The Lamp of the Body
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.

Make a few introductory remarks on the brevity, the force of suggestion, and the depth of significance of these words of Jesus Christ. Explain that "the light of the body" should be rendered "the lamp of the body;" and that the word is distinct from the last word of the verse, rightly rendered "light." From the inattention that arises from so great familiarity with one of the grandest wonders of our life, both bodily and intelligent, strive to win this gracious illustration of Christ, and seek to secure solemn heedfulness to it. Consider -

I. A MARVELLOUS WORK OF GOD - THE BODY FULL OF LIGHT - HOW HE DOES IT. The living lamp, the eye, lets light into "the whole body," and even pours light into it. The mysterious susceptibility and energy of the brain receive and distribute it, and that brain acts accordingly. It is so that the body, or rather the man, is said to have sight. Sight avails for two things:

1. To admit a wide variety of impression and knowledge.

2. To initiate, and direct, and conduct, a wide variety of intelligent action. The body, which otherwise would be only an opaque mass of living, throbbing energy, but groping because of darkness, losing the right way, missing aim and vainly beating the air, wasting terribly the vital force it had, becomes by that "lamp all suddenly, as it were, endowed with capability. It is a capability of the higher sort - based on immense contributions of knowledge, and not on mere addition of physical strength. It is perhaps impossible to make any well-founded comparisons among the works of God, and it approaches irreverence to attempt it; but among them all, when we think fixedly of it, where can we find one more to amaze us, and more to be admired for the way it is obtained and the results it obtains, than the body full of light"?

II. A MARVELLOUS WOE OF MAN - THE BODY ALL DARK - AND HOW HE COMES WITH IT SO. The body is "all dark" when the lamp that God made for it or meant for it is not there or is not alight. And this may be so, whereas it never was there, the man being born blind; or whereas it was once there and alight, yet some "accident" has put it out and destroyed it; or whereas it was once there and alight, yet disease, and perhaps disease that was more or less the direct consequence of sin and vice, had put it out and destroyed it. In each and all of these cases what suggestion of serious thought and solemn wonder or searching inquiry there is!

III. A MARVELLOUSLY AGGRAVATED FORM OF THIS HUMAN WOE - WHAT AND WHENCE IT IS. This is when the lamp is there, and when it is lighted, but its light is contradictory, confusing, bewildering, and worse than any ordinary darkness. It is a distemper of the eye, that falsifies all incoming impressions, misleads and misdirects all outgoing action. The result may be termed "darkness," but only because it is not light, and of this darkness it must be added, "how great it is! Or, as there is present the lamp, and as there is in action the eye, the result may for one briefest moment be termed light," but only the very next moment to incur the comment and. criticism of the unerring Discerner and Judge of all things: "If therefore the very light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!"

IV. A MARVELLOUS PORTRAIT AND TYPE - OF THE MIND - TAKEN FROM THE BODY. Reason, instinct, conscience, the instruction of revelation, the highest possible instruction, that of the Spirit, each and all are the lamp and light of the mind. But what are they when they are not each severally "single;" when they are made "evil;" when error adulterates truth; when impurity, and self-seeking, and self-confidence, and undocility, and resistance of holy motions, and the doing of despite to the Spirit; - when one or more or all of these baulk or block the straight, steady advance and operating of the good and true and holy? If error prostitutes truth, and an evil spirit usurps the seat of the good Spirit, then the state of that man, in whom scenes of mischief and disaster such as these have their way, is worse than if he had not reason or conscience, and had been left unvisited of Divine instruction and Divine importunity. - B.

Parallel Verses
KJV: The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.

WEB: "The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is sound, your whole body will be full of light.

The Inspiration of a Noble Aim
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