ as none of his servants, that did nominally own him for their Lord and Master: many that have now prophesied in his name, shall then perish in his wrath many that have cast out devils now, shall be cast out to devils then such as have now done many wonderful works, shall then perish for evil workers. Note, 2. That a bare name and profession of christianity, without the practice of it, is a very insufficient ground to build our hopes of heaven and salvation upon. A profession of faith, and purposes of obedience, without actual obedience to the commands of God, will avail no person to salvation. 3. That gifts, eminent gifts, yea, extraordinary and miraculous gifts, are not to be rested in, or depended upon, as sufficient evidences for heaven and salvation. Gifts are as the gold which adorns the temple, but grace is like the temple that sanctifies the gold.
24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house;
and it fell not for it was founded upon a rock: 26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: 27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
Christ here speaks of two houses, the one built upon a rock, the other upon the sand; these two houses were alike skilfully and strongly built to outward appearance; while the sun shone, and the weather was fair, none
could discern but that the house upon the sand was built as well, and might stand as long, as that on the rock; but when the rain fell, the foundation failed. Thus, where is the hypocrite, with all his faith and fear, with all his show and appearance of grace, in a wet and windy day? His goodly outside is like the apples of Sodom, fair and al luring to the eye, but, being touched, instantly evaporate into dust and smoke. An hypocrite stands in grace no longer than till he fall into trouble; and accordingly our Saviour here concludes his excellent sermon with an elegant similitude. The wise builder is not the frequent hearer, but the faithful doer of the word, or the obedient christian; the house is heaven, the hope of eternal life; the rock is Christ; the building upon the sand is resting in the bare performance of outward duties. The rains, the winds, the floods, are all kinds of afflicting evils, sufferings, and persecutions that may befall us. Note, 1. That the obedient believer is the only wise man, that builds his hopes of heaven upon a sure and abiding foundation. Note, 2. That such professors as rest in the outward performance of holy duties, are foolish builders, their foundation is weak and sandy, and all their hopes of salvation vain and uncertain. An outward profession of christianity, though set off by prophesying and doing miracles, will not avail any man towards his account at the great day, without that real and faithful, that universal and impartial obedience to the laws of Christ which the gospel requires
28 And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: 29 For he taught them as
one having authority, and not as the scribes.
Here we have two things observable: 1. The manner of our Lord's teaching, it was with authority; that is, it was grave and serious, pious and ardent, plain and profitable. With what brevity, without darkness! with what gravity, without affectation! with what eloquence, without meretricious ornament, were our Lord's discourses! The majesty he showed in his sermons, made it evidently appear that he was a Teacher sent of God, and clothed with his authority. Observe, 2. The success of his teaching: The people were astonished at his doctrine: affected with admiration, believing him to be an extraordinary prophet. Learn, That such is the power of Christ's doctrine, when accompanied with the energy of the Holy Spirit, that it makes all the auditors admirers, yea, believers; it causes astonishment in their minds, and reformation in their manners.
This chapter is called by St. Ambrose, Scriptura Miraculosa, the Miraculous Scripture; there being several great miracles recorded in this chapter: as the cleansing of the leper,the curing of the centurion's servant, the appeasing of the winds, &c. Our Saviour having delivered his doctrine in the former chapters; in this he backs his doctrine with miracles, for the establishment and confirmation of it.
WHEN he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him. 2 And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. 3 And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean: And immediately his leprosywas cleansed. 4 And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, show thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded for a testimony unto them.
Note here, In general, that the Jews paid civil adoration to their kings, and to their prophets thus Saul stooped with his face to the ground to Samuel; Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face before Daniel; and Obadiah before Elijah; from whence may be gathered that the adorations given to Christ by them that knew nothing of his divinity, were paid him as a prophet sent from God. Only next, several particulars are here observable; as, 1. The petitioner, and that is
a leper, he came and worshipped Christ, and petitions him to heal him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. Where he discovers a firm belief of Christ's power, but a diffidence and distrust of Christ's will, to heal him. Learn, Christ's divine power must be fully assented to, and firmly believed, by all those that expect benefit by him, and healing from him. Observe, 2. How readily our Saviour grants his petition: Jesus touched him, saying, I will be thou clean. Our Saviour by touching the leper showed himself to be. above the law, as God; though subject to the law, as man; for by the ceremonial law the leper was forbidden to be touched. Yet it was a received rule among the Jews, that a prophet might vary from the punctilios of the ceremonial law, or change a ritual law; so did Elijah stretch himself on the dead child, and Elisha on the Shunamite's son, notwithstanding the prohibition of coming near the dead. But Christ's curing the leper by the word of his mouth, and the touch of his hand, showed his divine power, and proved himself to be truly and really sent of God: leprosy being called by the Jews the finger of God, a disease of his sending, and of his removing our Saviour therefore, as a proof of his being the Messias, tells the disciples of John, That the lepers were cleansed, Matt. xi. 5. and the dead raised: which being put together, intimates, that the cleansing of the leper is as peculiar an act of divine power as the raising of the dead; and accordingly, 2 Kings v. 7. said the king, Am I God, that this man sends to me to cure a man of his leprosy? Observe, 3. The certainty and suddenness of the cure; immediately his leprosy was cleansed: Christ not only cured him without means, but without the ordinary time required for such a cure. Thus Christ showed both power and will to cure him miraculously, who believed his power, but questioned his willingness. Observe, 4. The charge and command given by Christ after the cure, 1. To tell no man; wherein the modesty, humility, and piety of Christ, is discovered, together with the care of his own safety. His modesty, in not desiring his good deeds should be proclaimed; his humility, in shunning vain-glorious applause and commendation: his piety, in desiring all the praise, honour, and glory, should redound entirely to God; and his care of his own safety, lest the publishing of this miracle should create him untimely danger from the Pharisees. Chris