Today's Daily Reading
Wednesday, July 27th, 2016
The religion of the Pharisees consisted not in love to God, and in disposition, character, and conduct, but in certain ceremonial rites which they observed with great scrupulousness. They washed their hands before meals, because ceremonial uncleanness in the hands communicated itself to the food. Yet they took no pains to wash their hearts of evil or uncharitable thoughts and feelings toward others. They washed when they came in from their shops, because worldly business defiled them; but they were not careful in their dealings with others to be just, honest, and true. They saw that every pot and kettle, every vessel, and all household arrangements, were ceremonially cleansed; but they did not stop to look within their own hearts to see if all was clean there for the indwelling of God's Spirit.
We all need to watch against making our religion consist in forms of worship. We may pray many times a day, and read a regular number of chapters, and go through many and laborious devotions, and yet not have a particle of true religion. We are truly religious just in the measure in which we have the spirit of Christ in our disposition, heart, and character. "The kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost."
Loving God and our fellow-men is the sum of all duty. Unless we have this twofold love in our hearts, manifested in life and character, our profession of religion is vain. Not a word should be said against external cleanliness; a clean heart should make the life clean to the tips of the fingers and in all tastes, feelings, habits, words, and actions. But clean hands and well-scrubbed floors and shining dishes and careful ceremonial observances will never please God, if in the heart there be no love for him and no love for men. "Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God."
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