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countenance ; for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and 17 wash thy face; that thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto 18 thy Father which is in secret ; and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly. -Lay not up for your- 19
of their austerities. Some fasted another; the true Christian, like the twice a week. Luke xviii. 12. And traveller, has his journey's end in some even went so far as to do it his eye. four days in a week. At these 17. Anoint thine head, and wash times, besides abstinence from food, thy face. That is, affect nothing, they practised austerities upon their observe your customary habits of bodies, beating and wounding them- dress and ablution. Fast in heart, selves, and disfiguring their faces. not in appearance. Orientals daily Without their customary bathings, wash and anoint themselves with perfumes, and anointings, their per- fragrant ointments, except at times sonal appearance was squalid. Their of grief and humiliation. Deut. hair and beards were left uncombed, xxviii. 40 ; Ruth iii. 3 ; 2 Sam. xiv. and the whole garb was unsightly. 2; Dan. x. 3 ; Mark xiv. 3 ; Luke
- Sad countenance. Or, according vii. 46. This practice is rendered to the derivation of the word, look necessary by the warmth of the clinot sourly, or like a Scythian or mate, and the looseness of the attire Tartar. This morose and gloomy of the people. Of course the direcexpression was assumed by the hyp- tion of Jesus is not literally applicaocritical Pharisees for appearance's ble now.
His aim was not to define sake. They disfigure their faces. the mode of keeping a religious cerThey destroyed the natural appear- emony, but to teach the worth of ance of their countenances by neg- reality and substance contrasted with lecting their usual dress and cleanli- Pharisaical hypocrisy. ness, and affecting great sorrow and 18. Openly. This word, accordpenitence. Such fasting had no re- ing to Griesbach, is spurious, and ality, and therefore no acceptable- should not be admitted into the text. ness with God. Is. lviii. 5. No se- It was probably first placed in the verer condemnation is pronounced margin by some transcriber, as afby Jesus upon any class of sinners fording an antithesis to seeth in sethan upon hypocrites. They con- cret, and was afterwards copied into vert the noblest things, even the ob- the body of the page. servances of that religion which they 19. In the following verses to the disobey, into instruments of self- end of the chapter, lessons of faith aggrandizement. But they have in Providence, and freedom from their reward ; the miserable reward anxiety about life and its circumof supposing they have enjoyed the stances, beautifully taught. reputation of that virtue which they These lessons were highly approdo not possess,
when in reality priate to the disciples of that time, they are understood, most likely, by to the Apostles, who went forth men, and certainly by God, in their poor to preach the Gospel. Yet actual character. It has been said they are good now; they are the that the hypocrite is like the water- salt of that wisdom which is never man, who looks one way and rows spoiled by keeping, but which is .
selves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, 20 and where thieves break through and steal; but lay up for
yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust
doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor 21 steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be
fresh through all ages.
Treasures. 20. Earthly treasures are perIn the east, the most valuable pos- ishable, therefore they should hold sessions often consisted of the pro- a subordinate place; heavenly treasductions of the earth, the precious are incorruptible, therefore metals, and numerous suits of cloth- they should be supremely loved and ing ; which, as fashions are not sought after. Men are anxious to there fluctuating as here, retained make provision for their old age; their full value for years. Gen. how much more should they gather xlv. 22 ; Judges xiv. 12; 2 Kings riches for an everlasting future ! - Moth. A small insect which Treasures in heaven.
What are eats and destroys clothing. — Rust. they ? Let our Saviour answer. Canker, or what consumes either Matt. xix. 21. Let Paul answer. 1 grain or metals. Their gold and Tim. vi. 17 - 19. Charity, good silver would rust, their grain be works, a pure heart, a finished blighted, and their garments moth- Christian character, love; these are eaten. James v. 2, 3. — Thieves treasures, above gold or diamonds ; break through. Or, dig through the richer than East or West; lasting walls of a house to commit burglary, for ever; glorious to behold; happy This precept is also found in Luke to possess and enjoy. We may be xii
. 33, 34, and John vi. 27. It is poor in aught else, but we may all not to dissuade from industry and be rich in soul, rich towards God, frugality, but from absorption in rich for the life to come. the pursuits of wealth as the chief covet, as no miser ever did his yelgood. The phrase is a Hebraism, low dust, that eternal inheritance for instances of which see Hos. vi. laid up for the good in the regions 6; Matt. ix. 13; Acts v. 4. A of the fairer world. positive and negative expression are 21. There will your heart be also. united to give the idea of prefer- A profound truth. Everybody has ence, not to express an absolute some treasure, something he esvalue. So here. The idea is, Do teems, desires, and loves; somenot lay up for yourselves earthly so thing to which his heart turns, as much as heavenly treasures. Man, the needle to the pole. If we have made for immortality, made to be a a treasure, and our heart is not with child of heaven, and companion of it, it is no treasure to us. A real angels and cherubim, must, to be treasure draws the affections after happy, live to God and eternity ; it. Luke xii. 34. Happy will it that is his nature, his element. be for us when we shall see that Otherwise he is like a plant, with its virtue, goodness, God, heaven, are branches as well as roots growing such treasures as are worth all our into the ground ; like a bird, created desires, hopes, and efforts. Laying for the ample scope of heaven, up our treasures in heaven, our tamely creeping on the earth as a hearts will spontaneously be drawn reptile. Let him soar upward.
also. The light of the body is the eye. If therefore thine 22 eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light; but if 23 thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness ! No man can serve two masters; for either he 4
22. The light of the body is the be dimmed by the glare of worldly eye. Luke xi. 34. He states a splendor. If it is diseased, if it physical fact to illustrate a spiritual see false shapes and appearances, truth. The eye is the receptacle, then thoughts, wishes, affections, not the producer, of light. But hy are shrouded in error and darkness; a visual deception, it seems to make a darkness how great! a gloom, as the light; when open, all is light of Egypt, that can be felt! When about us; when shut, all is dark, as the bodily senses are impaired, the if night itself were around us. evil is slight compared with the Thine eye be single. Sound, clear. perversion of the powers of the - Full of light. The whole body soul. When the inner world is is enlightened when the eye is in a dark, the spark of heaven, the light healthy state. It is in an atmos- of God, reason, conscience, are bephere of light. Its motions will all nighted, what a night is there! how be sure and effective.
much more awful than the natural 23. Be evil. The same figure night, how much worse than total continued. If the eye be diseased, blindness of the eyesight! 2 Cor. distempered, incapable of doing its iv. 4. Some of the ancient sages proper office as an eye, then the used the same comparison, whole body, through the failure of eye in the body, so is the reason in so small an organ, is enveloped in the soul.” Jesus speaks of a light impenetrable darkness. Man gropes in us; that would be a positive conin uncertainty. He feels after things tradiction in terms, if all was origiif he may peradventure find them, nally totally dark and depraved but all his movements must be un- there. He never taught the doccertain ; his noblest sense is gone, trine of Total Depravity. He as“and wisdom at one entrance quite sures us that the light may become shut out." - The light that is in darkness, reason may be dethroned, thee be darkness, how great is that and conscience seared, and the heart darkness! Luke xi. 35, 36. Here hardened; but God did not create is the application. It is one of the us in that state. — Having dimmed sorest ills to have one's eyesight the lustre of the spirit-eye, we shall fail; how much more to have the pray with Milton : inner light quenched ! In is the
"Thou celestial light, emphatic word. The connexion of Shine inward, and the mind through all her verses 22 and 23 with the forego
Irradiate; there plant eyes, all mist from ing subject is now evident. Jesus had been urging the importance of
Purge and disperse.” heavenly-mindedness, of laying up 24. The Saviour had spoken of imperishable treasures ; riches sub- the perishable nature of earthly ject to no carthly mischance. But treasures as one reason why they to do this, the soul must be enlight- should not be pursued and laid up ened, the judgment must not be as the greatest good; he had alblinded, the mind's eye, must not luded to the darkness which over
will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to
the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and 25 Mammon. 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 than
spreads the covetous, worldly mind, sires and hopes in things earthly, more dreadful than blindness; he we shall inevitably defraud our now appeals to the principle that Creator; we cannot live to this man cannot serve two masters at world and to heaven also, — give the same time, as a further motive half a heart to God, and half a to labor for the heavenly inherit- heart to Mammon. But how many ance in obedience to God. Every are engaged in the futile attempt to man has his ruling passion, his bring about this impossible thing ; prominent object of pursuit. Two and distressing their lives with the objects of different natures he can- knotty problem, how they may be not pursue with equal interest, af- worldly and spiritually minded at fection, and unweariedness. He the same time ! may worship and serve and love 25. Therefore. A conclusion from the Pleasure-god, or the Money- the preceding verse. If one must god, but he neglects his Maker. be your master, let it be the rightful All idolatry did not cease when the one, your Father in heaven. Vex wooden and stone images were not yourself with needless fears thrown down. It is to be feared about temporal prosperity. – Take that thousands in Christian lands no thought. An unfortunate renoffer their sincerest service, their dering. Rather, take no undue heartiest worship to Mammon, or thought; be not anxious and solicisome idol of the heart. Hate the tous, distracted in mind, tossed by one, and love the other. Which
Phil. iv. 6. There is no means, according to
countenance given here to the idle, Hebrew idiom, to love less and love the improvident, and thriftless. A more, not absolute hatred and love. degree of attention is necessary to
· Or else. Or, at least will hold secure a livelihood. Rom. xii. 11; to, obey one. Despise. Disobey 1 Tim. v. 8. But the point is, that the other. — Ye cannot serve God we should not be so much conand Mammon. This is the inference cerned about living, as to neglect from the principle advanced. Mam- life, to distrust Providence, and to mon is a Chaldaic and Syriac word, forego heaven. Food and clothing meaning riches, and is here used as are the means, not the ends of life. the name of the money-god. If Several beautiful and pointed illuswe truly love and serve God, as trations enforce the doctrine through devoted, dutiful children, we shall the following verses. - Is not the postpone all worldly aggrandize- life more than meat, and the body ment as of inferior consequence. than raiment ? This is the first If rich, we shall esteem wealth of reason for a calm, unanxious reless value than religion. If poor, liance on Divine Providence, the we shall still feel that we may have past experience of its care. 1 within our possession the grandest Peter v. 7. If God has bestowed treasure of the universe. But on life and bodies, certainly he will the other side, if we centre our de- not fail in providing the less gifts
meat, and the body than raiment ? Behold the fowls of the 26 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? Which of you by taking thought can 27 add one cubit unto his stature ? And why take ye thought for 28
of food and clothing. The splen- Lone wandering, but not lost.
The desert and illimitable air, did boon of a human, rational, happy existence is such a proof of his
“Thou 'rt gone, the abyss of heaven kind regard as to banish the fear Hath swallowed up thy form; yet on my heart
Deeply hath sunk the lesson thou hast of any inferior needed blessing be
given, ing denied us. The formation of
And shall not soon depart. the body, with its wonderful adap Guides through the boundless sky thy certain
“He who from zone to zone tation to the outward world, with
fight, its perfect senses, its capacities of In the long way that I must tread alone, labor, endurance, and enjoyment, Will lead my steps aright." is such a master-piece of Heaven, 27. Luke xii. 25, 26. — Add one as to leave us in no doubt that the cubit unto his stature. A cubit is a requisite garb will be provided to measure, from the elbow to the tip shelter “ this little moving temple.” of the middle finger, of 18, or 22
– Meat. This name was formerly inches. Few would desire to add given to all kinds of food. — Rai- thus much to their stature. It is ment. Old English for clothing. more probable that the word here Luke xii. 22, 23.
translated stature would be better 26. Behold the fowls of the air. expressed by age, as it is actually Observe the birds. Luke xii. 24 ; done in John ix. 21, 23, and HeJob xxxviii. 41. The Saviour uses brews xi. 11. Though few may the simple and elegant reasoning wish to be taller, multitudes desire of nature, and from the birds, fly- to add to the length of their lives. ing around him, draws profoundest The argument is then, - If we are truths. It is obviously not his pur- so helpless as to be unable to add pose to counsel men to do as the one cubit to our age, or prolong our birds, and neither sow nor reap; life one moment, why should we but to cast themselves on the bosom not perceive our very weakness to of Providence without anxiety. If be a motive against being “ careful the bird, an irrational, insignificant, and troubled about many things” ? transient creature, poor citizen of The impotence and fruitlessness of the air,” sings blithely, without fear all our solicitude, the impossibility of the morrow, or questioning of of our prolonging our existence one Providence, shall not man, the lord second beyond the allotted period, of this lower world, favorite of the is a reason why we should confide skies, be taken care of? — Are cheerfully in that tender Providence, not much better than they? Of no- which takes no advantage of our bler nature, more important station, weakness, but ministers as the gentand sublimer destiny. The poet lest nurse to our needs. God will Bryant has finely paraphrased the do for us better than our fears, betsentiment of Jesus, in his address ter than our hopes. to the Water-fowl ::
28. From the fowls of the air he “There is a Power, whose care
draws the conclusion, that man Teaches thy way along that pathless coast,
should not be anxious for the means