The Light of Reason
Edited by James Allen
Vol. VII. Feburary 2nd, 1905 No. 2
Particulars of the Editor's tour this month will be found in the section on "Our Groups and their Work." Our readers in the various centers to be visited are specially invited to attend the meetings which are stated as "public."
Some time ago a correspondent asked us to deal (in an article or editorial) with certain difficulties in life which seemed to him to be contradictions of the principles which we inculcate. He instanced his position by referring to an employer who, through being kind to his employees, leniently passing by breaches of rule and neglect of duty on their part, was treated by them with contempt, and rules were broken and duty was neglected more and more. Our correspondent asked us what was to be done in a case such as this where kindness had not only failed, but had led to confusion.
The said employer was not kind; he was weak and inefficient. He did not understand his duty toward those under his supervision, and was actually unkind to them in allowing them to set rules and discipline at naught, thus unconsciously teaching them neglect and lawlessness. He did not perceive and walk the straight path of right in the position in which he was placed, but yielded to the weakness of his own inclination.
The path of righteousness threads its way through every little detail of life. No act, no word, no thought can be divorced from its exactions, and to find and walk it in everything we think, say and do, is to find wisdom and peace.
The entrance to the strait gate and the narrow way which leads to Life is to be found in the common details of life. It consists in realizing and adhering to a principle instead of following one's personal inclinations. The word duty, when properly understood, best expresses this direct path. Thus every act that is done is either unrighteous or righteous—that is, it is either done from a desire for personal comfort or gain, or it is done from a perception of right, and because it must be done, and not with the object of some personal profit.
In whatever position a man is placed, there is need for this impersonal action, and he who finds and walks it, in all his transactions adhering to principle, and not considering self, will never become confused as to what he ought to do, but will walk a path so clear and simple that he can never go astray.
Duty must always come before self; what is right before what is pleasant and easy. If a man is placed in a position of control, it is his first duty to see that rules are rigidly observed; however easy and comfortable it would be to pass by delinquencies, he should never, under any circumstances do so, but should brace himself to his duty, and see that the penalty is paid. This is kind because it is right, and it is good discipline both for the controller and the controlled.
He who is placed in a position of trust should most scrupulously observe every detail of his position. Immediately he allows some personal desire or pleasure or weak inclination to interfere with his task, he becomes vulnerable to mistrust, and cannot, if tested, take his stand confidently upon the invincible rock of right.
Again, a man should be slow to make promises, or enter into agreements, but having made the one or entered into the other, he should fulfill them to the letter, no matter at what cost to himself.
In business, in social intercourse, in religion, in all our dealings with our fellow-men; in our positions as masters or servants, teachers or pupils, sellers or purchasers, there are to be found the two paths—the confused and tortuous one of personal inclination, and the clear and straight one of impersonal principle. He who abandons the former and takes the latter will be rid of all fear or concern as to the result of his actions, and, standing upon the rock of right will be invincible with the invincibility of truth.
Have confidence in the truth, although you may not be able to comprehend it, although you may suppose its sweetness to be bitter, although you may shrink from it at first. Trust in the Truth.
The Truth is best as it is. No one can alter it; neither can anyone improve it. Have faith in the truth and live it.
Self is a fever; self is a transient vision, a dream; but truth is wholesome, truth is sublime; truth is everlasting.
More in This Issue| The Power of the Individual to Influence Others »
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.