The Single Eye

What are some of the purposes of education?  I can think of many, but fortifying the will doesn't immediately spring to mind.  This week, I've been reading Mason's rather complicated (at least for me!) chapter on the will  - "The Way of the Will", Vol. 6 Towards a Philosophy of Education. She talks about how important it is for the student to use the will properly in order to affect moral and intellectual self-management.  As usual, I spent more time off on a rabbit trail.  This time I was wandering about some old sermons by Finney and Wesley...

Understanding the will is not a simple task.  Its function is to choose and it must be exercised.  One can exercise their will with an evil end in mind.  Likewise, one can choose evil acts to secure a worthy outcome.  But here Mason reminds us that,

"The simple rectified will, what our Lord calls 'the single eye,' would appear to be the one thing needful for straight living and service-ableness." (Vol. 6, p. 133)
Sermon on the Mount by Carl Heinrich Bloch

The single eye reference is found in the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus says,  "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 therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!" (Matthew 6:22-23 KJV)

To help further illustrate, read this vignette by John Wesley (1702-1791)  from his sermon "On a Single Eye":

"Suppose a young woman, of an independent fortune, to be addressed at the same time by a man of wealth without religion, and a man of religion without wealth; in other words, by a rich child of the devil, and a poor child of God. What shall we say, if, other circumstances being equal, she prefer the rich man to the good man? It is plain, her eye is not single; therefore her foolish heart is darkened; and how great is that darkness which makes her judge gold and silver a greater recommendation than holiness! Which makes a child of the devil, with money, appear more amiable to her than a child of God without it! What words can sufficiently express the inexcusable folly of such a choice? What a laughing-stock (unless she severely repent) will she be to all the devils in hell, when her wealthy companion has dragged her down to his own place of torment!"

Think of the knowledge, truth and beauty that could be part of who your students are if they have this "single eye."  Clearly, Mason is referring to an eye that illumines the mind with a renewed understanding of God and true wisdom.  In teaching our students about the will, a discussion about the single eye might help them grasp this crucial aspect of their education, which is to say, of their life.


  1. I think the will is the key to the education of any person, child or not...

    I've just been realizing its importance lately, and want to think on this more, so please, wander on... :)

    and DO share!

    amy in peru

  2. I'm with Amy...great post, as usual you leave us wanting to hear more.
    I wonder if I spend too much time being sure my children understand trivial intellectual things and neglect to nurture their understanding (and mine too) of His Wisdom.
    Thanks for the thoughts.

  3. I am rereading that volume also.
    Good insight with a single eye!

  4. Those are some great thoughts to ponder.
    Thanks, Nancy.

  5. You've got me wandering through books kept too long on my shelf, reading to satisfy the curiosity that your excellent post has stirred up. Thank you!

  6. Nancy,

    InSIGHTful post. I haven't picked Mason up since the summer. I think it's time to reread another volume. Each time some things are familiar and other things I think - did I read that before? Really? This week that happened twice with this post and also Tammy's on CLUSA!