The Eye and the Life
Lamentations 3:51
My eye affects my heart because of all the daughters of my city.

Mine eye affecteth mine heart. More correctly, "Mine eye paineth my soul, or my life;" that is, what I see, so melancholy is it, that it preys on my mind and undermines my health. Note -

I. THE EFFECT OF THE SENSES ON THE LIFE. The eye is more than an optical instrument. The effect produced by the image on the retina depends upon who it is that sees and what it is that he sees. Age, education, peculiarities of experience, will make all the difference. The very exercising of the senses was evidently intended to give pleasure. There is correspondence between the eye and the beautiful and sublime in nature; between the ear and melodious and harmonious sounds; and yet some peculiar experience may interpose, so that there shall no longer be beauty in the beautiful, melody in the melodious. What we get from the exercise of our senses will depend upon what we bring. The prophet saw desolation all around him where once there had been crowded and prosperous life. What could he do but feel as if a broken heart would be the end of his thoughts? But the spoilers would look at the scene differently, for to them it was the place of enrichment and triumph.

II. COMPENSATIONS FOR THE LOSS OF SENSE. Loss of vision is a serious matter to one whose intellect is full of life and activity, So Milton seems to have felt, judging from his touching references to his blindness in his poetry. But this makes it all the more needful to recollect the other side. The blind have exemptions from some pains. They do not see the painful sights of the streets: the drunkard, the ragged beggars, the weary faces - weary with incessant struggling for a position or a livelihood. They can guess much of the trouble of the world, but many of the manifestations of that trouble they only know when they are told. We do well to keep in mind and rightly estimate the compensations for natural losses.

III. RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE RIGHT USE OF OUR NATURAL POWERS. The expression of the prophet here indicates that he was in the right way. To have looked on such a scene with indifference or only mild regret would have argued a very wrong state of mind indeed. Surely in the judgment the question to many will be," What use did you make of your eyesight? Did you gather up impressions which made you feel how deep is the spiritual sickness of the world, how certain it is that only Christ can make the world better? And further, did you lend practical help to bring men within reach of the saving power of Christ?" To this extent it will be better in the day of judgment for many blind than for those who have gone through the smitten world with both eyes open and yet as if they did not see, - Y.

Parallel Verses
KJV: Mine eye affecteth mine heart because of all the daughters of my city.

WEB: My eye affects my soul, because of all the daughters of my city.

Sorrows of the Godly
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