ŇThe 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!Ó Matthew 6:22-23.

 

 

These two verses have sundry expositions, which we must discuss before we can see the scope and coherence of them in this place. Of sundry which I take to miss the right scope of Christ in this place, I will only touch one, which is the most probable; and then set down that which I take to be the best. By single eye some understand a liberal mind; and by the wicked eye, an envious and covetous mind; and so they make Christ here to speak of liberality and covetousness. Now it is true that the words will bear this sense, for Solomon puts the good eye, for the liberal and merciful person (Prov. 22:9), He that hath the good eye, he shall be blessed; for he giveth of his bread unto the poor; and the evil eye, for the covetous person (Prov. 28:22), A man of a wicked eye hasteth unto riches. But though the words will bear this interpretation, yet it is not (as I take it) the proper meaning of Christ in this place; for here, the light of the body, the single eye, and the light that is in us, be all put for one and the same thing. Now, the light that is in us, is the understanding and judgment of the mind. Again, the eye is here called the light of the whole body; but the liberal mind cannot be the light of the whole body for all actions, but for works of mercy and bounty only.

 

To come therefore to that which I take to be ChristŐs true meaning; the words contain in them divers similitudes.

 

In the first words, The light of the body is the eye, is a parable taken from a candle in an house, for as a candle set up in an house lighteth the house and all that be in it; so the light of this eye (which is the understanding) lighteth the whole body, and giveth direction to the whole man in all his actions.

 

In the next words, If thine eye be single, to the end of v.23, is a second similitude, which standeth thus: If a man have a good and clear bodily eye, he can guide himself in the right way, and keep his feet from stumbling and from falling. But if his eye be dim and dark, that he cannot walk without stumbling; and if he want an eye, or that his eye be stark blind, then of himself he cannot walk without stumbling and wandering. So in like manner, if the understanding, which is the eye of the mind, be sound and clear, able to judge of good and evil, then is the whole life well ordered. But if the judgment be corrupt, then is there much disorder in the life; and if it be clean put out, then is there nothing but brutish confusion.

 

Thus stands the comparison in these words. Now the meaning of them is this. The first words are plain, The light of the body is the eye, that is, the eye gives light for the direction of the body; as a light in an house directs the householders in their affairs. If thine eye be single etc. By eye here is meant the mind, resembled by the bodily eye; and the single eye is the understanding mind, able to judge of good and evil, of things to be done, and not to be done. Thy whole body shall be light. By body is meant the life, and by light is meant well ordered and directed. For the mind is to the life for the directing of it, that which the eye is to the body for the ordering thereof. But if thine eye be wicked etc. The wicked eye is the corrupt mind, having the understanding darkened, and judgment so depraved that it cannot rightly discern of good and evil, what is to be done, and what is to be left undone. Then all thy body shall be dark; that is, thy whole life in all thine actions shall be full of sin and disorder. Wherefore if the light that is in thee be darkness; that is, if the natural light of reason and judgment left in man after the fall, be quite extinguished. How great is that darkness? That is, wonderful shall his corruption and disorder be; yea, so full of confusion, that there shall be no difference between his life, and the life of a bruit beast. And this I take to be ChristŐs proper meaning.

 

Now the words thus explained, depend upon the former as an answer to a secret objection which the heart of man might frame unto itself, against those two commandments, to this effect: If there be such necessity of laying up treasures in heaven, and of avoiding to lay up treasures in earth, then why do not the most wise and learned men of our time do so; they seek more for earthly treasures than for heavenly? Hereto Christ answers thus, as if He had said: Marvel not at this, for they want the single eye, the understanding mind to discern of things that differ, they cannot judge aright of true treasure, and so not knowing the heavenly, they seek the earthly treasure only, Now that we may perceive the words of Christ thus to answer the former objection, we must know that Christ doth here presuppose thus much; that every manŐs eye is either single, corrupt or blind; and the single eye which is a good understanding, befalls not all men, no not all wise and learned men, but them only to whom God in mercy gives it. But the corrupt eye befalls every man naturally. And some by sin put out the light of nature, and so become senseless in spiritual things. And hence it is that all men naturally wanting the single eye, and having the corrupt eye, yea, many having the blind eye, do not discern of the true treasure; and so leave the heavenly, and give themselves wholly to the earthly.

 

Thus we see both the meaning and the coherence, leading us to the main cause of covetousness, with the blind eye of the mind not able to discern of true spiritual treasure. Now in the words, these three points are to be handled:

            I. The single eye, with the fruits thereof;

            II. The wicked eye, with his fruits;

            III. The dark and blind eye, with the fruits thereof.

 

I. The single eye is the mind of man indued with some portion of true heavenly wisdom; and the fruit of it is to give the body light. To know this single eye the better, we must search out what true wisdom is. This true heavenly wisdom is no common gift, which every professor may have, but a special gift of God in Christ, peculiar to them that do truly believe in Him. (1 Cor. 1:30), Christ is made wisdom unto us of God; not only because He is the matter of our wisdom, we being then only true wise, when we know Christ and Him crucified; but also because He is the root from whence all our wisdom springs; for being ingrafted into Christ by faith, we become, as it were (Eph. 5:30), flesh of His flesh, and bone of His bones; and so are not only made just by the imputation of His obedience, but do also receive inherent holiness and wisdom from Him; our wisdom and holiness being derived from His, as the branch is from the stock, and the fruit from the root. And this wisdom befalls not at all to the devil and his angels, though they know much, nor to all that are Christians in name; but only to the members of His mystical body by faith.

 

This heavenly wisdom hath two actions:

 

1. First, to discern aright the things that differ, and to distinguish one thing from another spiritually. This Paul prayed for in the behalf of the Phillippians (Phil. 1:9), That their love might abound more and more in knowledge, and in all judgment or sense, that so they might discern things that differ; that is, good from evil, and heavenly from earthly; what to do, and what to leave undone, which is a property of men of age in religion, who through long custom attain hereunto (Heb. 5:14). And hence it is that the child of God can:

 

(1) Discern the voice of Christ, the true shepherd, from the voice of all false teachers.

 

(2) By this gift of discerning, he can put a difference between the water of baptism, and all other water; and between the bread and wine in the LordŐs table, and common bread and wine.

 

(3) Hereby the church and every true member of it is enabled to judge rightly of crosses, distinguishing  fatherly chastisements from GodŐs plagues and curses for sin.

 

(4) Hereby he can discern the things of God, even his own election, his vocation, adoption and justification; these and such he can perceive in himself more or less.

 

(5) In a word, hereby he can discern the true treasure from worldly; hereby he knows the excellency of heavenly things above earthly. These things the natural man cannot, but the spiritual man discerneth all things (1 Cor. 2:15). Look whatsoever befalleth him, therein he can see the hand of God working for his good, therein he can discern GodŐs wisdom, power and providence; in all which we may perceive the most excellent use of this heavenly wisdom.

 

2. The second action of this heavenly wisdom is to judge, determine and give sentence of things, what is to be done, what is not to be done; what is good, and what is evil in practice and behaviour. And here this one thing must be remembered, that the principal point of this wisdom is to determine of true happiness, whereto the whole life of man ought to be directed; which happiness is the love and favour of God in Christ. Herein David shews his heavenly wisdom, far different from the wisdom of the world (Psa. 4:6), Many say, who will shew us any good? There is the worldlingŐs happiness. So Paul coming among the wisest of the Gentiles, professeth that he esteemed to know nothing but Christ and Him crucified (1 Cor. 2:2), for whose excellent knowledge sake, he thought all things to be loss (Phil. 3:8). And the same should be our wisdom; for though a man had all human learning and policy, yet if he fail in this, rightly to determine of true happiness, all his wisdom would prove foolishness; for (1 Cor. 3:18,19) the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God; and therefore if any man seem to be wise in this world, let him be a fool, that he may be wise; that is, a fool to the world in esteeming the knowledge of Christ crucified only true wisdom; and the favour of God in him, true happiness; that so he may be wise indeed in the sight of God. Another chief part of this heavenly wisdom, is a spiritual and godly providence, whereby we forecast by all means how to compass and come by true happiness. Herein the power of heavenly wisdom is shewed. And without this, though otherwise a man discern the right, yet his knowledge and wisdom is imperfect and unprofitable.

 

And thus we see the actions of this heavenly wisdom, whereby we may describe it thus: It is a gift of GodŐs Spirit to them that are in Christ, whereby they are enabled to discern of things that differ, and to judge and determine what is that true happiness, whereto the life of man ought to tend; and withal to forecast and provide by what good and lawful means it may be compassed. And he whose mind is endued herewith in some measure, hath the single eye.

 

Now the fruit of this single eye is to make the whole body light; that is, to bring the whole life in good order, guiding it in the paths of righteousness, and making it to abound in good works. (Prov. 8:19,20), My fruit (saith wisdom) is better than fine goldÉ. I cause to walk in the way of righteousness, and in the midst of the paths of judgment. (Prov. 16:23), The wise heart guideth the mouth wisely, and addeth doctrine unto his lips.

 

The Use.

1. Considering the mind endued with this wisdom is thus commended; we must hereby learn to labour for it in a special manner. Beside this commendation of it by our Saviour Christ which should be a spur to provoke us to this duty, the singular commodity that redounds hereby to soul and body must move us to affect it. Now that we may the better obtain this heavenly wisdom, we must be careful of these two things especially:

 

(1) First, to get the fear of God into our hearts, which is the beginning of this heavenly wisdom (Psa. 111:10). Now this fear of God is a reverent awe of the heart towards God, whereby a man is fearful to offend, and careful to please God in all things. And this we shall get, if we receive the Word of God with reverence, and apply it to our own souls when we hear it; trembling thereat when it toucheth our consciences, and humbly submitting ourselves unto it without raging or repining; saying as Hezekiah did to the prophetŐs reproof (Isa. 39:8), The Word of the Lord is good.

 

(2) Secondly, we must wholly close up our eyes (the eyes of our mind I mean), and suffer ourselves in all things to be overruled and ordered by the written Word of God. This was DavidŐs practice (Psa. 119:67). He gave himself to continual meditation in the Word of God. He made it a lantern to his feet (Psa. 119:105), and a light unto his paths. And hereby he became (vv.98, 99) wiser than his enemies, and got more understanding than all his teachers. Wouldest thou then be truly wise? Become a fool to the world, lean not to thine own wisdom; but make GodŐs Word thy whole direction.

 

2. Secondly, hereby we are taught to walk wisely in our whole conversation, that so it may appear we have this single eye. Hereto Paul (Col. 4:5; Eph. 5:15) oft exhorteth us. And thus we walk when we practice every action of our life in wisdom, according to these four rules, which are to be observed in every good action:

            (1) The thing we do must be just.

            (2) The means of effecting it must also be just.

            (3) We must keep ourselves therein, within the compass and limits of our calling.

            (4) We must do the thing with an honest, upright and single heart.

And that we may work wisely according to these four rules, we must ever have the Word of God to tell us what is just; what means be just; what be the precincts of our calling; and when we work with an upright and single heart; so doing, our works shall be in wisdom, and we shall have the approbation of God.

 

3. Thirdly, seeing this single eye of spiritual wisdom makes our life to shine with righteousness, we must learn to season our natural wit with this spiritual wisdom. Natural wisdom is a commendable gift of God, but without this spiritual wisdom it is foolishness in the things of God, yea, very corrupt in natural actions; and therefore we must join therewith this heavenly wisdom, which may season it, and make it holy; and so shall the use of it tend to GodŐs glory. It is the misery of this age, that men of excellent parts for natural wisdom, have no regard to season the same with spiritual wisdom. Hereby come many aberrations in matters of great importance, for it is justice with God to curse their proceedings that, despising the heavenly, lean altogether on their own wisdom.

 

4. Fourthly, seeing spiritual providence in forecasting how to compass true happiness, is a special part of heavenly wisdom; we must become careful practitioners hereof in our lives, that so we may attain to true happiness. When (Luke 12:17,18) the rich manŐs ground brought forth much fruit, how provident was he to lay up store for the time to come; yet God calls him but a fool, because he had no regard or forecast to the state of his soul. And the five virgins are therefore called foolish (Matt. 25:3), because they contented themselves with blazing lamps, and had no forecast for oil in their vessels. And so many at this day content themselves with an outward profession, and do not provide for the graces of salvation. But though a man had all the wisdom of the world, and by his wit could compass upon earth what his heart could wish, yet if he fail in providing for true happiness, all his wisdom is but madness. See this in Ahithophel (2 Sam. 16:23), whose counsel for worldly things was like the oracles of God; yet wanting this spiritual wisdom to forecast for true happiness to his soul, his end was both shameful and fearful; for in discontent (2 Sam. 17:23), he went and hanged himself. Let us therefore practice this wise forecast for true happiness, and never be well till we get assurance hereof; then do we shew ourselves truly wise. If we fail in this, we fail in all; and therefore like the wise virgins, let us get oil in our vessels, the saving graces of GodŐs Spirit in our hearts, that when our bridegroom Jesus Christ shall come, we may enter with Him into glory.

 

And thus much of the single eye, with the fruits thereof.

 

 

II. The second point to be handled is the wicked eye, with the fruits thereof; in these words: But if thine eye be wicked, thy whole body shall be dark. The wicked eye is the mind of man, having some light of understanding in it by nature, yet marvellously blinded and darkened by the corruption of sin through AdamŐs fall. And, for our better instruction herein, we must know that the mind of man by AdamŐs fall receives a twofold blemish:

 

1. First, it hath left the gift of discerning and judging in spiritual things, mistaking evil for good, earthly for heavenly, things to be refused for things to be chosen. This is plain by our blindness and ignorance in the true knowledge of God and of ourselves.

 

(1) First, touching God, howsoever the mind of man by nature knows there is a God, yet naturally man will not acknowledge the presence of God; for if he did, he would not without remorse or fear commit these sins in GodŐs sight, which he is afraid and ashamed to do in the sight of many men. Again, the mind by nature will not acknowledge GodŐs particular providence, for in the time of want or distress when means fail, his heart is dead within him; and the promise of help from man doth more cheer him than his hope in God; which shews plainly that he trusteth more in the creature than in his Creator. Thirdly, the mind of man by nature doth not acknowledge GodŐs justice, for naturally man thinks that though he sin, yet he shall escape punishment. Fourthly, though man knows God must be worshipped, yet naturally the mind discerneth not of GodŐs right worship. Herein, the foolish heart is full of darkness, and turneth God into an idol (Rom. 1:21,22). And, in a word, the natural man perceiveth not the things of God, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned (1 Cor. 2:14); which shews plainly that herein he hath a wicked eye.

 

(2) Secondly, for ourselves, the mind herein wants the gift of discerning, for:

 

(i) No man naturally knows the blindness of his own mind. They think themselves to be wise, when in the things of God they be stark fools.

 

(ii) Man cannot discern aright of his own sins, nor see the vileness of them naturally, though his conscience oft accuse him; for if he did, he would not sin as he doth.

 

(iii) Man naturally doth judge amiss of his own frailty and mortality, for there is no man so aged but he thinks he may live longer. This Moses saw (Psa. 90:12) when he prayed God to teach them so to number their days that they might apply their hearts unto wisdom.

 

(iv) Natural men cannot discern aright of the scope and end of their lives; for whereas we ought to aim at the glory of God, and the good of our brethren, to serve God in menŐs good; by nature we little think on this, but wholly seek our own good, and our own praise.

 

(v) We cannot naturally discern of our own true happiness; for do we not measure it by outward things, esteeming the rich and honourable happy, and the poor man miserable? By all which it is more than evident that the mind hath lost the gift of right discerning.

 

2. The second blemish of corruption in the mind is, in respect of it, slavish subjection unto those things which it should rule and direct; for naturally it is subject to these three unmet guides:

 

(1) To the corrupt will and affections.

 

(2) To the wicked temptations of the devil cast into it, yea, and that so far that such as the temptation is, such is the mind that is tempted.

 

(3) To the world, and the ill examples therein; for naturally men sway with the times, and think the common course the safest. And in this respect also it is here called a wicked eye.

 

Now the fruit of it is to make the whole body dark; that is, the whole life of man full of disorder and unrighteousness. And how should it be otherwise, when that which should discern between good and evil, and direct accordingly, is disabled thereunto?

 

The Use.

1. Seeing by nature we have this evil eye (for that, Christ taketh for granted), we must labour diligently to discern it in ourselves, and to find that naturally we cannot judge aright of God and of ourselves. This is the first step to true knowledge, to discern our own natural blindness; and till we perceive it in ourselves in some measure, we know nothing as we ought to know. Also when we see it, we must bewail our misery in this behalf, that we have a mind so corrupt, that it causeth disorder in our whole life. Yea, we must tremble and fear at this wicked eye. Bodily darkness causeth fear, but far more dangerous is this spiritual darkness; for hereby the soul is kept from the sight of God under the power of Satan. We therefore, discerning in ourselves this wicked eye, must follow the counsel of our Saviour Christ (Rev. 3:18), Buy of me eye salve that thou mayest see; that is, we must get of Him the enlightening of His Spirit, in the holy ministry of His Word; for this is that anointing which teacheth us all things (1 John 2:27) which, when we do truly receive, then doth our wicked eye become single.

 

2. Secondly, hereby we see that the course of the world, in regard of the state of their minds, is justly to be reproved; for everywhere where both young and old content themselves with this wicked eye, if they can say, There is a God, and this God is to be worshipped, to be loved, and feared; and that we must love our neighbour as ourselves, and live well, they seek no farther; and yet if a man were brought up in the wilderness, he might see all this by the light of nature; the wicked eye seeth thus much. But we must not content ourselves herewith, for if there be no more, the life is full of darkness still; and the soul may go to utter darkness with all this. We therefore must remember to get the single eye, else we are no scholars in the school of Christ. Indeed some plead that preachers can say no more in effect but this: Love God above all, and thy neighbour as thyself. But these men know not what they say, blessing themselves in their ignorance. They must know that grace must be put to nature, and sanctify it; and spiritual knowledge joined with natural, or else we remain with the wicked eye. If we have no more but a general confused knowledge in moral points, that serves not to save us, but to make us without excuse at the last day. Again, another common fault worthy of reproof is this: that men content themselves with natural reformation. They will grant that God is to be worshipped, and loved, that we must live well, deal justly, and love our neighbours; but the blind eye seeth thus much. The mere civil man will go thus far, and yet his life is nothing but darkness. All this reformation is but natural. We therefore must labour for renewed hearts by the Spirit of God, and reformed lives according to the gospel; for howsoever a civil conversation may commend us unto men, yet it will not save us in the day of the Lord.

 

3. Thirdly, is this evil eye in every one by nature? Then beware we be not wise in ourselves, and from ourselves in matters of salvation; herein the Word of God must be our wisdom (Deut. 12:8-11), Ye shall not do every man that which seemeth good in his own eyesÉ. But that which I command you. Far be it therefore from us to appoint to ourselves how we will worship God, or how we will be saved. And yet, such is our blind presumption, that we will be our own masters in these things. The Turk hath his religion, the Jew his, and the papist his, all swerving from the truth of God; and yet every one of these look to be saved in their religion; each one of these having a different manner of worshipping God, and all swerving from the true worship. And yet they all persuade themselves that God is well pleased with their service. And thus it goes with natural men among us, though otherwise sufficiently wise for worldly things; they resolve upon their own course for the salvation of their souls, let the preacher say what he will. Some think, if they repent at their end, and then commend their souls to God, it is sufficient. Others look to be saved by their well-doing, and others by their faith (as they call it). But in truth, by their own good meaning and intent to live well; for what faith have they that know not GodŐs Word and promises? Thus by their own wisdom will men be saved, and hereby the devil destroys many a soul. But let God be wise, and every man a fool, and let us submit ourselves in the things of God, wholly to be ruled and guided by His written Word, lest Jewishly and papishly, we, going about to establish our own conceits in the matters of salvation, do plunge our souls into the pit of destruction.

 

4. Fourthly, is the eye of the mind naturally corrupt? Then must we labour for a better eye; that is, the eye of faith, by which we rely on GodŐs mercy for our salvation, and on His providence for all needful things in life and death. This eye makes supply to that which is wanting to natural knowledge. Hereby we discern rightly of God, and of ourselves. This enables us to see afar off. Yea, hereby we see things invisible, for it is the evidence of things which are not seen (Heb. 11:1). Hereby Abraham saw the day of Christ and was glad (John 8:56), and all the Patriarchs saw the promise of God afar off (Heb. 11:13). This will enable us to walk in their steps towards the heavenly city; and therefore let us get faith, and so becoming children of the promise, we may be counted for the seed.

 

And thus much for the wicked eye.

 

 

III. The third kind of eye is the blind eye, which is set out with the fruits thereof, in these words: Wherefore, if the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness? For the better discerning of the state of man with this blind eye, we must see what is meant by light, and also by darkness. By light is meant the knowledge of God, of justice, and of good and evil, which is in the mind by nature. Now though this cannot be quite put out (for the most wicked wretch, and the veriest atheist that lives, hath some conscience remaining, which is a work of this light), yet it may be so buried and covered, that no light shall appear, nor any use be made of it; and then it is said to be darkness; which is the state of these that are given up to a reprobate sense, as when a man denies that there is a God, or that the Scriptures be the Word of God, or such like. In these men, natural light is become darkness. And the cause of this change in them is their corrupt will and rebellious affections, which overruling natural knowledge and conscience, whereby at length they come to commit sin greedily and without remorse; yea, even against conscience, and the light of nature, and so bury them both in such sort, that they have no more use of them than if they were quite put out.

 

Now, where the light of nature is thus put out, the fruit of it is most palpable darkness. How great is that darkness? That is, there is nothing in that manŐs life but brutish confusion in hellish actions, or pride, covetousness, envy, blasphemy, and unnatural uncleanness (as Rom. 1:27-29 etc.).

 

The Use.

Considering the light of nature may be thus put out, we must hereby be admonished:

 

1. First, to enter into a serious consideration of our own vileness. For naturally we have in us (even the best of us all) such rebellious lust, and damnable desires, as, unless they be restrained or renewed by grace, will darken and as good as put out that light which yet AdamŐs fall left in us.

 

2. Secondly, hereby we are admonished to have special care to mortify our corrupt desires and our unruly affections, that otherwise would extinguish in us the light of nature. Before the fall, the mind ruled and directed the will and affections; but now these inferior powers rule, or rather overrule the mind, and utterly pervert the regiment thereof. They cast a mist and a veil over the eye of the mind that it can see nothing in the ways of righteousness. And therefore as we tender the salvation of our souls, we must renounce our own natural wills and corrupt desires, and strive to bring them into subjection unto the Word of God. Many men think much to be crossed of their natural desires and delights, but it is happy for the soul when God in His providence doth break men of their wills; for the will unsubdued carries the whole man headlong into all disorder. This must be considered of them which have knowledge and learning, for unless the will and affections be ruled by the Word, all knowledge is made fruitless. Out of the heart (saith Solomon, Prov. 4:23) come the issues of life, if it be kept with watch and ward, and ordered by GodŐs Word. Otherwise, hence come the issues of death, when the reins of the affections are let loose after the corrupt desires of nature. And therefore as we respect woe or joy, so must we have regard to our will and desires.

 

 3. Thirdly, if the light of nature may be turned unto darkness, then may the illumination of the gospel be put out and turned into darkness; for the knowledge of the gospel is not natural, and therefore not so deeply imprinted in the understanding upon the bare knowledge of it. Experience sheweth this to be true in all those temporisers which begin in the Spirit and end in the flesh. And the author to the Hebrews shews five degrees of apostasy, by which the illumination of the gospel is turned into darkness (Heb. 3:12), saying, Take heed lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief etc., where the first degree is consenting unto sin, being deceived with the temptation of it. The second is hardness of heart, upon many practices of sin. Thirdly, the heart being hardened, becomes unbelieving, and calls the truth of the gospel into question. Fourthly, by unbelief it becomes evil, having a base conceit of the gospel. Fifthly, this evil heart brings a man to apostasy and falling from God, which is the extinguishing of the light of the gospel. We therefore, to prevent this fearful estate, must embrace the gospel, and practise the counsel there set down; even by looking carefully everyone to his own heart and life, and by mutual admonition and exhortation one of another (v.13), that to the first step of this apostasy, which is the deceitfulness of sin, take not place in us.

 

4. Fourthly, seeing the light of nature may be put out, whether may not true faith, and other saving graces, be quite lost? Answer: There is no grace of God, but considered in itself, it may be lost; for it is a creature, and so is changeable; for nothing is unchangeable in itself but the Creator. But in regard of the promise of God touching the preservation of saving grace unto the end in such as be in Christ, hence it comes that faith, hope and charity cannot be lost; for the gifts and calling of God are without repentance in Christ (Rom. 11:29). God indeed gave to Adam true and perfect grace, whereby he might have stood if he would; but because He decreed to permit the fall, to make a way for His mercy in Christ, therefore He left man in the hand of his own counsel, and so he fell from his created integrity. But now in Christ, God works both the will and the deed, so as he which doth truly believe (Psa. 125:1) is as Mount Zion; which cannot be removed, but standeth fast for ever; for he is (Matt. 16:18) built upon the rock Christ Jesus, and so can never fall; the gates of hell shall not prevail against him. God gives a second grace unto the first, and by virtue hereof it becomes unchangeable, though in itself considered, it might be lost. Again, I answer thus: that as the light of nature is not quite put out, but only buried, in such sort as it is without use, and seems extinguished; so the grace of faith, by the practice of sin, may be hid and covered, so as it shall not appear for a time. But yet it cannot be quite put out, where it is once truly wrought.

 

And thus much of the blind eye, with the fruit thereof.

 

 

Now to end this place, we must remember that the scope of Christ in these two verses, is to shew that the evil and blind eye of man by nature, whereby he is disabled to discern rightly of things that differ, is the cause why in seeking after treasure, he leaveth the heavenly, and seeketh earthly treasure only. And hereby we must be admonished to labour for this gift of discerning, by the illumination of the Spirit in the Word, as we shewed before, that so the eye being single, the whole body may be light; that is, so ordered that with peace and comfort we may walk on in the way of life; whereas otherwise we walk in darkness, and fear no danger till we fall into it irrecoverably.