The Light of Reason
Edited by James Allen
Vol. VIII. October 1st, 1906 No. 10
"By thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned."
The right control of the tongue is a matter of profound importance, yet how few have accomplished it!
Few indeed understand it; for while things remote and complex occupy the mind, things near at hand and simple are lost to view.
Endless is the chain of sorrows that proceeds from the tongue of man. What meshes of pain are being daily woven of words which proceed from the lips of humankind!
When a man begins to discipline his tongue, scourging it into silence and Obedience, recognizing the evils which proceed from its unbridled sway, he has entered the pathway of wisdom.
Not to accuse, abuse, or condemn; not to slander, backbite, or defame; to avoid unkind criticism; not to disparage the absent; not to speak slightingly or hatefully of our neighbor’s religion; not to affront the wise, the eminent, or the aged with familiar terms; to avoid outbursts of anger or envy, and not to rail against others, nor utter words of impatience, fretfulness or complaint—these are some of the first steps in the control of the tongue, simple lessons of morality for those who are, as yet, children in wisdom.
Further on are still higher steps in the control of the tongue—steps which lead to the sublimest heights of wisdom and spiritual attainment, and when the children of Light have learned to walk successfully the lower and easier steps, then they can take the higher and more difficult; and as the lower steps are related to the conquest of the passions, so the higher steps are related to the conquest of the intellect.
By this higher control of the tongue, egotism, the pride of intellect, is subdued, for the wise do not argue; they practice the Truth.
The beginning of things is unknown; the wise do not argue about God.
The wise do not say "God exists," or "God does not exist;" "God is a person," or "God is not a person."
The chain of causation is unbroken, so that no man can say—"This is the beginning," or "This is the end;" the wise do not talk about the first cause.
All things are relative; the wise do not talk about the absolute.
What is necessary to be known can be known; that which is good can be acquired; the wise do not talk about the unattainable.
The world is known, and its sorrows need assuaging; the wise do not talk about worlds that are unknown.
Good actions are the source of all true teaching and true life; the wise do not talk about the faults of others.
The wise practice virtue; they acquire humility; they do not talk about themselves.
The wise man studies first how to avoid uttering words that are weak, impure, and untrue; and next how to speak words that are strong, pure, and true. In controlling his tongue, he is controlling his mind. In subduing his tongue, he is subduing self.
Let no man think—"My words are of no consequence." Folly issues from the lips of the foolish; and the mouth of the wise pours forth wisdom.
“Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.”
More from 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.