I will early destroy all the wicked of the land; that I may cut off all wicked doers from the city of the LORD.
On one occasion Sir Thomas Lawrence, the great painter, then President of the Royal Academy, visited the studio of a struggling young artist. He had noticed the young man's work, and thought it had some promise; but when he saw the sketches tacked up on the walls of the bare little room, he shook his head. They were rough, clever examples of the Flemish school, striking but coarse. "If I were you," said the great painter to the beginner, "I would not allow my eye to be familiarized with any but the highest forms of art. If you cannot afford to buy oil paintings, buy good engravings of great pictures. If you allow your eye to become familiar with what is vulgar in conception, however free and dashing the handling, and however excellent the feeling for colour, your taste will insensibly become depraved; whereas, if you habituate your eye to look only upon what is pure and grand, or refined and lovely, your taste will insensibly be elevated." It was sound artistic advice, and the young painter profited by it. It remains, also, sound moral advice for all young people. Our mind's eye needs training as much as our physical vision. If we hang pictures in the halls of our brain that are not elevating, our moral perceptions will become lowered. The best thoughts are within our reach. Why should we choose, instead, thoughts that are flippant, vulgar, or worse? Every time we put an undesirable picture in our mind's eye, where it will be often in view, we deprave our own understanding. "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." If we wish to elevate and strengthen our souls, we must be careful in our choice of habitual thoughts. "Whatsoever things are true," etc. It is well-known advice — but can it be bettered?
(Free Church Record.)
Parallel VersesKJV: I will early destroy all the wicked of the land; that I may cut off all wicked doers from the city of the LORD.
WEB: Morning by morning, I will destroy all the wicked of the land; to cut off all the workers of iniquity from Yahweh's city. A Prayer of the afflicted, when he is overwhelmed and pours out his complaint before Yahweh.