The Light of Reason
Edited by James Allen
Vol. VII. September 1st, 1905 No. 9
We have recently received two money orders, one from Ceylon, the other from India, without any accompanying letters to indicate who sent them or for what purpose they were sent. Will the senders of these amounts please write us.
Those who wish the Editor to visit their town or district on his next tour, should write without delay, so that dates may be fixed. On his next tour the Editor will (in addressing public meetings and meetings of Groups) expound the Law of the Higher Life both in the letter and the spirit, definitely pointing out and explaining the rules and methods by which enlightenment is attained; but when invited to speak before the members of any particular school of thought or religious denomination, he will give a general address on the particular phase of Truth which would most strongly appeal to them.
In our Editorial last month we dealt with the relationship between the master and his pupil, and it will serve to further elucidate such relationship, as well as to make plainer one of the commonest paths of right and virtue, if we now deal with a quality which is essentially necessary to the spiritual advancement of a disciple of the highest, as well as to the maintenance of unity and harmony in the family, in society, and in the world at large, namely, the quality of reverence.
In the present age there is a considerable declension from the virtue of reverence. Railing against dignities; contempt of elders; dictating duties to pastors; speaking frivolously and lightly of superiors; addressing parents disrespectfully, or speaking of them in irreverent terms—all these practices—so prevalent today —have a deep signification, revealing, as they do, the moral nature of the times, and pointing to the necessity for the restoration of the simple virtues, without the practice of which, all preaching about the loftier virtues and the knowledge of Truth is so much vanity and delusion.
Reverence is due to elders, parents and the aged, to temporal or spiritual dignities, or to those placed in positions of command and authority, irrespective of their personal characters, and because of the central law on which all these conditions rest. He who is striving after the unselfish and righteous life, will put aside all personal judgments, and will give the reverence clue to age and position, and in thus putting aside self, and learning to obey the lesser law, he will prepare himself to comprehend and obey the Greater Law of the divine life. For the soldier to disobey his General, the pupil to instruct his teacher, the child to ignore the commands of its parents, or the citizen to defy the laws of his country—this would be the reign of anarchy, it would be confusion finished and complete.
Now as reverence is called forth by that which is worthy of reverence, it becomes the duty of parents, leaders and teachers to conduct themselves as befits the dignity of their position. The exercise of thoughtfulness, gravity, will, and wisdom fosters the virtue of reverence. Thoughtlessness, lightness, weakness, and folly cannot call forth the reverence of men. Goodness and strength will call forth reverence, for virtue possesses an inherent power and dignity which uplifts by its very presence. Virtue commands respect. Strength inspires to obedience. Great is the responsibility of parents, guardians, leaders and teachers, and the restoration and cultivation of the virtue of reverence rests largely with them.
And the follower of Truth, the searcher for the Supreme Good, will give unbounded reverence to all that is noble and great and true—to both the lesser and greater teachers of the past who by their lives of transcendent virtue and words of wisdom have saved humanity from confusion and destruction; to all the goodness and purity manifested by men in the present; to the power and majesty inherent in the universe, and to the Great Law of Good by which it is upheld; always he will walk with reverent feet, conscious that he is in; the presence of the Eternal.
—Thomas a Kempis
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.