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Do not cast your pearls before swine

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This is a study of the words of Jesus about not casting your pearls before swine. There are different interpretations to explore and many great insights in these studies for the Christian life.

Publicada em: Espiritual
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Do not cast your pearls before swine

  1. 1. DO NOT CAST YOUR PEARLS BEFORE SWINE EDITED BY GLENN PEASE Don'tcast your pearls before swine (Matthew 7:6) Matthew 7:6 6"Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces. Question:"What did Jesus meanwhen He said to not castyour pearls before swine (Matthew 7:6)?" Answer: “Do not castyour pearls before swine” is a portion of the Sermon on the Mount, and, to understand its meaning, we have to understand its context and placementwithin the sermon. Christ had just finished instructing the crowdon judgment and reproof: “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Matthew 7:1–2), and “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your owneye, and then you will see clearlyto remove the speck from your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:5). Then in verse 6, Christ tempers these admonitions and shows us the difference between “judgment” and “discernment.” We are not to be hypocritical judges, yet we must be able to discernthe swine, lestwe castour pearls before them. Before Jesus says, “Donot castyour pearls before swine,” He says, “Do not give dogs what is sacred.” An analogymentioning dogs is also used in
  2. 2. Proverbs:“As a dog returns to its vomit, so a foolrepeats his folly” (Proverbs 26:11). A dual reference to swine and dogs is also found in 2 Peter 2:22, “Of [false teachers]the proverbs are true: ‘A dog returns to its vomit,’ and, ‘A sow that is washedgoes back to her wallowing in the mud.’” In His sermon, Jesus uses dogs and pigs as representative of those who would ridicule, reject, and blaspheme the gospelonce it is presentedto them. We are not to expose the gospelofJesus Christ to those who have no other purpose than to trample it and return to their own evil ways. Repeatedlysharing the gospelwith someone who continually scoffs and ridicules Christ is like casting pearls before swine. We can identify such people through discernment, which is given in some measure to all Christians (1 Corinthians 2:15–16). The command not to castyour pearls before swine does not mean we refrain from preaching the gospel. Jesus Himselfate with and taught sinners and tax collectors (Matthew 9:10). In essence, the instruction in Matthew 7:6 is the same that Jesus gave to His apostles whenHe said, “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town” (Matthew 10:14). We are to share the gospel, but, when it becomes apparent that the gospelis not welcome, we are to move on. We are responsible to share the goodnews; we are not responsible for people’s response to the goodnews. Pigs don’t appreciate pearls, and some people don’t appreciate what Christ has done for them. Our job is not to force conversions orcram the gospeldown people’s throats; there’s no sense in preaching the value of pearls to swine. Jesus’instruction to His apostles on how to handle rejectionwas to simply go elsewhere.There are other people who need to hear the gospel, and they are ready to hear it. https://www.gotquestions.org/pearls-before-swine.html PRECEPTAUSTIN RESOURCES
  3. 3. Matthew 7:6 "Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces. (NASB:Lockman) Greek:Me dote (2PAAS) to agiontois kusin, mede balete (2PAAS) tous margaritas umon emprosthen ton choiron, mepote katapatesousin(3PFAI) autous en tois posin auton kai straphentes (APPMPN)rexosin(3PAAS) humas. Amplified: Do not give that which is holy (the sacredthing) to the dogs, and do not throw your pearls before hogs, lest they trample upon them with their feet and turn and tear you in pieces. (Amplified Bible - Lockman) KJV: Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither castye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn againand rend you. NLT: Don't give what is holy to unholy people. Don't give pearls to swine! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you. (NLT - Tyndale House) Phillips: "You must not give holy things to dogs, nor must you throw your pearls before pigs - or they may trample them underfoot and turn and attack you." (New Testamentin Modern English) Wuest: Do not give that which is holy to the dogs, neither throw your pearls before the hogs lest perchance they trample them under their feetand having turned, lacerate you. Young's: 'Ye may not give that which is holy to the dogs, nor castyour pearls before the swine, that they may not trample them among their feet, and having turned -- may rend you. Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces: Me dote (2PAAS) to agiontois kusin, mede balete (2PAAS) tous margaritas umon emprosthen ton choiron, mepote katapatesousin(3PFAI)autous en tois posin auton kaistraphentes (APPMPN)rexosin (3PAAS) humas
  4. 4. Mt 7:10:14,15;15:26;Proverbs 9:7,8;23:9; 26:11;Acts 13:45, 46, 47; Philippians 3:2; Hebrews 6:6; 10:29;2Peter2:22 Proverbs 11:22 Mt 22:5,6;24:10;2 Cor 11:26;2 Ti 4:14,15 Matthew 7 Resources- Multiple Sermons and Commentaries NO GOSPELPEARLS FOR DOGS OR PIGS! Do not give what is holy to dogs - If someone isn’t open to listen to you, there’s no reasonto continue speaking. Now this needs to be qualified -- most people will initially resistthe Gospel, but here Jesus is not speaking of resistance in generalbut of a vicious attack againstyou and the Lord and His Gospel(like a swine or dog would do! As describedbelow "dogs" in Jesus'day were not viewed as sweetlittle puppies!). Here is the major point of this passage - While followers of Jesus must not be guilty of condemning anyone, we must learnt to discriminate in our witness. You might ask "Wellwhat about 2 Timothy 2:25-note where Paul writes "with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge ofthe truth?" One key to answering this question is to ask what does the Greek word oppositionmean? Zodhiates has an excellentcomment writing that antidiatithemi speaks "either those who directly oppose the Gospelor those who are ill-disposed towardor unaffected by it. The latter meaning seems preferable because the Apostle directs Timothy to treat the antidiatitheménous, those whose attitudes are contrary or ill-disposed to the gospel, in a very different manner from the anthistaménous (436), opposers, those actuallyopposing the gospel, from whom he was to turn away("Avoid [apostrepho in the present imperative = command to keepon avoiding them!] such men as these" - 2 Ti 3:5-note)" (Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament)
  5. 5. So it is a question of "discernment" -- if you have sharedthe Gospelsince you became a followerof Christ (and if you haven't shared it, you should!), over time you cangenerally geta good"feel" for whether there is simply general resistance to the Good News (as was frankly true of me before I came to Christ and is true of all of us because Paulsays all of us "were enemies [Greek word echthros means hostile and speaks ofour intrinsic hatred of Godand His GoodNews]." -Ro 5:10-note). Generalresistance is quite different than vicious attacks.It is the latter to whom we are to shake the dust off our sandals and move on! See also explanation below from Gotquestions, a website that is highly recommended. Solomon- Do not reprove (Hebrew word yakachincludes ideas of education, discipline, teaching and admonishing) a scoffer(speakswords showing no respectfor the reprover), lesthe hate you. Reprove a wise man, and he will love you. (Proverbs 9:8) (Reproof is wastedon a "scoffer" becausethe more shallow and foolishthe personis, the less willing he is to listen to wise, godly counsel) Jamieson, F, B -The opposite extreme to that of censoriousnessis here condemned—wantof discrimination of character.... Religionis brought into contempt, and its professors insulted, when it is forcedupon those who cannot value it and will not have it. But while the indiscriminately zealous have need of this caution, let us be on our guard against too readily setting our neighbors down as dogs and swine, and excusing ourselves from endeavoring to do them goodon this poor plea. Spurgeonwrites... There are some holy enjoyments, some gracious experiences, some deep doctrines of the Word of God, which it would be out of place to speak of before certain profane and unclean persons. Theywould only make a jest of them; perhaps they might persecute you on accountof them. No; holy things are for holy men; and as of old the crier in the Greciantemple was wont to say, before the mysteries were performed, “&Farhence, ye profane!&” so
  6. 6. sometimes, before we enter into the innermost circle of Christian converse, it would be well for us to notice who is listening. *** Zeal should always be tempered by prudence. There are times when it would be treasonto truth to introduce it as a topic of conversation,-whenmen are in such a frame of mind that they will be sure rather to cavil at it than to believe it. Notonly speak thou well, but speak thou at the right time, for silence is sometimes golden. See that thou hast thy measure of golden silence as wellas of silver speech. *** When men are evidently unable to perceive the purity of a great truth, do not setit before them. They are like mere dogs, and if you setholy things before them they will be provoked to “&turn againand rend you&”:holy things are not for the profane. “&Without are dogs&”:they must not be allowedto enter the holy place. When you are in the midst of the vicious, who are like “&swine,&”do not bring forth the precious mysteries of the faith, for they will despise them, and “&trample them under their feet&” in the mire. You are not needlesslyto provoke attack upon yourself, or upon the higher truths of the gospel. You are not to judge, but you are not to act without judgment. Count not men to be dogs or swine;but when they avow themselves to be such, or by their conduct act as if they were such, do not put occasionsin their way for displaying their evil character. Saints are not to be simpletons; they are not to be judges, but, also, they are not to be fools. GreatKing, how much wisdom thy precepts require! I need thee, not only to open my mouth, but also at times to keepit shut. Give (1325)(didomi) means to give based on decisionof will of the giver. Although the tense is not imperative, the force is that of an imperative or command. We are to speak the truth in love, but we are not to allow love to coloror distort our sense ofdiscernment. Note in this warning Jesus is not trying to discourage us from sharing the gospel, but is calling for discernment which is everlooking for listeners with prepared and not antagonistic hearts.
  7. 7. In Hebrews we read that "solidfood is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses (Ability to discriminate & make moral decisions. Capacityfor spiritual apprehension) trained (gumnazo = having experienced vigorous training and control and in a state of increasedmoral strength which allows one)to discern(decide between, make a judgment between) goodand evil." (Hebrews 5:14) This verse makes it clearthat Jesus does notexclude every kind of judgment in Matthew 7:1-2 for here He just as plainly commands a certain kind of right judgment or discernment in this verse, for such discrimination is necessaryin order to determine who is a dog and a hog! Holy (40) (hagios)(Click for an in depth discussionof hagios)refers to that which is is setapart (sanctified) for a specialpurpose. Holy and pearls (see discussionbelow)are somewhatindefinite and as discussedsurely include the gospelmessagebut also apply to other holy things besides the gospel, suchas the Holy Word, the Holy Spirit, the Holy Name, etc. We are refrain from giving out these holy, precious things out of respect for them more than out of contempt for the opposers. In fact, in this very sermon, Jesus would still call us to "love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you" (notes Matthew 5:44) Dogs (2965)(kuon)in the ancient world does not refer to dogs as we currently think of them for they were seldom householdpets but instead were largely half-wild, dirty, greedy, snarling, vicious, flea-bitten, diseased, mongrel scavenger,that often ran in packs. Theyare often on the point of starvation and were knownto devour corpses, and attack humans, in the night. Clearly literal "dogs" in the ancient word were dangerous and despised. Kuon -5 times in the NAS and always translated "dog" or"dogs":(Matt 7:6; Luke 16:21; Phil 3:2; 2 Pet 2:22; Rev 22:15) For example we read God's prophet Abijah's harsh messageto the wife of the evil Jeroboamdeclaring... "Anyone belonging to Jeroboamwho dies in the city the dogs will eat. And he who dies in the field the birds of the heavens will eat;for the LORD has
  8. 8. spokenit." (1 Kings 14:11) (Similar prophecies were decreedagainstBaasha’s family, in 1Kings 16:4, and Ahab’s family, 1Kings 21:24.)(For bodies to be devoured by dogs and wild birds of prey was consideredone of the worst disgraces thatcould befall a Jew) The epithet "dogs" is used figuratively to refer to certainclassesofmen, expressing their insolent rapacity, Psalms 22:16 and their beastly vices, Deuteronomy 23:18. It has happened to them according to the true proverb, "A DOG RETURNS TO ITS OWN VOMIT," and, "A sow, afterwashing, returns to wallowing in the mire." (see notes on 2Peter2:22) Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers andthe immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying. (Revelation22:15-note) Paul used the term "dogs" in his letter to Philippi warning the converts to... Beware ofthe dogs, beware ofthe evil workers, beware ofthe false circumcision(see notes Philippians 3:2) The Jews used"dog" as a derogatoryterm referring to Gentiles in general. In Philippi, Paul turned the tables so to speak and actually referred to Jews (probably Judaizers)who professedto believe in Christ but depended upon keeping the Law and the rituals of Judaism in order to "merit" salvation. Thus in this sense Pauluses "Dogs"to refer to false teachers. Barclayhas a helpful note on dogs With us the dog is a well-lovedanimal, but it was not so in the Eastin the time of Jesus. The dogs were the pariah dogs, roaming the streets, sometimes in packs, hunting amidst the garbage dumps and snapping and snarling at all whom they met. J. B. Lightfoot speaks of “&the dogs which prowl about easterncities, without a home and without an owner, feeding on the refuse and filth of the streets, quarrelling among themselves, and attacking the passer-by.&”
  9. 9. In the Bible the dog always stands for that than which nothing can be lower. When Saul is seeking to take his life, David’s demand is: “&After whom do you pursue? After a dead dog! after a flea!&” (&1Sa 24:14&, cf. &2Ki 8:13&; &Ps 22:16&, &20&). In the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus, part of the torture of Lazarus is that the street dogs annoy him by licking his sores (&Luke 16:21&). In Deuteronomy the Law brings togetherthe price of a dog and the hire of a whore, and declares that neither must be offered to God (&Deut 23:18&). In Revelationthe word dog stands for those who are so impure that they are debarred from the Holy City (&Rev 22:15-note&). That which is holy must never be given to dogs (&Mt 7:6&). It is the same in Greek thought; the dog stands for everything that is shamelesslyunclean. It was by this name that the Jews calledthe Gentiles. There is a Rabbinic saying, “&The nations of the world are like dogs.&” So this is Paul’s answerto the Jewish teachers. He says to them, “&In your proud self-righteousness, youcall other men dogs;but it is you who are dogs, because youshamelesslypervert the gospelof Jesus Christ.&” He takes the very name the Jewishteachers would have applied to the impure and to the Gentiles and flings it back at themselves. A man must always have a care that he is not himself guilty of the sins of which he accusesothers. (Barclay, W:The Letters to the Philippians, Colossians, andThessalonians. The New Daily Study Bible Series, Rev. ed. Philadelphia: The Westminster Press. JohnKnox Press) Dogs and swine (5519)describe profane people who treat spiritual matters with contempt. They are unbelievers who are enemies of the gospeland are people to avoid. This verse does not mean that the blessings ofthe gospelare not to be offered to the Gentiles (remembering that Jews in Jesus'day frequently referred to Gentiles as "dogs"), but rather that precious spiritual truths should not be pressedupon those who are either unready or unwilling to acceptor appreciate their value. The verse continues logicallyin the train of thought developed in the sayings which immediately precede it. While judging others is not the prerogative of man, there are, nonetheless, those whose uncleanness andviolence prevent the sharing of the most noble truths of the Christian faith. Brothers (referred to in Mt 7:3-5) and “dogs” or“swine” must not be treated alike. Believers must discriminate carefully, clearly indicating that Jesus'
  10. 10. command to stop judging in Matthew 7:1 was not meant to exclude discerning judgment, but only condemnatory, critical judgment. Swine are just as contemptible and filthy as dogs. The OT mentions swine among the unclean animals (Lev. 11:7; Deut. 14:8) and the eating of swine flesh is an abomination in (Isa. 65:4; 66:3, 17) Swine are not only unclean animals but canbe vicious and are capable of savage attacksagainstpeople. The wild boar of the woodwas frequently met with in the woodyparts of Palestine, especiallyin Mount Tabor. In Psalm80:13 the powers that destroyedthe Jewishnation are comparedto wild boars and wild beasts of the field. Wild Boars Can Tearyou to Pieces! The phrase “what is holy” or setapart from the common and profane and consecratedto God is used synonymously with "pearls". Pearls (3135)(margaritēs)were usually regardedas precious stones in Jesus' day. Pearls are found in the RedSea, the PersianGulf, and the Indian Ocean and were brought into the westernculture through Alexander the Great’s conquests. Pearls were pricedway beyond the purchasing power of the average personand in order to obtain a pearl of greatvalue a merchant might have to sell all his possessions (cfMt 13:46) Margaritēs is used by Jesus as a figure of speechfor what is of supreme worth. The Jews used"margaritēs" to refer to a valuable saying. Jesus is saying that whatever is very precious in the spiritual realm should be treated with reverence and not entrusted to those who, because oftheir utterly wicked, vicious, and despicable nature, are like dogs and hogs. Trample (2662 (katapateofrom katá = intensifies meaning + patéo = tread, trample, fig to treat contemptuously) means to step down forcibly upon often with the implication of seeking to destroy or ruin. The idea is to spurn, to rejectwith disdain, treat contemptuously, treat with rudeness and insult or
  11. 11. thoroughly despise someone orsomething. Jesus pictures hogs trampling the pearls with their feet, thus treating them with utter disdain. In Matthew Jesus returns to Nazareth, His home town, and we read that "they took offense (verb skandalizo - see in depth study of noun, skandalon)at Him. But Jesus saidto them, "A prophet is not without honor exceptin his home town, and in his ownhousehold." And He did not do many miracles there because oftheir unbelief." (Mt 13:57-58) So here we see Jesus practicing the same principle He is laying down for His disciples to practice. D A Carsoncomments that "The pigs trample the pearls under foot (perhaps out of animal disappointment that they are not morsels of food), and the dogs are so disgustedwith "what is sacred" that they turn on the giver. Gaebelein, F, Editor: Expositor's Bible Commentary 6-Volume New Testament. Zondervan Publishing) Spurgeoncomments that... It is a pity to talk about some of the secrete ofour holy faith in any and every company. It would be almost, profane to speak of them in the company of profane men. We know that they would not. understand us; they would find occasionfor jestand ridicule, and therefore our own reverence for holy things must cause us to lay a finger on our lips when we are in the presence of profane persons. Do not let us, however, carry out one precept to the exclusion of others. There are dogs that eat of the crumbs that fall from the master’s table. Drop them a crumb. And there are even swine that may yet be trans. learned; to whom the sight of a pearl might give some inkling of a better condition of heart. Castnot the pearls before them, but you may show them to them sometimes when they are in as gooda state of mind as they are likely to be in. It is ours to preachthe gospelto every creature;that is a precept of Christ, and yet all creatures are not always in the condition to hear the gospel. We must choose ourtime. Yet even this I would not push too far. We are to preach the gospelin seasonand out of season. Oh!that we may be able to follow precepts as far as they are meant to go, and no further.
  12. 12. Turn (4762)(strepho from trope = a turn or revolution) means to twist, turn quite around or reverse. Tear(4486)(rhegnumi) means to break in pieces, disrupt or lacerate as dogs would do. Clearly to be an undiscerning simpleton (as might occurin one who took the meaning of "do not judge" to an extreme interpretation which Jesus did not intend) canplace one in a dangerous position(cf "trample", "tearto pieces"!) Paul gives us an example of a vicious opponent of the gospelwarning Timothy to beware of... Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. Be on guard againsthim yourself, for he vigorously opposedour teaching. (notes 2 Timothy 4:14-15) VOLTAIRE AN ILLUSTRATION OF A "DOG/SWINE" - The French philosopher Voltaire would certainly fit the picture of a spiritual "dog and a hog", who violently opposedGod, His Holy Word and His precious Son. How tragic that one of the most fertile and talented minds of his time (which parenthetically bears witness to the common grace and longsuffering of our greatFather), was sucha vicious opponent of truth, using his pen to retard and demolish Christianity as much as humanly possible. Once speaking about our Lord Jesus Christ, Voltaire uttered the unspeakable words "Curse the wretch!" Voltaire was so self deceivedand arrogantthat he once boastedthat within "twenty years Christianity will be no more. My single hand shall destroy the edifice it took twelve apostles to rear." Godhoweveris not mockedbeloved (see Galatians ) and so not surprisingly shortly after Voltaire's death the very house in which he printed his vicious anti-Christian literature became the home of the Geneva Bible Society!A nurse who attended Voltaire at the time of his horrible death vowed"For all the wealth in Europe I would not see anotherinfidel die." Voltaire's'physician, Trochim, also attended the infidel up to the time of his last breath, and is quoted as hearing Voltaire's last desperate (rightly so) cry "I am abandoned by Godand man! I will give you half of what I am worth if you will give me six months' life. Then I shall go to hell; and you will go with me. O Christ! O Jesus
  13. 13. Christ!" In short, Voltaire, as brilliant as he was intellectually, is the epitome of the type of individual citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven must refrain from repeatedly sharing the precious and holy truths of God's Gospel. We are not to continue to present the gospelto those who repeatedlymock, scornand deride it. To be sure, this determination sometimes is obvious as in the case ofrank infidels but in other situations requires God's wisdom (see role of prayer in Matthew 7:7-8-note) and Spirit controlled guidance. There is a limit Jesus says and when that time arrives, it is high time for the ambassadorofChrist to depart company. And so we see Jesus instructing His disciples "And into whatevercity or village you enter, inquire who is worthy in it; and abide there until you go away. And as you enter the house, give it your greeting. And if the house is worthy, let your greeting of peace come upon it; but if it is not worthy, let your greeting of peace return to you. And whoeverdoes not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake off the dust of your feet. Truly I sayto you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for that city." (Matthew 10:11- 15) In the same way Jesus pronouncedjudgment on the Galileantowns which for the most part rejectedthe light of His presence and His gospel"Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida!For if the miracles had occurredin Tyre and Sidon which occurredin you, they would have repented long ago in sackclothand ashes. Nevertheless Isay to you, it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment, than for you. And you, Capernaum, will not be exaltedto heaven, will you? You shall descendto Hades; for if the miracles had occurredin Sodom which occurred in you, it would have remained to this day. (Mt 11:21-23) And we see Paul's reactionto the rejectionof the Gospelby the Jews of Corinth "After these things he left Athens and went to Corinth. And he found a certain Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, having recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to leave Rome. He came to them, and because he was of the same trade, he
  14. 14. stayed with them and they were working; for by trade they were tent-makers. And he was reasoning in the synagogue everySabbath and trying to persuade Jews and Greeks. Butwhen Silas and Timothy came down from Macedonia, Paul begandevoting himself completely to the word, solemnly testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ. And when they resistedand blasphemed, he shook out his garments and saidto them, "Your blood be upon your own heads! I am clean. From now on I shall go to the Gentiles. (Acts 18:1-6, see also Acts 13:44-51, 28:17-28;Ro 16:17-18). Writing to Titus on the Isle of Crete Paul instructed him "Rejecta factious (divisive, one who causes division) man after a first and secondwarning, knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned. (Titus 3:10-11) Herod Antipas was a dog...swine, who heardJohn gladly, Mark recording "for Herod was afraid of John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and kept him safe. And when he heard him, he was very perplexed; but he used to enjoy listening to him." (Mark 6:20) Herod proved his "canine character" becausethis same Herod turned on John the Baptistand had him beheadedhim (see Mt 14:1-12;Mk 6:14-28;Lu 9:7-9). Later, Jesus Christ refused to give what was holy to Herod "Now Herod was very glad when he saw Jesus;for he had wanted to see Him for a long time, because he had been hearing about Him and was hoping to see some signperformed by Him. And he questioned Him at some length; but He answeredhim nothing." (Luke 23:8-9-note) And after Jesus rose from the dead He showedHimself to no one who was not a believer. In the parable of The Barren Fig Tree Jesus explained that God was patience, but His patience was not endless "And He began telling this parable: "A certain man had a fig tree which had been planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it, and did not find any. And he said to the vineyard- keeper, 'Behold, for three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree without finding any. Cut it down! Why does it even use up the ground?' And he answeredand saidto him, 'Let it alone, sir, for this year too, until I dig
  15. 15. around it and put in fertilizer; and if it bears fruit next year, fine; but if not, cut it down.'" (Luke 13:6-9-note) Solomonpresents a similar principle regarding bestowalof"holy things" on dogs and hogs... A man who hardens his neck after much reproof will suddenly be broken beyond remedy. (Proverbs 29:1) Do not reprove a scoffer, lesthe hate you (don't bother rebuking mockers; they will only hate you), Reprove a wise man, and he will love you. (Proverbs 9:8) Jesus'teaching is in fact imminently logicalfor if we were to remain in the company of those who constantlyridicule the small gate and narrow way of the Gospel, we would by default, fail to enter other "fields" which Jesus describedin other passagesdeclaring... The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. (Mt 9:37) Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes, and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest. (John 4:35) Hendriksen - The suggestionmay be correctthat, since pearls resemble peas or acorns, these hogs, having greedily tasteda few and having discoveredthat they can do nothing with them, in angertrample the pearls underfoot and turn and tear to pieces those who had flung such non-edibles in front of them. (Exposition of the GospelAccording to Matthew Grand Rapids: BakerBook House) ILLUSTRATION - J Vernon McGee tells the following story - I remember a Tennesseelegislatorfriend of mine who was a heavy drinker. He was wonderfully converted and is a choice servantof God today. The other members of the legislature knew how he drank. Then they heard he “got religion,” as they calledit. One day this fellow took his seatin the legislature, and his fellow-members lookedhim over. Finally, someone rose, addressedthe chairman of the meeting and said, “I make a motion that we hear a sermon from DeaconSo-and-So.”Everyone laughed. But my friend was equal to the
  16. 16. occasion. He got to his feetand said, “I’m sorry, I do not have anything to say. My Lord told me not to castmy pearls before swine.” He satdown, and they never ridiculed him anymore. (McGee, J V: Thru the Bible Commentary: Nashville: Thomas Nelson) Gotquestions - Question: "What did Jesus mean when He said to not castyour pearls before swine (Matthew 7:6)?" Answer: “Do not castyour pearls before swine” is a portion of the Sermon on the Mount, and, to understand its meaning, we have to understand its context and placementwithin the sermon. Christ had just finished instructing the crowdon judgment and reproof: “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Matthew 7:1–2), and “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your owneye, and then you will see clearlyto remove the speck from your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:5). Then in verse 6, Christ tempers these admonitions and shows us the difference between “judgment” and “discernment.” We are not to be hypocritical judges, yet we must be able to discernthe swine, lestwe castour pearls before them. Before Jesus says, “Donot castyour pearls before swine,” He says, “Do not give dogs what is sacred.” An analogymentioning dogs is also used in Proverbs:“As a dog returns to its vomit, so a foolrepeats his folly” (Proverbs 26:11). A dual reference to swine and dogs is also found in 2 Peter 2:22, “Of [false teachers]the proverbs are true: ‘A dog returns to its vomit,’ and, ‘A sow that is washedgoes back to her wallowing in the mud.’” In His sermon, Jesus uses dogs and pigs as representative of those who would ridicule, reject, and blaspheme the gospelonce it is presentedto them. We are not to expose the gospelofJesus Christ to those who have no other purpose than to trample it and return to their own evil ways. Repeatedlysharing the gospelwith someone who continually scoffs and ridicules Christ is like casting pearls before swine. We can identify such people through discernment, which is given in some measure to all Christians (1 Corinthians 2:15–16).
  17. 17. The command not to castyour pearls before swine does not mean we refrain from preaching the gospel. Jesus Himselfate with and taught sinners and tax collectors (Matthew 9:10). In essence, the instruction in Matthew 7:6 is the same that Jesus gave to His apostles whenHe said, “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town” (Matthew 10:14). We are to share the gospel, but, when it becomes apparent that the gospelis not welcome, we are to move on. We are responsible to share the goodnews; we are not responsible for people’s response to the goodnews. Pigs don’t appreciate pearls, and some people don’t appreciate what Christ has done for them. Our job is not to force conversions orcram the gospeldown people’s throats; there’s no sense in preaching the value of pearls to swine. Jesus’instruction to His apostles on how to handle rejectionwas to simply go elsewhere.There are other people who need to hear the gospel, and they are ready to hear it. (From Gotquestions.org- recommended resource) CAUTION TO BE USED IN REPROVING Matt. 7:6 Charles Simeon IN the holy Scriptures there are not only such directions as are necessaryfor the saving of the soul, but such also as are of a prudential nature, calculated for the rectifying of our judgment, and the regulating of our conduct, in less important matters. A pious personwould obtain salvation, though he should not be discreetin his mode of communicating instruction or reproof to others. But it is desirable that “the man of God should be perfect, throughly furnished unto all goodworks:” and therefore he should attend as well to those admonitions which are of secondaryimportance, as to those which relate to the fundamental points of faith or practice. The words before us are connectedwith the prohibition respecting the judging of others. To judge others uncharitably will expose us to similar treatment from them, as well as to the displeasure of Almighty God. Before we presume to judge others at all, we ought to be diligent in searching out and amending our ownfaults; without which we are but ill qualified to reprove the faults of others. We ought also to
  18. 18. considerthe state of the person whom we undertake to reprove: for if he be hardened in his wickedness, and disposedto resentour well-meant endeavours, it will be more prudent to let him alone, and to wait for some seasonwhenwe may speak to him with a better prospectof success. Suchis the import of the caution in our text; from whence we may observe, I. That religious instruction is often most unworthily received— The value of religious instruction is but little known— [Education in generalis esteemedone of the greatestblessingswe canenjoy; nor is any sacrifice, whetheroftime or money, deemed too great for the obtaining of the benefits arising from it. A richly-furnished mind, a cultivated taste, a polished manner, are distinctions which the richer part of the community particularly affect:and they are most envied who possessin the highest measure such accomplishments. But divine knowledge is consideredas of little worth: though it would enrich the soul beyond all conception, and adorn it with all the most amiable graces, andis therefore most fully characterizedby the name of “pearls,” yethas it no beauty, no excellency, in the eyes of carnalmen: the generalityare as insensible of its value as swine are of the value of pearls, which they would “trample under their feet” as mire and dirt. Of this howeverwe may be assured, that instruction, even though it be in a wayof reproof, lays us under the deepestobligation to him who gives it&&.] Many, instead of being pleased, are only irritated and offended at it— [Nothing under heavenhas ever given more offence than this. Men may utter lewdness and blasphemy, and create but little disgust: but let them bear their testimony againstsin, or proclaim the unsearchable riches of Christ, and instantly an indignation is excitedin every bosom. In the house of Godindeed a certain licence is allowed, provided the preacherbe not too faithful: but in a private company the mention of such things is consideredas a death-blow to socialcomfort, and is reprobated as an insufferable nuisance. Even in the public ministry those who “labour with fidelity in the word and doctrine” are not unfrequently treated with every species ofindignity. No name is too odious for them to bear, no opposition too violent to be raised againstthem.
  19. 19. It is supposed indeed by some, that the offence excitedby ministers arises from the erroneousness oftheir statements, orthe injudiciousness of their manner. But what then shall we say to the treatment which Christ and his Apostles met with? Did our blessedLord want any qualification that could recommend his doctrine? Did he not exhibit “the meekness ofwisdom,” and “speak as neverman spake?” And was not Paul guided and instructed by God himself in his ministrations? Yet were both he and his Divine Master representedas babblers and deceivers;and one cry was raisedagainstthem both, “Awaywith them; it is not fit that they should live.” Nor is it more againstthe doctrines of Christianity that this prejudice exists, than it does againstits practice. The doctrine of “Christ crucified is still to some a stumbling-block, and to others foolishness:” and the same anger that rankled in the bosoms of Herod and Herodias againstJohn, who condemned their incestuous connexion, is calledforth at this time againstany one who shall condemn the customs of the world&&. Our Lord’s words may still be used by all his faithful followers, “The world hateth me, because I testify of it that the works thereof are evil&&.” Doubtless the inveteracy of wickedmen will shew itself in different ways and different degrees, according to the different circumstances under which it is calledforth: but no times or circumstances have ever supersededthe necessityof attending to the caution in the text: there ever have been multitudes who would take offence at the kindest efforts for their welfare&&, and, like ferocious “dogs,wouldturn againand rend you.” Reprove iniquity, and you will still be deemed “the troublers of Israel;” and those who are reproved will sayof you, “I hate Micaiah, for he doth not speak goodof me, but evil.”] From this aversionwhich men feel to religious instruction, it appears, II. That greatcaution is to be used in administering it— The direction in our text was given to the whole multitude of those who heard our Lord’s discourse;and therefore may be consideredas applicable, 1. To ministers—
  20. 20. [Though it is not to be confined to them, it does not exclude them. Doubtless where numbers of persons are assembledto hear the word of God, it is not possible to suit oneselfto the disposition and taste of every individual. The rule which God himself has laid down must in such casesbe followed: “He that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully&&.” A minister must “warn men, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear:” he must “commend himself to every man’s consciencein the sight of God,” “keeping back nothing that is profitable unto them,” but “declaring unto them the whole counselof God.” Still, however, the caution in the text is necessaryfor him. He should considerthe state of his hearers, and should adapt his discourses to their necessities. OurblessedLord, knowing how full of prejudice the Jews were, “spake the word to them in parables, as they were able to hear it.” In like manner, though we must not seek the applause of man, (for “if we please men, we cannot he the servants of Jesus Christ;”) yet we should endeavourto “please allmen for their goodto edification:” we should argue with them on principles which they acknowledge;we should be content to give “milk to babes,” and to reserve the “strong meat” for such as are able to digest it. We should pay attention to every thing that may lessenprejudice and conciliate regard:and, though we must not affect “the wisdom of words, which would only make void the cross ofChrist,” we should “searchout acceptable words,”and be especiallycarefulto “speak the truth in love.” Our greatobject should be not to “deliver our own souls,” (though doubtless we must be careful to do that,) but principally to “win the souls” ofothers.] 2. To Christians in general— [As “men do not light a candle, to put it under a bed or under a bushel, but to give light to those who are in the house,” so God, when he illuminates any soul, expects that the light he has imparted should be diffused for the goodof others. But in endeavouring to instruct others, we should considerthe tune, the manner, the measure of instruction, that will be most likely to ensure success. In particular, we should not press matters when our exhortations are contemned as foolish, or resentedas injurious. Not that our concernshould be about ourselves, as though we fearedeither the contempt of men, or their resentment; but we should be afraid of hardening them, and thereby increasing their guilt and condemnation. As to ourselves, we should gladly
  21. 21. “suffer all things for the elect’s sake:” but for them we should “weep, as it were, in secretplaces&&,”and “gladlyspend and be spent for them, though the more abundantly we love them the less we be loved.” If, indeed, after all our labour, we find that our efforts are only rejectedby them with disdain, we may then with propriety leave them to themselves, and, like the Apostles, bestow our attention on more hopeful subjects&&. As the priests imparted of the holy food to every member of their families, but gave none of it to dogs, so may you give your holy things to others, and withhold it from those who have shewnthemselves so unworthy of it.] We will now apply the subject, 1. To those who are strangers to the truth— [From the indifference which is usually shewn to divine things, it is evident that the value of religious knowledge is but little known. If we could inform persons how to restore their health, or how to recoveran estate, or how to obtain any greattemporal benefit, they would hear us gladly, and follow our advice with thankfulness; but when we speak of spiritual benefits, they have no ears to hear, no hearts to understand: they are ready to say to us, as the demoniac to Christ, “Art thou come to torment us before our time?” But let it not be so with you. Think in what light God represents such conduct&& — — — what regret you will hereafter feel&& — — — and what augmented punishment you will endure&& — — — And may God “open your hearts, that you may attend to the things” that belong unto your peace, before they be for everhid from your eyes!] 2. To those who know it— [Whilst we exhort you to be cautious in admonishing others, we would caution you also againstbeing soondiscouraged. Think not every one assimilatedto dogs or swine because he resists the truth for a season;but give “line upon line, and precept upon precept,” and “instruct in meekness them that oppose themselves, if Godperadventure will give them repentance, and that they may recoverthemselves out of the snare of the devil, by whom they have been led captive at his will.”
  22. 22. And whilst you take upon you to admonish others, be willing to receive admonition also yourselves. It is not every religious professorthat is so open to conviction as he ought to be&&, and that will receive reprooflike David, esteeming it as “an excellentoil, that shall not break his head&&. Watch over your own spirit, therefore, and exemplify in yourselves the conduct you require in others. STUDYLIGHT RESOURCES Adam Clarke Commentary Give not that which is holy - Το αγιον, the holy or sacredthing; i.e. any thing, especially, ofthe sacrificialkind, which had been consecratedto God. The members of this sentence should be transposedthus: - Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, Lest they turn againand rend you: Neither castye your pearls before swine, Lest they trample them under their feet The propriety of this transposition is self-evident. There are many such transpositions as these, both in sacredand profane writers. The following is very remarkable: - "I am black but comely; "As the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon." That is, "I am black as the tents of Kedar, "Comelyas the curtains of Solomon."
  23. 23. See many proofs of this sort of writing in Mr. Wakefield's Commentary. As a generalmeaning of this passage,we may just say: "The sacramentof the Lord's supper, and other holy ordinances which are only instituted for the genuine followers ofChrist, are not to be dispensed to those who are continually returning like the snarling ill-natured dog to their easily predominant sins of rash judgment, barking at and tearing the characters of others by evil speaking, back biting and slandering; nor to him who, like the swine, is frequently returning to wallow in the mud of sensualgratifications and impurities." Albert Barnes'Notes onthe Whole Bible Give not that which is holy … - By some the word “holy” has been supposed to mean “flesh offered in sacrifice,”made holy, or separatedto a sacreduse; but it probably means here “anything connectedwith religion” - admonition, precept, or doctrine. Pearls are precious stones found in shell-fish, chiefly in India, in the waters that surround Ceylon. They are used to denote anything especiallyprecious, Revelation17:4;Revelation18:12-16;Matthew 13:45. In this place they are used to denote the doctrines of the gospel. “Dogs”signify people who spurn, oppose, and abuse that doctrine; people of specialsourness and malignity of temper, who meet it like growling and quarrelsome curs, Philemon 3:2; 2 Peter2:22; Revelation22:15. “Swine” denote those who would trample the precepts underfoot; people of impurity of life; those who are corrupt, polluted, profane, obscene, and sensual;those who would not know the value of the gospel, and who would tread it down as swine would pearls, 2 Peter2:22; Proverbs 11:22. The meaning of this proverb, then, is, do not offer your doctrine to those violent and abusive people who would growl and curse you; nor to those especiallydebasedand profligate who would not perceive its value, would trample it down, and would abuse you. This verse furnishes a beautiful instance of what has been calledthe “introverted parallelism.” The usual mode of poetry among the Hebrews, and a common mode of expressionin proverbs and apothegms, was by the parallelism, where one member of a sentence answeredto another, or expressedsubstantiallythe
  24. 24. same sense with some addition or modification. See the Introduction to the Book ofJob. Sometimes this was alternate, and sometimes it was introverted - where the first and fourth lines would correspond, and the secondand third. This is the case here. The dogs would tear, and not the swine;the swine would trample the pearls under their feet, and not the dogs. It may be thus expressed: Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, Neither castye your pearls before swine, Lest they (that is, the swine) trample them under their feet, And turn again(that is, the dogs)and rend you. The Biblical Illustrator Matthew 7:6 Give not that which is holy unto the dogs. Prudence necessaryin conversing upon religious subjects I. The bad characters and dispositions of some;men here representedby the allusion of “ dogs” and “ swine.” 1. We may be sure they are unworthy the powers and dignity of human nature. There are in their character- 2. How deplorably human nature is capable of being corrupted. 3. Watchagainstall tendencies towards the beginnings of these evil dispositions.
  25. 25. II. The necessityand reasonablenessoftreating the affairs of religion with caution and prudence in our conversing with others. 1. Since we know that sacredthings are so liable to be abused by profane persons. 2. That it may be attended with bad consequencesofill treatment to ourselves-“lestthey turn againand rend you.” (J. Abernethy, M. A.) The dogs and the swine The lessonis one of reverence and discretion. I. As to the preaching of the gospel. II. As to statements ofspiritual experience. III. As to the admission to sacredprivileges and functions in the Church. (D. Fraser, D. D.) Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither castye your pearls before swine, lest haply they trample them under their feet, and turn and rend you. Dummelow thinks this passagemeans "that the most holy things ought not to be offered indiscriminately to all persons."[1]In such a view, the dogs and swine would refer to mean and vicious persons who have no desire to apprehend spiritual things. This interpretation has come down from very ancient times. Clement of Alexandria said, "It is difficult to exhibit the true and transparent words respecting the true light to swinishand untrained hearers."[2]Another view is that the sacredabilities and powers of life should
  26. 26. not be squandered upon the appetites and lusts of the flesh which can never be satisfiedbut which end by "rending" the giver. This, of course, is true, but is not necessarilywhat Jesus saidhere. [1] J. R. Dummelow, One Volume Commentary (New York: Funk and Wagnalls Company, 1932), p. 649. [2] Clement of Alexandria, The Stromata (Grand Rapids, Michigan:William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1951), The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. II, p. 312. John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible Give not that which is holy to the dogs,....Dogswere uncleancreatures by the law; the price of one might not be brought into the house of the Lord, for a vow, Deuteronomy23:18 yea, these creatures were not admitted into several temples of the HeathensF8. Things profane and unclean, as flesh torn by beasts, were orderedto be given to them, Exodus 22:31 but nothing that was holy was to be given them, as holy flesh, or the holy oblations, or anything that was consecratedto holy uses;to which is the allusion here. It is a common maximF9 with the Jews, ot ,sgniht yloh meeder ton od yeht taht" ,‫לכלבים‬ ‫להאכילן‬‫הקדשים‬ ‫את‬ ‫פודין‬ ‫שאין‬ give to the dogs to eat".' Here the phrase is used in a metaphoricalsense;and is generally understood of not delivering or communicating the holy word of God, and the truths of the Gospel, comparable to pearls, or the ordinances of it, to persons notoriously vile and sinful: to men, who being violent and furious persecutors, and impudent blasphemers, are comparedto "dogs";or to such, who are scandalouslyvile, impure in their lives and conversations, and are therefore compared to swine; neither castye your pearls before swine. But since the subject Christ is upon is reproof, it seems ratherto be the designof these expressions, that men should be cautious, and prudent, in rebuking and admonishing such persons for their
  27. 27. sins, in whom there is no appearance orhope of success;yea, where there is danger of sustaining loss; lest they trample them under their feet, and turn againand rend you: that is, despise the admonitions and reproofs given, and hurt the persons who give them, either by words or deeds; see Proverbs 9:7. The Jews have some sayings much like these, and will serve to illustrate themF11; ‫החזירים‬ ‫לפני‬‫הפנינים‬ ‫תשליכו‬ ‫,אל‬ "do not castpearls before swine", nor deliver wisdom to him, who knows not the excellencyof it; for wisdom is better than pearls, and he that does not seek afterit, is worse than a swine.' Geneva Study Bible 2 Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither castye your a pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn againand rend you. (2) The stiff-neckedand stubborn enemies of the gospelare unworthy to have it preachedunto them. (a) A pearl is known among the Greeks forits oriental brightness: and a pearl was in ancient times greatly valued by the Latins: for a pearl that Cleopatra had was valued at two hundred and fifty thousand crowns:and the word is now borrowedfrom that, to signify the most precious heavenly doctrine. Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible Prostitution of Holy Things. The opposite extreme to that of censoriousnessis here condemned - want of discrimination of character.
  28. 28. Give not that which is holy unto the dogs — savage orsnarling haters of truth and righteousness. neither castye your pearls before swine — the impure or coarse,who are incapable of appreciating the priceless jewelsofChristianity. In the East, dogs are wilder and more gregarious, and, feeding on carrion and garbage, are coarserand fiercerthan the same animals in the West. Dogs and swine, besides being ceremoniallyunclean, were peculiarly repulsive to the Jews, and indeed to the ancients generally. lest they trample them under their feet — as swine do. and turn againand rend you — as dogs do. Religionis brought into contempt, and its professors insulted, when it is forcedupon those who cannotvalue it and will not have it. But while the indiscriminately zealous have need of this caution, let us be on our guard againsttoo readily setting our neighbors down as dogs and swine, and excusing ourselves from endeavoring to do them good on this poor plea. People's New Testament Give not that which is holy unto dogs. The dog was regardedan unclean animal by the Jewishlaw. They probably representsnarling, scoffing opposers. The characteristic ofdogs is brutality. To try to instill holy things into such low, unclean, and sordid brutal minds is useless. Neither castpearls before swine. The swine were also unclean. They would have no use for pearls, and perhaps would rush upon those who scatteredthe pearls. So, too, there are men so dull, imbruted and senseless, as to reject the pearls of truth. It is our duty to help and to try to save others, but we must use common sense.
  29. 29. Robertson's WordPictures in the New Testament That which is holy unto the dogs (το αγιοντοις κυσιν — to hagion tois kusin). It is not clearto what “the holy” refers, to ear-rings or to amulets, but that would not appeal to dogs. Trench(Sermon on the Mount, p. 136)says that the reference is to meat offeredin sacrifice that must not be flung to dogs:“It is not that the dogs would not eat it, for it would be welcome to them; but that it would be a profanation to give it to them, thus to make it a skubalon, Exodus 22:31.” The yelping dogs would jump at it. Dogs are kin to wolves and infest the streets oforiental cities. Your pearls before the swine (τους μαργαριτας μωνεμπροστεν των χοιρων — tous margaritas hūmōn emprosthen tōn choirōn). The word pearl we have in the name Margarita (Margaret). Pearls look a bit like peas or acorns and would deceive the hogs until they discoveredthe deception. The wild boars haunt the Jordan Valley still and are not far removed from bears as they trample with their feet and rend with their tusks those who have angered them. Vincent's Word Studies That which is holy ( τὸ ἅγιον) The holy thing, as of something commonly recognizedas sacred. The reference is to the meat offered in sacrifice. The picture is that of a priest throwing a piece of flesh from the altar of burnt-offering to one of the numerous dogs which infest the streets of Easterncities. Pearls before swine ( μαργαρίτας ἔμπροσθεντῶν χοίρων) Another picture of a rich man wantonly throwing handfuls of small pearls to swine. Swine in Palestine were atbest but half-tamed, the hog being an unclean animal. The wild boar haunts the Jordan valley to this day. Small pearls, calledby jewellers seed-pearls, wouldresemble the pease ormaize on which the swine feed. They would rush upon them when scattered, and,
  30. 30. discovering the cheat, would trample upon them and turn their tusks upon the man who scatteredthem. Turn ( στραφέντες ) The Rev. properly omits again. The word graphically pictures the quick, sharp turn of the boar. Rend ( ῥήξωσιν ) Lit., break;and well chosento express the peculiar characterof the wound made by the boar's tusk, which is not a cut, but a long tear or rip. Wesley's ExplanatoryNotes Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither castye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn againand rend you. Here is another instance of that transposition, where of the two things proposed, the latter is first treatedof. Give not — to dogs - lest turning they rend you: Castnot - to swine - lest they trample them under foot. Yet even then, when the beam is castout of thine own eye, Give not - That is, talk not of the deep things of God to those whom you know to be wallowing in sin. neither declare the greatthings God hath done for your soulto the profane, furious, persecuting wretches. Talk not of perfection, for instance, to the former; not of your experience to the latter. But our Lord does in nowise forbid us to reprove, as occasionis, both the one and the other. The Fourfold Gospel Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither castyour pearls before the swine1, lesthaply they trample them under their feet, and turn and rend you.
  31. 31. Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither castyour pearls before the swine. The connectionhere is not obvious. This saying, however, appears to be a limitation of the law againstjudging. The Christian must not be censoriously judicial, but he should be discriminatingly judicious. He must know dogs and swine when he sees them, and must not treat them as priests and kings, the fit objects for the bestowalofholy food and goodlyornaments. Dogs and swine were unclean animals. The former were usually undomesticatedand were often fierce. In the Eastthey are still the self-appointedscavengersofthe street. The latter were undomesticatedamong the Jews, and hence are spoken of as wild and liable to attack man. Meats connectedwith the sacrificial service of the altar were holy. Even unclean men were not permitted to eat of them, much less unclean brutes. What was left after the priests and clean persons had eatenwas to be burned with fire (Leviticus 6:24-30;Leviticus 7:15-21). To give holy things to dogs was to profane them. We are here forbidden, then, to use any religious office, work, or ordinance, in such a manner as to degrade or profane it. Saloons ought not to be opened with prayer, nor ought adulterous marriages to be performed by a man of God. To give pearls to swine is to press the claims of the gospelupon those who despise it until they persecute you for annoying them with it. When such men are known, they are to be avoided. Jesus actedon this principle in refusing to answerthe Pharisees, andthe apostles did the same in turning to the Gentiles when their Jewishhearers would begin to contradictand blaspheme. Compare Leviticus 15:2,3;Leviticus 21:23-27;Acts 13:46; Acts 19:9. Abbott's Illustrated New Testament By that which is holy, and pearls, are meant the truths and doctrines of the gospel;by dogs, and swine, debasedand utterly profligate men. The sentiment is, that religious instruction is not to be urged upon men who are so sunk in depravity that they will receive it with imprecations and blasphemy.
  32. 32. Calvin's Commentary on the Bible 6.Give not that which is holy It is unnecessaryto repeatoftener, that Matthew gives us here detached sentences, whichought not to be viewedas a continued discourse. The present instruction is not at all connectedwith what came immediately before, but is entirely separate from it. Christ reminds the Apostles, and, through them, all the teachers ofthe Gospel, to reserve the treasure of heavenly wisdom for the children of God alone, and not to expose it to unworthy and profane despisers of his word. But here a question arises:for he afterwards commanded to preach the Gospelto every creature, (Mark 16:15;) and Paul says, that the preaching of it is a deadly savorto wickedmen, (2 Corinthians 2:16;) and nothing is more certain than that it is every day held out to unbelievers, by the command of God, for a testimony, that they may be rendered the more inexcusable. I reply: As the ministers of the Gospel, and those who are called to the office of teaching, cannotdistinguish betweenthe children of God and swine, it is their duty to present the doctrine of salvationindiscriminately to all. Though many may appear to them, at first, to be hardened and unyielding, yet charity forbids that such persons should be immediately pronounced to be desperate. It ought to be understood, that dogs and swine are names given not to every kind of debauched men, or to those who are destitute of the fear of God and of true godliness, but to those who, by clearevidences, have manifested a hardened contempt of God, so that their disease appears to be incurable. In another passage, Christplaces the dogs in contrastwith the electpeople of God and the household of faith, It is not proper to take the children’s bread, and give it to dogs, (Matthew 15:27.)But by dogs and swine he means here those who are so thoroughly imbued with a wickedcontempt of God, that they refuse to acceptany remedy. Hence it is evident, how grievously the words of Christ are tortured by those who think that he limits the doctrine of the Gospelto those only who are teachable and well-prepared. Forwhat will be the consequence,if nobody is invited by pious teachers, until by his obedience he has anticipated the grace
  33. 33. of God? On the contrary, we are all by nature unholy, and prone to rebellion. The remedy of salvationmust be refusedto none, till they have rejectedit so baselywhen offeredto them, as to make it evident that they are reprobate and self-condemned, ( αὐτοκατάκριτοι,) as Paul says of heretics, (Titus 3:11.) There are two reasons, whyChrist forbade that the Gospelshould be offered to lost despisers. It is an open profanation of the mysteries of God to expose them to the taunts of wickedmen. Another reasonis, that Christ intended to comfort his disciples, that they might not ceaseto bestow their labors on the electof God in teaching the Gospel, though they saw it wantonly rejectedby wickedand ungodly men. His meaning is lest this inestimable treasure should be held in little estimation, swine and dogs must not be permitted to approach it. There are two designations which Christ bestows onthe doctrine of salvation:he calls it holy, and compares it to pearls. Hence we learn how highly we ought to esteemthis doctrine. Lest these trample them under their feetChrist appears to distinguish betweenthe swine and the dogs:attributing brutal stupidity to the swine, and rage to the dogs And certainly, experience shows, thatthere are two such classesofdespisers ofGod. Whateveris taught in Scripture, for instance, about the corrupt nature of man, free justification, and eternalelection, is turned by many into an encouragementto sloth and to carnalindulgence. Such persons are fitly and justly pronounced to be swine Others, again, tear the pure doctrine, and its ministers, with sacrilegious reproaches,as if they threw away all desire to do well, all fear of God, and all care for their salvation. Although he employs both names to describe the incurable opponents of the Word of God, yet, by a twofold comparison, he points out briefly in what respectthe one differs from the other. James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary THAT WHICH IS HOLY ‘Give not that which is holy unto the dogs.’ Matthew 7:6
  34. 34. Give not that which is holy unto the dogs—thatis to say, never surrender the higher to the lower, never sink the celestialto the terrestrial;never desecrate that which has been consecrated. Thatwas the sound piece of advice that our Lord gave to men and women who were trying to aim at a higher life while they were living in and mixing with the world. As they neededthe lessonthen, we want it now, when hardly anything is regarded as holy. What shall we say then that we speciallyneed to remember is in dangerof losing its sacred character? I. The holiness of manhood.—Manhoodis holy, and yet men desecrate their manhood. I take up some novel, some book, and I read there a characterso true to life, a man who carries an atmosphere of unholiness whereverhe goes, a man whose charactermen shudder at when he goes into their clubs, a man whose presence womenfearwhen he goes into their drawing-rooms. It is hard to keepour manhood holy in these days, and as we face the real true facts of life we think perhaps of some one man from that greatmass of middle-class men who are the real strength of England, and we think what his manhood is exposedto. He is living, perhaps, in lodgings, he gets home from his work tired and weary, he has his meal alone, and then he goes out through the open door into the streets, and then, to use Bible language, sinlieth at the door. There it is curled up like a dog on the doorstepall ready to meet him. There is the testto his manhood. II. The holiness of womanhood.—And the same is true of womanhood. We know there are women who in one mad moment have thrown their holiest and their best to the dogs. We know their temptations, we know what it means to them. They have loweredthe level of womanhood. They have desecratedthe consecrated. Theyhave made themselves a sort of right of way for the public to walk over. To them the Mastersays, as to the men, ‘Give not that which is holy to the dogs.’ III. The holiness of childhood.—The children are holy; if ever there is a time in life when men and womenhave been holy it is when they were children. And yet look how children are by their parents literally thrown to the dogs, sent out into life unwarned of everything. What wonder that they go when they are sent to the dogs!
  35. 35. IV. The holiness of health.—Health is holy. Don’t fling awayhealth as men and women do so wildly, so recklessly. Takecare ofthe drugs, take care of the stimulants that are so easily to be had. Take care ofthe way you spend your recreationhours. Life is in that sense holy, and it is to be treated as you would treat a church or churchyard. Fence it in from the dogs, fence it in from all that desecrates it. All life really is sacredand holy. Your interest, your work in life is holy. —CanonHolmes. Illustrations (1) ‘The picture is of a glorious and a greattemple, the priests sacrificing some spotless lamb, and as they stand at the altar the picture is that of an Eastern dog—a coarse,cruelscavenger—creeping up the distance of the temple, and then the priest taking a piece of this pure spotless lamb and throwing it to the dog. Every Jew would regard it as a scandal, every one to whom our Lord was speaking would know to what He referred.’ (2) ‘I have read the story of a child whose afterlife was the life of many a man. He was a judge’s son, and he stood at last in a felon’s dock, and the judge who was trying the case knew, andknew well, the man’s father. And he said to the prisoner at the dock:“Don’t you remember your father as you stand in that dock?” “Yes,”was the reply, “I do remember my father, and the greatest remembrance that I have of him is that whenever I wanted a word of advice, wheneverI wanted him to enter into my boy life, he replied, ‘Go away, and don’t worry or bother.’” And the result was that an Englishjudge was enabled to complete a great work that he was writing upon the law of trusts, when there in the dock was his ownson, an example of the way in which he had failed to keepthat most sacredtrust of all—the trust of bringing up a child that he had brought into the world.’ John Trapp Complete Commentary
  36. 36. 6 Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither castye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn againand rend you. Ver. 6. Give not that which is holy to dogs, &c.]Having shown how, here our Saviour shows whom {a} we should admonish. Give not holy things, wholesome counselsorrebukes (called elsewhere"reproofs oflife," Proverbs 15:31, precious balms, excellentointments, which may heal a wound but make none, Psalms 141:1)to dogs, that will not be taken by the ears; or swine, that if they light upon such a pearl, will only grunt and go their ways. "Bewareof dogs, beware of evil workers," Philippians 3:2, such especiallyas have wrought so hard, walkedso far and so fast, that now they are set down to rest in the seat of the scornful. {b} Beware ofsuch botches;there is no goodto be done upon them, or to be gottenby them, but a greatdeal of danger. The Cynics admonished all they met; if men would not hearken, they counted it an easyloss to castawaya few words upon them. But our Saviour prescribeth us prudence and caution. He will not have holy speeches spentand spilt upon despisers, his pearls trampled on by swinish epicures. Mourn we may, with Jeremiah, {Jeremiah 9:1} for such mad dogs as furiously fly in the face of them that fairly tell them of their faults. Pray we must and pity such sensual swine, such sottish and scurrilous wretches, as grunt againstgoodness,and feed insatiably upon the garbage ofcarnal contentments. {c} As dogs and swine were unclean creatures and unfit for sacrifice, so are those for admonition that would entertain it with cruelty or scurrility. "Speak notin the ears of a fool," saith Solomon, "forhe will despise the wisdom of thy words," Proverbs 23:9. And again, "Reprove not a scorner, lesthe hate thee; rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee," Proverbs 9:8. David prays for a friendly reprover, Psalms 141:5. Jobcries, {Job 13:23}"Make me to know my transgressionand my sin." Hezekiah stormed not at that sharp and sad message, Isaiah39:8. Jonah, though testy enough, lays his hand upon his mouth, and seals up his prophecy with silence after God’s reprehension. Tacuit virgo licet publice perstricta. The Virgin Mary held her peace, John 2:4, when her Son took her up so short for her forwardness, before all the
  37. 37. company. So did St Peter, when St Paul took him up for halting at Antioch, Galatians 2:14, and commendeth that epistle whereinSt Paul had witnessed that reproof, among the rest, 2 Peter3:16. The two disciples going to Emmaus constrainedthat strangerthat had chided them for their unbelief, to abide and eatwith them, Luke 24:29. And lukewarm Laodicea, so roundly reproved and sorelythreatened with shameful spewing out, repented, and was reformed; as some ground and gatherfrom that title our Saviour assumes in the preface to the epistle, "the beginning of the creationof God." Eusebius also testifieth that there was a flourishing Church there in his days. {d} Next to the not deserving of a reproof, is the well taking of it. No sugarcan deprive a pill of its bitterness. None but the gracious cansay, "Let the righteous smite me." Bees onlypass by roses and violets, and sit upon thyme, which is hot and biting. Mostmen, when we seek to fetch them out of their sins, to awaken them out of the snare of the devil, they fret and snarl, as those that are wakenedout of sleepare apt to do. They snuff and take scorn, are as horse and mule, untameable, untractable; the more you rub their galledbacks the more they kick. These strayasses willnot be brought home, Exodus 23:4-5. These old bottles will break with such new wine. The more you touch these toads, the more they swell; the more you meddle with these serpents, the more they gatherpoison to spit at you. Go about to coolthem, you shall but add to their heat, as the smith’s forge fries when coldwater is castupon it; and as hot waterif stirred castethup the more fume. Josephis for his goodwill in this kind hated of his brethren; Jonathan of Saul, who casta javelin at him; Micaiahof Ahab, Amos of Amaziah, Jeremiahof his flagitious countrymen, Christ of the Jews, Paulof the Galatians, JohnBaptist of Herod. If John touch his white sin (and who will stand still to have his eyes pickedout?) John must to prison. In other things he will dance after John’s pipe; but if his incestbe meddled with, John must hop headless. Stayto wrestthat string in tune, and it will snap and break upon you. Now for such scoffing Ishmaels and furious opposites, that refuse to be reformed, hate to be healed, let them read their doom, Psalms 50:21-22, andsee here their destiny. Every goodman is bound in conscienceto pass by them as incorrigible, irreformable, and not to afford them so much as a pull out of the fire, so much as a caveatto prevent those curses that are coming upon them. But he that is filthy must be filthy still; he must wallow as a swine, and perish in his own corruptions; he must rage as a
  38. 38. mad dog, and run into the pit of hell, nobody must offer to stop or stay him in his career. {a} Hinc illud monitum, Pythag. σιτιον εις αμισθα μη εμβαλλειν. Plut. {b} Psalms 1:1, εν καθεδρα τωνλοιμων. Sept. {c} χοιρος, ofχερας, filth. So porcus; quasi spurcus. {d} Posttam gravem επιτιμιανhaud dubie resipuit. Pareus. The Popular Commentary by Paul E. Kretzmann An additional counsel: v. 6. Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither castye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn againand rend you. Moralcriticism is necessary, religious teaching cannotbe discarded. But it would be the height of folly and the very contrary of unauthorized judging to unload one's religious beliefs and experiences, tendersentiments, moral convictions, on any one that comes along, no matter in what condition he might be. For Christians especiallythe sacreddoctrines of Christ are the precious pearls on the ring of His mercy. To castthese before dogs and swine, before people to whom nothing is sacred, that blaspheme everything holy, is to expose the most sacredbeauty to coarseness.And the result is that those very people are encouragedto profane the holy name of God, to think it a proper
  39. 39. subject of blasphemous attacks. And it cannotfail: some of the mud will spatter on him that lackedjudgment; he will be responsible for the desecration, andtherefore also guilty before God. Note the figure of speech used by the Lord, the secondverb referring to the first subject, and the first verb to the secondsubject. Sermon Bible Commentary Matthew 7:6, Matthew 7:12 Consider:— I. The reserve which will not give things holy to dogs. The dog was reckoned, with the swine, among the unclean animals. They were both of them types of the grosslysensualkind of sinners, given over to mere brute appetite, and insensible to any higher life. Hence it was a common saying, "Without are dogs," to indicate the generalcarnality of the Gentile world. Things holy belong to the holy, or at any rate to those who recognize them to be holy, and will treat them, therefore, with the reverence which is their due. We are bound to actso that these sacredthings shall not be despised, and that our goodshall not be evil spokenof, and that we shall not needlesslyarouse the opposition and hatred to spiritual concerns which these carnal minds are so ready to indulge in. II. There is also a similar reserve with regardto things precious:"Neithercast your pearls before swine." The things precious, indicated by pearls, may be also, no doubt, very sacred, but they do not belong to the holy privacies of religious life. On the contrary, they are meant for use and free circulation; for by the pearls I understand chiefly the truths of the Gospel. This second proverb implies that even in the performance of the great Christian duty of preaching the Gospelthere is still left room for some discretion and reserve, lest by unwise speechwe bring dishonour on the truth and needless
  40. 40. persecutionon ourselves. These two things must combine ere we shall be justified in keeping silence. III. For our practicalguidance in such matters it seems to me we must always read these words in the light of the greatprinciple, "Whatsoeverye would that men should do unto you, do ye even so to them." That is to say, it is our duty in certain casesto considerhow we ourselves wouldlike it if the truth were forced on our attention at such a time, or in such a way, as to provoke our oppositionto it, and lead us into sinful rejection of its claims. W. C. Smith, The Sermon on the Mount, p. 292. Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible Matthew 7:6. Give not that which is holy, &c.— Lest these trample,—and those turn againand tear you. There is a similar maxim to this in the Talmudical writings: "Do not castpearls before swine;" to which is added, by way of explanation, "Do not offer wisdom to one who knows not the price of it." This was one reasonwhy our Saviour taught in parables. Compare Acts 13:45-46. Expository Notes with PracticalObservations onthe New Testament By that which is holy, understand the word and ordinances in general, but admonition and reproof in particular: By dogs and swine, incorrigible and unreclaimable sinners, hardened scorners ofholy things: It is a proverbial speech, expressing how sure charitable reprehensions are to be castaway upon incorrigble sinners. Learn, 1. That it is possible for sinners to arrive at such a height and pitch in wickednessand sin, that it may be a Christian's duty not to admonish or reprove them. Observe, 2. How Christ provides, as for the honour of his word, so for the safetyof those that publish it. As Christ will not have his word offered to some
  41. 41. sinners, lest they should abuse it, so also lestthey should abuse those that bring it: When sinners turn swine, and we are in dangerof being rent by them, Christ himself gives us a permission to ceasereproving of them. Golden Chain Commentary on the Gospels "Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither castye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn againand rend you." Aug.: Becausethe simplicity to which He had been directing in the foregoing precepts might lead some wrongly to conclude that it was equally wrong to hide the truth as to utter what was false, He well adds, "Give not that which is holy to the dogs, and castnot your pearls before swine." Pseudo-Chrys.:Otherwise;The Lord had commanded us to love our enemies, and to do goodto those that sin againstus. That from this Priests might not think themselves obliged to communicate also the things of Godto such, He checkedany such thought saying, "Give not that which is holy to the dogs;" as much as to say, I have bid you love your enemies, and do them goodout of your temporal goods, but not out of My spiritual goods, without distinction. For they are your brethren by nature but not by faith, and Godgives the good things of this life equally to the worthy and the unworthy, but not so spiritual graces. Aug., Serm. in Mont., ii, 20:Let us see now what is the holy thing, what are the dogs, whatthe pearls, what the swine? The holy thing is all that it were impiety to corrupt; a sin which may be committed by the will, though the thing itself be undone. The pearls are all spiritual things that are to be highly esteemed. Thus though one and the same thing may be called both the holy thing and a pearl, yet it is calledholy because it is not to be corrupted; and calleda pearl because it is not be contemned. Pseudo-Chrys.:Otherwise;"That which is holy" denotes baptism, the grace of Christ"s body, and the like;but the mysteries of the truth are intended by the pearls. Foras pearls are inclosedin shells, and such in the deeps of the sea,
  42. 42. so the divine mysteries inclosedin words are lodged in the deep meaning of Holy Scripture. Chrys.: And to those that are right-minded and have understanding, when revealedthey appear good;but to those without understanding, they seemto be more deserving reverence because theyare not understood. Aug.: The dogs are those that assaultthe truth; the swine we may not unsuitably take for those that despise the truth. Therefore because dogs leap forth to rend in pieces, andwhat they rend, suffer not to continue whole, He said, "Give not that which is holy to the dogs;" because they strive to the utmost of their powerto destroythe truth. The swine though they do not assaultby biting as dogs, yet do they defile by trampling upon, and therefore He said, "Castnot your pearls before swine." Rabanus:Or; The dogs are returned to their vomit; the swine not yet returned, but wallowing in the mire of vices. Pseudo-Chrys.:Otherwise;The dog and the swine are unclean animals; the dog indeed in every respect, as he neither chews the cud, nor divides the hoof; but swine in one respectonly, seeing they divide the hoof, though they do not chew the cud. Hence I think that we are to understand by the dog, the Gentiles who are altogetherunclean, both in their life, and in their faith; but by the swine are to be understood heretics, because they seemto call upon the name of the Lord. "Give not therefore that which is holy to the dogs," for that baptism and the other sacraments are not to be given but to them that have the faith. In like manner the mysteries of the truth, that is, the pearls, are not to be given but to such as desire the truth and live with human reason. If then you castthem to the swine, that is, to such as are grovelling in impurity of life, they do not understand their preciousness,but value them like to other worldly fables, and tread them under foot with their carnal life. Aug.: That which is despised is saidto be trodden under foot: hence it is said, "Lestperchance they tread them under foot."
  43. 43. Gloss. interlin.: He says, "Lestperchance," becauseit may be that they will wiselyturn from their uncleanness. [ed. note: the gloss. has "guia non possunt."] Aug.: That which follows, "Turn againand rend you," He means not the pearls themselves, for these they tread under foot, and when they turn again that they may hear something further, then they rend him by whom the pearls on which they had trode had been cast. For you will not easilyfind what will please him who has despisedthings god by great toil. Whoeverthen undertake to teachsuch, I see not how they shall not be trode upon and rent by those they teach. Pseudo-Chrys.:Or; The swine not only trample upon the pearls by their carnallife, but after a little they turn, and by disobedience rend those who offend them. Yea often when offended they bring false accusationagainst them as sowers ofnew dogmas. The dogs also having trode upon holy things by their impure actions, by their disputings rend the preacherof truth. Chrys.: Well is that said, "Lestthey turn;" for they feign meekness thatthey may learn; and when they have learned, they attack. Pseudo-Chrys.:With goodreasonHe forbade pearls to be given to swine. For if they are not to be setbefore swine that are the less unclean, how much more are they to be withhold from dogs that are so much more unclean. But respecting the giving that which is holy, we cannot hold the same opinion; seeing we often give the benediction to Christians who live as the brutes; and that not because they deserve to receive it, but lest perchance being more grievously offended they should perish utterly. Aug.: We must be careful therefore not to explain ought to him who does not receive it; for men the rather seek that which is hidden than that which is opened. He either attacks from ferocity as a dog, or overlooks fromstupidity as swine. But it does not follow that if the truth be kept hid, falsehoodis uttered. The Lord Himself who never spoke falsely, yet sometimes concealedthe truth, as in that, "I have yet many things to sayunto you, the which ye are not now able
  44. 44. to bear." [John 16:12]But if any is unable to receive these things because of his filthiness, we must first cleanse him as far as lays in our power either by word or deed. But in that the Lord is found to have said some things which many who heard Him did not receive, but either rejectedor contemned them, we are not to think that therein He gave the holy thing to the dogs, or castHis pearls before swine. He gave to those who were able to receive, and who were in the company, whom it was not fit should be neglectedfor the uncleanness ofthe rest. And though those who tempted Him might perish in those answers which He gave to them, yet those who could receive them by occasionofthese inquiries heard many useful things. He therefore who knows whatshould be answeredought to make answer, for their sakes atleastwho might fall into despair should they think that the question proposedis one that cannot be answered. But this only in the case of such matters as pertain to instruction of salvation; of things superfluous or harmful nothing should be said; but it should then be explained for what reasonwe ought not to make answerin such points to the enquirer. Greek TestamentCriticalExegeticalCommentary 6.] The connexion, see below. τὸ ἅγιον] Some have thought this a mistranslation of the Chaldee, ‫א‬ ָ‫ד‬ ָ‫ד‬ָ‫,ק‬ an earring, or amulet; but the connexionis not at all improved by it. Pearls bear a resemblance to peas or acorns, the foodof swine, but earrings none whateverto the food of dogs. The similitude is derived from τὸ ἅγιον, or τὰ ἅγια, the meat offered in sacrifice, ofwhich no unclean person was to eat (Leviticus 22:6-7 ; Leviticus 22:10; Leviticus 22:14 (where τὸ ἅγ. is used), 15, 16). Similarly in the ancient Christian Liturgies and Fathers, τὰ ἅγια are the consecratedelements in the Holy Communion. The fourteenth canonof the Council of Laodicæa orders μὴ τὰ ἅγια … εἰς ἑτερας παροικίας διαπέμπεσθαι. Again, Cyril of Jerus.: μετὰ ταῦτα λέγει ὁ ἱερεύς τὰ ἅγια τοῖς ἁγίοις. ἅγια, τὰ προκείμενα, ἐπιφοίτησινδεξάμενα ἁγίου πνεύματος. (See Suiceron the word.)
  45. 45. Thus interpreted, the saying would be one full of meaning to the Jews. As Abp. Trenchobserves (Serm. Mount, p. 136), “It is not that the dogs would not eatit, for it would be welcome to them; but that it would be a profanation to give it to them, thus to make it a σκύβαλον, Exodus 22:3.” The other part of the similitude is of a different character, andbelongs entirely to the swine, who having castto them pearls, something like their natural food, whose value is inappreciable by them, in fury trample them with their feet, and turning againstthe donor, rend him with their tusks. The connexionwith the foregoing and following verses is this: “Judege not,” &c.;“attempt not the correctionof others, when you need it far more yourselves:” still, be not such mere children, as not to distinguish the characters ofthose with whom you have to do. Give not that which is holy to dogs,” &c. Then, as a humble hearer might be disposedto reply, ‘If this last be a measure of the divine dealings, what bounties can I expectat God’s hand?’ (This, to which Stier objects, R. Jesu, i. 233, edn. 2, I must still hold to be the immediate connexion, as shewn by the knowing how to give goodgifts, and the instances adducedbelow.)— (Matthew 7:7), ‘Ask of God, and He will give to eachof you: for this is His own will, that you shall obtain by asking (Matthew 7:8),—goodthings, good for eachin his place and degree (Matthew 7:10-11), not unwholesome or unfitting things. Therefore (Matthew 7:12) do ye the same to others, as ye wish to be done, and as God does, to you: viz. give that which is goodfor each, to each, not judging uncharitably on the one hand, nor casting pearls before swine on the other.’ Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae DISCOURSE:1327 CAUTION TO BE USED IN REPROVING Matthew 7:6. Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither castye your pearls before swine, lestthey trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you,
  46. 46. IN the holy Scriptures there are not only such directions as are necessaryfor the saving of the soul, but such also as are of a prudential nature, calculated for the rectifying of our judgment, and the regulating of our conduct, in less important matters. A pious personwould obtain salvation, though he should not be discreetin his mode of communicating instruction or reproof to others. But it is desirable that “the man of God should be perfect, throughly furnished unto all goodworks:” and therefore he should attend as well to those admonitions which are of secondaryimportance, as to those which relate to the fundamental points of faith or practice. The words before us are connectedwith the prohibition respecting the judging of others. To judge others uncharitably will expose us to similar treatment from them, as well as to the displeasure of Almighty God. Before we presume to judge others at all, we ought to be diligent in searching out and amending our ownfaults; without which we are but ill qualified to reprove the faults of others. We ought also to considerthe state of the person whom we undertake to reprove: for if he be hardened in his wickedness, and disposedto resentour well-meant endeavours, it will be more prudent to let him alone, and to wait for some seasonwhenwe may speak to him with a better prospectof success. Suchis the import of the caution in our text; from whence we may observe, I. That religious instruction is often most unworthily received— The value of religious instruction is but little known— [Education in generalis esteemedone of the greatestblessingswe canenjoy; nor is any sacrifice, whetheroftime or money, deemed too great for the obtaining of the benefits arising from it. A richly-furnished mind, a cultivated taste, a polished manner, are distinctions which the richer part of the community particularly affect:and they are most envied who possessin the highest measure such accomplishments. But divine knowledge is consideredas of little worth: though it would enrich the soul beyond all conception, and adorn it with all the most amiable graces, andis therefore most fully characterizedby the name of “pearls,” yethas it no beauty, no excellency, in the eyes of carnalmen: the generalityare as insensible of its value as swine are of the value of pearls, which they would “trample under their feet” as mire and dirt. Of this howeverwe may be assured, that instruction, even though it
  47. 47. be in a wayof reproof, lays us under the deepestobligation to him who gives it [Note:Proverbs 25:11-12.].] Many, instead of being pleased, are only irritated and offended at it— [Nothing under heavenhas ever given more offence than this. Men may utter lewdness and blasphemy, and create but little disgust: but let them bear their testimony againstsin, or proclaim the unsearchable riches of Christ, and instantly an indignation is excitedin every bosom. In the house of Godindeed a certain licence is allowed, provided the preacherbe not too faithful: but in a private company the mention of such things is consideredas a death-blow to socialcomfort, and is reprobated as an insufferable nuisance. Even in the public ministry those who “labour with fidelity in the word and doctrine” are not unfrequently treated with every species ofindignity. No name is too odious for them to bear, no opposition too violent to be raised againstthem. It is supposed indeed by some, that the offence excitedby ministers arises from the erroneousness oftheir statements, orthe injudiciousness of their manner. But what then shall we sayto the treatment which Christ and his Apostles met with? Did our blessed Lord want any qualification that could recommend his doctrine? Did he not exhibit “the meekness ofwisdom,” and “speak as neverman spake?” And was not Paul guided and instructed by God himself in his ministrations? Yet were both he and his Divine Master representedas babblers and deceivers;and one cry was raisedagainstthem both, “Awaywith them; it is not fit that they should live.” Nor is it more againstthe doctrines of Christianity that this prejudice exists, than it does againstits practice. The doctrine of “Christ crucified is still to some a stumbling-block, and to others foolishness:” and the same anger that rankled in the bosoms of Herod and Herodias againstJohn, who condemned their incestuous connexion, is calledforth at this time againstany one who shall condemn the customs of the world [Note:It is said of Herodias, ἐνεῖχεν αὺτῷ, which we translate “She had a quarrel againsthim” but the idea seems to be, “She fastenedon him, like a dog,” that would tear him to pieces. Mark 6:19.]. Our Lord’s words may still be used by all his faithful followers, “The world hateth me, because I testify of it that the works thereofare evil [Note:
  48. 48. John 7:7.].” Doubtless the inveteracyof wickedmen will shew itself in different ways and different degrees, according to the different circumstances under which it is calledforth: but no times or circumstances have ever supersededthe necessityof attending to the caution in the text: there ever have been multitudes who would take offence at the kindestefforts for their welfare [Note:Proverbs 9:7-8.], and, like ferocious “dogs, wouldturn again and rend you.” Reprove iniquity, and you will still be deemed“the troublers of Israel;” and those who are reproved will sayof you, “I hate Micaiah, for he doth not speak goodofme, but evil.”] From this aversionwhich men feel to religious instruction, it appears, II. That greatcaution is to be used in administering it— The direction in our text was given to the whole multitude of those who heard our Lord’s discourse; and therefore may be consideredas applicable, 1. To ministers— [Though it is not to be confined to them, it does not exclude them. Doubtless where numbers of persons are assembledto hear the word of God, it is not possible to suit oneselfto the disposition and taste of every individual. The rule which God himself has laid down must in such casesbe followed: “He that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully [Note:Jeremiah 23:28.].” A minister must “warn men, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear:” he must “commendhimself to every man’s consciencein the sight of God,” “keeping back nothing that is profitable unto them,” but “declaring unto them the whole counselof God.” Still, however, the cautionin the text is necessaryforhim. He should considerthe state of his hearers, and should adapt his discourses to their necessities. Our blessedLord, knowing how full of prejudice the Jews were, “spakethe word to them in parables, as they were able to hear it.” In like manner, though we must not seek the applause of man, (for “if we please men, we cannot he the servants of Jesus Christ;”) yet we should endeavour to “please allmen for their goodto edification:” we should argue with them on principles which they acknowledge;we should be content to give “milk to babes,” and to reserve the “strong meat” for such as are able to digestit. We should pay attention to
  49. 49. every thing that may lessenprejudice and conciliate regard:and, though we must not affect“the wisdom of words, which would only make void the cross of Christ,” we should “searchoutacceptable words,” andbe especiallycareful to “speak the truth in love.” Our greatobjectshould be not to “deliver our own souls,” (though doubtless we must be careful to do that,) but principally to “win the souls” of others.] 2. To Christians in general— [As “men do not light a candle, to put it under a bed or under a bushel, but to give light to those who are in the house,” so God, when he illuminates any soul, expects that the light he has imparted should be diffused for the goodof others. But in endeavouring to instruct others, we should considerthe tune, the manner, the measure of instruction, that will be most likely to ensure success. In particular, we should not press matters when our exhortations are contemned as foolish, or resentedas injurious. Not that our concernshould be about ourselves, as though we fearedeither the contempt of men, or their resentment; but we should be afraid of hardening them, and thereby increasing their guilt and condemnation. As to ourselves, we should gladly “suffer all things for the elect’s sake:” but for them we should “weep, as it were, in secretplaces [Note:Jeremiah13:17.],” and “gladly spend and be spent for them, though the more abundantly we love them the less we be loved.” If, indeed, after all our labour, we find that our efforts are only rejectedby them with disdain, we may then with propriety leave them to themselves, and, like the Apostles, bestow our attention on more hopeful subjects [Note:Acts 13:45-46. 2 Chronicles 25:14-16.]. As the priests imparted of the holy food to every member of their families, but gave none of it to dogs, so may you give your holy things to others, and withhold it from those who have shewn themselves so unworthy of it.] We will now apply the subject, 1. To those who are strangers to the truth— [From the indifference which is usually shewn to divine things, it is evident that the value of religious knowledge is but little known. If we could inform persons how to restore their health, or how to recoveran estate, or how to

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