Neither do men light a candle
Which may be read impersonally, "a candle is not lighted": and by it may be meant the Gospel, and gifts qualifying men to preach it; which, like a candle, was lighted in the evening of the Jewish dispensation, though not confined to the land of Judea; but has shone throughout the world, being as a candle to be removed, and has been removed from place to place: wherever it is set, it gives light, more or less, and dispels darkness; it is useful both to work by and walk with; it does not always burn alike clearly, it needs looking after; it has its thieves, as candles sometimes have; and will give the greatest light towards the close of the world, as they usually do, when ready to go out. Now when a candle is lighted by men, they do not
put it under a bushel,
or anything which may hide and cover it, and so hinder its light and usefulness. The Greek word (modiov) , rendered a "bushel", answers to the Hebrew (hao) , "seah", which is the very word used in Munster's Hebrew Gospel; and this was a dry measure that held about a gallon and a half; and accordingly is rendered here by the Syriac (atao) . The design of the expression is, that Christ has lighted the candle of the everlasting Gospel, and given gifts to men for the ministration of it, not to be concealed and neglected, or to be used as the servant did his lord's money, wrap it up in a napkin, and hide it in the earth. Ministers are not, through slothfulness, to neglect the gift that is in them; nor, through fear, to hide their talents, or keep back any part of the Gospel, or cover anything out of sight, which may be profitable to souls: "but" men, when they light a candle, put it
on a candlestick, and it giveth light to all that are in the house;
as on the candlestick in the temple, a type of the church; where Christ has set the light of the Gospel, where it is held forth particularly by the ministers of the word, to illuminate the whole house and family of God; by the light of which poor sinners, the lost pieces of silver, are looked up; straggling souls are brought home; hypocrites and formalists are detected; and saints are enlightened, directed, and comforted. Much such a proverbial saying is used by the Jews F18:
``do not leave a vessel of balsam in a dunghill, but move it from its place, that its smell may spread, and men may receive profit from it.''
F18 Vid. Joh. Isaac. Praefat. ad Eliae Levit. Methurgeman.