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Verse 1

Matthew 6:1. Take heed that ye do not your alms, &c. As some copies and very ancient versions read δικαιοσυνην , righteousness, instead of ελεημοσυνην , alms-deeds, and several of the fathers quote the passage so, “I choose, with Beza,” says Dr. Doddridge, “to follow that reading; because it prevents the appearance of a tautology in the following words, and makes this verse a general and very proper introduction to the remaining part of the section, in which the caution is branched out into the particular heads of alms, prayer, and fasting. ” The doctor therefore reads, Take heed that ye practise not your righteousness, in which interpretation of the clause, and for similar reasons, he is followed by Dr. Campbell. The verse is a general caution against vain glory in any of our good works, all which are here summed up together in the comprehensive word, righteousness. This general caution our Lord applies, in the sequel, to the three principal branches of it, relating to our neighbour, Matthew 6:2-4; to God, Matthew 6:5-6; and to ourselves, Matthew 6:16-18. Before men to be seen of them Barely the being seen, while we are doing any of the things hereafter mentioned, is a circumstance purely indifferent; but the doing them with a view to be seen and admired, this is what our Lord condemns.

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