Matthew 5:16

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
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Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
He would seem to have fixed an end in the praises of men, which hypocrites seek, and those who canvass for honours and covet glory of the emptiest kind. Against such parties it is said, If I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ; and, by the prophet, They who please men are put to shame, because God has despised them; and again, God has broken the bones of those who please men; and again the apostle, Let us not be desirous of vainglory; and still another time, But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. Hence our Lord has not said merely, that they may see your good works, but has added, and glorify your Father who is in heaven: so that the mere fact that a man by means of good works pleases men, does not there set it up as an end that he should please men; but let him subordinate this to the praise of God, and for this reason please men, that God may be glorified in him. For this is expedient for them wh...

Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
That person places the lamp under a bushel who obscures and conceals the light of good teaching with earthbound interests. Rather, one should place the truth up high “on the lampstand.” That indicates the light that shines as a result of bodily service, so that it is presented to believers through their embodied ministry. In this way our voices and tongues and other operations of the body are conveyed into good works by those who are learning. . ...

Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
Of course, the very words of the gospel are selfexplanatory. While they feed the hearts of those who knock, they do not hinder the shouts of those who hunger. One must look deeply into the human heart to see in what direction it is turned and on what point its gaze is fixed. Suppose someone desires that his good work be seen by others. Suppose he regards his glory and profit according to the estimation of others and seeks to be elevated in the sight of others. By doing so he fulfills neither of the commands that the Lord has given in this text. For he has sought to practice his justice before the eyes of others, in order to be seen by them. Therefore his light has not caused others to give glory to the Father who is in heaven. He did not wish to have glory rendered to God but to himself. He did not love the will of God but sought advantage for himself. Of such the apostle says, “For they all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.” The saying “Let your light so shine befor...

John Chrysostom

AD 407
What then? Do you command us to live for display and vain glory? Far from it; I say not this; for I did not say, Give ye diligence to bring forward your own good deeds, neither did I say, Show them; but Let your light shine. That is, Let your virtue be great, and the fire abundant, and the light unspeakable. For when virtue is so great, it cannot lie hidden, though its pursuer shade it over ten thousand fold. Present unto them an irreprehensible life, and let them have no true occasion of evil speaking; and then, though there be thousands of evil-speakers, no man shall be able to cast any shade upon you. And well did He say, your light, for nothing makes a man so illustrious, how manifold soever his will to be concealed, as the manifestation of virtue. For as if he were clad with the very sunbeam, so he shines, yet brighter than it; not spending his rays on earth, but surmounting also Heaven itself. Hence also He comforts them more abundantly. For, What though the slander pain you, ...

Theophylact of Ochrid

AD 1107
. He did not say, "You must display your virtue," for that is not good; but rather He said only, "Let it shine," so that even your enemies will marvel and glorify not you, but your Father. If we practice virtue, we must practice it for the glory of God, and not for our own glory.

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. - 2 Peter 1:20

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