St. Peter—In reply to your long and appealing letter we trust we may say that which will help you to find somewhat of that light for which you have hitherto vainly groped.
Yes, it is ingrained in the very nature of things that a man must reap exactly as he sows; but this truth, as you infer, is not apparent on the surface. Men appear to sow evil and reap good, but this is only an appearance, and sooner or later the harvest mast be reaped. As for your own soul, it is indeed in torment, and yet you may come out of that torment, and that speedily, if you will adopt the proper course. It is well that you recognize your own sin, and confess it; this is the beginning of truth; but the next step is to rise above that sin, to shake it off and stand free, and you can only do this by rectifying and purifying your thoughts, your inner life. You have hitherto thought wrongly and lived wrongly; this you both know and confess, then commence now to think rightly and to live rightly. This you can both resolve to do and do. First of all cease to pray the prayer which you regard as selfish; cease to attend church, seeing that it has come to be regarded by you as hypocritical to do so, and instead, give up your mind to meditation on holy things. Not by vain repetitions of prayers are the tires of hell quenched, but by pouring upon them the waters of pure and loving thoughts and stainless deeds. Discipline yourself. Until you do this, you cannot be a man, much less a pure man. Eat and sleep little. Rise early and meditate upon your condition, and upon purity of heart and calmness of mind. Think of the sweetness of purity, of its strength and peace and freedom from turmoil. Think also of the hell of impurity, of its terrible consequences to both mind and body, and as you so meditate you will find yourself rising into a higher knowledge in which sin can have no place, and the thoughts and desires which now torment you will flee from you, and leave you strong and at peace. Find some occupation, and during the hours of the day keep constantly at work. Let every waking moment be employed either in labor or meditation, and as evil thoughts present themselves to you, let them drop out of your mind, and think of something that is pure and good.
It is well that you control yourself, but restraint is torment unless followed by purification, and purification can only be effected by constant meditation on pure and holy themes. Climb the hills of your soul by strong spiritual effort, and breathe the purer airs that await you on the heights. Every morning bring your soul to the Waters of Purity, and let it bathe therein, and very soon all its impurities will be washed away. There is no necessity for you to remain in torment. If you only strive, and strive intelligently against your sins, victory will surely follow, and peace will crown you.
L. W.—Cease to think about mistakes made so many years ago. They are gone, and no amount of troubling can alter them. Take your mind entirely off the past, and bend all your energies to living rightly and performing all your duties faithfully now.
E. E. K.—We thank you for pointing out the error in the article entitled "Sacrifice" in our October issue, namely, "that it was Cain, and not Abel, who 'brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord,'— an offering to which the Lord 'had not respect'"
N. T.—With regard to the communication which you have received from America (we dealt with one such last month), promising an easy and rapid way to the acquisition of wealth, we would say that the foundation stones of all true success are sterling integrity, faithfulness to duty, energy, diligence and unselfishness. He who builds upon these, cleansing his heart of the lust for gold and fame, will build securely, and will achieve all honorable success. Any other way which may seem easier and more alluring will only lead to ultimate failure.
More from James Allen
James Allen was a little-known philosophical writer and poet. He is best recognized for his book, As a Man Thinketh. Allen wrote about complex subjects such as faith, destiny, love, patience, and religion but had the unique ability of explaining these subjects clearly and in a way that is easy to understand. He often wrote about cause and effect, sowing and reaping, as well as overcoming sadness, sorrow, and grief. For more information on the life of James Allen, click here.