Simple Honesty

There are so many temptations offered to men which justify divergencies from strict honesty, so many excuses and provocations, that men need to be encouraged in their adherence to honesty. Mrs. Eddy says in her "Miscellaneous Writings" (p. 366): "The false theories whose names are legion, gilded with sophistry and what Jesus had not, namely, mere book-learning,—letter without law, gospel, or demonstration,—have no place in Christian Science. This Science requires man to be honest, just, pure; to love his neighbor as himself, and to love God supremely." Shakespeare tells us about "the sanctimonious pirate, that went to sea with the Ten Commandments, but scrap'd one out of the table." It is easy to guess which one was erased, since of the commandment, "Thou shalt not steal," it could be predicated that "'twas a commandment to command the captain and all the rest from their functions; they put forth to steal."

The world suffers from the cupidity of men and nations. There seem to be no natural limits to cupidity as there are to the appetite of the wild animal, which will cease from hunting for a time when it has been fed. The lust for having is sleepless. It reaches out continually to whatever a man calls the whole world, and it was in correction of this cupidity that Jesus asked the question, "What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?"

When a man seeks good for himself in dishonest ways, he defeats his desire, because he gains not good but disappointment. The man who has done business in a small way and has been happy may be tempted with the possibility of becoming a profiteer. The exigencies of war require haste, and a nation in its need must trust to the honesty and patriotism of its citizens to work together for the common end of achieving protection for all. The country should be as a mother to the young men who go out in defense of the home, giving them food and raiment, shelter and supplies. She cannot police adequately those called upon to help her in making provision for her defenders, and these trusted helpers have a fine opportunity to maintain honor bright and to find the enduring blessings of honesty. There seem to be, alas, men who have no honor and who are so lacking in imagination that they cannot visualize the meanness of cheating their compatriot soldiers, and out of wars that have been such men have acquired fortunes.

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Alone with God
March 29, 1919

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