Matthew 5:35
or by the earth, for it is His footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King.
Sermon on the Mount: 3. Exceeding RighteousnessMarcus Dods Matthew 5:17-48
ProfanityJ.A. Macdonald Matthew 5:33-37
The True Fulfilling of the Law: Christ's Fourth IllustrationP.C. Barker Matthew 5:33-37

The consideration of this passage asks careful and fair understanding of the correct exposition of it (for which see also Exposition foregoing). Ver. 37 of itself, when strictly rendered, and the word "communication" replaced by "speech," or even "conversation," is sufficient to show that our Lord's pronouncements here do not refer either to solemn judicial occasions, or to those supremely solemn instances in which God is represented as "swearing by himself," or he himself is testified to or his first apostles, as using that sanction of asseveration called the oath. In like manner, due weight must be faithfully given to the four examples of the verbal swearing manifestly in vogue, and requiring particular denunciation. Whatever was the most unfavourable side of the oath, they had this. And they had the least of what was legitimate. They covered equivocation, promoted familiarity with what under any circumstances should be reserved for solemn occasion, and nourished the deeper distrust between man and man. Excepting, therefore, from condemnation what we have every reason to believe that Christ did not mean to include in condemnation, we have his most express discouragement of all frequent, ordinary, idle use of forms of swearing - nay, of all use of swearing, except such as specially safeguarded, is therein, and, other things being equal, to be regarded as authorized. We have the opportunity of a divinely suggested glimpse into the moral ethics of Christianity, and are invited to note of all swearing, that while it proceeds on the very showing, when between men, that it adds inducement to the faithful performance of the promise, and confidence to the calm trust of the person to whom the promise is made, in these very things it carries the reminder of its own discredit. And the way is paved for Christ's more excellent version. Notice -





Swear not.
I. This precept does not absolutely forbid all use of oaths. An oath is a solemn appeal to God, as a witness of the truth of what we declare, and of our sincerity in what we promise. Oaths are assertory and promissory.

1. It is not uncommon for Scripture to use general expressions, which are to be understood in a qualified sense.

2. From the reasons of the charge and other passages of Scripture. Oaths are necessary in civil society: they are of Divine institution; St. Paul used them; God swears by Himself.


1. Perjury.

2. Customary swearing in common conversation.

3. As we may not use the Divine name wantonly so neither may we swear by any of God's creatures.

4. He forbids all rash imprecations.

5. All scoffing at religion, contempt of the writings of God, and all sporting with Scripture. Profane language is a sure evidence of a bad disposition of mind. It tends to produce greater hardness and to extinguish all reverence: it is most pernicious in its consequences:it is unreasonable yet infectious; it heaps guilt upon the soul.

(J. Lathrop, D. D.)

I. The Christian Jaw in regard to oaths (Leviticus 19:12; Numbers 30:2).

II. The Christian law of retaliation.

III. Practical lessons. The sin of perjury is said to be growing appallingly frequent. Whilst technical vows are no longer in harmony with the liberty of the new dispensation, still the spirit of the vow by which one dedicates himself to Divine service is as sacred and as useful as ever. Avoid using expressions that are in the nature of an oath without having its technical form. Outright profanity is a terrible sin, as useless as it is hardening. What a confession of man's proneness to lie, is his habitual appeal to God as a witness of the truth! The law of retaliating love laid down by Christ shows Him to be the one and supreme Teacher.

(J. S. Doolittle, D. D.)

1. Language should be the simple expression of the heart.

2. Christianity seeks to simplify human communications.

3. Exaggerated expressions lead to an untrue life.

4. Christ's law of speech will regulate our social intercourse.

(W. W. Whythe.)

This sin is awfully prevalent.

I. The EXCUSES usually made for it. Ignorance, custom, example, surprise, passion, confirmation of what is said, meaning no harm, inconsistencies of professors, etc. (2 Samuel 12:14; Ezekiel 36:20; Romans 2:24; 2 Peter 2:2).

II. The evil CONSEQUENCES of it. Destroys the little remains of the fear of God. Leads to the disobedience of all His commands. Such a horrid example to others, especially to the young, etc.

III. The powerful ARGUMENTS against it. God hears. He is holy and jealous. Before His bar the swearer must appear. He is able to punish, and declares He will (2 Kings 19:22, 28; Isaiah 37:23, 36, 38; Ezekiel 20:27, 33; Ezekiel 35:12-14).

(A. Tucker.)


1. One branch of this sin is cursing and swearing.

2. Another branch is the familiar introduction of oaths into common conversation.

3. A mingling religious language in our common discourse without any corresponding feelings in our heart.


1. It is a gratuitous sin.

2. It is a wilful sin.

3. It is a presumptuous sin.


1. Awful because God has denounced His vengeance against them.

2. It is a state of fitness for destruction.

3. It is a sure sign of an unregenerate condition.

(E. Cooper.)

Charlie Harold, speaking to his grandmother about something he did not like, exclaimed, "By thunder I .... Hush I " said the old lady, "you must not swear, my dear. Don't you know that Jesus said, 'Swear not at all! ..... Did:He? Well, I didn't know it was swearing to say 'By thunder,' or 'By golly.' Is it, grandma? .... All such expressions, my dear, in which ' by' is used, partake of the nature of swearing, and a boy who wishes to be good will never let them fall from his lips." Charlie sat silent for several minutes, in grave thought, and then said, "'Grandma, what makes the newspaper swear every morning? .... Does it," inquired the old lady, looking over the top of her spectacles with curious eyes. "Yes, it says, 'By telegraph.'" The old lady could not help laughing, but she explained to Charlie the difference between an exclamation such as " By thunder," used to give emphasis to a remark, and an incomplete sentence such as "By telegraph." The little boy determined that he would not offend in this way again, and I have told you the story, hoping that you may make the same wise rule.

(J. N. Norton.)

A lad in Boston, rather small for his years, worked in an office as errand boy for four gentlemen who did business there. One day the gentlemen were teasing him a little about being so small, and said to him: "You never will amount to much, you never can do much business, you are too small." The little fellow looked at them. "Well," said he, "as small as I am, I can do something which none of you four men can do." "Ah, what is that?" said they. "I don't know as I ought to tell you," he replied. But they were anxious to know, and urged him to tell what he could do that none of them were able to do. "I can keep from swearing!" said the little fellow. There were some blushes on four manly faces, and there seemed to be very little anxiety for further information on the point.

A lady travelling from Edinburgh to Glasgow was much annoyed by a young officer's conversation in the carriage being interspersed with oaths. She sat uneasy till she could no longer keep silence. "Sir," she said to the officer, "can you talk in the Gaelic tongue?" To this he replied in the affirmative, seemingly with great pleasure, expecting to have some conversation with the lady in that dialect. She then politely requested that if he wished to swear any more, it might be in that language, as the practice of swearing was very offensive to herself and the rest of the company. The officer was confounded at this reproof, and no more oaths were heard from him during the remainder of the journey.

Sermons by Monday Club.
1. The language of irreverence.

2. The language of retaliation.

3. The language of revenge.

(Sermons by Monday Club.)

Galilee, Jerusalem
Foot, Footstool, Jerusalem, Resting-place, Town
1. Jesus' sermon on the mount:
3. The Beattitudes;
13. the salt of the earth;
14. the light of the world.
17. He came to fulfill the law.
21. What it is to kill;
27. to commit adultery;
33. to swear.
38. He exhorts to forgive wrong,
43. to love our enemies;
48. and to labor after perfection.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Matthew 5:35

     1060   God, greatness of
     5151   feet
     5256   city
     9125   footstool

Matthew 5:3-48

     1660   Sermon on the Mount

Matthew 5:17-48

     2042   Christ, justice of

Matthew 5:33-37

     1346   covenants, nature of

Agree with Thine Adversary
Eversley, 1861. Windsor Castle, 1867. St. Matthew v. 25, 26. "Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing." This parable our Lord seems to have spoken at least twice, as He did several others. For we find it also in the 12th
Charles Kingsley—All Saints' Day and Other Sermons

June 9. "Ye are the Light of the World" (Matt. v. 14).
"Ye are the light of the world" (Matt. v. 14). We are called the lights of the world, light-bearers, reflectors, candle-sticks, lamps. We are to be kindled ourselves, and then we will burn and give light to others. We are the only light the world has. The Lord might come down Himself and give light to the world, but He has chosen differently. He wants to send it through us, and if we don't give it the world will not have it. We should be giving light all the time to our neighbors. God does not put
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

The Eighth Beatitude
'Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.'--MATT. v. 10. We have seen the description of the true subjects of the kingdom growing into form and completeness before our eyes in the preceding verses, which tell us what they are in their own consciousness, what they are in their longings, what they become in inward nature by God's gift of purity, how they move among men as angels of God, meek, merciful, peace-bringing. Is anything more needed
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Salt Without Savour
'Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.'--MATT. v. 13. These words must have seemed ridiculously presumptuous when they were first spoken, and they have too often seemed mere mockery and irony in the ages since. A Galilean peasant, with a few of his rude countrymen who had gathered round him, stands up there on the mountain, and says to them, 'You,
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The First Beatitude
'Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.'--MATT. v. 2. 'Ye are not come unto the mount that burned with fire, nor unto the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of "awful" words.' With such accompaniments the old law was promulgated, but here, in this Sermon on the Mount, as it is called, the laws of the Kingdom are proclaimed by the King Himself; and He does not lay them down with the sternness of those written on tables of stone. No rigid 'thou shalt' compels, no iron 'thou
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Second Beatitude
'Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.'--MATT. v. 4. An ordinary superficial view of these so-called Beatitudes is that they are simply a collection of unrelated sayings. But they are a great deal more than that. There is a vital connection and progress in them. The jewels are not flung down in a heap; they are wreathed into a chain, which whosoever wears shall have 'an ornament of grace about his neck.' They are an outgrowth from a common root; stages in the evolution of Christian
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Fourth Beatitude
'Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.'--MATT. v. 6. Two preliminary remarks will give us the point of view from which I desire to consider these words now. First, we have seen, in previous sermons, that these paradoxes of the Christian life which we call the Beatitudes are a linked chain, or, rather, an outgrowth from a common root. Each presupposes all the preceding. Now, of course, it is a mistake to expect uniformity in the process of building
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Fifth Beatitude
'Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.'--MATT. v. 7. THE divine simplicity of the Beatitudes covers a divine depth, both in regard to the single precepts and to the sequence of the whole. I have already pointed out that the first of the series Is to be regarded as the root and germ of all the subsequent ones. If for a moment we set it aside and consider only the fruits which are successively developed from it, we shall see that the remaining members of the sequence are arranged in
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Sixth Beatitude
'Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.'--MATT. v. 8. AT first hearing one scarcely knows whether the character described in this great saying, or the promise held out, is the more inaccessible to men. 'The pure in heart': who may they be? Is there one of us that can imagine himself possessed of a character fitting him for the vision of God, or such as to make him bear with delight that dazzling blaze? 'They shall see God,' whom 'no man hath seen at any time, nor can see.' Surely
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Seventh Beatitude
'Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.' MATT. v. 9. This is the last Beatitude descriptive of the character of the Christian. There follows one more, which describes his reception by the world. But this one sets the top stone, the shining apex, upon the whole temple-structure which the previous Beatitudes had been gradually building up. You may remember that I have pointed out in previous sermons how all these various traits of the Christian life are deduced from
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The New Sinai
'And seeing the multitudes, He went up into a mountain: and when He was set, His disciples came unto Him: 2. And He opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, 3. Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. 5. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. 6. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. 7. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Lamp and the Bushel
'Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.'--Matt. v. 14-16. The conception of the office of Christ's disciples contained in these words is a still bolder one than that expressed by the preceding metaphor, which
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The New Form of the Old Law
'Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 18. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. 19. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20. For I say
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

'Swear not at All'
'Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: 34. But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne: 35. Nor by the earth; for it is His footstool; neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. 36. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. 37. But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

'Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: 39. But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. 41. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. 42. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.'--MATT. v. 38-42. The old law
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Law of Love
'Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45. That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

"Ye shall therefore be perfect, as your Father in Heaven is perfect."--MATT. V. 48. "Wretched man that I am! who shall deliver from the body of this death? Thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord."--ROM. VII. 24, 25. We have studied the meaning of reconciliation through the Cross. We have said that to be reconciled to God means to cease to be the object of the Wrath of God, that is, His hostility to sin. We can only cease to be the objects of this Divine Wrath by identifying ourselves
J. H. Beibitz—Gloria Crucis

On that which is Written in the Gospel, Matt. v. 16, "Even So Let Your Light Shine Before Men, that they May See Your Good Works,
1. It is wont to perplex many persons, Dearly beloved, that our Lord Jesus Christ in His Evangelical Sermon, after He had first said, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven;" [1934] said afterwards, "Take heed that ye do not your righteousness [1935] before men to be seen of them." [1936] For so the mind of him who is weak in understanding is disturbed, is desirous to obey both precepts, and distracted by diverse, and contradictory
Saint Augustine—sermons on selected lessons of the new testament

On the Words of the Gospel, Matt. v. 22, "Whosoever Shall Say to his Brother, Thou Fool, Shall be in Danger of the Hell of Fire. "
1. The section of the Holy Gospel which we just now heard when it was read, must have sorely alarmed us, if we have faith; but those who have not faith, it alarmed not. And because it does not alarm them, they are minded to continue in their false security, as knowing not how to divide and distinguish the proper times of security and fear. Let him then who is leading now that life which has an end, fear, that in that life which is without end, he may have security. Therefore were we alarmed. For
Saint Augustine—sermons on selected lessons of the new testament

Upon Our Lord's SermonOn the Mount
Discourse 3 "Blessed are the pure in heart: For they shall see God. "Blessed are the peacemakers: For they shall be called the children of God. "Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. "Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. "Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: For great is your reward in heaven: For so persecuted they the Prophets which were before you."
John Wesley—Sermons on Several Occasions

The Christian Aim and Motive.
Preached January 4, 1852. THE CHRISTIAN AIM AND MOTIVE. "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."--Matthew v. 48. There are two erroneous views held respecting the character of the Sermon on the Mount. The first may be called an error of worldly-minded men, the other an error of mistaken religionists. Worldly-minded men--men that is, in whom the devotional feeling is but feeble--are accustomed to look upon morality as the whole of religion; and they suppose
Frederick W. Robertson—Sermons Preached at Brighton

A Call to Holy Living
Too many persons judge themselves by others; and if upon the whole they discover that they are no worse than the mass of mankind, they give themselves a mark of special commendation; they strike a sort of average amongst their neighbors, and if they cannot pretend to be the very best, yet, if they are not the very worst, they are pretty comfortable. There are certain scribes and Pharisees among their acquaintance, who fast thrice in the week, and pay tithes of all they possess, and they look upon
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 18: 1872

Persistency in Wrong Doing.
6th Sunday after Trinity. S. Matt. v. 25. "Agree with thine adversary quickly, while thou art in the way with him." INTRODUCTION.--I spoke to you the Sunday before last about the obstinacy of persisting in an opinion after you have good cause to believe that this opinion is unjust, or unreasonable. I am going to speak to you to-day of another form of obstinacy. SUBJECT.--My subject is Persistency in doing wrong, because you have begun wrong. This is only another form of the same fault. The other
S. Baring-Gould—The Village Pulpit, Volume II. Trinity to Advent

"That the Righteousness of the Law Might be Fulfilled in Us,"
Rom. viii. 4.--"That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us," &c. "Think not," saith our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, "that I am come to destroy the law,--I am come to fulfil it," Matt. v. 17. It was a needful caveat, and a very timeous advertisement, because of the natural misapprehensions in men's minds of the gospel. When free forgiveness of sins, and life everlasting, is preached in Jesus Christ, without our works; when the mercy of God is proclaimed in its freedom and fulness,
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

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