“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8)
What a pleasure to look forth upon the bosom of the earth on a clear morning after a snowstorm, when over all is spread the covering of pure whiteness, hiding every defect and blemish, surmounting all that is unclean and ugly, transforming every stick and clod into things of beauty, leaving only blue sky above and pure whiteness below! Or what a pleasure to stand at the brink of a clear, calm pool, looking into its depths without observing one thing unclean, and then to put to your lips a cup of the crystal liquid fresh from the spring that feeds the pool, and drink to your fill!
What a sense of the Infinite one feels standing on the top of the mountain height, far above the dust and smoke of the lower regions, and there drinking in the pure air, and gazing as far as the eye can carry in every direction, the sight unobstructed by the thickness and gloom of lower levels! Or, again, what a sense of the Infinite one feels out under the clear sky, there beholding the stars shining forth with all their beauty and brightness, pure revelations of the mighty power of God!
To look into the depths of a child’s innocent eyes and see there but the innocence and guiltlessness of one who has never sinned will soften the hard heart. To look into the clear, fearless eye of the man or woman whose heart is free from condemnation of sin, or to see the quietness and confidence of old age that has come to its own with cleanness of hands and purity of heart, gives strength to those who falter. The look of innocent pleasure in the eyes of a modest maiden gladdens all who behold it.
Everywhere purity and clearness are admired and appreciated. Pure air, pure water, pure food, pure associations, pure ideals, pure aspirations—all are needed for perfect living.
The purity that counts for most in your life and mine is purity of heart. It is possible for us to live with the very seat of our affections cleansed from that which is sinful, and our hearts made pure. The heart can be made a fit temple into which to ask the Lord to come and be the inhabitant.
One of the things every young Christian girl soon becomes aware of is the natural sinfulness of her own heart. When she is trying to do that which is right, evil thoughts and feelings will arise. She is tempted to be proud and selfish; and under certain provocation she feels the workings of anger in her heart, though by looking to God for help she keeps her lips from speaking out her feelings. Sometimes she is startled by feelings of jealousy and envy, two things that must not be allowed in the life of a Christian. She will find it hard at times to follow the Lord fully, to entirely do His will. If she will seek out the real desire of her heart, she will find that she wants a closer walk with God; yet when she tries to walk closer she is all the more conscious of these sinful impulses. If she understood herself she would know she needed a pure heart.
If a girl will come to God with her perplexities and tell Him the struggle she is having with “foes within,” and fully consecrate her life to Him, saying from the depth of her heart, “Lord, I give my life to Thee. Thou mayest have every part of it. Cleanse my heart and make it a fit place for Thee to dwell,” and trusting God to do what she has asked Him to do, she may have a pure heart.
God will cleanse out those sinful principles from her nature and make her a conqueror. Not that she will no more be tempted; but instead of those inward struggles that are so hard to master, she will find inward grace and strength to overcome.
There is a heavenly Visitor who will come in and fill the heart that is fully given to God, so that instead of those sinful impulses ruling there, this sweet Spirit of God will reign.
The experience of heart purity is not for anyone who cherishes any thought or feeling that is impure. If envy, or jealousy, or pride, or arrogance, or any kindred evil is allowed a place, the Spirit of God will not come to cleanse and fill his temple.
It seems to me a most wonderful thing, this deliberate giving over of oneself and life for God alone. We think of the young nun who leaves all the world and takes the veil for life, and wonder at her fortitude, and bewail her needless sacrifice; but on the other hand we too often fail to see that there is consecration and sacrifice in genuine Christian service. Not that sacrifice which in a sense buries one alive, but the consecration of service that will allow no desire or thought or aspiration to linger that is known to be contrary to the will of God.
There is a rest of spirit, and a quiet confidence, a joyfulness, and a perfection of love and peace in the heart of the one thus given over to God that cannot be described in words. Nor is this experience for only a favored few. Everyone who will seek God with all his heart, who will draw close, may have this experience of a pure heart.
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