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Purity of Thought

What a power for good or for evil thought is! How important it is that a man’s thoughts be pure! As a man’s thoughts are, so is the man. "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." Jesus taught that voluptuous desire was as great a sin as adultery. We read also, "Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer." No man hates that which he would not kill, only he lets "I dare not wait upon I would." So, accordingly, not only the evil a man does is sinful, but also the entertaining of evil and impure thoughts, which he, if he dared, would clothe in act. Thought makes the man, and the man makes or mars the portion of the world in which he lives. Impurity of thought mars a man’s body, and stamps itself upon his countenance. How true is that thought of Spenser’s, that the body takes the form of the soul. If the soul be pure and optimistic, there will be a bright countenance and a winning personality. Many a man’s countenance is coarse and brutal; and this blight did not come from without, but from within; of his soul his body form has taken. We sometimes hear men speak of what they do; but there is something of more vital importance than what a man does, and that is what a man is. If a man be pure and unselfish, pure and unselfish actions must follow as naturally as night follows day.

But let us distinguish between evil thoughts and thoughts about evil. Evil and impure thoughts result in men being in the bondage of unrighteousness; thoughts about evil result often in men obtaining the liberty of righteousness and peace.

All great reformers and emancipators thought long and deeply about the evil that tyrannized over the hearts of their fellows ere they stepped forth to pluck the fair mask from its foul face. Thoughts about evil and evil thoughts are in nowise akin.

Thought is a power which moves the world; either lifting it into the pure atmosphere of heaven, or dragging it down into the sulfurous fumes of hell. But how are we to keep evil thoughts out of our minds? By entertaining pure and lofty thoughts, and loving that which is beautiful. "Where light is, there is no darkness"; Where health is, there is no disease; where good thoughts are, evil thoughts are not.

To the sinful man sin appears sweet as honey; he looks upon it as pleasant so long as it bears no fruit; but when its fruit ripens, then he looks upon it as a sin. And so the good man looks upon the goodness of the Truth as a burden and an evil so long as it bears no fruit; but when its fruit ripens, then he sees its goodness.
—Buddha

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