[2.] It will redound to our honour; for herein we shall resemble
God in his goodness, which is the greatest glory: "Ye shall be the children
of the Highest, shall be owned by him as his children, being like him."
It is the glory of God that he is kind to the unthankful and to the evil,
bestows the gifts of common providence even upon the worst of men, who
are every day provoking him, and rebelling against him, and using those
very gifts to his dishonour. Hence he infers (v. 36), Be merciful, as
your Father is merciful; this explains Matt. v. 48, "Be perfect,
as our Father is perfect. Imitate your Father in those things that are
his brightest perfections." Those that are merciful as God is merciful,
even to the evil and the unthankful, are perfect as God is perfect; so
he is pleased graciously to accept it, though infinitely falling short.
Charity is called the bond of perfectness, Col. iii. 14. This should strongly
engage us to be merciful to our brethren, even such as have been injurious
to us, not only that God is so to others, but that he is so to us, though
we have been, and are, evil and unthankful; it is of his mercies that we
are not consumed.
Exhortations to Justice and Sincerity.
37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall
not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: 38 Give, and it shall
be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and
running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure
that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. 39 And he spake
a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both
fall into the ditch? 40 The disciple is not above his master: but every
one that is perfect shall be as his master. 41 And why beholdest thou the
mote that is in thy brother's eye, but perceivest not the beam that is
in thine own eye? 42 Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother,
let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest
not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the
beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out
the mote that is in thy brother's eye.
All these sayings of Christ we had before in Matthew; some of them in
ch. vii., others in other places. They were sayings that Christ often used;
they needed only to be mentioned, it was easy to apply them. Grotius thinks
that we need not be critical here in seeking for the coherence: they are
golden sentences, like Solomon's proverbs or parables. Let us observe here,
I. We ought to be very candid in our censures of others, because we
need grains of allowance ourselves: "Therefore judge not others, because
then you yourselves shall not be judged; therefore condemn not others,
because then you yourselves shall not be condemned, v. 37. Exercise towards
others that charity which thinks no evil, which bears all things, believes
and hopes all things; and then others will exercise that charity towards
you. God will not judge and condemn you, men will not." They that are merciful
to other people's names shall find others merciful to theirs.
II. If we are of a giving and a forgiving spirit, we shall ourselves
reap the benefit of it: Forgive and you shall be forgiven. If we forgive
the injuries done to us by others, others will forgive our inadvertencies.
If we forgive others' trespasses against us, God will forgive our trespasses
against him. And he will be no less mindful of the liberal that devise
liberal things (v. 38): Give, and it shall be given to you. God, in his
providence, will recompense it to you; it is lent to him, and he is not
unrighteous to forget it (Heb. vi. 10), but he will pay it again. Men shall
return it into your bosom; for God often makes use of men as instruments,
not only of his avenging, but of his rewarding justice. If we in a right
manner give to others when they need, God will incline the hearts of others
to give to us when we need, and to give liberally, good measure pressed
down and shaken together. They that sow plentifully shall reap plentifully.
Whom God recompenses he recompenses abundantly.
III. We must expect to be dealt with ourselves as we deal with others:
With the same measure that ye mete it shall be measured to you again. Those
that deal hardly with others must acknowledge, as Adoni-bezek did (Judg.
i. 7), that God is righteous, if others deal hardly with them, and they
may expect to be paid in their own coin; but they that deal kindly with
others have reason to hope that, when they have occasion, God will raise
them up friends who will deal kindly with them. Though Providence does
not always go by this rule, because the full and exact retributions are
reserved for another world, yet, ordinarily, it observes a proportion sufficient
to deter us from all acts of rigour and to encourage us in all acts of
IV. Those who put themselves under the guidance of the ignorant and
erroneous are likely to perish with them (v. 39): Can the blind lead the
blind? Can the Pharisees, who are blinded with pride, prejudice, and bigotry,
lead the blind people into the right way? Shall not both fall together
into the ditch? How can they expect any other? Those that are led by the
common opinion, course, and custom, of this world, are themselves blind,
and are led by the blind, and will perish with the world that sits in darkness.
Those that ignorantly, and at a venture, follow the multitude to do evil,
follow the blind in the broad way that leads the many to destruction.
V. Christ's followers cannot expect better treatment in the world than
their Master had, v. 40. Let them not promise themselves more honour or
pleasure in the world than Christ had, nor aim at the worldly pomp and
grandeur which he was never ambitious of, but always declined, nor affect
that power in secular things which he would not assume; but every one that
would show himself perfect, an established disciple, let him be as his
Master--dead to the world, and every thing in it, as his Master is; let
him live a life of labour and self-denial as his Master doth, and make
himself a servant of all; let him stoop, and let him toil, and do all the
good he can, and then he will be a complete disciple.
VI. Those who take upon them to rebuke and reform others are concerned
to look to it that they be themselves blameless, and harmless, and without
rebuke, v. 41, 42. 1. Those with a very ill grace censure the faults of
others who are not aware of their own faults. It is very absurd for any
to pretend to be so quick-sighted as to spy small faults in others, like
a mote in the eye, when they are themselves so perfectly past feeling as
not to perceive a beam in their own eye. 2. Those are altogether unfit
to help to reform others whose reforming charity does not begin at home.
How canst thou offer thy service to thy brother, to pull out the mote from
his eye, which requires a good eye as well as a good hand, when thou thyself
hast a beam in thine own eye, and makest no complaint of it? 3. Those therefore
who would be serviceable to the souls of others must first make it appear
that they are solicitous about their own souls. To help to pull the mote
out of our brother's eye is a good work, but then we must qualify ourselves
for it by beginning with ourselves; and our reforming our own lives may,
by the influence of example, contribute to others reforming theirs.