The Light of Reason
Edited by James Allen
Vol. I. March 1st, 1902 No. 3
The expounding of the laws of being and the higher life.
We have heard it said that reason is a blind guide, and that it draws men away from Truth rather than leads them to it. If this were true, it were better to remain, or to become, unreasonable, and to persuade others so to do. We have found, however, that the diligent cultivation of the divine faculty of reason brings about calmness and mental poise, and enables one to meet cheerfully the problems and difficulties of life, and the title of this journal, The Light of Reason, was selected as being most expressive of the calm and dispassionate nature of the teaching which it is our duty to set forth in its pages.
It is true there is a higher light than reason, even that of the Spirit of Truth itself, but without the aid of reason, Truth cannot be apprehended. They who refuse to trim the lamp of reason will never, whilst they so refuse, perceive the light of Truth, for the light of reason is a reflection of that light.
Reason is a purely abstract quality, and comes midway between the animal and divine consciousness in man, and leads, if rightly employed, from the darkness of the one to the light of the other. It is true that reason may be enlisted in the service of the lower, self-seeking nature, but this is only a result of its partial and imperfect exercise. A fuller development of reason leads away from the selfish nature, and ultimately allies the soul with the highest, the divine.
That spiritual Percival who, searching for the Holy Grail of the perfect life, is again and again—"Left alone, and wearying in a land of sand and thorns"—is not so stranded because he has followed reason, but because he is still clinging to, and is reluctant to leave, some remnants of his lower nature. He who will use the light of reason as a torch to search for Truth will not be left at last in comfortless darkness.
"Come, now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord; though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow." Many men and women pass through untold sufferings, and at last die in their sins, because they refuse to reason; because they cling to those dark delusions which even a faint glimmer of the light of reason would dispel and all must use their reason freely, fully and faithfully, who would exchange the scarlet robe of sin and suffering for the white garment of blamelessness and peace.
It is because we have proved and know these truths that we exhort men to—"Tread the middle road, whose course bright reason traces, and soft quiet smooths"—for reason leads away from passion and selfishness into the quiet ways of sweet persuasion and gentle forgiveness, and he will never be led astray, nor will he follow blind guides, who faithfully adheres to the Apostolic injunction, "Prove all things, and hold fast that which is good." They, therefore, who despise the light of reason, despise the light of Truth.
Doubtless many of our readers who hold, or are favorable to, our teaching, and especially those who are just entering upon the new life of self-sacrifice and goodwill, feel themselves somewhat isolated as regards spiritual intercourse, ending few, if any, with whom they can converse freely upon the deep and beautiful things which are nearest to their hearts. Such would, we feel sure, "rejoice with exceeding gladness" could they but know that there are many souls, the world over, whose hearts beat in unison with theirs, and whose circumstances and soul-searchings are similar to their own; and the sense of loneliness, which is felt by all such except the most advanced, would be largely dispelled, and they would be strengthened and inspired if they could be brought into actual correspondence with each other.
With such object in view, one of our readers in Kidderminster comes along with the following admirable suggestion:—
"I think it would be very agreeable to your readers, and especially those residing in small communities where there is often a difficulty in finding a friend with whom to commune on subjects nearest our hearts, for 'Correspondence Circles' to be arranged. You invite your readers, those, of course, who wish to be included in the Circle, to name their six favorite books, or authors, as a means of arranging them into companies; then one would write a letter, and post it to the next who would write a reply or addition. Then when each member of the Circle had read the letters of all the others, the budget could be sent to the Editor of our Monthly, which would keep him nicely in touch with his readers."
We thank our friend for his suggestion, and I shall be glad to carry it out if our readers will cooperate with us; we, therefore, invite them to send to us a list of their six favorite books, or authors, and when we have received these, we will use our discretion in arranging the Circles and putting the suggestion into effective working order. By means of these Circles, many of our readers, who now feel that they stand alone, may be enabled to send out light and healing to others, and be themselves comforted and strengthened in return, binding themselves together, as spiritual, brothers and sisters, in bonds of loving fellowship.
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More Articles by This Author 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.