The Light of Reason
Edited by James Allen
Vol. II. September 1st, 1902 No. 3
The expounding of the laws of being and the higher life.
In my Editorial last month, I referred to the Law in its abstract relation, but as there can be no sound comprehension of the Law apart from the discipline of obedience, it is necessary that I complement my former remarks with a little instruction on its practical outworking and application.
All truth is practical, and can be investigated and applied. Philosophical theories about the universe, which cannot be applied and demonstrated, are so many vain and useless speculations. Spiritual truth is preeminently practical, as it is inseparable from soul-progress and daily conduct. The truth that, by an inviolable law, men reap exactly what they sow can be demonstrated by appealing to experience, and by treading the pathway of self-conquest and self-knowledge.
In the world of Nature around us, the working of this Law is plainly apparent. Every seed and every animal produces its own kind. There is universal exactness, definiteness and infallibility, with an entire absence of confusion. It is true that if a gardener neglects his land and crops, there will be a confusion in the mingling of useless weeds with his produce, but this is a confusion due to his negligence, and to his failure to obey and work with the Law in bringing forth useful fruits; but there will be no confusion in the working of the Law, as weeds and fruits alike continue to bring forth their own.
The farmer knows that when he sows wheat he will reap wheat, and that he will reap it just where he has sown it. We should be justified in regarding the farmer as mad who sowed tares and expected to reap corn. We know that throughout the whole domain of visible nature no such condition exists as sowing one kind of seed and reaping from it another kind. The Law which governs the perpetuation and differentiation of species is absolutely infallible. It cannot be altered one iota; it must not be tampered with but at great cost; it can only be implicitly obeyed, and to obey is wisdom; is to work intelligently and harmoniously with all the beneficent forces of Nature.
But this Law does not end with visible Nature. There is not one law governing the visible world and another the invisible, nor is there, as many imagine, an absence, in the realms of soul and spirit, of that rigidly exact law which obtains in the domain of things seen. Thoughts harbored and indulged are seeds sown which bring forth their own kind, and each man, each woman, reaps the sweet and bitter fruits of his or her own sowing.
Sometimes a husbandman sows seeds that are dead, that have in them no vital germs, and they rot in the earth and no crop comes, and he has to dig and sow again. Nature does not make allowance for his ignorance in not being able to detect bad seed, and he, if he be wise, will submit to the Law, and be more careful in the future. In the moral realm men are continually sowing dead seed. To write and speak and preach about love and compassion and self-sacrifice, be it ever so beautifully, and not to practice these divine qualities, is but sowing seed that will rot where they are cast, bringing forth no harvest. Sow that which is good and fruitful, and good fruits are reaped in due season; sow barren words and works, and no glad harvest is reaped. The Law is exact.
I knew a lady who coming into possession of a little garden plot wished to make it pretty with flowers, and she bought several packets of seeds bearing the names of various flowers, and carefully sowed them. Very soon, to her delight, innumerable little green shoots appeared above the ground, and she looked forward to the little paradise of flowers which she would shortly have. Alas! time proved that she had nothing but a crop of common cress. The Law does not alter for human ignorance. If it did there would be no such thing as learning and growing wise.
And men and women, not knowing better, sow the seeds of thoughts and acts that are useless or harmful, and look to the enjoyment of the flowers of peace and happiness and prosperity; but the flowers do not appear, and instead, comes a crop of disappointments, pains and sorrows. There is no loophole of escape from the Good Law. To kick against it, to pray to have its just penalties removed, is only to increase our own sufferings and to darken our ignorance. Every vicious and impure thought and act brings its own penalty; every beautiful and pure thought and act brings forth its gladdening flower or fruit. The Law is good; the Law is just; the Law is Love. All that we have to do is to patiently and humbly learn, and, having learned, obey.
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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.