Matthew 5:47


This is another instance of the way in which Christian righteousness is to exceed the righteousness of scribes and Pharisees. Let us consider the duty and the motives that urge it.

I. THE DUTY.

1. Positive. This carries us beyond patience under insult and nonresistance to injury. The previous passage insisted on those duties only. It was negative in character, forbidding a wrong course of conduct; therefore obedience to it would be purely passive. Now we come to a positive and active duty - to love and aid.

2. Helpful. Love is a subjective sentiment, but it cannot confine itself to the breast of the person who cherishes it. It must flow out in deeds of kindness. Here is the key to the precept in the previous paragraph. By itself it seems to be impossible to carry out so extraordinary a rule; or, if it were put in practice, it looks as though it might be quite subversive of society. But it must be followed by the conduct now recommended. Bare non-resistance will not be successful. It will only end in the extinction of right and the triumph of aggressive evil. But non-resistance, sustained by active love to our enemies, will assume a very different character. Love is a more powerful weapon than the sword. We are to "overcome evil with good" (Romans 12:21); to conquer our enemy by destroying his enmity, while we prove ourselves his friends.

3. Prayerful. Love is not sufficient to meet the hard heart of enmity. Only the gracious influences of the Spirit of God can do it. Therefore we are to pray for these. If we are wrongfully used, we may overcome our enemies by seeking for God to turn their hearts while we show them brotherly kindness.

II. ITS REASONABLENESS. This duty is so contrary to the ways of the world that it seems to be quite unnatural and unreasonable. But Christ shows that he has good grounds for demanding it of us.

1. The example of our Father in heaven. God is not only kind to the good. First, he shows infinite patience and forbearance. Then he goes beyond these passive excellences and manifests active beneficence in sending sunshine and rain to all sorts and conditions of men. Thus he is impartial in his kindness. He does not regulate his favours by our deserts. The very constitution and course of nature reveal this large, indiscriminate beneficence of God. Yet God maintains order in the universe, and ultimately effects the triumph of the right. Therefore kindness to enemies is not unnatural; it is the very method of nature. It is not unreasonable; it accords with God's wise way of governing the universe.

2. The obligations of Christianity. The law of resentment represents a low stage of moral development. If religious people follow this law, they are no better than the irreligious - "the publicans;" if Christians follow it, they are no better than the heathen - "the Gentiles;" i.e. Christian love as such only appears when we begin to love those whom we should not love if we were not following Christ. We prove our religion, not in those good things in which we agree with the irreligious, but in those by means of which we surpass them. Meanwhile no lower standard can be allowed to the Christian; he must aim at nothing less than the Divine example of perfection. - W.F.A.









What do ye more?
I. What HAVE we more than others?

1. You have forgiveness of sins.

2. Peace with God.

3. Fellowship with God.

4. You have in expectation a perfect deliverance from evil contact with sin.

5. You have in expectation the resurrection of your bodies.

II. What Do ye more than others?

1. The first obligation is to be thankful.

2. The second obligation is to be boastful: "My soul shall make her boast in the Lord."

3. To be loving towards all men, but especially towards the household of faith.

4. We must do more than others because more has been done for us, and more is expected of us.

(H. McNeile.)

I. THE QUESTION IS SUGGESTIVE OF DUTY. For whom?

(1)More for themselves.

(2)For their families.

(3)For their neighbours.

(4)For their country.

(5)For the world.By what means? By use of their tongue, pen, purse. For what reasons?

(1)Because they know more.

(2)Because they have received more.

(3)Because they enjoy more.

(4)Because they profess more.

(5)Because they expect more.

(6)Because they are responsible for more.

II. THE QUESTION IMPLIES DOUBT.

(J. Morgan.)

I. On what GROUND this superiority may be challenged. More is required of Christians because more is done for them, expected of them, can be accomplished by them, has been realized by them.

II. The WORKS AND EVIDENCES that this superiority should assume. They will always have recourse to a higher standard and motives than others. By an unfeigned attachment to the cause of Christ. They must openly commit themselves to the cause and interest of the Church. As to the estimate they form of the world. In a strict observance of all religious ordinances. By engrafting in all their ordinary virtues those which are extraordinary.

III. To what PRACTICAL PURPOSE the enforcement of the subject may be applied? It is often requisite to ask Christians what they do because a considerable odium attaches itself to evangelical doctrine. There is greater evil in hollow friendship than open hostility; they are prone to coldness and neglect.

(Dr. R. W. Hamilton.)

I. Explain why as Christians we ought to do more than others. Because we underlie special obligations — are endowed with supernatural strength, acknowledge a higher standard of duty — burdened with a heavier responsibility.

II. Inquire whether we do more than others. For our own souls, our families, the Church, our race?

(G. Brooks.)

While all men are under one sovereign law, some by voluntary profession bring themselves an additional accountableness. We must not compare ourselves with the worst of men. On looking on others and forming judgments, we may SPECIFY POINTS OF ADMONITORY COMPARISON.

1. They will observe and feel a very limited sense of responsibility.

2. They will observe the lamentably small effects of admitted truth.

3. A different sensibility to the evils which affect mankind.

4. What good things they do not that they might. We must beware of the sad tendency there is to the " less " in any good thing, instead Of the " more." Consider the extent of what there is to be clone; where we should have been if there had not been persons in every age to " do more "than others, such as Wicliff, Luther, etc.; consider how we talk of imitating excellent examples. Those who desire to do more than others must not be discouraged by the disposition that will show itself to depreciate and obstruct. This obligation is increased by the fact that others do less than they ought.In this comparison with others we must have regard to the MOTIVE WHICH leads us to exceed them, and also respecting THE EQUITY IN THE MODE OF MAKING THE COMPARISON. We must beware of seeming to be admired and set off in invidious comparison. There must be no motive of self-merit. A word on the equity of the comparison.

1. Let there be a jealous watchfulness on the propensity to magnify ours and to diminish theirs.

2. The others with whom the comparison is made may have more difficulties than we are aware of.

3. Those of larger means are not to consider themselves as doing more, unless according to that proportion.

4. A man must not compare his most against another's least.

5. Our Lord when on earth did more than all other men.

(J. Foster.)

I. The GROUNDS FOR EXPECTING MORE from Christians.

1. They profess more.

2. True Christians are more than others.

3. It is certain the true Christian can do more than others, he has the Holy Spirit within him.

4. They have more.

5. They are looking for more than others.

II. MATTERS IN WHICH WE MAY NATURALLY LOOK FOR THE CHRISTIAN TO DO MORE than others.

1. To set a more godly example.

2. A more exact performance of the Divine will.

3. To excel all others in gentleness.

4. In purity.

5. In truthfulness.

6. In forbearance.

7. In love to mankind.

III. REASONS for doing more than others.

1. By our fruits we are to be known.

2. Works are to be evidence at last.

3. By them the mouths of gainsayers are stopped.

4. God is glorified.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

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