M A T T H E W.
Christ having, in the former chapter, armed his
disciples against the corrupt doctrines and opinions of the scribes
and Pharisees, especially in their expositions of the law (that was
called their leaven, ch. xvi.
12), comes in this chapter to warn them against their
corrupt practices, against the two sins which, though in their
doctrine they did not justify, yet in their conversation they were
notoriously guilty of, and so as even to recommend them to their
admirers: these were hypocrisy and worldly-mindedness, sins which,
of all others, the professors of religion need most to guard
against, as sins that most easily beset those who have escaped the
grosser pollutions that are in the world through lust, and which
are therefore highly dangerous. We are here cautioned, I. Against
hypocrisy; we must not be as the hypocrites are, nor do as the
hypocrites do. 1. In the giving of alms, ver. 1-4. 2. In prayer, ver. 5-8. We are here taught what to pray
for, and how to pray (ver.
9-13); and to forgive in prayer, ver. 14, 15. 3. In fasting, ver. 16-18. II. Against
worldly-mindedness, 1. In our choice, which is the destroying sin
of hypocrites, ver.
19-24. 2. In our cares, which is the disquieting sin of
many good Christians, ver.