« PreviousContinue »
in heaven is perfect. VI. 1d Take heed that ye do not your e alms before men, to be seen of them : otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.
2 Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth : 4 that thine alms may be in secret :
d some MSS. have “But take heed.”
e read, righteousness.
the aim of Christians. perfect? jected to :-not the open benevolence of complete, in your love of others; not one. the Christian who lets his light shine sided, or exclusive, as these just mentioned, that men may glorify God, but the ostenbut all-embracing, and God-like, = "mer. tation of him whose object is the praise ciful,” Luke vi. 36. ye is emphatic and glory coming from man. “ For,” says No countenance is given by this verse to Chrysostom, “a man may do his good the ancient Pelagian or the modern heresy deeds before men, but not in order to be of perfectibility in this life. Such a sense seen by them; and a man may do them of the words would be utterly at variance not before men, but in order to be seen by with the whole of the discourse. See espe- them.” cially vv. 22, 29, 32, in which the imper. 2–4.] FIRST EXAMPLE. Almsgiving. fections and conflicts of the Christian are
2. sound a trumpet] A proverbial fully recognized. Nor, if we consider this expression, not implying any such custom verse as a solenn conclusion of the second of the hypocrites of that day, but the part of the Sermon, does it any the more habit of self-laudation, and display of admit of this view, asserting as it does that good works in general. Many Commenlikeness to God in inward purity, love, and tators, among whom are Calvin and Benholiness, must be the continual aim and gel, think that the words are to be taken end of the Christian in all the depart. literally : and Euthymius mentions this inents of his moral life. But how far view. But Lightfoot says, that he finds from having attained this likeness we are, no trace of such a practice among the St. Paul shews us (Phil. ii. 12); and customs in almsgiving before thee every Christian feels, just in the pro. According to the way in which the former portion in which he has striven after verse is taken, these words are variously it.
understood to apply to the trumpet being CHAP. VI. 1-18.] The THIRD DIVI. held up before the mouth in blowing, or to SION OF THE SERMOx, in which the dis another person going before. Synaciples of Christ are warned against hypo- gogues] If this bears the ordinary meancritical display of their good deeds, by ing of places of Worship, the literal meanthe examples of abuses of the duties of ing of the previous words cannot well be almsgiving (ver. 2), praying (ver. 5), and maintained. The synagogues, as afterfasting (ver. 16). 1.] The discourse wards the Christian churches, were the of our Lord now passes from actions to regular places for the collection of alms. motices; not that He has not spoken to
have] literally, have in full,the heart before, but then it was only by exhaust: not have their due reward. inference, now directly. righteous- 3.] thy, emphatic: see ch. v. 48. This ness not benevolence,' or 'alms, as is another popular saying, not to be in rabbinical usage,- for this meaning is pressed so as to require a literal in. never found in the N. T., and here we terpretation of it in the act of almshave doing alms treated of as a dis- giving, but implying simplicity, both of tinct head below. It is best then to intention and act. Equally out of place understand righteousness as in ch. v. are all attempts to explain the right and 20, as a general term, including the left hand symbolically, as was once the three duties afterwards treated of. practice. The sound sense of Chrysostom The words to be seen of (by) them preserves the right interpretation, where clearly define the course of action ob- even Augustine strays into symbolism.
and thy Father which seeth in secret [f himself] shall reward thee [f openly].
5 And when & thou prayest, 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 men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when, thou hast shut thy door,
pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father d Luke xiv. 14. which seeth in secret shall d reward thee [f openly]. 7 But e Eccles. v. 2. when ye pray, euse not vain repetitions, as the heathen 115. ings xvili. do: ffor 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 5 Luke xi. 2. ye ask him. 9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our
& some old authorities have, “ye pray, ye shall not be.” 4. openly) before men and angels; desire of faith, but because it is of such a at the resurrection of the just.
length, has been such a number of times 5-15.7 SECOND EXAMPLE. Prauer. repeated. The repetitions of Paternosters
5. standing] No stress must be and Ave Marias in the Romish Church, as laid on this word as implying ostentation; practised by them, are in direct violation for it was the ordinary posture of prayer. of this precept; the number of repetitions See 1 Sam. i. 26: 1 Kings viï. 22. The being prescribed, and the efficacy of the command in Mark (xi. 25) runs, “when ye performance made to depend on it. But stand praying ..." See also Luke xviii. 11, the repetition of the Lord's Prayer in the 13. Indeed, of the two positions of prayer, Liturgy of the Church of England is not considering the place, kneeling would have a violation of it, nor that of the Kyrie been the more singular and savouring of Eleison, because it is not the number of ostentation. The synagogues were places these which is the object, but each has its of prayer; so that, as Theophylact, it is appropriate place and reason in that not the place which matters, but the which is pre-eminently a reasonable sermanner and intent. 6. enter, &c.] vice. Our Lord was also denouncing a Both Chrysostom and Augustine caution Jewish error. Lightfoot quotes from the us against taking this merely literally: Rabbinical writings, “ Every one who and warn us, as above, that there may be multiplies prayer, is heard.” ostentation even in the secret chamber, as 9–13.] THE LORD's PRAYER. there may be the avoiding of it in the 9.] There is very slender proof of what is open church. 7.] On the original often asserted, that our Lord took nearly meaning of the word rendered “use vain the whole of this prayer from existing repetitions," see in my Gr. Test. Taking Jewish formulæ. Not that such a view of the word in its largest meaning, that of the matter would contain in it any thing saying things irrelevant and senseless, it irreverent or objectionable; for if pious may well include all the various senses con- Jews had framed such petitions, our Lord, tended for. What is forbidden is not who came to fulfil every thing that was much praying, for our Lord Himself good under the Old Covenant, might, in a passed whole nights in prayer: not pray- higher sense and spiritual meaning, have ing in the same words, for this He did in recommended the same forms to His dis. the very intensity of His agony at Geth- ciples. But such does not appear to have semane; but the making number and been the fact. Lightfoot produces only the length a point of observance, and ima. most general common-place parallels for gining that prayer will be heard, not the petitions, from the Rabbinical books. because it is the genuine expression of the
With regard to the prayer itself
Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come. a Thy will be done in earth, as it a 49. Acts wi.
we may remark, 1. The whole passage, primary emphasis, cannot well be other. vy. 7-15, is digressive from the subject wise understood than in these words, as of the first part of this chapter, which is a specimen of the Christian's prayer (the the discouragement of the performance of ye holds the second place in emphasis), no religious duties to be seen of men, and is less than its pattern. This, which would resumed at ver. 16. Neander therefore be the inference from the context here, is supposes that this passage has found its decided for us by Luke xi. 2, when ye way in here as a sort of accompaniment pray, say- Our Father] This was a to the preceding verses, but is in reality the form of address almost unknown to the answer of our Lord to the request in Luke Old Covenant: now and then hinted at, xi. 1, more fully detailed than by that as reminding the children of their rebel. Evangelist. But to this I cannot assent, lion (Isa. i. 2: Mal. i. 6), or mentioned as believing our Lord's discourses as given by a last resource of the orphan and desolate this evangelist to be no collections of creature (Isa. Ixiii. 16); but never brought scattered sayings, but veritable reports of out in its fulness, as indeed it could not be, continuous utterances. That the request till He was come by whom we have rerelated in Luke should afterwards have ceived the adoption of sons. “The prayer been made, and similarly answered, is by is a fraternal one; He saith not, My no means improbable. (That he should Father, as if prayed for himself only : but have thus related it with this gospel before Our Father, as embracing in one prayer all him, is more than improbable. 2. It has who are known as brethren in Christ.” been questioned whether the prayer was Aug. which art in heaven] These regarded in the very earliest times as a set opening words of the Lord's Prayer set form delivered for liturgical use by our clearly before us the state of the ChrisLord. The variations in Luke have been tian, as believing in, depending upon, regarded as fatal to the supposition of its praying to, a real objective personal God, being used liturgically at the time when lifted above himself; to approach whom he these Gospels were written. But see potes must lift up his heart, as the eye is lifted on Luke xi. 1. It must be confessed, that up from earth to heaven. This strikes at we find very few traces of such use in the root of all pantheistic error, which early times. Tholuck remarks, “It does not regards the spirit of man as identical with occur in the Acts, nor in any writers be- the Spirit of God,-and at the root of all fore the third century. In Justin Martyr deism, testifying as it does our relation we find, that the minister prays 'ac- to and covenant dependence on our heavenly cording to his power'.... Cyprian and Father. The local heavens are no Tertullian make the first mention of the further to be thought of here, than as prayer as a 'lawful and ordinary prayer.'” Scripture, by a parallelism of things natuAn allusion to it has been supposed to ral and spiritual deeply implanted in our exist in 2 Tim. iv, 18, where see note. race, universally speaks of heaven and 3. The view of some that our Lord gave heavenly, as applying to the habitation this, selecting it out of forms known and and perfections of the High and Holy One in use, as a prayer ad interim, till the who inhabiteth Eternity. Hallowed effusion of the Spirit of prayer, is inad. be thy name] De Wette observes : God's inissible, as we have no traces of any such Name is not merely His appellation, which temporary purpose in our Saviour's dis. we speak with the mouth, but also and courses, and to suppose any such would principally the idea which we attach to it, amount to nothing less than to set them -- His Being, as far as it is confessed, reentirely aside. On the contrary, one work vealed, or known. The Name of God’in of the Holy Spirit on the disciples was, to Scripture is used to signify that revelation bring to their mind all things whatsoever of Himself which He has made to men, He had said unto them, the depth of such which is all that we know of Him : into sayings only then first being revealed to the depths of His Being, as it is, no them by Him who took of the things of human soul can penetrate. See John xvii. Christ and shewed them to them, John 6: Rom. ix. 17. Hallow here is in the xiv. 26. After this manner] thus. sense of keep holy, sanctify in our hearts, Considering that other manners of pray- as in ref. 1 Pet. 10. Thy kingdom come] ing have been spoken of above, the "vain Thy kingdom here is the fulness of the repetition" and the “ much speaking,” the accomplishment of the kingdom of God, so word, especially in its present position of often spoken of in prophetic Scripturc;
d John xvii. 15.
is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And bch. xviii. 21, 5 forgive us our debts, as we h forgive our debtors. 13 And a Sohn Yvii.is. o lead us not into temptation, but d deliver us from evil: 2 Tim. iv. 18.
[i for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for h read, have forgiven.
i omit. and by implication, all that process of cognize those spiritual senses, is equally to events which lead to that accomplishment. miss the great truth, that the “we” whose Meyer, in objecting to all ecclesiastical bread is prayed for, are not mere animals, and spiritual meanings of Thy kingdom, but composed of body, soul, and spirit, all forgets that the one for which he contends of which want daily nourishment by Him exclusively, the Messianic kingdom, does from whom all blessings flow. 12. our in fact include or imply them all. debts i. e. sins, short-comings, and Thy will be done i.e. not, may our therefore "debts: answers to “treswill be absorbed into thy will;' but may passes," ver. 14. Augustine remarks, that it be conformed to and subordinated to those sins are not meant which are remitthine. The literal rendering is, Let thy ted in the regeneration of baptism, but will be done, as in heaven, (so) also on those which are contracted day by day earth. These last words, “as in from the bitter fruits of worldly contact heaven, so also on earth," may be re- by our infirmity. as we] Not for garded as applying to the whole of the we also,' &c. (as in Luke), nor ‘in the three preceding petitions, as punctuated same measure as we also,' &c., but like as in the text. A slight objection may per we also, &c.; implying similarity in the haps be found in the circumstance, that two actions, of kind, but no comparison of the kingdom of God cannot be said to degree. Augustine uses the testimony of bave come in heaven, seeing that it has this prayer against all proud Pelagian always been fully established there, and notions of an absolutely sinless state in this thus the accuracy of correspondence in life' (Trench); and answers the various the particulars will be marred. It is true, excuses and evasions by which that sect this may be escaped by understanding, escaped from the conclusion. have May thy kingdom come on earth, so as to forgiven here implies that (see ch. v. 23, be as fully established, as it is already in 24) the act of forgiveness of others is comheaven. So that I conceive we are at pleted before we approach the throne of liberty to take the prayer either way. grace. 13.) The sentiment is not in any
11. our daily bread] our - as way inconsistent with the Christian's joy created for us,'' provided for our use by when he “falls into divers temptations," Thee. The word rendered daily has been James i. 2, but is a humble self-distrust very variously explained. For a discus. and shrinking from such trial in the sion of the probable derivations and mean- prospect. The leading into temptation ings, I must refer to my Gr. Test. I must be understood in its plain literal have there seen reason to prefer the sense sense : so will make with the temptation required for our subsistence-proper for also a way to escape, 1 Cor. x. 13. There our sustenance. So that the expression is no discrepancy with James i. 13, which will be equivalent to St. James's “things speaks not of the providential bringing which are needful for the body” (ii. 16), about of, but the actual solicitation of, the and the expressions are rendered in the temptation. Some have attempted to Syriac version by the same word. Thus, fix on leading into and entering into only, this day has its proper meaning temptation, the meaning of bringing into The “day by day” in Luke xi. 3 is the power of, and entering into, so as different; see there. It is a question, to be overcome by, temptation. But how far the expression may be understood this surely the words will not bear. spiritually—of the Bread of Life. The
But must not be taken as answer is easy : viz. that we may safely equivalent to but if thou dost, deliver,' thus understand it, provided we keep in &c.; but is rather the opposition to the the foreground its primary physical mean- former clause, and forms in this sense, but ing, and view the other as involved by one petition with it,-'bring us not into implication in that. To understand the conflict with evil, nay rather deliver (rid) expression of the Eucharist primarily, or us from it altogether. In another view, even of spiritual feeding on Christ, is to however, as expressing the deep desire of miss the plain reference of the petition to all Christian hearts to be delivered from our daily physical wants. But not to re- all evil (for the adjective is here certainly
ever. Amen.] 14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you : 15 but e if ye e che
wuu ye James ii. 13. forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
16 Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, f Isa. Iviii. 5. of a sad countenance : for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 17 But thou, when thou fastest, 5 anoint thine head, and wash thy face ; & Dan. 1. 8. 18 that thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee [i openly).
j omit. neuter; the introduction of the mention testify to the practice, begun thus early, of the evil one' would seem here to be of concluding the Lord's prayer with a incongruous. Besides, compare the words solemn ascription of glory to God. This of St. Paul, 2 Tim. iv. 18, which look very eventually fell into one conventional forin, like a reminiscence of this prayer: see and thus got inserted in the sacred text. note there) these words form a seventh
14, 15.] Our Lord returns (for) to and most affecting petition, reaching far explain the only part of the prayer which beyond the last. They are the expression peculiarly belonged to the new law of of the yearning for redemption of the sons love, and enforces it by a solemn assurance. of God (Rom. viii. 23), and so are fitly On the sense, see Mark xi. 25, and the placed at the end of the prayer, and as the remarkable parallel, Ecclesiasticus xxviii. 2: sum and substance of the personal peti. “ Forgive thy neighbour the hurt that he tions.
hath done unto thee, so shall thy sins also The doxology must on every ground of be forgiven when thou prayest," sound criticism be omitted. Had it 16-18.] THIRD EXAMPLE. Fasting. formed part of the original text, it is ab. Another department of the spiritual life, solutely inconceivable that alınost all the in which reality in the sight of God, and ancient authorities should with one consent not appearance in the sight of man, must have omitted it. They could have had no be our object. While these verses deterreason for doing so; whereas the habit of mine nothing as to the manner and extent terminating liturgical prayers with ascrip- of Christian fasting, they clearly recognize tions of praise would naturally suggest it as a solemn duty, ranking it with almssome such ending, and make its insertion giving and prayer; but requiring it, like almost certain in course of time. And them, (see ch. ix. 1417,) to spring out of just correspondent to this is the evidence. reality, not mere formal prescription. We find, absolutely no trace of it in early 16. disfigure] The word literally means times, in any family of MSS. or in any make to disappear. Hence some have exexpositors. The ancient Syriac version plained it, hide, cover up, viz. in mourning has it, but whether it always had, is costume. But in later Greek the meaning another question. It is quite open for us was to disfigure. One writer uses it of to regard it with Euthymius as “a solemn women who paint their faces. The alluending, added by the holy lights and lead. sion is therefore not to covering the face, ers of the Church," and to retain it as such which could only be regarded as a sign of in our liturgies ; but in dealing with the mourning, but to the squalor of the unsacred text we must not allow any à priori cleansed face, and hair of the head and considerations, of which we are such poor beard, as the contrast of washing and judges, to outweigh the almost unanimous anointing shews. 17.] i.e. appear testimony of antiquity. The inference to as usual :' 'seem to men the same as if be drawn from the words of St. Paul, 2 thou wert not fasting. It has been ob. Tim. iv. 18, is rather against, than for the served that this precept applies only to genuineness of the doxology. The fact voluntary and private fasts, (such as are that he there adds a doxology, different mentioned Luke xviii. 12,) not to public from that commonly read here, seems to and enjoined ones. But this distinction