—Isa. xiv. 24.
We hear and read a great deal about the power and influence of men's words and the results of their actions, but we read and hear comparatively little concerning men's thoughts, the great influence and power of thinking, and its inevitable results. "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he," cannot be repeated too often nor emphasized too strongly. Our thoughts make us just what we are, and more than this, our thoughts are written upon our faces so that he who runs may read. One need not be a very keen observer to read the thoughts of his fellow-men. The pure in heart—or thought—how serene and calm the countenance, undisturbed by the waves of passion. How different to the face of that individual whose thoughts dwell in the lusts of the flesh, and in sensuous desires. Who could not pick them out of the crowd, bearing as they do the marks of the fire that is consuming them, the longing that is never satisfied, the serpent they carry within their own bosoms, whose sting is the sting of death?
The hard, unsympathetic face of the man who thinks uncharitable and condemnatory thoughts is easily discernible, while is also the tender smile and sweet expression of that one "who thinketh no evil." What we think, that we become. It we think high, pure thoughts—a pure body and a pure life must be the outcome. And let me say here, that all, no matter what their circumstances or surroundings, may think as they will. In my mental world I am free, free as the air I breathe. Into that sacred shrine no one dare enter; none can command, "Thou shalt think this or that," or, "Thou shalt order thy way of thinking according to my pattern."
Wouldst thou be pure as the lily? wouldst thou have thy life white as the snow? Think pure, white thoughts, and they shall mould thy form into their own lovely likeness, and stamp their image upon lip and brow. "Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God."
Wouldst thou be meek and gentle? Think with sweet sympathy of all, as the apostle put it, "in honor preferring one another"; let gentle thoughts of tenderness and compassion fill thy mind continually and thou too shalt be able to say, "Thy gentleness hath made me great."
And so on—we might speak of every virtue that may be won, and every vice that may be shunned, they all spring from the power of thought, which is the foundation stone of all character, and out of which springs all that we are and all that we have. It affects the body as well as the soul. It is the unhealthy mind that carries about the unhealthy body. It is the low groveling mind that attracts the low squalid surroundings. It is the weak despairing mind that brings failure and disaster.
Oh, then, how careful we should be to watch our thoughts, to guard them as a man would guard his inheritance, for they are indeed the power that shall make or mar, that shall build or destroy; a power that each individual holds within his own grasp, and uses it for his own heaven or his own hell. When we thus contemplate the vast power and responsibility of thinking, we can better understand the importance of the apostle's exhortation, "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus." And never did he show his divine wisdom more, nor give better advice than when he said to the young Church at Philippi: "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, THINK ON THESE THINGS."