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raiment ? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow ; 29 they toil not, neither do they spin; and yet I say unto you that
even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much
of supporting life. Now from the lilies of the field he infers that he should trust Providence for clothing.-Consider. Survey attentively. -The lilies of the field. Luke xii. 27. Flowers of this kind grew wild in Palestine, and probably multitudes of them were in sight from the hill where Jesus was addressing the crowd. "The white lily is a flower of the field in Persia, and some of its species may be field flowers in Judea. Besides this, there is the martagon, crown imperial, and other colored lilies.' The lily springs up and grows spontaneously, expands its brilliant blossoms, eclipsing the pomp of kings, and fills the air with fragrance. Does God deck with perfect beauty this fragile flower, and make it the glory of the vegetable kingdom, and is he unmindful of his own children, his image, his heirs? — Toil, — spin. Reference is here made to the employments of males and females respectively.. "Flowers! When the Saviour's calm, benig
Fell on your gentle beauty, -when from you
Unwarned of that sweet oracle divine. And though too oft its low, celestial sound By the harsh notes of work-day care is drowned, And the loud steps of vain, unlistening
Yet, the great ocean hath no tone of power
Mightier to reach the soul, in thought's Than yours, ye lilies, chosen thus and graced!"
29. Even Solomon in all his glory. Solomon was the richest and most
magnificent king of Israel, and the reference to him possesses great force and beauty. "If the comparison of our Saviour be to the whiteness of Solomon's raiment, then, certainly, it never equalled the brilliant whiteness of a lily:- if it be to the resplendence of colors, then the mixture, the relief, the glow of colors, in some kinds of lilies, exceeds whatever the manufacturers of stuffs for Solomon's wardrobe could compose." How bold, yet true, the figure that the lily of the field outshone the monarch, arrayed in his imperial robes, in his kingly glory, seated on an ivory throne overlaid with gold! 2 Chron. ix. 17.
30. Clothe. The subjunctive ought not to be employed here, for a fact, and not a contingency, is spoken of; the indicative would be the proper mode. The grass of the field. This in the original has a wider sense than what we call grass; including all kinds of plants and herbaceous productions.. Today,-to-morrow. Expressive of its extreme frailty; suddenly destroyed; one day in full bloom, the next consumed to ashes. · Cast into the oven. On account of the scarcity of wood in the east, it is usual to employ dried grass, or the leaves and stalks of plants for fuel. A traveller tells us, that in Barbary myrtle and rosemary are used to heat ovens. The Jews had various methods of baking their bread : in the ashes on the hearth, upon copper plates, in pans, and stoves. But the common kind of oriental oven, and the one no doubt referred to here, consists of a round hole in
more clothe you, 0 ye of little faith? Therefore take no 31
the ground, with the bottom covered with stones, and heated by fuel cast into it. When the stones are hot enough, the ashes are removed, and the dough is placed on the bottom of the oven, and turned whilst baking. O ye of little faith. Distrustful. Luke xii. 28.
31. Luke xii. 29. The injunction of verse 25 is reiterated. Take no thought. Take no undue thought, be not over anxious and troubled about food, or drink, or clothing.
32. For after all these things do the Gentiles seek. This sentence is not parenthetical, as represented in our Bibles, but composes a regular part of our Lord's reasoning. It constitutes the fifth argument why we should repose implicit and childlike confidence in the providence of Heaven. Luke xii. 30; Matt. v. 47. This kind of reasoning was often made use of in the Old Testament, as if to shame the Jews into virtue, by comparing them with their hea then neighbors. Jesus says it is heathenish, it is what Pagans, ignorant of God, his providence, and a future state, do, to be chiefly solicitous to secure earthly goods and pleasures, and to tremble for the future as if they were to become orphans in the world. We need not be surprised that they should be distracted and anxious, lest their wants should not be met. But how unbecoming in those enlightened with a true knowledge of the love and care of the Father, to doubt and question his providence towards man! Seek. To seek earnestly, to strive after intensely, is the force
of the Greek word. For your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. Another motive to banish all slavish solicitude about the circumstances of life. The argument is from God's knowledge to his goodness. He knows our wants, therefore he will supply them. He who gave life knows how carefully its fitful taper must be guarded to prevent its being extinguished. He who created the frail body knows its need of constant reinforcements to its strength, and shelter and clothing to its tenderness. The vital air, the pure water, the comfortable fire, the warm garment, the cheerful light, the wholesome food, the quiet home, the welcome sleep, the grateful rotation of the seasons, and all the thousand glorious and wonderful ministrations of Nature, testify that our Great Friend, conscious of our necessities, is most kind and liberal in supplying them.
34 things shall be added unto you.
Take therefore no thought for the morrow; for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
added unto you. Another reason for a serene reliance upon the care of Heaven. Let religion be the first thing in our affections, and in our labors, and Providence will be our mighty partner and helper in business. As an addition to this verse, the following words are quoted by early Christian authors: "Ask great things, and little things shall be added unto you; ask heavenly things, and earthly things shall be added unto you.' All the vices are expensive and losing, as all the virtues are gainful and thrifty. Other things equal, the good man prospers better in worldly affairs than the bad man. Shrewd calculators never miss it more than when they live and labor for temporal good alone. They overshoot their mark. Seeking the world solely, they lose both the world and heaven. In cases without number, their unrighteous policy overleaps itself, and crushes to atoms their false and godless hopes. Virtue first, Virtue last, Virtue midst, should be the motto of every human creature; and then all other needful inferior goods will be ours. Said David: "I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.”
34. Take therefore no thought. This injunction has been thrice repeated, showing its importance; and each time has been reinforced by some fresh and cogent argument, though without the formality and ceremony of reasoning. - The morrow. The future. Shall take
thought for the things of itself. Will bring its own cares and anxieties along with it, and the needed strength to meet them. This is the summing up of the whole. Do your present duties, unanxious about futurity. With wants and trials coming to beset you, there will also spring up a present help in every time of need. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. Still another reason why we should not harass ourselves with imaginary troubles. Every day has its appropriate load of care, and it is injustice to borrow from the morrow to increase that load. We always have evils enough without anticipating any. Do not sorrows thickly and quickly enough without conjuring them up from "the vasty deep" of the unknown Future? Let none but the Divine Hand draw that curtain which hangs before us.
Consider the numerous, beautiful, and convincing reasons why we should rely calmly on Providence. "The irreconcilable nature of worldly solicitude and Christian piety; the past goodness of God; the care which he takes of the lower animals; the beauty with which he clothes the spontaneous productions of nature; the unprofitableness and impiety of anxiety; the infinite perfections and paternal character of the Supreme Being; the gain of godliness in this world; and the sufficiency of present evils without adding to their number by anticipation.' "If we know these things, happy are we if we do them."
The Sermon on the Mount, continued.
JUDGE not, that ye be not judged. For with what judg- 2 ment ye judge ye shall be judged; and with what measure ye mete it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest 3 thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? or how wilt thou say to thy 4
1. Parallel with this chapter is Luke vi. 37-49.
A variety of different topics are handled, more or less connected; yet none of the expressions are to be interpreted too literally, But their effect on the mind is greater than that of any literal expression. By his figurative mode of speaking Christ shows in the clearest manner what dispositions we should cultivate, and this tendency once communicated leads to all right conduct, without particular directions."
Judge not. Condemn not. The above rule applies here. Jesus is not to be taken literally in this declaration. He did not prohibit judicial sentences, or the making up and expressing of opinions in relation to the conduct and character of our fellow-men, within proper limitations. But the passing of rash and rigorous judgments, and indulging in a censorious, malicious temper, met his condemnation. He suggests, as a motive to check them, that such dispositions expose one to similar treatment from others. Rom. ii. 1, xiv. 4; James iv. 11, ii. 13. Allusion is made probably to the censoriousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, which was abundantly exhibited towards Jesus himself, and towards his followers.
2. It is difficult to maintain charity, kindness, and toleration towards our fellows; as the strongest motive therefore to such virtues, our treat
ment of others is made the gauge of others' treatment of us; and this principle reaches even to the bar of heaven, according to Jesus. Matt. vi. 14, 15, v. 7. – With what judgment, &c. This was a Jewish proverb. Jesus quoted many such expressions in common use, in order to avail himself of every proper means to make his views intelligible, and stamp them upon the hearts of his auditors. Mete. Measure. It is a philosophical fact, that like dispositions produce like; kindness begets kindness; cruelty provokes cruelty. Others are generally to us what we are to them. Mark iv. 24.
3. Beholdest. Pointest out censoriously. Mote. Any minute particle of matter. As the comparison is here made between this and a beam or a log of wood, — by a strong figure of speech, - it would be better to translate mote, splinter or sliver. This saying is also found in various forms in the rabbinical writings. Uncharitableness detects the foibles of others, and passes by its own vices. But love forgets others' offences, whilst intent upon its own, and exclaims with Paul, "I am the chief of sinners."
4. How. With what face, or with what propriety, can you criticize and condemn an offending brother, when you are yourself guilty of things far worse? In this and the last verse a second reason is advanced, why we should not judge
brother: Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, be5 hold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.
6 Give not that which is holy. unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine; lest they trample them under their feet, 7 and turn again and rend you. Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
others: viz., our inability to do it justly on account of our own sins.
- Brother. Jesus and his Apostles call mankind by this endearing appellation. In the eye of the Gospel, mankind compose one vast brotherhood, and family of God.
5. Hypocrite. Uncharitable, uncandid man. One who overlooks his own larger sins, in searching out his neighbor's smaller ones, is guilty of a species of hypocrisy. If we first clear our own moral vision of its mists and impurities, we shall then see our brother's character in a truer light, be more charitable to him, and more competent to show him the way of penitence, reformation and spiritual life.
6. Holy. That which was offered in sacrifice to God. - Dogs swine. These were unclean animals according to the law of Moses. To call a man a dog was, and is, among oriental nations, one of the strongest epithets of contempt. The Jews applied it to the Gentiles; the Turks apply it to Christians. These words are here used as descriptive of two classes of men. One is sour, malignant, and abusive; ready not only to reject the teachings of the Gospel, but to rend in pieces the teacher. Phil. iii. 2. The other class is gross, sensual, and corrupt; who trample the truth under their feet with a bestial indifference and disdain. - Pearls. A precious substance found in a shell-fish resembling an oyster. They were ob
tained from the Arabian and Indian seas. The precepts of wisdom are often compared to them. Job xxviii. 18. Similar symbolical sayings are found in Jewish and Classic authors. The connexion of this verse with the preceding is not perfectly clear. Some suppose that a wholly new topic is introduced. But the better view is this: that, as our Master had cautioned them against censorious judgments, he here points out, lest all liberty of forming an opinion of others' conduct might seem to be taken away, another extreme to be avoided; that of dealing with all men indiscriminately. The emphasis is then upon dogs and swine. Some men are so gross and violent as not to be mistaken. Give not your reproofs, your instructions, promiscuously, else you might fall into the mistake of one who should cast the holy sacrifice before ravenous dogs, and pearls under the feet of swine. The lesson is one therefore respecting a charitable discrimination of character, and an adaptation of instructions to the wants and conditions of mankind.
7. Prayer is necessary to the formation of such a bland, but discriminating spirit as has just been recommended. We must drink at the fountain of Divine Love to imbue ourselves with the same sentiment. Ask-seek-knock. Three different forms to inculcate the same general idea, and make it more emphatic. The successive terms ex