It’s Not What Goes Into A Man That Defiles Him But What Comes Out Of The Heart

READINGS
Mark 7:1-23
1 And there are gathered unto Him the Pharisees, and some of the scribes, who came from Jerusalem. 2 And having seen° some of His disciples eating bread with defiled, that is to say with unwashed, hands, they found fault. 3 For the Pharisees and all the Jews, unless they wash their hands up to the wrists, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders; 4 and when they come from the market, unless they wash, they eat not; and many other things there are which they have received to hold, as the rinsing of cups, and pots, and bronze vessels, and beds. 5 Then the Pharisees and scribes asked Him, Why walk not Thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashed hands? 6 And° He answering said to them, Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honors Me with their lips, but° their heart is far from Me. 7 And° in vain do they worship Me, teaching teachings° which are the precepts of men. 8 For leaving the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men, the washing of pots and cups; and many other such like things you do. 9 And He said to them, Well you spurn the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition. 10 For Moses said, Honor thy father and thy mother, and he who speaks evil of father or mother, let him die the death. 11 But° you say, It is sufficient if a man shall say to father or mother, Corban , that is to say, it is an offering, by whatever thou mightest be profited by me, 12 and you let him no more do anything for his father or his mother, 13 making the Word of God of no effect by your tradition which you have delivered up; and many such like things you do. 14 And when He had called all the crowd to Him, He said to them, Hearken to Me all of you, and understand: 15 There is nothing from outside a man which entering into him can defile him; but the things which come out of him, those are they which defile the man. 16 If anyone have ears to hear, let him hear. 17 And when He was entered into a house from the crowd, His disciples asked Him concerning the parable. 18 And He says to them, Are you so without understanding also? Do you not consider that every thing from outside which enters into a man, cannot defile him; 19 because it enters not into his heart, but into the belly, and goes out into the latrine, cleansing all the foods? 20 And° He said, That which comes out of a man, that defiles the man. 21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil reasonings, adulteries, whoredoms, murders, 22 thefts, avarice , wickednesses, deceit, lasciviousness, a wicked eye, blasphemy, pride, senselessness; 23 all these wicked things come from within, and defile the man.

Apocalypse Explained 622 [5]
Whatsoever from without goeth into the man cannot render him unclean, because it goeth not into his heart but into the belly; and is cast out into the draught purging all foods. But that which goeth forth out of the man, that rendereth the man unclean; for from within out of the heart of men it goeth forth (Mk 7:18-21; Matt. 15:17-20).

These words must be thus understood, that all things, whether falsities or evils, that from things seen or things heard flow into the thought of the understanding and not into the affection of its will, do not affect or infect the man, since the thought of a man’s understanding, so far as it does not proceed from the affection of his will, is not in the man but outside of him, therefore it is not appropriated to him; it is similar with truth and good. This the Lord teaches by correspondences when He says that “that which enters through the mouth into the belly does not render a man unclean, because it does not enter into the heart, for that which enters into the belly is cast out into the draught;” which means that whatever enters into the thought of man’s understanding from without or from the outside, whether from objects of sight or from objects of speech or from objects of the memory, does not render him unclean, but so far as it is not of his affection or will it is separated and cast out, as what is taken into the belly is cast out into the draught. These spiritual things the Lord explained by natural things, since the foods that are taken into the mouth and thus pass into the belly signify such things as man takes in spiritually and with which he nourishes his soul; this is why the “belly” corresponds to the thought of the understanding and signifies it. That the “heart” signifies the affection of man’s will has been shown above; also that only that which is made a part of a man’s affection or will is appropriated to him. Evidently spiritual, not natural, things are here meant, for the Lord says that “out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, whoredoms, thefts, false testimonies, blasphemies.” Since the falsities and evils that enter from without into the thoughts enter from the hells, and if not received by man with the will’s affection are cast back into the hells, it is said that “they are cast out into the draught,” for the “draught” signifies hell; and for the reason that in the hells all things are unclean, and those who are there have been cast out of heaven, which is like a man in form, and is therefore called the Greatest Man and also corresponds to all things of man, while the hells correspond to what is cast out of the belly of the Greatest Man or heaven; this is why hell is meant in the spiritual sense by the “draught.” The “belly” is said “to purge all foods,” because the “belly” signifies the thought of the understanding, as has been said above, and “foods” signify all spiritual nourishments, and the thought of the understanding is what separates unclean things from what are clean, and thus purges.

SERMON

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