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Bible Commentaries

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical
Matthew 6

 

 

Other Authors
Verses 1-18

B. Christianity and Pharisaism in their relation to the great virtues of the law; or, three examples from life, showing the perversions of the Pharisees and Scribes, and the spiritual elevation of true Christianity.

Matthew 6:1-18

False Spirituality of Traditionalism

1Take heed that ye do not your alms [righteousness][FN1] before men, to be seen of [by] them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which [who] is in heaven.

2Therefore, when thou doest thine alms, 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 [all][FN2] their reward 3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: 4That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret Himself shall reward thee openly.[FN3]

5And when thou prayest,[FN4] thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of [by] men. Verily I say unto you, They have [all] their reward 6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet; and, when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which [who] is in secret; and thy Father which [who] seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.[FN5] 7But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking 8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him 9 After this manner therefore pray ye:

Our Father which [who] art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name 10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven [lit.: as in heaven, so also on earth]. Give us this day our daily[FN6] bread 12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive[FN7] our debtors 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.[FN8] 14For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: 15But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

16Moreover 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 [all] their reward 17 But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; 18That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which [who] is in secret: and thy Father which [who] seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.[FN9]

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

Having exposed the corruptions of doctrine, our Lord exhibits those of religious life under three examples, which present the three great forms in which the self-righteousness and hypocrisy of the Pharisees and scribes manifested itself. They were, alms-giving, prayer, and fasting. These were the three principal manifestations of practical piety among the Jews (Tobias Matthew 12:8-9; Matthew 14:10; Judith 4:9; Sirach 29:11), and were abused by the Pharisees to exhibit their superior piety.[FN10] The Church of Rome still designates them as good works in a pre-eminent sense. The Pharisees imagined that they had reached the highest eminence in these three phases of spiritual life, which mark a right relationship toward our neighbor (alms giving), toward God (prayer), and toward ourselves (fasting); while their spirit of bondage and hypocrisy entirely destroyed the spiritual character of these works, and morally placed them on a level with the saddest and most sinful perversions of the heathen.

Matthew 6:1. Your righteousness [not: your alms].—We read δικαιοσύνην, and not ἐλεημοσύνην, with Griesbach, Lachmann, Tischendorf, and others, according to Codd. B. D, etc. Righteousness, צְדָקָה, is upright and pious conduct generally. Thus we have in the first verse a description of righteousness generally, which afterward is followed by a statement of the threefold manifestation of that righteousness. The reward with our Father who is in heaven ( Matthew 25:31, etc.) is mentioned in opposition to that which the Pharisees arrogated to themselves, or to the outward acknowledgment which they claimed from men.

Matthew 6:2. When thou doest alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee.—A figurative expression, meaning, to attract attention. So Theophylact and many other commentators. Calovius, Wolf, Paulus, etc, understand it literally, that the Pharisees gathered the poor together by sounding a trumpet. Others connect it with the modern custom of beggars in the East, who blow the trumpet before him from whom they ask alms (Henneberg). Lastly, some refer it to the clinking of the money in the chest, which is supposed to have been shaped like a trumpet. Manifestly the metaphorical interpretation alone is correct.—In the synagogues the alms were collected; on the streets the benevolent were accosted by beggars. These additions, then, only indicate the occasion. The emphasis rests on the μὴ σαλπίσῃς.—They have their reward.—’Α πέχουσιν, they have it in full, or have wholly received their reward [and will get no more]. The only thing they wished was the praise of the multitude; and that they have got in all its vanity.—The expression ὑποκριτής occurs frequently in the Gospels, as in Matthew 6:16; Matthew 7:16, and in other places. The verb ὑποκρίνεσθαι ( Luke 20:20) has much the same signification as ἀποκρίνεσθαι, to answer, but probably to answer under a mask, to play the actor, to feign. “In the New Testament it is applied to a form of religion, where the reality is awanting.”

Matthew 6:3. Let not thy left hand know.—“Not a parsimonious counting of the money from the right hand into the left (Paulus, de Wette), nor a searching to take away again with the left hand (Luther); but complete modesty, secret and noiseless giving, metaphorically expressed (Chrysostom).” Gerlach: “If the left hand does not know what the right hand does, neither is the soul which animates both conscious of it.” We can find no sense in this explanation, and prefer his quotation of an Eastern proverb: “If thou doest any good, cast it into the sea: if the fish shall not know it, the Lord knows it.”[FN11]He who sees in secret, or who is ever present. Αὐτός, He. You are not to take your own reward: He will give it you. A reward of grace this, in the kingdom of God.

Matthew 6:5. And when ye pray.—On many grounds we prefer the plural instead of the singular (see Lachmann, etc.).—They love to pray. Their position in prayer is a matter of reflection and of choice, and they love it so.—Standing. “The Jews prayed standing with their face toward the temple, or toward the most holy place,— 1 Samuel 1:26; 1 Kings 8:22; Mark 11:25; Luke 18:11; Lightfoot, Horœ, 292sq.—or else kneeling, or prostrate on the earth.”—Meyer. But the word ἑστῶτες indicates a conscious and ostentatious assumption of the posture; comp. Luke 18:11, Φαρισαῖος σταθείς.—In the corners, ἐν ταῖς γωνίαις. The Pharisees probably took care that the hour fixed for prayer should overtake them at a cross-road or the corner of a street, in order to afford them the desired opportunity of performing their devotions in the most public places.

Matthew 6:6. Into thy closet, εἰς τὸ ταμεῖόν σου.—The room specially used for prayer was called ὑπερῷον, the Alijah, on the house-top. Vitringa, Syn. 151. Although this apartment is not exclusively here referred to, there is evidently an allusion to it, as being pre-eminently “the closet” of a Jew when engaged in devotional exercises. The antithesis between “the closet,” and “the synagogue and corners of streets,” is manifest. Of course, the passage is not aimed against public prayer. As Theophylact has it: τόπος οὐ βλάπτει, ἀλλ’ τρόπος, καὶ σκόπος [it is not the place which hurts, but the manner and the aim]. All display should be avoided in devotion: He who addresses God must be wholly engrossed with thoughts of his own wants, and of Him whose grace he entreats. Such abstraction will convert the most public place into a ταμεῖον. The metaphorical expression, κλείσας τὴν θύραν, also refers to the latent desire of gaining the applause of men.

Matthew 6:7. Use not vain repetitions, μὴ βαττολογήσητε.—Another perversion of prayer closely connected with the former, and implying an attempt to gain merit before God by superstitious practices, just as the former abuse was intended to gain merit with men. Βαττολογεῖν occurs very rarely in classical writers (Simplic. ad Epict. p340). It has been variously derived from Battus, the name of a king who stammered, or from Battus, a poet whose compositions were full of tautologies, or from בַּדִּים, Job 11:3. Probably it Isaiah, as Hesychius suggests, an onomatopoëticon, after the analogy of βατταρίζειν,—an imitation of stammering, and then of garrulity. The explanation of its meaning is furnished by the expression, much speaking, πολυλογία, which follows. These vain repetitions of the heathen are alluded to in 1 Kings 18:26; Terent. Heautont. v1.—On the vain repetitions of the Jews, see Matthew 23:14; Sirach 7:14; Wetstein, Schöttgen, and others;—on those of the Mohammedans, Hottinger, Hist. Eccles. vii. ad Lectorem.—The vain repetitions of the mediæval Church (Gieseler, Kirchengesch. ii1. p294), and of some modern sects, are well known.

It is worthy of notice, that Christ ranks beneficence and fasting along with prayer as religious actions, and as the evidence of practical piety. This implies, that almsgiving and fasting are the necessary accompaniment and manifestation of true prayer, which, so to speak, stands intermediate between them; the spirit of prayer being reflected in attention to the wants of our indigent brethren, and to those of our own inner life. The inferences from this are, 1. that almsgiving, in the spiritual sense, does not merely consist in care for the temporal wants of the poor, by the instrumentality of established boards and committees, but must take form after the example which the Lord Himself gave when He relieved the wants of the needy; 2. that religious fasting cannot be reduced merely to principles of temperance, sobriety, and order, but forms a distinct and special exercise, which, however, must be reserved for special eras in our lives, or for seasons of peculiar experience.

Matthew 6:9-13. The Lord’s Prayer.—General Remarks.—In this prayer our Lord shows His disciples how an infinite variety of wants and requests can be compressed into a few humble petitions. It embodies every possible desire of a praying heart, a whole world of spiritual requirements, yet all in the most simple, condensed, and humble form, resembling in this respect a pearl on which the light of heaven plays. It expresses and combines, in the best order, every Divine promise, every human sorrow and want, and every Christian aspiration for the good of others. In the opening address we have Theism in its purest manifestation, which ever owns and recognises the God of heaven as our Father. From the three first petitions, in their relation to the succeeding ones, we learn that man must not be bent on entreating God merely for that which affects himself, but that his spiritual well-being will be promoted by self-surrender to God, and by primarily seeking that which pertains to His kingdom.

The Lord’s Prayer is commonly arranged into three parts—the preface, the petitions, and the conclusion (see Luther’s Smaller Catechism, the Heidelberg Cat, qu120 sqq, and the Westminster Cats.). Then follows the arrangement of the separate petitions. Bengel: Petita sunt septem, quœ universa dividuntur in duas partes. Prior continet tria priora, Patrem spectantia: tuum, tuum, tua; posterior quatuor reliqua, nos spectantia.—Olshausen: “Viewed as a whole, the prayer contains only one idea, even deep longing after the kingdom of God, which forms the substance of all the prayers of the children of God (for whose behoof Christ here gives us a model). But this one idea is set forth under a twofold aspect. In the first three petitions it is presented to us in the light of God’s relation to men, exhibiting the kingdom of God absolutely and in its perfectness,—the final aim of God being always the burden of the believer’s desire. The four succeeding petitions on the other hand, bear reference to the obstacles in the way of the kingdom of heaven, and present this spiritual longing of the children of God in the light of the existing relation between man and God. Hence it is that in the first part of the Lord’s Prayer the infinite riches of God are unfolded:—

Hallowed be Thy name;

Thy kingdom come;

Thy will be done;

While in the second part, the poverty of men is brought to view:

Give us this day our daily bread;

Forgive us our debts;

Lead us not into temptation;

Deliver us from evil.

Lastly, the rich doxology expresses the certain hope that our prayers shall be heard, in view of the character of God, who, being Himself the highest good, will also bring to pass the highest good, even His own kingdom. The Lord’s Prayer Isaiah, at the same time, the utterance of the desires of individual believers, although the plural number in the petitions indicates their feeling of fellowship with others, and that of the aspirations of mankind generally. Expressing as it does the inmost feelings and wants of humanity, and the relation between God and sinful Prayer of Manasseh, it both meets the requirements of all, and satisfies the desires of the individual, provided his be a life of faith. Every special request not directly connected with things that pass away, but bearing on what is eternal, is included and implied in the Lord’s Prayer.”—De Wette: “The sacred number of these petitions—seven—indicates that they exhaust every religious want. In the first three petitions, the soul rises directly to God; in the three following, we have the hinderances to these aspirations—from a feeling of dependence upon what is earthly, and from a conflict with sin; while the last petition sets before us the solution of all these difficulties.”—Somewhat better Meyer: “Having risen to what forms the highest and holiest object of believers, the soul is engrossed with its character (first petition), its grand purpose (second petition), and its moral condition (third petition); in the fourth petition, the children of God humble themselves under the consciousness of their dependence upon Divine mercy even in temporal matters, but much more in spiritual things, since that which, according to the first portion of this prayer, constituted the burden of desire, can only be realized by forgiveness (fifth petition), by gracious guidance (sixth petition), and deliverance from the power of the devil (seventh petition).”—Stier (1:198) draws a parallel between the two tables of the Decalogue and the two sections of the Lord’s Prayer.—Weber (Lat. Programme quoted by Tholuck, p360) suggests the following outline:—

Πρόλογος.

Λόγος.

Επίλογος.

1.Πάτερ.

1.ἁγιασθήτω τὸ ὄνομάσαυ.

1.τὸν ἄρτον ἡμῶν, κ.τ.λ.

1.ὅτι σοῦ ἐστιν βασιλεία.

2. ἡμῶν.

2. ἐλθέτω βασιλεία σου.

2. καὶ ἄφες ἡμῖν, κ.τ.λ.

2. σοῦ ἐστιν δύναμις.

3. δ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς.

3. γενηθήτω τὸ θέλημά σου, κ.τ.λ.

3. καὶ μὴ εἰσενέγκῃς ἡμᾶς, κ.τ.λ.

3. σοῦ ἐστιν δόξα.

Tholuck: “The attentive reader, who has otherwise learned the doctrine of the Trinity, will find a distinct reference to it in the arrangement of this prayer. The first petition in each of the first and second portions of the prayer, refers to God as the Creator and Preserver; the second, to God the Redeemer; and the third, to God the Holy Spirit.”—Devotion to God, and acceptance of His gifts are contrasted in the Lord’s Prayer1. Devotion to His name, to His kingdom, and to His will; heaven, heaven and earth, earth: the place of His manifestation2. Acceptance of His gifts in reference to the present, the past, and the future.—We place in parallel columns the seven petitions and the seven beatitudes, to exhibit their internal agreement:—

1. Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

—Hallowed he Thy name (the name of God our riches, opening to us the kingdom of heaven).

2. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

—Thy kingdom come (and with it comes heavenly comfort to our hearts).

3. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

—Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven (meekness, the characteristic of heaven, the outstanding feature of the new earth).

4. Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

—Give us this day our daily bread (which above all includes the Bread of life, John 6).

5. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

—And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.

6. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

—And lead us not into temptation (grant us victory in our hearts).

7. Blessed are the peacemakers, etc.

—But deliver us from evil (grant victory over the world).

It has been remarked, that the Lord Jesus simply taught His disciples to pray, “Forgive us our debts,” but could not Himself have offered that petition (comp. Tholuck, p375). If we take it literally, this Isaiah, of course, true; though we must always bear in mind, that in the depth of His human sympathy, Christ felt more than any other the sins of humanity, and that He entreated their forgiveness as that of a debt due by the whole family of man.

Matthew 6:9. After this manner therefore pray ye.—According to Schleiermacher, Olshausen, de Wette, and Neander, Christ taught His disciples the Lord’s Prayer, not on this, but on a later occasion ( Luke 11:1). Tholuck and Stier hold that the Lord’s Prayer was, so to speak, twice taught: the first time as an example how to pray without vain repetitions; the second time, when His disciples expressly asked Him, “Lord, teach us to pray.” But this explanation is forced, and at variance with Christ’s ordinary mode of instruction, which was always in the first place directed to the disciples, and then to the people. But if we call up before our minds that inner circle to which the Sermon on the Mount was first addressed, we can readily understand how the disciples would on that occasion proffer such a request. After this manner, οὕτως.—In what respect οὕτως? Grotius: in hunc sensum. Calovius, Maldonatus, Fritzsche, Tholuck, Meyer: in this manner, i. e., thus briefly. De Wette: in these words, as a formula of prayer. We may call it a formula, provided we remember that its leading characteristic is to be free from πολυλογία and formality, and that in briefest form it bodies forth the deepest and the fullest thoughts and feelings. And as, in the present case, contents and form agree in this respect, the word οὕτως refers equally to the rich vein of thought, and to the concise brevity of form in this prayer.[FN12]

On the resemblance between this prayer and other Jewish prayers, comp. Heubner (p87), Tholuck, and de Wette. “It derogates in no way from the Lord’s Prayer, that to a certain extent it embodies ideas expressed in other Jewish prayers, since it was not a mere repetition of these forms. Nay, in the circumstances, it would have been surprising if every such allusion had been avoided. But Wetstein goes much too far in maintaining, ‘tota hœc oratio ex formulis Hebrœorum concinnata est.’ After Lightfoot, Schöttgen, Wetstein, Drusius, Vitringa, Witsius, and Surenhusius have laid under requisition every conceivable parallel passage, even from much later Jewish prayer books, the result of their learning and industry shows that only the first two petitions of the Lord’s prayer contain what, after all, amounts to no more than allusions to well-known Old Testament or Messianic ideas and expressions. Besides, it is quite possible that the Jews may have borrowed even these from the Lord’s Prayer.” De Wette.—Nor should it be forgotten that the characteristic features of this prayer consist in the brevity and distinctness of its petitions, in their order and succession, and lastly, in their fulness and comprehensiveness.

With reference to the criticism of the text, Olshausen remarks: “The doxology at the close is undoubtedly of later origin, and added for liturgical purposes. It first appears in the Constit. Apost, where it reads, ὅτι σοῦ ἐστιν βασιλεία εἰς αἰῶνας Ἀμήν. But its meaning is so deep and so much in accordance with the spirit of the prayer, that it must have originated at a period when the genuine spirit of the apostolic Church still prevailed. It is wanting in Codd. B. D. L. (Z.), and in many others, as shown by Griesbach. But it occurs already in the Peshito, where, however, it may be an interpolation. Similarly the petitions, γενηθήτω τὸ θέλημά σου ὡς ὲν οὐρανῷ καὶ ἐπὶ (τῆς) γῆς, and ἀλλὰ ῥῦσαι ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ τοῦ πονηροῦ, are wanting in the text of Luke. They are not found in B. and L, nor do they occur in the oldest of the Fathers—such as Origen, who expressly mentions the omission. But it does not follow that they are spurious in the prayer as given by Matthew. In all likelihood, Luke simply abbreviated the account.” Similarly, some read only πάτερ in the opening address.—On the transposition of the second and third petitions in Tertullian, see Dr. Nitzsch in the “Studien und Kritiken” for1830, iv846.

After Augustine and Luther, the number of the petitions has been fixed at seven. But Chrysostom, and after him the Reformed Churches, enumerate only six. It cannot be denied that the petition, “Deliver us from evil,” expresses more than that, “Lead us not into temptation;” and in this respect it may be regarded as a separate petition. On the other hand, however, it must not be overlooked, that the word ἀλλά connects the two parts of one and the same petition.[FN13] Besides, symbolically, we should expect to find the number six rather than seven—the former being expressive of mental labor, the latter of holy rest. Viewed as a sacred number, six is always followed by a seven, which sums up the whole; just as in this case the six petitions are summed up in the doxology, or originally in the close of the sixth petition, or in the continuous inward prayer of believers,—concerning which Luther rightly says, “The Christian prays a never-ending Lord’s prayer.”

Matthew 6:9. Our Father, πάτερἡμῶν.—Although the spiritual experience of adoption sprung from the atoning death of Christ on the cross, it was from the first implied in Christ’s message of reconciliation.—Who art in the heavens, ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς. The words show the infinite difference between this and every other human relationship of a similar kind: Our Father in heaven; not a weak, helpless, earthly parent (comp. Matthew 7:11; Ephesians 3:15; Ephesians 4:6). The expression also indicates the place where the glory of God dwelleth ( Isaiah 66:1; Acts 7:55-56, etc.), but without the limitations of the Old Testament—not in heaven, but in the heavens. Finally, it is both a symbol of the contrast between the glory, the purity, the infinitude, and the unchangeableness of heaven and this world, and of the riches of God, and the source whence the kingdom of heaven de scended upon earth.

Thy name.—The expression refers neither to His Divine being, nor to His perfections; as in that case the petition, “Hallowed be Thy name,” would be unintelligible. What is holy cannot be made holy. The “name of God” is the impress of His being upon the human mind, the manifestation of His being in the world; hence nearly equivalent to religion as based upon Divine revelation. Comp. 1 Peter 3:15 : “Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts.”

Matthew 6:10. Thy kingdom.—The kingdom of heaven. As Christ announces and introduces the kingdom of heaven, so His people are to pray for, and to anticipate it. The import of the expression, “kingdom of heaven,” appears, 1. from its contrast to the symbolical kingdom of heaven under the O. T. theocracy; 2. from its contrast to the kingdom of darkness. Other explanations: The spread of Christianity (Kuinoel); the victorious development of the Christian Church (Tholuck). But these are only individual phases; the grand fact is the kingdom of heaven in its spiritual reality, which includes both time and eternity.[FN14]

As in heaven,—i. e., in absolute purity and per fectness, as apparent in the obedience of the angels.

Matthew 6:11. Our daily bread,—ἄρτος, like לֶחֶם, the requirements of daily life.—Τὸν ἐπιούσιον occurs again in Luke 11:3, but nowhere else. Explanations:—1. The nourishment necessary for subsistence, οὐσία. So Origen and many others. “This explanation [says Meyer] has led to the inaccurate rendering, ‘daily bread’ (the Vulgate, Chrysostom, Luther, etc.).” Meyer objects that οὐσία does not mean subsistence, but being or existence. But surely the subsistence of a man consists in the preservation of his human being2. Jerome and Zwingli: “Epiusion, hoc est supersubstantialem petamus, plus de animœ cibo, quam corporis solliciti.” Of course it were a mistake to apply the passage, with Olshausen and some of the Fathers, to spiritual nourishment exclusively, or even to the Eucharist. Manifestly, our Lord alludes to daily bread—only not to merely material bread, destined for the sensuous part of man alone. Man requires earthly bread; the Christian, Christian bread, yet not supersensuous, but adapted to all the parts of his being, which implies, above all, heavenly and spiritual nourishment3. By some the word is identified with ἐπιοῦσα, dies crastinus—to-morrow’s bread. So the Arabic and Ethiopian versions, Scaliger, Meyer, etc. (Jerome: in Evangelio, quod appellatur secundum Hebrœos, pro supersubstantiali pane reperi mahar, מחר, i. e, to-morrow’s bread.) But this explanation agrees not with σήμερον, nor with the statement in Matthew 6:34.—Explaining it as referring to bread suitable to our being, we include in the term the idea of what is required for our daily subsistence, corresponding to לֶחֶס חֻקִּי (“food convenient for me”), in Proverbs 30:8.[FN15]

Matthew 6:12. Debts, ὀφειλήματα,—equivalent to παραπτώματα, regarding them either in the light of imputation, or of one’s own conscience.

As we forgive.—Ὡς expresses neither the measure (Baumgarten-Crusius) nor the ground of forgiveness (nam, Fritsche, Meyer), but indicates the relation to our feelings of conciliation toward our neighbor; the assurance of our own forgiveness being connected with and regulated by our vow of readiness to forgive our neighbors. We feel assurance in Thy forgiveness, perceiving within ourselves a readiness to forgive others, which Thou hast implanted; and we pray for forgiveness while vowing, under a sense of this gracious experience.

Matthew 6:13. And lead us not into temptation.—A difficult passage: 1. Because God does not tempt Prayer of Manasseh, James 1:13; James 2. because man should not shrink from trial. Hence some have taken εἰσφέρειν, others εἰς, and others πειρασμός, in an emphatic sense. But the “temptation” here spoken of is only a trial increased by the guilt which had formerly been confessed as a debt; and the prayer, “Lead us not,” is simply a consequence of the petition for forgiveness. Let us not experience in intense temptations the consequences of our guilt, etc. (comp. L. Jesu, ii2, p615). The popular sense Isaiah, that God may preserve us from such temptations as might lead us into sin ( Matthew 26:41; 1 Corinthians 7:5); or else that God would, with the temptation, give a way of escape, 1 Corinthians 10:13.

But deliver us from evil, ῥῦσαιἡμᾶς.—The full sense of both these petitions can only be understood if we bear in mind the literal meaning of εἰσφέρειν and ῥύομαι—to carry in, and to pull out. The expression, pulling out, or delivering, implies bondage and inability.—Ἀπὸ τοῦ πονηροῦ. Explanations: 1. πονηρός, the Evil One, the Devil. So the older commentators, Erasmus, Beza, Kuinoel, Fritzsche, Meyer2. τὸ πονηρόν. So Augustine and Tholuck, after John 17:15; Romans 12:9; 2 Thessalonians 3:3. 3. From evil, or misery. Luther.—If by πονηρόν the power of darkness is meant, as manifested in the kingdom of darkness, it would include not only that kingdom itself, but also its author, and even its outward and temporal consequences. Such is undoubtedly the meaning of the text. “The whole sphere and bearing of the πειρασμοί,” Tholuck.

For thine is the kingdom.—This doxology is traced back to 1 Chronicles 29:11.— 2 Timothy 4:18 may be regarded as containing the germ of this liturgical addition to the text, although, according to Stier, it only serves as an evidence of the genuineness of the passage in Matthew. The words show that the fulness of God, or His majesty, forms the basis, the soul, and the aim of the whole prayer. On the foundation of the kingdom of power, which rests in God’s might and appears in His glory, the kingdom of grace is to be unfolded and perfected. [See Addenda.]

Amen, אָמֵך certainly, truly.—This certainty is derived from the truth and faithfulness of God (אֱמוּנָה). Christ introduces His most solemn statements with this word; and with it believers close their prayers, in sign and testimony that all human faithfulness and human certitude springs from the faithfulness of God. This word, Amen, has its great history in biblical theology, in the Divine services of the Church, and in the lives of believers. But at the close of the Lord’s Prayer, “the Amen of every prayer anticipates that of the world.” (Stier.)

Matthew 6:14 For if ye forgive men. Comp. Mark 11:25.—An explanation of the fifth petition, specially important in this place, as showing that forgiveness and readiness to forgive were among the leading ideas in the Lord’s Prayer. This was all the more necessary, as the Lord could not yet speak of the work of redemption which He was about to accomplish. De Wette is right in observing, that the circumstance of His not adverting to it, is itself an evidence of the authenticity of the Lord’s Prayer.—Τὰ παραπτώματα αὐτῶν. After Cod. D. and other witnesses, Tischendorf has omitted these words, though without sufficient reason.

Matthew 6:16. When ye fast.—This refers primarily to voluntary or private fasting, Luke 18:12. But it equally applies to the great annual public fast, Leviticus 16:29. “By the law of Moses, the Jews were enjoined to fast on the Day of Atonement from one evening to the following ( Leviticus 16:29). Tradition prescribed similar fasts in autumn if the latter rains did not fall, or if the harvest was threatened (Taanith, p3. § 8). To these we have to add a number of extraordinary fasts. The Pharisees regarded the practice as meritorious, and fasted twice ( Luke 18:12), or even four times, in the week,—making their appearance in the synagogue, negligently attired, pale and sad, in order to exhibit their superior ascetic sanctity before the people.” Von Ammon.—It was the practice to wear mourning-dresses when fasting. Σκυθρωποί, Luke 24:17; Genesis 40:7.—Disfigure, ἀφανίζειν, with ashes and dust, Isaiah 61:3. Here a figurative expression for the mournful gestures and the neglected appearance of the head and beard.—“There is a play upon the words, ἀφανίζουσι and φανῶσι. They make their faces unappearable, that they may appear unto men.” So Meyer, who also suggests that the expression alludes to the covering of the face, as in 2 Samuel 15:30; Esther 6:12.

Matthew 6:17. Anoint thine head.—In the East, it was customary to anoint the head when going to a feast, in opposition to the deportment observed on fast days. Hence the advice must not be taken literally. Of course, the opposite dissimulation cannot have been enjoined. Our outward appearance when fasting is to betoken spiritual triumph and rest, which elevates above mere outward abstinence.

Matthew 6:18. In secret.—Ἐν τῷ κπυφαίῳͅ [twice for the text rec. ἐν τῷ κρυπτῷ.]—So Lachmann and Tischendorf after B. D. The word does not again occur in the New Testament, but is several times found in the Septuagint. [This note belongs properly to the critical notes below the text.—P. S.]

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. The one radical perversion of religious life consists in the desire to appear before men. Spiritual religion has, indeed, its outward and becoming expression,—chiefly, however, in the meek and devout worship of the Church, where the piety of individual believers is lost to outward view. The worship of the Church Isaiah, so to speak, the shadow in which the humility and meekness of the individual worshipper finds shelter and protection.

Hence perversion of religious life first manifests itself in separatism of worship, which gradually intrudes upon the worship of the Church, and ultimately perverts it. The consequences of this speedily appear in the three departments of practical piety. Thus, instead of charity toward our neighbors, we have religious self-righteousness on the one hand, and religious idleness on the other—a show of kindness, and a corresponding spirit of mean dependence. Similarly, the worship of God assumes the form of lengthened prayers and tedious processions without devotion, while asceticism degenerates into hypocritical fasts and monastic extravagances. But if, in our religion, we consciously and purposely aim after mere externalism and show, we enter upon a course of hypocrisy, setting up in our outward forms a counterfeit of what is sacred. The commencement of this false religionism consists in painful service and outward works. Although a man may at that stage still set God before him, it is only in an external manner. In worshipping Him, he no longer has regard to the character and the love of God, because he realizes not that God has regard to his affections and state of heart. He is only anxious that God should have regard to his work, and his service, just as he has only regard to the work of God and the reward of God; and as he regards this reward as merely external, like his own work, he gradually comes to seek it among men. His externalism now leads him to merge his God in the opinion of men. Hence the outward show which marks the second stage of religious perversion. His great object now is to let his beneficence, his prayers, and his fasts appear as fully and as pompously as possible. From this spiritual oride and spiritual servility the transition is easy to the third stage, which is that of deception and imposition, when the hypocrite conceals his hardness of heart under the mask of beneficence, his coldness and deadness under that of singular devotion, and his love of the world and lustfulness, with the corresponding works of darkness, under that of asceticism.

2. A piety which primarily tends to externalism and show, is not only falsehood but folly. It may be compared to a root growing upward. The proper and genuine tendency of religion is inward, to secrecy—to that God who rules in the secret sanctuary of spiritual life. Hence also Christ urges in so strenuous terms the importance of this matter. Let beneficence remain a secret of our right hand—a shamefaced and holy affection—an act of genuine pity, from which we immediately pass without self-complacency. Let true prayer be concealed in our closet, and let us shut the door behind us. Let sincere fasting be concealed under the cheerful garb of holy festivity. This concealment is necessary, because true piety consists in full self-surrender to God, leading us to seek His, not ours; and because we cherish the firm confidence, that the Lord will own openly, by His leadings and by His blessings, in the domain of moral and of public life, in the kingdom of heaven here, and yet more hereafter, whatever is done in and for His name, and that He will in His own time and way attest both its reality and its value. Thus the root spreads deep in the earth where no human eye sees, in the assured hope that it shall spring all the higher, and spread all the more richly, in measure as its life is hid beneath the ground.

3. In this instance also the Lord sets before His disciples a picture which reflected His own life. In the gracious dispensation of His benefits, He alike removed the occasion of mendicancy and avoided the pomp of spurious kindness. By His intercession, He restored the life-tree of humanity, by restoring its root, and planting it in good soil, even in God. So also He fasted and renounced the world as the Bridegroom of the Church,—thereby and therein laying anew the foundation of true enjoyment and peace.

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

Outward manifestations of piety, genuine and spurious: 1. Genuine, if springing from within, and an evidence of what is within: or if in them man seeks God, lives in God, and desires to glorify God; 2. spurious, if in contrariety to the state of the heart, if carried on to the detriment of our inner Prayer of Manasseh, or leading to his ruin; lastly, if man seek his own glory in divine things.—True and false outward manifestations: 1. True,—the destiny of Adam; false,—the fall2. True,—Christ’s advent; false,—the state of the world at the time3. Acknowledged by God as true,—the bride of Christ; condemned as false in the final judgment,—the Babylonish harlot.—How false appearances have rendered life hollow, and how they threaten to render hollow the life of the Church.—Spiritual vanity tending toward spiritual pride, and thus exposing men to greatest danger. But if we have sounded the depths of life, we will not become giddy on its heights.—Externalism in individual members of the Church may give rise to externalism in the Church, or to carnal chiliasm: 1. Proof from history,—the Pharisees were chiliasts, and yet they crucified the Lord of glory; 2. from the nature of the thing,—when many are seized with the spirit of externalism, they will be anxious to form a Church pretending to outward perfectness, but which in reality is only a Church of outward appearance; 3. from the diversity of this morbid externalism in the Church: with some it manifests itself in works; with others, in devotions; with others, in pretended asceticism.—Make sure that you give yourself wholly to God, and in due time He will own you.—Take care of the root; and the leaves, the blossoms, and the fruit will appear in due season.—In what way may art, with its fair appearance, be rendered subservient to Christian truth?—Hypocrisy is religious play-acting.—Whatever we may have or want, let us eschew anything like religious comedy in the Church.—Who can dispense with false appearances? 1. He who firmly trusts in the living God2. He who sincerely cleaves to the truth3. He who patiently waits for the day of the appearing of the Lord.—Let us exhibit before men, not our own righteousness, but the light which we have received from the Lord.—The three great virtues of hypocrites are only splendid vices.—The three great graces of saints are secrets with the Lord.—Piety seeking concealment in its principal outward manifestations: 1. The open hand; 2. the door of the closet shut; 3. the countenance open, yet veiled.—The right hand in its wonderworking, or our beneficence restoring the poor.—Pure beneficence: pure poverty.—The door of the closet shut, yet open: 1. Open to God, closed to the world; 2. open to any one who would join us in prayer, closed to mere idle onlookers; 3. open to the kingdom of heaven, closed to the kingdom of darkness.—True prayer will everywhere find a closet.—True fasting a joyous renunciation of the world.—The Father who sees in secret, and the open reward.—The reward which man takes to himself: 1. A theft; 2. a robbery; 3. a self-deception.—The reward which God bestows: 1. a reward of grace; 2. a reward of love; 3. a spiritual reward; 4. a reward of eternal life.—The progress of hypocrisy: 1. Service of works, when man loses sight of the character and the love of God whom he serves, and forgets or denies that the God whom he serves looks to the heart and affections of him who offers worship2. Mere outward service, where externalism takes the place of real service, and yet even professed externalism is rendered impossible by a show of service3. Service of sin, when devotion, becomes a lie, which is speedily overtaken by judgment.—Progress of piety from concealment to open manifestation: 1. It is a secret between the Lord and the hearts of believers, hid from the eyes of the world2. The light which proceedeth from Him who is invisible, shines through the hearts of believers into the world, and becomes manifest there3. The divine life fully manifested in the great day of revelation.

The Lord’s Prayer, as the prayer of Christian believers.—The Lord’s Prayer a precious jewel, which reflects the light of Christianity: 1. The teaching of the Gospel; 2. the life of the Lord; 3. His grace; 4. the discipline of the Spirit of Christ; 5. the power of the new life; 6. the history of the kingdom of God.—The Lord’s Prayer, as expressing our adoption and reconciliation: 1. There the promises of God and our requirements meet; 2. there the ways of God and our ways meet; 3. there the Amen of God responds to our Amen.—The sad state of Christendom, as appearing in connection with the Lord’s Prayer: 1. It was intended against vain repetitions, and has itself become a mere formula;[FN16] 2. it was intended to obviate all discord, and has become the shibboleth of many a separation.[FN17]—The three portions of the Lord’s Prayer: The address—the petitions—the conclusion.—“Our Father who art in heaven;” or, the true inward posture of him who addresses God.—The Lord’s Prayer viewed as an intercession.—The address, “Our Father,” so simple, and yet so novel: 1. infinitely easy, and yet infinitely difficult; 2. natural, yet supernatural; 3. humble, yet exalted; 4. the commencement and the conclusion of all prayer.—Surrender to God, as implying our acceptance of the kingdom of heaven: 1. The first three petitions express, that while surrendering ourselves to God, we own and seek His kingdom; 2. the last petitions, that while owning and seeking His kingdom, we surrender ourselves to Him.—The name of God constitutes the first object of our petitions; 1. From its glory; 2. from the dishonor which men cast upon it; 3. from its sanctification.—The name of God including and opening up the whole kingdom of heaven.—If you would have the name of God hallowed in the world, see that you first hallow it in your own hearts.—Learn to know the name of God; or, how readest thou? how seekest thou? how knowest thou? what believest thou? how stands it with thy learning and with thy teaching?—“Thy kingdom come:” 1. That the Old Testament, both in its law and in its types, may be fulfilled; 2. that the kingdom of darkness may be destroyed; 3. that the three-fold kingdom of grace, of power, and of glory may be manifested.—The petition, “Thy kingdom come,” a missionary prayer.—A prayer for the final reconciliation of State and Church in the perfect kingdom of heaven.—Is both your ruling and your obeying in conformity with this fundamental principle?—“Thy will be done,” etc.: 1. Filialness of this petition: Thy will; 2. humility of this petition: on earth; 3. boldness of this petition: as in heaven.—Are your will and conduct regulated by this principle?—The three first petitions viewed, 1. as the promise descending from heaven to earth—Thy name in heaven, Thy kingdom between heaven and earth, Thy will on earth: 2. as a sacrifice ascending from earth to heaven—the surrender of our own name, of our own power, and of our own will.—As exhibiting, with increasing clearness and power, the union of heaven and earth: the revelation of the Father, of the Song of Solomon, and of the Holy Spirit.—“Give us this day our daily bread.” Apparently one of the smallest, yet one of the greatest petitions. I. Smallness of the petition: 1. We ask what most men already possess; 2. we ask it only for the small circle of those around our table; 3. we ask only daily bread; 4. we ask it only for to-day. II. Greatness of the petition: 1. We ask that earthly bread should be converted into heavenly bread, or manna; 2. we ask that He would feed all those who are in want; 3. we ask that He would meet the daily requirements of a waiting world; 4. we ask it to-day, and ever again, to-day.—The fourth petition as a vow, 1. of sonship; 2. of trustfulness; 3. of labor; 4. of gratitude; 5. of kindness.—Prayer before meals in its wider sense: 1. A prayer of the husbandman; 2. a prayer for our ordinary calling; 3. a prayer for our daily work; 4. a prayer in our distress; 5. a prayer in all our earthly wants.—This grace before meat in its more restricted sense.—Moderation and contentment a fruit of trustfulness.—The prayer of contentment.—True contentment proceeding from a view of the hidden riches of God.—Hungering and thirsting after spiritual supplies will render us contented with our earthly supplies.—The prayer of penitence: “Forgive us our debts:” 1. It realizes sin, and realizes it as a debt; 2. it realizes the burden of sin as a debt resting on mankind generally; 3. it realizes forgiveness as a free grace and a free gift.—How true penitence appears in the prayer of faith.—Assurance of forgiveness calling forth the prayer, “Forgive us.”—Forgiveness and readiness to forgive cannot be separated. Connection between the two: 1. Forgiveness makes us ready to forgive; 2. readiness to forgive inspires us with courage to seek forgiveness; 3. the spirit of forgiveness ever joins the two more closely together.—He who cannot forgive Prayer of Manasseh, cannot find forgiveness with God: 1. Because he will not believe in forgiving love; 2. because he will not act upon its directions.—In what sense is it true that he who forgives shall be forgiven? 1. His forgiving is not the ground, but the evidence of his forgiveness; 2. his forgiving is an evidence that the forgiveness of God preserves him; 3. his forgiving shows the truth of his testimony, that there is forgiveness.—He who strictly reckons with his fellow-men in outward matters, cannot have experienced the gift of free grace in his inner life.—Forgiveness and readiness to surrender all are inseparably connected.—“Lead us not into temptation.”—How our trials by God may become temptations to sin: 1. By the supervention of our own evil inclinations; 2. of the world, with its allurements; 3. of the great tempter himself.—Every temptation is at the same time a judgment for the past and a danger for the future.—Even our necessary contact with a sinful world is a source of continual temptation.—God tempteth no man ( James 1:13), yet may He lead us into temptation: 1. Because He leads us, and temptation is in the way; 2. because He tries us, and temptation supervenes; 3. because He deals with us according to our faith, and temptation exerts its power through our unbelief.—The dark cloud which rests upon our future: 1. Not want, but temptation; 2. not the enmity of the world, but its temptation; 3. not death, but again temptation.—Because we have, in our sinfulness, not trembled in anticipation of danger, we must, when pardoned, tremble after the danger is past.—A pardoned sinner has only one fear left, which leads to genuine fear of God, but delivers from all other dread: 1. The fear of defiling the white garment, of losing the ring, of being excluded from the marriage feast2. This leads to true fear of God: he recognizes God everywhere even in the midst of temptation; he hides in prayer under the shadow of the Almighty; his love casts out fear.—The courage and boldness of Christ’s soldiers springs from their fear of temptation, just as in battle the courage which defies death springs from a calm view of the danger incurred.—Perfect love casteth out fear.—“Deliver us from evil.”—Along with the anticipation of the last assault, the believer will also obtain anticipation of final deliverance.—Deliverance in its threefold form:—at the commencement, in the middle, and at the end of our journey to heaven.—Deliver us from evil: 1. From sin here and hereafter; 2. from evil here and hereafter.—The last petition the commencement of triumph.—The intercession of the three [or four] last petitions.—Our confidence in prayer derived from the assurance that God is able and willing to help us.—The climax of our prayer is praise: “Thine is the kingdom,” etc.—The kingdom of God in its threefold form: the kingdom of nature, of grace, and of glory.—The three fold manifestation of the power of God: creation, redemption (the resurrection of Christ), and final judgment and glory.—Threefold manifestation of the glory of God: 1. The image of God glorified; 2. the Church of God glorified; 3. the city of God glorified (God all in all).—“Amen,” or calmness and assurance the fruit of prayer.—The Holy Spirit alone grants the true Amen, in prophetic anticipation of the answer in peace.—The “Amen” as combining the promise of God and the vow of man.—Christ our Yea and Amen.—How in this prayer Christ, 1. Hallows the name of God; 2. brings the kingdom of heaven; 3. reveals and fulfils upon earth the will of heaven; 4. appears as the manna from heaven; 5. introduces pardon and peace; 6. manifests Himself as the Shepherd and Guardian of His people; 7. as perfect Saviour and Deliverer; and hence as the Burden of the new song of the redeemed.—Prayer an outgoing of faith, through Christ, to God.—Prayer, or personal converse with God, is holy love.—The right relationship of Christians toward their neighbors, toward God, and toward themselves.—To give—to give oneself, and to surrender[FN18]Isaiah, in a spiritual sense, to lend, to receive, and to enjoy.

Starke:—Jesus the Patron, the Advocate, and the Provider of the poor, John 21:5.—God loveth a cheerful giver, and His righteousness endureth for ever, 2 Corinthians 9:7; 2 Corinthians 9:9; Proverbs 22:9.—It is proof of the folly of men, that they seek honor of each other, John 12:43; and not rather that they may fird acceptance with God, Psalm 31:8.—Our best works become sin, if done only for the sake of appearance.—Our alms form part of our treasure; he who does not hide it, seems like one anxious to have it stolen, Mark 12:42-44.—Pray without ceasing, 1 Thessalonians 5:17.—The prayer of the righteous availeth much, if it be earnest, Psalm 145:18; James 5:16; but that of the hypocrite availeth nothing, Luke 18:10; Luke 18:14.—We may everywhere find a place for prayer, 1 Timothy 2:8; Jonah 2:2-3; but the prayer of the hypocrite is a lie wherever it be offered, Psalm 50:16-17.—Sinful intentions in the heart may destroy the most holy outward Acts, Luke 18:10; Luke 18:14.—Prayer presupposes solitude, at least of the heart,—the most secret place in the house of God which is within, where we should close the door behind us, even though it be in public prayer, or in the largest assembly, 2 Kings 4:4; Psalm 77:3.—Quesnel: Prayer requires heart rather than tongue, sighing rather than words, faith rather than reason, Mark 11:23.—Würtemberg Bible: Those brief ejaculatory prayers[FN19] sent up to heaven in few words, and which may be uttered even while engaged in our daily labor, are by far the richest and best, Matthew 15:25.—Quesnel: Prayer is not intended to inform God, but to set before man his misery, to humble his heart, to awaken his desires, to kindle his faith, to encourage his hope, to raise his soul toward heaven, and to remind him that his Father, his home, and his eternal inheritance are above, Philippians 3:20.

The Lord’s Prayer.—Quesnel:—A king who himself draws up the petition which is to be presented, must surely take great pleasure in granting it, Isaiah 65:24; John 16:23.—It is not wrong for an unlettered Christian to make use of a form of prayer; but it is well to accustom ourselves to bring our wants before God in our own words.—Our heavenly Father alone is to be worshipped, and no creature, Matthew 4:10.—Maj. Harm.: The kingdom of God comes from heaven to earth, in order that earth may become heaven. None of us can ascend from earth to heaven, unless the kingdom of God have first descended on us from heaven to earth, Luke 17:20-21.—Poor sinful man!—we are, so to speak, afflicted with spiritual impotence, so that we cannot come to the kingdom of God, but the kingdom of God must come to us, John 6:44.—The will of God cannot be done unless we are willing, so much as lieth in us, to deny the will of our flesh, of Satan, and of an evil world, Romans 12:21.—Our daily bread comes from God, and not by blind fortune, or by fate, Hosea 2:8.—Let us be satisfied with what is absolutely necessary, and not ask God for more than that, 1 Timothy 6:8; Proverbs 30:8.—The ungodly receive their bread by the intercession of the saints, Genesis 41:54.—The poor equally pray for the rich, and the rich for the poor.—If we are not ready to forgive, we only pray against ourselves, or invoke wrath and vengeance, which God will execute upon us, even as we reserve vengeance against our neighbor, Sirach 28:14.—The life of the Christian a continual conflict.—Maj. Harm.: Our comfort under all temptations is this, that God is with us, that He sets bounds, and will make all things work together for our salvation, 1 Corinthians 10:13; 2 Timothy 4:17.—We endure under temptation, not in our own strength, but in that of God, 1 Corinthians 10:13; 2 Peter 2:9; Isaiah 41:10-14.—Quesnel: Ah! how many snares are there, how many hindrances to what is good, how many occasions to sin, how many enemies of salvation, how much sorrow and misery! Psalm 106—Thou who temptest others to sin, who exposest thyself wantonly to temptation, or who in temptation lightest yet not with the armor of God, why wilt thou mock God by praying, “Lead us not into temptation?” 1 Peter 5:6; Ephesians 6:11.—Canst thou be afraid of death, and yet pray, “Deliver us from evil?”—He has already delivered us from evil, He does deliver us, and He will perfectly deliver us, 2 Timothy 4:18; 2 Corinthians 1:10.—The honor of God should be the first and the last object of our prayers (Thy name, etc.; for Thine Isaiah, etc.), Psalm 69:31; Psalm 115:1.—Spiritual fasting consists in ceasing from evil, Isaiah 58:6-7; and in temperance in all things, Luke 21:34.—The popish fasts are a constraint of conscience, a mockery, a hypocrisy, and a superstition, 1 Timothy 4:3.—The more a sinner seeks to attract the attention of men, the further does God turn His compassion from him, Acts 12:21; Acts 12:23.—In order to be a sincere Christian, it is not necessary to hang our head like a bulrush. Isaiah 58:5.—The life of believers is hid with Christ in God; but when Christ, who is their life, shall appear, they also shall appear with Him in glory, Colossians 3:3-4; 2 Corinthians 6:9-10.—Our good works, though done in secret, are not lost.

Lisco:—True righteousness: It consists not in appearance, but in reality and truth; its objects are not earthly, but heavenly; it has respect to the judgment of God, not to that of man. “Reference” to God the sole motive of truly good works.

Gerlach:—A comparison of this passage with Matthew 5:16 shows that in this instance also our Lord teaches by contrasts. He unmasks selfishness in all its forms, both when it conceals unbelief under the garb of humility and retirement, and when it exhibits its fancied treasures to the view of men. It may be equally wrong in the sight of God to hide our good works ( Matthew 6:4) as to display them.—If you would have your most ardent desire accomplished, pray, “Thy will be done.”—The object of fasting is to set us free from the power of the flesh and of the world; but if we employ it to further our worldly views, it will only serve to increase the gulf between God and our souls.

Braune:—The address, Father, is also found Isaiah 63:16 : “Thou, O Lord, art our Father, our Redeemer.” This was a temporary anticipation of the higher life of the Spirit of Christ in the prophet ( 1 Peter 1:11). The name, Father, awakens in us the sense of our relationship to God, the feeling of filial love and trust. We have received the spirit of adoption, Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6.

Heubner:—Chrysostom: If you have not heard your own prayers, how can you expect that God shall hear them?—The will of God is in the first place His will with reference to us, which we are to do. The petition therefore means: Take away our own will, and let Thy will be my rule. But, further, the will of God also implies His purposes concerning us. Hence the petition means: Give us such a mind as to be satisfied with whatever Thou sendest, and never to murmur.—A Christian must learn also to have dominion over his body.

Literature.—Fr. Arndt [of Berlin]: Zehn Predigten über das Gebet des Herrn, 1836; Niemann: Zehn Predigten über das Vater Unser, 1844.—[Also Tertullian: De oratione (who calls the Lord’s Prayer: Breviarium evangelii); Cyprian: De oratione Dominica; Augustine: De serm. M. ii4–8; Serm. 56–58; Origen: Περὶ εὐχῆς; Gregory of Nyssa: De oration Dominica; Cyril of Jerusalem: Catech. xxiii.; Bp. Andrewes (Anglican, who calls the Lord’s Prayer “a compendium of faith”): Works, Oxf, 1841sqq, vol. v, 350–476); the explanations of this Prayer in the leading Catechisms of Luther, Calvin, Heidelberg, Westminster, of Trent, etc.; Löhe (Germ. Luth.): Sermons on the Lord’s Prayer; Wm. R. Williams (Baptist): Lectures on the Lord’s Prayer, New York, 1850.—P. S.]

ADDENDA

BY THE AMERICAN EDITOR

The Sinaitic Manuscript of the Bible, which Professor Tischendorf rescued from the obscurity of the Convent of St Catharine on Mount Sinai, and carefully edited in two editions in1862,1863,* two years after the issue of the third edition of Dr. Lange’s Commentary on Matthew, has been carefully compared in preparing the American edition of this work from Chapter8 to the close of the Gospel of Matthew. I thought I was the first to do Song of Solomon, but just before I finished the last pages of this volume, I found that Bäumlein, in his Commentary on the Gospel of St. John,** and Meyer, in the fifth edition of his Commentary on Matthew, both of which appeared in1864, had preceded me, at least in print. No critical scholar can ignore this manuscript hereafter. For it is the only complete, and perhaps the oldest of all the uncial codices of the Bible, or at least of the same age and authority as the celebrated Vatican Codex (which is traced by some to the middle of the fourth century), and far better edited by the German Protestant Professor, Tischendorf, than the latter was by the Italian Cardinal, Angelo Mai. In the absence of a simpler mark agreed upon by critics (the proposed designation by the Hebrew א has not yet been adopted, and is justly objected to by Tregelles and others on the ground of typographical inconvenience), I introduce it always as Cod. Sin., and I find that Dr. Meyer in the fifth edition does the same. As I could not procure a copy of the printed edition of this Codex till I had finished the first seven chapters, I now complete the critical part of the work by adding its more important readings in the first seven chapters where they differ from the textus receptus, on which the authorized English, as well as all the older Protestant Versions of the Greek Testament are substantially based.

*Novum Testamentum Sinaiticum, sive Novum Testamentum cum Epistola Barnabœ et Fragmentis Pastoris (Hermæ). Ex Codice Sinaitico auspiciis Alexandri II, omnium Russiarum imperatoris, ex tenebris protracto orbique litterarum tradito accurate descripsit Ænotheus Friderious Constantinus Tischendorf, theol. et phil. Dr, etc. etc. Lipsiæ, 1863. The text is arranged in four columns and covers148 folios; the learned Prolegomena of the editor 81 folios. There is besides a magnificent photo-lithographed fac-simile edition of the whole Sinaitic Bible, published at the expense of the Emperor of Russia, in 4 volumes (3for the Old and 1 for the New Testament, the latter in148 folios), under the title: Bibliorum Codex Sinaiticus Petropolitanus. Auspiciis augustissimis imperatoris Alexandri II. ed. Const. Tischendorf. Petropoli, 1862. A copy of this rare edition I have also consulted occasionally, in the Astor Library of New York. For fuller information on this important Codex (in the words of Tischendorf: “omnium codicum uncialium solus integer omniumque antiquissimus”), we must refer the reader to the ample Prolegomena of Tischendorf, also to an article of Hilgenfeld in his Zeitschrift für wissenschaftliche Theologie, vol. vii. (1864), p 74 ff. (who is disposed to assign it to a somewhat later age), and to Scrivener’s treatise, which I have not seen.

**Hengstenberg, in his Commentary on John, concluded in1863, pays no attention whatever to this Codex, and is very defective in a critical point of view

Matthew 6:1.—Cod. Sin. agrees here again with the Vatican MS. (also D, Syr, Hieros, Itala, Vulgata, several fathers, Lachm, Tischend, Treg, Alf.), in reading δικαιοσύνην, righteousness, instead of ἐλεημοσύνην (text, rec., Matthäi, Scholz), which is “a mistaken gloss, the general nature of this opening caution not being perceived.”

Footnotes:

FN#1 - Matthew 6:1.—[Textus rec.: ἐλεημοσύνην. But Dr. Lange translates: Eure Gerechtigkeit, your righteousness, adopting δικαιοσὐνην as the correct reading, which is much better authenticated, and preferred by the principal editors of the Greek text. See the critical apparatus in Griesbach, Lachmann, Tischendorf, Alford, and Tregelles, also Green: Developed Criticism, p8.—P. S.]

FN#2 - Matthew 6:2.—[The full force of ἀπέ χουσι is not given in the E. V, but in the German: sie haben dahin, i. e., they have their reward in full, they have received all of it, and need not expect any more. See the Greek dict, sub ἀπἐχω.—P. S.]

FN#3 - Matthew 6:4.—ἐν τῷ φανερῷ (openly) are omitted in Cod. B. D. Z, etc. [and in Lange’s version].

FN#4 - Matthew 6:5.—Text. rec.: ὅταν προσεύχῃ [But the plural προσεύχησθε, ye pray, and οὐκ ἔσεσθε, ye shall not be, is well sustained and adopted by Dr. Lange.—P. S.]

FN#5 - Matthew 6:6.—Openly is better sustained here (E. K. L, etc.) than in Matthew 6:4.

FN#6 - Matthew 6:11.—[“Daily bread,” or “tägliches Brot,” is a free but substantially correct and generally intelligible translation of ἄρτος ἐπιούσιος, and very properly retained by Dr. Lange from Luther’s version, with which here the Author. English and all other English versions (Tyndale, Cranmer, and Geneva) correspond, except Wielif. who renders: breed ouir other substaunce, and the Romish V. of Rheims and Douay, which follows the Vulgate and renders: super substantial bread. Daily is also found in the Itala of the second century (panem nostrum quotidianum) in the Vulguta in Luke 11:8 (but not in Matthew 6:11, where the Vulgate reads supersubstantialem). and in most of the modern European versions, the French (pain quotidien), the Dutch (dagelicks Broot). the Italian of Diodati (pane cotidiavo). The only other translation which is admissible and gives good sense, is that of the Peschito: “our needful bread” (comp. Murdock’s transl. of the Peschito, New York, 1852), or bread suited to our nature, or as others modify it: bread necessary for our subsistence, sufficient. This is the explanation of Origen, Chrysost, Theophyl, Beza, Tholuck, Ewald, Arnoldi, and amounts in meaning to the same as the more popular translation “daily bread.” The precarious etymology and explanation now in vogue and adopted by such eminent biblical philologists as Winer in his Grammar of the N. T, and Fritzsche and Meyer in their Com. on Matthew, derives ἐπιούσιος from ἐπιέναι, after the form of the fem. part. ἐπιοῦσα sc. ἡμέρα (dies crastinus), and would thus make us pray to-day for the bread which we may need to-morrow. But this, as Lange (in the Com), Alford and others observe, is evidently inconsistent with the Saviour’s warning in Matthew 6:34. and as Conante remarks in a Judicious note ad loc., would make us pray for an absurdity, since we have no need to-day of to-morrow’s bread: “Taking the word bread in the literal sense (as sustenance for the body), the only thing we can ask, without a manifest absurdity, is bread sufficient for the day, or daily bread.” Salmasius made the same objection, and asked. “Quid est ineptius, quam panem crastini diei nobis quotidie postulare?” Schöttgen quotes passages from the Rabbis, which show that even among the most pious of the Jews it was not customary to pray for the things of the morrow. As ἐπιούσιος is found only here and in the parallel passage, Luke 11:3, but in no other Greek writings, its meaning cannot be ascertained from usage, nor from etymology alone. Meyer, however, admits that ἐπιούσιος may be derived from the noun οὐσία (or from the fem. participle of εἶναι, as παρουσἰα, μετουσία). The objection that then it would be ἐπούσιος instead of ἐπιούσιος, is not decisive, since we have ἔποπτος (visible), and the poetic form ἐπίοπτος; comp. also ἐπίορκος (from ὄρκος), ἐπίουρος (from οὖρος), ἐπιόγδοος, seven and a half, sesquioctavus (from γδοος). Nor does οὐσία only mean existence and essence, but also substance, property, subsistence; comp. Luke 15:12 : τὸ ἐπιβάλλον μέρος τῆς οὐσίας, the portion of goods that fulleth to me, der sufullende Theil des Vermögens. And even if we take οὐσία in the sense of existence, ἐπιοὐσιος might still be explained: needful or sufficient for our existence. Jos. Mede observes that the petition may be thus paraphrased: τὸν ἄρτον ἡμῶν, μὴ περιούσιον (not abundant or superfluous), ὰλλὰ τὸν ἐπιούσιον (but sufficient) δὸς ἡμῖν σήμερον. He identifies the ἄρτος ἐπιούσιος with the lehem huki in Agur’s prayer, Proverbs 30:8, and derives this petition from it. So Lange in Com.—Bread, like the Hebrew לֶחֶם, is a synecdoche for everything necessary to sustain life, comp. Genesis 43:25; Genesis 43:31; Genesis 43:34.—P. S.]

FN#7 - Matthew 6:12.—Text. rec.: ἀφίεμεν, which is sufficiently sustained. For ἀφήκαμεν are Cod. B. Z. and ancient fathers. Perhaps it arose from liturgical arrangements (the reconciliation of men before the holy communion).

FN#8 - Matthew 6:13.—The doxology [from: “For Thine—Amen”] is omitted in B D. Z, etc. [Alford ad loc. says: “The doxology must on every ground of sound criticism be omitted. … We find absolutely no trace of it in early times, in any family of MSS. or in any expositions” But on the other hand the Peschito already has it, and Stier eloquently defends it, though on subjective grounds. It was probably inserted in the beginning of the 4 th century from the liturgies and the primitive habit of the Christians in praying the Lord’s Prayer. Comp. Com. below.—P. S.]

FN#9 - Matthew 6:18.—ἐν τῷ φανερῷ is omitted in many Codd, as in Matthew 6:4.

FN#10 - Even in Tobias Matthew 4:11-12, alms are represented as righteousness before God, and as the means of obtaining forgiveness. In the ancient Church they were regarded as means of indulgence. Comp. the Sermons of Leo the Great. See Heubner, p78.

FN#11 - “Thust du was Gutes, so wirf es in’s Meer,

Weiss es der Fisch nicht, so weiss es der Herr”]

FN#12 - Among British and American commentators those belonging to the Presbyterian, Congregational, Methodist, Baptist, and other non-Episcopal denominations generally maintain that the Lord’s Prayer was intended not as a formula to be literally and invariably used, although it is undoubtedly very proper to use it within certain limits, but as a general pattern rather for all our prayers, private and public. See Henry, Barnes, Alexander, Owen, Jacobus, Whedon, Nast ad Matthew 6:9. Episcopalian commentators differ like the Germans. Dr. Alford (a liberal Anglican) says: “It is very improbable that the prayer was regarded in the very earliest times as a set form delivered for liturgical use by our Lord. The variations of τὰς ἁμαρτίας ἡμῶν καὶ γὰρ αὐτοὶ ἀφίομεν παντὶ ὀφείλοντι ἡμῖν, and τὸ καθ’ ἡμέραν in Luke, for the corresponding clauses in our text, however unimportant in themselves, have been regarded as fatal to the supposition of its being used liturgically at the time when these Gospels were written. It must be confessed that we find very few traces of such use in early times” Dr. Wordsworth (conservative Anglican) on the other hand remarks ad Matthew 6:9 : “Our Lord here, by this prayer (comp. the Benediction, Numbers 6:23; Deuteronomy 26:13) authorizes forms of prayer (and adopts petitions already in use in Forms of Prayer among the Jews), and delivers a particular form of prayer to be used, and to serve as a pattern for the subject and order of our desires and prayers, and therefore as a guide for our practice.”—There is truth here on both sides. This matchless prayer was undoubtedly given both as a form to be rightly, i. e., devoutly and reverently used on all proper occasions (comp. the λέγετε in Luke 11:2), and as a model for all other prayers. The former abuse of the Lord’s Prayer as an empty formula oft repeated without devotion and profit in the Roman Church (hence Luther called it the greatest martyr), led some sections of Protestantism to the opposite extreme of neglect of this shortest and richest, simplest and deepest of all prayers ever uttered by man or angel, the perfect model prayer which could only proceed from the lips of the Son of God. Dr. Thomas Scott has hit the right medium in the following note: “It may often be [better: it undoubtedly is] proper to use the very words, but it is not always necessary; for we do not find that the apostles thus used it: but we ought always to pray after the manner of it, that Isaiah, with that reverence, humility, seriousness, confidence in God, zeal for His glory, love to mankind, submission, and moderation in temporal, and earnestness about spiritual things, which it insulates; avoiding vain repetitions, and using grave and comprehensive expressions.” Comp. also the remarks of Ad. Clarke, and Dr. D. Brown ad loc.—P. S.]

FN#13 - Alford takes a similar view: “ἀλλά must not be taken as equivalent to εἰ δὲ μή, q. d. ‘but if thou dost, deliver,’ etc.; but is rather the opposition to the former clause, and forms in this sense but one petition with it,—‘bring us not into conflict with evil, but rather deliver (rid) us from it altogether.’ In another view, however, as expressing the deep desire of all Christian hearts to be delivered from all evil … these words form a seventh and most affecting petition, reaching far beyond the last.” So also D. Brown ad loc.—P. S.]

FN#14 - Alford: “’Thy kingdom‘ here is the fulness of the accomplishment of the kingdom of God, so often spoken of in prophetic Scripture; and by implication all that process of events which lead to that accomplishment. Meyer in objecting to all ecclesiastical and spiritual meanings of ‘Thy kingdom,’ forgets that the one for which he contends exclusively, the Messianic kingdom, does in fact include or imply them all.”—P. S.]

FN#15 - Alford takes ἐπιούσιος likewise in the sense: proper for our sustenance, after the analogy of ἐπίγαμος, fit for marriage, ἐπιδόρπιος, fit for the banquet, and considers it equivalent to τὰ ἐπιτήδεια τοῦ σώματος in James 2:16 (rendered in Syriac transl. by the same word). He also thinks we may safely understand the expression spiritually, of the bread of life, provided we keep in the foreground its primary physical meaning, and view the other as involved by implication in that. The Anglican Catech. understands the dally bread to mean “all things that be needful for our souls and bodies.” On the different explanations, see especially Tholuck, Meyer, and Conant.—P. S.]

FN#16 - Hence Luther somewhere calls the Lord’s Prayer “the greatest martyr.”—P. S.]

FN#17 - Dr. Lange alludes here more particularly to the difference between the German Lutherans, who pray: “Vater unser,” “Father our” (which is the ancient form and corresponds to the Latin Pater noster), and the German Reformed, who pray “Unser Vater,” “Our Father,” which is the modern German and was used by Luther himself in his German version of the Bible, Matthew 6:9; Luke 11:2. This difference, insignificant as it Isaiah, has often been exaggerated and been a cause of alienation of feeling and disturbance in devotion. Song of Solomon, also, the Lord’s Supper, intended to be a sacred feast of love and union with Christ and His people, has innocently become the occasion of the most bitter theological strifes.—P. S.]

FN#18 - In German: Geben. Hingeben, Aufgeben.—]

FN#19 - Called by Luther: Kurze Stossgebetlein.—]


Verses 19-34

4. Spurious worldliness of the Pharisees in their righteousness; or, the Pharisees’ sharing of the cares of the heathen

Matthew 6:19-34

( Matthew 6:24-34 the Pericope for the 15 th Sunday after Trinity.)

19Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt20[consume], and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt [consumeth], and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21For where your[FN20] treasure Isaiah, there will your heart be also 22 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine 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 darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! 24No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon 25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no [anxious] thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink;[FN21] nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? 26Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly 27 Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature [age]? 28And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these 30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to-day Isaiah, and to-morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? 31Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, Whatshall 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 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness;[FN22] and all these things shall be added unto [to] you 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 thereof.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

Connection.—Considerable importance attaches to the question as to the connection between this and the preceding section. According to Strauss and others, the two are wholly unconnected. De Wette remarks: “Hitherto the discourse proceeded upon a definite plan; but now the connection seems loose, and longer and shorter sayings follow each other.” Even Neander regards the verses under consideration as an interpolation of Matthew. Meyer misses only the connecting link with the preceding section, but maintains, against de Wette, the connection of what follows, without, however, tracing it out. [He adds, p154, that we must not confound the unity of the Sermon on the Mount with the unity of a modern sermon.—P. S.] Tholuck maintains, that while in all probability this section belongs to the context as given in Luke 12:22-34, it is impossible to deny that its position in the Gospel by Matthew is the correct one. “The transition was natural from the idea that good works should be done only with reference to Him who is invisible, to the conclusion expressed in Matthew 6:33, that in all our aims and undertakings the mind should be set upon the things of eternity.” In our opinion (as expressed previously in the Leben Jesu, ii2, 619), the internal connection between the two sections appears from Matthew 23:14 : “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer.” The false spirituality of these hypocrites arose from the worldly-mindedness with which they are specially charged in the text. The external connection with the previous section lies in the relation between the μὴ θησαυρίζετε, and the ἀπέχουσιν τὸν μισθὸν αὐτῶν of Matthew 6:2; Matthew 6:5; Matthew 6:16. Having shown how the Pharisees by their false spirituality sought to lay up for themselves treasures in a figurative sense, the Lord next exhibits their hypocrisy and worldliness in seeking to gather treasures in the literal sense. Thus far Tholuck is right in saying that the admonition to lay up for themselves treasures in heaven is closely connected with what was formerly said about doing good works in secret, which the Father would reward openly. But that our Lord refers to worldly-mindedness in the garb of hypocrisy, and not to ordinary worldly-mindedness, appears from the expression, “Ye cannot serve God and mammon;” and, again, from that most important declaration, “If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness,” etc. The history of the Middle Ages, of monasticism, and of the hierarchy, has amply proved that false spirituality is closely connected with worldly-mindedness, long prayers with covetousness and ambition, almsgiving with avarice, and fasting with feasting. Indeed, this love of the world, while apparently fleeing from it, is the characteristic feature of monasticism.

Matthew 6:19. Θησαυρούς, treasures.—Treasures of any kind, but more closely defined by the addition of the term upon earth, and by the possibility of their being corrupted by moth and rust, or carried away by thieves. The moth attaches itself principally to garments which are not used, especially to precious robes of office.—Consumption, βρῶσις (the Vulgate and our authorized version render it rust, James 5:2-3; Kuinoel and Baumgarten-Crusius refer it to a species of worms; Casaubonus and others speak of a ἓν διὰ δυοῖν, hence σὴς βρώσκουσα); a general expression, but points primarily to provisions, to accumulations of food and corn; while the breaking through of thieves refers to the possession of gold and silver. The meaning seems to be, that everything which is passing away has its own principle of destruction, suited to its special nature, whether vegetable, animal, or moral. In general, it exhibits the vanity of all earthly possessions, and the unsatisfactory character of the enjoyments which they yield. Irrespective of their use, these possessions are dead, exposed to the moth, to consumption, and to thieves,—to the organs of physical and moral annihilation. It scarcely requires to be added, that the place of these treasures, the kind of treasures, and the manner in which they are collected, are in this instance equally of the earth, earthy.

Matthew 6:20. Treasures in heaven.—Our attention is first directed to the place where genuine treasures are to be found, viz, heaven, where God reveals Himself, and where all is eternal. The kind of treasures is in accordance with their place, or with heaven. Similarly, these treasures must be gathered in a heavenly manner—by kindness, by spiritual fellowship with God, by self-denial; in short, by a surrender to our Father who is in heaven. It is therefore quite erroneous (with Chrysostom and others) to apply it to almsgiving, in the expectation of a heavenly reward. On the other hand, it may be necessary to remind those who, like Meyer, seem to regard the kingdom of heaven as something external and future, that this heavenly life begins upon earth by faith.—The heavenly possessions are characterized according to their negative advantages, where no moth doth corrupt, etc.; comp. 1 Peter 1:4.—These words are also directed against the carnal anticipations of the Jews, especially of the Pharisees and scribes.

Matthew 6:21. For where your treasure is.—Our treasure, or dearest possession, forms the ideal on which our affections are set, and in accordance with which our feelings and desires assume shape. Hence, if our treasure is on earth, our heart will also be there, our inclinations and desires will be earthly; and, since this is contrary to our heavenly destiny, the consequence must be eternal sorrow and shame. But if the heart has its treasure in heaven, its affections will also be directed thither, and it will be transformed in accordance therewith.

Matthew 6:22. The light of the body.—Connection Not: in order to fulfil this duty, you must “preserve your inner light or reason (Chrysostom: νοῦς) undimmed;” but: ye must preserve your mental eye undivided in its gaze. The Lord evidently alludes here to the Pharisees, whose attention and affections were divided between what was temporal and what was spiritual. Their state of mind is illustrated by the eye. The eye is the light of the body (lighted from the light of the sun). Everything now depends on a right condition of the eye. It must be ἁπλοῦς, i. e, simple, in opposition to the πονηρός, or bad, spoiled eye. If the contrast between a healthy and a diseased eye were intended (in the sense of any ailment affecting it), it would have been otherwise expressed. We conclude, therefore, that it refers to the contrast between proper sight and deceptive or double sight. “The word is never used to indicate healthy. Hence we might agree with Elsner and Olshausen in explaining it as an eye which does not see double—double sight being a disease; and, with Quesnel, apply it as meaning, that it knows only one object of love—even God. But if we inquire what Hebrew word corresponded to the Greek term, we find that Aquila and the Sept. translate ἁπλοῦς for the Hebrew יָשָׁר,תָּם = ὁλόκληρος, which latter, like integer, is related to ἁπλοῦς. Thus Theophylact explains ἁπλοῦς and πονηρός by ὑγιής and νοσώδης.” Tholuck.—But we object to any translation of definite and distinct into more general terms, in order thus to give them a meaning which is not warranted by the context. The desire of serving at the same time God and mammon may be characterised as a moral double sight, as an evil eye, which is rightly designated by πονηρός, in direct contrast to ἁπλοῦς. But the eye is ἁπλοῦς, when it wholly, consciously, and calmly agrees with the state of the mind and heart,—when it is not wandering, and therefore not double-sighted nor untrue, and hence worse than blind. On the other hand, the eye is evil if it lose its power of perceiving, or begins to wander and miss the object set before it. Then the whole body will be full of darkness, or enveloped in night. But the darkening of the mind has more sad consequences than that of the body. If therefore—a conclusio a minori ad majusthe light that is in thee (the inward light) be darkness, etc.

Matthew 6:23. The question as to the meaning of the light that is in thee, is of importance. Chrysostom: νοῦς. Calvin: Lumen vocat Christus rationem, quantulacunque hominibus reliqua manet post lapsum Adœ. Beza, Chemnitz, Gerhard, Calov: “The eye which is enlightened by the word and Spirit of God.”—Tholuck: That which is left of the Divine image in Prayer of Manasseh, after John 8:47; John 18:37; or, as Gerhard has it, lumen naturœ, the light of nature.—Meyer: Reason, especially practical reason.—The capacity of the inner eye of reason to become the organ of knowledge is evidently here alluded to, although the expression has a more special meaning. It is not the inner eye itself, the νοῦς, but the light of the inner eye, or the Old Testament revelation so well known by the Pharisees and scribes, which had, by their carnal views, been perverted into error.—If the bodily eye is blind, the danger is less, because precaution will be used. The real peril lies in the eye seeing falsely or double, because in that case the light of the sun will only serve to blind, which is worse than utter darkness. The same holds true of the inner eye when it converts the light of revelation into a blinding and misleading light. This was the case with the Pharisees and scribes. They would have had God and a carnal Messiah,—they would serve the Lord and mammon.

As the organ of light, the eye of the body Isaiah, so to speak, our light; occupying, so far as we are concerned, the place of the sun, and in that respect representing the whole body, as if the whole body were an eye. This makes it also the organ and symbol of the inner eye, or of reason, by which the light of the spiritual sun is communicated to the inner life, and which, if healthy, converts the whole inner life into a capacity of spiritual perception. But just as when the external eye is not simple or double in its light, the outward light only serves to dazzle, so also in reference to the inner eye and the light of revelation. How great is that darkness! The history of pharisaical Judaism has amply corroborated the truth of this statement.

The inward eye is intended to be the eye of the heart. Ephesians 1:18. The state of the heart and the state of the eye influence each other. If the heart is set on heavenly treasures, the eye must be directed toward the light. Comp. the biblical psychology of Beck, and Delitzsch.

Matthew 6:24. No man can serve two masters.—Double sight of the spiritual eye is both the cause and the consequence of duplicity in reference to the desires of the heart ( James 1:8, ἀνὴρ δίψυχος). But the Pharisees, in their false spirituality, reduced it to a system, and deemed themselves capable of combining the service of Heaven with their earthly inclinations. The Lord dispels in the text this delusion. It is plain that no man can at the same time truly serve two masters. One of the two services must necessarily be merely outward, or, what is worse, one of the masters must be hated or despised,—because true service presupposes love and attachment. But why two examples? Meyer: “He will either hate the one and love the other, or else hold to the one and despise the other.” This commentator correctly reminds us that, as in other places, so here, μισεῖν and ἀγαπᾶν must have their full meaning, and not be interpreted by posthabere and prœferre, as de Wette and others propose. But then there must have been some special object for giving two instances. Perhaps the difference between them may lie in this, that the real master cannot be despised, but may be hated, since he must be respected, and it is impossible to get away from him. But if the real master is loved, the servant will hold to him and despise the usurper, who has no real claim, and from whose power it is possible and easy to withdraw. The application of this to spiritual life is plain. Man can have only one master, or only one highest good and principle of life. But if he choose the world as his highest good, and, along with the worship of the true God, attempt the service of an idol, he must decide for himself. First, however, let him clearly understand that he cannot at the same time serve two masters, and that, in attempting this double service, he can only be a traitor and a hypocrite.

And Mammon.—Probably mammon was originally not the name of a mythological deity, but was gradually imported into mythology from common life, in a manner similar to that in which the term is still employed. Bretschneider: “Μαμωνᾶς, Hebr. מָמוֹן, fortasse significant id, cui confiditur, ut Sept. אֱמיּנָה Isaiah 33:6, θησαυρούς, Psalm 37:3, πλοῦτον reddiderunt, vel Esther, ut multi putant, nomen Idoli Syrorum et Pœnorum, i. q. Plutos Grœcorum.” Augustine remarks on this passage: “Congruit et punicum nomen, nam lucrum punice Mammon dicitur.” “Money, in opposition to God, is personified and regarded as an idol, somewhat like Plutus, although it cannot be shown that such an idol was worshipped.”—Olshausen.

Luther: To have money and property is not sinful, provided it become not thy master, but remain thy servant and thou its master.[FN23]

Matthew 6:25. Take no thought.[FN24]—Connection. Anxiety, which is distrust of God, is the source of avarice. Accordingly, the following sins follow each other in regular genealogy: 1. Anxious care, distrust of God, commencement of apostasy; 2. avarice, and service of mammon, along with spurious and merely external service of God; 3. hypocrisy, and further development of external service into religious parade before men.—Again, anxious care itself springs from evil inclination and vanity, from worldliness (What shall we eat, etc.?),—which marks the beginning of apostasy from God. The word μεριμνᾷν, to take thought, denotes not merely “anxious care” (de Wette), which would be a tautology, but inordinate or solicitous concern or grief beyond our immediate wants, calling, or daily occupation; hence it is in reality to weaken one’s hands in prospect of the work before us, or the direct opposite of carefulness. From its nature, care extends εἰς τὴν αὔριον, Matthew 6:34.—By its solicitude the heart becomes divided, which is hinted in the word μεριμνᾷν (Tholuck).—Τῇψυχῇ, in reference to the soul as the principle of physical life.—Is not the life more?—He who has given the greater will also give the less.—Solicitude is entirely at fault; Christ teaches us to reason,—God gave me life, which is the greater; therefore also, etc.

Matthew 6:26. The fowls of the air [literally: the sky or heaven].—עוֹף הַשָּׁמַיִם, which fly along the heavens,—i. e, appear separated from earth and its provisions, and yet fly so cheerily; like the lily, שׁוּשָׁן, which in its splendid apparel stands in the midst of a desolate and dusty plain.

Matthew 6:27. Age [Com. Version: Stature], ἡλικία.—There are two interpretations of this term: First, nature of the body; Vulgate, Chrysostom, Luther [our authorized version, also Fritzsche, Conant]. Secondly, duration of life, age; Hammond, Wolf, Olshausen, Ewald, Meyer [de Wette, Tholuck, Stier, Alford, J. A. Alexander, Dav. Brown]. Both translations are warranted by the use of the language, but the context is decidedly in favor of “duration of life.” For, 1. our Lord refers to the preservation or the prolonging of life: 2. the adding of a cubit to the stature were not something very inconsiderable, as is implied in the text.[FN25]A cubit (2spans), a figurative expression, denoting that the duration of life has its fixed measure. Similarly also the provision for our life is fixed.

Matthew 6:28. Consider the lilies, κατα μάθε τετὰκρίνα.

Very significant, as much as: learn to understand, study the symbolical language of the lilies.

Matthew 6:29. In all his glory, δόξα, which may either mean his royal pomp, or the pomp of his royal army. The word περιεβάλετο, which follows, is in favor of the first of these explanations. Solomon was to the Jewish mind the highest representative of human glory ( 2 Chronicles 9:15).

Matthew 6:30. The grass of the field, or every kind of herb,—among them the lilies, which adorn and are cut down with them. Dried grass and the stalks of flowers were used for heating ovens. “A number of beautiful flowers grow wild on the fields and meadows of the Promised Land,—among them the splendid purple or bright yellow lily, of which the stem is three feet high, and of a dark red color, the flower forming a crown which is surmounted by a tuft of leaves. Song of Solomon 4:5; Song of Solomon 6:2; 1 Kings 7:19. In Palestine, the grass withers in the course of two days under a strong east wind; when it is only fit for hay or fuel.” Gerlach. (Comp. Heubner, p90, on extravagance in dress and avarice.)

Matthew 6:32. After all these things do the Gentiles seek.—Such is the essential feature of heathenism; and this worldliness led to their apostasy, polytheism, and idolatry. It deserves notice, that Christ here refers for the third time to the Gentiles, since the Pharisees made it their special boast that they were free from all heathen contamination. But the very extreme of their traditionalism led them into heathen views and practices.

Matthew 6:33. Seek ye first.—Meyer: “Πρῶτον, first, before ye seek anything else; your first seeking. There is no room then for any other seeking, as their eating, drinking, etc, προστεθήσεται. Not seeing this inference, a few authorities have omitted the word πρῶτον, as in Luke 12:31. De Wette is mistaken in supposing that πρῶτον at least ‘indirectly’ implies the lawfulness of subordinately seeking other things. All other seeking, whether the πρῶτον be retained or not, is excluded by Matthew 6:32 (πάντα γ. ταῦτα τὰ ἔθνη ἐπιζητ.) and by καὶ—προστεθήσεται.”—But in this case the word πρῶτον must mean not merely first in order of time, but refers to the principle which actuates us in seeking, on which our earnestness in our temporal calling, and the blessing upon that calling, depend. This principle of ever setting before us, even in temporal matters, the grand spiritual object, leads onward and upward, until that which is secondary and subordinate is wholly swallowed up in that which is spiritual.—The difference between the simple ζητεῖτε and its compound ἐπιζητοῦσιν deserves mention. The former refers to a seeking which in itself is healthy; the other, to that which is unhealthy and excessive.

The kingdom of God, and His righteousness.—The kingdom of heaven is here called that of God, because the former verses refer to God as the highest good. To seek the kingdom of God, is to seek those blessings which are expressed in the Lord’s Prayer, and of which the corresponding righteousness is delineated in the Sermon on the Mount.

Matthew 6:34. The morrow, αὔριον, is personified. Every day brings its own evil—κακία, ταλαιπωρία, κακότης—from an evil world, but also its own help and deliverance from our heavenly Father.[FN26]

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. The real nature of false spirituality appears in the dualism to which it leads, in the attempt violently to sever between God and the world; and in the false worldliness which it cherishes, in order to make up for this deficiency. Hence, fanum and profanum—holiday and work-day; priest and layman; cloister and the world; spiritual and temporal care; spiritual and temporal power (the two swords, as they are called); spiritual and temporal gain; spiritual and temporal possessions; spiritual and temporal enjoyment (Carnival and Lent). Or rather, more correctly, it is not spiritual and temporal, but temporal and spiritual.

True Christianity, on the other hand, combines spiritual with temporal life, by viewing the world itself as the symbol of God, and by sanctifying everything in it for the service of the Holy One.

2. Moths, consumption, and thieves corrupt the possessions and the enjoyments of the world, if we regard the world as our lasting habitation. See in this respect the whole Book of Ecclesiastes, or the Preaching of Solomon.

3. Science, natural philosophy, and even the highest poetry, have only recognized at a comparatively late period the sun-like nature of the eye, while here it is painted as with a sunbeam. To each of us, the eye is his sun, provided it be calm and single. Thus our vision depends on two conditions,—the outward sun in the heavens, and the inward sun of the mind. And thus the outward eye is at the same time a symbol and a medium of the inward eye, or of intelligence, the νοῦς. Our intelligence serves as the organ of the sun of Revelation, and becomes light, if it reflect not merely our own finite understanding, but our higher reason, and transmit divine revelation to the inmost soul. Otherwise the light itself becomes darkness. And such night is the most dense,—more so than ordinary night, which is only black, implying the absence of light, or ignorance. Less guilt attaches itself to this than to the grey of mist—the interruption of light by folly or prejudice. But worst of all is that splendor of false light, when the light of revelation is perverted by the worldly mind into error, and truth itself converted into a lie.

4. Christ unmasks the worldliness which hides under the garb of false spirituality, and traces it to its ultimate source: hypocrisy, avarice, solicitude, and worldly lust. He next invokes, against this spirit of solicitude in its spiritual garb, the testimony of the Spirit of God in nature, which the Pharisees, in their ultra-piety, had overlooked. Throughout, nature discloses its symbols to the Lord; and they all serve as symbols for the faithfulness of God and the trustfulness of man.

5. Christ Himself first sought the kingdom of God and His righteousness, in the fullest and most perfect sense; and everything else has been added to Him, Isaiah 53. So shall it also be with His people ( Romans 8).

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

How false spirituality always has its root in worldliness: 1. Its source is secretly cherished worldliness; 2. it is essentially a manifestation of the carnal mind, and hence worldliness ( Colossians 2:18); 3. it seeks in vain to conceal the worldliness which it everywhere betrays. Or, 1. Proof from the nature of the thing; 2. from history; 3. from experience of the twofold temptations with which every Christian is familiar.—Temporal possessions: 1. What they are in themselves; 2. what they become by faith; 3. what they become to the carnal mind.—“Treasures upon earth.” A contradiction, when viewed in connection with our never-dying souls: 1. As being outward treasures; 2. as being transient; 3. as liable to loss.—Treasures upon earth,—so unsubstantial, and yet so dangerous: 1. Because they are spoiled by moths, consumption, and thieves; 2. because they bring moths, consumption, and thieves into the heart.—The worm of death in its threefold ravages: 1. In inanimate nature; 2. in physical life; 3. in human society, or in the moral world.—A thief, or a deceiver, the moth and consumption of the moral order of things.—The treasures in heaven.—The treasures in heaven, in their unchangeable character: 1. They cannot be corrupted from within; 2. they cannot be consumed from without; 3. they cannot be taken away from beneath.—The treasures of earth and the treasures of heaven.—Gathering in appearance and gathering in reality.—False gathering is a casting away, under the appearance of gain.—Real gathering is gain, under the appearance of loss.—True and false gain.—Wondrous character of the possessions of heaven: 1. They are hidden, yet manifest; 2. infinitely far, yet infinitely near; 3. one treasure, yet innumerable treasures.—Only in connection with heaven can we again acquire earth as God’s earth.—“Where your treasure Isaiah, there will your heart be also.” 1. The truth of this saying (the heart ever lives in its highest good). 2. Inferences from this saying: (a) As the treasure Isaiah, such shall the heart become: the heart will become heavenly or earthly according as its treasure is; (b) strictly speaking, our heart cannot become earthly,—it rather becomes devilish, a prey to the passions of hell; (c) our heart is of heavenly origin, and cannot find rest or satisfaction in earthly possessions.—“The eye is the light of the body:” 1. The truth; 2. the symbol.—The body in its relation to the mind: 1. It is an instrument of the mind, by which man is to serve and glorify God; 2. a symbol of the mind, by which God admonishes man.—The eye and the light, in their physical and spiritual import: 1. The eye is also of the light, and shares the nature of light; 2. the eye itself becomes light by receiving light; 3. the eye gives light to the whole body.—The eye and the sun: 1. The eye is sun-like; 2. the sun is the eye of heaven; 3. the eye and the sun combined give light to the body.—A single eye and an evil eye, in their respective bearing on the inner life: 1. The eye, if single, has an undivided, and hence true vision; it beholds what is right, because it rightly beholds2. The eye that is evil is an ignis fatuus: its vision is divided, and hence false; it beholds what is false, because it falsely beholds.—The difference between a diseased eye and an evil eye, or him who is really blind and him who is blinded.—Not the blind, but the blinded, fall: for, 1. in their carelessness, they do not see; 2. in their excitement, they do not behold the principal object; 3. in their confusion, they see everything in a dim and disordered manner.—The inward eye and its object: 1. Its nature: to perceive that which is eternal2. Its light: the revelation of God in its widest sense3. Its giving of light: truthful application of the light which it has received.—An evil eye in our hearts, or perverted reason, may turn even the light of revelation into darkness.—The most dense darkness is that which the hypocrite makes to himself from the light of revelation.—The threefold night: 1. The blackness of night: want of light, ignorance2. The grey of mist: obstruction of light, prejudice3. The blinding light,[FN27] or abuse and perversion of light, superstition and hypocrisy.—An evil heart changing the inward light into darkness: 1. By its spiritual pride; 2. by its carnal security; 3. by its treating the flesh as if it were spirit, and perverting the spirit into flesh.—“How great is that darkness!” 1. When the inner eye is not only blind, but blinded; 2. when the inner light is not only obscured, but misleads; 3. when the day of salvation is changed into the night of destruction.—“No man can serve two masters:” 1. The truth of this statement; 2. its import and weight.—Earthly possessions as mammon.—Mammon the greatest of all idols: 1. The idol of all times; 2. the idol of all nations; 3. the idol of all unconverted hearts; 4. the origin of all idolatry; 5. the first and the last among all the hidden idols of God’s people, both under the Old and the New Testament.—The service of mammon converts the service of God into a lie.—True service of God excludes the service of mammon.—It is impossible to disown the service of our Lord and Master, by serving Him unfaithfully: we may hate, but we cannot cast off His authority.—If we despise him who falsely claims mastery over us, we shall soon be free from his service.—Solicitude is the mother of avarice.—Anxious care the certain consequence of worldly lust.—“Take no [serious or anxious] thought:” 1. Neither for your life (your maintenance); 2. nor for your body (your attire); 3. nor for what may befall you (for to-morrow).—Spiritual reasoning calculated to extinguish our solicitude1. God has already given us the greatest and best gift: (a) The life of the body is more than its nourishment; (b) the life of the mind is more noble than that of its instrument, the body; (c) the life of life, or the divine life, is the highest gain2. God will also give us all other things in addition: nourishment for the body; preservation of the body, and spiritual sustenance for the life which is from Him.—The birds of the air and the lilies of the field, preachers of trustfulness.—The difference between solicitude and lawful providence.—What solicitude cannot achieve and what it can achieve: 1. What it cannot achieve: (a) It cannot pray; (b) it cannot work; (c) it cannot create anything; (d) it cannot alter anything2. What it can achieve: (a) Conceal heaven from our view; (b) spoil earth; (c) open hell.—Solicitude the main principle of heathenism. It springs, 1. from the ignorance of the heathen, who know not the living God; 2. from their deifying the things of the world.—“Your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.”—God will not only nourish, but also adorn us.—How strange, if the little bird were to attempt sewing, or the lily spinning?—What solicitude loses, and what it gains: 1. It loses, (a) the present moment; (b) to-day; (c) all eternity2. It gains, (a) foolish projects; (b) anxious dreams; (c) a terrible awakening.—Christianity the source of highest order: 1. It restores proper order in our affections and desires; 2. it sets objects before us in their proper order; 3. it sets our daily work in order; 4. it sets time and eternity in their proper order.—Solicitude, as indicating a divided heart, is closely connected with the eye that is evil, and with the attempt to serve two masters.—Carefulness and freedom from care.—Solicitude and everlasting negligence.—Solicitude a sinful distrust: 1. Of God; 2. of our neighbor; 3. of ourselves.—We need not be concerned for what is least, since we may obtain what is highest.—“Seek ye first the kingdom of God.” How do we learn it? 1. From the succession of things (Lord’s day first, then work-day; prayer first, then work);[FN28] 2. mainly from our wants; 3. in a unique manner, when we surrender ourselves to God.—Our earthly calling is included in our heavenly calling.—He who prays well, will also work well.—All the wants of the children of God are supplied.—Nourishment and raiment are supplied without money in the kingdom of God.—Do not allow thoughts of the morrow to interfere with the duties of to-day: 1. Let them not distract you; 2. not tempt you; 3. not terrify you.—Wait each day upon God for to-day.—Let to-day’s duty engross to-day’s attention.—Preparation for to-morrow forms part of the duty of to-day.—Every day brings’ its burden from beneath, but also its help from above.

Starke:—Parallel passages: Matthew 19:21; Hebrews 11:26; Hebrews 13:5; 1 Timothy 6:9-17; James 5:3; Psalm 62:10.—We ought not to gather treasures from distrust of God’s providence, nor from a desire to become rich; but to save, in the fear of God, to gather the crumbs, to make provision for our children, 2 Corinthians 12:14, is not displeasing to God.—Hedinger: What does it profit a man though he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Matthew 16:26; Philippians 3:7-8; Philippians 3:19-20; Colossians 3:1-2.—Not to have treasures, but yet to desire them is also sinful, 1 Timothy 6:9; Psalm 49:17.—This warning applies also to the poor; for a beggar may set his heart as much upon one crown-piece as a rich man upon thousands, Luke 12:19; Sirach 11:17-19; Tobit 4:7-9.—The heart, which is created only for God and for eternity, is dishonored and degraded if we set it on things which perish, and, so to speak, convert it into a moth, James 5:1-2.—Quesnel: Avarice, 1 Timothy 6:9.—God has given man earthly possessions for use, 1 Corinthians 7:31 : he who is unwilling to employ them for that object, will frequently experience that they may either be taken from him, or disappear in his hands, Psalm 39:6.—If we forsake our earthly possessions for the sake of Christ, we lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven, Matthew 19:29. The best of all riches is the kingdom of God in the soul, Luke 17:21.—If we frequently contemplate the reality, the continuance, and the excellency of heavenly treasures, our minds will not be engrossed with transient and contemptible things, Colossians 3:1-2; Psalm 73:25.—The heavenly treasures, which are entrusted to God’s keeping, are best kept, Luke 12:21; Galatians 6:9.—Passing possessions become everlasting, if they are employed for the glory of God, and in almsgiving. In this kind of exchange we cannot be losers, Proverbs 11:4; Psalm 41:1-2.—For where your treasure Isaiah, Philippians 3:20; Colossians 3:1-2.—What we love and esteem is always in our mind.—He whose every desire is in heaven, seeks nothing upon earth.—Majus:Totum mundum debet contemnere, qui sibi thesaurizat in cœlo; Augustine, Psalm 73:25. Everything depends upon the heart, Isaiah 26:8-9; Matthew 12:35; Psalm 7:10.—Be careful that your heart be single, sincere, and honest, or else all is lost.—Say not, in your carnal confidence, I have a good heart, Jeremiah 17:9; rather pray, Search me, O God, and try my heart, Psalm 139:23-24.—Remain Thou, O God, in my heart, and let my heart remain in Thee; since it is created only for Thee, and Thou alone deservest it, Psalm 132:13-14.—The light of the body is the eye. There is nothing more single than the eye of faith; follow that light, and you are safe.—The eyes are the road into the heart.—Hedinger, 1 Corinthians 13:1.—The way of the righteous is a way of light, but that of sinners is only darkness. Cramer, Proverbs 14:8.—The service of mammon, Habakkuk 2:9.—Much here depends on the little word serve.—Whoso seeks heaven in the world, acts contrary even to nature and sound reason, 1 Kings 18:21; 2 Corinthians 6:14-15.—The service of mammon an abominable bondage. Majus.—A covetous person renounces God, for covetousness is idolatry, Ephesians 5:5; Colossians 3:5.—Not cared, well cared for, 1 Peter 5:7.—All nature and every creature is like a ladder by which we may ascend to our heavenly Father.—The birds of the air are only the creatures of God, yet they are nourished. How much more shall we be provided for, who are not only His creatures, but called to be His children! Isaiah 63:16; Psalm 103:13.—If we would only consider our high origin, we should trust more to infinite goodness and Wisdom of Solomon, Isaiah 44:2; Sirach 11:23.—Just as solicitude is the punishment of unbelief, so much complaining is the fruit of unbelief.—Christians must differ from the heathen not only in respect of their faith, but also of their use of earthly things.—All the requirements of this life are added along with the one great possession of the kingdom of heaven.—Anxiety for the kingdom of God makes rich, since it bestows God Himself and all His blessings, Psalm 84:12; Psalm 73:25.—The future belongs to God alone.

Gossner:

Matthew 6:21. What man loves attracts his heart like the magnet the iron. If your treasure is in the earth, your heart is in the earth also; if your treasure is in God and in heaven, your heart is in God and in heaven. Braune:—Every man has a master. Being freed from the service of sin, we become servants of righteousness.

Lisco:—Only one direction of the heart is right; to seek earthly things betrays inward defilement.—To serve, means to dedicate all that we are and have to another; in this sense we ought to serve God alone.—Prayer and labor.—Solicitude is foolish, being useless.

Gerlach:—Our minds and hearts must be fully directed toward God, so that everything else may be subordinate.—“Lord, Thou hast created us in Thine image, and our heart is without rest till it finds rest in Thee.” (Augustine.)—In this and the following passage, care means anxious and distracting solicitude; not that carefulness which our calling demands ( Philippians 4:6; 1 Peter 5:7; Hebrews 13:5).— Psalm 104:27; Psalm 145:15. The circumstance, that many birds and other animals die of cold and hunger, does not affect the argument, since this is not the consequence of their want of solicitude.

Heubner:—If the heart and inclinations are at fault, the whole life shall be at fault.—But if the will is directed toward that which is good, everything will bear reference to that one grand object: there will be harmony and light within and without; man will understand his wants, and where they may be satisfied.—God demands our whole heart.—The service of the world is slavery and idolatry, that of Christ, liberty.—The tendency of materialism toward heathenism.—Difference between the absence of solicitude in a Christian and in a worldly man: 1. In the former, it springs from earnestness for the great concern; 2. in the latter, from thoughtlessness.—What is the right state so far as care is concerned: 1. Not to place what is heavenly on the same level with what is earthly ( Matthew 6:24); 2. not to assign the first place to what is earthly ( Matthew 6:25-32); but3. to assign the first place to what is heavenly ( Matthew 6:33-34).—Wretched folly of earthly cares.—The great care of the Christian.—The decisive question: The world or Christ?—How Jesus leads to true freedom from care.[FN29]

Sermons on the pericope, Matthew 6:24-34, by Schleiermacher, Erdmann, Liebner, Reinhard, Dräseke, Steinmeyer, and Claus Harms.

Footnotes:

FN#20 - Lachmann, Tischendorf, Fritzsche, Meyer, and Alford give the preference to σου, thy treasure.—P. S.]

FN#21 - Matthew 6:25.—Lachmann , following Cod. B, etc, τί πιητε. The addition is omitted by the later authorities and Tischendorf.

FN#22 - Matthew 6:23.—[Cod. B.: τ. δικαιοσύνην κ. τὴν βασιλείαν αὐτοῦ.]

FN#23 - The same idea is expressed by St. Jerome in loc.: “Non dixit (Dominus), qui habet divitias, sed qui servit divitiis; qui divitiarum servus est custodit ut servus; qui servitutis excussit jugum, distribuit eas ut dominus.”—P. S.]

FN#24 - Μὴ μεριμνᾶτε: Take not thought, be not concerned about, care not for, be not solicitous, be not distracted (from μερίζω). English interpreters generally take the word thought of the Com. E. Vers. in the old English sense for solicitude, anxious care (Bacon and Shakspeare; e. g, “Queen Catharine Parr died of thought”). Hence Campbell and others translate: “Be not anxious,” laying the stress wholly on the excess of care or solicitude. Jos. Addis. Alexander, ad Matthew 6:25 : “The idea of excess is here essential, so that ordinary thought or care is not excluded.” Alford: “The E. V, ‘Take no thought.’ does not express the sense, but gives rather an exaggeration of the command, and thus makes it unreal and nugatory. In Luke 12:29 we have μὴ μετεωρ ζεσθε.” But the prohibition has reference rather to the future (comp. Matthew 6:34 : “Take no thought for the morrow”), and to all that exceeds our actual wants, as expressed in the petition: “Give us this day our daily bread.” Meyer says: “Care is here generally understood emphatically of anxious care (which the word does not mean even in Sirach 34:1), but this is an arbitrary assumption. Jesus prohibits to his disciples all concern about eating, drinking, etc. (das Besorgtsein überhaupt).” Yet some limitation is obviously suggested by Matthew 6:34, as already remarked, and required by the nature of the case as well as the consistency of Scripture teaching, which plainly enjoins forethought and proper care in temporal things, and condemns only that care which springs from unbelieving doubt and distrust in Providence; comp. 1 Timothy 5:8; 2 Thessalonians 3:10; John 12:6; John 13:29.—P. S.]

FN#25 - The only objection to the version age, is that cubit is a measure of space, and not of time. But this objection is easily removed if we remember the frequent representation of human life as a journey, and the familiar phrase: length of life. “Lebenslänge.” Comp. Psalm 39:5; 2 Timothy 4:7, etc. Meyer: “Die von Gott geordnete Lebensdauer wird im Bilde eines bestimmten Längenmaasses, gedacht.” The primary meaning of ἡλικία is age and corresponds better with the parallel passage. Luke 12:26 : “If ye then be not able to do that which is least, why take ye thought for the rest?” For to add a cubit, i. e, eighteen inches or a foot and a half, to man’s stature would be doing something very great.—P. S.]

FN#26 - Dr. Dav. Brown, in loc.:Sufficient unto the day is the exil thereof. An admirable practical maxim, and better rendered in our version than in almost any other, not excepting the preceding English ones. Every day brings its own cares; and to anticipate is only to double them.” Dr. Wordsworth, in loc.: “This adage is found in the Talmud Berachot, fol9, 2. Verst, De Adag. N. T, p806. Here it may be observed, that our Lord adopts and spiritualizes several proverbial sayings in succession, which were known to the Jews. In the same manner as in the Lord’s Prayer He adopted and spiritualized petitions from the Jewish Liturgy. He thus exemplified His own precept concerning new wins and new bottles ( Matthew 9:16-17), and on bringing out of the storehouse things new and old ( Matthew 13:52). In all those cases He animates the old letter with the new Spirit of His own.”—P. S.]

FN#27 - Dr. Lange calls the three nights: black night, gray night, and white night, or Lichtmangel, Lichthemmung Lichtzersetzung.—P. S.]

FN#28 - Remember the familiar adage: “Ora et labora;” “Bete und arbeite.”—P. S.]

FN#29 - Wordsworth: “Our Lord does not forbid provident forethought (comp. 1 Timothy 5:8), as was imagined by the Euchites (‘qui volebant semper εὺ́χεσθαι et nunquam laborare’), against whom St. Augustine wrote his book: ‘De opere monachorum.’ But He forbids anxious, restless, and distrustful solicitude about earthly things, and this He does by seven considerations: 1. The care which God shows for our life and bodies; 2. for the inferior creatures which exist for our sake; 3. because all our care is vain without God; 4. from a consideration of the flowers and grass which God clothes and adorns; 5. because such solicitude is unchristian and heathenish; 6. because God adds everything necessary to them who seek first His kingdom; 7. because sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. Comp. Philippians 4:6; 1 Peter 5:7.”—P. S.]

Matthew

 


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Bibliography Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Matthew 6:4". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lcc/matthew-6.html. 1857-84.

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