[Temple, Inner Court]George Herbert: "The Church-porch"

Day 32: Morning


Affect in things about thee cleanlinesse,

That all may gladly board thee, as a flowre.

Slovens take up their stock of noisomnesse

Beforehand, and anticipate their last houre.

   Let thy mindes sweetnesse have his operation

   Upon thy body, clothes, and habitation.

     Affect cleanlinesse in things about you that all may gladly approach you, as [they would] a flower. Slovens take up their stock of offensiveness beforehand and anticipate their last hour. Let your mind's sweetness have its operation upon your body, clothes and habitation.

     Unclean, lazy people of low character collect debris throughout their lives. They store up anger, hatred, animosity, revenge, frustrated love, desire, envy, selfishness and other worldly burdens. They anticipate the dirt that will cover them and manufacture their own environment and future. Because of this they deal with others in the same unclean way, infecting lives with parts of themselves. They make others equal with themselves and degrade them with their friendship. Some, even some of us, communicate hate-filled gossip, slander, jealous lies instead of conversation. They transmit what they do not know and, what is more, do harm to others and call it story telling.

     Those with a sweet mind are clean and welcome to those who seek them. Out of the mind, now purified, all actions, speech, clothes, physical cleanliness, house and everything near take on the same purity. Such people produce nothing unclean and prepare for their future daily.1 They continually clean out the debris and maintain or restore the rooms for their mind and the garments of emotion. From their inner freshness, their body, clothes and environment take on a clean and welcome air.

1 Dear Mr. Herbert, I wish it were so easy. When I spend time reading and understanding your words, things do not get done; the weeds grow. When I clean the gutter, my thoughts are filled with annoyance at people who throw bottles, cartons and papers anywhere. [Return]
© 1997 J. R. Arner

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