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stances under which they were uttered and the other portions of scripture that bear upon the same subject.
When we take all these considerations into account we are brought to understand that our Lord is in these words talking not to his disciples in general throughout all time. He is talking to his immediate followers then surrounding him and especially to his twelve Apostles.
The Apostolic life is that of a missionary. It is that of one who depends entirely upon the gifts of the faithful for support. He has no property. No fixed nor settled income is guaranteed him.
The first four Apostles began this life when they forsook their nets and followed Jesus. Saint Matthew did the same when he forsook the lucrative employment of a tax-collector. St. Paul followed in the same heroic career when he gave up all power and position among his kinsmen according to the flesh. Men in all ages of the Church have done the same when they have given up their material things that they might the better serve Christ their Lord and further the cause of nis divine Kingdom.
So we believe individuals are from time to time called to such apostolic abnegation but it is not a law laid on all men alike. See notes on 5:42; 10:9; S. Luke 12:33; 19:17, 19.
Do not be anxious for your life.” “ Take no thought,” of King James' version, is a phrase used to translate from the Greek what to-day really means : “ Be not anxious.”
The temper against which our Lord here means to warn us is not that of foresight and the desire to lay up for a rainy day. He rather wishes to tell us not to allow ourselves to be harassed and worried with the uncertainties of this mortal life.
To take thought as we now understand it is often the most effectual safeguard, next to the higher defence of trust in God, against worry and vexation of spirit.
7:1. “ Do not judge, that you may not be judged.”
Here as elsewhere our Lord gives principles rather than rules. He embodies the principle in a rule which, because it cannot be kept in the letter, forces us back upon the spirit of it. What Jesus lays down in this law, therefore, is a warning against a censorious temper. Don't be eager to find fault in men and to condemn them. Beware of a continual inclination to suspect men's motives.
See also note on S. Luke 6:37.
“ With the measure you measure it will be measured you.”
The severity which we unjustly mete out to others becomes, by a retributive law, the measure of that which is justly dealt out to us.
See also notes on S. Mark, 4: 24, and S. Luke 6:38.
7:3. “ Why do you look at the mote which is in your brother's eye?”
Oh, wad some Power the giftie gie us,
To see oursels as others see us!” Our own faults require the most careful scrutiny. How easy for us to turn our gaze upon the faults of others !
See also note on S. Luke 6:41. 7:5.
“ First get the beam out of your own eye.” While we are blind with self-deceit we are but bunglers in the work of dealing with the faults of others. When we have wrestled with our own besetting sins and have overcome them, then, and not till then, shall we be able rightly to aid others in overcoming theirs. See preceding notes.
“ Do not give what is holy to the dogs," etc. Are we then to think of some of our fellow-men as dogs and pigs? Is not this on the contrary a forgetting of all our Lord's previous teaching ?
So long as men identify themselves with their passions, we must deal cautiously and wisely with them. Paul did not preach the Good News of Salvation to the howling mob at Ephesus, nor to the “lewd fellows of the base'r sort” at Thessalonica. He did not do it at that time because of its being an inopportune time. At any other time he would have told any member of those crowds how he was a redeemed son of God. He would not have hesitated a moment to show him how to claim an inheritance among the blessed.
We need to be on our guard against the brute element in our own natures no less than as we find it in others. We may desecrate the holiest truths by dealing with them in a spirit of irreverence. Alas, for the man that can cynically jest with his truest and noblest impulses !
7:7. Keep asking and it will be given you."
In this exhortation, our Lord takes it for granted that in all our petitions we ask only for good things,-for bread, and not for a stone, for a fish, and not for a serpent. He also assumes that we ask in accordance with his teaching, that is, in his name, and according to his will. Otherwise we may ask and receive not, because we ask amiss. Jas. 4:3.
7:11. If you, then, who are bad,” etc.
These words recognize the fact of man's depravity. They at the same time assert that this depravity is not a total depravity.
In the midst of all our evil there still remains that element of naturally pure affection which makes the
fatherhood of men the fit and effective parable of the Fatherhood of God.
7:12. “ So everything you would have men do to you," etc.
God gives his good things in answer to our prayers provided what we ask for is really for our good. So should it be among men.
We cannot comply with all men's wishes nor can other men always comply with ours. Nor should they. For how often are they foolish or frivolous. Sometimes, they are but requests for the indulgence of passion or lust.
When, however, the thoughts of our hearts are pure and our wills have become but the expression of such thoughts, we seek from others only that which is good.
No man is justifiable in making an evil request of another man, nor of God. Neither God nor man justified in granting such a request for its own sake.
7:14. “ The way which leads to life.”
This is the first passage in our Lord's recorded teaching in which the word "life" appears in summing up all the blessedness of his Kingdom. The idea is developed as we advance. In chapter 19: 29, it is spoken of as "eternal.” In S. John 17: 2, 3, we are taught that this eternal life is the true, perfect, knowledge of God and his Christ.
If there are but few that are finding this eternal life in its fulness here in this present world compared with the great majority that are failing to comprehend it, Scripture as clearly states the great truth that all men shall come to the knowledge of God at some time or other, in some way or other. “ Just as in Adam all die, so also in Christ will all be made alive."
See also note on S. Luke 13:23.
7:15. , “ Beware of false prophets.”
The Hebrews understood by Prophets, not only those who were accustomed to predict future events, but generally also whoever became inspired or claimed to interpret Scripture and teach. Under the name of false pro phets, the fathers have understood in this place, all false teachers, Jews or Christians.
The true gift of Prophecy is always followed by its counterfeit.
“ You will know them by their fruits." Every teaching is pure or impure in proportion to the measure in which it promotes, in the long run, purity, peace, and holiness of life.
Every good tree brings forth good fruit,” etc. Falseness in teaching, like hypocrisy of life, sooner or later makes itself plainly and uniquivocally known to the children of men.
We cannot read the secret thoughts of the hearts of our fellows before they have manifested them in outward word or action, yet when once a man out of the abundance of his heart has spoken or acted, we have an unfailing and infallible means of knowing what has been going on within.
“ Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your
As before intimated, so here again we see that, prophesying is far more than mere prediction of what is hereafter to come to pass. It is above everything else the delivering of a message from God to men, whatever may be the import of that message.
7:23. “ I never knew you." As the confession of Christ referred to in chapter ten,