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The Dawn of Enlightenment

"Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night? The watchman said, the morning cometh, and also the night; if ye will enquire, enquire ye; return, come."
—Isaiah XXI, 11-12.

We are living in the dawn of a new and glorious age. The long night of superstition is waning, and the first flush of the Morning of Enlightenment is stealing gently over humanity, penetrating and dissolving the darkness of ignorance, touching the lids of the sleepers, and waking, here and there, a slumberer, calling upon him to rise from the bed of sin, to breathe the invigorating air of the New Day, and stand in the inspiring, thrilling Light of the New Life.

True, there are children of the Dark who still sleep, or grope about in the black, deep valleys of the mind where the rays of light have not yet penetrated to reveal things in their true form, and who mistake the deadly serpent of lust for the fair form of Happiness, the unsubstantial shades of superstition for the presence of abiding friends, and the exaggerated shapes of ignorance for the actual realities of things.

But the dawn of a New Humanity is approaching. Already the Heights are clothed with its Light, and silently, stealthily, softly it is stealing down the rugged Mountains of Time, and at last there shall not be a cleft, a cave, or a valley in the human mind but shall be illuminated by the rays of the Sun of Truth.

Science has done, and is doing, its sure and certain work. The shapes that can only live in the darkness are being driven back, and still further back. It is becoming increasingly difficult to be superstitious. Secrecy and mystery are of the past. The researches of science are published in ten thousand volumes, which are scattered broadcast over the earth, and every child can read. When Copernicus revealed the true nature of our planetary system, the minions of darkness were thrown into a confusion from which they can never recover; when Galileo invented the telescope and hinted at the law of gravitation, they made a strong but ineffectual effort to recover their power, and drive back the approaching Light; but it was reserved for the later Scientists—Newton, Huxley, Tindal, Spencer, Darwin, and others—to finally and triumphantly erect the banner of Fact upon the battlefield of Physical Science, and drive the wailing hordes of superstition into the remotest corners of the earth.

Through the noble and unselfish labors of such men, the external universe stands unveiled before us. We bow before its awful grandeur and unspeakable glory. Its immensity humbles us. Its infinity appalls us. Its beauty exalts us. The earth is no longer the one world in the universe, but a dark speck on a dateless background of light and glory. The march of Science will make man humble; it will at last clothe him with simplicity, so that he will put away his pride of heart, and establish peace and truth upon the earth.

But physical science deals only with the external universe. There is a higher science which deals with the internal universe of mind, which reveals the subtle intricacies of the human heart, its sins and aspirations, its joys and sorrows, which unravels the meaning of life, and reveals the eternal and invisible verities; it is known as Religion.

And this too has its self-sacrificing votaries; its patient investigators; its unwearying searchers who, scanning with watchful eyes the celestial dome of the spiritual world, hail with acclamation the appearance of a new Star, the knowledge of a hitherto unknown law, or the discovery of a grander system. Such are the Spiritual Teachers and the Prophets; such are the humble, yet saintly and glorious ones who, scorning sensual pleasures, land annihilating selfhood, proclaim the Power of Truth.

And the world is never altogether left without its Prophets. The darkness at times is deep, and the silence oppressive, but there is always a Light and a Voice.

And the Prophets are with us today. From "the dim past they are coming, and, re-clothed in flesh, their voices can be heard by those who have ears to hear. Some are already well out on their pilgrimage of love, winning humanity from weakness and sin to strength and holiness by persuasive gentleness and peace; others are donning their sandals for the spiritual journey, and, casting away the staff of Formalism and the scrip of Selfishness and clothing themselves in the single coat of Humility, are preparing to go forth. Their songs of liberty are ringing down the hills, and the valleys and the woods are echoing back the jubilant refrain.

The glory of a new religion (not a new Truth) is breaking upon the world; a religion that will embrace all knowledge; that will encourage all research; it will enthrone Reason and Love. Its Sun is Truth; its Herald Stars are Christ and Buddha, Confucius and Lao-Tze; its lesser lights are the Prophets and Saints, and the painstaking Scientists and patient thinkers and doers—a glorious galaxy.

A new joy and a new life is creeping into the sad heart of humanity. True, the hour is dark—very dark——lust, and hatred, and pride, and despair are strong,—but the Light, approaches and the dawn is near. The stones of dead theologies and the dry husks of unreal speculations can no longer feed the hungering heart of humanity. It cries out for the Bread of Life. Life only can satisfy, and knowledge is life, purity of heart is life, love is life, deeds are life.

The old and effete is passing away, and the new and living is taking its place. As knowledge grows, the human mind expands. Bigotry and selfishness are almost impossible to the mind that grasps the magnitude of the universe. Darkness cannot live where light is. The dead is not preferable to the living. The bereaved soul clasps the dead body of its loved one, and is loth to let it go; but it would be unwise to keep it. It must be buried, and put away forever. The dead body is consigned to corruption, and the worn-out clothes are cast away. So the rites that have become corrupt, and the forms that are worn out must pass away forever. Some there are who cling to the old dead body of superstition and are loth to let it go. It has been a companion so long! It gave (or seemed to give) such comfort, but now it has perished! Learn, O man! all things must perish but Truth. "Let the dead bury their dead," and take your place among the living, O neophyte of Wisdom! It is hard to give up a long-cherished and much-loved opinion; it is difficult to deny a lust, an indulgence, that seems so sweet and comforting, and is so full of pleasure; it causes, at first, a bitter pang, to bury a creed that one has hugged and fondled and fought for so long. Yet, through all these partings must he pass who would stand in the glad Light of Truth.

And some have passed through them, and, pure-hearted, loving, kind and enlightened, are watching the rising Light, and working for the coming Kingdom.

All hail, glad Morning! Dawn of Light and Liberty, thy watchers greet thee! Salvation is in thy beams! Long, long we groveled in the base pleasures of the Night; through years of tears and sorrows, we groped in the blackness; craven-hearted and fearful, we lived in terror of the hideous creatures of our dreams! But the nightmare is past, and the bright morning of peace is come! And come it will for all Humanity.

The era of enlightenment is at hand; yea, it is already upon us. Wisdom approaches with stately tread, and gentle Peace is with her. Mantrams, incantations, propitiatory rites, and the thousand juggleries of the hell-haunted Night are doomed. Heavenly deeds and pure lives will replace them; and the genuflections of sin-burdened slaves will give place to the erect carriage of the Sons of Light.

Knowledge and Truth are Light; and where light is, there is no darkness; and where there is no darkness there is no secrecy; and where there is no secrecy there is no sin, nor superstition, nor exclusiveness; and where sin, superstition and exclusiveness are dispelled, there is Purity, Wisdom and Love.

Mystery and miracle are no more; they exist only as dead forms shortly to pass away. Law and Order have taken their place. The Gods are dead, (for Gods, like men, are perishable), and their Mysteries and orgies have long since I passed away, as all must pass that cannot endure the strong light of knowledge. The Book of Life stands open and revealed, and he who will become a little child may learn to read it. Man participates in all life and in all states now, and is already in Eternity. Nothing is hidden; nothing is sealed. Wide open are the doors of Hell, and the Gates of Heaven remain unlocked. From every point the ocean of Knowledge beats in upon the shores of life, and man can receive when he wills. There is nothing occult but in man's ignorance; there is nothing concealed, but man conceals it from himself. Everything is already published and made known, when man chooses to open his eyes and behold. The veil of esotericism is rent in twain, and the gaudy temples of secret knowledge (edifices of illusion erected upon foundations of egotism!) are untenanted and bare. Ruin is theirs, and to this the wise will leave them, and to those bats of error that love to build in abandoned places.

Knowledge is open; Truth is unsecret. The Dawn of Enlightenment is come, and Good will is born into the world. Sons and daughters of men, awake! arise! stand up! Grovel no more in sin and error; be pure and free; come out into the Light of the New Morning, and rejoice! Victory is surely his who will strive courageously against self; with clear and unflinching! eyes from which all carnality is purged, he shall at last behold the glory of Truth, and shall walk in the dignity of Wisdom, lifting noble brows to heaven.

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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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