Esoteric Education, or the Life of a Hero; translated from the German of J. Kerning's Key to the Realm of Spirit, and published by the Esoteric Publishing Company, Applegate, California. This is a mystical story of which one Geoffrey, a knight of the thirteenth century, is the hero. He is represented as a noble youth, who, seeing his country overrun and largely in the hands of an enemy, is fired with an enthusiasm to free his country, re-establish its waning power, and restore its crumbling institutions. But the enemy is too powerful to be overcome by the ordinary methods of warfare, and the youth desires to obtain that invincibility which the Spirit of Truth can alone bestow. Then a Master of "The Science of Life" appears on the scene, and offers to instruct Geoffrey, who becomes an apt pupil, and after several years of study and practice under the guidance of his teacher, he attains to the perfection of obedience and understanding, becomes fearless and invincible, fights several victorious battles, and sets his Country free. As a story only, the book is interesting, but as a guide to conduct, the literal machinery should be rendered allegorically, otherwise it would only mislead, and the author's object was, plainly, to teach the great Spiritual truth of the power of self-conquest in the form of a story. The book is beautifully printed, and is bound in grey cloth with gold lettering.
Sweets, Extracted from Flowers of Prominent Authors (same publishers as above). This is not a book, but a number of leaves artistically backed and tied together at the top, left-hand corner, with a gold-colored ribbon. The effect is very chaste. There are forty-five leaves, each containing a short and choice poem, with the exception of two, which are prose pieces. We note, in the collection, several pieces by Ella Wheeler Wilcox, John Burroughs' incomparable gem beginning—
and Leigh Hunt's immortal "Abou Ben Adhem." All the poems are very beautiful, and one which we reprint on another page of the present issue of The Light of Reason entitled The Search, is a good example of the spirit which inspires the whole.
First Lessons in New Thought, by J. W. Winkley, M.D. Published by James H. West Company, Boston, Mass., U. S. A. The author of this excellent and well-condensed treatise is the Editor of Practical Ideals, one of the leading Ethical Journals of America. As a writer, he is cultured and earnest, and gets near the heart and law of things. His present work deals largely with mental healing, but it has a direct bearing on life as a whole, and contains much valuable instruction. His subject-matter is presented in an original manner, sometimes very strikingly so, as in the chapter entitled "The New Thought and Man," where, referring to the nature of man, he says, "He is made up of attributes, faculties, qualities mental, moral, and spiritual. He has no other kind of qualities—no innate bad qualities; all are essentially good and nothing but good. Are there any real attributes of lust, gluttony, ill passion in man? Nay, these are the sensuous nature in a state of disorder or disease. There is no faculty by which we gain ignorance, but a power that enables us to gain knowledge. There is no faculty of folly, but there is one of reason. There is no faculty of idiocy, but there is one of intelligence. Neither is there any attribute of badness, but there is one of goodness. There is no attribute of hate, but there is one of love. There is no quality of cowardice, but there is one of courage. There is no quality out of which any vice springs, but there are moral elements within us from which all the virtues blossom, beautiful and good." This is a lucid and concise presentment of the truth that evil is but misdirected good, and not an organic power opposing good. It reminds us of Rosseau's forcible epigram—"Man, seek no longer the origin of evil, thou thyself art its origin." The whole book will be found to be very invigorating to those who are searching for the basic truths of life.
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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.