> can anybody explain this? Was Matthew the first supply-sider?
No, it's more of a "it takes money to make money" kind of idea.
The short version explanation is: Them that have faith shall get paradise. Them that don't will get everlasting damnation. And they're worse of here to boot.
Of course some, like Calvin and Luther, interpreted Matthew to mean predestination.
Robert Merton once built a theory around these passages in the sociology of science (a field which one wag said he invented for his wife.) He called it "The Matthew Principle" and I believe his shorter verion was "To them that hath, more shall be given. To them that hath not, even that little will be taken away." He was trying to explain why famous guys got all the money from science grants even though it was the unfamous that really needed it -- a pattern of goody distribution recognizable in lots of different cultural spheres. For him, of course, it all turns out to be functional.
__________________________________________________________________________ Michael Pollak................New York City..............mpollak at panix.com