“As he thinketh in his heart, so is he.”
In a material sense man is a thinking machine. Thoughts evaporate from a healthy brain like light from a burning lamp. They flow involuntarily, and are fed from the surrounding elements in which we live. Our five senses take cognizance of such things as they come in contact with. Whatever the eye looks upon or the ear hears, sends a throb of a similar character through the brain. Profane or vile words, or obscene pictures, will leave thoughts generating in the mind that we dare not utter. Again and again they will flash upon us until the soul is corrupted or, if seeking the purity of heaven, divine help is implored to drive them away. The promise of seeing God is only to the pure in thought (Matthew 5:8).
We live in the sphere of our material surroundings. We are known by the company we keep and the books we read; but God “searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts” (I Chronicles 28: 9). To keep ourselves pure necessitates a total abstinence from other men’s sins, and a continual warfare against the passions of life, inflamed, as they are, by daily contact with the evil temptations around us. On the street or in public gatherings, the vulgar and profane exercise but little respect, and one is continually subjected to these annoyances. The mind is polluted, the public morals are continually being corrupted; and this generation is rapidly attaining to the condition of man as he was before the flood, when “every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5). The advertising illustrations on placards, the public show-bills, the theatrical display of nudity, the wily schemes of Satan that meet the eye and the ear on every hand, betoken the evils of the days in which we live, and are fast ripening the tares for the harvest of God’s wrath (Matthew 13:30).
It is hardly possible to escape the sight and sound of these things, although we strictly guard our fireside and maintain pure conditions around the home circle. The only sure remedy is a strict education in moral duties, and the cleansing power of God’s Spirit:—
“Vice is a monster of so frightful mien.
As to be hated, needs but to be seen.
Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face.
We first endure, then pity, then embrace.”
The Review and Herald, June 2, 1891.