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4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and behold, a beam is in thine own 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, and turn again and rend you.

5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; 7 Ask, and it shall be given and then shalt thou see clearly to you; seek, and ye shall find; cast out the mote out of thy bro-knock, and it shall be opened unto

ther's eye.

him uncharitably, while you pay no attention to your own sinfulness?

4. How wilt thou say, &c. With what assurance can you attempt to correct the faults of others, while your own evil habits remain unreformed? Rom. ii. 17-23. Yet how frequently is this disposition manifested. Our Lord's opinion of it is declared in the

next verse.

5. Thou hypocrite. See note on Matt. vi. 2. A man who attempts to reform others without reforming his own character, is a hypocrite, whether conscious of it or not. By attempting to reform others, he professes a love of virtue and a hatred of vice; a belief that virtue is beneficial and vice injurious. And yet his own conduct proves that such are not his thorough convictions and feelings. For if he truly loved virtue, he would practise it; if he truly hated vice, he would strive to avoid it. The fruit of his exertion would be manifest in his character. First cast out the beam out of thine own eye, &c. If you truly love holiness better than sin, begin the work of purification in your own heart. Thoroughly cleanse that from the evil passions which defile it. So doing, your mental vision will become more pure and clear, and you can more distinctly see the true character of your brother; and if he be in fault, you can more judiciously correct him. Having once fully realized your own imperfections, you will be more charitable in your judgment of an offending brother.

6. Give not that which is holy unto

dogs, &c. A figurative expression, denoting the impropriety of continuing to offer the doctrines of the gospel to those who manifest an utter contempt for them, and who abuse you for your labors of love. Matt. xii. 58; Acts xiii. 46. Holy. Any thing offered in sacrifice, or devoted to God, was called holy. Here it indicates the gospel, the

you:

great chart of holiness. ¶ Dogs. These were unclean, according to the Jewish law, and it was an utter abomination to suffer holy things to be devoured by them. It is a term of most bitter reproach, in the East. The Jews called the Gentiles dogs, to express the utmost contempt for them; and, for a like reason, the Mohammedans apply the same epithet to Christians. It is here used as descriptive of malignant, abusive men, who are disposed not only to reject the blessings of the gospel, but to curse those by whom they are offered. ¶ Pearls. Precious stones, found in shell-fish. For their beauty and rarity they are highly esteemed, and command a large price. ¶ Swine. These also were unclean, by the Jewish law. The word here indicates those who are so besotted and depraved in appetite, that they have no relish for the gospel or its fruits, but would trample upon them as swine upon pearls. This verse contains a parallelism, common among the Jews, by which nearly the same idea is repeated in a slightly different form. The meaning of this, which is inverted, may be more clearly understood by transposing the members of the sentence: "Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, lest they turn again and rend thee; neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet."

We learn from this verse, that the prohibition against judging, ver. 1, is not to be understood as unlimited. Because the disciples are here instructed, while they avoid uncharitable and censorious judgment, on the one hand, that they must be governed, on the other, by the manifest character of men, in their efforts to impart a knowledge of the gospel. If the conduct of men give clear evidence of their deadly hostility to the truth, we should continue to treat them kindly and pray for them; but it is useless to offer them the

8 For every one that asketh, receiveth; and he that seeketh, findeth; and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened.

9 Or what man is there of you,

gospel, until, in some way, God shall soften their hearts.

whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?

10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?

11 If ye then being evil know

to God, which did not receive a gracious answer. No man ever earnestly sought 7-11. In these verses is contained a the way of true wisdom, without suffiprecious assurance, that our heavenly cient success to reward his search. No Father is ready to bless all his children. man ever truly and in a right disposiNone are excluded. He is more ready tion, requested, and was denied, admitto bestow blessings, than we are to ask; tance into the gospel kingdom. Such and both able and willing to bless more blessings we may ask, with all confiabundantly than we can ask or conceive. dence. God will not send us away Eph. iii. 20. The most absolute en- empty. He will not refuse to grant us couragement is given, to approach the the righteousness we need. If we ask throne of grace with the confident antic-temporal blessings, he knoweth whether ipation of receiving such blessings as will be most beneficial to us. This encouragement is given in three forms, and enforced by an appeal to one of the most holy feelings of humanity,-parental love.

7. Ask, and it shall be given you. It is implied, of course, that we must ask for those things which will benefit us, and ask with a becoming spirit of humility, reverence, and confidence. For if we ask with an opposite spirit, we are not in a fit condition to receive spiritual blessings; and God loves us too well to grant our requests, if, through blindness, we ask those things which would injure us. See James iv. 3. The context justifies the belief that spiritual blessings are here chiefly, if not exclusively, intended. Seek and ye shall find. If we seek diligently to know and perform the divine will, our search shall not be unprofitable. God will not permit any sincerely to seek him in vain. Isa. xlv. 19; 1 Cor. xv. 58. ¶ Knock, and it shall be opened unto you. This figure is taken from the ancient custom of knocking at the door of an edifice or apartment to which admittance is desired. Particular allusion is here probably made to admission into the gospel kingdom, the entrance being styled a door. A similar figure occurs, ver. 13, where the entrance is called a gate. See John x. 1,9. If we endeavor to enter the gospel kingdom, with a desire to obey its laws and enjoy its blessings, the door will be opened and an entrance ministered to us abundantly. 2 Pet. i. 11.

8. For every one that asketh receiveth, &c. No sincere prayer was ever offered

the things we ask would actually be blessings; if they would, he will bestow them; otherwise he will withhold them and bestow some better things. But spiritual blessings we have full assurance are profitable, and need not doubt that he will bestow them. "And here there is the utmost latitude which a creature can ask. God is willing to provide for us, to forgive our sins, t save our souls, to befriend us in trial, to comfort us in death, to extend the gospel through the world. Man can ask no higher things of God; and these he may ask, assured that he is willing to grant them."-Barnes.

9, 10. What man is there of you. Or, "Who amongst you men."-Campbell. There is a peculiar emphasis here on the word man, or men. Our Lord compares the Father of all with human parents, and declares that he is more ready to bless his children than they are to confer favors on theirs. And what one of them was known to refuse bread to a famishing child, and mock his hunger with a stone? or to deceive his child with a poisonous serpent, when he desired wholesome food? Human parents, if they have the least claim to that sacred title, are not so cruel. the contrary, they will rise up early and eat the bread of carefulness, for the sake of their children. Yet is their love but a faint emblem of that love of God which embraces and blesses all his children.

On

"Not

11. If ye then, being evil, &c. absolutely evil; for God has implanted many good principles in the human mind; but comparatively so; subject to infirmities, passions, and the power of

how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

12 Therefore all things whatsobad habits."-Newcome. If ye, with all your imperfections, so much less holy than God, so evil in comparison with him, cherish so much love to your children that you are willing to bestow good gifts on them, can you doubt the loving-kindness and mercy of God? How much more shall your Father, &c. More willingly and more abundantly will he give good things to his needy, suppliant children; or, as Luke records it, "give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him." Luke xi. 13. Ready as men may feel to advance the happiness of their children, by earthly and perishable gifts, much more ready is God to secure the highest and permanent happiness of his children, by bestowing a spirit of holiness and all needed blessings. Human parents may become cruel, and forfeit their claim to the title. But God will never leave nor forsake his children; much less will he hate them. Isa. xlix. 15. "How much more will your Father, which is in heaven, whose nature is infinite goodness, mercy, and grace, give good things, his grace and spirit, to them who ask him? What a picture is here given of the goodness of God! Reader, ask thy soul, could this heavenly Father reprobate to unconditional eternal damnation, any creature he has made? He, who can believe that he has, may believe anything; but still God is love."-Clarke. With equal force and pertinency it may be inquired, can such a Father permit one of his children to endure endless misery, if he has power to prevent it? And is the arm of the Lord shortened, that he cannot save? The supposition that human misery shall never end is utterly irreconcileable with the love of God. The heart of man, even of a savage, could not view such a scene with composure. The God of love much more abhors such misery. He will wipe away tears from all faces, and fill all hearts with glad

ever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.

13 Enter ye in at the strait gate; for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to named. If all men would obey it, a heaven might be enjoyed on earth. The meaning is, whatsoever we may properly or justly desire others to do to us, such should be the rule of our conduct towards them. If we desire others to be just, or merciful, or kind, towards us, we should manifest the same spirit towards them. If we desire others to abstain from trespassing against our rights, our property, our reputation, we should respect theirs. In short, we should do and abstain from all things, in regard to others, which we might properly desire them to do or abstain from, in regard to us. For this is the law and the prophets. That is, such is the spirit of the law and the prophets. Love to God and to man is declared by our Lord to be the most important requisition of the law. Matt. xxii. 36-40. And the rule in the text is founded upon that spirit of love. If a man love God supremely, he will be kind to God's children. If he love others as he loves himself, he would as willingly injure himself as them; and he will be inclined to do to them as he would wish them to do to him. See Rom. xiii. 8-10; 1 Cor. ch. xiii. ; Gal. v. 14; 1 Tim. i. 5. That a full compliance with this rule is very difficult, is plainly intimated in the subsequent verse. Its importance is manifest from the fact, that it necessarily results from the fundamental principles of the gospel dispensation, or reign of grace; and that noncompliance effectually excludes men from the privileges and enjoyments of that reign, or kingdom.

13. Enter ye in at the strait gate. See note on ver. 7. The gate denotes the way of entrance into the kingdom. Strait means narrow, or close, or difficult of passage. "Our Saviour here referred probably to ancient cities. They were surrounded with walls, and entered through gates. Some of these, connected with the great avenues to the city, were broad, and admitted a throng. 12. Therefore, all things whatsoever, Others, for more private purposes, were &c. This is called the golden rule; narrow, and few would be seen enterand, for its importance, it is rightlying them."-Barnes. "The words in

ness.

destruction, and many there being wolves. which go in thereat :

16 Ye shall know them by their fruits: Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

14 Because, strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that 17 Even so every good tree find it. bringeth forth good fruit; but a 15 Beware of false prophets, corrupt tree bringeth forth evil which come to you in sheep's cloth-fruit. ing, but inwardly they are raven

the original are very emphatic: enter in (to the kingdom of heaven) through this strait gate, i. e. of doing to every one as you would he should do unto you; for this alone seems to be the strait gate which our Lord alludes to." -Clarke. ¶ For wide is the gate, &c. By the same figure, our Lord teaches that men are more accustomed, by their selfish, grasping propensities, to trespass upon the rights of others, and to do those things which they would be unwilling to have done to them, than they are to comply with the foregoing rule in other words, the sinfulness, which results from a lack of love towards others, is very prevalent. Yet this path conducts to misery; for God hath declared that "He that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons." Col. iii. 25. See Exo. xxxiv. 7; Prov. xi. 31; Isa. lvii. 20, 21.

18 A good tree cannot bring conducted them into the broad road of sin and misery. T In sheep's clothing. The sheep has, in all ages, been an emblem of innocence. Beware of those who assume the guise of innocence and sanctity, as a cloak for their sins.

Ravening wolves. Their sinfulness, their destructiveness to the well-being of those whom they may influence, is represented by the wolf, an emblem of cruelty and rapacity. "A wolf in sheep's clothing" is, at this day, a common and very expressive phrase, to denote a heartless hypocrite, who, under pretence of seeking to confer favors, is actually striving to injure and destroy. Some suppose our Lord had special reference to the Pharisees, their pretended sanctity, and their rapacious propensities. Matt. xxiii. 14, 25.

16. Ye shall know them by their fruits. See note on ver. 1. The only certain test of character is the conduct; and this is indicated by fruits. Pro14. Because strait is the gate, &c. fessions are of slight consequence, comOr, "How strait is the gate."-Camp-pared with works. See ver. 21-23. bell. This expresses the difficulty with But as the quality of a tree is denoted, more energy. The way of virtue is not by its foliage or its blossoms, but doubtless more pleasant than the path by its fruit, so the character of men of vice. He who loves his neighbor as must be estimated, not by their profeshimself, and conforms his conduct to sions, but by their works. Jas. ii. 18. the golden rule, enjoys that spiritual ¶ Gather grapes, &c. The truth is life which is promised in the gospel. illustrated by a physical fact. As each Nevertheless, the passions of men are tree or plant bears fruit according to its so turbulent, and so many provocations kind, so the principles which control and temptations beset them, that few, human actions will manifest themselves if any, are able constantly to pursue in those actions, however artfully men this way of life: and, in regard to the may endeavor to conceal them. great mass, it may be truly said, that few come up to the full measure of duty required, or fully enjoy spiritual life.

15. Beware of false prophets. Or, false teachers. The word often means those who foretold future events; but it also often denotes religious teachers. Then, as now, there were many false teachers, who, instead of directing men in the strait path of holiness and life,

17. The fact, named in the foregoing verse, is more definitely stated. Good fruit is gathered from a tree of good kind; and good or virtuous conduct results from good or virtuous principles. A corrupt tree, or a tree of bad kind, produces evil or bad fruit; and sinful conduct results from sinful principles.

18. It is morally impossible that holiness should be produced by sinful

forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

20 Wherefore, by their fruits ye shall know them.

principles, or that sinfulness should be produced by holy principles. So far as a man is guided by one or the other, his conduct will be correspondent; and hence his conduct is a test of his character.

19. "This verse seems not to belong to this place; for it rather interrupts the view of Jesus' argument, than helps it. It is found, word for word, in Matt. iii. 10, and seems to have been from thence quoted and inserted in the margin of some ancient Greek copies, and then, by the mistake of transcribers, brought into the text, as hath happened (I think) in other places of the New Testament."-Pearce. The verse, however, is found in almost all copies. It may indicate the final destruction of those sinful propensities which induce the commission of sin; or may mean that those men in whom sinfulness so much predominates as to render their conduct exceedingly corrupt, shall be punished in some observable manner, or cut off from the earth. This is doubtless its meaning in Matt. iii. 10; and a slight modification of the metaphor will admit this meaning here, consistently with the foregoing verses. But we cannot well understand the good and corrupt trees, in ver. 18, to indicate what are usually styled good and bad men; for no. man is so good that he does not produce some bad fruit, or commit some sin; nor is any so bad that he does not produce some good fruit, or perform some virtuous actions. 20. Wherefore, by their fruits ye shall know them. The rule by which the character of men may be tested, having been illustrated by physical facts, is here repeated. We shall do well, however, to remember that, in illustrations, as well as in parables, (which, indeed, are but illustrations on a more extended scale,) it is not necessary to seek for a precise correspondence in every particular point. The main idea is the only material point. And the main idea, in the present case, is, that the conduct of men as clearly

21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not proves the character of the principles by which they are governed, as the fruit of a tree denotes it to be of one kind or another. The moral is, that we should not suffer ourselves to be deceived by mere professions; but that we should look closely at the conduct, and judge from that whether men are truly disciples, or whether they are but wolves in sheep's clothing.

21-23. The general idea contained in these verses is, that none but obedient disciples were to enjoy the privileges and advantages of that kingdom which Jesus came to establish. Professions alone, however noisy, would not entitle any to admission. Our Lord had before referred to the proper door of entrance, by which, though strait, men might enter the kingdom. They must observe the golden rule, and do to others as they would that others should do to them. In other words, they must cultivate a spirit of universal benevolence, and love others as they love themselves. None other can enter that kingdom; or, which is the same thing, none other can be a true disciple.

21. Not every one that saith unto me, &c. Our Lord here declares that he judged by the same rule whereby he directed his disciples to judge. He was not deceived by professions. He judged not according to appearances. But he looked on the heart he observed the conduct, manifesting the principles in the heart; and judged righteous judgment. Profession and practice are here put in prominent contrast. Those only who do the will of the Father are true disciples of the Son, or entitled to the privileges of discipleship.

22. In that day. "An emphatic phrase. Then, when my kingdom is established."-Livermore. From the parallel passage, Luke xiii. 25-29, it seems probable that our Lord had reference to that period when a remarkable distinction was to be made between his friends and his enemies,

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