Cleanliness Is Next to Godliness

Most are familiar with this quote and who doesn’t want to be more Godly and closer to God?  While many attribute this quote to the Bible, in fact, it is not in the Bible. However cleanliness (purity) is attributed to most spiritual practices, e.g, ablutions before prayers, baptism, etc. Cleanliness means to be pure, free from dirt, marks or stains. The body and our surroundings can be dirty. Our unkind words and deeds can leave marks on our soul and the hearts of others.  Our shameful deeds can leave stains in our memories.  So where did the quote come from? John Wesley spoke in a sermon:

“Let it be observed, that slovenliness is no part of religion; that neither this, nor any text of Scripture, condemns neatness of apparel. Certainly this is a duty, not a sin. ‘Cleanliness is, indeed, next to godliness.’ Sermons No xciii,” On Dress.”

How clean is your mind, body, and soul? The first thing we see in an individual is their physical appearance and that is what many react to, but cleanliness and purity must be present in all things, our dress, our speech, and our deeds. The Baha’i Faith teaches:
“External cleanliness, although it is but a physical thing, hath a great influence upon spirituality (1).”   Cleanliness and sanctity in all conditions are characteristics of pure beings and necessities of free souls.  In all his actions and conduct there must first be purity, then beauty and independence. The channel must be cleansed before it is filled with sweet water. The pure eye comprehendeth the sight and the meeting of God; the pure nostril inhaleth the perfumes of the rose-garden of bounty; the pure heart becometh the mirror of the beauty of truth.”(Abdu’l-Baha, Baha’i World Faith – Abdu’l-Baha Section, p. 333)