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Our Groups and Their Work

North London Group—Meeting on July 15th. The speaker for the evening was prevented from coming to address us. However, two excellent articles from the June number of "Mind" were read, and a lengthy discussion helped us to assimilate the truths expressed by the writers.

Children's Outing, July 22nd. The following paragraph, which appeared in The Islington Gazette of July 26th, gives an account of the Outing:—
ST. Gile’s Christian Mission
Caledonian Road Branch Sunday School
“On Saturday, the members of the North London Group of Light of Reason Readers took a party of children from the above Mission to Finchley. The spot selected for the excursion was known as the 'Rough Lots,‘ and at one time was the resort of foot-pads and highwaymen on the Great North-road. Here the children enjoyed their picnic, blissfully regardless of the wild associations of the place.

“The party was a small one—only 21 boys and girls— but 21 merry faces reflected the sunlight, 21 hearts were made glad, to say nothing of the enjoyment of those who watched them. Each child hugged (more or less lovingly) a huge bunch of wild flowers which he or she had picked for competition. And, even better than this pretty souvenir which would quickly fade in the atmosphere of Caledonian-road, in each little brain was stored the memory of the glorious ride on the top of the new electric cars; of a picnic among the ferns; of races won and lost; of tug-o'-wars pulled off amidst much shouting and merry laughter; of the Barton airship that maneuvered in the sky over the Alexandra Palace while the party were at tea. All these, and many other memories will he kept fresh by some of the children who are writing essays on the outing.

“Only 21 children, all supremely happy; and thanks to the able management of Mr. Burnett and Mr. Cooke, all supremely good. A thousand pities it could not have been 50 times that number."

The children's essays on their day in the country proved very interesting. Of course they unanimously agreed that they had enjoyed the treat very much, and in the majority of the essays the important factors in the sum of their enjoyment seem to lie in the things they won as prizes, or the food they ate. Here and there, however, sentiment and budding powers of observation are disclosed. There is much scope for work of this nature amongst London children, but at present our funds are very small and only permit of us carrying it out on a very limited scale. Perhaps some of our London or Provincial Readers who cannot attend the Group Meetings could help in this way.—Harry J. Stone. Hon. Secretary.

West London Gnoup—On July 12th Mr. Judge gave the group a very helpful address on the problems of life; explaining the reasons of disease, suffering, and trouble of all kinds, by showing that the wrong conditions must exist in the mind before they can be exhibited in the life, and that truly it is that “As a man thinketh so is he." The speaker invited questions at the close of his address, and several members availed themselves of the opportunity of further understanding the subject. Mrs. Worley, at the close, thanked him most heartily on behalf of all present for his able address, and his kindness in again visiting the Group.

Mr. Harry Gaze, from Los Angeles, will address us on September 6th.—Louise Clow, Hon. Secretary.

Home Group, Ilfracombe—On July 21st, Mrs. Shaw read a “thought-provoking" essay on "Education," in which she explained her idea of true education as the development of character and conscience, in distinction to the more acquiring of knowledge. She quoted George MacDonald on “Polish," which is not a mere veneer, but the hard polish of the discipline of life rubbing away the angularities of our faults and failings, and so bringing to view the beauty of underlying character. The conversation which followed turned chiefly on the subject of “conscience," which was regarded as an evidence of the divine in man.

August 4th—Mr. Patrick read a thoughtful and interesting paper on Browning's “Paracelsus,” in which he analyzed the teachings of the poem. Briefly summarized, it is that the cultivation of the intellect at the expense of the emotional, or love nature, must result in failure, for it means a one-sided development, cold and hard. Equally also the development of the emotional, or love nature, and the neglect of the intellect means failure in the opposite direction. The perfect character must have an all-round development. To be conscious of failure is the first step in the path of progress. In the conversation which followed, many remarks tended to further elucidate the subject.

August 11th—Mr. Allen gave us a thoughtful address on “The Middle Way in Action," or, as he also expressed it, “The Impersonal Way." As a rule we are given to laying too much stress upon our own opinions and ways, in opposition to other peoples‘ opinions and ways; then follow arguments, quarrellings and wars. Whereas if we could avoid, or, better still, eliminate all thought of self we should be free from extremes and walk the middle path of peace and calmness. And in order to attain the power to do this, we must, he told us, cultivate poise of character, self-control and calmness, and acquire humility and gentleness. An interesting incident from the life of Buddha, and others from our own times, were related to illustrate in a practical way what was meant by the middle path, and how it would work in daily life. The path consisted in avoiding the extremes of weakness on the one hand, and violent resistance on the other, and taking the path of impersonal Truth.—A. S. Wormall, Secretary.

Wolverhampton Group—A few friends are arranging a Light of Reason Group for Wolverhampton, and would be pleased to hear of other friends interested. Address, Mr. Smith, Hon. Secretary, 31, Lichfield Street, Wolverhampton.

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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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