Those things which defile

Those things which defile

The Unwashen Hands.

(The Gospel History, Section 65)

And he said, Are ye also even yet without understanding? Perceive ye not, that whatsoever from without goeth into the man, it cannot defile him; because it goeth not into his heart, but into his belly, and is cast out into the draught? This he said, making all meats clean. But the things which proceed out of the mouth, come forth out of the heart; and they defile the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, come forth evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, covetings, wickednesses, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, railing, pride, foolishness: all these evil things proceed from within, and these are the things which defile the man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not the man.

Those things which defile

(The Saviour of the World, Vol IV, Book II, Poem XXXIV)

Nay , then, perceive ye not, e’en ye, My friends,
Why nought a man consumes defilement lends?
These things pass from him and their mischief ends:

Wherefore all meats are clean for whoso eats
Discerning,—cleanness cometh not of meats;
Nor washings, purgings, cleanse the soul of heats:

Are ye so blinded by mere touch and sight
That ye hold a man no more than in the light
Of common day appears to all men’s sight?

I tell you, man is more than all those things
He takes and uses; from himself he brings
The worth he finds in these; he lavish flings

The glory of his praises on poor stuff
Not worthy nor unworthy, nor enough
To make his passing hours or smooth or rough:

Riches and poverty be lodged in him;
Nought from without his purity may dim;
From him comes all defilement—howe’er grim:

’Tis not the meat his mouth takes in defiles;
Out of him issues that his soul beguiles,
Odious uncleanness, soul-destroying wiles.

’Tis evil thoughts defile, not casual soil;
His evil is within him; all that moil
Of simmering ill-thoughts that in him boil;

All strife and bitterness, all wrath and hate,
The dull resentment that knows not to abate—
In a man’s heart these, murders, propagate.

All lust, corrupting heart, destroying flesh,
Lasciviousness,—soul-enervating mesh,—
These things from man’s heart issue, old yet fresh.

The eye which looks on others’ wealth with spite,
The railing tongue which embitters all delight,
The furtive theft, contrived in dark of night,—

The arrogance, the folly, spoils a man;
All wickedness which mars the perfect plan
Of lovely living set for every man;—

’Tis these things from within a man defile:
There issues from him every evil wile
Which doth to wickedness his heart beguile.

“This, a hard word, O Lord! wherewith shall we
Cleanse th’ poisoned spring that pure its waters be,
Draw love and sweetness from foul heart for Thee?”

St. Matthew xv. 16-20.
St. Mark vii. 18-23.