The Light of Reason
Edited by James Allen
Vol. VII. March 1st, 1905 No. 3
The book, As a Man Thinketh, has met with a ready sale, having now reached its third edition. It can be carried in the pocket, and its words will encourage and inspire those who are anxious to attain to a strong and well-poised life.
It cannot be too often reiterated that the conquest and purification of one's self and the living of the strong life of righteousness which we expound in this journal, is a life indeed, and not a mere theory about life. Our correspondence shows that many fail to grasp this simple truth, and question us about our "theories" and "beliefs." We have no theories, and we expound but one belief—(and even this is only necessary to those who have not yet entered or have not traveled far upon the life of practice)—the belief in the eternal supremacy of Good, or in other words, the belief in Truth or the Good Law. They who really believe this, will commence to practice the flawless goodness, and will shortly pass from belief to knowledge.
We teach only those things which can be known by practice, and which lead to emancipation from sin and suffering; such are the giving up, the entire renouncing, of feverish pleasures, of impure desires, and of egotistical opinions, and the acquirement of calmness of mind, purity of heart, and wisdom of will and purpose.
Many who start out upon this life, and begin to put a strong restraint upon their hitherto ungoverned mind, quickly find that they have entered upon no flowery path of ease and enjoyment, but upon a way bristling (in its early stages at least) with painful conflict and battle.
Many fail to pass successfully through this stage of rigorous discipline, and slip back into the life of impurities, indulgences, and gratifications, either accounting the delights and allurement of the senses to be the greater gain, or failing to withstand temptation through lack of decision and resolution. It was of one of the former of whom St. Paul so pathetically wrote:—
And if a man leaves the pleasures of the world, and does not leave his love for them, he will go back again and give himself up to their intoxications.
It is in the lawful course of things that a man should go where the love of his heart takes him, and if a man chooses to live the ordinary life of sense—gratification, there is no reason why he should not do so, especially if he fully realizes his position, and does not delude himself into thinking that he can gratify every desire for pleasure and have Truth as well. If the pleasure-lover regards himself as a pleasure- lover, he is so far honest and free from self-delusion, and is nearer to Truth than he who, while eagerly grasping at fleeting pleasures, foolishly imagines that he is in possession of Truth. The way of the world and the way of Truth are both legitimate, but the one goes down into darkness, the other leads upward into light.
As for those who, having essayed to walk the upward path before being fully equipped to scale its steep ascent, are hurled back again and again into the purgatorial fires of sin and remorse, let them not despair; if they continue to strive, the necessary strength will at last be developed, and they will reach the pure heights.
wrote one such to me recently; and another,
Let such troubled and tortured ones ever remember that sin, with all its apparent strength is vulnerable and can be vanquished, but that Truth is invulnerable and can never be vanquished; let them realize, with increasing vividness, the darkness and deformity of wrong-doing, and through all their sinning and suffering and sorrowing, have faith in the ultimate victory of their efforts, and they will at last vanquish all their inward enemies, dispel their illusions, and reach the heights of Purity and Peace.
—F. W. Robertson
That maketh wretch or happie rich or poore.
Passions, desires, and fears, is more a King;
Which every wise and virtuous man attains— And who attains not, ill aspires to rule
Cities of men, or headstrong multitudes,
Subject himself to anarchy within,
Or lawless passions in him which he serves.”
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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.