Mrs. James Allen's Latest Book
(By Book Lover)
From the "Ilfracombe Chronicle"
It was the opinion of the Athenian philosopher, Epicurus, that philosophy and happiness were practically synonymous, making pleasure and pain the criterion of good and evil. "Life’s Inspirations"—Mrs. James Allen’s latest book—embodies in some respects a similar philosophy, but the analogy is only in certain phases, for the moral tuition of "Life's Inspirations" is far loftier than the epicurean ethics.
Mrs. Allen possesses the rare faculty of not only thinking deeply and clearly, but also of being able to express her thoughts simply and lucidly as well as very beautifully. Much of the charm of the book is due to this fact. Though Mrs. Allen is an idealist, in the best sense of the term, she is above all, thoroughly practical, and no one could read "Life's Inspirations" without feeling better equipped to "carry on"—to use an expressive modern phrase. The book shows, as its title implies, how inspiration may be derived from many sources, especially the commonplace, and how we may be a help and an inspiration to others. We may, says the author in the preface "find life’s inspirations in the common things... to enable us to live the highest, happiest and noblest and most successful life." The volume is full of apt quotation from a well-stored mind.
The orthodoxy of one age is rank heterodoxy in another. If Mrs. Allen is not strictly ‘orthodox’ it is because she is, perhaps, a little in advance of her day. Her books might not appeal to the "popular" taste—for the same reason. But her assertions appeal with equal force to the heart and to the intellect.
The economic problems touched upon in the chapters on "Work" and "The Cause Causeless" are dealt with in a spirit that indicates an aggressiveness that will commend itself to all progressive minds. On "Work" she says; "There never has been, nor ever can there be any inspiration in idleness, which leads, on the contrary, to evil habits, and days of dull monotony...Without something to occupy their time men and women become degenerate. We must work or become a something for which nature has no use, as taught by Christ in the parable of the barren fig tree...To be rich does not always mean to be successful. To have nothing to do does not mean that a man has made a success of his life." But she also adds: "It is not necessary always that men and women must toil for their daily bread as a dire necessity. Indeed in the ideal conditions of Society such a thing will be unknown. I do not believe for one moment that the Creator or First Cause ever intended it to be so."
In the chapter on "The Curse Causeless" Mrs. Allen exemplifies the scientific axiom that every effect has a cause. She yearns for the coming of the day when "no longer shall one woman make her body gay with silks and jewels while her sister woman rots in the gutter." ..."Then shall come the New Heaven and the New Earth that the world is waiting for. The New Heaven will be in the hearts and homes of the people, and the New Earth will be all about us."
"The greatest inspiration possible to the human heart," says the author in the last chapter, "is to know and realize man’s true place and position in the universe. So long as man is taught to look upon himself as a helpless sinner, a poor worm of the dust, a bundle of filthy rags, and the many other terrible descriptions men have invented by which to discourage their own hearts and the hearts of their fellows, so long will life be without any real inspiration; so long must his eyes be blind to all the harmony and beauty around him, and ignorant of the true blessedness of his own life."
The volume is published by Messrs L. N. Fowler and Co., 7 Imperial Arcade, Ludgate Circus, London E.C., or may be obtained at W. H. Smith and Sons.
I will worship you with labor.
l have seen your tender face and I love your mournful dust, Mother Earth."