Home Group, Ilfracombe—January 12th. The first meeting of 1906, when, "to celebrate the event," Mr. and Mrs. Allen kindly invited the members to dine with them at 6:30. Nearly all accepted the invitation, and the excellent menu and artistic arrangements were highly appreciated by the guests. The remainder of the evening was spent in a sociable manner.
January 19th—As the meeting was unusually small we did not have a formal program, but the conversation turned on several ethical subjects, and a very profitable evening was spent.
January 26th—Mrs. Allen gave a short address, with her usual eloquence, on "Conscience," which she said was the voice of God leading us back to Himself. Mr. Allen followed with a few words on the fact that conscience will often lead men in diametrically opposite paths. That, however, did not prove that conscience was not leading aright, but simply that we are in different stages of development, and wherever it may lead, conscience should be followed.
In the conversation someone queried whether it was limited to man, or did the lower animals ever show signs of having developed a conscience? Instances were related of pet dogs which looked very like being prompted by conscience.
February 2nd—Mr. Swift read a very able, interesting and intellectual essay on "Evolution." Taking the negative side, he said there were no clear facts to prove evolution, though plenty to show development, a very different thing. A rose was a rose from the beginning to the end of its history, and could not be evolved into any other kind of flower, it could only be developed on its own lines. The same law followed all other creations, whether animal or vegetable. He stated that animals, flowers, fruits and vegetables which had been highly developed by man, would, if allowed to "run wild" revert to their original type. As for the "missing link," that would never be found, for what had never been could not be lost- Some interesting facts in physiology and the lower forms of life were related, and illustrations shown. Evolution, he concluded, was merely a hypothesis and could not be proved by facts.
Mr. Allen replied. To him it seemed to call forth thoughts of admiration and even reverence to think that man at his best, with his aspirations for ever higher perfection, could be evolved out of the lowest forms of life. He defended Darwin as being one of the most remarkable men of the age, for, though he had not originated the idea of evolution he had presented it in a new light, brought it to the notice of the Western nations, and had set the whole world thinking in new directions.
Mr. Foyster asked how it was that man possessed so many rudimentary organs, perfectly useless to him, but which were fully developed in lower animals and a necessity to them, if evolution were not a fact? —A. S. Wormall, Secretary.
The Liverpool and Birkenhead Group—On January 11th, quite a number of members were present and a very enjoyable afternoon was passed, the result of a free interchange of spiritual thought. The secretary towards the close of the meeting read Prentice Mulford's essay "The Material Mind versus the Spiritual Mind," it being especially or propos to the points under discussion.
On Wednesday, February 7th, the members spent a particularly happy and helpful afternoon. The usual atmosphere of love and spiritual encouragement prevailed, and in addition, all present enjoyed hearing a most interesting review or rather an epitome of a book, entitled "The Creed of Christ." For the benefit of those who may wish to read the book, I give the opening sentences of our member's paper.
"This is an epoch-making book. The author does for the character of the central figure of Christianity what the telescope has effected for the heavenly bodies. He shows us how our views have been obscured by the mists of ignorance and deflected by the ecclesiastical atmosphere through which they have reached us. At the same time he discovers to us afresh the surpassing glories of Christ's spiritual nature, and assures us that Christ's mission was to tell us that we are all sons of the all-loving Father, and therefore of the same royal line as God Himself."
The reviewer, by means of wisely-selected and most apt quotations, then carried her hearers through the book, vividly introducing them to the author's revelation of the Christ whose marvelous character is so beautifully portrayed in the following poetic extract—"As possessing the all-pervading presence of sweet reasonableness, of faith without fanaticism, strength without violence, idealism without visionariness, naturalness without materialism, freedom without license, self-sacrifice without asceticism, purity without austerity, saintliness without morbidity, a light too strong to dazzle, and a fire too intense to flame; in fine, the harmony of a perfect nature."
The Meetings will continue to be held as usual, the 1st Wednesday in every month.—A. C. Duckworth, Secretary.
North London Group—On Saturday, January 13th, Mr. G. Randall read a paper on "Food for Mind and Body." In terse and well-chosen phrases he dealt with the question, first from the mental, and then from the physical aspect. Most people, he said, were particular what they ate in the way of physical food, but many were not so particular of the equally important food that they gave the mind to digest. To do this it was necessary to practice and acquire an inner state of receptivity. Very often it was this mental food that we needed to restore health rather than the physical food so often prescribed. It would be found that the forms of physical food desired would naturally change as the inner desires were purified by a more healthy mental diet.
Meeting, January 27th—Mr. Leigh addressed the Group on "True Service." He took us directly to the source of the principle of service. True service and true communion of human hearts were one and the same thing he said. The highest usefulness, the greatest power, was to feel oneself so filled with the consciousness of oneness with each other that we could take the next step in our unfoldment into a higher life, hand in hand so to speak, whatever that step might mean. In reality we served the general good in all our moods, as animal man or as spiritual hero. The difference lay in the fact that as spiritual hero we served by intelligent cooperation with the highest motives from within; as animal man we followed the lower impulses of the mind. One phase of the service of the spiritual-minded man was to manifest sympathy with the fallen.—Harry J. Stone, Hon. Secretary.
West London Group—On January 4th, Miss Nicholson, Secretary of the London Vegetarian Association, addressed the meeting, giving a general account of her work among the poor children of London; one part of such work being the feeding of 15,000 children daily. She was listened to with deep interest, and received the thanks of thanks of the meeting.—Louise Clow, Secretary.
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.