But you, when you pray, enter into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret shall reward you openly.
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Augustine of Hippo
Serm. in Mont., ii, 3: He does not now bid us pray, but instructs us how we should pray; as above He did not command us to do alms, but showed the manner of doing them.
Not that the mere being seen of men is an impiety, but the doing this, in order to be seen of men.
The privity of other men is to be so far shunned by us, as it leads us to doany thing with this mind that we look for the fruit of their applause.
Or, by our chambers are to be understood our hearts, of which it is spoken in the fourth Psalm; “What things ye utter in your hearts, and wherewith ye are pricked in your chambers.” “The door” is the bodily senses; without are al worldly things, which, enter into our thoughts through the senses, and that crowd of vain imaginings which beset us in prayer.
The door then must be shut, that is, we must resist the bodily sense, that we may address our Father in such spiritual prayer as is made in the inmost spirit, where we pray to Him truly in secret.