By J. S. F. Miller
“I should say sincerity –a deep, great, genuine sincerity –is the first characteristic of all men in any way heroic.” –Thomas Carlyle
Sincerity is the fulcrum upon which society turns, and no social state can thrive without it. It is at the root of all things which are “lovely and of good report.” A city cannot be founded on the sand, and society must be built on a base of rectitude and integrity, without which all crumbles to decay.
Sincerity is the essential and greatest attribute of every great mind, and its greatest fortification. See the eyes flashing with fearless honesty and truth of purpose –the face coruscating with the only beauty which lives!
How the sincere man draws like a magnet the thought of those around him, and molds it to his will, for sincerity is the compelling power which wins when all else fails! The sincere man is the ruler of himself, and therefore the ruler of others. They circle around him as do the satellites the sun of their system, and from him draw their force, their inspiration, and their thirst for nobler, truer life. Their souls, through him, are brought into “tune with the infinite.”
The moon waxes and wanes; the fields flower and fade; the worlds decay and pass; man is born and dies again; the orthodoxies of to-day become the heterodoxies of tomorrow; but the “Word of the Lord” (i.e. Truth) “endureth for ever.” To overcome the mental and psychic inertia must be the business of every thinking soul.
As we progress in our mental world the result of our meditations must of necessity develop; we have not sworn away our brains or locked up our reason in eternal night, neither have we renounced our right to traverse the lovely, unlit land of the far beyond. To live is to grow; to think is to change; the great and future knowledge must have for its basis the little present knowledge, for “’tis the taught already that profit by teaching.”
To him who accomplishes the journey, and does not faint by the way; to him, who, firm in his convictions, rightfully tramples on the fruits of bygone ignorance and superstition; to the thinker who conceives; the pioneer who fights; the weak, who, strong through suffering, rises when baffled and again fares forth to the fight, will be given the songs of praise of the ages yet to be.
Are we indeed so bound round by the ties of habitude, so entangled in the past meshes of outwork and unholy thoughts, that we have become a race of slaves –slaves who fear to bring the outer life into conformity with the inner belief, because loss of prestige, calumnious reports are foreseen? Let us not be humiliated by such. With the armor of Truth we need fear no foe.
Dwell for a moment on the force we squander by our insincerity. Is it not utterly unworthy of a thinking soul?
Before we are on the right road we must cast behind us all the insincerities of the carnal world and pluck them away forever.
“Let us then be what we are and speak what we think, and in all things keep ourselves loyal to Truth and the sacred professions of Friendship.”
Why should we be ashamed to seem what we are? Why strive to appear well in eyes of men rather than to be? Why disguise ourselves when it is only by revelation that the world has a chance to progress? Let us strive to be that which we would wish to appear, and to value our own prestige, ignoring mockery and scorn.
The day will come when we shall dare to be what we are; when we shall give our thoughts to the world, to accept or reject as it thinks fit without studying the consequences.
We must learn to make sacrifices without knowing whether gods or men will consume them, and aim at being “scornful of gross profits, and intent on ideals and human nobleness; frank, open, guiles, fearless, a brother to all souls whatsoever.” Let us be strong enough to face life in truth and sincerity, acknowledging, not concealing, our errors, and thereby causing these to be stepping-stones on the journey to light.
When a soul is sincere, then it is alive and capable of growing, then it is unashamed, knowing itself, believing in a hopeful future for the race of man; feeling its greatness though knowing its weakness.
The leaves, the purple mountain-tops, the yellow grain, the rippling sun-stroked rivulet leaping down the rocks –all these whisper “Be true, be true.” Is not the sum total of Nature’s teaching “Sincerity?”
To be true in thought and actions; to be loyal to each other, thinking no evil and spreading reports only of good; to respect each other as we respect ourselves; to be just and generous in all our dealings; to be charitable to all men –not finders of flaws but seekers of beauty; to honor, revere –not pity –old age; to be staunch friends to ourselves, so that we would be ashamed to do a mean or cowardly action –these precepts embody the teaching of all true religion of all ages, and he who takes them into his heart and sows the field of life with the seeds of honor and sincerity need fear the wrath of no sect or human being.