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Matthew 6:1

Take heed that you give not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise you have no reward of your Father who is in heaven.
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Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
Prosper. Lib. Sentent. 318: How great strength the love of human glory has, none feels, but he who has proclaimed war against it. For though it is easy for any not to wish for praise when it is denied him, it is difficult not to be pleased with it when it is offered. Serm. 54. 2: He says this, “that ye be seen of men,” because there are some whoso do their righteousness before men that themselves may not be seen, but that the works themselves may be seen, and their Father who is in heaven may be glorified; for they reckon not their own righteousness, but His, in the faith of whom they live. Serm. in Mont.: That He adds, “Otherwise ye shall not have your reward before your Father who is in heaven,” signifies no more than that we ought to take heed that we seek not praise of men in reward of our words. ...

Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
i.e., take heed that you do not live righteously with this intent, and that you do not place your happiness in this, that men may see you. Otherwise you have no reward of your Father who is in heaven: not if you should be seen by men; but if you should live righteously with the intent of being seen by men. For, [were it the former], what would become of the statement made in the beginning of this sermon, You are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it gives light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works? But He did not set up this as the end; for He has added, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. But here, because he is finding fault with this, if the end of our right actions is there, i.e. if we act rightly with this design, only of being seen of men; after He has said, Take heed that you do not your right...

Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
Take heed, says He, that you do not your righteousness before men, to be seen of them; otherwise you have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Here He has mentioned righteousness generally, then He follows it up in detail. For a deed which is done in the way of alms is a certain part of righteousness, and therefore He connects the two by saying, Therefore, when you do your alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. In this there is a reference to what He says before, Take heed that you do not your righteousness before men, to be seen of them. But what follows, Verily I say unto you, They have received their reward, refers to that other statement which He has made above, Otherwise you have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Then follows, But when you do alms. When He says, But you, what else does He mean but, Not in the same manner as they? What, then, does He bid me do? But when ...

Cornelius a Lapide

AD 1637
Take heed. &c. Instead of alms, some Greek Codices read δικαιοσύνην, righteousness, or justice. This is the reading of the Syriac and the Latin Vulgate. The Complutensian, Royal, and other Greek Codices read alms. The Arabic translates mercy—of which the Saviour speaks next. For this is in Scripture κατ ε̉ξοχην, or par excellence, a common word for righteousness, as I have shown on 2 Corinthians 9:10. Hence S. Chrysostom reads justice, understanding alms. After Christ in the preceding chapter had expounded one by one the precepts of the Law, which prescribe all righteousness, i.e, whatever is just, and right, and holy, or all good works, now, in this chapter He proceeds to teach the way of doing things holily and rightly, that we should do them with a right intention, and with the desire of pleasing God, not man. He begins with alms. Then He teaches how we ought to pray, and next how to fast; for with these three vain glory is wont chiefly to be bound up, says S. ...

George Leo Haydock

AD 1849
Your justice; in the common Greek copies, your alms, which seems to be the sense in this place. (Witham) Hereby it is plain that good works are justice, and that man doing them doth justice, and is thereby just and justified, and not by faith only. All which justice of a christian man, our Saviour here compriseth in the three eminent good works, alms deeds, prayer, and fasting. (St. Augustine, lib. perf. just. chap. viii.) So that to give alms is to do justice, and the works of mercy are justice. (St. Augustine, in Psalm xlix, ver. 5.) (Bristow) St. Gregory says, that the man who by his virtuous actions would gain the applause of men, quits at an easy rate a treasure of immense value; for, with what he might purchase the kingdom of heaven, he only seeks to acquire the transitory applause of mortals. This precept of Christ, says St. Chrysostom, beautifully evinces the solicitude and unspeakable goodness of God, lest we should have the labour of performing good works, and on account of...

George Leo Haydock

AD 1849
Justitiam. In almost all Greek copies, eleemosunen. Ver. 33. Et justitiam ejus, dikaiosunen autou, non autes, Dei, not Regni.
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Glossa Ordinaria

AD 1480
Christ having now fulfilled the Law in respect of commandments, begins to fulfil it in respect of promises, that we may do God’s commandments for heavenly wages, not for the earthly which the Law held out. All earthly things are reduced to two main heads, viz. human glory, and abundance of earthly goods, both of which seem to be promised in the Law. Concerning the first is that spoken in Deuteronomy, “The Lord shall make thee higher than allthe nations who dwell on the face of the earth.” And in the same place it is added of earthly wealth, “The Lord shall make thee abound in all good things.” Therefore the Lord now forbids these two things, glory and wealth, to the attention of believers. ...

Gregory The Dialogist

AD 604
Mor., viii, 48: If then we seek the fame of giving, we make even our public deeds to be hidden in His sight; for if herein we seek our own glory, then they are already cast out of His sight, even though there be many by whom they are yet unknown. It belongs only to the thoroughly perfect, to suffer their deeds to be seen, and to receive the praise of doing them in such sort that they arelifted up with no secret exultation; whereas they that are weak, because they cannot attain to this perfect contempt of their own fame, must needs hide those good deeds that they do. ...

Hilary of Poitiers

AD 368
He removes all concern for things of the present and bids those thunderstruck by the hope of the future to pursue neither the favor of others by parading their virtue nor religious boasting through an outpouring of public prayer. Rather, the fruit of good works is to be contained within the knowledge of faith, because the pursuit of human praise will receive only that reward which it looks for from people, while to yearn for God’s approval is to pursue a reward longed for patiently. ...
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John Chrysostom

AD 407
Hom. xix: Yet be it known that the desire of fame is near a kin to virtue. For when any thing truly glorious is done, there ostentation has its readiest occasion; so the Lord first shuts out all intention of seeking glory; as He knows that this is of all fleshly vices the most dangerous to man. The servants of the Devil are tormented by all kinds of vices; but it is the desire of empty glory that torments the servants of the Lord more than the servants of the Devil. And therefore he enjoins this to be more carefully avoided, “Take heed that yedo not your righteousness before men.” It is our heart we must watch, for it is an invisible serpent that we have to guard against, which secretly enters in and seduces; but if the heart be pure into which the enemy has succeeded in entering in, the righteous man soon feels that he is prompted by a strange spirit; but if his heart were full of wickedness, he does not readily perceive the suggestion of the Devil, and therefore He first taught us, “...
3 mins10/13

John Chrysostom

AD 407
He roots out in what remains the most tyrannical passion of all, the rage and madness with respect to vainglory, which springs up in them that do right. For at first He had not at all discoursed about it; it being indeed superfluous, before He had persuaded them to do any of the things which they ought, to teach in which way they should practise and pursue them. But after He had led them on to self-command, then He proceeds to purge away also the alloy which secretly subsists with it. For this disease is by no means of random birth; but when we have duly performed many of the commandments. It behooved therefore first to implant virtue, and then to remove the passion which mars its fruit. And see with what He begins, with fasting, and prayer, and almsgiving: for in these good deeds most especially it is wont to make its haunt. The Pharisee, for instance, was hereby puffed up, who says, I fast twice a week, I give tithes of my substance. Luke 18:12 And he was vainglorious too in...
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John Chrysostom

AD 407
When Jesus warned, “Beware of practicing your piety before men,” he then added pointedly, “to be seen by them.” On first glance it seems as if the same thing were being repeated, but if you were carefully to pay attention, you will note a careful distinction. Alms may be given in the presence of others primarily to be seen by them, or they may be given in the presence of others but not to be seen, or they may be openly given in order to be seen but still not be seen, or they may be given quietly and still be seen. He is not focusing simply on the outward act done but the inward intent. The Gospel of Matthew, Homily ...

Theophylact of Ochrid

AD 1107
. Having led them up to the greatest of the virtues, which is love, now He drives away vainglory, which follows after the achievement of the virtues. See what He says, "Take heed," as if speaking of some terrible wild beast. Take heed that it not tear you limb from limb. If you give alms "before men" but your motive is not "to be seen by them," you are not condemned. But if your motive is vainglory, then even if you give alms from within your inner chamber, you are condemned. For it is the intent that God either punishes or crowns. ...

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

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