A Seeker—The period of doubt and gloom and uncertainty through which you are now passing is one through which, sooner or later, all must pass on their way to the Divine Life. Your present state of anguish is the dark prelude to a fuller and more complete emancipation than you have hitherto enjoyed. It is indeed a blessed day for a man (though he does not at the time realize it) when he finds that the dogmas and textual formalities on which he has been resting afford no support when trials and misfortunes overtake him, and he enters the dark night of unrest only to emerge, after long searching and fighting, into the pure light of the morning of Truth. Your house was built on the sands of formal creed, and the first storm carried it away, and your lethargy (not "peace ") has been disturbed in order that you may find the true peace which all the powers of darkness assail in vain. You say: "I seem to have left the old path of religion and to be lost in the trackless mazes of speculation re doctrines and dogmas"; and again, "These new ideas are awakening agonies of doubt as to my orthodoxy," and, "If you could dispel this gloom I should be deeply indebted to you." Your gloom will be dispelled, and all your doubts and fears dissolved, when you enter the heavenly pathway of pure goodness, in the walking of which only is there lasting peace. In your daily life and conduct search for the supreme Love; search for Compassion, Purity, No retaliation, and Patience; and as you find these Divine principles by the persistent surrender of all those self-seeking elements within you which oppose and deny them, you will arrive at clear perception, calmness of mind, and peace. Search diligently for the real behind the unreal, throwing aside speculations, dogmas and vain opinions, and you will find at last that the real in life-that which bestows steadfastness and strength, that which alone is glorious, radiant and joy-producing, leaving behind no pains and sorrows—is the practice of Divine Goodness. Outside of this all is unreality, darkness, unrest, and strife. Therefore enter upon the task of becoming divinely good, making your heart every day a little purer, sweeter, stronger. This you will accomplish by pursuing the dual process of meditation and self-discipline. Not by belief in Church doctrines does a man arrive at Truth; not by disbelief in them does he approach the Divine; a man arrives at Truth by abandoning self; by becoming pure in heart does he approach the Divine.
A. M—We are not adherents of the school of thought to which you refer. We have no formal creed, but preach purity of thought and life. "Regeneration" is the keynote of our journal. We advocate no special reforms, believing that the one reform needful is the reformation of a regenerate heart.
H. H. H—We are grateful to you for your appreciative and highly interesting letter, and for the admirable extracts from great writers which you have sent. We will use these as opportunity offers. We, at first, intended to publish, month by month, extracts from these writers, but so much good original matter came pouring in that the extracts were quite crowded out. We will consider your suggestions re Matthew Arnold's Literature and Dogma, and the setting apart a page of our journal for the purpose you mention. The present edition of "From Poverty to Power " gives much greater satisfaction than the two former did. For purposes of lending out the covers should be protected.
J. T. R—Thanks for your kind letters and for the deep interest you are taking in the correspondence circle. Yes, it is doubtless true that sometimes a less advanced soul may afford greater help to certain individuals than one more advanced. Men follow different teachers just as they select their food, and there are grades of teachers to fit all grades of intelligence and advancement.
Ego—We are glad to hear of the improvement in your circumstances. Your question, "Has it not been in all ages that unselfish souls have suffered bitterly from persecution and poverty, sometimes even unto death?" is one which is frequently cropping up, and it has a variety of aspects, and embraces a wide field of thought. In the way in which you put it, it is not supported by facts. We look almost in vain through Hindu annals, as, indeed, through the annals of most of the far Eastern countries for any persecution of the good, and even of reformers generally. In India the people, from time immemorial, have always sat at the feet of their good men, showering upon them adoration, worship and kindnesses without number. In Western countries, where persecution has been most rife, we find that the persecuted were not necessarily "good," as is proved by the fact (numerous instances of which are recorded in history) that immediately the oppressed obtained the power, they persecuted in return, and with equal violence. Many of the Saints, like St. Paul, longed for martyrdom, regarding it as the crowning glory of a religious life, and deliberately courted persecution. Many of them also adapted poverty, embracing it as a good and necessary discipline, and not in any way regarding it as an evil. When a truly good soul is persecuted, as occasionally happens, he always regards it as due to him, as being the effect of a cause which he himself has formerly set going, and does not blame his persecutors, knowing that they are but blind instruments aiding in the out-working of his own destiny. This was particularly so in the case of Jesus, who blessed his persecutors and murderers. And in all persecution, whether of a public or private nature, this is the only way in which the persecuted should regard it; and thus looking upon it, not retaliating, but forgiving and blessing their persecutors, they will ultimately rise above it and render it of non-effect, for evil is always overcome by good.
E. E. K.—Thanks for quotations. The one on "Reason" we shall be pleased to use.
B. P. D.—Your poem, "Love's Progress," is not quit suitable for our pages.
J. C.—We thank you for your kind and interesting letter, and are glad to know that you are introducing The Light of Reason to your friends.
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.