The light of the body is the eye
Or, the "candle of the body is the eye"; for the eye is that in the body, as a candle is in the house; by the light of it, the several members of the body perform their office; and what is said of the eye of the body, is transferred to the eye of the mind:
if therefore thine eye be single:
that is, if thy mind be liberal, generous, and bountiful: for Christ is still upon the same subject of liberality, and against covetousness; and here speaks entirely in the language of the Jews, who could easily understand him; in whose writings we read of three sorts of eyes; a good eye, a middling one, and an evil one; so in the offerings of the first fruits F19,
``(hpy Nye) , "a good eye" gave the fortieth, the house Shammai say, the thirtieth part; a middling one, the fiftieth; and an evil one, the sixtieth part.''Upon which the commentators say F20, a "good eye" means one that is liberal, and an "evil eye" the contrary: hence you often read F21 of "trading, dedicating", and "giving with a good" or "an evil eye"; that is, either generously, liberally, or in a niggardly and grudging manner; which may help us to the sense of our Lord in these words; whose meaning is, that if a man is not covetous, but his mind is disposed to generosity and liberality; if this be the case, as if he should say,
thy whole body shall be full of light:
all thy actions will be influenced by this noble principle; thy whole life will be illuminated, guided and governed by it; thy mind will be cheerful and pleasant, and thy estate and condition will be prosperous and successful.
F19 Misn. Trumot, c. 4. sect. 3.
F20 Maimon. Bartenora & Ez. Chayim in ib.
F21 T. Bab. Bava Bathra, fol. 37. 2. & 71. 1. & 72. 1.