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Reviews of Books

Where Dwells the Soul Serene, by Stanton Kirkham Davis. This is a work of transcendentalism after the fashion of Emerson's Essays. The diction is a model of chastity and elegance, and the loftiest spirituality characterizes the work. The author starts with no central idea, and adheres to none. The thirteen sections of the book are entirely separate from each other, the thoughts are discursive, the sentences short, pithy and axiomatic; all of which breathe forth a spirit of sweetness and serenity. The following is one of the best pieces in the book:—"The Spirit shall lead you on to all good things, and to it nothing is impossible....You may be keeping accounts, and presently you shall walk out of the door that for so long has seemed to you the barrier of your ideals, and shall find yourself before an audience—the pen still behind your ear, the ink-stains on your fingers—and then and there shall pour out the torrent of your inspiration. You may be driving sheep, and you shall wander to the city—bucolic and open-mouthed; shall wander under the intrepid guidance of the Spirit into the studio of the master, and after a time he shall say, "I have nothing more to teach you. And now you have become the master, who did so recently dream of great things while driving sheep. You shall lay down the saw and the plane to take upon yourself the regeneration of the world." Another extract from this work will be found on another page of this journal.

Life and Power From Within, by W. J. Colville. The author here deals entirely with the interior soul and spirit life, with regeneration, illumination, and the development and opening out of those inner powers by the use of which a man can guide and govern his own destiny. A very extensive field of thought is covered, and many phases of both ancient and modern thought are touched on, and psychic, scriptural and mystical matters are continually introduced. One brief quotation must suffice as an example:—"The true road to prophetic heights is traversed by all who, in any capacity, no matter how humble or obscure, diligently live up to the highest truth perceived by them."

The Library of Health. Vols. II. and III. By Charles Brodie Patterson. The author, as joint editor with Emery McLean, of the leading New Thought journal, Mind, is a man of great weight in the New Thought Movement, and in these able essays on Health, he deals with man in his threefold aspect of body, soul and spirit, regarding him as a preeminently spiritual and mental, rather than physical being. He therefore deals with spiritual and mental laws, processes, and methods of cure, rather than physical, and deals extensively with health of mind as a primary factor in health of body. Vol. II. deals much with mental principles, vol. III. with spiritual, and the wide scope and value of the work may be inferred when it is remembered that such subjects as "The Crucifixion," "Hidden Mysteries," "The Elements of Success," and "I am The Resurrection and The Life," are dealt with.

New-Thought Essays, By Charles Brodie Patterson. A series of pieces embracing various branches of the New Thought. This work will enable our readers who desire it to acquaint themselves with New Thought ideas.

A Modern Prophet and Other Poems. By Eleanor Gray. Published by Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner and Co., Ltd., London. This is a volume of original verse, by one of our contributors, consisting of 109 pages adorned by a number of rhymes and a few blank-verse poems. Two of the latter, "Vashti " and "Stradella," are dramatically constructed, "Stradella " being the finest poem in the book from a literary point of view. Her rhyme is perfectly constructed, but here and there the addition of several extra feet in some of the blank-verse lines is a degeneration into prose. She, however, has the true poetic instinct and faculty, as this couplet shows:—

Music is born in anguish, sweetest songs
Gush with the life—blood from the singer's heart.

Words for the Wind. By William Henry Phelps. Publisher, George Allen, Charing Cross Road, London. Price not given. A pocket volume of 188 pages consisting of 400 original prose paragraphs, many of which are of singular beauty and high spiritual value, as the following will show:—"Let there be nothing within thee that is not very beautiful and very gentle, and then there will be nothing without thee that is not beautiful and softened by the spell of thy presence." It is preeminently a book for a reflective and aspiring mind.

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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.

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