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One Thing Lacking

E’en at the Master’s holy feet, low kneeling,
Came one who knew nor worldly want nor stress
Yet sad with fruitless search for Truth, and feeling
Perchance the Teacher of the world might bless
Then asked he softly, and with humble pleading,—
"Good Master, canst Thou calm my inward strife?
Show me the lofty highway of Thy leading;
What shall I do to gain Eternal Life?"

Then He, the Lord of Life, looked down in kindness
Upon the Kneeling form, and, answering, said,—
"Thou knowest the commandments, be not mindless
Of these, and thou shalt live, though thou wert dead."
Replied the Kneeling one,”All these things keeping
From my youth up, I sought Thee out this day,
Yet still I wander unawakened, sleeping;
I have not found the high and holy Way."

Yet lackest thou one thing, yield thy desiring,"
(Thus spake the Master), "do not grasp, but give;
Sell that thou holdest, and, with free aspiring,
Come, follow Me, and thou shalt truly live;
For whoso follows Me, all selfish clinging
Yielding with pure and undivided mind
Shall nothing lack; yea, for his earthly bringing
Surely the Heavenly Treasure he shall find."

Now he who knelt was very rich, and cherished
His earthly treasure in his inmost heart;
And even there his spirit paused and perished,
Losing renunciation’s better part:
Noble but not complete, the Master leaving
To cleave unto his perishable day,
He chose the path of passing things and grieving,
And, sorrow-stricken, went his lonely way.

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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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