by Thomas Watson
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (v.8)
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.”
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”
“Blessed are those who are persecuted, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”
Let us put ourselves on TRIAL whether we are pure-hearted or not. Here I shall show the signs of an impure heart; and then, signs of a pure heart.
I. Signs of an IMPURE heart
1. An IGNORANT heart is an impure heart. To be ignorant of sin or Christ, argues impurity of heart. Nahash the Ammonite would enter into covenant with the men of Jabesh-Gilead, so he might thrust out their right eyes (1 Samuel 11:2). Satan leaves men their left eye. In worldly knowledge they are quick-sighted enough—but the right eye of spiritual knowledge is quite put out! (2 Corinthians 4:4). Ignorance is Satan’s stronghold (Acts 26:18). The devils are bound in chains of darkness (Jude 6). So are all ignorant people. Impossible it is that an ignorant heart should be holy. It is knowledge which makes the heart good. ‘That the soul is without knowledge is not good’ (Proverbs 19:2). For any to say that, though their mind is ignorant—yet their heart is good; they may as well say that, though they are blind—yet their eyes are good.
In the law, when the plague of leprosy was in a man’s head—the priest was to pronounce him unclean. This is the case of an ignorant man. The leprosy is in his head, ‘he is unclean’. That heart cannot be very pure, which is a dungeon. Grace cannot reign, where ignorance reigns. An ignorant man can have no love to God. ‘He cannot love that which he does not know’. He can have no faith. Knowledge must usher in faith (Psalm 9:10). He cannot worship God aright (John 4:22). Though he may worship the true God—yet in a wrong manner. Ignorance is the root of sin. Blindness leads to lasciviousness (Ephesians 4:18, 19; Proverbs 7:23). Ignorance is the mother of pride (Revelation 3:17). It is the cause of error (2 Timothy 3:7), and, which is worse, a willful ignorance. ‘It is one thing to be ignorant; it is another thing to be unwilling to know’. Many are in love with ignorance. They hug their disease (Job 21:14; 2. Peter 3:5). Ignorant minds are impure. There is no going to heaven in the dark!
2. A SELF-RIGHTEOUS heart is an impure heart. It sees no need of purity. ‘I am rich and have need of nothing’ (Revelation 3:17). Not to be sensible of a disease—is worse than the disease! You do not hear a sick man say, ‘I am well’. There are some who ‘need no repentance’ (Luke 15:7). Some sinners are too well to be cured. Heart purity is as great a wonder to the natural man—as the new birth was to Nicodemus (John 3:4). It is sad to think how many go on confidently and are ready to bless themselves, never suspecting their dreadful condition—until it is too late!
3. He has an impure heart who regards iniquity in his heart. ‘If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me’ (Psalm 66:18). In the original it is ‘If I look upon sin’, that is, with a lustful look. Sin-regarding is inconsistent with heart-purity.
What is it to ‘regard iniquity’?
 We regard iniquity, when we INDULGE in sin. When sin not only lives in us—but when we live in sin. Some will leave all their sins but one. Jacob would let all his sons go but Benjamin. Satan can hold a man by one sin. The fowler holds the bird fast enough by one claw. Others HIDE their sins like one who shuts up his shop windows, but follows his trade within doors. Many deal with their sins as Moses’ mother dealt with her son. She hid him in the ark of bulrushes, as if she had left him—but her eye was still upon him and in the end, she became his nurse (Exodus 2:9). Just so, many seem to leave their sins—but they only hide them from the eye of others. Their heart still goes after them, and at last they nurse and give breast to their sins.
 To regard iniquity, is to DELIGHT in iniquity. Though a child of God sins—yet he does not take a delight in sin. ‘I do the very thing I hate’ (Romans 7:15). But impure souls make a recreation of sin. They ‘delight in wickedness’ (2 Thessalonians 2:12). Never did one feed with more delight on a meal he loves—than a wicked man does upon the forbidden fruit. This delight in sin—shows that the will is in the sin. And ‘the will is the rule and measure of the deed’.
 To regard iniquity is to make PROVISION for sin. ‘Make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof’ (Romans 13:14). The wicked are caterers for their lusts. It is a metaphor taken from such as make provision for a family—to feed them. The Greek word here signifies a projecting and planning in the mind, how to bring a thing about. This is to make provision for the flesh—when one studies to satisfy the flesh and provide fuel for lust. Thus Amnon made provision for the flesh (2 Samuel 13:5). He pretends himself to be sick, and his sister, Tamar, must be his nurse. She must cook and serve his food to him. By which means he defiled her virginity. It is sad when men’s concern is not to be holy—but to satisfy lust.
 To regard iniquity, is to give it respect and ENTERTAINMENT, as Lot showed respect to the angels. ‘He bowed himself with his face toward the ground and said, Behold now, my lords, turn in, I beg you . . .’ (Genesis 19:2). When the Spirit of God comes He is repulsed and grieved—but when temptation comes, the sinner bows to it, sets open the gates, and says ‘Turn in here, my lord’. This is to regard iniquity.
 He is said to regard sin, who does not regard the threatenings of God against sin. We read of ‘seven thunders uttering their voices’ (Revelation 10:3). How many thunders in Scripture utter their voice against sin! ‘Surely God will crush the heads of his enemies, the hairy crowns of those who go on in their sins.’ (Psalm 68:21). Here is a thundering scripture—but sinners fear not this thunder. Let a minister come as a Boanerges, clothed with the spirit of Elijah, and denounce all the curses of God against men’s sins—they have no regard for it. They can laugh at the shaking of a spear (Job 41:29). This is to regard iniquity, and argues an impure heart.