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THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MATTHEW - Chapter 5 - Verse 29

Verse 29. Thy right eye. The Hebrews, like others, were accustomed to represent the affections of the mind by the members or parts of the body, Ro 7:23; 6:13. Thus, the bowels denoted compassion; the heart, affection or feeling; the reins, understanding, secret purpose. An evil eye denotes sometimes envy, (Mt 20:15) sometimes an evil passion, or sin in general. Mr 7:21,22, "Out of the heart proceedeth an evil eye." In this place as in 2 Pe 2:14 it is used to denote strong adulterous passion, unlawful desire and inclination. The right eye and hand are mentioned, because they are of most use to us, and denote that, however strong the passion may be, or difficult to part with, yet that we should do it.

Shall offend thee. The noun from which the verb "offend," in the original, is derived, commonly means a stumbling-block, or a stone placed in the way, over which one might fall. It also means a net, or a certain part of a net, against which, if a bird strikes, it springs the net, and is taken. It comes to signify, therefore, anything by which we fall, or are ensnared; and, applied to morals, means anything by which we fall into sin, or by which we are ensnared. The English word offend means now, commonly, to displease; to make angry; to affront. This is by no means the sense of the word in Scripture. It means, to cause to fall, or to allure, into sin. The eye does this, when it wantonly looks on a woman to lust after her.

Pluck it out, etc. It cannot be supposed that Christ intended this to be taken literally. His design was to teach that the dearest objects, if they caused us to sin, were to be abandoned; that, by all sacrifices and self-denials, we must overcome the evil propensities of our natures, and resist our wanton imaginations. Some of the Fathers, however, took this commandment literally. Our Saviour several times repeated this sentiment. See Mt 18:9; Mr 9:43-47. See also Co 3:5.

It is profitable for thee. It is better for thee. You will be a gainer by it.

One of the members perish. It is better to deny yourself the gratification of an evil passion here, however much it may cost you, than to go down to hell for ever.

Thy whole body be cast into hell. Thy body, with all its unsubdued and vicious propensities. This will constitute no small part of the misery of hell. The sinner will be sent there as he is, with every evil desire, every unsubdued propensity, every wicked and troublesome passion, and yet with no possibility of gratification. It constitutes our highest notions of misery, when we think of a man filled with anger, pride, malice, avarice, envy, and lust, and no opportunity of gratifying them for ever. This is all that is necessary to make an eternal hell.

{1} "offend thee" or, "cause to offend thee" {w} "cast into hell" Ro 8:13; 1 Co 9:27

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