No parable of Christ, no precept of His disciples, nor any teaching of Scripture precludes the teaching of this doctrine of Purity within. Sin, with all its contagion, its contamination, and its supposed passing pleasures, is born of ignorance; it is harmful to man. Purity and sin cannot be co-occupiers of the same human tenement. As a man thinketh so is he. You point me to a forger, a miser, a drunkard, a harlot, and no matter how intelligent, clever, and able, they lack enlightenment, right conceptions, pure desires, a sober mind, and pure emotions.
St. James exhorts all to "purify your hearts," this, according to the writer of the Acts of Apostles, has to be done by an application of faith, when the disciple works out his own salvation. Thus all may become "blameless and harmless, children of God without blemish." Such are they who have Purity within.
Purity of Thought is one of the concomitants of Purity within. The suggestions that come to man by thinking, link him to the angelic and all that is Divine, or chain him to the animal and all that is bestial. To secure and sustain Purity within, enlightened and elevated thought must be secured. Are we not reminded by Paul that we should "bring every thought into captivity and obedience to Christ." But alas! how frequently thought drives on, to action and character, the victim who has failed to capture thought. Man must not think as he likes until his likes are pure and blameless. A modern preacher has said, "Thought is raw material which is woven into disposition and shaped into habits and conduct," and applying this simile further, he says, "If my thought is coarse and rude, my disposition will be uncouth; if my thought be like fine silk, my conduct will never be fustian." Thought is consummated in action. The thought of gold to the exclusion of all else constitutes the miser, whether he may possess little or much. 'Tis not the possession of gold that makes the miser, but the thoughts about and of gold which mould the character and make the miser.
Purity of Emotion is ever concomitant of Purity within. Pure feeling cannot come of sinful flesh. Yet man was made in the image of God, and is not flesh. Man is more than matter, higher than flesh. When the holiest emotions prompt a man to help others upward and heavenward, then are his emotions pure.
Purity of Desire. Self is ever uppermost where ignorance rules, but when we desire the good of all, when we realize that all should live for the fulfillment of this stanza—
Never let it rest
Till your good is better
And your better best.
then the desire to see universal righteousness, sobriety, and peace, will be an incentive to seek and to secure the realization of it, and the blessings cannot be enjoyed until the conditions are complied with.
This Purity within can alone purify the world; for one cannot cleanse his thoughts, feelings, and heart without renewing, reforming, and, indeed, recreating the man. Man is a unit, but he is not isolated. As the drop in the ocean, so is man in the Universe; each has an influence, and all are influenced. And so the internal purity will have an external manifestation, and will be evidenced in speech and conduct.
Purity of Conversation, of Amusements, Reading, Friendships, Business, Government, Church, and Character, are the outcome of Purity within; and if such be not pure, then these, being an indicator, point to impurity within.
Sow peace, and reap its harvest bright;
Sow sunbeams on the rock and morr,
And find a harvest-home of light.
More from James Allen
James Allen was a little-known philosophical writer and poet. He is best recognized for his book, As a Man Thinketh. Allen wrote about complex subjects such as faith, destiny, love, patience, and religion but had the unique ability of explaining these subjects clearly and in a way that is easy to understand. He often wrote about cause and effect, sowing and reaping, as well as overcoming sadness, sorrow, and grief. For more information on the life of James Allen, click here.