H. H. H.—You say in your letter—"I am an interested reader of 'The Light of Reason,' and a thorough believer (as far as it goes), in the Gospel of Goodness, Purity, and Love that it reaches, but I realize that your gospel stops on the threshold of spiritual experience and influence."
Reply—It is not sufficient to "believe" in Goodness, Purity, and Love; these things must be practiced. He who only believes in them, does not go far, but stops before reaching the reality of the spiritual life; but he who practices them, who exerts himself to become good with a blameless goodness, pure with a spotless purity, and loving with a love freed from bitterness, and which embraces all living things,—such a man will pass beyond the outer court of belief, and will reach the inner Temple of spiritual knowledge—will experience the highest spiritual bliss.
L.B.—Your questions are as follows:—
1. How is one to understand the "I" and "Thee," "I" being the individual, "Thee" being God?...Is this "I" the natural man longing for spirituality? Is it soul talking to spirit? Is it the human hungry for the Divine till they twain are made one new man? Is it, as Emerson puts it, "The imperfect adoring its own Perfect?"
2. Can you help me about the doctrine of regeneration? The Bible seems to teach that man is dead spiritually...Wherein comes man's responsibility? What can a demi man or mineral do to procure the next higher life?
If conscience, heart, understanding, will, form the basis for the spiritual life, are they to be "touched" outside of themselves by the Christ Life?
Replies:—1. All these terms about the "I" and "Thee" mean the same thing, namely, man, immersed in error, searching and longing for Truth. When Truth is realized through purity of heart. The "I" and "Thee" cease in the One Eternal Rest.
2. If man were dead spiritually, he would, of course, be altogether irresponsible; teaching would be vain, and moral aims unnecessary and foolish; but man—yea, the whole universe—is spiritually alive, and is evolving through effort and experience. The term, "spiritually dead," can only be taken in a comparative and symbolical sense. All creatures (man especially) are aspiring, striving, learning, and becoming wiser; and even the stones on which we tread will evolve and rise, for all things are essentially spiritual. Conscience, heart, understanding, will, do not need to be "touched" into life; they are life itself. Thus if the conscience is followed and the highest promptings of the heart obeyed, the understanding will be clarified, and the will freed and wisely directed. In conclusion, all these questionings about terms have little or nothing to do with the process of regeneration which is simplicity itself. Regeneration consists in ceasing to do that which one knows to be evil, and in practicing and increasing that which one knows to be good. If this path is daily and diligently pursued, the enigmas of life will one by one be solved, and all its doubts dispelled.
J.S.A.—Questions—1. Why should man be restricted as regards devolution, while he is limitless in evolution?
2. What is your explanation of the existence of vermin?
Replies—1. Everything in the universe is making for good. Clinging to, or falling back upon, evil, entails suffering in even intensified degrees, and suffering leads to searching and knowledge. Thus man is ever brought back to the upward Path of Good.
2. So-called vermin are scavengers, and they congregate where there is some filth to be cleared away. This is why people are ashamed of harboring these creatures. When men observe the most scrupulous cleanliness in their body and surroundings, and are clean in heart, vermin will pass away.
A Correction—On page 17, of our January issue, line 12, read, " Who art thou that dost assure me?"
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.