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“ to his faithful servants,” this was his heart's desire ; and therefore “bonds and afflictions,” the pains of imprisonment and even the pains of death could not move him, because they could not take away his treasure. This treasure was in heaven; and whatever forwarded his progress towards heaven, however outwardly grievous, would bring its consolation with it, because it would
him nearer to his treasure. Just as a removal from his home, and his journey through a desert was welcome to the aged Jacob, because it carried him to the land where his beloved son might be once more seen. The lover of this world recoils from the thought of death, because he must leave his treasure behind him when he leaves this world; but the faithful follower of Christ is going to his treasure when taken from things below; going only to that scene of glory where his heart has been long fixed, and to those true joys prepared at the right hand of God for them that love Him. “For he knows that if his earthly house of this tabernacle be dissolved, he has a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.'
RELIANCE ON GOD'S PROVIDENTIAL CARE.
MATT. vi. 24–34.
24. “ No man can serve two masters : for either he will 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.".
In the verses which precede this, our Lord has strongly urged the necessity of seeing and pursuing our real interest in life, and laying up treasure which should never fail. Here He warns us, that this must be done simply and decidedly; He shows, by an unanswerable example, that we cannot serve this world and the next together. We must as surely set before ourselves a leading object, as a man must choose a certain master. No man can serve two, without, at times, deserting one of them.
5 2 Cor. v. 1. i Mammon is a Syriac word, signifying money or gain.
The heart of the worldly man often deceives him in this. He flatters himself that he is only paying a necessary attention to things on earth, and that he is still “laying up treasure in heaven.” But occasions must arise when the interests of Mammon and of God are opposed to one another, and there must be a firm resolution, and a decided choice, that God is to be served. “ The double minded man is unstable in all
25. “ 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 ?”
This is the answer to the objection which human nature is likely to cast in the way of the preceding exhortations. Men will be disposed to ask, If we neglect worldly advantages, because the pursuit of them may endanger the soul, what will become of the interests of our family? Our Lord replies, Take no thought, no anxious thought concerning this. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? What would meat or raiment profit a man, who lost his life to obtain them? Even so much would this world's good profit him, who in seeking it neglected his soul. 26. “ 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 they? 27. “ Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his
2 Doddridge has a different interpretation. • Is not life a more valuable gift than food, and the body than raiment ? And if it be, why should you not trust the Almighty Being who formed your bodies, to maintain the work of his own hands!”
28. “ And why take ye thought for raiment ? Consider the lilies of the
field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin : 29. “ 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 to-day is,
and to-morrow is cast into the oven, shall He not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith.”
Here the timid, distrustful heart is strengthened by a further encouragement. Our apprehensions, our anxieties are a reproach upon God's providence. The man who rests upon his own exertions may be disappointed at last; for which of you, by taking thought, can add one cubit to his stature? But whoever has chosen the world to come for his inheritance, has secured God for his protection : and will not He who has provided that the fouls of the air should not be without their natural food, or the lilies of the field perish for lack of moisture; will not He far more surely make his adopted children, those who trust in Him, his care, and see that they neither want their “ bread to eat, nor raiment to put on ?” While 6 rise up early, and late take rest, and eat the bread of carefulness,” God “giveth his beloved sleep;” gives them a calm tranquillity respecting worldly things, an experimental conviction that He will order matters better for them than they could order for themselves.
31. “ Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat ? or, What
shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed ? 32. “ (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek :) for your heavenly
Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and
all these things shall be added unto you. 34. “ 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."
To the command which came before, is here added, in conclusion, an affectionate exhortation to direct all our anxieties towards the heavenly kingdom, and to cast upon God all our care” respecting this world, knowing that He careth for us. Leave it to the
Gentiles, who are not made children of God through adoption in Christ Jesus ; leave it for them to immerse themselves in worldly cares: ye have a heavenly Father who knoweth that ye have need of all these things. Do you doubt his knowing it? or do you believe that, knowing your need, He will suffer you to perish in your need? Why should the child perplex itself about its food or its clothing ? why be uneasy,
beforehand, concerning that which is its parent's business, and which its parent will certainly provide ? Even so God is the Christian's parent, and to distrust his care, is to deny his faithfulness. “ I have been young," are the words of David, “and now am old :""yet never saw I the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging their bread.” If we seek first the kingdom of God, and are aiming above all things to approve ourselves righteous in his sight, He will lead us to righteousness and its reward : this is the chief concern :-but more also shall be added unto you. As he promised Solomon, “ Because this was in thine heart, and thou hast not asked riches, wealth, or honour, nor the life of thine enemies, neither yet hast asked long life; but hast asked wisdom and knowledge for thyself: wisdom and knowledge is granted unto thee: And I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches and honour.'
“Oh, what a blessed change would it make in our hearts and lives, did we but firmly believe this truth, that the best way to be comfortably provided for in this world, is to be most intent upon another world ! We then begin at the right end of our work, when we begin with God. Let us mind present duty, and then leave events to him. Do the work of to-day in its day, and then let to-morrow bring its work along with it. If this is our resolution, the Lord will provide as h of the comforts of this life as He sees good for more of them we need not wish for. Have we
8 2 Chron. i. 7—12; 1 Kings iii. 13.
trusted Him for the portion of our inheritance at the end,' and shall we not trust Him for the portion of our cup,' in the way to it? O that we were more thoughtful about the things that are not seen, and are eternal,' and then the less thoughtful we should be, and the less thoughtful we should need to be, about the things that are seen, that are temporal.”
UNCHARITABLE JUDGMENTS FORBIDDEN.
Matt. vii. 1-5.
1. “ Judge not, that ye be not judged.” In one sense, it is our duty to judge. St. Paul exhorts us to “prove all things, and hold fast that which is good :” and instructs the Roman disciples to “mark them which caused divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which they had learned, and avoid them." Further, our Lord himself commands us to “ beware of false prophets," and to form our judgment of them according to wise discrimination ; saying, “ Ye shall know them by their fruits.”
That which is here forbidden, is the too common fault, rash and censorious judgment: imputation of bad motives, where motives are doubtful ; condemnation of others, without accurate knowledge of the circumstances under which they have acted.
Joseph, for example, in the book of Genesis, would have been blameable if he had spoken in earnest what he did speak to prove his brethren, when he accused them of coming down to Egypt with the evil intention of spying out the nakedness of the land :” examining · Henry in loco. 11 Thess. v. 25.
2 Rom, xvi. 17.