From the April 15, 1922 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel
The student of Christian Science who desires to demonstrate its teachings through actual healing and regenerative work will do well to bear in mind at all times the statement of the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mrs. Eddy, in “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” (p. 462): “Self-denial, sincerity, Christianity, and persistence alone win the prize.” Of these cardinal requirements, which our Leader has declared to be necessary for success, that of sincerity seems quite fundamental; for without it none of the others would ring true. If the student is not sincere in his desire to help mankind, his attempts at self-denial and Christianity will represent only pretense and hypocrisy, and his persistence will consist of little more than willful determination to advance himself.
Without sincerity our prayers become “vain repetitions,” with no uplifting power. The ineffectiveness of such prayer is described by Shakespeare in the despairing cry of the king in “Hamlet”:—
My words fly up, my thoughts remain below:
Words without thoughts never to heaven go.
On the other hand, those who have learned that “prayer is the heart’s sincere desire,” and are earnest and honest in their endeavor to serve as a channel for the expression of God’s goodness, will find the door open to the attainment of the other conditions upon which success depends.
The word “sincere” is such a common one, so frequently employed in correspondence and elsewhere in a purely formal way, that we are likely to lose sight of its deep significance. It is said that the word takes its derivation from the two Latin words sine cera meaning “without wax;” and a great lesson can be learned if we accept this meaning in its original import. Among the Romans it was a practice to write their messages on tablets covered with a soft wax. The person receiving the message smoothed the wax, thereby obliterating the writing, inscribed his reply, and returned the tablet to the sender. In this way messages were exchanged without the inconvenience that attended other more permanent methods of the time, and the same tablet was used for many communications. Obviously each message was transient and changeable. A sincere letter, therefore, is literally one that is not written on wax; the statements made and sentiments expressed are not to be wiped out at any moment for something different; they are intended to endure. Similarly, a sincere person is one whose tables of the heart record indelibly the unchanging law of Principle.
The writer of the book of Proverbs advised, “Let not mercy and truth forsake thee, … write them upon the table of thine heart;” and in so far as we do this in such a manner as to prevent the substitution of other writing in place of the divine message we shall be sincere, no longer serving as a means of communication for every suggestion of error, but carrying throughout our daily work the inspired truth which will enable us to benefit those who are seeking this message. In describing three classes of thinkers Mrs. Eddy writes of one of them as follows: “A third class of thinkers build with solid masonry. They are sincere, generous, noble, and are therefore open to the approach and recognition of Truth” (Science and Health, p. 450); and it is only as these qualities are developed and expressed that one can become an apostle of Christ, going forth into the world to deliver unaltered and uneffaced the message from on high.