F. R.—You say, "I wish you would tell me whether you believe there is an actual personal God who directs the course of the universe, or whether God is only Good...I want to know what God is. I cannot think he is a Person, it is too vague, and yet if he is only something it seems to take away a support; for it is comforting to think that there is a being who is over us and cares for us. If God is only It, only Eternal Goodness, Purity, and Love, will that be made visible and personal and substantial, or will It only always remain vague and abstract?...I wish we knew clearly. Do you think the soul does know, or is it only trying to find out?"
Reply—The man of Truth avoids beliefs about things, and does not engage in speculations concerning God. He rids his heart of impurity, passion, and self, and practices good deeds. In this way he daily increases in knowledge which assures satisfaction and peace. There is an over-ruling Law which is true; and to find this Law and obey it, is to be comforted. When Goodness, Purity, and Love are fully practiced, their vagueness disappears, and they become substantial and abiding. One can comprehend all necessary knowledge, but only when the heart is purified and free from sin is that knowledge complete.
F. S.—Your questions are as follows:—
- "On page 9 of From Poverty to Power you put the question so often asked—'But why pass through the darkness of evil at all?' and you answer it—'Because by ignorance you have chosen to do so. 'Surely at the beginning we had no choice, for we must have been wholly ignorant when we were, so to speak, 'baby souls,' before we could have any experience by which only we can learn good from evil. It seems to me that we were at least started on this difficult path before we had the power of choice.
- "I wish you would be so kind as to tell me how far you have fathomed the mystery of the beginning of our existence on the material plane. I seek and seek and cannot find a solution. All theories of our destiny seem to start only with things as we find them existing.
- "Don't you think that when we pray that our dear ones may be protected from danger or restored to health and happiness, that the earnestness of the desire we send out has a power of attracting help from the source of All-Power, or is this also delusion?"
- We always possessed (and always shall) the power of choice, but that power is limited by the extent of our knowledge. Thus in the lowest form of life the power is extremely limited, but still it is there. In our life the power is there to an infinitely greater extent, but it is still limited.
- Do not inquire into the beginning of things nor seek to comprehend the incomprehensible. We can know things as they are, and this is all-sufficient.
- Good thoughts and good deeds are truth and not delusion, nor can they fail to help others and the world, but the established law of things cannot be altered, and prayers and wishes and intercessions cannot prevent those whom one most loves from reaping the results of their ignorance and wrong-doing.
J. M. B.—Question—"How far should an unselfish person pander to the selfishness of another? Would it not be better to show less consideration toward the self-seeking individual instead of daily sacrificing one's self on his behalf?"
Reply—If a man is unselfish, he will not "pander" to others at all, but will do that which is selfless and true. The more selfish and inconsiderate others are towards him, the more unselfish and considerate he will be towards them. The man of Truth practices unselfishness under all circumstances, and does not dwell upon the selfishness of others.
L. B.—As with the rearing of a beautiful temple, so it is with the building of a beautiful character. It is not done in a day. Little by little, and with untiring and infinite patience must it be accomplished. Toil on in faith, every day putting away from you some wrong thought and deed, substituting for it a thought and deed that is right, and the ideal will become real at last.
W. C.—Yes, more such articles as you have sent will be acceptable. We would, however, suggest that you closely study our pages and teaching.
J. A. S.—Your questions are as follows:—
- "Do we save ourselves from sin and wrong-doing?
- "Is it natural to sin or to do right?
- "How can we test or prove truth? Is it not difficult (especially for the young and inexperienced) to discern between truth and error?
- "How do you harmonize 'As you sow so shall you reap' with forgiveness?"
- Yes, a man saves himself from sin by giving up sin.
- It is not right to sin. It is right to do right.
- Truth is tested and proved by practice. By living truth a man learns to distinguish it from error.
- While a man practices unforgiveness, he can neither understand nor receive forgiveness. When he practices forgiveness, he understands and receives it. Thus men reap as they sow. You should read the article on "Forgiveness of Sin," in No. 1, Vol. I, of The Light of Reason, and the chapter on "Forgiveness" in Byways of Blessedness.
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.