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The Rule of faith and practice is not scripture "alone"

Discussion in 'General Theology' started by LoveofTruth, Dec 8, 2018.

  1. LoveofTruth

    LoveofTruth Christ builds His church from within us

    wrong, how do you suppose light fills the body?and Jesus spoke of the light that is IN you. That is all we need for the clarity. This light in men is a spiritual aspect of God who is Light shining in their hearts. The true Light lighteth every man that cometh into the world. If men love the light and come to the light their deeds will be known if they are wrought in God or not. God works in all believers and God is light. His light is how we walk through darkness. His Light shines in our spirit. He lights our candle.

    1 John 1:5
    "This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all."

    God dwells in all believers,

    1 Corinthians 3:16
    "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you"

    John 3:21
    "But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God."
  2. LoveofTruth

    LoveofTruth Christ builds His church from within us

    I was not simply saying all verses about Light speak of the same thing. I was very specific in the verses I chose.
  3. LoveofTruth

    LoveofTruth Christ builds His church from within us

    You really do not see the verses . Even when they are as clear as day.

    "4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them....6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us."(2 Cor 4:4, 6,7 KJV)
  4. W2L

    W2L Well-Known Member

    The bible has been enough for me.

    Philippians 3:12 Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on [h]so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let us therefore, as many as are [j]perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you; 16 however, let us keep [k]living by that same standard to which we have attained.

    17 Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us.
  5. LoveofTruth

    LoveofTruth Christ builds His church from within us

    I haven't given one fallacy, or false claim. Your understanding of scripture seems to delete all spiritual reference and anything of the mystery. This is what seems a natural attempt to explain away the mystery and hidden wisdom.

    There is no proper biblical interpretation unless we are seeking to be led by the Spirit in the word and by the anointing which teaches us all things. Yes, we need the scriptures also and the body of Christ in this as well. But mans attempt at understanding spiritual truth by his own devices and philosophies and natural wisdom will not succeed as Paul revealed (1 Cor 2).

    My understanding of Paul's words are rooted in the mystery he revealed in many places. Paul was eager to have the believers understand the mystery. But at times he could not speak unto them as spiritual. He could not give meat but milk only.

    Ephesians 3:3,4,5 KJV

    3 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, 4 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) 5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;"

    You seem to try and take the "mystery" out of the "mystery" and act as if any person could understand this by proper Hermeneutics and interpretation of text etc, and by all the natural human wisdom and means available to them from books and other commentaries.

    But Paul says it was given to him by revelation.
  6. LoveofTruth

    LoveofTruth Christ builds His church from within us

    Many see these things I have shown from the past and today.

    In fact, I was at a gathering of brothers in Christ today and I shared this very teaching from Romans 10 and Deuteronomy to them and they saw it clearly and rejoiced. One brother was excited about it. He listened and heard what was shown in scripture. I have shown this to others and they see it as well. Some may not see it as clearly, and I have to show them slowly and verse by verse. But the truth of it is so clear.

    It doesn't matter if the few commentaries you run to don;t see it.

    There have been many n history who hadn't seen many things in the bible. When Wycliff and Huss and Luther spoke of certain truths from scripture many of these things were not seen for a long time. They would have heard similar attacks upon them as you do to me in saying that they were not in line with the common catholic commentators of the day.

    But this did to matter to the few reformers who seemed to be in the minority. This also did not matter to the early apostles who were in the minority as well and rejected by many of the religious Jews.

    Paul even said one time

    2 Timothy 1:15
    This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me;..."

    Imagine if Paul met a man like you who may have said to him. "Well,Paul maybe you are not right because you don't have a great many agreeing with you or listening to you?"

    Paul was one of the first to understand many aspects of the New Covenant and the freedom from the law. Imagine how he must have felt when many did not see this even among believers and apostles for a time. Even Barnabas was carried away with the arguments of others and the majority for a time.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2019
  7. LoveofTruth

    LoveofTruth Christ builds His church from within us

    I have been doing apostolic work for many years. You don't know me really, so you speak only from your wrong understanding.

    And Yes Paul did speak of them having Jesus Christ in them and if he spoke in Paul he also spoke and taught them. When he says that Christ spoke in him and was mighty in them also. This is clearly saying that he spoke in them and through them also. If Jesus Christ is in all believers do you not think he speaks in them and they to him? When you pray in your heart do you think you are talking to God? Or is this a fiction and you don't really think God can hear you and respond? God speaks in that still small voice in the heart. I have heard him many many many many times. This is the normal christian life for those who walk in the light of Christ. Yes, some are called to different work and ministry but all are to know that Jesus Christ is in them.

    Paul said in another place

    Ephesians 4:21
    "If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:"

    "4 Abide in me, and I in you...7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you."(John 15:4,7 KJV)

    Where Jesus is in us he speaks his word also in us. Paul showed that Christ spoke in him. This should be enough of an evidence.

    Jesus spoke of the Ffather speaking in all even before they come to him,

    John 6:45
    It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2019
  8. LoveofTruth

    LoveofTruth Christ builds His church from within us

    No it means just what it means. And even if we take your interpretation, to hold back the truth or prevent the truth. This would apply also, they hold back the truth of God, the light of Christ from shining in their heart by their unbelief and hatred of the light.

    But the word "hold" means this

    "from 2596 and 2192; to hold down (fast), in various applications (literally or figuratively):--have, hold (fast), keep (in memory), let, X make toward, possess, retain, seize on, stay, take, withhold."
    • Optimistic Optimistic x 1
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  9. LoveofTruth

    LoveofTruth Christ builds His church from within us

    Read Hebrews 11 again and verses like this

    Isaiah 45:22

    "Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else."

    Romans 10:12, 13
    "12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."

    Romans 3:29
    "Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also:"

    "3 (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.
    14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:
    15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)
    16 In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel."(Romans 2:13-16 KJV)

    "26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;
    27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:

    28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring...

    30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:
    31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead."(Acts 17:26-28, 30,31 KJV)

    The Gentiles for the most part did not know many things and had little required, but the Jews were given much and the oracles and covenants and promises.

    Luke 12:48
    47 And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes..But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.

  10. LoveofTruth

    LoveofTruth Christ builds His church from within us

    No, your teachings are dangerous and quench the Spirit from working in believers and in gatherings and you direct them instead to natural wisdom and excellency of speech. Your teaching denies the gifts for today and instead you seem to be replacing the power of God with man's human wisdom. You seem to think that you have eternal life in the scriptures and yet do not claim to hear Gods voice immediately in your heart. Jesus said his sheep hear his voice and he knows them.

    Your teaching is dangerous if you say that Jesus is not the Christ and instead say the Holy Ghost is the Christ. The Father and the Holy Ghost did not come in the flesh it was Jesus Christ that came in the flesh

    I could go on with some more of the dangers but this is a start.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2019
  11. LoveofTruth

    LoveofTruth Christ builds His church from within us

    You are wrong again...

    Romans 1:21. Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.”

    1 John 2:8. Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth. 9. He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now. 10. He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him...15. Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”

    And where is that love

    Romans 5:5. And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”

    2 Corinthians 4:6,7 “ For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”

    1 John 1:5. This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

    And God dwells IN all believers
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2019
  12. LoveofTruth

    LoveofTruth Christ builds His church from within us

    The Pharisees had scripture and yet did not hear God’s voice as Jesus said to them. They did not hear His word in thier hearts or have his word abiding in thier hearts.

    John 5:37-39 “And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape. 38. And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not. 39. Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. 40. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.”

    So just reading scripture doesn’t mean you hear God’s voice.

    And what iof all the ones who cannot read or who do not have scripture. What off all the deaf dumb and blind people. Or regarded people, or young children and those who have had physical disabilities that make them unable to understand even human language?

    You need to see thstvGod’s mercies are over all his works and all the works in many ways.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2019
  13. LoveofTruth

    LoveofTruth Christ builds His church from within us

    Your correction,

    Genesis 4:26. And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the LORD.”

    They had no scripture yet, they did not know the names”Jesus” yet, they did not know the finished work of Jesus yet. But they could still call upon the name of the Lord.

    Name means character or authority.
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2019
  14. swordsman1

    swordsman1 Well-Known Member

    The interpretations you come up with are not spiritual truths. You are simply distorting scripture as I have demonstrated.

    2 Peter 3:15-16 our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.

    None of that proves the light shines "in" people. Just blindly repeating your own opinion does not prove it. Show me from scripture where it says the light of Christ shines "in" people. I have already proved from scripture that the light shines "on" people not "in " them.

    This verse is not proof that the light of Christ is inside us. The light in this passage is the gospel, not Christ himself. Did you not read, "light of the glorious gospel"? This is confirmed in the next verse which you unscrupulously clipped out, v5 "For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.". The light in our hearts is the preached gospel planted in our hearts. It is the "light of the knowledge" of Christ (v6). God's word is our treasure in earthen vessels.

    That verse doesn't say the light is in our hearts. The previous verse is the antithesis of this verse, and it shows us the light is external:

    John 11:9 Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world.

    Christ is in us by his Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is never described as light.

    Walking in the light, is not the same as having the light in us. To walk in the light, like walking in sunlight, it to have that light shine ON us.

    It is indeed spiritual. As I have previously explained the light in this verse is not Christ. How can it be when it says that light can be darkness? Jesus is talking about light entering the eyes and filling the body like light entering a window and filling a room. He is saying if you focus on God's word and other spiritual truths your life will be fully enlightened. Focus on worldly things instead, your will be life filled with darkness.

    Read it again. It says the spirit of man is the candle that searches. Not the Lord is the candle.

    Wisdom is not the light of Christ.

    Says nothing about the light of Christ.

    Now let's look at some of the verses that speak about the light of the Lord Jesus, which you omitted. I'll quote from the KJV so you can't play the 'other versions are corrupt' card. They clearly tell us the light is external not internal.

    Isaiah 9:2 The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.

    Isaiah 60: 1-3. Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. 2. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. 3. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.

    John 3:19-21
    For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved... But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

    Job 10:3 Is it good unto thee that thou shouldest oppress, that thou shouldest despise the work of thine hands, and shine upon the counsel of the wicked?

    John 12:45-47 I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.

    Job 22:27-28 Thou shalt make thy prayer unto him, and he shall hear thee, and thou shalt pay thy vows. Thou shalt also decree a thing, and it shall be established unto thee: and the light shall shine upon thy ways.

    Job 25:3 Is there any number of his armies? and upon whom doth not his light arise?

    Job 29:3 When his candle shined upon my head, and when by his light I walked through darkness;

    Psalm 4:6 Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us.

    Psalm 31:16 Make thy face to shine upon thy servant:

    Psalm 34:4-6 They looked unto him, and were lightened:

    Psalm 43:3 O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles.

    Psalm 67:1 God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us;

    Psalm 89:15 Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O Lord, in the light of thy countenance.

    Psalm 112:4 Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness:

    Psalm 119:135 Make thy face to shine upon thy servant;

    Proverbs 16:15 In the light of the king's countenance is life

    2 Samuel 23: 4. And he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain.

    Isaiah 2:5 O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the Lord.

    Isaiah 42: 16. And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.

    Micah 7:8-9 Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me. I will bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against him, until he plead my cause, and execute judgment for me: he will bring me forth to the light, and I shall behold his righteousness.

    Luke 1:78-79 Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.

    John 3:20-21 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

    John 5:35 He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light.

    John 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

    John 11:9 Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world.

    Acts 26:23 That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.

    1 Timothy 6:16 Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto;

    1 Peter 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;

    1 John 2:10 He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2019
  15. swordsman1

    swordsman1 Well-Known Member

    You are doing well so far. God's word abides in us. I agree.

    Wrong. God's word enters the heart by us hearing or reading it. Not from Christ inside us speaking it.

    Luke 8:15 "As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience."

    Matt 13:15 For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

    Matt 13:19 When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart.

    Mark 4:15 And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts.

    Romans 6:17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.

    Romans 10:8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;

    1 John 2:24 Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father.

    1 Peter 1:25 And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

    If you have "an honest and good heart" (Luke 8:15) the word of God abides in your heart. The pharisees did not have such a heart.

    That word of God that abides in our hearts is sufficient to make us wise unto salvation, to make us perfect, and to thoroughly equip us for every good work (2 Tim 3:15-17). We do not need extra-biblical revelations, nor are any given.

    You still haven't show us how "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly" (Col 3:16) means waiting in silence until we feel God speaking in us as you originally asserted.

    The word of Christ is the words actually spoken and taught by Christ and/or those words subsequently preached.

    Matt 26:27 And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly.

    Acts 11:16 Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost.

    Acts 15:35 Paul also and Barnabas continued in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also.

    Acts 16:31-32 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.

    Acts 19:10 And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.

    1 Thes 1:6-8 And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost...For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing.

    1 Peter 1:25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

    That word of Christ dwells in our hearts (as I have shown above) and produces true wisdom. That is the meaning of Col 3:16. And guess what, all commentators agree. It is nothing to do with waiting in silence until we feel an inner voice speaking in us.

    There is nothing about waiting in this verse. And there are no other verses that say we are to wait in silence until we hear an inner voice.

    That is the gift of prophecy, which only operated during the foundation of the church (Eph 2:20). And prophets never spoke from feelings. They spoke the very words that God gave them to speak (2 Peter 1:20).

    Did you not read the context? That passage is about speaking in tongues!

    Wrong. Read the verse again. The prophet "sitting by" is not the same one who is commanded to "hold his peace". It is speaking of a prophet giving a prophecy and while doing so a second prophet receives a revelation. The first is to stop speaking and hold his peace.

    And Paul tells us how were are made perfect for every good work.

    2 Tim 3:16-17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

    Your disdain and rejection of teachers and preachers is wholly unscriptural. God has given the church teachers to help us understand his word.

    1 Cor 12:28 "And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues."​

    Since the cessation of apostles and prophets, teachers have the highest ranked gift given to the church today. You would be wise to listen to our God-given theologians as they correct you of the numerous errors you make in your expositions, instead of relying on your own futile understanding.

    You are also being totally hypocritical since you yourself are commenting on scripture and teaching others, albeit falsely.
  16. swordsman1

    swordsman1 Well-Known Member


    The very verse you quote proves you wrong.
    1 John 1:5
    "This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all."

    Therefore the light spoken of in Matt 6:23 cannot be the light of Christ or of God - "If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!"

    I have already shown you the meaning of Matt 6:22-23, so I will now leave it to the theologians to explain this verse to you in more detail. Needless to say I couldn't find a single commentator who agrees with your view that the light in the passage is the light of Christ in you.

    John Abbott
    Verse 22
    The light of the body; that is, the instrument or organ on which the body depends for light.--Single; in a healthy and perfect state.--Full of light; fully supplied with light.
    Verse 23
    Evil; defective or diseased.--If therefore, the light, &c. The meaning of the whole passage is this: As the whole body is in darkness if the light of the eye be extinguished, so, if the perception of divine truth is lost, the whole soul is involved in the deepest spiritual ignorance and danger.

    John Calvin
    Verse 23
    23.If the light which is in thee be darkness Light signifies that small portion of reason, which continues to exist in men since the fall of Adam: and darkness signifies gross and brutal affections. The meaning is, we ought not to wonder, if men wallow so disgracefully, like beasts, in the filth of vices, for they have no reason which might restrain the blind and dark lusts of the flesh. The light is said to be turned into darkness, not only when men permit the wicked lusts of the flesh to overwhelm the judgment of their reason, but also when they give up their minds to wicked thoughts, and thus degenerate into beasts. For we see how wickedly men change into craft any measure of wisdom which had been given them, how they “dig deep (as the prophet says) to hide their counsel from the Lords” (Isaiah 29:15,) how they trust to their own resources, and openly dishonor God; in a word, how desirous they are to show their ingenuity, in innumerable ways, for their own destruction. Christ has good grounds for declaring, that thick and appalling darkness must of necessity reign in the life of men, when they choose to be blind.

    This is also the meaning of the words which are found in the Gospel of Luke, with this difference, that Christ there connects the present statement with one which was formerly explained, that men do not light a candle, and put it under a bushel, (Matthew 5:15) and again, instead of this clause, if the light which is in thee be darkness, gives the exhortation, see that the light which is in thee be not darkness The meaning is, “See that thy mind, which ought to have shone, like a candle, to guide all thy actions, do not darken and mislead thy whole life.” He afterwards adds, that, when the body is enlightened by the eye, the greatest regularity is found in all its members, as the light of a candle spreads and penetrates into every part of the room.

    Verse 24
    24.No man can serve two masters Christ returns to the former doctrine, the object of which was to withdraw his disciples from covetousness. He had formerly said, that the heart of man is bound and fixed upon its treasure; and he now gives warning, that the hearts of those who are devoted to riches are alienated from the Lord. For the greater part of men are wont to flatter themselves with a deceitful pretense, when they imagine, that it is possible for them to be divided between God and their own lusts. Christ affirms that it is impossible for any man to obey God, and, at the same time, to obey his own flesh. This was, no doubt, a proverb in common use: No man can serve two masters He takes for granted a truth which had been universally admitted, and applies it to his present subject: where riches hold the dominion of the heart, God has lost his authority. True, it is not impossible that those who are rich shall serve God; but whoever gives himself up as a slave to riches must abandon the service of God: for covetousness makes us the slaves of the devil.

    I have inserted here what is related on a different occasion by Luke: for, as the Evangelists frequently introduce, as opportunity offers, passages of our Lord’s discourses out of their proper order, we ought to entertain no scruple as to the arrangement of them. What is here said with a special reference to riches, may be properly extended to every other description of vice. As God pronounces everywhere such commendations of sincerity, and hates a double heart, (1 Chronicles 12:23,) all are deceived, who imagine that he will be satisfied with the half of their heart. All, indeed, confess in words, that, where the affection is not entire, there is no true worship of God: but they deny it in fact, when they attempt to reconcile contradictions. “I shall not cease,” says an ambitious man, “to serve God, though I devote a great part of my mind to hunting after honors.” The covetous, the voluptuaries, the gluttons, the unchaste, the cruel, all in their turn offer the same apology for themselves: as if it were possible for those to be partly employed in serving God, who are openly carrying on war against him. It is, no doubt, true, that believers themselves are never so perfectly devoted to obedience to God, as not to be withdrawn from it by the sinful desires of the flesh. But as they groan under this wretched bondage, and are dissatisfied with themselves, and give nothing more than an unwilling and reluctant service to the flesh, they are not said to serve two masters: for their desires and exertions are approved by the Lord, as if they rendered to him a perfect obedience. But this passage reproves the hypocrisy of those who flatter themselves in their vices, as if they could reconcile light and darkness.

    Charles Ellicott
    Verse 22
    (22) The light of the body.-Literally, the lamp of the body. So in Proverbs 20:27, “The spirit of man is the candle (or ‘lamp’) of the Lord”—that which, under the name of “conscience,” the “moral sense,” the “inner man” discerns spiritual realities, distinguishes right from wrong, gives the light by which we see our way. If this is “single,” if it discerns clearly, all is well. The “whole body,” the life of the man in all its complex variety, will be illumined by that light. The connection with what precedes lies on the surface. Singleness of intention will preserve us from the snare of having a double treasure, and therefore a divided heart.

    Verse 23
    (23) If thine eye be evil.—If the spiritual faculty, whose proper work it is to give light, be itself diseased—if it discerns not singly but doubly, and therefore dimly—then the whole life also is shrouded in gloom. If that is the case with the higher life, what will be the state of the lower! If the light is darkened, what will be the state of the region of life which is in itself naturally dark—the region of appetites and passions, which needs the presence of the light to keep them at all in check! “If the light that is in thee be darkness, the darkness how great will it be!”

    Leon Morris (1992).
    22. We find the little section on the eye difficult; we no longer speak of the “single” or the “evil”70 eye; therefore the meaning is not at all obvious to us. But the eye is a useful illustration of spiritual possibilities. When the eye is functioning normally, the light it perceives means illumination of benefit to the whole body. All sorts of bodily functions may then be performed satisfactorily. There is a spiritual parallel. Jesus speaks of the eye as the light of the body. The meaning appears to be that the eye is the organ that means light to the body; whether we are sighted or blind depends entirely on the eye. The eye is the source of light to the whole body. Apart from the eye the body would receive no light; thus the eye functions much as a lamp does. It is therefore important that the eye be healthy,72 singly concentrating on its proper function. In that case the proper functioning of one small member means illumination for the whole body.
    23. The contrary supposition is that the eye is evil, which presumably means that it is diseased or impaired in some way. An eye that is not functioning properly does not bring to the body the benefit of light and, lacking a healthy eye, the whole body is envisaged as in darkness. Nothing can compensate for the lack of light at the one point of entrance. If therefore74 brings out the consequence of all this. Granted that the entrance of light is so important, then, there is disaster if the light within anyone is in fact darkness. Such a person may well think he has light, but to walk in darkness is to lack vision, to demonstrate that one has no light. Filson comments, “If man divides his interest and tries to focus on both God and possessions, he has no clear vision, and will live without clear orientation or direction. Life not focused on God’s claim and command is lost in spiritual darkness.”
    The climax of this saying is concerned with the spiritual rather than the physical meaning of vision; the light that is in you is surely not the light that strikes the eye. We might call it the brightness of goodness within. Perhaps we should think of something like “the eye of the soul”; just as a healthy physical eye means illumination for the bodily functions, so a healthy eye of the soul means enlightened living. Jesus is talking about the enlightenment that comes to the person who lives close to God. When that light is darkness there is disaster! Jesus is supposing that where there should be light in a person there is in fact darkness, a perversion at the very heart and center of the person’s life, a complete lack of vision. When that happens, “the darkness—how great!”

    John Gill
    Verse 22
    The light of the body is the eye,.... Or, the "candle of the body is the eye"; for the eye is that in the body, as a candle is in the house; by the light of it, the several members of the body perform their office; and what is said of the eye of the body, is transferred to the eye of the mind:

    if therefore thine eye be single: that is, if thy mind be liberal, generous, and bountiful: for Christ is still upon the same subject of liberality, and against covetousness; and here speaks entirely in the language of the Jews, who could easily understand him; in whose writings we read of three sorts of eyes; a good eye, a middling one, and an evil one; so in the offerings of the first fruitsF19,

    עין יפה, "a good eye" gave the fortieth, the house Shammai say, the thirtieth part; a middling one, the fiftieth; and an evil one, the sixtieth part.'

    Upon which the commentators sayF20, a "good eye" means one that is liberal, and an "evil eye" the contrary: hence you often readF21 of "trading, dedicating", and "giving with a good" or "an evil eye"; that is, either generously, liberally, or in a niggardly and grudging manner; which may help us to the sense of our Lord in these words; whose meaning is, that if a man is not covetous, but his mind is disposed to generosity and liberality; if this be the case, as if he should say,

    thy whole body shall be full of light: all thy actions will be influenced by this noble principle; thy whole life will be illuminated, guided and governed by it; thy mind will be cheerful and pleasant, and thy estate and condition will be prosperous and successful.

    Verse 23
    But if thine eye be evil,.... If thou art of a sordid disposition, of an avaricious temper, if the sin of covetousness prevails over thee,

    thy whole body will be full of darkness: thy judgment will be so influenced by that sordid principle, that thou wilt not be able to discern what is agreeable to the law of God, or human reason; what is fitting to be done for thyself, for God, or for thy fellow creatures; all the powers and faculties of thy soul will be enslaved by it, and all be intent upon, and employed in the gratification of it: thy mind will be always sad and sorrowful, harassed and distressed; and thy estate, and condition, will be most miserable and uncomfortable:

    if therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! as it is in the body, so it is with the mind; as when the eye, the light of the body, is put out by any means, all the members of the body are in entire darkness; so when the light of reason in the mind is so far extinguished by any prevailing iniquity, particularly the sin of covetousness, so that it is wholly influenced and governed by it, what irregular actions is it led into! What deeds of darkness does it perform! and what will be the consequence of it, but utter and eternal darkness, if grace prevent not!

    Henry Alford (1863)
    Verse 22-23
    22, 23. ὁ λύχνος] as lighting and guiding the body and its members: not as containing light in itself. Similarly the inner light, the conscience, lights the spirit and its faculties, but by light supernal to itself.
    ἁπλοῦς, clear, untroubled in vision, as the eye which presents a well-defined and single image to the brain. πονηρός, perverse, as the eye which dims and distorts the visual images. φωτεινὸς … σκοτεινός: in full light, as an object in the bright sunshine; in darkness, as an object in the deep shade. The comparison is found in Aristotle. Topic, i. 14 (Wets(81).), ὡς ὄψις ἐν ὀφθαλμῷ, νοῦς ἐν ψυχῇ: in Galen, and Philo de Mund. Opif.

    εἰ οὖν κ. τ. λ.] If then the LIGHT which is in thee is darkness, how dark must the DARKNESS be! i.e. ‘if the conscience, the eye and light of the soul, be darkened, in how much grosser darkness will all the passions and faculties be, which are of themselves naturally dark!’ The opposition is between τὸ φῶς and τὸ σκότος. This interpretation is borne out by the Vulgate: ‘Ipsæ tenebræ quantæ erunt!’ by Jerome: ‘Si sensus, qui lumen est, animæ vitio caligatur, ipsa putas caligo quantis tenebris obvolvetur!’ and by Chrysostom: ὅταν γὰρ ὁ κυβερνήτης ὑποβρόχιος γένηται, καὶ ὁ λύχνος σβεσθῇ καὶ ὁ ἡγεμὼν αἰχμάλωτος γένηται, ποία λοιπὸν ἔσται τοῖς ὑπηκόοις ἐλπίς: Hom. xx. 3, p. 264, and Euthymius: εἰ οὖν τὸ φῶς τὸ ἐν σοί, ὅ ἐστιν ὁ νοῦς, ὁ δωρηθεὶς εἰς τὸ φωτίζειν καὶ ὁδηγεῖν τὴν ψυχήν, σκότος ἐστί, τουτέστιν ἐσκότισται, λοιπὸν τὸ σκότος, τὸ ἀπὸ τῶν παθῶν, πόσον ἔσται, εἰς τὸ σκοτίζειν τὴν ψυχήν, σκοτισθέντος τοῦ ἀνατέλλοντος αὐτῇ φωτός. Augustine (de Serm. Dom. ii. c. 13 (46), vol. iii.) renders it similarly, but understands σκότος to refer to a different thing: ‘Si ipsa cordis intentio, qua facis quod facis, quæ tibi nota est, sordidatur appetitu rerum terrenarum … atque cæcatur: quanto magis ipsum factum, cujus incertus est exitus, sordidum et tenebrosum est!’ So too the Sy(82). æt(83). versions; and Erasm.: “Si ratio excæcata id judicat imprimis esse expetendum, quod vel contemnendum, vel neglectui habendum, in quas tenebras totum hominem rapiet ambitio reliquæque animi perturbationes, quæ suapte natura caliginem habent!”—Bucer, Luther. Stier expands this well, Reden Jesu, i. 208, edn. 2, “As the body, of itself a dark mass, has its light from the eye, so we have here compared to it the sensuous, bestial life ( ψυχικόν) of men, their appetites, desires, and aversions, which belong to the lower creature. This dark region—human nature under the gross dominion of the flesh—shall become spiritualized, enlightened, sanctified, by the spiritual light: but if this light be darkness, how great must then the darkness of the sensuous life be!” The usual modern interpretation makes τὸ σκότος πόσον a mere expression of the greatness of the darkness thereby occasioned, and thus loses the force of the sentence.
  17. swordsman1

    swordsman1 Well-Known Member

    Matthew Henry (1706)
    The light of the body is the eye, that is plain the eye is discovering and directing the light of the world would avail us little without this light of the body it is the light of the eye that rejoiceth the heart (Proverbs 15:30), but what is that which is here compared to the eye in the body.

    1. The eye, that is, the heart (so some) if that be single--haplous--free and bountiful (so the word is frequently rendered, as 2Cor. viii. 2, ix. 11,13 Jam. i. 5, and we read of a bountiful eye, Proverbs 22:9). If the heart be liberally affected and stand inclined to goodness and charity, it will direct the man to Christian actions, the whole conversation will be full of light, full of evidences and instances of true Christianity, that pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father (James 1:27), full of light, of good works, which are our light shining before men but if the heart be evil, covetous, and hard, and envious, griping and grudging (such a temper of mind is often expressed by an evil eye, Mark vii. 22 Prov. xxiii. 6,7), the body will be full of darkness, the whole conversation will be heathenish and unchristian. The instruments of the churl are and always will be evil, but the liberal deviseth liberal things, Isaiah 32:5-8. If the light that is in us, those affections which should guide us to that which is good, be darkness, if these be corrupt and worldly, if there be not so much as good nature in a man, not so much as a kind disposition, how great is the corruption of a man, and the darkness in which he sits! This sense seems to agree with the context we must lay up treasure in heaven by liberality in giving alms, and that not grudgingly but with cheerfulness, Luke 12:33,2 Corinthians 9:7. But these words in the parallel place do not come in upon any such occasion, Luke 11:34, and therefore the coherence here does not determine that to be the sense of them.

    2. The eye, that is, the understanding (so some) the practical judgment, the conscience, which is to the other faculties of the soul, as the eye is to the body, to guide and direct their motions now if this eye be single, if it make a true and right judgment, and discern things that differ, especially in the great concern of laying up the treasure so as to choose aright in that, it will rightly guide the affections and actions, which will all be full of the light of grace and comfort but if this be evil and corrupt, and instead of leading the inferior powers, is led, and bribed, and biassed by them, if this be erroneous and misinformed, the heart and life must needs be full of darkness, and the whole conversation corrupt. They that will not understand, are said to walk on in darkness, Psalm 82:5. It is sad when the spirit of a man, that should be the candle of the Lord, is an ignis fatuus: when the leaders of the people, the leaders of the faculties, cause them to err, for then they that are led of them are destroyed, Isaiah 9:16. An error in the practical judgment is fatal, it is that which calls evil good and good evil (Isaiah 5:20) therefore it concerns us to understand things aright, to get our eyes anointed with eye-salve.

    3. The eye, that is, the aims and intentions by the eye we set our end before us, the mark we shoot at, the place we go to, we keep that in view, and direct our motion accordingly in every thing we do in religion there is something or other that we have in our eye now if our eye be single, if we aim honestly, fix right ends, and move rightly towards them, if we aim purely and only at the glory of God, seek his honor and favour, and direct all entirely to him, then the eye is single Paul's was so when he said, To me to live is Christ and if we be right here, the whole body will be full of light, all the actions will be regular and gracious, pleasing to God and comfortable to ourselves but if this eye be evil, if, instead of aiming only at the glory of God, and our acceptance with him, we look aside at the applause of men, and while we profess to honour God, contrive to honour ourselves, and seek our own things under colour of seeking the things of Christ, this spoils all, the whole conversation will be perverse and unsteady, and the foundations being thus out of course, there can be nothing but confusion and every evil work in the superstructure. Draw the lines from the circumference to any other point but the centre, and they will cross. If the light that is in thee be not only dim, but darkness itself, it is a fundamental error, and destructive to all that follows. The end specifies the action. It is of the last importance in religion, that we be right in our aims, and make eternal things, not temporal, our scope, 2 Corinthians 4:18. The hypocrite is like the waterman, that looks one way and rows another the true Christian like the traveller, that has his journey's end in his eye. The hypocrite soars like the kite, with his eye upon the prey below, which he is ready to come down to when he has a fair opportunity the true Christian soars like the lark, higher and higher, forgetting the things that are beneath.

    Joseph Benson (1857)
    Matthew 6:22. The light — Or lamp rather, as ο λυχνος should be translated, of the body, is the eye — That is, it is by the eye that a person has light to direct him in his bodily motions, and in the use of his bodily members. If therefore thine eye be single — απλους, simple, not mixed with noxious humours, but clear and sound; so both Chrysostom and Theophylact understand the expression, considering it as synonymous with υγιης, whole; thy whole body shall be full of light — Every member of thy body shall be enlightened by the light of thine eye, and directed to perform its proper office. But if thine eye be evil — Gr. πονηρος, rendered νοσωδης, morbid, by Theophylact, and distempered, by Dr. Campbell, who observes, “that there is no reference to the primitive meaning of απλους, single, is evident from its being contrasted to πονηρος, evil, bad, or disordered, and not to διπλους, double. Our Lord’s argument,” adds he, “stands thus: The eye is the lamp of the body: from it all the other members derive their light. Now if that which is the light of the body be darkened, how miserable will be the state of the body! how great will be the darkness of those members which have no light of their own, but depend entirely on the eye!” Thus “if the conscience, that mental light which God has given to man for regulating his moral conduct, be itself vitiated, what will be the state of his appetites and passions, which are naturally blind and precipitate?” To the same purpose speaks Macknight, only using the term reason, instead of conscience. “As the body must be well enlightened if its eye is sound and good, or greatly darkened if it is spoiled with noxious humours; so the mind must be full of life, if reason, its eye, is in a proper state; or full of darkness, if it is perverted by covetousness, and other worldly passions; but with this difference, that the darkness of the mind is infinitely worse than the darkness of the body, and attended with worse consequences, inasmuch as the actions of the mind are of far greater importance to happiness than those of the body.” Baxter and Dr. Doddridge understand the words in nearly the same sense, interpreting the word eye of the practical judgment. “If thy judgment be sound,” says the former, “and thou knowest the difference between laying up treasure in heaven and on earth, it will rightly guide all the actions of thy heart and life: but if thy judgment be blinded in this great affair, it will misguide thy love, thy choice, and all the tenor of thy life: if thy judgment then be blind, which must guide thee, what a miserable erroneous wretch wilt thou be! and how dismal will that error prove!” Or, as the doctor expresses it, “If the maxims you lay down to yourselves are wrong, how very erroneous must your conduct be!”

    George Haydock (1859)
    Verse 22
    action is lighted or directed by the intention. If the intention be upright, the whole body of the action is good, provided it proceed not from a false conscience. If the intention be bad, how bad must be the action! Christ does not here speak of an exterior, but an interior eye. He, therefore, who directs all his thoughts to God, may justly be said to have his eye lightsome, and consequently his heart undefiled with worldly affections; but he who has all his thoughts corrupted with carnal desires is, beyond a doubt, enveloped in darkness. (St. John Chrysostom)

    Verse 24
    here a fresh motive to detach you from the love of riches, or mammon. We cannot both serve God and the world, the flesh and the spirit, justice and sin. The ultimate end of action must be one, either for this or for the next life. (Haydock)

    Heinrich Meyer (1832)
    Verse 22-23
    Matthew 6:22-23. Connection: In order to fulfil the duty mentioned in Matthew 6:19-20, and warranted by what is said in Matthew 6:21, you must not allow the light within you, i.e. the reason ( ὁ νοῦς, Chrysostom), which apprehends divine truth, to become obscured, i.e. it must be preserved in that state of normal action in which error and moral evil find no place. The obscuring of this faculty of thought and volition, by which the divine is perceived and morally assimilated, imparts a wrong tendency and complexion to the entire life of the individual man. Comp. Luther: “This is a warning not to allow ourselves to be taken in by fair colours and outward appearance, with which avarice may trick itself out and conceal the knave.” The supposition that Matthew 6:22 f. originally stood immediately behind Matthew 5:16 (Ewald, Jahrb. I. p. 129) is therefore without sufficient logical warrant, and Luke 11:33-36 may be a later digest of similar import. Observe, moreover, that nothing is said here about the capability of the natural reason, purely as such, to apprehend the divine by its own unaided efforts; for Jesus has in view those who are believers, whose νοῦς is already under the influence of the divine truth which He has revealed to them (Ephesians 1:18; Romans 12:2). However, the subjective meaning of ὀφθαλμός and φῶς must be preserved intact, nor is φῶς to be understood, with Hofmann, Schriftbew. II. 2, p. 320, as referring to the holy nature of God, which seeks to illuminate the hearts of men.
    ὁ λύχνος τοῦ σώματός ἐστιν ὁ ὀφθαλ. μός] for without the eye the body is in darkness; the blind man is without light, which comes through the medium of the eye as though it were a lamp. The subject is not ὁ ὀφθαλμός (Luther, Bengel), but ὁ λύχνος τοῦ σώμ., to which corresponds τὸ φῶς τὸ ἐν σοί, the subject in the application of the illustration.
    ἁπλοῦς and πονηρός are mostly understood in the sense of: healthy (which many have defined more precisely as the opposite of double-sight), and damaged. But usage is in favour only of πονηρός being employed in this sense (see Kypke; comp. Plat. Hipp. min. p. 374 D: πονηρία ὀφθαλμῶν, also the German expression “böse Augen”), but not ἁπλοῦς, which means only integer in the moral sense of the word. Comp. Test. XII. patr. p. 624: ἁπλότης ὀφθαλμῶν, as meaning the opposite of the dishonest, hypocritical cast of the eye. Consequently the above meaning is contrary to usage, and both words must be understood in their moral signification, so that Jesus has selected the predicates in His illustration in view of the state of things to which the illustration refers, and in which the darkness of the νοῦς is the result of the evil will resisting divine truth (Romans 1:21). Therefore: if thine eye is honest, i.e. if it honestly does its duty,—and: if it is good for nothing, i.e. if it maliciously refuses to perform its functions.
    φωτεινόν] is enlightened, so that it is clear round about him; through the light which is perceived by the eye, no one of his members is in darkness.
    εἰ οὖν, κ. τ. λ.] Inference a minori ad majus.
    τὸ φῶς τὸ ἐν σοί] i.e. the νοῦς especially as practical reason (Vernunft). The figurative designation (Philo, de cond. mund. I. p. 12 : ὅπερ νοῦς ἐν ψυχῇ, τοῦτο ὀφθαλμὸς ἐν σώματι, comp. Plat. Rep. vii. p. 533 D: τὸ τῆς ψυχῆς ὄμμα, Soph. p. 254 A. Creuzer, ad Plot. de pulcr. p. 361) is suggested by, and is correlative to, ὁ λύχνος, etc., Matthew 6:22. Comp. Euth. Zigabenus: ὁ νοῦς ὁ δωρηθεὶς εἰς τὸ φωτίζειν καὶ ὁδηγεῖν τὴν ψυχήν.
    σκότος] corresponds to πονηρός above, though denoting at the same time the effect of the evil condition.
    τὸ σκότος πόσον] s.c. ἐστί: how great then (since the worthlessness of the outward eye involves one in darkness) is the darkness, τὸ σκότος, in which thou liest! But τὸ σκότος, from being put first, is very emphatic. Luther (following the ordinary reading of the Vulg.: ipsae tenebrae) and Calvin interpret incorrectly: how great will then be the darkness itself. Thine, in that case, is the condition in which there is no susceptibility for that divine truth which would enlighten and sanctify thee; and this darkness, how great is it!

    Jamieson, Fausset & Brown (1871)
    Verse 22
    The light — rather, “the lamp.”

    of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single — simple, clear. As applied to the outward eye, this means general soundness; particularly, not looking two ways. Here, as also in classical Greek, it is used figuratively to denote the simplicity of the mind‘s eye, singleness of purpose, looking right at its object, as opposed to having two ends in view. (See Proverbs 4:25-27).

    thy whole body shall be full of light — illuminated. As with the bodily vision, the man who looks with a good, sound eye, walks in light, seeing every object clear; so a simple and persistent purpose to serve and please God in everything will make the whole character consistent and bright.

    Verse 23
    But if thine eye be evil — distempered, or, as we should say, If we have got a bad eye.
    thy whole body shall be full of darkness — darkened. As a vitiated eye, or an eye that looks not straight and full at its object, sees nothing as it is, so a mind and heart divided between heaven and earth is all dark.
    If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! — As the conscience is the regulative faculty, and a man‘s inward purpose, scope, aim in life, determines his character - if these be not simple and heavenward, but distorted and double, what must all the other faculties and principles of our nature be which take their direction and character from these, and what must the whole man and the whole life be but a mass of darkness? In Luke (Luke 11:36) the converse of this statement very strikingly expresses what pure, beautiful, broad perceptions the clarity of the inward eye imparts: “If thy whole body therefore be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light.” But now for the application of this.
  18. swordsman1

    swordsman1 Well-Known Member

    A T Robertson (1932)
    Single (απλους — haplous). Used of a marriage contract when the husband is to repay the dowry “pure and simple” (την περνην απλην — tēn phernēn haplēn), if she is set free; but in case he does not do so promptly, he is to add interest also (Moulton and Milligan‘s Vocabulary, etc.). There are various other instances of such usage. Here and in Luke 11:34 the eye is called “single” in a moral sense. The word means “without folds” like a piece of cloth unfolded, simplex in Latin. Bruce considers this parable of the eye difficult. “The figure and the ethical meaning seem to be mixed up, moral attributes ascribed to the physical eye which with them still gives light to the body. This confusion may be due to the fact that the eye, besides being the organ of vision, is the seat of expression, revealing inward dispositions.” The “evil” eye (πονηρος — ponēros) may be diseased and is used of stinginess in the lxx and so απλους — haplous may refer to liberality as Hatch argues (Essays in Biblical Greek, p. 80). The passage may be elliptical with something to be supplied. If our eyes are healthy we see clearly and with a single focus (without astigmatism). If the eyes are diseased (bad, evil), they may even be cross-eyed or cock-eyed. We see double and confuse our vision. We keep one eye on the hoarded treasures of earth and roll the other proudly up to heaven. Seeing double is double-mindedness as is shown in Matthew 6:24.

    Verse 22
    Matthew 6:22. Not an abrupt transition, but an illustration of the importance of dedicating the heart to God supremely.

    The lamp (the same word used in chap. Matthew 5:15, but different from that’ rendered ‘light’ at the close of this verse, and in Matthew 6:23) of the body is the eye. The eye gives light which it receives from without, and is not light itself, so the conscience lights the spirit by light from above.—Single, i.e., presenting a single, clear image. The application is to single apprehension of God as the supreme object of trust and love.

    Full of light, or, ‘in light,’ ‘in full light,’ the body having received what the eye was designed to convey.

    Philip Schaff (1879)
    Matthew 6:23. If thine eye be evil. This means, according to the contrast, ‘double’ distorted in vision.
    Full of darkness, or, ‘in darkness’ (The word is not the same as that in the next clause, but derived from it.) The evil result of a divided state of heart, where what God designed to be the means of showing Himself to us as the supreme object of love, fails to perform its office. The rest of the clause carries out the same thought.

    If therefore, since so much depends on the singleness of vision, the light that if in thee, what God has placed in us to be the means of conveying light, referring it to the conscience. Man can lose the proper use of what God designed to be the organ of spiritual light, even this may be darkness. In such a case, how great is that darkness. A fearful picture of a confirmed sinful condition; and it is implied that a heart without single and supreme dedication reaches such a condition.—Another view: ‘If then the light which is in thee is darkness, how dark must the darkness be!’ i.e., ‘if the conscience, the eye and light of the soul, be darkened, In how much grosser darkness will all the passions and faculties be, which are of themselves naturally dark! ‘No blindness is so terrible as blindness of conscience, when what was made to enlighten us but increases our darkness.

    McGarvey & Pendleton (1914)
    The lamp of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single,
    thy whole body shall be full of light. In these two verses there is a brief allegory, the meaning of which is to be ascertained from the context. The subject under consideration is the propriety of laying up treasures, not on earth, but in heaven, and the effect which treasures have upon the heart. Now, the heart or affection is to the soul much the same as the eye is to the body. If we do not set our affections upon spiritual things, the time quickly comes when we cannot see them (1 Corinthians 2:14; John 3:19-21). Jesus therefore represents our affections as if they were an eye. If the eye is single--that is, if it sees nothing with a double or confused vision--then the man receives through it clear views of the outside world, and his inner man is, so to speak, full of light. But if his eye is diseased or blinded, then his inner man is likewise darkened. Applying the allegory to the spiritual man, if his heart is single in its love toward God and the things of God, then he has clear views as to the relative importance and value of things temporal and eternal, things earthly and things heavenly. But if the heart looks with a double interest upon both earthly and heavenly treasure, it makes the man double-minded (James 1:6-8), and so spoils his life. God does not permit a double affection any more than he does a double service, and a man who seeks to continue in it will soon be visited with great darkness as to the things of God, and will become blind in heart and conscience (Romans 1:21-25).
    But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness1. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is the darkness2!
    But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. But if his eye is diseased or blinded, then his inner man is likewise darkened. Applying the allegory to the spiritual man, if his heart is single in its love toward God and the things of God, then he has clear views as to the relative importance and value of things temporal and eternal, things earthly and things heavenly. But if the heart looks with a double interest upon both earthly and heavenly treasure, it makes the man double-minded (James 1:6-8), and so spoils his life. See James 1:6-8.
    If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is the darkness! God does not permit a double affection any more than he does a double service, and a man who seeks to continue in it will soon be visited with great darkness as to the things of God, and will become blind in heart and conscience (Romans 1:21-25).

    Daniel Whedon (1874)
    Verse 22
    22. Light of the body is the eye — The body is as a large room, naturally dark, of which the inhabitant is the soul. But it has a light or lamp, the eye; for the eye gathers light from the external world of knowledge, and pours it, like a lamp, into the spacious residence of the soul. Eye be single — Or pure from any foreign substance, duplicating and impeding its clear blaze. Body… light — If the lamp give a pure light, the room is completely filled with illumination. When the moral perception is uninterfered with by any alloy of base self-interest, the soul possesses the pure light of truth.

    Verse 23
    23. If thine eye be evil — If the eye is evil by corrupting disease or foreign substance. Darkness — Of course a blind eye makes a dark body and soul. And morally, where the spiritual eye is disturbed and blinded by unholy motives and worldly self-interest, the soul is filled with darkness.
    But the Jews were often inclined to struggle against this heathen world-worship; and so a rivalry and a compromise arose in their hearts between the world-god and the true God. Our Lord now meets this case.

    Don Flemming (2005)
    Verses 19-34
    To illustrate the results of right and wrong attitudes to material things, Jesus referred to a local belief about the results of good and bad eyesight. People believed that eyes were like windows that allowed light to enter the body and keep it in good health. Healthy eyes meant a healthy body (light); diseased eyes meant a diseased body (darkness). A healthy view of material things will result in a healthy spiritual life; but an unhealthy view will mean that the natural spiritual darkness already in the heart will become even darker (Matthew 6:22-23). A person can be a slave of only one master at a time. If people devote their attention to increasing their prosperity and comfort, they can no longer claim to be loyal to God (Matthew 6:24).
    Others, however, get into bondage to material things not because they are greedy, but because they worry too much about having enough money to look after themselves. They should realize that if God gives life, he can also give what is necessary to maintain life (Matthew 6:25-27). If he cares for lesser things such as birds, flowers and grass, he can certainly care for his people. Believers should not be anxious concerning their material needs. Those who do not know God might be anxious, but believers should trust in God and put the interests of his kingdom first. They are under his rule and they should trust that as day to day difficulties arise, he will provide the answer (Matthew 6:28-34).

    Albert Barnes (1870)
    Verse 22-23
    The light of the body … - The sentiment stated in the preceding verses - the duty of fixing the affections on heavenly things - Jesus proceeds to illustrate by a reference to the “eye.” When the eye is directed steadily toward an object, and is in health, or is single, everything is clear and plain. If it vibrates, flies to different objects, is fixed on no one singly, or is diseased, nothing is seen clearly. Everything is dim and confused. The man, therefore, is unsteady. The eye regulates the motion of the body. To have an object distinctly in view is necessary in order to correct and regulate action. Rope-dancers, that they may steady themselves, fix the eye on some object on the wall, and look steadily at that. If they should look down on the rope or the people, they might become dizzy and fall. A man crossing a stream on a log, if he will look across at some object steadily, will be in little danger. If he looks down on the dashing and rolling waters, he will become dizzy, and fall. So Jesus says, in order that the conduct may be right, it is important to fix the affections on heaven. Having the affections there - having the eye of faith single, steady, unwavering - all the conduct will be correspondent.

    Single - Steady, directed to one object. Not confused, as persons‘ eyes are when they see double.

    Thy body shall be full of light - Your conduct will be regular and steady. All that is needful to direct the body is that the eye be fixed right. No other light is required. So all that is needful to direct the soul and the conduct is, that the eye of faith be fixed on heaven; that the affections be there.

    If, therefore, the light that is in thee … - The word “light,” here, signifies “the mind,” or principles of the soul. If this is dark, how great is that darkness! The meaning of this passage may be thus expressed: The light of the body, the guide and director, is the eye. All know how calamitous it is when that light is irregular or extinguished, as when the eye is diseased or lost. So the light that is in us is the soul. If that soul is debased by attending exclusively to earthly objects - if it is diseased, and not fixed on heaven how much darker and more dreadful will it be than any darkness of the eye! Avarice darkens the mind, obscures the view, and brings in a dreadful and gloomy night over all the faculties.

    James Vaughan, Pulput Commentary (1876)
    Matthew 6:22
    The finest organ of the body is the ‘eye.’ Therefore it has been made the allegory of spiritual things. The idea conveyed by a ‘single eye,’ appears to be threefold. First, clear, with no film; secondly, in opposition to double, seeing one object at a time; and thirdly, concentration, centred upon a focus. These three thoughts mainly go to make up the word ‘single’: distinctness, oneness, fixedness.

    I. Distinctness.—What is it which corresponds in the spiritual life to a natural ‘eye’? Surely it is the faculty of the soul by which we perceive and by which we deal with things otherwise invisible. It is very nearly, but not quite, the same thing as faith, and all that is wanting is, that the ‘eye’ be ‘single,’—clear, simple, concentrated. Many things may give a dullness to the moral ‘light.’ If it be impaired by disuse, or if we accustom ourselves to look on things too bright, unrevealed mysteries, deep, hidden things, which belong to a higher condition of our being. But still more, things coming in between, veil and darken that higher vision. A worldly life is sure to do it. Much care will do it. Luxury will do it. But still more any wilful unbelief, or any strong prejudice. By such things your intelligence on Divine subjects will certainly grow cloudy.

    II. Oneness.—Equally important is the habit of one great purpose. Why is the view which most of us have of spiritual things so poor, so shadowy, and so indiscriminate? We see double. We are trying to compass, at the same time, two things, which never lie in the same field of sight, the world and God. The consequence is—both are spoiled. He who would see truth, must look at truth only. He who would see Jesus, must gather his thoughts upon Jesus only. You must have your one point of religious perspective.

    III. Fixedness.—And then upon that one object you must concentrate yourself. All the acquisitions of learning,—all you have of art and talent,—all power,—must bear upon that point. It must meet you in the morning, and the last thing at night. Your whole mind, affections, hopes, interests, must meet there. If you look away a little while, it is only to fix your ‘eye’ there the most decidedly and the most restfully. You converge your eternity upon God. Thus by clearness,—by oneness,—by force,—‘your eye is single.’
  19. swordsman1

    swordsman1 Well-Known Member

    W. C. Smith
    Matthew 6:22-24
    The illustration of the text has a twofold reference. It bears on what went before, and also on what follows. If we lay up treasures on earth, that will produce an evil eye; if we try to serve God and mammon, that will destroy the single eye. Look at the passage in both these aspects.

    I. If the light within you be true, if it be your real heart's desire to see what is right, if your affections are set on those things which are just and pure and lovely, the things heavenly and eternal, then shall your eye be single, and as ye look forth on the world ye shall be able to estimate its treasures at their proper value, for they will have lost to you the glamour and the fascination which they exercise over others. Their inherent emptiness, their essential vanity, their utter precariousness, their certain brevity will be all naked and open to the clear vision of faith, which sees them in their true character and values them at their proper worth.

    II. Consider next the evil eye, as it is produced by the effort to serve both God and mammon. The influence of utter and unmitigated worldliness, when a man gives himself to it heartily and without scruple or drawback; that is, as we have seen, to blind his mind altogether to the higher concerns of the spiritual world. Therefore he never troubles himself about them; can see no need of them, and no value in them. That is a sad state of darkness; but it is a sort of honest darkness, and is consistent with a certain genuineness of character. But the effort to serve both God and mammon produces a kind of self-deception, which is to my mind greatly more pernicious and worse to overcome than the former. The thorough worldling knows himself to be so, and his evil eye sees nothing else worth troubling himself about. The other, however, fondly persuades himself that he is not a worldling, that he is, indeed, far superior to the worldling; his evil eye sees, in a measure, what is right and good, but only regards it so far as may be necessary to keep his mind easy in its worldliness. Thus the light which is in him serves more effectually the purpose of darkness.

    W. Robertson Nicol (1897)
    The passage is elliptical, and might be paraphrased thus: The eye is the lamp of the body: when it is healthy we see to do our daily work, when diseased we are in darkness. So with the eye of the soul, the heart, seat of desire: when it is free from covetousness, not anxious to hoard, all goes well with our spiritual functions—we choose and act wisely. When sordid passions possess it there is darkness within deeper than that which afflicts the blind man. We mistake the relative value of things, choose the worse, neglect the better, or flatter ourselves that we can have both.

    John Chrysostom
    Having spoken of the bringing the understanding into captivity because it was not easy to be understood of many, He transfers it to a sensible instance, saying, "The light of thy body is thy eye." As though He had said, If you do not know what is meant by the loss of the understanding, learn a parable of the bodily members; for what the eye is to the body, that the understanding is to the soul. As by the loss of the eyes we lose much of the use of the other limbs, so when the understanding is corrupted, your life is filled with many evils.

    That is an illustration drawn from the senses. As the whole body is in darkness, where the eye is not single, so if the soul has lost her original brightness, every sense, or that whole part of the soul to which sensation belongs, will abide in darkness.
    Wherefore He says, "If then the light which is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!" that is, if the senses which are the soul"s light be darkened by vice, in how great darkness do you suppose the darkness itself will be wrapped?

    Paul Kretzmann (1921)
    The parable of the eye:
    v. 22. The light of the body is the eye; if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.
    v. 23. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!
    The absurdity and dangerousness of covetousness is here illustrated, probably with reference to the Pharisees, whose attention and affections were divided between temporal and spiritual things, and who therefore became spiritually blind. The eye is the organ of vision and incidentally the seat of expression. To perform its function properly, it should be the light of the body, give light for the body's movement and labor. The candid, open, healthy eye will give this service properly; the bad, diseased eye will cause the whole body to be in darkness, though the person stand in the midst of light. In other words: The light of the body is the eye, because the eye lets light into the body and makes it available to the body. When the eye of the soul is in proper condition, free from the desire to hoard, then true Christian knowledge can control and direct the person unto every good work. But when sordid passions take hold of the soul, Christian knowledge suffers, heart and mind are blinded, judgment is perverted, and nothing but evil results. There is spiritual darkness without a single ray of light, just as the extinguishing of a lamp in a dark room intensifies the darkness greatly.

    Johann Lange (1857)
    Matthew 6:22. The light of the body.—Connection Not: in order to fulfil this duty, you must “preserve your inner light or reason (Chrysostom: ὁ νοῦς) undimmed;” but: ye must preserve your mental eye undivided in its gaze. The Lord evidently alludes here to the Pharisees, whose attention and affections were divided between what was temporal and what was spiritual. Their state of mind is illustrated by the eye. The eye is the light of the body (lighted from the light of the sun). Everything now depends on a right condition of the eye. It must be ἁπλοῦς, i. e, simple, in opposition to the πονηρός, or bad, spoiled eye. If the contrast between a healthy and a diseased eye were intended (in the sense of any ailment affecting it), it would have been otherwise expressed. We conclude, therefore, that it refers to the contrast between proper sight and deceptive or double sight. “The word is never used to indicate healthy. Hence we might agree with Elsner and Olshausen in explaining it as an eye which does not see double—double sight being a disease; and, with Quesnel, apply it as meaning, that it knows only one object of love—even God. But if we inquire what Hebrew word corresponded to the Greek term, we find that Aquila and the Sept. translate ἁπλοῦς for the Hebrew יָשָׁר,תָּם = ὁλόκληρος, which latter, like integer, is related to ἁπλοῦς. Thus Theophylact explains ἁπλοῦς and πονηρός by ὑγιής and νοσώδης.” Tholuck.—But we object to any translation of definite and distinct into more general terms, in order thus to give them a meaning which is not warranted by the context. The desire of serving at the same time God and mammon may be characterised as a moral double sight, as an evil eye, which is rightly designated by πονηρός, in direct contrast to ἁπλοῦς. But the eye is ἁπλοῦς, when it wholly, consciously, and calmly agrees with the state of the mind and heart,—when it is not wandering, and therefore not double-sighted nor untrue, and hence worse than blind. On the other hand, the eye is evil if it lose its power of perceiving, or begins to wander and miss the object set before it. Then the whole body will be full of darkness, or enveloped in night. But the darkening of the mind has more sad consequences than that of the body. If therefore—a conclusio a minori ad majus—the light that is in thee (the inward light) be darkness, etc.

    Matthew 6:23. The question as to the meaning of the light that is in thee, is of importance. Chrysostom: ὁ νοῦς. Calvin: Lumen vocat Christus rationem, quantulacunque hominibus reliqua manet post lapsum Adœ. Beza, Chemnitz, Gerhard, Calov: “The eye which is enlightened by the word and Spirit of God.”—Tholuck: That which is left of the Divine image in Prayer of Manasseh, after John 8:47; John 18:37; or, as Gerhard has it, lumen naturœ, the light of nature.—Meyer: Reason, especially practical reason.—The capacity of the inner eye of reason to become the organ of knowledge is evidently here alluded to, although the expression has a more special meaning. It is not the inner eye itself, the νοῦς, but the light of the inner eye, or the Old Testament revelation so well known by the Pharisees and scribes, which had, by their carnal views, been perverted into error.—If the bodily eye is blind, the danger is less, because precaution will be used. The real peril lies in the eye seeing falsely or double, because in that case the light of the sun will only serve to blind, which is worse than utter darkness. The same holds true of the inner eye when it converts the light of revelation into a blinding and misleading light. This was the case with the Pharisees and scribes. They would have had God and a carnal Messiah,—they would serve the Lord and mammon.

    As the organ of light, the eye of the body Isaiah, so to speak, our light; occupying, so far as we are concerned, the place of the sun, and in that respect representing the whole body, as if the whole body were an eye. This makes it also the organ and symbol of the inner eye, or of reason, by which the light of the spiritual sun is communicated to the inner life, and which, if healthy, converts the whole inner life into a capacity of spiritual perception. But just as when the external eye is not simple or double in its light, the outward light only serves to dazzle, so also in reference to the inner eye and the light of revelation. How great is that darkness! The history of pharisaical Judaism has amply corroborated the truth of this statement.

    The inward eye is intended to be the eye of the heart. Ephesians 1:18. The state of the heart and the state of the eye influence each other. If the heart is set on heavenly treasures, the eye must be directed toward the light. Comp. the biblical psychology of Beck, and Delitzsch.
  20. swordsman1

    swordsman1 Well-Known Member

    Charles Simeon (1832)
    Matthew 6:22-23. The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!

    REASON is certainly the richest endowment of the human mind. When regulated by the word and Spirit of God, it will direct our paths, and enable us to guard against every dangerous or important error; but it is capable of being so warped by specious reasonings, and selfish considerations, as to become an engine of Satan, and an instrument of our more aggravated ruin: there is nothing, however unreasonable, which a perverse spirit will not do; nor any thing, however criminal, which it will not justify. Hence our blessed Lord, in the passage before us, inculcated on his followers the necessity of having “a single eye,” and of acting on all occasions with a well-informed and upright intention.

    Let us consider,

    I. The instruction here given us—

    There is “a light within us,” which is to the soul what the natural eye is to the body; and, if preserved in healthful exercise, will serve, in most instances, to direct our steps: but if it be vitiated and obscured by the film of vile affections, it will itself become as darkness.

    But it may be asked, Can reason or conscience ever be so perverted as to become darkness? I answer, Yes: and this is actually the case,

    1. When, though it does shine, we will not follow its direction—

    [The eye, supposing it to be free from any defects, is capable of directing all the motions of the body. So reason or conscience, if freed from all undue bias, will serve in a great measure to regulate the active powers of the soul [Note: Proverbs 20:27.]. But as a person who should keep his eyes shut in order that he might not behold the light, would be in the same predicament with one who was really blind; so the person, who either will not bring his reason and conscience to the light of God’s word, or obstinately determines to persist in the paths of error, is, in effect at least, as much in darkness, as if he did not possess any such faculties—]

    2. When it is obscured by any defect in the organs of vision—

    [As vicious humours will destroy the sight of our bodily eyes, so will sinful affections impair the powers of the mind. Prejudice, passion, or interest, will often blind us to such a degree, that we cannot discern the things that are most obvious to others. We all are sensible of this weakness in others; and it would be well if we were more on our guard respecting it in ourselves. Not to mention the innumerable instances which manifest themselves in our conduct towards each other, how universally are men blinded in their conduct towards God! While Christianity in general, is allowed to be both good and necessary, there is scarcely any regard paid to its particular, and most distinguishing tenets. Its fundamental doctrines, such as original sin, justification by faith, regeneration by the Holy Spirit, are discarded as erroneous; and its most essential precepts of holiness and self-denial are ridiculed as preciseness and enthusiasm. Where the jaundiced eye receives such an impression respecting the most important truths, its light must be considered as no better than darkness—]

    3. When under a professed regard to it, we do what is in itself evil—

    [It is no uncommon thing to put “evil for good, and darkness for light,” and to engage earnestly in some evil conduct under the idea that we are doing what is right [Note: Isaiah 5:20.]. Our Lord has taught us to expect that men would persecute and even “kill his faithful followers, and imagine all the time that they were doing God service.” And Paul, in the midst of all his boasted morality, persecuted the Christians even unto death, and persuaded himself that “he ought to do” so [Note: John 16:2. Acts 26:9.]. A similar conduct yet obtains in the world. There are thousands who yet think it their duty to oppose the progress of the Gospel, and to repress by every means in their power its influence over their friends and relatives. The light of such persons surely is, not only dark, but darkness itself—]

    It appears then, that our Lord cautions us not to neglect or violate the dictates of our conscience. And to impress this lesson more deeply on our minds, I will mark,

    II. The vast importance of it to every child of man—

    The Jews had manifested a most astonishing per- verseness in resisting all the evidences of our Lord’s mission; and he well knew how fatal it would prove to them, if they should persist in it any longer. Hence he gave them this solemn caution, which may, for similar reasons, be given also unto us,

    1. The evil against which we are guarded, is a common evil—

    [Though there is much ignorance in the world, yet there are few, if any, whose practice does not fall very far short of what they know to be their duty. There certainly are different degrees of light in the minds of unconverted men; but all in some measure “resist the truth,” and “imprison it in unrighteousness [Note: Romans 1:18. κατεχόντων. A heathen felt this: “Video meliora, proboque; deteriora sequor.”].” When therefore this evil is so general, should we not be on our guard against it? When all of us see how much it prevails in others, should we not suspect its influence over ourselves? Let every one tremble for his own house, when he sees it standing in the midst of a general conflagration—]

    2. It is an evil to which we are prone—

    [The heart is justly said to be “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.” It is ready and ingenious in colouring over its own devices, and in justifying whatever tends to its own satisfaction. The world also presents to us ten thousand pleas that serve to confirm our delusions. And Satan, who beguiled our first parents in Paradise, doubtless lends his aid to lead us astray, and to keep us ignorant of our real state. Who is there amongst us that has not experienced this proneness to self-deception? The very Apostles on some occasions “knew not what spirit they were of.” And who has not repeatedly found, that the things, which seemed right in his eyes at one time, have, in an hour of sober reflection, appeared to have been the extremest folly? Surely then we never can be too watchful against the treachery of our own hearts—]

    3. It is an evil that greatly aggravates our guilt—

    [God has given us a conscience capable of “accusing or excusing” us according to the true tenour of our actions [Note: Romans 2:15.]. Now if we either warp it by vile affections, or silence it by continued opposition to its dictates, our sin is aggravated a hundred-fold. This is repeatedly declared both by Christ and his Apostles [Note: James 4:17. John 15:22; John 9:41; John 3:19-21.]. And can we suppose that our punishment also will not be proportionably enhanced? Will not “the servant who knew his Lord’s will and did it not, be beaten with more stripes than he who transgressed through ignorance?” Will not those, who improved a less degree of light, “rise up in judgment against” those who enjoyed more ample means of instruction, and yet neglected to improve them? No doubt, it were “better never to have known the will of God at all, than, having known it,” to live in an allowed opposition to it—]

    4. It is an evil that involves us in the greatest danger—

    [If we will not receive the truth in the love of it, we have reason to fear that God will give us up to our own delusions, that we may believe a lie, and receive the condemnation due to our perverseness [Note: 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12.]. He sometimes suffers the light itself to have no other effect than to blind our eyes [Note: Isaiah 6:9-10.]. And what a tremendous judgment would that be! We should only wander further and further from God, till we had “filled up the measure of our iniquities,” and be thus “treasuring up for ourselves wrath against the day of wrath.” Should we ever be left to this state, “better were it for us that we had never been born.”]

    Having thus explained the reasons of this caution, we shall conclude with a few words of advice—

    1. Get your conscience truly enlightened—

    [It needs the illumination of God’s word and Spirit. Without that it will be but a blind guide at best. God however has promised, for the comfort of those who seek him, that “The meek he will guide in judgment, the meek he will teach his way.”]

    2. Regard the dictates of conscience in little things;—

    [Conscience must maintain an uncontrolled, unlimited sway. You must “exercise yourself daily to keep it void of offence towards God and man.” If you violate its dictates in small things, you will soon cease to reverence it in greater matters. But listen to its voice on all occasions, and it will never suffer you to err materially. There shall always be a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk ye in it [Note: Isaiah 30:21.].”]

    3. Guard against worldly and carnal lusts—

    [It is astonishing to what a degree even the most sensible men, as David and Solomon, may be blinded by “foolish and hurtful lusts.” The love of money, of pleasure, or of honour, alas! how will they warp the judgment, how will they divert us from the path of duty! Love not the world if you have any wish to possess the love of God. The two attachments are inconsistent and incompatible with each other [Note: 1 John 2:15.].]

    4. Set the Lord Jesus ever before you—

    [He is the light of the world; and if you will follow him, you shall never walk in darkness [Note: John 8:12.]. If you can find what Christ would have done in your situation, do that resolutely and universally.]

    Cornelius Lapide (1890)
    The light of the body, &c. Those who have bad sight, says S. Jerome, see many lamps instead of one. A single and clear eye beholds things simply and purely as they are.

    But if thine eye be evil, &c. A single eye is one that is sound, and free from humours which affect and disturb the sight. Thy whole body will be luminous, as though it be full of eyes; because the light of the eye going before will direct all thine actions in the right way. But if thine eye be evil, Gr. πονηρὸν, i.e., badly affected, and full of vitiated humours, thy whole body will be dark, because it will lack light and a guide, i.e., the illumination and guidance of thine eye. If therefore the light (of thine eye) that is in thee be darkness, how great is the darkness! For the rest of the body which is naturally dark, since it has no light except from the eyes, if it be deprived of them, how dark must it be! How will it go astray, and grope in blindness. "What blackness of darkness will there be in thee!" says S. Hilary.

    These words are a parable, like several others of the sayings of Christ in this sermon. By the eye we may understand with SS. Jerome, Chrysostom, Jansen, Maldonatus, Toletus, and others, the mind or understanding. For what the eye is to the body the understanding is to the mind. As the eye directs the body, so does the practical understanding direct the mind. Whence the error and fault of the soul springs in action from the error and fault of the understanding, and this again frequently arises from depraved inclinations and covetous desires. For what the desire lusteth after, that the understanding affecteth, so that it judgeth it to be good and sought after. This has to do with what He has spoken a little before: Where thy treasure is, there will thy heart be also. He here explains what He means by the heart—calling it the eye of the mind—i.e., the practical understanding, which goes before and directs all our actions by its light. Christ wishes to teach that the mind cannot be right and pure, nor consequently the actions which flow from it be pure where the heart is blinded by avarice and cupidity.

    2. We may with S. Augustine and S. Gregory (lib28 Moral. c6), and Bede, understand by the eye the intention of the mind. For this moves, rules, and bends the mind and the understanding whithersoever it will. If it be directed purely to God and divine things as its end and aim, it will cause that the work originating in the mind shall be altogether pure and holy. But if the intention be depraved and impure, it will make the work flowing from it, even if it be a good work, become impure, evil, and vitiated. For in the whole chapter, from the first verse, Christ demands a good intention, and requires it in alms, in prayer, in fasting, indeed in every good work. S. Luke 11:36 adds some things to this parable, which will be expounded in the proper place.

    Pulpit Commentary (1897)
    Matthew 6:22, Matthew 6:23
    Simplicity of conscience.
    The illustration seems to be this—We see only through our eyes. All the light that the body enjoys comes through that pair of delicate organs. Thus, as the means of bringing light to us, our eyes are our lamps. Now, if the two eyes are confused so that they see double, they distort our vision. They must form a single image between them for us to be able to see clearly. If worse should happen, and our eyes should be blinded, all the blaze of noon can bring no light to us. This is the physical analogue; let us now look at its spiritual counterpart.

    I. CONSCIENCE IS THE EYE OF THE SOUL. It is to our spiritual nature what the organ of vision is to the bodily structure. It is the avenue through which light enters. A man without a conscience could know no spiritual truth. He might understand a multitude of facts about religion. The history of Israel and the biography of Jesus Christ might be very familiar to him. Doctrines of theology might be studied by him as systems of philosophy or theories of science are studied. But the knowledge thus acquired would not be spiritual. God would be hidden; the way of life would remain undiscovered. Righteousness and sin, faith and redemption, would be but names for abstract ideas; and the conception of these ideas would not help practically. But God speaks in the conscience. There his Spirit touches our spirit. There he impresses us with the force of moral distinctions, and draws us on to the better life.

    II. CONSCIENCE NEEDS TO BE SIMPLE IN ORDER THAT IT MAY BE CLEAR. It is possible for the inward vision to see double. This will not happen so much when we seem to have a conflict of duties as when we confuse the very idea of duty with lower considerations. If we act conscientiously even when perplexed by a diversity of claims, we cannot make a very great mistake. But the terrible confusion arises when Conscience is not permitted to speak by herself; when she is interrupted by a babel of clamorous voices speaking out of self-interest, insisting on worldly maxims, and assuming wisdom and pleading policy. These interruptions are fatal to a sound decision. Conscience must be cleared of all accessories. We must look straight to one point. The one question for conscience is—What is right? It is absolutely necessary to keep this question simple by separating it from every other consideration.

    III. THE PERVERSION OF CONSCIENCE IS THE GREATEST SPIRITUAL DARKNESS. He is in the dark who turns from the light; but far greater is the darkness of a blind man who cannot see in the light; and darkest of all is the mistake of one so deluded and demented as to take night for day, darkness for light, so that he follows darkness as a guide. It is bad to disregard conscience. Still, conscience remains, a warning beacon that cannot be utterly quenched, and we are aware that we are going without its guidance. Far worse is it to pervert the conscience. Better face a dark coast than the false lights of wreckers; better have no compass than one that will not point to the north; better be without a pilot than be steered by a pirate. The scribes and Pharisees darkened conscience with casuistry; Jesuits have been accused of doing the same; but our own hearts are our greatest deceivers. "Keep conscience as the noontide clear."