Matthew 6:22, 23
The light of the body is the eye: if therefore your eye be single, your whole body shall be full of light.
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." - W.F.A.
Parallel VersesKJV: The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.