Andrew Fuller Fridays: Fuller on Passages that Seem Contradictory (Matt. 5:16 & Matt. 6:1)


“Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”—Matt. 5:16.

“Take heed that ye do not your alms before men to be seen of them; otherwise ye have no reward of your Father who is in heaven.”—Matt. 6:1.

This is another of those cases in which the difference lies in the motive. It is right to do that which men may see, and must see; but not for the sake of being seen by them.

There are, indeed, some duties, and such are prayer and the relief of the needy, in which a truly modest mind will avoid being seen; but in the general deportment of life no man can be hid, nor ought he to desire it. Only let his end be pure, namely, “to glorify his Father who is in heaven,” and all will be right.

Fuller, A. G. (1988). The Complete Works of Andrew Fuller: Memoirs, Sermons, Etc. (J. Belcher, Ed.) (Vol. 1, pp. 667–684). Harrisonburg, VA: Sprinkle Publications.

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