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"Though he doth sometimes permit and suffer us to be
tempted, and when we fall into divers temptations, and escape them, we have cause to be joyful, and thankful
that we are delivered out of them, and to give the glory to God, who is the great preserver of men : whose “ is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen."
-“ Moreover, 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 their reward.” Verse 16.
“ But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face.” Verse 17.
“ 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 openly.” Verse 18. .
Christ would have all our works of piety, virtue, and eharity, all our religious duties, done in the divine love, and filial fear of God, and not for vain glory, or ostentation : and truly, without we expect our reward from men, there is no need of an outward, hypocritical show, in such extraordinary duties, as that is of fasting, when truly called to it, and truly performed; which the Jews were much in the practice of: but being formal hypocrites (many of them) in it, our Lord reprehends them, and warns his own hearers to shun the like deceit; and tells them, if they fast secretly, their heavenly Father will reward them openly : yet we must not be open sinners, nor private ones neither : for open or public sin is damning, if not repented of, and forsaķen, as well as private deceit.
“Lay not up for yourselves treasure upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal.” Verse 19.
“But lay up for yourselves treasure in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.” Verse 20,
“ For where your treasure is, there will your heart he also." . Verse 21.
Earthly treasures are very apt to take up the mind, and to draw it from heaven, and because Christ would have his children to be in heaven with him, in tender love he adviseth them not to lay up for themselves riches or treasure on earth. If it be said we lay it up for our children, it may be said also, it is the same snare for them, as to the parents, and sometimes a greater ; and when it is gotten, it is liable to many casualties, and creates a great deal of care and trouble; wherefore Christ tenderly adviseth to seek after, and lay up another treasure, of another nature, in another, a safer and better place, which will not be liable to the like casualties of the former treasure and place, and urgeth us to it, with this great reason ; “For where your treasure is, there will your hearts be also.” Oh! may every true christian's treasure and heart be there forever.
“ The light of the body is the eye, if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light." Verse 22.
“ But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness : if therefore the light which is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness.” Verse 23.
It is not good to look on men nor things with an evi eye; but singly to look on one's self and others, in the fear of God, having a single and singular eye to his glory; and then being enlightened by his divine light, we shall discern between good and evil; whereas if there be any double dealings, or looking or thinking; or if ungodly self be in the bottom, and not the glory of God; then
then our light is turned into darkness, and that darkness will be very great; as it is said in the holy scriptures, a double minded man is unstable in all his ways: so that our Saviour's doctrine is good ; to have a single eye, and to avoid all double dealing.
“ No man can serve two masters; for he will either 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.” Verse 24.
We cannot give our hearts to God, and to this world, and the things of it also, so as to set our affections on
both, as saith the apostle, “ If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” And again, " The love of money is the root of all evil;" i. e. the inordinate love of it, seeking after it, and serving of, and for it, more than for our Maker and Saviour. Then let us des pise the world and the things of it, in comparison of our God, and our Saviour. We do not understand by those words of Christ, that he intended to debar us from seeking a comfortable accommodation for ourselves and famlies, in this world; but that we should not set our hearts and affections upon it; for we cannot equally affect both heaven and earth.
“ Therefore I say unto you, take no thought 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 meat, and the body than raiment?" Verse 25.
“ Behold the fowls of the air : for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than
Christ would have us without anxious thoughts about our livings in this world, i. e. about our eating, drinking, and cloathing, and tells us, “ That the life is more than meat, and the body than raiment;" by which he shows us, that he which gave the life, will, by his prov. idence, support it; and as he hath formed the body, he will form that which must feed it; and that we might the more depend upon God's providence, he brings us to learn, or teaches us by the fowls of the air, who neither sow nor reap, nor gather into barns, and yet their great Creator feedeth them; and asks, if we are not much better than they? So that we being more noble cream tures, need not doubt of the care and providence of God, and his blessing on the labour of our hands; though our hearts are not concerned unnecessarily about it, but we have freely given them to God, and his Christ, our Saviour.
“ Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit to his stature." Verse 27.
The farmers or planters cannot by their thoughtful. ness cause their corn, fruits, or cattle, to multiply ar grow ; nor the tradesman his custom, goods, or business (without a proper application, which our Saviour is not against only he would have us without an incumbered and over-caring mind.) The merchant likewise, by all his thoughtfulness, cannot bring home his ship from far, nor carry her safe to her desired port. All things on this wise are in the hands of Almighty God, and it is our duty to trust in him, and to depend upon his divine pror. idence, for meat, drink, and clothing, for happiness here, and hereafter, forever.
“ And why take ye thought for raiment ? consider the lilies of the field how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin.” Verse 28.
“ And yet I say unto you, that even Solomon, in all his glory, was not arrayed like one of these.” Verse 29
. “Wherefore if God so clothes the grass of the field which to-day is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, Oh! ye of little faith." Verse 30.
“ Therefore take no thought, saying, what shall we eat, or what shall we drink, or wherewithal shall we be clothed?! Verse 31.
“ (For after all these things the gentiles seek) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things." Verse 32.
Many people now, as well as then, are very fond of their clothing, and love to be gay and fashionable thereine and some are not a little proud of their clothes, and are not a little thoughtful how they may deck themselves to be admired: when our plain Lord, who wore a vesture without a seam, sends us to the lily to consider her beauty and glory, and innocent thoughtlessness, declaring
. that Solomon, in all his grandeur and splendour, arrayed like one of these : for this is a natural sweetneso and gaiety the lily is clad with ; but Solomon's (as is also most men's and women's) is generally but artificial web, if God so elothe the grass of the earth, will be not
othe us; if we believe not, we must have but very tle true faith. So that it would be much better for us
consult how we shall do to please God, and honour m, and his Holy Son, and divine name, than to consult hat we shall eat or drink, or how, or wherewith we shall
clothed, which things the gentiles sought after, more in after God. But we, knowing that our heavenly Fa. er seeth that we have need of all these things, should iefly leave it to him, and first seek his kingdom and hteousness. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his right. usness, and all these things shall be added unto you." cerse 33. “ Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the brrow shall take thought for the things of itself: sufient unto the day is the evil thereof." Verse 34. Here is a glorious gospel promise ; upon seeking the ngdom of God, and his righteousness, all these things all be added to us, viz. meat, drink, and raiment, the cessary things that we want, to support us in these wer regions, or while we are here in this world; but en, withal, let us remember it must be our first work, must be the chief desire of our souls; it must be first several senses ; first, as to our young and tender years; st, in the morning of every day; first, in respect of, d before all other things ; first, as it hath pleased God give us a being in this world, and being in the prime d Aower of our years, we should then devote our souls God, and his work and service, and enter into covent with him, with full purpose of heart, and design of ul to keep the same truly and inviolably ; for it would
better not to make a covenant, than to make it and eak it; neither should we slight or put off the work of od till we are old, and in our declining years ; as though e give him the refuse, and broken end of our days, d conclude, it will better become me when I am old serve him : Oh, no! learn the fear of God truly, and actise it when thou art young, and thou wilt not easily part from it when thou art old : as thou wilt find it hard get into a holy life and conversation, when thou hast