The wisdom of safeguarding one's mentality, of excluding from it whatever would defile, is apparent from the fact that to the extent one is thinking good he is immune from evil. Watchfulness in having only good in one's thoughts is, therefore, a matter of downright common sense, of practical self-preservation, rather than of sentimental religious duty. It is a work in which all mankind are intimately and individually concerned, inasmuch as every human being has before him the goal of abiding satisfaction, happiness, peace, but which, as he knows in his heart, cannot in the very nature of things be found at the end of any evil course. Hence the Master's command, "Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation,"—lest we be tempted to believe that aught but good is worth while, even on earth.

Mrs. Eddy writes, in The Christian Science Journal of April, 1904, "Our thoughts beget our actions; they make us what we are." What we think, then, is the most important thing concerning us, and the one thing which calls for unceasing attention if we would be what we aspire to be. The mental state must be guarded as faithfully, and its approaches sentineled as carefully, as camp or fortress in time of war, if we would preserve consciousness from the besetments of an evil sense. Every moment, whether he is consciously thinking of it or not, each mortal is mentally agreeing or disagreeing with the belief in a power, cause, and intelligence besides God, and is aligning himself either with the infinity of good or with the suppositional existence and activities of evil; and he needs to be vigorously wakeful to the omnipresence and omnipotence of God to be the best he is capable of being.

It is evident, from his teaching, that Jesus attached equal importance to watchfulness as to prayer; hence, ceaseless prayer to be effective should be accompanied by ceaseless watching. The desire for good, which is the essence of prayer, should never be absent; but to be fruitful, this desire must be seconded by the vigilance which allows nothing unworthy to enter or control the thought. The Master said that if "the goodman of the house" had been aware of the danger "he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through;" and so would we. Christians not only need to pray, but to watch that their prayers are put into practice. If our supreme desire is to be good, we shall so strive for its fulfilment that no opportunity to bring it to pass will be disregarded. Without unceasing watchfulness against the insidious encroachments of evil, one's efforts were useless; since to be good always, under all circumstances, calls for constant realization of the supremacy of God, good, and the consequent powerlessness of evil.

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March 23, 1912

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