Index of the Heart

“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree corrupt and its fruit corrupt; for the tree is known by the fruit. Offspring of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:33-34).

Robert Leighton comments (not a promotion or endorsement of Leighton, Spurgeon, Dabney, Hopkins, or Steele as a true Christians). Leighton writes:

“As the old Roman satirists, while they seem to reprove vice, rather teach it by their impudent descriptions of it.”
And this:
“They who give their tongues the liberty of scurrilous jesting and impure speeches, cannot but have filthy hearts:  their noisome breath argues rottenness within.”
Related comments from Hopkins (comments or observations on the ten commandments):
“I judge it not convenient to be too circumstantial in showing you what is prohibited under this precept. I know that some, especially the popish casuists in their treatises of moral divinity, such as Sanches, Diana, &c. have spoken of these things so minutely, and with such a filthy accurateness, that they violate the very eyes and fancies of their readers; rather teach vice than condemn it; and instruct the ignorant to sin skilfully rather than convince the guilty to bring them to repentance” (Ezekiel Hopkins).
 And Spurgeon:

“… never spiritualize upon indelicate subjects. It is needful to say this, for the Slopdash family are never more at home than when they speak in a way to crimson the cheek of modesty. There is a kind of beetle which breeds in filth, and this creature has its prototype among men…What abominable things have been said upon some of the sterner and more horrifying similes of Jeremiah and Ezekiel! Where the Holy Spirit is veiled and chaste, these men have torn away the veil, and spoken as none but naughty tongues would venture to do…Young men especially must be scrupulously, jealously modest and pure in word: an old man is pardoned, I scarce know why, but a young man is utterly without excuse should he overstep the strict line of delicacy” (C. H. Spurgeon, Lectures to My Students).


“When your minds are formed capable of relishing the pleasures and purity of these sacred volumes [the Bible–CD], a caution will be less necessary against delight in those loose and immoral writings which swarm in the present day; which, however celebrated for wit and politeness, tend to poison the heart, corrupt the fancy, vitiate [and brutalize–CD] the affections; and for one useful lesson that can be learned from them, are big with a thousand ills” (Richard Steele, The Religious Tradesman).

And one from Dabney:

“A few words as to unchastity outside the family relation. The preservation of our own and our fellow-creatures’ purity is a peculiarly important duty, because all breaches thereof have a tendency to undermine the family — the corner-stone of earthly welfare; because sins against purity are so clearly connected with other sins, as concealment, selfishness, evil company, drunkenness, obscenity and homicide; because experience shows (Paul, I. Cor. vi. 18) that this sin is peculiarly imbruting and corrupting. Hence, the clear duty of preserving purity in dress, deportment and gesture, language, reading and thought. There is a school of literature, so called, once under the ban of all decent people, which now claims that the portraiture of sins against purity is a legitimate branch of art, inasmuch as the true mission of literature is to portray all commanding human emotions. I answer: Just so much as the concocting of the poisoner’s ‘hell-broth’ is a legitimate branch of cookery! All such portraitures in language, painting, statuary and theaters is perilous and criminal. Was He mistaken who said: ‘Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life’? If not, I am right” (R.L. Dabney, The Practical Philosophy, p. 370).

To combine Steele’s comment with Dabney’s. Drinking down the “hell-broth” in order to learn the “one useful lesson” that it is not in the DOING of evil, but in the DEPARTING from evil, wherein lies understanding (Job 28:28; cf. Proverbs 9:10).

“I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law [is] within my heart” (Psalm 40:8).

“Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; [and] quicken thou me in thy way” (Psalm 119:37).

“How sweet are thy words unto my taste! [yea, sweeter] than honey to my mouth! Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way. Thy word [is] a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:103-105).

“For the rest, brothers, whatever is true, whatever honorable, whatever [is] right, whatever pure, whatever lovely, whatever of good report, if [of] any virtue, and if [of] any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8).