Give me, O God, an eye single and clear. Amen.
Matthew 6, 19-23. Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. 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 there fore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!
Every man must have something or other as his treasure; the soul holds to something, either the corruptible or the eternal. It is foolishness to rest one’s heart on the things of earth; for every earthly good passes away. When a man has labored hard, and secured it, and wants to enjoy it, it proves to be motheaten, and brings nothing but sorrow and disappointment; when he thinks that he has it safe, he finds that it has been stolen. The more your heart gathers of earthly riches and splendor, the poorer do you become; a burning thirst tortures your soul, and you have nothing with which to satisfy it. Alas, what a wretched thing is man’s idolatrous love of earthly treasures! It is a deplorable blindness, which darkens his whole existence, and shuts him out from the eternal light. We regard the temporal things as the truly real, as though they could satisfy the eternal craving of our hearts; while they are in fact only shadows of the true treasures of life. If we be wise, we have these earthly good things without owning them; or rather, without allowing our hearts to cling to them. We are free from them, and masters of them, and able to turn them into deeds of charity.
We need an eye which is single. Worldly-minded men also want the things of heaven; but “their eyes do not look right on.’’ They wish to enjoy the world, and to have heaven before them; but the eye which receives the images of different objects at the same time sees nothing clearly; the heart which is divided between God and mammon is in darkness.
Ye Christians, who have been enlightened by the Spirit of God and have caught a glimpse of heaven; keep your hearts free from the corruptible things. The Lord, the living God, be your God; and the eternal heritage of glory be your treasure! Let your whole heart be with Jesus! See him ever more clearly with the eye of faith, and give yourselves to him more and more with living confidence and love! “My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings: Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee.” (Proverbs 4, 20. 23. 25).
Help me, O God; the things of this world are always before me, and threaten to obscure my vision. Give me a good, single, clear eye; so that I give myself wholly to thee, use all the earthly things in the service of charity, and lay up treasures in heaven. Grant us, O God, this mercy, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
Well for him who all forsaking,
Walketh not in shadows vain,
But the path of peace is taking
Through this vale of tears and pain!
O that we our hearts might sever
From earth’s tempting vanities,
Fixing them on him for ever,
In whom all our fulness lies!