Mary Baker Eddy once wrote this about prayer: “True prayer is not asking God for love; it is learning to love, and to include ALL mankind in one affection. Prayer is the utilization of the love wherewith He loves us.” 2
“Truth,” says Mrs. Eddy, “comes from a deep sincerity…
Boston, U.S.A., Jan. 14, 1918
From the September 14, 1918 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel
The Christian Science Monitor
“Truth,” says Mrs. Eddy, “comes from a deep sincerity that must always characterize heroic hearts; it is the better side of man’s nature developing itself” (Message for 1901, p. 1). Truth, then, is a demand of righteous integrity or sincerity. “All that is true,” to quote again from the same page, “is a sort of necessity, a portion of the primal reality of things.”
Humanity recognizes the necessity for universal sincerity, and often forgives grave mistakes because the perpetrator’s motives were sincere. A familiar instance of this may be found in the life of Paul the apostle. In the days when he was still known as Saul no one seemed to believe in God nor serve Him more faithfully than he did, and his sincerity has never been questioned; yet he was the chiefest among those who persecuted the early followers of Christ Jesus, even consenting unto their death. Had Saul had his way there would be no Christianity to-day. All this, inconceivable as it may seem, was done in the name of God, and there can be no doubt that Saul thought he was a devout man, in high favor with the Lord. Saul’s sincerity, however, did not prove that he was a true worshiper of God, that is, of good; rather did it show, in unmistakable evidence, the total depravity and unreliability of the mortal mind. What Saul was really worshiping was his own false concept of God,—a man-projected God, the outcome of ages of human theories expressed in rabbinical traditions rather than in unselfish lives. The demand of God, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself,” was set aside as impracticable in the effort to be a strict Pharisee.
Now, given the opportunity, the human or mortal mind will always prove itself to be incapable of distinguishing good from evil, though often doing evil in the name of good. It is a hopeless nonentity in the realm of good, or of right thinking, and the very word “sincerity,” when applied by mankind, will often be found to prove this, for when the reasoning of the human mind is followed in obstinate sincerity, only a Saul, that is to say, a Pharisee, persecuting true Christianity, true Christlikeness, results. As Mrs. Eddy says: “Pharisaism killeth; Spirit giveth Life” (Retrospection and Introspection, p. 65). Saul showed the effect of a sincere human desire to go to the very end of his conclusions about God and man, and the result is interesting; for this ignorant sincerity led Saul into trouble. His education in human theories about God instead of helping him made him all the more susceptible to the autosuggestions of spiritual ignorance or human misconceptions about God.
Saul, therefore, may be considered a type wherein the human mind arrogates to itself the sole right to interpret Deity—an impossible task, since, as Christ Jesus indicated, the “spirit of Truth” alone can reveal the things that make up spiritual understanding. Now, as a type, Saul is far from being extinct, and seems specially rampant at this hour in which the direst cruelty is justified with the declaration: “God is on our side.” It is again superlatively evident that the human mind is just as much self-deceived to-day as it was in the time of Saul; for it sees only matter, a materially minded god, and a mortal man. It insists that God made matter, forgetting that if this were true, Spirit being the source of all that really is, God would be as material and limited as matter itself, which would set aside the infinitude and omnipotence of Deity.
The sincerity of the mind of mortals, therefore, is as material as the mind itself and is not based upon spiritual understanding, or good. It is rather the sincerity of error, deceived and self-deceiving. It is enmity against God, calling itself a worshiper of God. So, then, human sincerity, not having spiritual understanding, is the result of a false, material education, and is often the very autocrat of evil. It has only one thing to recommend it, and that is that it will finally force the destruction of false, human concepts, that is to say, of itself, and bring the true sincerity or spiritual understanding into view.
The human mind being utterly material, worshiping its own misconceptions of Deity, is an idolater, or, as Mrs. Eddy states the case: “The human mind has been an idolater from the beginning, having other gods and believing in more than the one Mind” (Science and Health, p. 186). Let it be remembered, therefore, that the human mind is always making idols, whether it be materia medica beliefs or theological traditions—it is always setting aside Spirit and worshiping matter or temporal power. What was wrong with Saul, as anybody can easily see, was just spiritual ignorance. All that was necessary was to destroy a human delusion about God. When the true light of divine Mind shone upon him, on that memorable journey to Damascus, it found him blind; for there was no spiritual sight or perception in his thought, no perception of the Christ, Truth. The mind of Saul was the synonym of darkness and was proved to be blind and helpless before Paul, who, through spiritual enlightenment, understood Truth.
The light of Truth putting out the darkness of error, or Saul, and bringing forth Paul, governed by the understanding of divine Love, is a portrayal of what happens to every one who in sincerity takes up the study of Christian Science. Never before has the world been confronted as it is to-day with such stupendous object lessons proving the hopeless spiritual ignorance, disguised as sincerity, of the minds of mortals; and never before has the light of Christ, Truth, even the same light that shone on Saul and made of him a Paul, been so near to every heart as at this very hour. For Christian Science is the light of all mankind and will make of every Saul, be he citizen or Cæsar, a Paul mighty to prevail, not in the so-called sincerity of human error, but in the sincerity of Truth and Love. Once we are sincere with Christian Science there is nothing to fear. In the words of Mrs. Eddy (Miscellany, p. 203), “A deep sincerity is sure of success, for God takes care of it.”