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6. Sermon on the Mount
1Take heed that ye do not your righteousness before men, to be seen of them: else ye have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. 2When therefore thou doest alms, sound not 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 received their reward. 3But 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 who seeth in secret shall recompense thee.
5And when ye pray, ye shall not be as the hypocrites: for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have received their reward. 6But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thine inner chamber, and having shut thy door, pray to thy Father who is in secret, and thy Father who seeth in secret shall recompense thee. 7And in praying use not vain repetitions, as the Gentiles do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. 8Be not therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him. 9After this manner therefore pray ye. Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so on earth. 11Give us this day our daily bread. 12And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13And bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. 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 be seen of men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have received their reward. 17But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thy head, and wash thy face; 18that thou be not seen of men to fast, but of thy Father who is in secret: and thy Father, who seeth in secret, shall recompense thee.
19Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon the earth, where moth and rust consume, and where thieves break through and steal: 20but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth consume, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21for where thy treasure is, there will thy heart be also. 22The lamp of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. 23But 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 the darkness! 24No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. 25Therefore I say unto you, be not anxious for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than the food, and the body than the raiment? 26Behold the birds of the heaven, that they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not ye of much more value then they? 27And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit unto the measure of his life? 28And why are ye anxious concerning raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30But if God doth so clothe the grass of the field, which to-day is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? 31Be not therefore anxious, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32For after all these things do the Gentiles seek; for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33But seek ye first his kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 34Be not therefore anxious for the morrow: for the morrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
Sermon on the Mount—continued.
Mt 6:1-18. Further Illustration of the Righteousness of the Kingdom—Its Unostentatiousness.
General Caution against Ostentation in Religious Duties (Mt 6:1).
1. Take heed that ye do not your alms—But the true reading seems clearly to be "your righteousness." The external authority for both readings is pretty nearly equal; but internal evidence is decidedly in favor of "righteousness." The subject of the second verse being "almsgiving" that word—so like the other in Greek—might easily be substituted for it by the copyist: whereas the opposite would not be so likely. But it is still more in favor of "righteousness," that if we so read the first verse, it then becomes a general heading for this whole section of the discourse, inculcating unostentatiousness in all deeds of righteousness—Almsgiving, Prayer, and Fasting being, in that case, but selected examples of this righteousness; whereas, if we read, "Do not your alms," &c., this first verse will have no reference but to that one point. By "righteousness," in this case, we are to understand that same righteousness of the kingdom of heaven, whose leading features—in opposition to traditional perversions of it—it is the great object of this discourse to open up: that righteousness of which the Lord says, "Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Mt 5:20). To "do" this righteousness, was an old and well-understood expression. Thus, "Blessed is he that doeth righteousness at all times" (Ps 106:3). It refers to the actings of righteousness in the life—the outgoings of the gracious nature—of which our Lord afterwards said to His disciples, "Herein is My Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be My disciples" (Joh 15:8).
before men, to be seen of them—with the view or intention of being beheld of them. See the same expression in Mt 5:28. True, He had required them to let their light so shine before men that they might see their good works, and glorify their Father which is in heaven (Mt 5:16). But this is quite consistent with not making a display of our righteousness for self-glorification. In fact, the doing of the former necessarily implies our not doing the latter.
otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven—When all duty is done to God—as primarily enjoining and finally judging of it—He will take care that it be duly recognized; but when done purely for ostentation, God cannot own it, nor is His judgment of it even thought of—God accepts only what is done to Himself. So much for the general principle. Now follow three illustrations of it.
Almsgiving (Mt 6:2-4).
2. Therefore, when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee—The expression is to be taken figuratively for blazoning it. Hence our expression to "trumpet."
as the hypocrites do—This word—of such frequent occurrence in Scripture, signifying primarily "one who acts a part"—denotes one who either pretends to be what he is not (as here), or dissembles what he really is (as in Lu 12:1, 2).
in the synagogues and in the streets—the places of religious and secular resort.
that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you—In such august expressions, it is the Lawgiver and Judge Himself that we hear speaking to us.
They have their reward—All they wanted was human applause, and they have it—and with it, all they will ever get.
3. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth—So far from making a display of it, dwell not on it even in thine own thoughts, lest it minister to spiritual pride.
4. That thine alms may be in secret, and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly—The word "Himself" appears to be an unauthorized addition to the text, which the sense no doubt suggested. (See 1Ti 5:25; Ro 2:16; 1Co 4:5).