James says this is what real spiritual health looks like: "Pure and undefiled religion." He means this to be a picture of what our souls ought to be like. This is the man whose piety and reverence for God is where it ought to be. Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of God is two things: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. In biblical terms, compassion and mercy are deeper emotions of the heart, our emotions of the soul to extend blessing and love; biblically these flow not from the heart, but the picture in Scripture is that they flow from deeper than just the seat of our intellect.