Extracts From the Letters of Our No. 2 Correspondence Circle
"As regards confidence in human nature, do you know, I almost think it synonymous with confidence in God. It is quite surprising how, as soon as one but commences to eradicate that self-hood that, in varying degrees, all are born with, one begins to perceive something lovable in every human being."
"As I write in sight of my garden beds, they are covered with numerous plants in beautiful bloom. This is the result of steady growth and watchful attention. The same attentive care seems requisite in the training of the mind, the intellect, the understanding. We should not expect to burst forth in a state of perfection by magic."
"A quotation from Carlyle on the subject of work reminds me of a saying by I know not whom,—neither can I quote the words—but the idea is, that whatever be the kind of work done, and whether it be paid work or not, the difference between the artist and the mere mechanic lies in this,—that the former always works for the love of it, and the latter for what it will bring. If coin of the realm, fame, applause, or any other material gain be the object, the worker, even were he Poet Laureate, is but a mechanic, whereas the humblest toil, done for love of it, and so being its own reward, apart from any pecuniary benefit realized, raises the worker to the rank of a true artist."
"I believe there is nothing in the whole world more important, and which a person should be more concerned about, than character. Character, like new wine, is only mellowed and refined by age, and every day of our lives we are either adding to or taking from it."
"To be useful, really useful to the world, seems to me to be the chief joy of life. Goethe says, 'Where I am useful is my country.'"
Whene'er is spoken a noble thought,
Our hearts in glad surprise
To higher levels rise.
Honor to those whose words or deeds
Thus help us in our daily needs,
And by their overflow
Raise us from what is low!
—Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
From the poem Santa Filomena
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.