Images de page
[blocks in formation]

as it is commonly understood, but for the judgment of God. In the former verse, Christ speaks their sense, and in the first clause of this, his own, in application to it. Ye have heard it said, that any man that kills is liable to the judgment of God; but I say unto you, that he that is but angry with his brother without a cause, is liable to the judgment of God. You have heard it said, that he only that commits murder with his own hand, is liable to the council, or sanhedrim, as a murderer; but I say unto you, that he that but calls his brother Rucha, as common a word as ye make it, and a thing of nothing, he is liable to be judged by the sanhedrim.

"Lastly, he that saith to his brother, Thou fool, wicked one, or cast-away, shall be in danger of hell-fire, cvoxos εis yevvar voos. There are two observable things in the words. The first is the change of case from what was before; there it was said τη κρίσει, τω συνεδρίω, but here, εις γέενναν. It is but an emphatical raising of the sense, to make it the more feeling, and to speak home. He that saith to his brother, Raka, shall be in danger of the council; but he that says, Thou fool, shall be in danger of a penalty even to hell-fire. And thus our Saviour equals the sin and penalty in a very

[ocr errors]

without ostentation.

just parable. Unjust anger, with God's just anger and judg.
ment; public reproach, with public correction by the coun
cil; and censuring for a child of hell, to the fire of hell.
"2d. It is not said ets up yeevvns, To the fire of hell, but sis
yeavνav πupos, To a hell of fire; in which expression he sets
the emphasis still higher. And besides the reference to the
valley of Hinnom, he seems to refer to that penalty used by
the sanhedrim of burning; the most bitter death that they
used to put men to: the manner of which was thus: They
set the malefactor in a dunghill up to the knees; and they put
a towel about his neck, and one pulled one way, and another
the opposite, till by thus strangling him, they forced him to
open his mouth. Then they poured boiling lead into his
mouth, which went down into his belly, and so burnt his
bowels. Talm. in sanhedrim, per. 7.

"Now, having spoken in the clause before, of being judged by the sanhedrim, whose most terrible penalty was this burning, he doth in this clause raise the penalty higher; namely, of burning in hell: not with a little scalding lead, but even with a hell of fire." It is possible that our Lord might have reference to such customs as these.


Of alms-giving, 1-5. Of prayer, 6-8. The Lord's prayer, or model, according to which Christians should pray, 9-13. Of forgiveness, 14, 15. Of fasting, 16, 17. Of laying up treasures, 18-21. Of the single eye, 22, 23. The impossibili. ty of serving two masters, 24. Of contentment and confidence in the divine providence, 25-32. Directions about seeking the kingdom of God, 33, 34. [A. M. 4031. A. D. 27. An. Olymp. CCI. 3.Ĵ

AKE heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be
seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your
Father which is in heaven.

2 Therefore when thou doest thine alms, d do not sound a trumpet before thee as the hypocrites do, in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily, I say unto you, They have their reward.

3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy fleft hand know what thy right hand doeth:

4 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father, which feeth in secret, himself shall reward thee openly.

■ Or, righteousness. Deu. 24. 13. Ps. 112. 9. Dan. 4. 27. 2 Cor. 9. 9, 10-b Or, with-e Rom. 12. - Or, cause not a trumpet to be sounded. Pro, 90, 6,

NOTES-Verse 1. That ye do not your alms.] Aixatoσvvny bucovun Tote, perform not your acts of righteousness such as almsgiving, fasting, and prayer, mentioned immediately after. Instead of dixatoovvny, righteousness, or acts of righteousness, the reading in the text, that which has been coinmonly received, is cλɛnuoovvny, alms. But the first reading has been inserted in several editions, and is supported by the Codd. Vatican, and Beza, some others, and several versions, all the Itala except one, and the Vulgate. The Latin Fathers have justitiam, a word of the same meaning. Mr. Gregory has amply proved, ps tsidekah, righteousness, was a common word for alms among the Jews. Works, 4to. p. 58. 1671. R. D. Kimchi says, that p tsidekah, Isa. lix. 14. means almsgiving: and the phrase pyn natan tsidekah, is used by the Jews to signify the giring of alms. The following passage from Dr. Lightfoot shows that it was thus commonly used among the Jewish writers:

5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypo-
crites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues,
and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of
men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and
when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in
secret; and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward
thee openly.

7 But when ye pray, I use not vain repetitions, as the hea then do: k for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.

e 2 Kings 10. 16.-f Ps. 44. 21. 2 Cor. 9. 7.-g Luke 14. 14.-h 2 Kings 4. 33,1 Eccles. 5. 2. Ecclus. 7. 14.-k 1 Kings 18. 26, 2

swered- My fathers laid up their wealth on earth: I lay up mine in heaven. As it is written, Truth shall flourish out of the earth, but Righteousness shall look down from heaven. My fathers laid up treasures that bear no fruit, but I lay up such as bear fruit. As it is said, It shall be well with the just, for they shall eat the fruit of their own works. My fa thers treasured up when power was in their hands; but I where it is not. As it is said, Justice and Judgment is the habitation of his throne. My fathers heaped up for others; for myself. As it is said, And this shall be to thee for right. cousness. They scraped together for this world; I for the world to come. As it is said, Righteousness shall deliver from death:' Ibid. these things are also recited in the Babylonian Talmud.

"You see plainly in what sense he understands righteousness, namely, in the sense of alms: and that sense not so much framed in his own imagination, as in that of the whole nation, and which the Royal Catechumen had imbibe from the Pharisees his teachers.

"It is questioned," says he, "whether Matthew writ Eλe poovvny, alms, or Aikaiocvvny, righteousness. I answer, "1. That our Saviour certainly said p tsidekah, righteousness, (or in Syriae npn zidkatha) I make no doubt at all; but that that word could not be otherwise understood by the common people than of alms, there is as little doubt to be made. For although the word ¬p tsidekah, according to the idiom of the Old Testament, signifies nothing else than right-tsidekah, righteousness. Perhaps those words of our eousness: yet now, when our Saviour spoke these words, it signified nothing so much as alms.

"Behold the justifying and saving virtue of alms from the very work done according to the doctrine of the Pharisaical chair! And hence, the opinion of this efficacy of alms so far prevailed with the deceived people, that they pointed out alms by no other name (confined within one single word) than Saviour are spoken in derision of this doctrine. Yea, gire those things which we have in alms, and behold, all things "II. Christ used also the same word š♫pπ zidkatha, right. | shall be clean to you, Luke xi. 41. With good reason indeed eousness, in the three verses next following, and Matthew exhorting them to give alms; but yet withal striking at the used the word eλenpoovyny, alms: but by what right, I beseech covetousness of the Pharisees, and confuting their vain opiyou, should he call it dikatorvvny, righteousness, in the first nion of being clean by the washing of their hands from their verse, and Arnuoσvvny, alms, in the following; when Christown opinion of the efficacy of alms. As if he had said, 'Ye every where used one and the same word? Matthew might assert that alms justifies and saves, and therefore ye call it not change in Greek, where our Saviour had not changed in by the name of righteousness; why therefore do ye affect Syriac: therefore we must say that the Lord Jesus used the cleanness by the washing of hands; and not rather by the word as taidekah, or нp zidkatha, in these four first performance of charity.'" LIGHTFOOT's Works, Vol. II. p. 153. verses; but that, speaking in the dialect of common people, he was understood by the common people to speak of alms. Now they called alms by the name of righteousness, for the Fathers of the traditions taught, and the common people believed, that alms contributed very much to justification. Hear the Jewish chair in this matter-For one farthing given to a poor man in alms, a man is made partaker of the beati fivision: where it renders these words, Psal. xvii. 15. I shall behold thy face in righteousness, after this manner, I hall behold thy face, BECAUSE OF ALMS. Bava Bathra. This money goeth for alms, that my sons may live, and that Imay obtain the world to come. Bab. Rosh. Hashshanah. A man's table now erpiates by alms, as heretofore the altar did by sacrifice. Beracoth. If you afford alms out of your purse, God will keep you from all damage and harm. Hieros. Peah. MONOBAZES the king bestowed his goods liberally upon the poor, and had these words spoken to him by his kinsmen and friends-Your ancestors increased both their own riches, "The derveeshes carry horns with them which they fre. and those that were left them by their fathers; but you waste quently blow when any thing is given to them in honour of the both your own and those of your ancestors' To whom he an· \ donor. It is not impossible that some of the poor Jews who VOL. V.

Before men.] Our Lord does not forbid public almsgiving, fasting, and prayer, but simply censures those vain and hypocritical persons who do these things publicly, that they may be seen of men, and receive from them the reputation of saints, &c.

2. Therefore when thou doest thine alms.] In the first verse the exhortation is general; Take YE heed. In this verse the address is pointed-and THOU-man-woman-who readest— hearest.

Do not sound a trumpet.] It is very likely that this was lite. rally practised among the Pharisees, who seemed to live on the public esteem, and were excessively self-righteous and vain. Having something to distribute by way of alms, it is very probable they caused this to be published by blowing a trumpet or horn, under pretence of collecting the poor: though with no other design than to gratify their own ambition. There is a custom in the east not much unlike this.

[blocks in formation]
[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

begged alms might be furnished like the Persian derveeshes, who are a sort of religious beggars, and that these hypocrites might be disposed to confine their almsgiving to those that they knew would pay them this honour. HARMER'S Observat. vol. i. p. 474.

It must be granted, that in the Jewish writings there is no such practice referred to as that which I have supposed above, viz. blowing a trumpet to gather the poor, or the poor blowing a horn when relieved. Hence some learned men have thought that the word D shopher a trumpet, refers to the hole in the public almschest, into which the money was dropped which was allotted for the service of the poor. Such holes, because they were wide at one end and grew gradually narrow towards the other, were actually termed D shopheroth, trumpets, by the rabbins; of this Schoettgen furnishes several examples. An ostentatious man, who wishes to attract the notice of those around him, would throw in his money with some force into these trumpet-resembling holes, and thus he might be said, caλnie, to sound the trumpet. The Jerusalem Gemara, Tract Shekalim, describes these m shopheroth, thus-These trumpet holes were crooked, narrow above and wide below, in order to prevent fraud. As our Lord only uses the words, un camions, it may be tantamount to our term jingle. Do not make a public ostentatious jingle of that money which you give to public charities. Pride and hypocrisy are the things here reprehended. The Pharisees, no doubt, felt the weight of the reproof.

Works of charity and mercy should be done as much in private as is consistent with the advancement of the glory of God, and the effectual relief of the poor.

taught the disciples.

[ocr errors]

9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which
art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Luke 11. 2, &c. Rom. 8. 14, 15.

See Lightfoot. As they had no piety but that which was
outward, they endeavoured to let it fully appear, that they
might make the most of it among the people. It would not
have answered their end to kneel before God, for then they
might have been unnoticed by men; and consequently have
lost that reward which they had in view: viz. the esteem and
applause of the multitude.

6. But thou, when thou prayest.] This is a very impres sive and emphatic address. But THOU! whosoever thou art, Jew, Pharisee, Christian-enter into thy closet. Prayer is the most secret intercourse of the soul with God, and as it were the conversation of one heart with another. The world is too profane and treacherous to be of the secret. We must shut the door against it: endeavour to forget it, with all the affairs which busy and amuse it. Prayer requires retire ment, at least of the heart; for this may be fitly termed the closet in the house of God, which house the body of every real Christian is, 1 Cor. iii. 16. To this closet we ought to retire even in public prayer, and in the midst of company.

Reward thee openly.] What goodness is there equal to this of God! to give not only what we ask, and more than we ask, but to reward even prayer itself! How great advantage is it to serve a prince who places prayers in the number of ser vices, and reckons to his subjects' account, even their trust and confidence in begging all things of him!

7. Use not vain repetitions.] Mn Barroλoynonte. Suidas explains this word well: "woλvλoyia, much speaking, from one Battus, who made very prolix hymns, in which the same idea frequently recurred." "A frequent repetition of awful and striking words may often be the result of earnestness and fervour. See Dan. ix. 3-20. but great length of prayer, which will of course involve much sameness and idle repeti tion, naturally creates fatigue and carelessness in the wor the Deity; a fault against which our Lord more particularly wishes to secure them." See ver. 8. This judicious note is from the late Mr. Gilbert Wakefield, who illustrates it with the following quotations from the Heautontimorumenos of Terence: Ohe! jam desine Deos, uzor, gratulando OBTUNDERE, Tuam esse inventam gnatam: nisi illos ez TUO INGENIO judicas,

In the synagogues and in the streets.] That such chests or boxes for receiving the alms of well-disposed people, were placed in the synagogues, we may readily believe; but what were the streets? Schoettgen supposes that courts and ave-shipper, and seems to suppose ignorance or inattention in nues in the temple and in the synagogues may be intendedplaces where the people were accustomed to walk, for air, amusement, &c. for it is not to be supposed that such chests were fixed in the public streets.

They have their reward.] That is, the honour and esteem of men which they sought. God is under no obligation to them-they did nothing with an eye to his glory, and from HIM they can expect no recompense. They had their recom. pense in this life; and could expect none in the world to come. 3. Let not thy left hand know.] In many cases, works of charity must be hidden from even our nearest relatives, who if they knew, would hinder us from doing what God has given us power and inclination to perform. We must go even fur. ther: and conceal them as far as is possible from ourselves, by not thinking of them, or eyeing them with complacency, They are given to GoD, and should be hidden in HIM.

4. Which seeth in secret.] We should ever remember that the eye of the Lord is upon us, and that he sees not only the act, but also every motive that led to it.

Shall reward thee openly.] Will give thee the fullest proofs of his acceptance of thy work of faith and labour of love, by increasing that substance which, for his sake, thou sharest with the poor; and will manifest his approbation in thy own heart, by the witness of his Spirit.

Ut nil credas INTELLIGERE, nisi idem DICTUM SIT CENTIES. "Pray thee, wife, cease from STUNNING the gods with thanksgivings because thy child is in safety; unless thou judgest of them from thyself, that they cannot UNDERSTAND a thing, un less they are told of it a HUNDRED TIMES." Heaut. ver. 880.

Prayer requires more of the heart than of the tongue. The eloquence of prayer consists in the fervency of desire, and the simplicity of faith. The abundance of fine thoughts, studied and vehement motions, and the order and politeness of the expressions, are things which compose a mere human ha rangue, not an humble and Christian prayer. Our trust and confidence ought to proceed from that which God is able to de in us, and not from that which we can say to him. It is abominable, says the HEDAYAH, that a person offering up prayers to God, should say, "I beseech thee, by the glory of thy hea vens!" or, "by the splendour of thy throne!" for a style of this nature would lead to suspect that the Almighty derived glory from the heavens: whereas the heavens are created, but God with all his attributes is eternal and inimitable. HE DAYAH, vol. iv. p. 121.

يا الله يا الله يا الله يا الله يارب يارب يارب يارب ياحي و قيوم ياحي وقيوم يا حي وقيوم يا حي وقيوم

يا بديع السموات والارض يا ذا الجالل و الاكرام وغيره

5. And when thou prayest.] Όταν προσευχη. Προσευχη, prayer, is compounded of poo, with, and evxn, a vow, because to pray right, a man binds himself to God as by a vow, to live to his glory, if he will grant him his grace, &c. This is the sentiment of a Mohammedan; and yet for this Exopat signifies to pour out prayers or vows, from ev, well, vain repetition, the Mohammedans are peculiarly remarkable; and yew, I pour out; probably alluding to the offerings or lithey often use such words as the following: bations which were poured out before, or on the altar. A proper idea of prayer is, a pouring out of the soul unto God, as a free-will offering, solemnly and eternally dedicated to him, accompanied with the most earnest desire that it may know, love, and serve him alone. He that comes thus to God will ever be heard and blessed. Prayer is the language of dependance; he who prays not, is endeavouring to live inde. pendently of God: this was the first curse, and continues to be the great curse of mankind. In the beginning Satan said, Eat this fruit; ye shall then be as God: i. e. ye shall be inde pendent: the man hearkened to his voice, sin entered into the world, and notwithstanding the full manifestation of the deception, the ruinous system is still pursued; man will, if possible, live independently of God; hence he either prays not at all, or uses the language without the spirit of prayer. Thou shalt not be as the hypocrites.] Yoкpiral. From vo, under, and xpivopai, to be judged, thought properly a stageplayer, who acts under a mask, personating a character different from his own; a counterfeit, a dissembler: one who would be thought to be different from what he really is. person who wishes to be taken for a follower of God, but who has nothing of religion except the outside.

O God, O God, O God, O God!--O Lord, O Lord, O Lord, O Lord!-O living, O immortal, O living, O immortal, O living, O immortal, O living, O immortal!-O Creator of the heavens and the earth!-0 thou who art endowed with majesty and authority, O wonderful, &c. I have extracted the above from a form of prayer used by Tippo Sahib, which I met with in a book of devotion; in which there were several prayers writ ter. with his own hand, and signed with his own name.

Of this vain repetition in civil matters among the Jews, many instances might be given, and not a few examples might be found among Christians. The heathens abounded with them; see several quoted by Lightfoot.-Let the parricide be dragged! We beseech thee, Augustus, let the parricide be dragged! This is the thing we ask, let the parricide be drag. ged! Hear us, Cesar; let the false accusers be cast to the Alion! Hear us, Cesar; let the false accusers be condemned to the lion! Hear us, Cesar, &c. It was a maxim among the Jews, that "he who multiplies prayer, must be heard." This is correct, if it only imply perseverance in supplication: but if it be used to signify the multiplying of words, or even forms of prayer, it will necessarily produce the evil which our Lord reprehends: Be not as the heathen-use not ruin repetitions, &c.

Love to pray standing in the synagogues, and in the corners of the streets.] The Jewish phylacterical prayers were long, and the canonical hours obliged them to repeat these prayers wherever they happened to be; and the Pharisees, who were full of vain glory, contrived to be overtaken in the streets by the canonical hour, that they might be seen by the people, and applauded for their great and conscientious piety.

As the heathen.] The Vatican MS. reads broкpiral, like the hypocrites. Unmeaning words, useless repeittions, and com

[merged small][ocr errors]


10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, bas it is

in heaven.

■ Ch. 26. 39, 42. Acts 21. 14.-b Pa. 103, 20, 31.

plimentary phrases in prayer, are in general the result of heathenism, hypocrisy, or ignorance.

8. Your Father knoweth what things ye have need of Prayer is not designed to inform God, but to give man a sight of his misery; to humble his heart, to excite his desire, to inflame his faith, to animate his hope, to raise his soul from earth to heaven, and to put him in mind that THERE is his Father, his country, and inheritance.

In the preceding verses we may see three faults, which our Lord commands us to avoid in prayer: 1st. HYPOCRISY. Be not as the hypocrites, ver. 5. 2dly. DISSIPATION. Enter into thy closet, ver. 6. 3dly. MUCH SPEAKING OF UNMEANING REPETITION. Be not like the heathens, ver. 7.

9. After this manner therefore pray ye.] Forms of prayer were frequent among the Jews; and every public teacher gave one to his disciples. Some forms were drawn out to a considerable length, and from these abridgments were made; to the latter sort the following prayer belongs, and consequently, besides its own very important use, it is a plan for a more extended devotion. What satisfaction is it to learn from God himself, with what words, and in what manner he would have us to pray to him, so as not to pray in vain! A king, who himself draws up the petition which he allows to be presented to himself, has doubtless the fullest determination to grant the request. We do not sufficiently consider the value of this prayer; the respect and attention which it requires, the preference to be given to it, its fulness and perfection, the frequent use we should make of it, and the spirit which we should bring with it. "Lord, teach us how to pray!" is a prayer necessary to prayer: for unless we are divinely instructed in the manner, and influenced by the spirit of true devotion, even the prayer taught us by Jesus Christ may be repeated without profit to

our souls.

Our Father.] It was a maxim of the Jews, that a man should not pray alone, but join with the church; by which they particularly meant that he should, whether alone or in the synagogue, use the plural number, as comprehending all the followers of God. Hence, they say, Let none pray the short prayer, i. e. as the gloss expounds it, the prayer in the singular, but in the plural number. See Lightfoot in this place. This prayer was evidently made in a peculiar manner for the children of God. And hence we are taught to say, not MY Father, but our Father. The heart, says one, of a child of God is a brotherly heart, in respect of all other Christians: it asks nothing but in the spirit of unity, fellowship, and Christian charity; desiring that for its brethren, which it desires for itself. The word Father, placed here at the beginning of this prayer, includes two grand ideas, which should serve as a foundation to all our petitions: 1st. That tender and respectful love which we should feel for God, such as that which children feel for their fathers. 2dly. That strong confidence in God's love to us, such as fathers have for their children. Thus all the petitions in this prayer stand in the strictest reference to the word father; the first three referring to the love we have for God; and the three last, to that confidence which we have in the love he bears to us. The relation we stand in to this first and best of beings, dic. tates to us reverence for his person, zeal for his honour, obedience to his will, submission to his dispensations and chastisements, and resemblance to his nature.

Which art in Heaven.] The phrase va abinu sheboshemayim, our Father who art in heaven, was very common among the ancient Jews; and was used by them precisely in the same sense as it is used here by our Lord.

[ocr errors]


11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And d forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
c See Job 23. 12. Pro. 30. 8.-d Ch. 18. 21, &c.

We hallow God's name, 1st. With our lips, when all our conversation is holy, and we speak of those things which are meet to minister grace to the hearers. 2lly. In our thoughts, when we suppress every rising evil, and have our tempers regulated by his grace and Spirit. 3dly. In our lives, when we begin, continue, and end our works to his glory. If we have an eye to God in all we perform, then every act of our com. mon employment will be an act of religious worship. 4thly. In our families, when we endeavour to bring up our children in the discipline and admonition of the Lord; instructing also our servants in the way of righteousness. 5thly. In a parti cular calling or business, when we separate the falsity, deception, and lying, commonly practised, from it: buying and selling, as in the sight of the holy and just God.

10. Thy kingdom come.] The ancient Jews scrupled not to say: He prays not at all, in whose prayers there is no men. tion of the kingdom of God. Hence, they were accustomed to say, Let him cause his kingdom to reign, and his redemption to flourish: and let the Messiah speedily come and deliver his people."

The universal sway of the sceptre of Christ; God has pro mised that the kingdom of Christ shall be exalted above all kingdoms. Dan. vii. 14-27. That it shall overcome all others, and be at last the universal empire. Isa. ix. 7. Connect this with the explanation given of this phrase, ch. iii. 2.

Thy will be done.] This petition is properly added to the preceding, for, when the kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy, in the holy Spirit, is established in the heart, there is then an ample provision inade for the fulfilment of the Di. vine will.

The will of God is infinitely good, wise, and holy: to have it fulfilled in and among men, is to have infinite goodness, wisdom, and holiness, diffused throughout the universe; and earth made the counterpart of heaven.

As it is in heaven.] The Jews maintained, that they were the angels of God upon earth, as those pure spirits were angels of God in heaven; hence they said, "As the angels sanctify the Divine name in heaven, so the Israelites sanctify the Divine name upon earth." See Schoettgen.

Observe, 1st. The Salvation of the soul is the result of two wills conjoined; the will of God, and the will of man. If God will not the salvation of man, he cannot be saved: If man will not the salvation God has prepared for him, he cannot be delivered from his sins. 2dly. This petition certainly points out a deliverance from all sin; for nothing that is unholy can consist with the Divine will, and if this be fulfilled in man, surely sin shall be banished from his soul. 3dly. This is fur ther evident from these words, as it is in heaven; i. e. as the angels do it: viz. with all zeal, diligence, love, delight, and perseverance. 4thly. Does not the petition plainly imply, we may live without sinning against God? Surely the holy an gels never mingle iniquity with their loving obedience; and as our Lord teaches us to pray, that we do his will here, as they do it in heaven; can it be thought he would put a petition in our mouths, the fulfilment of which was impossible? 5thly. This certainly destroys the assertion: "There is no such state of purification to be attained here, in which it may be said the soul is redeemed from sinful passions and desires," for it is on EARTH, that we are commanded to pray that this will, which is our sanctification, may be done. 6thly. Our souls can never be truly happy, till our wILLS be entirely subjected to, and be. come one with the will of God. 7thly. How can any person offer this petition to his Maker, who thinks of nothing less than the performance of the will of God, and of nothing more than doing his own?

This phrase in the Scriptures, seems used to express: 1st. His OMNIPRESENCE. The heavens of heavens cannot contain thee, 1 Kings viii. 27: that is, Thou fillest immensity. Some see the mystery of the Trinity in the three preceding 2dly. His MAJESTY and DOMINION over his creatures. Art petitions. The first being addressed to the Father, as the thou not God in heaven, and rulest thou not over all the king-source of all holiness. The second, to the Son, who establishes doms of the heathen? 2 Chron. xx. 6.

3dly. His POWER and MIGHT. Art thou not God in heaven, and in thy hand is there not power and might, so that no creature is able to withstand thee? 2 Chron. xx. 6. Our God is in heaven, and hath done whatsoever he pleased. Psal. cxv. 3. 4thly. His OMNISCIENCE. The Lord's throne is in heaven, his eyes behold, his eye-lids try the children of men. Psal. xi. 4. The Lord looketh down from heaven, he beholdeth all the sons of men. Psal. xxxiii. 13-15.

5thly. His infinite PURITY and HOLINESS. Look down from thy holy habitation, &c. Deut. xxvi. 15. Thou art the high and lofty One, who inhabiteth eternity, whose name is holy. Isa. Ivii. 15. Hallowed.) Ayiaσ0пrw. ayiatw from a, negative, and yn the earth, a thing separated from the earth, or from earthly purposes and employments. As the word sanctified, or hal. lowed, in Scripture, is requently used for the consecration of a thing or person to a holy use or office, as the Levites, first born, Tabernacle, Temple, and their utensils, which were all eet apart from every earthly, common, or profane use; and employed wholly in the service of God, so the Divine Majesty may be said to be sanctified by us, in analogy to those things, viz. when we separate him from, and in our conceptions and desires, exalt him above earth and all things.

Thy name.] That is, GOD himself, with all the Attributes of his Divine Nature, his Power, Wisdom, Justice, Mercy, &c.

the kingdom of God upon earth. The third, to the Holy Spi rit, who by his energy works in men to will and to perform.

To offer these three petitions with success at the Throne of God, three graces, essential to our salvation, must be brought into exercise; and, indeed, the petitions themselves necessarily suppose them. FAITH, Our Father-for he that cometh to God, must believe that he is.

HOPE, Thy kingdom come-For this grace has for its object good things to come.

LOVE, Thy will be done-For love is the incentive to, and principle of, all obedience to God, and beneficence to man. 11. Give us this day our daily bread.] The word εntovatov has greatly perplexed critics and commentators. I find upwards of thirty different explanations of it. It is found in no Greek writer before the evangelists, and Origen says expressly, that it was formed by them, aλλ'εoike meñλαoðaι V TV evayyeλioTwv. The interpretation of Theophylact, one of the best of the Greek Fathers, has ever appeared to me to be the best, APTOS ERITη ovσla kai ovoraσɛi hμwv avтapkns, Bread, sufficient for our substance or support, i. e. The quantity of food which is necessary to support our health and strength, by being changed into the substance of our bodies. Its composi tion, is of art and ovoia, proper or sufficient for support. Mr. Wakefield thinks it probable, that the word was originally | written crt ovotay, which coalesced by degrees, till they be

[blocks in formation]

13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil : For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

14d For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:

15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will vour Father forgive your trespasses.

a Ch. 26. 41. Luke 22. 40, 46. 1 Cor. 10 13. 2 Pet. 2. 9. Rev 3. 10.-b John 17. 15,1 Chr. 29. 11-d Ecclus 23, 1, &c. Mk 11. 25, 25. Eph. 4. 32. Col 3. 13. came the Elovatov of the MSS. There is probably an allusion here to the custom of travellers in the east, who were wont to reserve a part of the food given them the preceding evening to serve for their breakfast or dinner the next day. But as this was not sufficient for the whole day, they were therefore obliged to depend on the providence of God for the additional supply In Luke xv. 12, 13, oveta signifies what a person has to liv on; and nothing can be more natural than to understand the compound trovolos, of that additional supply which the traveller needs to complete the provision ne cessary for a day's eating over and above what he had then in his possession. See Harmer.

The word is so very peculiar and expressive, and seems to have been made on purpose by the evangelists, that more than merely bodily nourishment seems to be intended by it. Indeed, many of the primitive fathers understood it as comprehending that daily supply of grace which the soul requires to keep it in health and vigour: he who uses the petition would do well to keep both in view. Observe, 1. God is the Author and Dispenser of all temporal as well as spiritual good. 2. We have merited no kind of good from his hand, and there. fore must receive it as a free gift: give us, &c. We must depend on him daily for support; we are not permitted to ask any thing for to-morrow: give us to-day. 4. That petition of the ancient Jews is excellent: "Lord, the necessities of thy people Israel are many, and their knowledge small, so that they know not how to disclose their necessities: Let it be thy good pleasure to give to every man what sufficeth for food!" Thus they expressed their dependance, and left it to God to determine what was best and most suitable. We must ask only that which is essential to our support, God having promised neither luxuries nor superfluities.


16 Moreover f when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily, I say unto you, They have their reward.

17 But thou when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face:

18 That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Fae Ch. 18. 35. Janies & 13-f1 Kings 21. 27. 18. 56. 5-g Gen. 4. 4. Pa. 35 13. Matt. 14. 15.-h Kuth 3. 3. 2 Sam. 12. 3. Eeel. 9. 8-i Ruth 3.3. Dan. 10. 3.

man may be tempted without entering into the temptation: entering into it implies giving way, closing in with, and embracing it.

But deliver us from evil.] Año Tov Rovnov, from the wicked one. Satan is expressly called 6 rovnpos, the wicked one. Matt. xiii. 19 and 38. compare with Mark iv. 15. Luke viii. 12. This epithet of Satan comes from ovos, labour, sorrow, misery, because of the drudgery which is found in the way of sin, the sorrow that accompanies the commission of it, and the misery which is entailed upon it, and in which it ends. It is said in the MISHNA, Tit. Beracoth, that Rabbi Judah was wont to pray thus: "Let it be thy good pleasure to deliver us from impudent men, and from impudence; from an evil man, and an evil chance; from an evil affection, an evil companion, and an evil neighbour; from Satan the de stroyer, from a hard judgment, and a hard adversary." See Lightfoot. Deliver us.] Pvrai pas-a very expressive word-break our chains, and loose our bands-snatch, pluck us from the evil, and its calamitous issue.

For thine is the kingdom, &c.] The whole of this doxology is rejected by Wetstein, Griesbach, and the most eminent critics. The authorities on which it is rejected may be seen in Griesbach, and Wetstein, particularly in the second edition of Griesbach's Testament, who is fully of opinion, that it never made a part of the sacred text. It is variously written in se. veral MSS, and omitted by most of the Fathers, both Greek and Latin. As the doxology is at least very ancient, and was in use among the Jews, as well as all the other petitions of this excellent prayer, it should not, in my opinion, be left out of the text, merely because some MSS. have omitted it, and it has been variously written in others. See various forms of 12. And forgive us our debts.] Sin is represented here under this doxology taken from the ancient Jewish writers, in Lightthe notion of a debt, and as our sins are many, they are called foot and Schoetigen. By the kingdom, we may understand here debts. God made man that he might live to his glory, and that mentioned ver. 10. and explained chap. iii. 2. By power, gave him a law to walk by; and if, when he does any thing that energy by which the kingdom is governed and maintainthat tends not to glorify God, he contracts a debt with Divine ed. By glory, the honour that shall redound to God in conse. Justice, how much more is he debtor when he breaks the lawquence of the maintenance of the kingdom of grace, in the by actual transgression. It has been justly observed, "All the salvation of men. attributes of God are reasons of obedience to man; those attri. For ever and ever.] Eis rovs alwvas, to the for evers. Well butes are infinite: every sin is an act of ingratitude, or re-expressed by our common translation-ever in our ancient bellion, against all these attributes; therefore sin is infinitely use of the word taking in the whole duration of time; the sinful." second ever, the whole of eternity. May thy name have the Forgive us.-Man has nothing to pay if his debts are not glory both in this world, and in that which is to come! The forgiven, they must stand charged against him for ever: as original word atov, comes from act, always, and wv, being, or he is absolutely insolvent. Forgiveness, therefore, must come existence. This is Aristotle's definition of it. See the note on from the free mercy of God in Christ: and how strange is it, Gen. xxi. 33. There is no word in any language which more we cannot have the old debt cancelled, without (by that very forcibly points out the grand characteristic of eternity that means) contracting a new one, as great as the old but the which always exists. It is often used to signify a limited time, credit is transferred from Justice to Mercy. While sinners, the end of which is not known, but this use of it is only an we are in debt to infinite Justice; when pardoned, in debt to accommodated one; and it is the grammatical and proper endless Mercy: an, as a continuance in a state of grace ne-sense of it, which must be resorted to in any controversy concessarily implies a continual communication of mercy, so the cerning the word. We sometimes use the phrase for everdebt goes on increasing, ad infinitum. Strange economy in more: i. e. for ever and more, which signifies the whole of the Divine procedure, which, by rendering a inan an infinite time, and the more, or interminable duration beyond it. See debtor, keeps him eternally dependant on his Creator! How on chap. xxv. 46. good is God and what does this state of dependence imply? a union with, and participation of, the fountain of eternal goodness and felicity!

soul in God, with the fullest assurance that all these petitions shall be fulfilled to every one who prays according to the directions given before by our blessed Lord.

The very learned Mr. Gregory has shown that our Lord col lected this prayer out of the Jewish Euchologies, and gives us the whole form as follows:

Our Father who art in heaven, be gracious unto us! O Lord our God, hallowed be thy name, and let the remembrance of Thee be glorified in heaven above, and in the earth here below! Let thy kingdom reign over us now, and for ever! The holy men of old said: remit and forgive unto all men whatsoever they have done against me! And iead us not into the hands of temptation, but deliver us from the evil thing! For thine is the kingdom, and thou shalt reign in glory for ever and for evermore." Gregory's Works, 4to. 1671, p. 162. See this proved at large in the collections of Lightfoot and Schoetgenius.

Amen.] This word is Hebrew, DN and signifies faithful or true. Some suppose the word is formed from the initial let ters of No adoni melech neeman, My lord the faithAs we forgive our debtors.] It was a maxim among the an-ful king. The word itself implies a confident resting of the cient Jews, that no man should lie down in his bed without forgiving those who had offended him. That man condemns himself to suffer eternal punishment who makes use of this prayer with revenge and hatred in his heart. He who will not attend to a condition so advantageous to himself, (remitting a hundred pence to his debtor, that his own creditor may remit him 10,000 talents,) is a madman, who, to oblige his neighbour to suffer an hour, is himself determined to suffer everlastingly! This condition of forgiving our neighbour, though it cannot possibly merit any thing; yet it is that condition without which God will pardon no man. See ver. 14 and 15, 13. And lead us not into temptation.] That is, bring us not into sore trial. Heipaopov, which may be here rendered sore trial, comes from Telow, to pierce through, as with a spear or spit, used so by some of the best Greek writers. Several of the primitive fathers understood it something in this way; and have therefore added quam ferre non possimus, "which we cannot bear." The word not only implies violent assaults 14. If ye forgive men.] He who shows mercy to men, refrom Satan, but also sorely afflictive circunstances, none ofceives mercy from God. For a king to forgive his subjects a which we have as yet grace or fortitude sufficient to bear. Bring hundred millions of treasons against his person and authorius not in, or lead us not in.-This is a mere Hebraism: God is ty, on this one condition, that they will henceforth live peacesaid to do a thing, which he only permits or suffers to be done. ably with him and with each other, is what we shall never The process of temptation is often as follows: 1st. A sim- see; and yet this is but the shadow of that which Christ prople evil thought. 2dly. A strong imagination, or impression mises on his Father's part to all true penitents. A man can made on the imagination by the thing to which we are tempt have little regard for his salvation who refuses to have it on ed. 3dly. Delight in viewing it. 4thly. Consent of the will such advantageous terms. See Quesnel. to perform it. Thus lust is conceived, sin is finished, and death brought forth. James i. 15. See also on chap. iv. 1. A

15. But if ye forgive not.] He who does not awake at the sound of so loud a voice, is not asleep but dead. A vindictive

We should lay up


ther which is in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.

19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where tooth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:

20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where & Pro. 23. 4. 1 Tha. 6. 17. Heb 13. 5. James 5. 1, &c.-b Ecclus, 29, 11. man excludes himself from all hope of eternal life, and him. self seals his own damnation.

Trespasses.] Пaparruara, from rapa and Tw, to fall off. What a remarkable difference there is between this word and odciλnuara, debts, in verse 12! Men's sins against us are only their stumblings, or fallings off from the duties they owe us; but ours are debts to God's justice, which we can never discharge. It can be no great difficulty to forgive those, especially when we consider, that in many respects we have failed as much in certain duties which we owed to others, as they have done in those which they owed us. "But I have given him no provocation." Perhaps thou art angry, and art not a proper judge in the matter: but, however it may be, it is thy interest to forgive, if thou expectest forgiveness from God. On this important subject I will subjoin an extract from Mason's Self knowledge, page 248. 1755.

treasure in heaven.” neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do no break through nor steal:

21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. 22 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thinc eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.

23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of Ch. 19,21. Luke 12. 33, 34. & 18. 22. 1 Tim. 6. 19. 1 Pet. 1. 4.- Luke 11. 34, 36.

Openly.) Ev rw partow. These words are omitted by nine MSS. in uncial letters; and by more than one hundred others, by most of the versions, and by several of the primitive fa thers. As it is supported by no adequate authority, Bengel, Wetstein, Griesbach, and others, have left it out of the text. 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 summ in stock, &c. shall I take that and divide it among the poor." By no means; for by doing so, you would put it out of your power to do good after the present division-keep your principal, and devote, if you can possibly spare it, the product to the poor, and thus you shall have the continual ability to do good. In the meantime, take care not to shut up your bowels of compassion against a brother in distress; if you do, the love of God cannot dwell in you.

"Athenodorus, the philosopher, by reason of his old age, begged leave to retire from the court of Augustus, which the emperor granted. In his compliments of leave, he said, 'Remember, Cesar, whenever thou art angry, that thou say or do nothing, before thou hast distinctly repeated to thyself the twenty-four letters of the alphabet. On which Cesar 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 repeat- Rust. Or canker, Bowris, from Bowokw, I eat, consume. ed the fifth petition of our Lord's prayer-Forgive us our This word cannot be properly applied to rust, but to any thing debts as we forgive our debtors; and our Lord's comment that consumes or cankers clothes or metals. There is a sayupon it-For if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neithering exactly similar to this in the Institutes of MENU, speaking will your heavenly Father forgive your trespasses."

of the presents made to Brahmins, he says, "It is a gem
which neither thieves nor foes take away, and which never
perishes." Chapter of Government, Institute 83.
Where thieves do not break through.] Atopvorovat, lite-

PRAYER to God, is considered among the Mohammedans in a very important point of view. It is declared by the Mosli man doctors to be the corner-stone of RELIGION, and the pillar of FAITH. It is not, say they, a thing of mere form, but re-rally dig through, i. e. the wall, in order to get into the house. quires that the heart and understanding should accompany it, without which they pronounce it to be of no avail. They direct prayer to be performed five times in the twenty-four hours. 1. Between day-break and sun-rise; 2. immediately after noon; 3. immediately before sun-set; 4. in the evening before dark; and 5. before the first watch of the night.

20. Lay up-treasures in heaven.] "The only way to render perishing goods eternal, to secure stately furniture from moths, the richest metals from canker, and precious stones from thieves, is to transmit them to heaven by acts of charity. This is a kind of bill of exchange which cannot fail of accept. ance, but through our own fault." Quesnel.

It is certain we have not the smallest portion of temporal good, but what we have received from the unmerited bounty

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 gandy ap-of God; and if we give back to him all we have received, yet parel 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 towards the temple of MECCA-HEDAYAH. Prel. Dis. p. 53, 54.

"There are few points here but the follower of Christ may seriously consider and profitably practice.

18. When ye fast.) A fast is termed by the Greeks noris, from vn, not, and cov, to eat; hence fast means, a total ab stinence from food for a certain time. Abstaining from flesh, and living on fish, regetables, &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 Iviii. 3. and say that it means a fust 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 their prophet, the people were to divide their bread with the hungry, ver. 7. but could they eat the bread, and give it too? No man should save by a fast: he should give all the food he might have eaten to the poor. He who saves a day's expense by a fast, commits an abomination before the Lord. See more on chap. ix. 15.

still there is no merit that can fairly attach to the act, as the goods were the Lord's: for I am not to suppose that I can purchase any thing from a man by his own property. On this ground the doctrine of human merit is one of the most absurd that ever was published among men, or credited by sinners. Yet he who supposes he can purchase heaven by giving that meat which was left at his own table, and that of his servants: or by giving a garment which he could no longer in decency wear, must have a base ignorant soul, and a very mean opi. nion of the heaven he hopes for. But shall not such works as these be rewarded? Yes, yes, God will take care to give you all that your cast victuals, refuse, and old clothes, are worth. Yet he who, through love to God and man, divides his bread with the hungry, and covers the naked with a gar ment, shall not lose his reward, a reward which the mercy of God appoints, but to which, in strict justice, he can lay no claim. 21. Where your treasure is.] If God be the treasure of our souls, our hearts, i. e. our affections and desires will be placed on things above. An earthly-minded man proves that his treasure is below: a heavenly-minded man shows that his

treasure is above.

22. The light of the body is the eye.] That is, the eye is to the body what the sun is to the universe in the day-time, or a lamp or candle to a house after night.

As the hypocrites, of a sad countenance.] Σrv@pwrn, either from okuloos, sour, crabbed, and w, the countenance: or from Exudas,, 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 peni-i. e. so perfect in its structure as to see objects distinctly and tent, not having any godly sorrow at heart, he is obliged to counterfeit it the best way he can, by a gloomy and austere look.

17. Anoint thine head, and wash thy fuce.] These were for bidden in the Jewish canon on days of fasting and humiliation; and hypocrites availed themselves of this ordinance, that they might appear to men to fast. Our Lord, therefore, cantions ns against this: as if he had said: Affect nothing-dress in thy ordinary manner, and let the whole of thy deportment prove, that thou desirest to recommend thy soul to GOD, and no thy face to men. That factitious mourning which consists in putting on black clothes, crapes, &c. is uttey inconsistent with the simplicity of the Gospel of Christ; and if practised in reference to spiritur matters, is certainly forbidden here; but sin is so common, and so boldly persisted in, that not even a crape is put on as an evidence of deploring its influence, or of sorrow for having committed it.

18. Thy Father which seeth in secret.] Let us not be afraid that our hearts can be concealed from God: but let us fear lest he perceive them to be more desirons of the praise of wen, than they are of that glory which comes from Him.

If thine eye be single.] Arλovs, simple, uncompounded :—

clearly; and not confusedly, or in different places to what they are, as is often the case in certain disorders of the eye; one object appearing two or more--or else in a different situ tion, and of a different colour to what it really is. This state of the eye is termed, ver. 23, rovnpos, evil, i. e. diseased or de fective. An evil eye, was a phrase in use among the ancient Jews, to denote an envious, coretous man or disposition: a man who repined at his neighbour's prosperity, loved his own money, and would do nothing in the way of charity for God's sake. Our blessed Lord, however, extends and sublimes this meaning, and uses the sound eye as a metaphor, to point out that simplicity of intention, and purity of affection, with which men should pursue the supreme good." We cannot draw more than one straight line betreen two indivisible points. We aim at happiness, it is found only in one thing, the indivisible and eternal God. If the line or simple intention be drawn straight to him, and the soul walk by it, with purity of affection, the whole man shall be light in the Lord, the rays of that excellent glory shall irradiate the mind, and through the whole spirit shall the Divine nature be trans

« PrécédentContinuer »