Adapted from The Instruction of Youth in the Christian Life
Keep Thyself Pure
“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8)
This is our earnest word of exhortation to you, young women. We can make no higher appeal than this. Purity is the highest attainment in life. Who can know the worth of purity? We can know something of its worth by what it cost. It cost the life-blood of the Son of God. That blood is the fount of purity. The pure soul knows more of the real worth of things than any philosopher can through his philosophy. The pure sees the true worth where true worth belongs. It is only when the eye is single that the body is full of light. It is only when the soul is pure that vision is clear to see things as they are. Moral purity is the sole condition of clear spiritual vision. True beauty is hidden from the sensual. Sensuality blurs and befogs the glass through which the soul should look at the worthwhile things. What transparency is in the crystal, that is purity is in character. The man of science scans the face of the sky and sees the distant star. The pure in heart look into the face of Jesus and behold the bright and morning star. Man through his own wisdom may know much about the works of God, but it is only the pure that know God. Things reveal themselves only to things of like nature. God, being pure, can reveal Himself only to the pure. Man may invent machines whereby he can hear his fellows speaking across the continent, or hear the song of the growing grass; he may gather pearls from the bottom of the sea, he may be able to explain the moon’s control of the tides, he may be able to analyze the various stratas of the earth, he may count the stars, he may weigh the sun, he may be able to tell you the distance to Arcturus, but if he does not have a pure heart, he cannot know God.
Not philosophic minds, but pure lives are the world’s best teachers. The poor widow in her mountain cabin who has God in her soul can tell you more about the best things of life than the president of a theological seminary who does not have God. The pure life is the guiding star that leads the way to the worthwhile things of life. Men may teach you much about the mysteries of light, of sound, of electricity, or radio, but it is only the pure that can unfold the mysteries of God’s wonderful economy of grace. Give me the girl whose life is pure though she be one of earth’s most ignorant, that I may follow her instead of the girl who can exhaust the dictionary in the use of words in lecturing upon the ape theory of the origin of man, or the girl who surpasses the oratory of Cicero in denying the virgin birth of Christ.
There was an old colored woodsawer who knew no grammar; never saw inside a school room; who could not write his name; could not write a word. But when he prayed you felt that if you had put out your hand you would touch God. Give me such a man for a teacher. An hour in his presence is worth days in the presence of the worldly wise. It is only those who are like God that can see and know Him. “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8)
Young women, I exhort you to associate with the pure. Shun the association of the impure. Just a little time spent in the presence of the vile and you will lose the clear vision of the delicacy of purity. A few moments contact with the ungodly will haze the mind until it will find it difficult to think the thoughts of God. A good man said, “I would give ten years of my life if I could forget the pictures which one year of my youthful days spent in impure doing has hung in my memory.
“Keep thyself pure.” (1 Timothy 5:22) Keep your thoughts pure. The indulgence of impure thoughts foul the very spring of life. A few impure imaginations dim the mind to that which is pure and beautiful. You cannot have a high standard of thought and nobleness of life if you indulge in vain imaginations. If evil images are tolerated in the silent halls of your imaginations, you will not see the realities and the beauties of worthy things.