34. But then the Lord saith, “Be not solicitous for your life what ye shall eat, nor for the body, what ye shall put on.” Rightly: because He had said above, “Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” For he who preaches the Gospel with an eye to this, that he may have whereof he may eat and whereof be clothed, accounts that he at the same time both serves God, because he preaches the Gospel; and mammon, because he preaches with an eye to these necessaries: which thing the Lord saith to be impossible. And hereby he who doth for the sake of these things preach the Gospel is convicted that he serves not God but mammon; however God may use him, he knows not how, to other men’s advancement. For to this sentence doth He subjoin, saying “Therefore I say unto you, Be not solicitous for your life what ye shall eat, nor for your body what ye shall put on:” not that they should not procure these things, as much as is enough for necessity, by what means they honestly may; but that they should not look to these things, and for the sake of these do whatever in preaching of the Gospel they are bidden to do. The intention, namely, for which a thing is done, He calls the eye: of which a little above He was speaking with purpose to come down to this, and saying, “The light of thy body is thine eye: if thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light; but if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness;” that is, such will be thy deeds as shall be thine intention for which thou doest them. For indeed that He might come to this, He had before given precept concerning alms, saying, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth where rust and moth doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasure in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. For where thy treasure shall be, there will thy heart be also.”107 Matt. vi. 19–22 Thereupon He subjoined, “The light of thy body is thine eye:” that they, to wit, which do alms, do them not with that intention that they should either wish to please men, or seek to have repayment on earth of the alms they do. Whence the Apostle, giving charge to Timothy for warning of rich men, “Let them,” says he “readily give, communicate, treasure up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on the true life.”108 1 Tim. vi. 18, 19 Since then the Lord hath to the future life directed the eye of them which do alms, and to an heavenly reward, in order that the deeds themselves may be full of light when the eye shall be simple, (for of that last retribution is meant that which He says in another place, “He that receiveth you receiveth Me, and he that receiveth Me receiveth Him that sent Me. He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, his reward shall not be lost,”109 Matt. x. 40–42) lest haply after he had reproved the eye110 Correpto oculo of them which bestow things needful upon the indigent both prophets and just men and disciples of the Lord, the eye of the persons to whom these things were done should become depraved, so that for the sake of receiving these things they should wish to serve Christ as His soldiers: “No man,” saith He, “can serve two masters.” And a little after: “Ye cannot,” saith He, “serve God and mammon.”111 Matt. vi. 24, 25, 34 And straightway He hath added, “Therefore I say unto you, be not solicitous for your life what ye shall eat, nor for the body what ye shall put on.”
34. Quomodo intelligendum praeceptum illud, ut ne solliciti simus de cibo et vestitu. Quomodo accipiendum illud, de volatilibus coeli et liliis agri. At enim Dominus ait: Nolite solliciti esse animae quid manducetis, neque corpori quid vestiamini. Recte, quoniam supra dixerat: Non potestis Deo servire et mammonae. Qui enim propter hoc Evangelium praedicat, ut habeat unde manducet, et unde vestiatur, simul se putat et Deo servire, quia Evangelium praedicat; et mammonae, quia propter ista necessaria praedicat: quod Dominus dicit fieri non posse. Ac per hoc ille qui propter ista Evangelium praedicat, non Deo, sed mammonae servire convincitur; etsi Deus illo ad aliorum provectum, quomodo ipse nescit, utatur. Nam huic sententiae subjungit, dicens, Ideo dico vobis, nolite solliciti esse animae quid manducetis, neque corpori quid vestiamini: non ut ista non procurent, quantum necessitati satis est , unde honeste potuerint; sed ut non ista intueantur, et propter ista faciant quidquid in Evangelii praedicatione facere jubentur. Eam quippe intentionem quare quid fiat, oculum vocat: unde paulo superius loquebatur, ut ad hoc descenderet, et dicebat, Lucerna corporis tui est oculus tuus: si oculus tuus simplex fuerit, totum corpus tuum lucidum erit; si vero 0574 oculus tuus nequam fuerit, totum corpus tuum tenebrosum erit; id est, talia erunt facta tua, qualis fuerit intentio tua cur ea facias. Et ad hoc enim ut veniret, supra de eleemosynis praeceperat, dicens, Nolite condere vobis thesauros in terris, ubi aerugo et tinea exterminat, et ubi fures effodiunt et furantur. Recondite vero vobis thesauros in coelo, ubi neque tinea neque rubigo exterminat, et ubi fures non perfodiunt et furantur. Ubi enim erit thesaurus tuus, ibi erit et cor tuum. Deinde subjunxit, Lucerna corporis tui est oculus tuus (Matth. VI): ut illi scilicet qui eleemosynas faciunt, non ea faciant intentione, ut vel hominibus velint placere, vel in terra sibi quaerant rependi quod faciunt. Unde et Apostolus cum Timotheo divites monendos praeciperet, Facile, inquit, tribuant, communicent, thesaurizent sibi fundamentum bonum in futurum, ut apprehendant veram vitam (I Tim. VI, 18 et 19). Cum ergo in futuram vitam direxerit oculum Dominus eleemosynas facientium, et in coelestem mercedem, ut possint et ipsa facta esse lucida, cum simplex oculus fuerit (in illam quippe novissimam retributionem valet quod alibi ait, Qui vos excipit, me excipit; et qui me excipit, excipit eum qui me misit. Qui excipit prophetam in nomine prophetae, mercedem prophetae accipiet; et qui excipit justum in nomine justi, mercedem justi accipiet: et qui potum dederit uni ex istis minimis calicem aquae frigidae tantum in nomine discipuli; amen dico vobis, non peribit merces ejus [Matth. X, 40-42]); ne forte correpto oculo eorum qui necessaria impendunt indigentibus et prophetis et justis et discipulis Domini, ipsorum oculus depravaretur in quos ista fierent ut propter ista accipienda vellent Christo militare: Nemo, inquit, potest duobus dominis servire. Et paulo post: Non potestis, inquit, Deo servire et mammonae. Statimque contexuit: Ideo dico vobis, nolite solliciti esse animae quid manducetis, neque corpori quid vestiamini.