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Our Groups and Their Work

Home Group, Ilfracombe—August 18th. This evening we were favored by an address from, and afterwards a conversation with, Miss Florence I. Nicholson, of the London Vegetarian Society. The subject of Vegetarianism was first touched upon from the humanitarian point of view. Then we had some account of the work that is done in the various poor districts of London, in feeding hungry and destitute children. Many pathetic incidents were related, and we heard something of the many difficulties that had to be overcome before anything was in working order. Miss Nicholson, who seems to be the ruling spirit and manager of this work, is eminently fitted for the task; but with all the good that is done, and the many thousands that are fed each winter, it is felt to be almost a trifle compared with what is needed.

August 25th. Mr. Swift read a short but interesting paper on the subject of “Beauty," which he defined as being the expression of the law of harmony. Yet when we come to opinions about beauty, especially with regard to human beings, then the standard of beauty varies; but even in this there is harmony, for all form, color and texture, is merely the outward expression of spirit or soul, and different characteristics appeal to different characters. Mr. Swift (who is an artist of ability) spoke of the difficulty of painting a thing of great beauty, such as a perfect human mouth. The conversation turned on the subject of the various types of beauty in precious stones, flowers, animals, and man; the latter being capable of the highest development.

September 8th. This evening we had an address from Mr. Allen on the subject of "Effort," without which no progress can be made in any direction. The mere climbing of a hill can only be done by more of less of effort. Then the effort needful to learn a trade or business was alluded to, the years of discipline in apprenticeship which must be gone through ere success could be commanded. And the higher one’s aspirations and ideals the greater the need for effort, whether as musicians, artists, or in literature. The first part of the address was like an introduction to the second and more important part, which was on the need there is fur constant effort in order to develop our higher natures, for we can no more attain our ideals on the spiritual side without effort than on the material side of life; and spiritual progress necessitated the overcoming of all evil passions, weaknesses and faults. There are several ways, Mr. Allen said, by which this could be accomplished. We first fight against them, which is good, as it helps to the cultivation of a powerful will—always a good quality to have—but that was not the best or final way. It is better, by aspiration and effort, to rise above evil by thoroughly understanding it. By well-directed effort and proper mental training, present impossibilities may be made possible and easy. This was illustrated by alluding to what has been done by athletes, who, by a course of training, accomplish physical feats which the most powerful man would be quite incapable of doing without training.

After the address and some conversation, one of Mrs. Allen’s guests—Miss Janet Weakley, A.R.C.M., of Malvern—favored us with some excellent music on the piano.—A. S. Wormall, Secretary.

West London Group—July 26th. In the absence of our speaker, it was decided that Mrs. Worley should give us the benefit of a reading, and we derived much benefit from the hearty conversation which followed. A new member was received.

On August 23rd Mr. Stone opened the meeting by reading an instructive article on “Right Thinking," by Mr. Brodie Patterson. Mr. Leigh followed with his subject, "The Secret of Power." It was decided at this meeting to secure a hall for the use of our Leader upon the occasion of his visit in October. —Louise Clow, Hon. Secretary.

Northern London Group—On Saturday, August 19th, 17 members and friends met at Chingford for a ramble in Epping Forest. The pleasure of the gathering was considerably enhanced by the reappearance of one or he members who had attended the first Group meeting held in London, and whom we had not seen for many months. Some of the party made the journey to High Beech by brake, the others preferring to walk under the trees. A halt was called on the way, and an interesting half-hour passed in the reading of the little essays sent by the children of The St. Giles‘ Mission on the subject of their outing with us in July. After a much appreciated tea at High Beech, the quiet stroll back to the Station afforded an excellent opportunity for a healthy interchange of thought on a variety of subjects both spiritual and social.—Harry J. Stone, Hon. Secretary

Liverpool and Birkenhead Group—On September 11th it was unanimously decided that a money box should be presented at the October and November meetings to be forwarded to the North London Group as a contribution to their poor chi1dren’s Christmas Treat Fund, and as a token of the sympathy which a provincial Group felt in their warm-hearted undertakings. Two papers were read on the subject, "How to reconcile unselfishness with one’s duty to oneself." One writer, after ably working out the subject, concluded by saying "That while self-sacrifice is divine, and totally opposed to the lower instincts of human nature, it is nevertheless an error to part with our capital whether it be in the form of money, health or spirit, when by so doing we not only injure ourselves but lessen our powers of usefulness and shorten our period of service. On the other hand, the judicious and careful management of our health and worldly goods, the cultivation of our intellects, and the invigoration of our spirits, are not to be condemned as selfish aims so long as they are kept subservient to the welfare of the race. The other writer considered that unselfishness and one‘s duty to oneself could never require reconciling, for they were one and the same thing, because unselfishness would be the highest, quickest, and most effective route to that soul-development which comprises the whole of one's duty to oneself. Due consideration of the spiritual welfare of those destined to be affected would probably lead to a right solution of the difficulty. The next meeting will be held October 9th.—A. C. Duckworth, Secretary.

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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.

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