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Verses 28-30

Matthew 6:28-30. And why take ye thought Why are you anxious about raiment? Consider the lilies of the field Observe not only the animal, but, what is yet much lower, the vegetable part of the creation, and mark how the flowers of the meadows grow; they toil not To prepare the materials of their covering; nor do they spin Or weave them into garments. “The expression ου κοπια , here rendered, they toil not, denotes rural labour, 2 Timothy 2:6; and therefore is beautifully used in a discourse of clothing, the materials of which are produced by agriculture.” Macknight. Even Solomon in all his glory In his royal magnificence, and when sitting on his throne of ivory and gold, 1 Kings 10:18; was not arrayed like one of these Namely, in garments of so pure a white, and of such curious workmanship, as one of these lilies presents to your view. The eastern princes were often clothed in white robes, (and they were generally accounted a magnificent apparel; see Esther 8:15, Daniel 7:9;) and therefore Calmet and Doddridge properly refer this dress of Solomon to the whiteness of the lilies, rather than to tulips of various colours. or a purple kind of lily, supposed by Ray ( On the Creation, page 107,) to be here intended by κρινα , the word we render lilies. Wherefore if God so clothe the grass of the field, &c. If an inanimate thing, so trifling in its nature, and uncertain in its duration, is thus beautifully adorned, will not God take care to clothe you, who are more valuable, as ye are men endowed with reason, but especially as ye are my servants and friends? The grass of the field, is a general expression, including both herbs and flowers. Dr. Campbell renders the original expression, τον χορτον , the herbage, and observes, that it is evident from the lily being included under the term, that more is meant by it than is signified with us by the word grass; and he quotes Grotius as remarking that the Hebrews ranked the whole vegetable system under two classes, עצ , gnets, and עשּׁב , gnesheb, the former including all sorts of shrubs, as well as trees, and the latter every kind of plant, which has not, like trees and shrubs, a perennial stalk. Which to-day is Namely, in the field; and to-morrow is cast into the oven The word κλιβανον , here rendered the oven, is interpreted by some a still, for distilling herbs; but “there is no reason,” says Macknight, “to alter the translation, since it appears from Matthew 13:10, that they used some kind of vegetable substances for fuel, particularly tares, which, if they were annuals, might be sufficiently dry for immediate use by the time they were cut down, as the herb of the field is here said to be; or to-morrow, in the text may mean, not the day immediately after the herbs are cut down, but any time soon after, the expression being proverbial, and easily admitting of this signification.” Dr. Campbell is of the same mind, observing that he had not seen a vestige of evidence in any ancient author, that the art of distillation was then known, or any authority, sacred or profane, for translating the word κλιβανος , a still. He thinks the scarcity of fuel in those parts, both formerly and at present, fully accounts for their having recourse to withered herbs for heating their ovens. It accounts also, he supposes, for the frequent recourse of the sacred penmen to those similitudes, whereby things found unfit for any nobler purpose, are represented as reserved for the fire. Add to this, Shaw ( Trav. page 25,) and Harmer (chap. 4. obs. 6,) inform us, that myrtle, rosemary, and other plants, are made use of in Barbary to heat their ovens. Our Lord, to check every kind of distrust of the divine providence, and to encourage confidence therein, adds, O ye of little faith Or, O ye distrustful, as Campbell renders the word ολιγοπιστοι , observing, that “it is quite in the genius of the Greek language to express, by such compound words, what in other languages is expressed by a more simple term.” It is hardly necessary to observe here, that “it does not follow from our Lord’s application of the expression, O ye of little faith, that it is an exercise of faith to sit with our arms folded, expecting support from the divine providence, without any action of our own; but after having done what prudence directs for providing the necessaries of life, we ought to trust in God, believing that he will make our labours effectual by his blessing.” It is remarked here by Dr. Doddridge, that the word αμφιεννυσιν , rendered clothe the grass of the field, properly implies the putting on a complete dress, that surrounds the body on all sides; and beautifully expresses that external membrane, which (like the skin in a human body) at once adorns the tender fabric of the vegetable, and guards it from the injuries of the weather. Every microscope in which a flower is viewed, gives a lively comment on this text.

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